Portfolio Entry #3: Website Review of a Little Kids Daycare Inc.

Image (Image retrieved December 4th, 2013 from: http://www.littlekidsdaycare.com/index.htm)

The website for Little Kids Daycare creates a very professional representation of the centre, as the first thing a viewer of the website will notice is the “Oakville Today’s Readers Choice Awards” for best childcare and best nursery/preschool for 2013. This catches the viewers eye right away and represents that this childcare centre is valued to the Oakville community.

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(Images retrieved December 4th, 2013 from: http://www.littlekidsdaycare.com/index.htm)

The homepage of the website includes a tab entitled, “Kids & Community” which displays how the centre is involved within the community by holding various charity events, and has raised thousands of dollars for The Credit Valley Hospital and The McMaster Children’s hospital. Displaying the childcare center’s connection within the community helps contribute to the overall sense of professionalism not only for the website, but for the centre itself. The website also looks very organized and visually appealing by incorporating images to break up the text, a variety of colors used on words, as well as different textures in the theme/background.

As a viewer of this website it is quite easy to navigate through the site as all of the links are displayed in a straight line across the middle of the homepage under the title of the website. The mission statement is displayed on the first page underneath the various links as part of an introduction to the child care centre and what this centre represents. It is easy to find a contact to the centre as the “Contact Us” tab is one of the links you first see on the home page. The main contact for the centre is Debbie, who is the owner of the centre, however it does not say so in the “Contact Us” section. If a viewer of this website was to explore the “Kids & Community” tab there is a picture of Debbie, along with a blog feature with an interview about the centre (which states that she is the owner), what inspired her to open a child care centre, the most fulfilling part of her work etc. This interview was conducted by a photographer name Brigitte, who also interviews the people seen in her photographs, and then adds the interviews along with her photographs to her blog archives.

http://belisephotography.com/blog/2013/04/18/oakville-photography-little-kids-daycare/

The target audience of this website is parents or guardians of young children. This is obvious to a viewer of the website as this is a centre that cares for young children, and one of the first sentences written in the introductory paragraph on the home page gives an age range for children this centre provides for. Also there is a “Testimonials” tab found on the homepage, that is filled with over 10 testimonials from parents of children who are enrolled in, or were previous enrolled in Little Kids Daycare. If a parent would like to come for a tour of the centre it is easy to navigate and find a location of the centre as it is under the “Contact Us” tab, and contains the address of the centre, a map of the location, and a picture of what the front of the child care centre looks like. There is also a link provided to the new second location of the Little Kids Daycare in Vaughan called “Vaughan Kids Daycare”.

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Image retrieved December 4th, 2013 from: http://www.littlekidsdaycare.com/contact%20us.htm

There are only a couple of forms of multimedia used on this website such as images and links to other websites and resources. There are many images displayed on the website such as the centre logo, awards given to the centre, children engaging in activities at the centre, pictures of staff at charity events, and an image of the outside front of the child care centre. The website allows a viewer the change to zoom in on any image to enlarge it and take a closer look. Links are provided within most tabs that might be of use or interest to parents such as the caterer of the menu at the centre, the halton resource centre, loveable labels for kids, Vaughan kids daycare (a second location) and various charities that Little Kids Daycare supports. The website also provides a link for the Little Kids Daycare’s twitter and facebook page, which is found on the top right corner of the homepage. These links are very helpful to parents as it is an extra resource in communicating with other parents of the centre, staff, and is an easy tool to keep up to date on the centers news and events.

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The best qualities of this website includes the useful links for parents found in almost every tab, as well as appropriate and relevant images used all over the site. These useful links for parents are a great way to show parents that Little Kids Daycare can be helpful and supportive of different types of resources and referrals parents might need. Images of the staff participating in charity events gives parents a real sense of the staffs priorities and involvement not only in the centre but in the community. Images of awards the centre has received also shows parents how professional and valued this centre is by the community, parents and children. As a parent viewing this website to research if this centre will be best suited for their child, it has everything a parent could ask for by extensively displaying the best qualities of the centre and staff. Through the use of resource links, photos of staff participating in charity events, descriptions of the program and its main goals, and awards given to the centre, this clearly outlines that Little Kids Daycare is a well rounded and rewarding centre for any child who is 15 months to 9 years before even physically stepping foot into the centre.

Some recommendations for this website are to provide a more detailed description of the programs by using a downloadable PDF document where parents can download a full day program plan for children by the hour. The website would also benefit from more uses of multimedia such as PDF files for more detailed information, and videos of children engaging in activities or staff engaging with children at the centre.  A more detailed biography of the owner of the centre and it’s staff (along with pictures),  may also be helpful for parents to get a feel of the staffs educational background and views on leading children through their learning experiences at The Little Kids Daycare.

                                                                            References
The Little Kids Daycare Centre Inc. (2013). http://www.littlekidsdaycare.com/index.htm

Portfolio Entry #2: Grandma Loves Bugs (App for kindergarten children)

This software is an App called “Grandma loves bugs” that can be downloaded onto an iphone, ipad, computer etc. This software provides children with different learning activities that are for a mix of fun and educational purposes. Children endure different levels where they must match the bumble bee with a letter to the flower with the same letter. There are also a variety of matching activities with the same types of bugs, science activities where children can look at bugs closer with a magnifying glass, coloring bugs in the right color, and finding a specific type of bug. There is a voice that also helps the child if they are having difficulties and encourages/congratulates them throughout the game. The game is very bright and colorful and easy for children to navigate as all they need to do is press play and done once they have completed a level.

