Festival of Lights
Child Care Bridges Articles
The newest issue of Child Care Bridges is out now, featuring one of our Falcons’ photographs as the cover! Child Care Bridges is a quarterly publication by The Manitoba Child Care Association.
The latest issue focuses on providing care for infants, toddlers and school age children.
We are excited to share Seven Oaks’ journey in providing quality care with educators all over the province.
We contributed three articles detailing the importance of sensory exploration for infants, providing loose parts for young learners, and the formation of the Falcons
Shared with permission, Child Care Bridges, Caring for Infants & Toddlers and School Age Children, Summer 2020, Volume 2
In early June, our gardens were planted, each morning we turn on the hose, fill up our watering cans and head up to the gardens.
We also make sure that we water our butterfly garden at the bottom of our playspace.
The hose can be heavy and sometime requires the help of a friend.
Recently we have found that our seeds are starting to sprout. How exciting! We explore the changes that we might see happening in the garden beds at this time as well. We can't wait to see what a little more water and sunshine will bring!
The first signs of summer
Each year without fail, our yard is visited by tent caterpillars. It is a sign that summer is finally coming after a long cold winter. This year we have paid particular attention to the fine details of these little critters. Suction cup feet, different colors and the ability to climb upside down have been a few of the traits that we have found fascinating. Caterpillars are collected and fed delicious leaf meals and then let go again safely back to their natural tree environment.
Children's Drawings of Worms
“To plant a garden is to believe in a tomorrow!” – Audrey Hepburn
We just got our gardens planted in our outdoor space, and thought there was no better time to talk about the benefits of planting with children. This year our gardening journey looks a little different because of the way the world is, but we were still able to get plants in and flowers into our memorial garden.
Besides the delicious food you get to harvest and eat, have you ever considered the deep learning experiences children are provided with when spending time in the garden? If not, we will break it down for you to see, as well as provide some ideas on how you can encourage deeper inquiry when in the garden together at home.
Physical Development: Walking to fill the watering can, bending down and standing back up, pruning and picking grown fruits and veggies are all ways that children use their bodies while gardening.
Sensory Development: There is no better smell of summer then a freshly watered garden. The garden is a place where you can say yes to explore the taste of what children have grown. Exploring different colors visually, as well as many different textures, the garden is a place to discover with all of your senses! The act of gardening brings comfort and can help with self-regulation.
Literacy/Mathematics: Planting a garden provides many different literacy opportunities, before the planting even starts, you can have children draw out a map of what your garden will look like, children can also help with researching what items will be planted in the garden. Children can help read seed packages to see how best to plant the seeds. Children can count seeds/leaves and when fruits and veggies start growing they can count how many vegetables have been grown and even keep track on a graph! Creating plant signs that show observers what is planted where is another way to incorporate literacy.
Cognitive Development: Children will be able to predict, analyze and problem solve when spending time in the garden. You can explore the differences you see in the different plants you have planted and have them involved in preparing soil, fertilizer and talk about how much water they think a plant might need. You can also have children document in a book or journal the plants at its various sizes.
The time spent in the garden together creates a deeply rooted connection to the earth and what it can provide us. This shows children where their food comes from, teaches children patience and caring for a plants individual needs can show children that each person has individual needs.
In our gardens this year we have planted:
In our memorial garden we have planted petunias and marigolds
If you plant a garden at home, we would love for you to share photos with us! Please email them to the centre, or have your child bring them in if they are attending right now!
We know during these trying times social distancing and staying home can be a challenge with children to keep them occupied and busy. As the weather warms up, we will finally be able to transition a lot of activities to the outdoors. Although playing soccer and going for walks can be fun, there is a way to engage children using a few simple materials and natural items that even our own yard has to offer. Outdoor elements can provide hours of play and exploration with very minimal effort.
Create a treasure basket of special rocks
Find a wheelbarrow, basket or truck to stones into and allow your child to transport them around.
Find small stones to make a shape/picture on the lawn
Look for flat stones to make a tower
Draw or paint on stones to make story characters/ or hide them around your neighborhood for others to find and bring joy to their day.
Draw a single black line (straight, jagged, curvy etc.) on stones and then try to make them connect into lines and shapes
Throw a stone in the water and watch the splash and then the ripples spread- who can make the biggest splash?
Look at the grain of the wood through a magnifying glass/ count the rings around the inside to see how old the tree is
Pick up sticks around the yard and try to spell your child’s name
Try to put your arms around a tree and see how wide it is/ compare trees that are smaller, larger or the same size.
Climb a tree
Find some old bark to decorate or bring indoors to create a craft with
Feel the texture of the bark- Open conversation about how it feels and talk about different characteristics you can see on different types of trees.
Talk about what is under the bark
Talk about what lives in a tree habitat- Provide food (bird seed) afterwards for the birds and squirrels that inhabit them and create a nurturing relationship between your child and the animals.
Go for a walk and find some puddles to look at your reflections- What else can you see in the reflection?
Look at the tree canopy using a mirror- Weekly follow the budding of the leaves and talk about the changes you see unfolding.
Throw a pebble in a puddle and watch it distort the reflection -Laugh about how funny your faces look in the moving water
Fill a clear bowl with water and make our own little pond/ turn it into a bird bath after
Blow a giant bubble and look to see what we can see reflected in it/ chase them across the yard to see how far the wind carries it before it pops
Look around your house to find things you can see your own reflections in- pots/pans, mirrors, windows etc. all provide different perspectives. -Have your child look in a mirror and draw what they see/notice about their own reflections.
These are just a few simple ways to enjoy and make the most out of the extra time with your children. Please let us know ways that your family gets out and explores the great outdoors, we would love to hear about all of your adventures together.
