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About the Dayhome

Watching the children enjoying the appletime every fall always reminds me of the beautiful relationship between the tree and the boy in one of my favorite childrens' books, The Giving Tree. In that spirit, I try to make my dayhome a peaceful, beautiful and nurturing place, where children can play, learn, eat, rest, dream, and grow. So much of life today is hectic, especially for busy families who have to juggle work and childcare. I want to give the children in my care a simple place where their bodies, minds, and souls will be protected and nourished. I want to give their parents the confidence that their child is being cared for in a safe and loving home environment full of quality opportunities for active play and learning.

More About the Dayhome...

Sharon's Giving Tree Family Dayhome is located in a  a non-smoking home in the tree-lined subdivision of Brentwood in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Kindergarten buses from both local school divisions pick up and drop off at my door. We are a half block away from the Brentwood School, and have easy access to the school playgrounds, ice rink, playing fields, and a couple of acres of bush where I take the children on nature walks. In the summer, there is a spray deck that runs on warm afternoons. We only have to cross one street to reach a cul-de-sac playground that we have named "The Secret Playground" because it is so quiet and hidden. Further afield, we have another eight school or park playgrounds, Broadmoor Lake Park and spray park, the County Library and community centre, the local fire station, and the BriarPatch  Family Life Education Centre, all within a 20 minute walk by foot/stroller/wagon. I always carry my "playground phone" when we are on the move so parents can track me down, if necessary. We go outside in all weather, when temperatures are above minus 20 degrees.  

I provide preschool transport twice a week if parents choose to enroll their children in the BriarPatch Preschool.  This program is a 10 minute walk from my home, and we use our wagon in good weather and my van, with all insurance and carseat safety in place, in inclement weather.  This outing helps the children connect to the larger community, gives the younger ones a sense of what school is all about, and supports all the children in school readiness.

My home is an older child-friendly bungalow shaded by elm trees -- see the photo album page of this site for pictures of house and yard. We have had pet bunnies, birds, and fish in the past, and may again, but do not currently have any pet.The children spend their indoor time primarily in our living  and learning room play area, and eat meals and do art and fine motor play in the kitchen.  We have a dedicated bedroom for infant napping and a large motor play area for indoor active play in inclement weather.  I have a storage room and two outdoor sheds to contain my large collection of toys, which I rotate regularly for the children's use,  keeping the number of toys available at any one time from being overwhelming. I always have a play kitchen, transportation toys, block play, a light table, and many options for art, sensory, puzzles, and games, and fine motor play available to the children.

  You can find books in every room of my house and books in the backyard in warm weather -- I consider reading at least two books a day with every child to be as important as feeding them healthy food. My children are in a French Immersion school, and, while I do not speak French very well, I do try to support second language learning in my home.

My fully-enclosed backyard has a large play yard, castle play house, log cabin playhouse,  small slides and climbers, child-sized picnic tables, a brand new mud kitchen, and permanenet easels for outdoor art explorations.    Children love to play in the gravel with diggers and dump trucks on warm spring afternoons! There is a lawn for t-ball, races, teeter-totter, soccer and hula hoops, and a large cinderblock patio for chalk drawing and riding toys. We have container vegetable garden area and we involve the children in the planting, growing and eating of organic vegetables right here at home! My yard has been pesticide-free for many years and is planted with vegetables, herbs and non-toxic plants.

Best of all, there is an English oak tree, a raspberry patch, saskatoons, haksap berries, strawberries, cherry trees, and two mature apple trees, and not a day goes by that I don't bless the original owners of the house for planting them! In August and September, the children and I watch squirrels collecting acorns and make crafts with the acorn caps we find on the ground. We pick fresh raspberries and snap peas for snacktime. We pick organic apples off the trees, make applesauce, apple juice and apple butter, and never head to the playground without an extra apple in our pockets!


About the Provider

I have been married to a wonderful husband and active father for over twenty-five years, and we have three children, a daughter in university, and two teen-aged sons. I am interested in container vegetable gardening, camping, home canning, reading, and writing. However, being a full-time dayhome provider and an active parent of three does not leave much time for other activities!

I have been looking after other children in my home since the late 1990s and have been a full-time dayhome provider affiliated with an agency since 2002, first with the Strathcona County Family Dayhome Agency, and lately with Southgate Mediallion Family Dayhome Agency. I have my Level 3 certification and an my Learning and Child Care diploma, with courses through GPRC, MacEwan University, and Bow Valley College.

Before I began my early learning and childcare career path, I completed a BA and MA in English Language and Literature at the University of Alberta, and reached the all-but-dissertation stage of a Ph.D at the University of Toronto in the same field. That education has left me with a love of literacy and literature and a knowledge of children’s literature that I take great joy in sharing with the children in my program.

I, and every adult in my home, must complete regular police checks and child welfare checks for the agency. My husband and I both maintain current certification in first aid for childcare, and my husband is an agency approved backup care provider in my dayhome, able to cover my occasional absences for dentist appointments, for example.

 Through my agency, I have attended workshops and courses over the past twelve years on subjects as diverse as nutrition, cultural diversity, early literacy, child guidance, preparing for play, carseat safety, outdoor play, art experiences for children, child development screening, food preparation safety,  Indigenous Cultural Awareness, loose parts play, and community resources for families. I also try to attend at least one conference in the field per year and am always on the lookout for more professional development opportunities. In the past, I did some evening and weekend respite care for families in crisis, through my agency and Child and Family Services. This rewarding work gave me experience with children and families in a variety of situations.To further my early childhood education experience, I was a board member with the BriarPatch Preschool and Family Life Education Centre (a registered charity) from 2001 through 2013, when I left to concentrate on my studies.

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