Creating a safe and inclusive environment at Surrey Place

At Surrey Place, inclusion isn’t just one of our core values, it’s a commitment we’ve woven into the fabric of our organization. Promoting a welcoming environment that celebrates diversity, eliminates barriers to accessing services, and values the right to belong is an important goal for Surrey Place. We want everyone to know they’re welcome.

Fostering inclusion is an ongoing process that requires intentional action and dedication to continuous learning. Read on to learn how we are leading the charge in creating safe spaces.

Embracing Gender-Inclusive Language

At Surrey Place, language matters in many ways. We place emphasis on using accessible, respectful, and gender-inclusive language. Gender-inclusive language is a way of communicating that strives to make everyone feel included and treat people of all genders, and agender (those with no gender), with respect and dignity. Some key tips we follow by include:

  • Avoid gendered language or language that frames gender as binary.
  • Always seek permission and clarification from the person or people on how they want to be identified and use pronouns in accordance with what a person wants.
  • Use gender-neutral terms for job titles or when a person’s gender or personal pronouns are unknown.
  • Be mindful of culturally significant terms, like “2-Spirit” in Indigenous communities.

These are only some of the ways that we can ensure we are using inclusive language in the way we speak or write.

Visual Statements and Awareness Days

Visual statements are a powerful way to symbolize that all are welcome. By sharing visual symbols, such as Pride flags in our offices and website, we are letting others know that we support and encourage inclusive behaviour.

Pride flag displayed on the front doors at 2 Surrey place.

In addition to symbols, we actively celebrate awareness and diversity days with staff, such as Pride Month and Bi-Visibility Day to promote ongoing discussion, education, and community development. By promoting these diversity and awareness days both internally and externally, we encourage community celebration and representation.

Pride flag raised at 2 Surrey Place

Client-Centered Intake Practices

As the initial point of contact for clients and families, our Intake Team plays a critical role in creating safe spaces.

We take a client-centered approach, empowering families and clients to share their priorities through strength-based approaches. Families can identify their specific needs and what they feel is important for our staff to know.

Understanding that the Intake process can often feel overwhelming, our intake staff use trauma-informed practices to ensure that all conversations are conducted with sensitivity and respect. By placing families at the forefront, we can cultivate an environment of trust, centered and culturally sensitive care.

Commitment to Continuous Education

As an organization focused on prioritizing inclusion, our Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility (EDIA) and Innovation team provides opportunities for Surrey Place to engage in continuous education and learning. Having an ongoing education strategy is crucial to inclusion. Maintaining a welcoming environment for all who use our services requires our staff to be continually reflecting, unlearning and learning.

Intersectionality is a key topic in conversations about inclusion since people may identify with multiple identities that have an impact on their life. Using a top-down model for EDIA means that every person at Surrey Place has a role to play in learning and accountability.

EDIA work means having differing voices heard at all levels, and inviting people to the table. We want to gain information from our community members and staff so we can learn from individuals with lived experience.

Kim S. Daniel, Director of EDIA and Innovation

Our EDIA and Innovation team works to ensure that diverse voices, including 2SLGBTQIA+, Black and Indigenous voices, are heard and valued. At Surrey Place we are currently offering training sessions to learn about EDIA fundamentals. Moreover, to better engage with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, we are continuously seeking inclusive best practices and creating platforms (e.g. EDIA coffee chats) to ensure our work aligns with the needs of diverse communities.

In summary, inclusion isn’t just a goal at Surrey Place – it’s a lifelong journey that requires dedication and commitment. By focusing on the language we use, our physical spaces, client-centered practices, and continuous learning, together we are building a more inclusive future for all.

By 2 months

Has your baby had their hearing screened? YES NO

By 6 months

Does the child?

Startle in response to loud noises? YES NO
Turn to where a sound is coming from? YES NO
Make different cries for different needs (hungry, tired)? YES NO
Watch your face as you talk? YES NO
Smile/laugh in response to your smiles and laughs? YES NO
Imitate coughs or other sounds such as ah, eh, buh YES NO

By 9 months

Does the child?

