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Our Story

REFENS History

Founded by a group of parents intent on giving their children a “good head start”, the River East French Exposure Nursery School has been educating three and four year old children in preparation for kindergarten for more than 40 years.

In the beginning, this wonderful idea of a French based Nursery School was located in Neil Campbell School. It was known as the French Immersion Nursery. Over the years, it has called many schools home. At one point a move was made to Salisbury Morse Place School, where REFENS was located until June of 2000. Michelline was hired to teach the program in September of 1994 and in these past 20 years has had the opportunity to teach close to 1000 children - most of whom have gone on to a River East/Transcona school and many of those children have enrolled in the French Immersion program. In September of 2000, REFENS took up residence in Sherwood School who, in our time of need, offered us space. We are the only Nursery School program that offers an initiation to the French language in the North/East Kildonan area and we have even had some students who have travelled from as far away as St. Vital and Fort Rouge to attend our classes.

Over the years, our students have had many wonderful opportunities. We have visited out local Library and Fire Stations. We have taken in activities at The Festival du Voyageur and the Winnipeg International Children's Festival. Most recently our students have been the invited guests at the KidsFest Opening Ceremonies and have performed on stage with Jacques Chénier and Fred Penner.

The children who go through our program are prepared to face Kindergarten in either French or English. Our program teaches not only numbers, letters, colours and shapes but also the skills necessary to be part of a group. We learn that there are times when we must listen and learn, there are also times to play and enjoy the company of your friends but also how to share those precious toys and books even when you don’t want to. We follow the school schedules and procedures: we are quiet in the halls and respectful of other classes, we do fire drills and respect the playground rules.

We follow a routine that emulates one found in a kindergarten setting. We have circle time, we learn about the weather and the days of the week and during our daily lesson we learn not only vocabulary we also practice the fine motor skills we will need to succeed in our future endeavours. Every month we have a science lesson and have Show and Tell presentations, we celebrate birthdays and Christmas and Halloween and Easter and, at the end of June, even rejoice in the fact that we have learned so many new things that we are ready for Kindergarten and therefore, must leave each other. The friendships that are started in Nursery School last for many years. Each Spring, we host a Family Fun Night to which we invite all REFENS Alumni. It is wonderful to see so many former students and their parents come out a enjoy an evening of re-discovery and a stroll down memory lane!

We left Sherwood School in 2003 and headed into Transcona where we landed at Joseph Teres School - our current home. We have felt very much at home in this space and have made many wonderful connections with the staff and students. We have created opportunities to work together - we collaborate with the kindergarten class when we make paper and have had grade 4 students who have begun their basic French program come into our class and work with us.

Our program has a wonderful reputation in the RETSD just ask the kindergarten teachers in both the Immersion and English schools. The children who graduate from REFENS are ready and anxious to take on the challenges that the education system has in store for them.


The River East French Exposure Nursery School Co-operative Incorporated (REFENS) is licensed by the Manitoba Government and must abide by the standards stipulated in the Community Child Care Standards Act. REFENS is a private, parent-run program with one salaried employee

We offer a dynamic program in a school setting

Code of Conduct

At River East French Exposure Nursery School, we strive to provide a safe, caring, learning environment for the children, staff and families. We believe in equality and respect diversity.

The following people are expected to behave in a respectful manner and comply with this code of conduct:

  • Board of Directors
  • Director/Teacher (referred to as “staff” in this document)
  • Children
  • Parents/guardians of children enrolled
  • All others involved with our centre

Guiding Principles for Appropriate Behaviour

Be Respectful We are respectful of ourselves and other people. We are respectful of the ideas and feelings of others. We are respectful of the environment, equipment and materials. Be Safe We work and play safely to help keep ourselves and others from getting hurt. Be Cooperative We solve our problems by talking and listening to each other respectfully to find a solution. When we cannot solve a problem ourselves, we ask for help. Be Supportive of Learning We learn to the best of our abilities and support the learning of others.

Developmental Capabilities of Children

We understand that it is normal for children to display inappropriate behaviour at times for a variety of reasons. The developmental capabilities of each child will always be considered when determining both expectations for behaviour and consequences of inappropriate behaviour.

Appropriate Use of Technology

All children, parents, staff and others involved in our centre must use e-mail, electronic devices and the Internet according to our policies. This protects people’s privacy and the confidentiality of information.

