Staff across our entire agency are trained in CARE, Children and Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change.

CARE is based on six practice principles: developmentally focussed, family involved, relationship based, trauma informed, competence centered, and ecologically oriented and is designed to significantly influence the way professionals work with children.

We apply these principles to all of what we do at Ranch Ehrlo, including our Ehrlo Early Learning Centres. We can see these principles in action in our day-to-day work, as is illustrated by stories from our EELC staff.

CARE at story time
Staff tried a few new ideas for a child in the group that was struggling to sit at story time. He would continuously move around and fidget, thus distracting the other children and disrupting the story. He would frequently ask staff if he could go sit on a chair by a table at story time –removed from the rest of the group.

Instead, the staff brought the chair to the area where story time is held and asked the child if he’d like to sit in it. The child lit up! He sat still for the duration of story time, was engaged, listened to the stories and participated in the songs and movements.

Moving his chair (recognizing the importance of tailoring the environment to the child as much as possible, per CARE principle “ecologically orientated”) allowed him to remain with the group and feel included and engaged. It wasn’t always a perfect solution, but staff continued to work with the youth to find other resolutions – providing him with fidgets or simply applying gentle pressure to his shoulders worked to calm him as well.

“We did whatever we needed to do to help him be successful!” said one staff member.