Suggestions are from https://www.naturalplaygrounds.ca/education-and-workshops/dr-claire-warden-mindstretchers
Modified by Coral Ennis
Blog written by: Rosel
One of our families generously donated a wooden barn to the centre. The toy alternated between a barn and a dollhouse. For the latter, plastic furniture and dolls were added. The house became a fantastic addition to the Chickadee room and used not only by the Chickadees and Infants, but by the older children towards the end of the day. Overtime, the children’s interest in the house waned, reducing the house as merely daycare space filler. For the house to encourage play and support learning for children of all ages, a renovation was overdue.
The first step was deciding on a layout. The goal was to design something both familiar and whimsical, a toy that children related to but slightly sprinkled with fantasy elements. Due to the Chickadees’ interest in imaginative play like caring for babies while the older children enjoyed taking on family roles, I chose to create a home. The house allowed them to explore that play on a smaller scale and from a different perspective. The house included spaces that were possibly found in children’s homes while the attic served as an indoor playground.
The second step was to design the house. I used leftover paint and contact paper for the walls and floor. Most of the furniture and decorations were created with various loose parts like Jenga blocks, dominoes, wooden containers, wood cookies, cubes, glass vials, old jewelry, calendar photos, and scrap wood. The items were embellished with white paint, contact paper, spices, and other craft materials. Flexible items were also constructed like a refrigerator to store loose parts, light fixtures, a tire swing, and even a moving toilet.
The last step was to find a spot in the room to place the house. A space with ample room for children to play yet provided a comfortable setting. I created a cozy area by elevating the floor with gym mats and a carpet near the window. The corner also included quiet materials like puzzles, books, and pillows. On the first day I reintroduced the dollhouse, the last two children at daycare immediately gravitated towards it and played together.
What started out as wanting a dollhouse for the children to play with turned into reflecting what children value and deserve. After tapping into my inner child, the environment has changed to foster more language, divergent thinking, social skills, and emotional development for all ages. Children deserve durable materials that are aesthetically pleasing, provoke learning, inviting, and encourages children to interact with one another. Quality materials can be as simple as scrap wood or an old box. Just like children who easily utilize their creativity and imagination, adults can too. Doing so can generate a positive learning environment and most importantly, plenty of fun!
Music: “Pure Imagination” by Rook1e
"The pieces keep falling down"
In the Robin room, we recently set up an invitation of smaller loose parts. The parts consisted of smaller pieces of wood cookies, branches cut in different heights and a box of small pieces.
Today we noticed a child exploring with the pieces. The child was stacking the tree cookies but they kept falling down. I noticed her frustrated and asked her what was happening.
The expression on her face was very serious as she explained to me about her predicament. She explained “The pieces keep falling down!” as another stack fell, “See!” We then examined the pieces together. The child noticed the different heights of the branch pieces, I pointed out that they were a different thickness too.
After further examination she stacked a thinner branch and then a thicker one. She was very excited to make the connection that the thicker branch was more stable to stack tree cookies and other pieces on top. The expression on her face turned to joy as she said “This one stays better!”, as she pointed to the thicker branch.
The invitation provoked her need to explore the schema of Dynamic Vertical. This is also known as stacking. Through this play she was able to figure out how to position the pieces so that they stood on their own.
We are exploring the possibility that she may be interested in learning about height. Through some further observations we will collaborate on more activities. This will expand upon learning opportunities on her interests.
Providing different loose parts and materials can open up more possibilities. We will bring out little cube blocks, wooden Popsicle sticks in different sizes and stacking cups. Displaying pictures of buildings provides a visual to challenge children if they want to use them to recreate or to guide them.
Setting out rulers, measuring tape and other ways to measure height as an invitation, will expand upon their learning as well. Measuring can be a collaborative effort which can create friendships; this will also open up conversations into math concepts through the measuring. We look forward to seeing which path this will take.
Blog written by: Noelle
Baking with the Budgies!
Since September we have been baking treats every week for our snacks. So far we have made cookies, muffins, cakes, shortbread, pancake bars, bannock cheese biscuits, granola bars and we even mastered bread this week!
The Budgies all took turns mixing the ingredients together (rotational schema) they also scooped out and poured ingredients into the bowl (transferring schema). Sometimes they scattered fruit, raisins or chocolate chips into the batter too (trajectory schema).
We noticed that the children were attracted to what they were doing during baking activities. We observed them using their fine motor skill when stirring with a spoon or picking up objects to put in the batter and language development to share their knowledge and experiences with to each other at the table.
Cooking activities offer endless opportunities for children to develop skills and to engage in interesting and often new experiences. As teachers we will continue to adapt recipe’s to suit the children’s skills and plan experiences to enhance children’s knowledge and abilities in specific areas, according to their strengths and interests.
Baking to Promote Development and Learning
Baking offers children a variety of learning experiences. It’s a practical way to teach kids basic life skills, as well as academic skills involving reading, science and math. Time spent together in the kitchen also encourages interaction and communication between parents and children. The entire family benefits from healthy meals, a sense of shared accomplishment and the enjoyment of each other’s company.
Hands-on cooking activities help children develop pride and confidence in their skills and abilities. Following a recipe can encourage self-direction and independence, while also teaching children to follow directions and use thinking skills to problem solve.
Chopping, squeezing, spreading, and mixing are all cooking skills that help develop a child’s small muscle control and eye-hand coordination.
Cooking inspires children’s curiosity, thinking, and problem solving, offering new opportunities to make predictions and observations. Additionally, cooking offers authentic opportunities for children to understand and apply their knowledge of measuring, one-to-one correspondence, numbers, and counting. As they follow a recipe, children organize ingredients, follow a sequence, and carry out multiple directions.
With its own vocabulary, cooking is a great opportunity for language development. Take advantage of opportunities for children to match pictures to words and articulate questions inspired by their new experiences.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.