Unacceptable Behaviours

The following behaviours by children, staff, parents and others involved in our centre are unacceptable:

  • All forms of bullying (physical, verbal, emotional, social or cyber bullying), including comments, actions or visual displays that are intentional, hurtful and repetitive
  • Harassment, including behaviour that degrades, demeans, humiliates or embarrasses someone that a reasonable person would know is unwelcome
  • All forms of abuse (sexual, physical or psychological), including verbally, in writing or otherwise
  • Discrimination against any person or group because of their race, colour, ancestry, nationality or place of origin, ethnic background, religion, age, sex, gender-determined characteristics, sexual orientation, marital and family status, source of income, political belief and physical or mental disability
  • Actions that put another person at risk of harm, including violent physical acts (with or without a weapon) and threatening someone

Proactive Strategies

We actively strive to create an environment that support the health, safety and well-being of the children by:

  • Having realistic and developmentally appropriate expectations for behaviour
  • Setting up the environment and materials to encourage appropriate behaviour and reduce potential for inappropriate behaviour
  • Planning a program based on children’s interests and developmental needs
  • Establishing consistent yet flexible schedules and routines that help children gain trust, security and self-control
    We create a positive environment for children, parents, staff and others involved in our centre by:
  • Developing positive relationships, including making time to talk and listen
  • Establishing clear, consistent, simple limits
  • Stating limits in a positive way and periodically reminding people
  • Providing explanations for limits
  • Working together to solve problems
  • Modelling and encouraging appropriate behaviour

Consequences for Inappropriate Behaviour

We will consistently respond to inappropriate behaviour by children, parents, staff and others involved in our centre by:

  • reminding people of expectations and limits
  • using a respectful approach to explain why a behaviour is inappropriate and what behaviour is expected
  • talking only about the behaviour, not labelling the person
  • responding sympathetically and acknowledging feelings
  • establishing natural, logical consequences depending on the severity and frequency of the behaviour, we will consider further steps such as:
  • using behavioural analysis to learn what may be contributing to a child’s inappropriate behaviour and how to help reduce or eliminate the behaviour
  • having a formal or informal meeting to discuss concerns and to develop an action plan to encourage appropriate behaviour in the future
  • developing a written contract with an adult or older child that outlines specific expectations and consequences
  • giving a written warning that outlines specific concerns and consequences if the behaviour continues
  • accessing outside resources for help, such as:
  • a behaviour specialist or other professionals to help staff understand and reduce a child’s inappropriate behaviour
  • child and family services to access parenting supports
  • mediation services to resolve conflicts between adults
  • the Manitoba Human Rights Commission for information and advice to resolve an issue informally or to make a formal complaint if the behaviour involves discrimination or harassment
  • the police to assist with threatening behaviour

In extreme cases, we will take additional steps such as:  

  • suspending or dismissing a staff member
  • suspending or withdrawing child care services because of a child’s or family member’s inappropriate behaviour
  • in the case of a visitor not allowing the person to return to the centre
  • contacting the police and/or child and family services (CFS), if the behaviour is illegal such as abuse, assault or threatening nother person

Goals and Objectives

safe and stimulating environment

joy of being a responsible person.

Growth & Creativity

loving approach towards school and teacher

  • To create a safe and stimulating environment where a child may participate in group play and develop independence and self-confidence.
  • To offer a setting that will encourage natural curiosity and stimulate the creativity of each child.
  • To provide a happy and fruitful environment for a child.
  • To provide varied forms of development for a child.
  • To teach the child how to play with others.
  • To teach the child how to relate to other children and to a teacher.
  • To bring about a child that will be balanced emotionally and physically in a suitable environment.
  • For a child to have fun while developing self-awareness and self-esteem.
  • To provide a child with exposure to all exercise, play, etc. to promote and ensure the complete development of fine and gross motor skills.
  • To develop an appreciation for music and rhythm.
  • To vary the child’s interests through a variety of arts and crafts.
  • To encourage expression through songs, dance and games.
  • To expose the child to the French language.
  • To give a child a positive and loving approach towards school and teacher.
  • To increase a child’s knowledge.
  • To awaken in a child the sense of taking responsibility and the joy of being a responsible person.
  • To encourage an interest in books and reading.
  • To accept and love others and to be loved and accepted in return.
  • To respect and value nature and environment.