BrightStart
copyrightFrequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
& Should Ask Questions (SAQ)
What is Emergent Curriculum?
Does your curriculum include holiday and seasonal themes as well?
What is enriched curriculum?
What sets BrightStart Children's Academy apart from any childcare centres?
Are you a licensed Montessori school with Montessori trained and certified educators or teachers?
What is Junior Kindergarten as compared to full day program or preschool?
If I enroll part-time, can I pick any days I wish?

Do you accept newborn infants?
How do you determine when children move to the next program and do you have a transition plan?
Do I need to enroll my children throughout the summer to keep my spot for September?
Do you have services that help special needs children?

Do you accept children on subsidy?
Do you provide pre-arranged weeknights or weekend babysitting?
Do you allow parent visits anytime?
What is your smoking policy?
Are you a licensed facility?

Do you accept volunteer and practicum students?
Are your facilities peanut-aware?
Do you supply food or snacks?
Do you offer any music programs?

What is your discipline policy?
Do you have field trips?
Do you have a Winter or Christmas concert?
What do I do if I want to change the number of days my child attends or I want to withdraw?
How do you choose your staff?

What happens if my child is anxious about attending your centre?
Do you have a gradual entry or transition program?
Do you provide care during the spring break, winter break and summer holidays?
How do the wait-lists work and what is your wait list policy?

Do siblings have enrollment priority?
Does my child have to be potty-trained?
My child doesn't like to nap. Will he or she be forced to nap?
Does my child go outside to play every day?
Can the general public see my child on the internet based web-cam?


Will the facility offer a parking lot for drop off and pick up?
Will the facility be closed on days other than statuatory holidays?
Can I bring my child half days?
Can my child attend both preschool and daycare?

What are last month fees or last month deposit?
Does my child need to be dropped off by a specific time in the morning?
If I enroll part-time, like 2 days per week, is it possible to have the actual days rotate weekly?
What do I bring for my child's first day?

What is Emergent Curriculum?
Children and teachers both contribute with emergent curriculum. Children provide ideas that teachers use as a framework for preparing new curriculum activities that will encourage their interest and deepen their explorations. Emergent curriculum is meaningful to children as well as socially and intellectually engaging. This method requires genuine responsiveness and attention to children. An example of emergent curriculum would be the exploration of seeds & plant life brought on by interest in the germinated seeds found in the navel organges in January. Traditional topical curriculum would address plant life during spring, however emergent curriculum captures the interest and responds immediately.

Other types of approaches include predetermined themes/topics, Montessori (strong emphasis on individualized academic progress) or Reggio Emilia (actively engaging children in long-term projects with emphasis on the environment).
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Does your curriculum include holiday and seasonal themes as well?
Absolutely. We regularly include holidays such as Valentine, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, etc. in our art and circle times. Seasonal themes like fall, winter, summer and spring are also regularly covered as they occur.
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What is enriched curriculum?
These are all the extras that we provide to give children a full educational experience. This includes academics such as math, science, phonics, early French and literature as well as exploratory subjects such as arts, crafts, music & movement, drama, computers and technology.
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What sets BrightStart Children's Academy apart from any childcare centres?
Our childcare centre, located on Riverwood Gate in Port Coquitlam is a brand-new, two-story building planned specifically for child care use. The building was architecturally designed with input and approvals by the City of Port Coquitlam and the provincial licensing bodies. The Westwood Plateau campus has been newly renovated & seismically upgraded in consultation with architects, designers & engineers.

All of our classrooms have extra large windows allowing lots of natural light, not to mention children can look out and enjoy the outdoors. Ceiling fans and the air exchangers & heat pumps at Riverwood Gate provide excellent and efficient air circulation which can lessen the spread of illnesses very common to a lot of child care centres. Both campuses provide air conditioned comfort during the hot summer months. Our colourful classroom walls invite a sense of enthusiasm and energy coupled by our high quality toys and materials, all for your children's enjoyment.

Both facilities provide for a total of 156 children at any one time, with priority given to registered families for siblings or transfer to other programs.