  • I picked this type of educational software to review because this app is easy to download and easy to navigate through. I also chose this because it is not only educational but fun and interactive. This app allows for many different types of games which will help keep it interesting and entertaining for children as sometimes they will get bored easily.
  • I think the best features of the software for the childcare profession are that is educational in different areas, such as math, science, art and language. This app is appropriately challenging as it does not get boring and repetitive. Each level is a new type of challenge and a different subject area. As well as each level being a different subject area, each level switches  from a light and fun activity to an educational activity that is also still fun but allows the child to make a learning connection while playing. As many children are fascinated by nature this app allows personal interests to be discovered, whether that is bugs, flowers etc. This game is also enjoyable for children as it is colorful, interactive and fun to play a different type of game each time.
  • Some of the limitations of the software are that although the levels do differ in subject and layout each time, there is no where to offer choice to the child to choose what type of activity they would like to play. This also links to the fact that there is no where for the child to partake in practice and review of the levels. If a child needs further practice in the language area when it comes to spelling words, they must wait until that level comes up and there is nowhere to choose “spelling words” or “matching letters”. If the app was to be updated I would suggest the home screen having different tabs such as matching, spelling, coloring etc, as well as a picture of each so children are able to identify what the level would be about if they are not able to read the actual words on the tabs.
  • The “tips” or “recommendations” I would give to a childcare professional that wished to use the software is that they should play this game with the child and pay attention to the levels and subject areas where children require extra support and attention. Then to encourage this child during the level and offer additional activities and support in that area for a child. Since the app has randomized games of different kinds, a childcare professional will be able to see clearly which areas children excel in and which they may need some further support. The game is very interactive in itself so a childcare professional would essentially just need to be encouraging and supportive throughout the game only when assistance is needed.
  • Portfolio Entry #1: Just how much should we lock up our student iPads?

    1. This article is about how student ipads are now being brought into classrooms, and how much freedom should be given to children while using these ipads. There is a button on the ipad where educators can lock the home button so students do not have access anywhere outside of the app they are intended to be in. More specifically this article focuses on the debate of whether or not it is a good idea to lock students into one app and not allow them to access others during ipad time.
    2. This article connects to scholarship on technology and learning because it is discussing the issue of how much freedom we should give to students in regards to their private use of technology. If a child is locked into an app and is not able to access the home button, their learning is being cut off from making new discoveries on their own, and this is limiting their use of discoveries within the world of technology. Teachers should not be putting out limits for children if we would like to see how far they can go with technology according to their own potential. The proper way of setting limits to an ipad should be to give students clear expectations of the way the ipad should be used, and give them the freedom to explore at their own levels. Only then can we decide if we need to put more restrictions on the use of the ipad. Students should be able to freely explore technology and they can then make their own connections and learning discoveries at their own pace.
    3. This article is valuable to me as an ECE professional as I feel students should be involved in technology with educators in the classroom. In my personal experience at a placement in a Full-Day Kindergarten classroom, children were told never to touch the ipad. If children came near the educator while they were documenting students work on the ipad, they were told to go back to what they are doing and not to touch the ipad. I feel as if we should be open with students in regards to technology and share our technological experiences with them. This article is valuable to me as I agree that students should not have so many restrictions when it comes to technology, and should be free to make their own discoveries at their own pace to help them learn better.
    4. This article connects to my pedagogy and philosophy of ECE as i believe in children having choice and freedom to explore their own interests. I believe all students are individuals and they do not need to all learn in the same way. Children should be given options when doing an activity or exploring something new in the classroom. They should not be told how to do something, rather they should be told that they are encouraged to find their own way to explore something new or something they find intriguing (with the support and guidance of the educator as well). I feel as if this is the best way for students to learn, and if they are aware that the educator trusts their individual curiosity and discovery, they will feel more comfortable to learn, explore and grow at their own pace, using their own personal methods of inquiry and discovery. 

    http://technologyinearlychildhood.com/2013/05/28/just-how-much-should-we-lock-up-our-student-ipads/

    This is my quot…

    This is my quote I submitted on a petition as to why I feel Early Childhood Educators wages should be increased.

    “This is important to me as I am a registered Early Childhood Educator and I am currently studying in the Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership program at Sheridan College. I feel Early Childhood Educators make a great impact in the early learning environment as we are not only highly educated on the development of children, we have the passion to want to help children learn and succeed by using interactive and fun activities. Early Childhood Educators have the knowledge from both classroom and textbook learning, as well as experience from field placements. Early Childhood educators help set a foundation for children’s learning at a young age by creating a developmentally appropriate learning environment to meet each child’s individual needs. Our wages should be increased as we have a passion to support and help young children become successful as they enter kindergarten and elementary grades”

    Anyone can sign this petition at:

    http://www.change.org/petitions/increase-wages-for-early-childhood-educators-in-ontario