Our Executive Director of twenty years, Sharon Taylor, will be retiring in June. In honour of this occasion there will be a tea on June 8th from 1:30-3:30. Feel free to drop-in and give your well wishes to Sharon.
June in the Playroom
This past month the playroom has been busy gardening. The children had an opportunity to plant a garden. Tomatoes, basil, sunflower and even a couple of pumpkins were planted in small milk containers. The playroom has full-spectrum lighting which is ideal to help plants grow. As the seeds began to sprout, the children also began to display a true interest and ownership of their plants. A child, without fail, would remind us daily to take down the plants to water them. She and her younger sister took great pride in caring for these young seedlings. Near the end of the month these plants were transplanted into our side yard garden. Once again the children took the lead in digging holes, carefully transferring and watering them afterwards. Everyone is excited to watch these plants grow and flourish. With luck they will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labours. Having a connection to our food is important in building a relationship with our land and environment.
Something New for Parents
What: Parent’s Coffee/Tea Time &Treats
When: Monday mornings (before music circle)
Thursday mornings (10:30-11:30 am)
Where: The Big Comfy Couches in the Drop In
Come and Relax!
May in the Playroom
After a long and cold winter, the children in the playroom have finally been able to go outside to the side yard to play. As a drop-in, it can be challenging to gather a group to head outdoors. There are shoes and jackets to find, bags to pack and children to herd. But despite the time and effort it seems to take to gather everything and everyone, the benefits of outdoor play outweighs any of these challenges. While outside, children have the opportunity to expend some of their energies. Running, shouting and general silliness is now encouraged. Looking for bugs, playing with the dirt and sand, and simply watching the clouds and birds go by are just some of the activities that the children enjoy. As the weather continues to warm up, we hope to spend more and more time in our side yard. Outdoor play is good for the mind, body, and spirit.
April in the Playroom
Talk of birthdays has been a popular topic lately and with this naturally comes the need to plan for a party. A request by a child to decorate for the party soon had parts of the playroom decorated with streamers, banners and posters. Party plates and napkins were also provided for the children to use and “cake” was served. The next day birthday songs were sung and the children wrapped presents for each other. By following the interests of the children, the Playroom was able to facilitate play that all children could participate and learn and play together. A fun time was had by all!
March in the Playroom
In the past month, the Playroom has seen a number of changes. Sadly, we had to say good-bye to Senta as she moves forward with her career. She will be missed. Thankfully, the Playroom has been able to welcome both Nadia and Jose-Ann to the team. Although there are new faces and changes to the Playroom, the care and attention that the children receive never falters. These relationships, both old and new, that the children form with the staff are important as they contribute to their sense of security and trust. When children can feel secure in their attachments, they can focus on the important job of learning and growing, which is of course what the Playroom is all about.
FEBRUARY IN THE PLAYROOM
Lately the children in the playroom have become interested in doing yoga. At first it was with a few poses on a poster that the children would perform. Then a yoga book was brought out to try some more. And lastly, the SMART board has been utilized as children watch a yoga video as they follow along with the story and accompanying poses. This interest in yoga has further increased the children’s awareness of their bodies and health and well-being. Learning to breathe mindfully, feeling their heartbeats, and conversations about wellness have stemmed from these activities.
January in the playroom
In the playroom, the children enjoy many forms of music and songs. They have access to a variety of musical activities including: a selection of CDs that they can choose from, sing-alongs with the SMART board, finger rhymes and poems with the teachers and of course the collection of musical instruments. Recently a child has been requesting her favorite songs to be sung many times throughout the day. At the beginning she would simply follow along with the hand gestures, however as her confidence increases and her language improves, she is beginning to sing along. This child is also now sharing her songs with the infants to help soothe and engage with them. This time to explore music and song is a wonderful experience for the children and adults alike.
DECEMBER IN THE PLAYROM
The playroom welcomes children from the age of three months and older. The majority of the time these children happily and excitedly come to play and learn with each other and the staff. However, at times, sounds of joy and laughter are replaced by tears of sadness and sometimes anger. In those moments, the staff spend extra time and attention with those not-so-happy children. Often, the attempts to console and distract those children are successful, and they soon become engaged in play. This, however, isn’t always the case and some additional reassurance and guidance from their parent/caregiver may be needed. Transitioning to the playroom can be difficult, but the staff are always here to support the children and the families to help ensure that it continues to be a safe place where children happily come to play and learn.
November in the Playroom
Every so often the playroom receives a toy that captivates the imagination and interest of many children. Recently a rather large fire station was donated. Immediately upon seeing this toy, we knew we had to bring it into the playroom. The children were fascinated with the new addition and plenty of play followed. To add to their experience, we ensured that several fire fighters were available as well as a collection of fire trucks and of course fire helmets for the children to wear. By including animals and trains, the children were also able to add their own ideas to the play. Even a red pepper shaker often found its way to the fire station, likely as a hydrant – or so we assumed. The fire station has now been put away to allow for some “new” toys to be rotated into play. This helps to ensure that the playroom continues to provide new and interesting activities for the children. But have no fear, the fire station will come out again.
October in the Playroom
In the past, the staff in the playroom have had the pleasure of observing new friendships develop between several children. Some of them in particular have a special bond with one other. A common interest with the trains has helped to foster these new friendships. It’s nice to see these children and others learning to negotiate and compromise with each other. These skills are important for the healthy social and emotional development of a child. Learning to be a friend is an important skill that is necessary for their success.
