Saturday, 8 December 2018

2018 Art Auction

This year my home child care program and Faery Childcare collaborated to run an art auction with the little ones in our classes. The children worked so hard on their paintings and were so proud of their creations.



Together we raised $119 for KW Counselling! Even very small people can make a big difference in this world.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Collaboration is a Recipe for Success

Sometimes collaboration with colleagues looks like planning an adventure together or bouncing ideas off of one another about program plans, child development, etc.

Other times it simply looks like friends gathering together to laugh and make delicious food 😊



Though the central focus of the visit was following a recipe to create a product our time working together offered opportunities to discuss different topics, share knowledge and learn new skills. D, for example, mastered using the garlic press!


Thank you Lesley and Keith for sharing your secret recipe for vegetarian ground round with us. I know the children at Red River Early Learning Centre will love tasting this new ingredient in some of our familiar recipes.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Home Child Care High/Scope Conference

Today I had an amazing opportunity to attend the Home Child Care High/Scope Conference hosted by the Region of Waterloo Home Child Care. I was thrilled to meet some educators I had previously only interacted with online.

Beginning with the Perry Preschool Study, [High/Scope] revolutionized early childhood education with a new approach to teaching and learning. Research-based and child-focused, the HighScope Curriculum uses active participatory learning and the plan-do-review process to achieve powerful, positive outcomes. (High/Scope

Lesley and I attended the workshop Building Authentic Relationships with Children 💕 in the morning.

Lesley and I getting ready to learn at the Home Child Care Conference

There was a lot of really amazing content that discussed the importance of authentic relationships in early learning and care. It was really interesting to learn some new approaches to deepen conversations with children.


This video that the presenter shared moved me so much.


After lunch we attended two workshops. The first workshop of the afternoon focused on risky (challenging) play outdoors and its benefits for children across the spectrum of development.


Risky play has such a huge affect on executive function. Giving children the opportunity to explore risk in their play encourages problem solving, social skills and resilience.
When we encourage children to face small fears when they're small, they'll be able to overcome the big fears when they're big.
During the last workshop of the day we explored developing positive relationships with families. Relationships are the heart of early learning, building supportive and trusting relationships with children and families is such a huge part of our professional practice.



It was such an amazing day! I'm excited to read through my handouts and really take some time to digest the information so that I can implement it in my practice. I love being an Early Childhood Educator simply because it is a living profession in which there are always opportunities to learn and grow as a teacher.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Saturday, 25 August 2018

The Importance of Nature Play in Early Learning

Being a published writer has always been a goal of mine and recently my partner Ryan and I had the opportunity to write about something we are equally passionate about; the importance of nature play in early learning.

Working with Ryan to write this article was a great opportunity to collaborate with a professional outside of my own field as his background is in electronics. He has a brilliant mind and a unique perspective which has brought some wonderful and fresh ideas to not only this article but to our program when he joins us to play at Red River Early Learning Centre.


Please check out our article in the Holistic Parent Magazine at the link below:
https://issuu.com/theholisticparent/docs/13_thp_-_fall_2018_digital

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Community of Practice: Leadership

Yesterday I attended an excellent discussion about leadership. It was so amazing to have an opportunity to collaborate with other professionals across the various sectors of care to explore the concept of what leadership means and how we as RECEs can take on a leadership role within our community of practice.


I took some time to evaluate ways that I have demonstrated leadership as a Registered Early Childhood Educator.

  • I am a resource for others to bounce around ideas, ask questions, and seek support.
  • I am an excellent collaborator and have implemented lots of amazing things with the support of colleagues and other professionals.
  • I recognize the accomplishments of others and I am excited to learn from them.
  • I am committed and passionate about early learning and care.
The most impactful moment during the table discussion for me was when Debbie Jones addressed the word "Just". When we say we are "just" early childhood educators it diminishes the importance of the work we do every day in our profession.

