Tag Archives | magical preschool

Celebrating Teachers At Christmas

** Spoiler alert – my teacher gifts are outlined in case any are reading. **

Teachers are special people. The teachers in my children’s lives are beyond special..they have been extended family in my life for many years. That is how you know you’ve chosen the right school for your children. When walking through the doors of a school makes you feel like you’ve landed in a soft place and there will be no conflict or sadness – only happiness and support. I’ve often written about the magical preschool all of my children have attended. I’ve been a parent at this parent co-op for 6 consecutive years and this will be my final year there. Through those 6 years I’ve had friendships begin, friendships end, feelings of being judged, discovered I was having twins when my sons were ages 1 and 2, started a business with a huge learning curve and heavy workload, and so much more. The preschool journey has been filled with ups and downs, but the teachers have remained compassionate, loving, understanding, and kind to my entire family through this 6 year journey and have been my safe place to land when life has been kinda tough. So this year, I need to find the perfect Christmas gift that will explain how thankful I’ve been to have their guidance and support. I’m lucky that all three teachers are little bit like me: practical, love nature, are moms, enjoy warm beverages, and adore & respect the art of handmade.  While researching my own ideas for teacher gifts, I’ve come up with some very special gift ideas and wanted to share these little treasures.

Top contender: Eikcam

Bookmark eikcam’s Facebook page, Twitter account @eikcamdesign, because local artist Grace Lee is something special.  I first saw her ceramics last year and I’ve literally thought of nothing else when a poppy, bird nest, or dandelion image flits into my mind. One of her signature pieces are bud wall vases and they are just exquisite when you see them in person. Here is a link to the bird nest vases from Grace’s sold items – this is something I will always remember from our preschool. There is always one, two, three or more bird nests around the classroom with magnifying glasses for the children. I will always connect the teachers with bird nests so I though these vases would be a lovely gift. Also a double meaning behind the bud vase for a teacher is their view on the magic of a single flower. Preschool teachers fully understand the honor that is bestowed when a child beams up at them with a dandelion or weed they have picked. They view these as treasures and these little vases can help encase their latest gift.

Also from Grace are her ceramic bird ornaments. These ceramic birds are a wonderful Christmas gift for the tree but can also be used to decorate the house all year round. I’ve also seen these ornaments up close and they truly are beautiful ceramic decor for any occasion. They have the ‘swoon’ factor that we all love to hear when gift giving.

Personalized Birch Vase

I love these personalized birch vases as a teacher’s gift and the shop is located in the US. These birch vases can be engraved with a heart and maybe the word teacher inside ~ how unique and special! There are all different price points on these birch vases ranging from $12 – $35…guaranteed to be something original and will love to be used.

Knit Cozies

Apple cozies are brilliant as a teacher’s gift. They are practical, cute, and the when outfitted with an apple – just make you happy to see them. I recently came across knitted tea bag totes and for the tea drinking teachers at our school – these would be a great gift. It’s a way to keep their tea bags separate and you can stuff with a favorite blend and attach a little note. These knitted items are very special and something about hand-knit makes you think about Christmas.

Tea Towel

I have a growing fascination with beautiful tea towels. The towels that are crafted with certain fabric prints or screen printed are like adding a splash of art to any kitchen. A lovely organic cotton tea towel is also a gift most people won’t usually splurge on themselves. One of my Etsy favorites is Alison Tauber and I love these tea towels currently listed in her shop.

40 Reasons Why I Love You…

A very special item available at Green Planet Parties is the wooden notepad that has been hand-crafted and engraved with “40 Reasons Why I Love You…” Most classes have 20 children…why not purchase a notepad like this and have each of the children write down why they love their teacher? This notepad in particular is quite small which is good for two reasons: your child won’t need to dictate or write a novel and it’s a small keepsake that a teacher can tuck away to enjoy for many years without taking up much space.

