Monday, 30 March 2015

Spring has come.

I just haven't had the energy to blog lately.  I want to.  I get ideas about things I want to share and then I can't follow through.  And it's okay.  I am very proud of myself for getting through another winter working full time in the toddler room.  Dressing twelve toddlers into snowsuits, boots, hats, mitts twice a day is not for the faint of heart.  I go to the gym regularly so that I can keep up with all those active littles.  

And now spring is bursting forth and cheering me along!  The sun is warming the day and I feel myself being slowly energized again.

Family gives me life.

We hoped and prayed that these two could come closer to us but for now it is not to be.  I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed but I am happy for the changes that have come for them. A new house and a new job.  A new situation that makes their life a little easier in several significant ways.

I do love these two.

Spring time for us means the onset of the baseball season for our University attending son.

He is doing so well as he heads into the competitive season.  He is seeing the ball and getting hits.  He is improving and learning and a pleasure to watch.

Oldest sister and brother-in-law to our University attending son.  They have been attentive and enthusiastic fans!  

Little girl, so happy.  Learning, growing, active and imaginative.
We love spending time together on the week-ends.  She calls our times together "family gather-ups". 

And my best friend, my hubby D, who sometimes works too hard and is looking a little tired here.  

I love this guy.  I love my family.  I am thankful for each one.

I am glad it is spring.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Late Afternoon Magic.

It's that time of year when we host infant/toddler practicum students.  Our room has had two students so far and we loved having them.  As part of their time with us their instructors have them bring programming "additions."   Our first student made a gorgeous laminated book based on the brown bear, brown bear rhyme but using the children' pictures.  The toddlers loved it!  She also brought in laminated people puppets that included a picture of themselves, their families and their homes.  The toddlers really connected with this activity as well and the puppets are an integral part of our room now.  One little boy takes all three of his puppets home each night and brings them back the next day.  

Our second student brought additions that relate to light.  Flashlights, a string of lights that goes half way around our room, metallic butterflies for the window, a disco ball,  and water beads.  She also used the light projector and plexiglas for a painting activity.  The children have been interacting, learning and playing in various ways with light!

It was the end of the day and the late afternoon sun was shining through our window.  It created some magic for the last three children of the day as it shone on the disco ball. Light reflections covered the walls, ceiling and carpet!  The children ran in to explore!

They did their best to "catch" the light with their feet or hands.

They were also drawn to the water beads on the window.  They were so attractive with the sun shining through them.  I wanted to touch them too!

I just love when special, spontaneous moments happen this way! 

The perfect end to the day!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Our Toddler Zip-line.

It was a beautiful early spring Saturday and it was the day to install our toddler zip-line.  A keen parent, his keen son, my hubby D and I were the work crew!

While the guys ran up to the hardware store, little boy and I did the spring cleaning to clear loose part wood and stumps from the course.  There were old leaves from the fall that got raked up so the work could begin. 

This is the where we decided to install the zip-line.

We dug in and bolted a 4 x 4 post to an already existing platform.  Later we would add more reinforcement to the post.

We removed that front portion of the platform as well.

We needed lots of tools and parts.

The keen parent generously got most of the parts organized and my hubby D brought the tools.

They had to figure out length and height and grade and tension.  They weren't sure if they would attach the other end onto the fence or the tree.  They decided on the tree because they needed the height.

 Little boy had a lot of fun checking out all the tools.

His Dad is up at the tree connecting the other end.

Connecting all the parts.

Little boy needed to stop for a little snack break.

Measuring the height.

Testing it out.  Oooops, too loose.

 Dad took a lot of time to explain how things work.  He's great that way.

More discussion.

Hooray!  It works!

Our zip-line is around 15 ft long.  The little boy started on the platform and lifted his legs and was off down the course.  The  grade is such that he stopped just before the fence. 

Since it is a brand new feature in our yard, we will talk together as a staff about how to supervise it.  Bottom line is safety first....but hopefully lots of fun too!

This is the LINK to the DIY video  that we used if you are interested in building your own zip-line.  We modified it to meet our own needs.

Monday, 2 March 2015

No more Dumping.....Transporting is fine!

I was talking to my co-workers about reading  Tom Bedards blog called Sand and Water Tables recently.  You really should have a look, it's quite inspiring what he's got going on. 

As I read and thought about his blog I realized something about myself.  On a bad day for me, like when I am tired or my back is sore or I am not feeling one hundred percent I find "dumping" a little hard to take.  Some kids are dumpers.  They see something on the shelf or in a basket and with one sweeping motion all of the items are on the floor.  Or sometimes they are more systematic with their dumping.  One item at a time and soon the floor is strewn with puzzle pieces or blocks or cars or whatever is at hand.  Does this ever happen in your daycare or home?  Have you ever just set up a beautiful provocation or invitation and a little one comes along and the way they choose to play is by dumping. I sometimes have to laugh at myself because after all I work in a toddler room and I know that this behavior is very normal for this age group.  I shouldn't really be surprised should I?  

Then I read THIS article, about Schemas.  We didn't study Schemas way back when I took my ECE course. I found the article interesting and very helpful. I realized that I was going about things the wrong way.  I was taking dumping personally, when really it is, I was reminded, a real need or urge for the child.  When I looked at what they were doing from this angle I was able to see that there was learning taking place.  That "Dumping" is actually "Transporting."  
Ah ha!   Tom Bedard gets this!  He understands that some children have a strong need or urge to transport. 

We recently got this old yellow sand box fixed.  It needed a new bottom and one week-end my hubby D had a few extra minutes and he fixed it for us. And we are so grateful.  This little one is so grateful.  The first day we opened it he played for two hours straight.  Well, he stopped for a little snack and then was right back at it.  He likes the sensory stuff, no doubt about it.  Two hours at one activity is a looooong time for a toddler.

At first he used the construction vehicles to move the sand.

He poured it into his hand and into the dump truck.

It's hard to tell from this photo but he has a laminated picture of himself (a people puppet) and he is putting it in as the driver of the monster truck.  

After playing this way for a very long time I noticed that he started looking for alternative places to put the sand.  I'm not really talking about the normal amount of spillage on the floor.  But more about his need or urge to transport the sand.

 He found the shelf below.

He spent a lot of time transporting the sand above to the shelf below. And guess what?  I was okay with that!  Because I understood what he was doing.  

I think that we can be more prepared for the need to transport by having a bucket or bin or different containers close by or by creating cardboard partitions in the sand box.


"Children's schemas are fundamental to them. Knowing about them makes a wonderful basis for you to better understand your child’s development and support them rather than become frustrated with their behaviours. Through understanding the idea of schemas, you may recognise and value your child’s underlying interests and needs."