Satisfying Views

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I do love hiking!  And not just because of the satisfaction  I get from these gorgeous views.

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Happy Canada Day!

Hello Fellow Canadians and Readers Abroad,

Today we are celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday.  As I was born in Canada’s Centennial year, it feels extra special for me somehow.

Here’s our Canadian strawberries in the early part of the harvest.  Yes, they are small but my are they ever delicious.

This afternoon we are planning to bake a delicious cake just for the occasion.  It may be a little warm to turn the oven on but it isn’t every day you get to celebrate 150 years of what is an truly amazing and wonderful place to live. (And yes, I realize that the aboriginal people were here thousands of years before now but can we put differences aside and just celebrate that too?)

Yes, we have our flaws but let’s celebrate what’s good about our country and build on that moving forwards.

Oh Canada! The true north strong and free.

I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country.  This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.                                                                -John Diefenbaker from the Canadian Bill of Rights, July 1, 1960

 

 

 

Would you believe there’s a philosophy for snack time?

Snack

If you are not an ECE or have never worked with a group of young children, then you might be surprised to hear there are many ways of handling snack time at preschool.

Open Snack On one end of the spectrum, we have the idea that snacks are available whenever the child is hungry and that we just let the child eat whenever the whim strikes.

Scheduled Snack On the other end of the spectrum, snacks are scheduled and everyone sits down together, hungry or not.

Believing there is not one right way to do things, I have incorporated both ideas into my preschool programs.

At our outdoor preschool, I allow snacks any time.  The children really do love this freedom.  They love being in charge, being the ones who decide when to eat and what they want.  And sometimes, they don’t eat anything at all and I do not comment.  It is a two hour program so it is quite possible that they won’t want to eat at all during those two hours and that’s fine with me.  Their parents know that it is an open snack and so they may or may not have eaten.  The tricky part with the open snack is that with a larger group of children, it is harder to keep track of which children have eaten and which haven’t and with those who suffer from low blood sugar or that “hangry” feeling (hungry and angry at the same time), it may not work so well.IMG_1954

At our morning program, snacks are scheduled.  We all sit down and experience the group feeling of eating together.  Something about sharing food and conversation is a great part of the human experience so I do like for all the children to participate in a scheduled snack for this reason.  It unites us as a group, gives children a chance to see a variety of foods that they may not have seen before, and ensures that everyone gets a chance to stop and get a little food into hungry tummies.  When the toys are ‘closed” during snack time, there are no distractions or reasons not to eat.  Some children would eat rarely or never when toys are out all the time. I’ve also observed children who wolf down food quickly to get back to playing if they feel that the toys will be available immediately afterwards. The downside of this approach is that sometimes children are genuinely not hungry.  In my mind, we want children to pay attention to hunger cues and eat when hungry but not feel forced to eat when not feeling hungry so I try to balance this by asking that all children come to the table but leaving the option open to just have a little water and chat with friends at the table.

What type of snack program would be best for your young child and why?  Some preschools incorporate both ideas.  Quite often there is a scheduled snack in the morning and an open snack in the afternoon.  Others adhere strongly to one philosophy or another.  What do you think works best?

 

Storywalk®

Have you heard of Storywalk®?  This is an opportunity for children and adults to read a story together entering an imaginary world while walking along a pathway or trail.  The pages of the picture book are made into laminated signs that are hung in trees or attached to signposts.  In our town, on Vancouver Island, B.C. we can borrow these from the public library but it would also be possible to make your own.  The cost of colour photocopying and laminating all those pages gets expensive so borrowing them is much more do-able plus there are copyright issues.  The other alternative would be to buy two books and take them apart to make the posters.

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Velcro and grommets provide two options for posting.

I was so excited to borrow my first Storywalk® last week!  I got the story Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers which is such a cute story and perfect as it is about a journey. There were 31 signs to hang up for our walk.  So many signs that I couldn’t fit them all on our preschool property so I had them going down the street for about half a block and then on the property of our local library.

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We took our preschool class in small groups to really enjoy the walk.  I thought about 3-4 children was ideal for a group size.

And, as expected, it was a wonderful experience.  We journeyed with penguin and the boy as we read each page of the book.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction because at the end of the morning when I went to collect the signs, there were 7 missing!  Now I had tied them securely in place and it was not a windy day so although I’m not certain, someone seemed to have taken them away as they were nowhere to be found!  Have you caught the irony yet?  The story “Lost and Found” is now lost.  Will it be found?  I do not know yet.  Each sign has a label on the back of the library it came from so perhaps if it is someone kind who removed/found the signs, they that person will return them.

As I drove to the library to return the Storywalk®, I wasn’t sure what the response would be.  I was pretty sure I would be charged for the missing pages but in another odd turn of events, the library had no record of me ever checking out the story in the first place. The Storywalk® Lost and Found was labelled as “missing”.  I found this very odd as I was even given a printout with the return date.  So it seems perhaps I won’t be charged?

I thought the library would never let me have another one but I did have another on hold and they agreed to let me take it.  Here it is!Unknown-1

I guess this time I better hold on to my teddy bear; and all other teddy bears in the vicinity!  Believe me, I will be keeping a close eye on those signs this time!

“You have to get lost before you can be found.” -Jeff Rasley

All my blog posts are done during my free time so if you appreciate what you’re reading here, please visit and like my Facebook page.  Thank you so much!

The Person You Want to Be

I truly believe that every day is a new opportunity to be the person you want to be.  Whatever you did yesterday doesn’t matter.  What you do in this moment…that’s what really counts.

The daily prompt, radiate reminds me of this song by Shawn Mullins called Shimmer.  Have you heard it?  Here’s a short excerpt from the song.

Cause I
Want to shimmer
I want to shine
I want to radiate
I want to live
I want to love
I want to try and learn how not to hate
Try not to hate

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Children have a way of helping you be the best you can be.  They are such great imitators and there are times when you do things you aren’t proud of and they copy. These are the times that remind you to be better.  This is why we all need a child in our lives... to remind us to shimmer. Every day.

 

 

 

Exploring the Laws of Motion

Here’s another stellar example that makes the case for learning through play and the value of making available loose parts children can use and manipulate in ways of their own choosing!
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This child, age 5, is testing out gravity and Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion.  She is learning about simple machines like the lever and the inclined plane.  She may not be able to tell you about them but she is experiencing them here firsthand.  Ducksters is a website that explains science in simple terms for kids.

Our preschoolers have used the boards to make their own seesaws which is super fun but they have also discovered how to make a catapult and I will admit, I do like to be nearby to help guide which type of items are sent flying.  The inclined plane has helped them move some pretty heavy objects on their own with great feelings of satisfaction! You can read about the inclined plane solution here: That Time When a Little Frustration Was a Good Thing.

These boards are made of cedar and are normally used for decking. I had them cut into lengths of about 2-3 ft which seems about right for our purposes. They stand up very well in all kinds of weather but we do bring them indoors each day in the hopes of making them last as long as we possibly can.

If you do not have any boards for children to use in your outdoor play area, I highly recommend you go out and get some… they have provided so many excellent learning opportunities!

“Any fool can know.  The point is to understand.”  -Albert Einstein

All of my blog posts are written during my free time.  If you appreciate what you’re reading here, please like my Facebook page.  Thank you so much and have a wonderful day!