Past gifts:

Group gifts for teachers are a wonderful way to give them something substantial and wonderful. They are usually more eco-friendly too because you are reducing the number of small trinkets the teacher’s will receive from each family. Collecting from an entire class is also less expensive for the families involved because small donations quickly adds up when lots of parents contribute. Last year I coordinated several group gifts for 3 of my children’s teachers and the class presented them with a family hand-stamped silver necklace. I have to say that the parents and teachers really loved these gifts. Especially because the names of their own children were stamped onto the necklaces and we also added the words family and love. Even a gift certificate to a gardening store, the Mall, or spa is a wonderful group effort for teacher’s gift ideas.

Whatever you do to honor your teachers this Christmas, ensure that you take the time to acknowledge and translate how much you appreciate and love the teachers in your life. When your children go off to school full days like my sons, you realize just how many hours they spend at school and I’m grateful for the care they receive while there. That for me is worth some extra attention at Christmas – what about you?




Fairy Doors, Fairy Dust, The Makings For A Magical Party Game

I’ve mentioned my kids attend a magical preschool, where play and imagination is the main focus. I’ve also learned that when you combine creative parents into the mix ~ magical things happen. A few weeks ago, the children from my twins’ class were taken into the nearby woods for a forest walk. I’m so happy I stayed to help that day because I watched an amazing adventure unfold! We started out along our regular trail and started to notice ‘fairy dust’ sparkling on the forest floor. Leading from the forest trail were little pathways of glitter that the teacher’s pointed out must have been left by fairies. Well upon further investigation the children (and parents) noticed fairy doors with accessories leaned up against the bottoms of trees and the effect was amazing. The doors with ladders, door knobs, windows, & fairy jewels melted into the forest and were beautifully earthy and playful – just like the gnomes and fairies that dance and play (we decided) within the trees.

This wonderful bonus in addition to walking through the forest on a glorious sunny day was so imaginative and I appreciated the effort from one very creative parent in our class. One of the moms had crafted the fairy doors herself and come to the forest the day before the forest walk and built little walkways to the doors with sticks, crafted ladders, propped up paper umbrellas so the fairies could sip their drinks without getting their wings wet from the rain, and more! Her older children had helped her ~ what a great eco-activity for children!  And don’t think this is only for preschoolers. After my older sons had finished school for the day, I took them to the forest that they had walked through for so many years attending the same preschool and they were SO excited by seeing the fairy doors. “I can’t believe they are real!  Look – here is the proof!” … my boys kept saying to each other. We told them to be gentle because if they forced a fairy door to open, it would vanish into air – but knocking was okay.

I have the eternal love for fairies inside me and hope to pass that to my girls (my boys obviously have it already) and I hope to decorate the nearby forest by my house with some fairy doors of my own this summer. Sharing the magic with a simple fairy door adds to the beauty of any forest and imagine the glee a child would experience by finding one unexpectedly?  I also thought this would be amazing for a fairy themed birthday party. You could do an eye-spy version at the party and leave goodie bag items at each tree stump ‘from the fairies’ like wooden wands to decorate, hand made fairy furniture, and more!

If you’ve been thinking of creating a fairy garden – you only need to look at these two sites.  The site called The Magic Onions will have your heart on-fire for any fairy fans. Check out her Fairy Garden and numerous articles on making fairy furniture.  She is amazing!!  I’ve also purchased from and been a long time fan of The Enchanted Cupboard. Her wooden fairy dolls and sets are magical and the perfect addition to any fairy garden or child’s playroom.

From Rosie ~ our wonderful preschool mom, to The Magic Onion and her dedication to sharing the magic of creating fairy themed items from nature, to award winning artist Beccijo – I only need to peek inside your worlds and become inspired – thanks for sharing ladies!

Related Articles:

The Fairy Ring ~ Etsy Wooden Fairy Dolls

Eye Spy Eco Activity or Kid’s Birthday Party Idea

Children Learning Through Play



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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