A miscellaneous collection. And isn’t this what childhood should be? Before they “grow up” children should be exposed to diverse experiences, friends, and ideas; which at face value may seem miscellaneous and unrelated. But in the grand scheme of things, it is these olio of things that shape who they are and their place in the community.
Yes, we’re fully licensed by the Fraser-Health Authority, which performs annual inspections to make sure we’re up to code on all things childcare. Our technical designation is “310 Multi-age” which falls under the “Group Childcare” designation vs “Family Childcare”
Group Childcare requires Early Childhood Educations (ECE) to have their full ECE License to Practice, while Family Childcare operators can simply possess their Assistant ECE license. Group Childcare providers supervise up to 8 children at a time (or 4 if strictly serving the under 3 age group), while Family Childcare providers are limited to 7 children at a time. Group Childcare providers have access to more funding from the Ministry of Family and Child Development, which usually means a larger budget for learning materials. Finally, Group Childcare facilities have more stringent safety requirements, such as installing interconnected fire alarms.
As required by Fraser-Health I currently hold a valid ECE License to practice. This is a one year program that prepares ECE’s to work with young children in a group environment. Continued training is required to renew it every 5 yrs. Prior to this, I completed my BA in Psychology & Sociology with a heavy focus on child development and social dynamics. I have also recently completed 2 years of Social Work courses at the University of Victory in the “Child Welfare” stream. My ECE training did certainly help prepare me to work with young children, however, I strongly believe that it is my formal education in other areas of study that have allowed me to really excel and provide one-of-a-kind well-rounded guidance for each child in my care over the past decade.
Olio was licensed in late 2012, and started serving the community in January 2013. Prior to this, I started my career at the Boys & Girls Club, an after school program serving school-aged children in underserved communities. This was a part-time gig that allowed me to complete my university degree at the same time. During this time, I also took one trip Ghana and one to Vietnam, where I volunteered my time and skills to local orphanages. After I graduated I worked as a Counsellor for Adults with Developmental Disabilities for about a year before I realized how much more fulfilled I was working with children. So after some research, I decided that I could continue to pursue my career and creative goals, while still serving my community by opening up my own childcare centre. The task was as daunting as it was exciting. Taking a play from Silicon Valley, I lived on ramen until my mission was complete! Every thing from this website to our Waldorf furniture was developed by me. This job continues to be fulfilling 10 years later. And when it starts to get a little repetitive, I tend to learn a new skills, which I incorporate into the daycare. It’s a win win situation, where I get to learn new things, while the kids reap the benefits of those new things; the latest being my new woodworking skills, which have allowed me to drape the entire facility with Montessori and Waldorf learning materials and furniture.
The short answer it’s a career that is both fun and fulfilling, and it’s a way where I can I add value to my community. More recently, I’ve enjoyed the added benefit of bringing my young daughter to work w/me, which has allowed me to ensure that she is being looked after up to my standard.
Like most fathers of my generation, we have become a lot more involved in our children’s lives. Obviously, I’m more involved than most since I’ve built an entire career focused on child development. Nevertheless, men are stepping up and normalizing the notion of men as care providers.
Under normal circumstances, I am the sole care provider. The benefit of this is that the children at Olio get a strong sense of consistency, which is a key factor in reducing anxiety levels in young children.
For reference, in the past decade I have hired a substitute teacher on two occasions. On the first occasion, I hired someone for 1 week, while I attended mandatory in-class sessions in Victoria during my Social Work studies. The second occasion was when I took a month off when my daughter was born.
It depends. I’ve found that our program matches the needs of most children. However, a small portion of children thrive off a more strict Montessori approach, or even a more rigid preschool program. Usually parents will know if their children have these unique needs. However, the majority of parents are looking for a more play-based organic approach, which we cater to.