September in the Playroom
This summer the playroom had the pleasure of having Maryam as our summer student. She has been a welcomed addition to the playroom. Her boundless energy and enthusiasm has helped to engage and make connections with the children. Playful in nature, Maryam has smoothly integrated herself into the routine and lives of the children and families. She will be missed. We wish her luck in her future studies.
August in the Playroom
With summer finally here the staff and children are slowly making their way to the side yard. While outside the children have the opportunities to build in the sandboxes, water the plants in the garden, dig for bugs in the dirt and so much more. This time outside allows for much needed fresh air and the space to run, jump and expend some of their boundless energy. It’s amazing to see the difference in children’s behavior when they are provided this freedom to explore the outdoors, to feel the sun on their faces and to connect with nature.
June in the playroom
If you’ve come into the playroom recently, you’re likely to notice our fish tank and the growing number of fish within it. The fish tank has been an important feature in the playroom for many years and never ceases to amaze and entertain both the children and adults alike. Large smiles fill the children’s faces as they discover the new baby fish hiding among the rocks. This discovery requires plenty of patience and a quiet and still hand. Talk ensues regarding the different types of fish and their needs. Our fish tank is just one way in which we can help children to develop an appreciation for nature.
April in the Playroom
This past month the children in the playroom have taken an interest in letters, words and writing. To help excite this interest, we have labeled a few pieces of furniture and fixtures around the room. Immediately as children enter, they become aware of these labels and excitedly begin searching for them. As each new label is discovered the children are able to read what was written. “I can read” was a statement heard by many children. Labeling common words is just one way to help children with their early literacy. Reading with children, singing songs and rhymes and even drawing are some other ways that the playroom encourages this skill in children.
March in the playroom
Recently the playroom acquired a large wooden doll house. It is a welcomed addition to the room. The children have been using it in many different ways. It has been a home to people, animals, cars and even a few plants. With the movable walls and doors, the children are able to re-design the house to fit their needs. The doll house has also helped to facilitate co-operative and imaginative play between children. One child who typically plays alone was observed playing with another and asking others to join in all while using the doll house as a prop. We are lucky to have such a wonderful toy in the playroom.
February in the playroom
Snack time is an important time in the playroom. Twice a day the children can come to the table and join a staff and other children for a healthy treat. This time is a great opportunity for the children to sit together and take a break from their play.
Plenty of interesting conversations can be heard – food, families and friends are often part of these discussions. Eating is encouraged but never forced. This allows the children some control over themselves and helps them to listen to their own bodies. They are also practicing their manners and patience.
Above all, it’s a great time to recharge their bodies so they can continue to play.
January in the Playroom
Nestled in one back corner of the playroom is our tree-house/climber. It is a popular place for the children to play. Under the structure, children are often seen building forts with beds and blankets. The mats are incorporated into tunnels and for an extra challenge “mountain slopes” for climbing. The slide also brings much enjoyment for the children. Sliding down is fun but climbing up is even better. With a few simple props their imagination is the limit.
December in the Playroom
With the arrival of snow finally upon us, the children have been coming into the playroom with new excitement and wonder. When the weather permits, we will be going to the side yard to play. There are snow men, snow angels and forts to be built. To encourage and allow for this outdoor snow play it’s important that the children have their mitts, boots and snow pants.
As our name suggests, the playroom is a place where children come to play. But what does that mean to play? and why is it so important? Simply put, it is through play that children are able to interact, explore and learn about the world around them. When children play together, they are learning to negotiate and compromise. As they play and build with blocks, concepts such as math and science are being explored. When a child picks up a puzzle piece and decides it’s a cell phone instead, her imagination is being fostered. Play helps children to learn new skills and master old ones. And besides, playing is just plain fun!
October in the Playroom
The children celebrated the end of the gardening season with a fragrant walk between the garden boxes in the front of Wolseley Family Place. The children enjoyed exploring the smells, textures and colors of the garden that was tended by some of the moms. The children appreciated the beauty of the lavender and petunias while studying the shape, texture and smell of the sage, rosemary, thyme, chives, oregano and basil.
September in the Playroom
Technology has been a useful tool in the promotion of movement and dance in the playroom. The children have been enjoying dancing and singing to a variety of videos created just for preschool children. Through this technology, agility and coordination are promoted as the children copy the dance routines. As well as the fun of moving to the beat of the music, early literacy skills are supported as the children follow the test as they sing along.
August in the Playroom
Summer time brings so much to do:
* Picking & eating beans from our garden
* Building houses from paper
* Blowing bubbles
*Watching & counting our baby fish
*Making & enjoying lemonade
* We went to Tinkertown!
July in the Playroom
One afternoon, after a day of rain, a group of children gathered around a log to see what would be found under it. To everyone’s surprise, there were many big juicy earthworms on the top of the soil. After watching and a little hesitation, a three year old said “I want to feel one.” She touched one and then all the children wanted to feel what a worm felt like too. The children intently observed the worms and then watched as they returned underground where they can work to enrich the soil of our garden and grass.
JUNE IN THE PLAYROOM
In the playroom, children have been finding a variety of ways to play with our new colored scarves. On the first day three children rolled in the scarves and covered each other before erupting like volcanos out of the pile. The large chiffon-like squares have been turned into costumes and used as veils, capes and skirts. One child quietly draped the bookcase and computer while another group used the scarves to pull each other on the carpet. The scarves are open ended objects that allow the children to use their imaginations and explore the fabric in new and unexpected ways.