Furthermore, unlike most daycares that follow a set program prepared by teachers months in advance before knowing your child, our emergent curriculum program is child-centred and reflects the immediate interests of your child .

Lastly, and perhaps a decision maker for most parents, is the internet based web-cam access available to all parents for the entire school day. This provides peace of mind and assurance that your child is happy and settling in to the daily routine.
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What is junior kindergarten as compared to full-day program or preschool?
Junior kindergarten is for 3-5 yr olds that is longer than preschool, yet not as long as the full-day program. Both programs enjoy the same facilities and curriculum, however children on full-day program can come anytime between 7:00AM to 6PM; whereas Junior Kindergarten is available during public school hours only. Junior kindergarten is also not available during school Pro-D days, school closures, Christmas and Spring breaks. Also, since the junior kindergarten program shares a room with another program, early drop off and/or late pick up can not be accomodated.
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If I enroll part-time, can I pick any days I wish?
In most cases, yes. You can pick any days that are available. The only exception is a mid-week enrollment of Tues, Wed and Thurs. We can not accept this unless it is accompanied by a Monday or Friday.return to top

Are you a licensed Montessori school with Montessori trained and certified educators/teachers?
We are a licensed childcare facility and our teachers are certified by the BC Ministry as Early Childhood Educators or Infant Toddler Educators. We do not call ourselves Montessori because we offer more than a Montessori Education.

Although we offer some Montessori-similar curriculum (some structured early learning), we also strongly believe in emergent curriculum. Children and teachers both contribute with emergent curriculum. Children provide ideas by showing their teachers where their interest lies, and teachers use this as a framework for preparing new curriculum and activities that will encourage this interest and deepen the explorations. Emergent curriculum is meaningful to children as well as socially and intellectually engaging to both teachers and children. It requires genuine responsiveness and attention to the child's interest and developmental stage.

We feel that our emergent curriculum approach provides children a full educational experience with structured and unstructured activities, free choice and learning through play.
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Do you accept newborn infants?
Most of our infants are at least 11-12 months of age before they start with us, however we will consider younger children, depending on the dynamics of the classroom. return to top

How do you determine when children move to the next program and do you have a transition plan?

The primary factor is availability (in the next program) and secondary factors are your child's maturity/developmental level and birthdate. Children "moving up" have priority over new enrollments. While we try our best , please note that we cannot guarantee that we will have room for your child in the next program, as we cannot exceed our room capacity. If there is not spot for your child to move up, we will discuss options with you such as a change in days of the week or offer alternative programs, if available.

Regarding the actual transition - in most cases your child will be familiar with the teachers from the new program, as many of our staff often "visit" other classes. Please see our "Successful Transitions".

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Successful Transitions (321k)

Do I need to enroll my children throughout the summer to keep my spot for September?
In all programs, children that are enrolled over the summer months will be given priority for September. The days you are enrolled in over the summer will guarantee the same days for September.

Large facilities such as ours have fixed costs such as lease payments and utilities that must be covered every month, in addition to providing our staff with continuous employment. To ensure that we keep the same staff for the summer and in September, we need to provide them employment during the summer months so that we don't lose consistency in our staffing throughout the year. We highly encourage continuous enrollment throughout the year so that you can be guaranteed your September enrollment.
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Do you have services that help special needs children?
Yes, we welcome children on supported child care programs and those with special needs. If your child has daily physical challenges or has been identified as Special Needs by Supported Child Care, our Riverwood Gate building is equipped with elevator and both facilities have handicapped bathrooms to cater to your child.
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Do you accept children on subsidy?
Yes, we accept children under government subsidy. Your family must apply to the Ministry for an authorization document containing an authorization number and the monthly approved subsidy amount, among other data. Once you are approved, both your family and our facility will receive an authorization document through the mail.
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Do you provide pre-arranged weeknights or weekend babysitting?
No we do not provide weeknight or weekend babysitting. If you enter into a private arrangement with our staff, then a Liability Release form must be completed.return to top

Liability Release Form (92k)

