Growing Kind Children

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R was 15 months old at the time of this visit

As we strolled into the dimly lit animal shelter, R spotted a striped cat lounging in its bed and was immediately drawn to it. She meowed at it as her face and hands were pressed up against the glass divider between the reception area and cat room. This was her first visit to the shelter, but not her first experience with cats. As the staff unlocked the door to the cat room, R gingerly trotted by my side. She promptly slipped in beside the striped cat, which we learned was called Linx, and began stroking his soft fur while quietly whispering “nice”. Her memory of interactions with other animals had served her well, as she knew to be nice to her new found friend and to stroke him gently.

IMG_7524Being kind to other people, animals, nature, herself and her and others possessions is something that I hope to instill in R. It is a quality I want her to carry throughout life.

On a daily basis, I take R on outings either with friends and family or on our own in order to promote healthy emotional development as she explores and tries new things and learns to take risks. These outings also help with R’s social development as she learns to make friends and get along with others. During play with other children, I encourage R to practice sharing and taking turns and to help bring children who are standing on the sidelines into the play scenarios. Continue reading

Providing Space, Time and Materials for Play

Teaching Children the Skills of Play

“Play is a mode of response to experiences that can and should be taught in early childhood education. We teach young children to play by providing them with space, time, and materials; offering them support in problem solving; presenting new problems for them to solve; paying attention to their spontaneous interests; and valuing their eagerness to learn about the world in which we all live together.”

– D. Koralek, 2004 Continue reading

The 93 Best Days of Your Life

If you’re from the Lower Mainland of BC, Canada and you need some ideas for outings this summer, check out this fellow instagrammer and mommy blogger’s list of 33 things to do in and around Vancouver! I’m looking forward to checking out the Fairy Garden in Redwood Park!

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Summer Smile by CrisSummer Smile by Cris, CC BY 2.0

I’m technically not a summer person – I prefer the fall, with its cool days and changing leaves.  Over here in Vancouver we have grey skies and rain, rain, rain all through the fall.  Doesn’t that sound like a great time to just curl up with a book and cup of hot cocoa? *sigh*

But until we get to September, I anticipate the start of fall by doing the exact opposite and spending countless hours outside and soaking in every bit of sunshine I can get (well protected by sunblock, of course!).  Little Bear is 2 now, and when he wakes up at 6 AM and sees the sun pouring through our windows, he insists that it is time to play in the backyard! Breakfast? Gosh, no! Change out of your pyjamas? Wouldn’t dream of it! If Little Bear had his way, he…

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A Latespring Night’s Dream

 

Lonsdale Quay Shipyards Night Market

Our weekend was jam-packed with outdoor activities and visits with friends and family.  Friday night saw us at the Lonsdale Quay enjoying delicious savoury treats at the Shipyards Night Market in North Vancouver.  The live music captured R’s attention as she rocked out without a care.  Other highlights of the Night Market included face painting, balloon artistry and hula-hoops to play with.  There were tons of food trucks lining the square with a great number of meal options; unfortunately, there weren’t many options in the way of desserts.

I’ve never seen the Quay so packed before – we were but a speck amongst the massive crowds.  The Night Market is on every Friday from 5-10pm and is worth the trip!

Deep Cove

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Quiet Contemplations of a SAHM

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While my daughter was engrossed in digging through the sand, I quietly lounged next to her on the beach mat – legs outstretched, sunglasses on, with only the sound of my thoughts in my head.  Since R’s birth, moments such as these, where I have time with my own thoughts, not concerned with the million things I need to do, are few and far between.  As the waves crashed on the shoreline and the sea planes and birds flew above, I thought to myself, “this is my life”.  Not too shabby, I know, but I have struggled with the decision to stay at home.  I had never imagined that I would stay at home with my daughter.  I am an incredibly passionate teacher and have always pushed myself to be the best teacher I could possibly be.  Giving that up was not easy.

During the first 13 or so months of R’s life, she struggled terribly with reflux.  At any given moment, we fearfully anticipated the arrival of the massive stream of regurgitated food; trying to contain it before it covered every surface in a moderate radius.  With this fear, brought isolation. We didn’t go out much because she would inevitably vomit – in the car, on me, at a restaurant, at someone’s home, anywhere really.  I extended my leave from work to continue to be with R.

When she turned 14 months old, I was determined to make a change. I wasn’t happy – she wasn’t happy – something needed to be done.  I needed to teach; R needed to grow – so began our journey into developing the whole child!

Though there are still difficult days, I take joy in the gentle smiles and joyful squeals as I work each day in my classroom of one. The walls of this classroom may look different than what I am used to, but I know that I am still inspiring and molding a young mind, just as I have done so in the past.

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Masked Musicians

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Over the weekend, we visited Granville Island with R’s best friend, my gf and their family.  The Children’s Festival was going on and there were tons of great activities for the kids!  R was super sleepy from the drive over, but was immediately injected with energy when she saw all the wonderful activity tents.  We made masks for the girls and R still enjoys wearing hers at home!  There was a great musical playground that the girls enjoyed, plus shadow puppet play, an imaginative play area, a maze and a giant whale to run through that was made of wire and cloth.  We forgot to bring bathing suits for the little ones, but they still got to enjoy the water park area which is now open for the summer!

The girls napped in their strollers while the adults got to enjoy some delicious fresh seafood for lunch at the Go Fish Ocean Emporium.  Despite the long wait for the food, it was totally worth it as everything came out super hot and delicious!

If you missed the festival this year, make sure to check it out next year!

After the festival, we headed over to our place for some swimming, delicious beef tacos made by the men and some beer and wine for the adults!  There’s nothing like a great day with friends, topped off by an evening of yummy food and alcohol! 😉

Make Your Own Mask:

The masks were super easy to make and can be made at home!  All you need is a paper plate cut in half with holes cut out for eyes.  Decorate with any of your favourite crafting tools.  R’s mask was made by covering the surface of the plate with tissue paper and embellished with feathers, ribbon and a pom pom.  The mask was secured with an elastic around the child’s head.

Tupperware and Cupboard Lairs

Spaces for Play

Spaces for Play

I was busily cooking up a storm today while R played for an extended independent play time.  The days when it is just the two of us until late are the hardest for me.  Usually, I plan it so that we eat left overs on those nights so that I’m not worrying about a clingy toddler and making dinner at the same time.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to make lasagna when I knew I’d be alone with R this evening.  Well, I’m happy to report that all of our independent play time practice has not been a waste, since she did so well today and the house didn’t burn down! LOL!

We have a cupboard in our entry way that we have emptied so that R can use it since she has shown interest in the cupboard lately.  We decided against closing up yet another cupboard and getting her to stay away, and instead, let her use it as an animal lair (or whatever she chooses) for her Little People Zoo characters.

With all the prepping and cooking I was doing today, R made full use of the tupperware cupboard we have designated to her.  She pulled out containers, stacked loose parts, sorted and unstacked over and over.

For more tips on encouraging independent play without having to plan activities for this time, check my post here.