Archive | Children and Play

Eye Spy Eco Activity or Kid’s Birthday Party Idea

At Angelo’s year end wrap-up party for preschool, the children and parents were surprised with an incredible forest walk.  We are lucky enough to have some forest left nearby our little school.  It wasn’t your ‘standard’ forest walk to find bugs or climb stumps…it was an eye spy adventure.  The teachers had pulled objects out of the classroom and placed them in obvious (and not-so-obvious) spots along the forest trail.  There was a doll baby perched in a tree, colored markers scattered along the forest floor, pretend food from the play kitchen, larger objects for kids that weren’t searching very hard <smile>, etc.  There were squeals of delight as they recognized what didn’t belong in the forest and where and what the object was used for at the preschool.  

Isn’t that a great idea for a fun Eco summer activity or birthday party event?  There was zero cost and the children LOVED it!  My girls were also on the walk and enjoyed it, so the age range for this could span easily from 2-10 years old.  My children would think it’s hilarious to find everyday items from our house on a nature walk in our nearby creek.  Place object in tree stumps, hang things from trees, and give them some easy to find treasures too.  Continue Reading →

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Children Learning Through Play

I am lucky.  Every week I am exposed to a magical place where my son attends preschool.  I wish every child and parent could have the experience of attending this school.  Spending time there makes my kids more well-rounded and mature in their social skills…and inspires me to be a better parent.  This type of preschool is strictly play based, no real structure, and requires parent participation.  Actually, two of Francesco’s preschool teachers from last year were honoured this week as recipients of the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education.  Goes to show that it’s not only the grateful parents of the school that have taken notice of the difference these teachers have made.

Many parents both work full-time these days and that might be the reason that parent participation preschools are on the decline.  Also, I think parents buy into the competition we feel because child x is already reading or writing at the age of 3 and how can my child compete in Kindergarten if he/she isn’t at a preschool that teaches academically?  I would encourage all parents, working or stay-home, to interview parent participation/play based schools when selecting where to send their child to preschool.  Your participation hours don’t have to be completed in the classroom, just in case you’re a working parent that might be turned off this type of school.  The rewards for your entire family is amazing as your children watch you helping at the school and it makes them proud.  They love to show off their favorite corners and activities and you gain the memories of watching your child interact and engage socially with new teachers and kids.  You watch their skills of learning to play, share, and communicate improve which are vitally important life skills.  

I walk through the door of the preschool and feel happy.  My kids disperse to find water tables to get soaking wet, indoor tree stumps to hammer real nails with real hammers and safety goggles, a corner where paint, glue and scissors can always be found.  You will not find flash cards or ‘work books’ practising numbers and letters. Instead you will find pretend cookies with numbers that get counted out over a cup of pretend tea, you will find a teacher letting kids mix up pancakes or bread from scratch and learning by measuring.  Of course, lots of puzzles and books can be found, but it’s not just anywhere that kids learn about lifecycles and witness tadpoles turning into frogs and cocoons hatching into butterflies.  It is magical and I am sad to know these types of preschools and this style of teaching is so hard to find.
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