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Sarah's Family Daycare

Where It All Starts With Nurturing Relationships

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Thank Goodness, I Didn't Interrupt!

Posted on October 9, 2018 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (48041)


I saw this photo on Facebook last week and I felt quite validated, because I often stand back silently observing the children dawdle and meander while we are outside. I sometimes feel as though I should do something to add value or extend their learning or to keep going. So, I appreciated the reminder that there is always value in their play even if we can't see it.


So, this morning when I was waiting for one of my littles, 18 mos old, to catch up and then he started "dawdling" again, I almost interrupted him to get going but I stopped and observed.


I then discovered he had actually found part of a milkweed seed and he was following it as it floated silently through the air!




Thank goodness, I didn't interupt!



Get Outside & Co-Discover

Posted on October 12, 2016 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (31786)

This morning was fun! And the best part was that getting outside, exploring and discovering is exactly what the Ministry of Education is expecting of child care programs. In How Learning Happens: Ontario's Pedagogy for the Early Years, the Ministry sets out expectations and goals for child care programs. One of the intentions of How Learning Happens described on page 15 is to "help educators become researchers and co-learners with children, parents, caregivers, and colleagues – learning about children, with children, and from children."


Co-learning is about learning with children, but I still find that idea makes it feel like work. Instead, I much prefer and find it much more enjoyable and natural, to think about the idea of co-discovering or engaging in discovery alongside the children.


The Ministry continues on page 15 of How Learning Happens to describe how they expect child care programs to "provide environments and experiences to engage children in active, creative, and meaningful exploration, play, and inquiry." And, I'm sorry, but indoor environments cannot, they just cannot, replace the complexity of the natural environment with the continuous changes of texture, colour, sound and feeling throughout the seasons, not to mention the diversity of meaningful opportunities for discovering the natural world around us.


And wow, this morning was full of discovering, engaging and learning! Check out the photos!


First, we discovered one of the trees near the wetland almost chewed through by a beaver. I wonder when we will discover it completely cut off and perhaps moved by the beavers?


Then, we went to the bridge where the fall colours are emerging and the sun and the breeze felt warm on the face. The kids have been discovering milkweed pods. Have you ever opened a milkweed pod? I haven't. It turns out there is a beautiful array of seeds when you open the pod and the seeds are attached to these incredibly soft strands (I don't even know what they are called), to help the seeds be carried by the wind.


This is exactly where I could come in as a co-learner and researcher with the kids and look up the names of all of these parts of the seed pods, so when they open a milkweed pod next time, instead of saying wow, "that" is so soft, I can actually have the correct name. I could also look on youtube to see if I could find videos showing milkweed seeds be carried by the wind or a video showing how monarch butterflies use the milkweed in the summer. Or even better, next summer we could observe the milkweed in the field along the trail to see if we can discover any monarch butterflies or other species using the milkweed or simply observe the milkweed throughout its life cycle from spring until fall.


And the discoveries didn't stop there! Then the Canada Geese started flying right over our heads, 4, 6 and a dozen or more at a time, low in the sky so we could make out the details of their colouring. We could almost feel them as they passed overhead and we watched how they do this twist and turn with their wings and their body before they dove down for a landing in the pond. It was so cool! When we arrived at the bridge there were only a dozen or two of geese in the pond and when we left, I think I can fairly say that there were a hundred or more. And the continuous chorus of their calls filled the air around us. Ok, so awesome! It's too bad I don't have a better camera on my phone, but I did my best to get a photo so you can see what I mean.


 

I did get a video of what happened and you can watch it. Just a warning though, turn your volume down first, because as you can tell I am a bit excited about this, and the volume of my voice is a bit much at one point. Also, I'm disappointed that I accidently filmed it sideways but we already know that I am here to care for your child and support their learning and development and am not a videographer. That being said, the video still captures our experience this morning very well!



- I'm having technical difficulties, I will post the video as soon I figure it out -


"So, get outside, get into nature and make your own discoveries!"

- Dinosaur Train -

 

Beyond Toys for your Toddler this Christmas

Posted on November 29, 2015 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (37303)


November has come and gone and for those of us who celebrate Christmas, the season for buying gifts is in full swing. If it is just something you want to buy, that’s great. But, what if you are wondering what should you buy? Probably every toy out there boasts claims for being educational and an invaluable asset to your child’s future success.


So what to do about toys? Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if you laugh out loud at what I am about to say because there are so many toys in my house, but seriously, I believe in many ways that toys are simply over-rated these days. Sure, kids love toys and they can be useful to support their learning and development at times, but they are not essential. In fact, in much of the early years literature, there is no discussion of toys. The discussion is about providing materials for children to engage in lively, intrinsically motivated, freely chosen play.


Here are a few articles that may be of interest to you and provide a different perspective on toys and what to buy your children this Christmas.


Deb Curtis, Kasondra L. Brown, Lorrie Baird, and Anne Marie Coughlin explore the enhanced learning abilities of very young children (under three years old) in “Lively Minds Minds at Play: Planning Environments and Materials That Support the Way Young Children Learn."  The article suggests materials, ideas and principles for providing materials that will engage and delight your toddler.


You can also look at different play materials that support school readiness. One aspect of school readiness is pre-writing skills. Despite popular belief, children do not master a tripod grasp by starting early. Instead, they develop the various muscles of the hands, wrists and forearms through play, thus enabling them to master the tripod grasp between four and seven years of age. Early Literacy Specialists from the Parent Resource Centre in Ottawa created a handout called “From Scribbling to Writing: A guide to Fine Motor Development For Professionals.” The handout provides a wide range of materials that you can readily and inexpensively include in your home, providing opportunities for your child to develop the ability to use a pencil effectively.


But let’s face it; we are all probably going to buy toys at Christmas this year, so which ones are high quality and the right ones to buy. Well, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) interviewed two researchers to find what the resarch says about the impact of toys on play. Overall, the researchers advise that “basic is best” when it comes to toys and they recommend choosing the simple, classic toys that have stood the test of time.


And for buying toys, my preference is the preschool supply stores. I love the products at Wintergreen. The quality and selection of toys is pretty amazing! But, the cost can be too much for a small home daycare or family and the shipping can be expensive. So instead, I am starting to shop Scholar’s Choice. They have favourable shipping rates, including free shipping to their stores. And the early childhood stores have very cool toys and materials that support learning in all of the domains of development as well as the academic subjects.


Hopefully, this helps provide a new and different perspective on supporting your child's learning and development and I also hope it helps you find just what your child needs this Christmas!