We stand on the precipice of major changes within our profession and we must all stand up as leaders to guide early learning and care towards a future that embraces high quality care and supports early childhood education professionals.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Collaboration at Red River ELC

Collaboration takes learning beyond the walls of my program; it allows me to explore new and wonderful ideas with other educators as well as people in other professions. Developing partnerships with other professionals in our community has allowed me to implement a variety of new experiences and has really opened up some amazing new opportunities for the children at Red River as well as our friends in the community.

Grandpals, for example, is an ongoing project at Red River ELC. Intergenerational programming allows children to interact with elders and brings so much joy to our senior friends. We learn so much when we interact with our friends at the seniors home;
  • Patience
  • History and stories
  • Communication and social-emotional skills
  • Positive attitudes towards aging


To set up our grandpals program I reached out to Jessica, who is the Recreation Manager at the Westhill and our Music and  Movement instructor Ms. Sherri. I also invited our friend Lesley and her littles from Faery Childcare to join us and she brought wonderful ideas to enhance this experience. Together we have hosted two music and movement programs for the children in our programs and the seniors at the Westhill and it has been a tremendous success!

Lesley and I also had an opportunity to collaborate on Pride program planning in June when we invited Ms. Drew (Bradley, an amazing local drag queen) to share stories with our little ones. Inclusion and belonging are very important elements in both of our learning environments, so we were thrilled about implementing Drag Queen Story Time.

Home child care providers are not allowed to visit in each others homes during program hours as there are specific regulations that limit the number of children in a home child care program regardless of the number of educators on site, so we needed to connect with our local librarians and set up the use of the library's community room.

This gave us enough extra space to invite an additional child care program as well as past clients to join us! It was such an exciting visit! Ms. Drew read us two stories about inclusion and different family structures.




I'm glad that we were able to work together bring this amazing experience to life for the children in our programs. Empathy, acceptance and love for one another are such important things for little humans to see reinforced by their educators.

Collaboration with other professionals in Early Childhood Education as well as other professions has brought fresh ideas in to the program at Red River ELC. I really can't wait to continue to branch out and explore other opportunities to develop partnerships in our community!

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Our Chicken Story - Documentation for Children

It has been a goal of mine to create documentation that the children in my class could revisit independently. The idea for this piece of documentation was sparked by their love of books and as you can see this is a very well loved story, it tells the tale of our project during the early spring hatching baby chicks.


The best part of our chicken story is that the children can see pictures of themselves in the pages and make a concrete connection to a time when they engaged with our baby chicks. The children love to read over the story, even the toddlers in the program will pick up the "Buck buck" book and point to the chicks making the chicken noises they remember.



I'm hoping that soon our shelves will be filled with stories just like this one!

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Early Learning and Child Care Conference 2018

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the Early Learning and Child Care Conference at Conestoga college. It was amazing day that started with a wonderful panel discussion on the importance of STEAM learning in the early years and beyond.

This conference was a fantastic chance to meet and network with some local independent child care providers and other educators in the early learning community. I spent the day with Lesley, Ashley, Sarah and Carly  It was so wonderful to have some time to collaborate and chat with these incredible professionals!




There was also an expo with lots of amazing STEAM inspired activities!



I attended the workshop Natural Born Investigators after the expo. It really helped me to understand how to incorporate the foundational elements of STEAM in to my program in a way that was inclusive for even my youngest learners. What a fantastic day!

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Fairy Dust Teaching Winter Conference 2018: Loose Parts to Promote STEAM

Loose Parts to Promote STEAM


Loose parts are such an integral part of our program at Red River ELC because they are inclusive, engaging and supportive of all children in our program. I love to see how creative the children can be with the materials so I was really excited to listen to this webinar.

Lisa Daly (one of the professional authors featured in this webinar) discussed the fact that using loose parts can encourage symbolic thought because children are using items as many different things. They come to understand that one thing can stand for another thing and this skill can be applied to letters and numbers! What an inspiring reason to incorporate loose parts in to play.