Do you allow parent visits anytime?
Yes, we encourage parent visits or observation any time of the day. In fact, we even have web cameras installed in all our classrooms so that parents can observe their children anywhere they may be - at home or at work.
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What is your smoking policy?
We strongly prohibit smoking by any staff, parent or volunteers in all our facilities, including our outdoor play areas.
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Are you a licensed facility?
Yes, we are a fully-licensed facility governed by the Community Care Facilities Act and routinely inspected by a Licensing Officer working for the Fraser Health Authority, making sure that your child's safety and well-being are met regularly. Furthermore, we are also under the local Fire Department's routine check up to make sure that we are meeting all the building and fire codes.
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Do you accept volunteer and practicum students?
We welcome volunteer and practicum students as their presence furthers our commitment to the field of Early Childhood Education as well as builds a bridge to the community and profession. However, all volunteers and students must complete a thorough criminal record check before being accepted into our facility, and are required to display a short biography of themselves along with a photograph on our bulletin board to ensure familiarity between them and parents.
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Are your facilities peanut-aware?
Yes, our facilities and teachers are peanut aware. Please inform us if your child has an anaphylactic response to nuts and bring in an epi-pen along with your completed Medical Care Plan.return to top

Do you supply food or snacks?
We supply nutritional afternoon snacks such as whole grain cookies, fruit and vegetables, crackers, breads, etc. to children in our 3-5 yr old program who attend our facility on a full-day basis. For morning snack, we ask that each parent send along one piece of fruit which we will clean and cut to be served to all the children. In addition to the fruits shared by all, BrightStart provides for the second part of the snack(e.g., healthy cookies, crackers, toasts, etc ) We also encourage children to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Infants and Toddlers will bring their own snack items.
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Do you offer any music programs?
Yes, music and movement programs are incorporated in our daily circle times. Please see our daily schedule and curriculum for details.
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What is your discipline policy?
Our guidance and caring policy is a process of learning how to solve daily problems. We believe that children react positively to a nurturing environment, and teachers set the stage for success when they offer clear and concise expectations. However, we understand that at times children may demonstrate negative or inappropriate behaviour to other children or caregivers. We try to prevent discipline situations by using positive reinforcements where the positive is emphasized rather than the negative. Sometimes, a mere touch on the shoulder of an angry child or redirecting his/her attention to another activity can ease away confrontations. When immediate control is necessary, we teach children self control by warning or redirecting their activity, removing them from the situation, discuss feelings and rules and then waiting for the child to decide when they are ready to rejoin the activity. We follow through with the child to ensure a successful return to play.

Our facility absolutely does not allow any form of corporal punishment with the children, such as hitting, slapping, pulling, grabbing or pushing. For more details, please click on the Policies & Procedures under the "Parent Page."
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Do you have field trips?
Yes, we go on field trips at least twice in a school year. Our Out-Of-School-Care summer program will also be going on regular field trips. We believe that field trips enhance our curriculum; our fall or Halloween theme can be culminated by a pumpkin patch field trip or our study on ocean animals can be enhanced by our trip to the Aquarium. Just like we welcome parent visits at all times in our classroom, we welcome parent participation in our field trips. Your children will be wearing safety vests and will be supervised at all times by their teachers and adults during the trip.
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Do you have a Winter or Christmas concert?
Absolutely. Our Christmas concert usually happens one weeknight during the first week of December. There will be a notice on our November Newsletter as to the date and time of the concert to give parents a lot of notice during this festive time of the year.
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What do I do if I want to change the number of days my child attends or I want to withdraw?
a.) If you would like to add more days/week - they we will do our best to accomodate your request if there is an opening in your child's program. (Added days require a deposit top-up.) If you wish to drop a day, then we do require one calendar month notice for the change.

b.) If you wish to withdraw your child from the centre, please let us know by email or a written note. We require one calendar's month notice;for example notice must be received by March 31st for Aprill 30th as your child's last day. We can not accept mid-month notices. Once notice has been given, your deposit will be used for your last month fees and your post-dated cheques will be returned. If you choose to give less than one calendar's month notice, your deposit will be retained by BrightStart.

