Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Make way for the Dinosaurs.

As the summer months draw closer, I decided that we needed to spring clean our toddler daycare room.  I wanted to move the cubby units to sweep under them and put winter things away.  Hopefully I didn't jinx anything  because we have been having some fierce thunder storms lately and some cooler days.

Have you ever noticed that when you attempt to do one thing it almost always seems to connect to something else? Before long I realized our whole room got revitalized!  It took some effort, a lot of creativity and team work.  

At our last staff meeting we thought the children were kind of done with the construction area we had in one half of our room and we noticed there were some children  that were showing an interest in dinosaurs.  

 However today,I noticed the children were still bringing their favorite construction books at reading time.  One of those is a great book called Road Builders.  In our daycare you can always tell the favorite books by how much tape is holding them together.  Before I put away anything in the construction area I asked the children if they were done and got a resounding no!  So with all the spring cleaning we decided to downsize that area somewhat and then we would also have room to set up a dinosaur world. 

This is an upturned shelf  that we taped blue print paper onto.  The children were able to draw their map or plan, just like Buddy the Boss in the Road Builder book.

We brought in dump trucks for loading unit blocks, tree blocks and other loose parts.  Today we made this area a little more concise and moved cupboards and carpets and cleaned.

This is the same riser that had the blue prints on it now being used as a dinosaur world.

We wanted to include as many natural materials as possible.  There are rocks, tree cookies, pine cones and moss.

We also used used burlap, wicker and other fabrics to provide an interesting sensory experience.

The children were so excited to discover this new center when they woke up today.  The got into playing right away.

It will be fun to see what they want to learn and how they use the materials provided.

I get a lot of my ideas as I peruse the internet.  It is my hope that the work we do will inspire you in your ECE work or your home.

The sharing of information and experiences helps us all in this journey we are on.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Out with the old, in with the New.

I threw out someone's art today.   

One of my co-workers used to do cleaning for several senior's.  One of those seniors was down-sizing and gave her two large paintings in frames.   My co-worker thought maybe we could use them at the daycare.  They were "stored" behind the couch for a few years and then I was determined to pull them out and use them in some way.  They were about 24" x 48" approximately.  The one picture was on a canvas that had a wooden frame behind it and we were able to pop it out of the frame.  Another co-worker took it home and covered the canvas with an oil based white paint and in that way we recycled the canvas. We went on to allow the toddlers to do their art on it.  Then we hung the empty frame in our patio.   We could hang children's art from it or leave it empty, Reggio style.  We also hung the second frame the same way.   The second canvas was stretched onto a flimsy wooden frame. We did not recycle the second piece of art because, well, because I threw it out.

I was kind of surprised by the thoughts and emotions that came up for me after that. After I threw it out.  After.  
To have all the thoughts before, might have been good. 

I wondered who the artist was?  How old was the painting?  It seemed like a scene that could have been from around here.  Perhaps someone local.  I thought about the gift of creativity that person had and what kind of investment goes into painting a picture of that size.  How long did it take?  Did it bring them pleasure to paint it and look at their finished work?  Was it hard to get oil paints a long time ago?  Did they cost a lot?

 I thought about how we make a decision and then, change our mind, but it's too late to reverse the outcome.  The garbage truck had come and gone.  The reality is, is that storage is always an issue in our daycare and I just couldn't think of where to hang it, or what else to do with it. 

I was also thinking about the importance of living in the moment.   Of using our time wisely and learning from our experiences but perhaps not hanging on to them in a way that hinders us from moving forward.

Whoever you are, you were a gifted artist.  I hope many people got to appreciate your work.  Sorry I threw it out.


Monday, 18 May 2015

Taking Time Out.

D and I went for a bike ride today.  

We took a break from the busyness of our regular routine, loaded up the bikes and headed out.

Just down the road, about 15 minutes away from where we live, is a nice little bike path. 

This ride wasn't meant to be challenging.  Just a chance to stop thinking about work and life's challenges and get into nature.

It always amazes me what you see when you slow down a little.  To pause and look around at the beauty.

This was good for us. 

Refreshing, invigorating, and fun.

I'm glad we took time out.

Friday, 15 May 2015

#17 in Action.

My son, #17, had a great baseball season.   We were fortunate that different photographers with their fancier cameras captured a few great shots of him in action.
He accomplished some personal goals this year. 

Baseball has taught him a lot of life skills.  

He understands what team work is and how to support his team mates. He has travelled many miles on a bus with the guys and has lived in close quarters for days at a time. He has experienced loss and he has experienced success.  He has lived with disappointment and stress and high pressure situations.  He also has been encouraged and empowered and excited. He has put in long hours in all kinds of weather.  He has had to get up very early for practises that start at 6:00 am. He understands commitment and what it means to follow through with a plan.
 He has developed organizational skills.  He has had to work through physical pain and fatigue.  Understanding that the game of baseball is not only a physical game but a mental one, has taught him how to regulate his emotions and stay steady under pressure.  He has had to learn and is still learning time management skills as he juggles University courses and a short but extremely intense baseball season.

I am proud of my kid and I think these are some pretty great qualities for his resume!