Respond to their name? YES NO
Respond to the telephone ringing or a knock at the door? YES NO
Understand being told no? YES NO
Get what they want through using gestures (reaching to be picked up)? YES NO
Play social games with you (Peek-a-Boo)? YES NO
Enjoy being around people? YES NO
Babble and repeat sounds such as babababa or duhduhduh? YES NO

By 12 months

Does the child?

Follow simple one-step directions (sit down)? YES NO
Look across the room to a toy when adult points at it? YES NO
Consistently use three to five words? YES NO
Use gestures to communicate (waves hi/bye, shakes head for no)? YES NO
Get your attention using sounds, gestures and pointing while looking at your eyes? YES NO
Bring you toys to show you? YES NO
Perform for social attention and praise? YES NO
Combine lots of sounds together as though talking (abada baduh abee)? YES NO
Show an interest in simple picture books? YES NO

By 18 months

Does the child?

Understand the meaning of in and out, off and on? YES NO
Point to more than 2 body parts when asked? YES NO
Use at least 20 words consistently? YES NO
Respond with words or gestures to simple questions (Where's teddy? What's that?)? YES NO
Demonstrate some pretend play with toys (gives teddy bear a drink, pretends a bowl is a hat)? YES NO
Make at least four different consonant sounds (p ,b, m, n, d, g, w, h)? YES NO
Enjoy being read to and sharing simple books with you? YES NO
Point to pictures using one finger? YES NO

By 2 years

Does the child?

Follow two-step directions (Go find your teddy bear and show it to Grandma.)? YES NO
Use 100 to 150 words? YES NO
Use at least two pronouns (you, me, mine)? YES NO
Consistently combine two to four words in short phrases (Daddy hat. Truck go down.)? YES NO
Enjoy being around other children? YES NO
Begin to offer toys to other children and imitate other children's actions and words? YES NO
Use words that are understood by others 50 to 60 per cent of the time? YES NO
Form words or sounds easily and without effort? YES NO
Hold books the right way up and turn the pages? YES NO
Read to stuffed animals or toys? YES NO
Scribble with crayons? YES NO

By 30 months

Does the child?

Understand the concepts of size (big/little) and quantity (a little/a lot, more)? YES NO
Use some adult grammar (two cookies, bird flying, I jumped)? YES NO
Use over 350 words? YES NO
Use action words such as run, spill, fall? YES NO
Participate in some turn-taking activities with peers, using both words and toys? YES NO
Demonstrate concern when another child is hurt or sad? YES NO
Combine several actions in play (puts blocks in the train and drives the train, drops the blocks off.)? YES NO
Put sounds at the beginning of most words? YES NO
Use words with two or more syllables or beats (ba-na-na, com-pu-ter, a-pple)? YES NO
Recognize familiar logos and signs involving print (Stop sign)? YES NO
Remember and understand familiar stories? YES NO

By 3 years

Does the child?

Understand who, what, where and why questions? YES NO
Create long sentences using five to eight words? YES NO
Talk about past events (trip to grandparents house, day at child care)? YES NO
Tell simple stories? YES NO
Show affection for favourite playmates? YES NO
Engage in multi-step pretend play (pretending to cook a meal, repair a car)? YES NO
Talk in a way that most people outside of the family understand what she/he is saying most of the time? YES NO
Have an understanding of the function of print (menus, lists, signs)? YES NO
Show interest in, and awareness of, rhyming words? YES NO
Read to stuffed animals or toys? YES NO
Scribble with crayons? YES NO

By 4 years

Does the child?

Follow directions involving three or more steps (First get some paper, then draw a picture and give it to Mommy)? YES NO
Use adult type grammar? YES NO
Tell stories with a beginning, middle and end? YES NO
Talk to try and solve problems with adults and with other children? YES NO
Show increasingly complex imaginary play? YES NO
Talk in a way that is understood by strangers almost all the time? YES NO
Generate simple rhymes (cat-bat)? YES NO
Match some letters with their sounds (letter b says buh, letter t says tuh)? YES NO