It's so incredible to hear that incorporating loose parts in to the classroom can help with behaviors that stem from anxiety! That these pieces can inspire self-confidence, creativity and support development across the spectrum of growth.

I love that Miriam Beloglovsky (author) stated that elements of STEAM are not taught in isolation and should be integrated everywhere in order to make sense. Loose parts allow children to explore each of these concepts without limiting their creativity, innovation or critical thinking. It brings STEAM to life in a natural way without pressure, just by providing children with the tools to explore!

Technology in the preschool/toddler/infant classroom can look like simple tools, paraphrasing from the video: you must know how tools work before you can discover how more complicated technology like a computer works. Providing simple loose parts allows children to manipulate and change things in their environment, to discover what tools to use to solve problems.

Tinkering is valuable for children; it creates opportunities to problem solve, to test and develop wonder. What can we place in the environment to inspire engineering?
  • wood planks
  • gutters
  • tubes
  • water
  • dirt
  • mud
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
Listening to this webinar it really struck me that it is crucial to trust children. To give them chances to take risks. Be there to support them but allow them to explore safely: "Take care of the hazard so that you can allow the risk"

"Look for the verb, not the noun" - Being aware of the schemas of development and observing what the children are interested in allows you to enrich your environment with materials that will encourage the exploration of what truly engages them. Materials must be intentional and provoke children's learning.

Reflective practice is so important; it helps you to understand how to enrich the environment for the children to explore and to expand on their learning. Make sure that materials are of interest to them.

This webinar was amazing! I can't wait to dive in to the rest of the Winter Conference 2018!

Friday, 2 February 2018

Documentation for the Children

I wanted to create a simple piece of documentation that was accessible to the children in my program; I decided putting together a photo album of their adventures together would be a great method to allow them to revisit their learning either independently or with guidance from me.




The album has been a great success! The children spent most of the morning cycling through the pictures talking old friends and the things we had been working on when the pictures were taken. The best part is that this is easily updated so there will always be something new to explore when they pick it up to take a look.

Sometimes the simplest things have the biggest impact! <3

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Stages of Play Info Graphic

Today I made an info graphic to share the stages of play. I think it will be a great point of discussion with families when we talk about the learning that goes on in our class.

I'm also hoping that it can be shared in the learning community by other professionals.

Mildred Parten's record of the stages of play is a great and straightforward framework in which to explore children's social development through play and to communicate the complex and important skills children develop through unstructured play.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Belonging and Connectedness Article

Part of my Continuous Professional Learning journey this year has been to keep developing a sense of belonging and inclusiveness in my program. I found an article while doing some research tonight and wanted to share it as I feel it would be a beneficial read for any child care provider.

A sense of belonging isn't just important for children, but also for families as a whole; this portion of the article especially spoke to me and my goals to continue to build strong partnerships with families:

"Working together to care for children is the best way for early childhood services and families to support children’s mental health. Families and staff can help to create a bridge between home and early childhood services. When the adults responsible for children take a positive interest in what happens at their service, it helps children feel more at home when they are there. It also makes it easier to pick up any concerns early when they are easiest to resolve."

I'm really proud of the welcoming program I have created and the way that it embraces each family, regardless of differences. Creating connectedness with parents supports a positive partnership in the early learning environment which is so important for children's education and social/emotional well being.

I have created a digital space (a Facebook group) for the caregivers to interact, connect, and share with me and eachother each day. I will be working on creating more opportunities for families to interact in a casual space (I'm currently scouting out The Children's Art Factory for a daycare playdate), and also to participate in our classroom by sharing their skills or time with the children when they are able. For families that cannot participate in the class during the day I'm hoping to include them by creating a space in the classroom where they can share their hopes and dreams for their little ones.

Check out the article Belonging and Connectedness


Promoting Social and Emotional Learning in Preschool: Programs and Practices That Work, by Karen Bierman




Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Professional Learning Plan

Instructions 

  1. Review your Self-Assessment Tool. 
  2. Reflect on the three professional learning goals you have identified. 
  3. Research and brainstorm learning activities that support you in realizing your goals. 
  4. Complete the Professional Learning Plan below. 