c.)Exception is the school aged program. One calendar month’s notice is still required, however there is a penalty for a withdrawal or a reduction of days that affect your school year registration commitment. The penalty is equal to your deposit, either the full amount (equal to one month of fees) or a portion; depending if you are withdrawing or reducing days. Your deposit will no longer be available for your last month’s fees, so fees will have to be submitted for your last month. NOTE: Continuous enrollment over the summer will ensure a spot in September. Days enrolled over summer are the days assigned to you for September. return to top

How do you choose your staff?
At BrightStart, we believe that our staff members are our most important resource in our facility as they are the ones who set the stage for your children's optimum experience in our facility. We only hire qualified and trained staff that have undergone criminal record checks as well as reference checks. We try to maintain a balance of experience and youthful energy.
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What happens if my child is anxious about attending your centre?
We recognize that it is common for children to have separation anxiety and that each child handles this stage in his/her own unique way. Our experience shows that children adjust to their new environment positively when parents present the new situation to their children in a fun and exciting manner. For example, parents can talk about the school in a positive manner and let their child know what they will be doing while the child is at childcare with their friends.

Your child can participate in the gradual entry (or transitioning) program (see below) where we will introduce your child to his/her new teachers and friends. In their first few weeks of school, if your child still exhibits some form of anxiety, be rest assured that this is within the norm.

Please do not feel embarrassed to ask for suggestions and help from the teachers. Our experience shows that lengthy goodbyes can aggravate a child's anxiety but please make sure that you say goodbye to your child with a hug and a kiss and assure him/her that you will return at the designated time and follow through with your promise. Our teachers are there to help your child's transition in any way and please be assured that you can call the classroom anytime after you have left to find out how your child is doing. Remember that you can always monitor your child with the parent web-cam.
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Do you have a gradual entry/transitioning program?
Yes, during the two week period before your child's actual start date, you are welcome to schedule your child for one or two times of transition into his/her new classroom. The transition time is around 2 hours and parents are asked to stay in the room with their child. The transition time is a great time for your child to meet his/her teacher and for parents to pass on any pertinent information regarding their child's care.Please schedule your transition time with your child's teacher.

If your child's teacher recommends additional transitioning prior to starting, then you are welcome to schedule additional transition time(s) or if you desire more than 2 hours, please consider a drop-in day. Once your child starts his/her program, the transitioning period will no longer be available. If it all possible, please ensure that you build in some flexibility the first two weeks your child is with us, perhaps allowing for an earlier pick-up than normal.

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Do you provide care during the spring break, winter break and summer holidays?
Yes, our full day programs (infant/ toddler, full day program (3-5 yrs) and out-of-school care program are open during spring break, (part of the) winter break and summer holidays. Only our Preschool and Junior Kindergarten programs are not in session during these times as they follows the school district calendar.

The entire facility is closed the week prior to and including Labour Day and Dec 24-Jan 1 to prepare the building for the new semester. Parents are urged to seek alternate childcare arrangements. Fees for these months will remain the same.
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How do the wait-lists work & what is your wait-list policy?
Once we are full, we will have a waitlist where the children who signed into our waitlist the earliest will get the call accordingly.
Waiting list priority is given in the following order:
1. Internal transfers - children already enrolled in our program and graduating to the next age group
2. Children already enrolled in our program who desire more days or changes in their days of attendance.
3. Siblings of children already enrolled in our program
4. Children whose names have been on our waiting list for the longest period of time.

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Do siblings have enrollment priority?
Yes, if your older child is already attending our facility, siblings take priority over our waitlist.
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Does my child have to be potty-trained?
Children are usually potty trained by the age of three and older. If you are enrolling into our infant/toddler program (0 to under 3 years), we do not expect your child to be potty trained. Our staff are able to work with you in achieving this milestone.