Professional Learning Goal #1

Build and strengthen relationships with other professionals and colleagues to facilitate community partnerships in order to benefit and support children and families.


Professional Learning Activities & Timeline

  • Network with colleagues in Facebook groups to support others in their practice and learning journeys (ongoing).
  • Continue developing NEED KW with Lesley; a directory to showcase and support high quality independent child care providers in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. (ongoing)
  • Collaborate with our music and movement instructor to do a music and movement program at the seniors home in the spring (May, 2018?)
  • Conduct workshops/webinars for home child care providers to support the growth of their programs (ongoing?)

Professional Learning Goal #2

Communicate learning that occurs in the classroom through different types of pedagogical documentation.


Professional Learning Activities & Timeline

  • Create photo albums and displays at child level to allow the children to revisit our past adventures and learning experiences (ongoing)
  • Update learning stories blog to keep parents up to date on our programming.
  • Print learning stories and display them in a book so that they are accessible to all families, children and visitors.
  • Read articles and books on pedagogical documentation (ongoing)
  • Research and attend workshops and webinars that focus on documentation and making learning visible for parents in the early years (ongoing)

Professional Learning Goal #3

Continue to strengthen and develop the inclusiveness of the program at Red River Early Learning Centre


Professional Learning Activities & Timeline

  • Create a "hopes and dreams" board; caregivers will write their hopes for their children on a piece of ribbon and we will weave it in to our frame. This way parents are always represented and included in our classroom in a tangible way (August, 2018)
  • Represent the children's different cultural backgrounds through music and stories in the classroom (ongoing)
  • Attend webinar "Promoting Social and Emotional Learning in Preschool: Programs and Practices That Work, by Karen Bierman" (January 17, 2018)
  • Edit all paperwork and handbook; change "parent" to "caregiver" or "guardian" to be inclusive of all potential family arrangements (February 2018)
  • Develop methods to include our younger students, and students of varying skill levels, in each of our activities by brainstorming with colleagues and researching (ongoing)
  • Continue to explore ways to represent families and cultures in our classroom community (ongoing)

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Self-Assessment Tool - Part 3 - Professional Learning Goals

Instructions 

  1. Begin Part 3 by reviewing your responses in Part 1 and 2. 
  2. Complete the chart below by identifying three priorities for your professional learning over the next two years. 
  3. For each priority, indicate the related standard(s). 
  4. Next, develop a professional learning goal for each priority and ensure that the goal is related to the standards identified for that priority. You will work toward these three goals during this two-year portfolio cycle. Consider creating goals that are: 
    • Specific 
    • Measurable 
    • Action-oriented 
    • Realistic 
    • Timely

First Professional Learning Priority

Build and strengthen relationships with other professionals and colleagues to facilitate community partnerships in order to benefit and support children and families.


Related Standards

  • Standard I: Caring and Responsive Relationships
  • Standard IV: Professionalism and Leadership

Professional Learning Goals

Working collaboratively with other professionals in my field and across a variety of disciplines.

Second Professional Learning Priority

Communicate learning that occurs in the classroom through different types of pedagogical documentation.


Related Standards

  • Standard II: Curriculum and Pedagogy

Professional Learning Goals

Develop methods of documentation that are accessible to children, families and colleagues in a variety of ways which invite both reflection and collaboration.

Third Professional Learning Priority

Continue to strengthen and develop the inclusiveness of the program at Red River Early Learning Centre


Related Standards

  • Standard III: Safety, Health and Well-Being in the Learning Environment

Professional Learning Goals

Research and develop strategies for implementing successful programming in a multi-age classroom in which children demonstrate a variety of skill levels.
Reflect unique families and cultures in the classroom environment.

2018 Art Auction

This year my home child care program and Faery Childcare collaborated to run an art auction with the little ones in our classes. The childre...