If your child is not potty-trained completely and you would like to enroll in Preschool, Junior Kindergarten or the 3-5 year old Full Day Program, we will accept him/her if (s)he is well established in the potty-training process, is familiar with the toilet and is capable of changing his own pull-ups, as necessary. S/he will be given opportunities to use the toilet on a regular basis, however the staff is not equipped to change diapers or cajole children into using the toilet.
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My child doesn't like to nap. Will he/she be forced to nap?
Definitely not. Our naptime is provided for those children who need their nap. If your child hasn't slept after the first half hour of our naptime, he/she can choose to play with quiet toys or weather permitting, a teacher will take the non-nappers outside to play.
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Does my child go outside to play every day?
Our curriculum incorporates outdoor play time everyday as you will see on our daily activity schedule. We believe that children benefit immensely from engaging in outdoor physical activities. In addition to our outdoor playground on our facilities, we will take your children on neighbourhood walks and utilize the community fields and playgrounds when possible.
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Can the general public see my child on the internet based web-cam?
No. Web-cam access is protected with a password and only parents with children in the facility will be able to utilize the webcam. If you desire, grandparents or family members can also apply for webcam access, however please advise BrightStart administration so that their applications can be approved.
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Will the facility offer a parking lot for drop off and pick up?
Yes. All the municipalities have strict regulations regarding on-site parking.
1. Riverwood Gate, Pt. Coq. has 8 spots in the back and short-term parking (10-15 minutes) directly in front of the building
2. Westwood Plateau, Coq. has 5 designated spots for parents
3. Bainbridge, Bby has 3 designated spots at the north end of lot
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Will the facility be closed on days other than statuatory holidays?
Yes. The centre will be closed the week just prior to school start including Labour Day (September) and December 24-January 1 to enable us to clean, organize and sanitize the facilities for the new terms. Parents are urged to seek alternate childcare arrangements. Fees for these months will remain the same.
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Can I bring my child half-days?
We understand that our registered families have different schedules, so you can decide the time that you wish to drop off or pick up your child ( between our hours of operation). If you pick up your child earlier, there will be no reduction in your fees, because we base our staffing on the the number of children enrolled.

Half days may be available on a drop-in basis (available only if attendance or staffing permits). A half day rate would be 1/2 of the posted drop in daily rate and is available for 4 hours or less.
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Can my child attend both preschool and daycare?
There is no need to pay extra for our preschool program in our daycare environment as our entire full-day programs have a preschool component to them. This means a child enrolled in our full-day 3-5 years program gets exactly the same enriched curriculum of a child in our Preschool and Junior Kindergarten, such as early French, art and craft, science and math, computers, music and movement activities and so on.
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What are last month fees or last month deposit?
A last month fee deposit is required when you enroll your child. Not only does this secure your spot, it will also be used against your last month's fees. Your deposit cheque will be cashed and the amount will be held with us to be applied against your last month of fees. Exception is the school aged program. Once you have committed to the next school year (July to June), any changes in registration (or withdrawal) for the next school year will be accepted without penalty if submitted by May 31. Changes after May 31st (dropping of days or withdrawal) WILL RESULT IN A PENALTY equal to your deposit.

Your last month is defined as your last month registered in the facility. The deposit amount is based on the program enrolled in. As your child changes programs or changes number of days enrolled, you will be credited or debited the appropriate amount. So, when your child leaves our facility, his/her last month will already be paid in advance and you will owe nothing for that last month.
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Does my child need to be dropped off by a specific time in the morning?
Your child should be at BrightStart by 10:00 am. This has been established to allow programs to operate without interruption and ensures your child's participation in the morning activities, which is essential to their development. A courtesy phone call or email to let us know if your child will be absent is appreciated, however if we do not hear from you by 10:00 AM, we will assume your child will be absent for the day. If you know your child will be late (arriving after 10:00 am), please contact your child’s teacher so they can plan for your arrival.

If I enroll part-time, like 2 days/week, is it possible to have the actual days rotate weekly?
Unfortunately not. When you sign up part-time, you are allocated specific days, for example Tuesday and Thursday. We are not able, on a weekly basis, to change those to another two other days. We would have to find another person to take the other three days and that person would have to have the same rotation schedule. It is possible to change your days by notifying the administration and you will be waitlisted for the next available opening for your desired day change.return to top

What do I bring for my child's first day?
Please see our first day suggestions.return to top

First Day Suggestions (479k)
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