Category Archives: Educators / Providers

Natural Loose Parts

loose part 3.jpgLoose parts provide the foundation for a play-based emergent curriculum that focuses on inquiry driven learning. According to Simon Nicholson, the definition for loose parts states: “In any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity, and the possibility of discovery, are directly proportional to the number and kind of variables in it.”

Nicholson, goes on to state that static, sterile environments such as schools and concrete playgrounds are often devoid of opportunities for curiosity, inventions, creativity and construction. These spaces are frequently rigid and unresponsive to the children who are expected to interact and flourish within their parameters.   Continue reading

Does adult screen time impact our children?

It seems there is a new article or research every week about the adverse effects of screen time on children. Too much screen time has been linked to child obesity, attachment issues, lack of sleep, delay in language acquisition and sensory overload to name just a few.


While children are watching TV, using a computer, gaming device, tablet or smartphone, they are missing out on opportunities. Opportunities to make connections with the world around them including forging real relationships with peers and adults in their life; opportunities to problem solve, to be creative, to feel, touch, smell and make sense of their environment.  Continue reading

Sensory Play

As an educator I found myself frequently volunteering to wash the dishes at the end of the day, it was the perfect stress reducer for me and gave me the opportunity to reflect on my day. Sensory play is not only important for children but for adults too!

Sensory pic 1

Three personal sensory bins with moon sand to allow children easy access and choice. These bins have lids to allow them to stack for easy storage in an accessible area to promote independence. – Fairview Child Care.

Continue reading

Ready for School? Language and literacy can help

First Words logo.jpgAs a parent, you are your child’s most important teacher. In fact, you have been preparing your child for school from the day that they were born. Everything you have done so far provided the foundation for your child to grow and learn throughout their lives! As a speech language pathologist, I understand the value of language in a child’s academic journey. But as a parent of three wonderful girls, I whole-heartily share the same concern every single parent has: Will my child be ready for school? Will he make friends? Will she know who to go to when she is hurt?  Whether you are this easy-going parent or “that mom” who follows the school bus to school (not that I would know anything about this personally!), when the first day of school suddenly arrives, we all wonder how our little one will fair off.  We all want our children to succeed, especially at school.  Today, we will talk and share about what we can do at home to get our child ready for kindergarten.  Continue reading

My Space: Creating a Calm Down Area in a School Age Program 

The calm down area in our school age program has gone through several different versions since I began working here 4 years ago. There were times it was non-existent and there were failed attempts at hanging curtains from hula-hoops from the ceiling that came crashing down. For a long time, it consisted of a large dog bed pillow on the window bench with a couple of breathing visuals slapped on the window beside it. One thing it never seemed to be was inviting and, as a result, it was never used.  Continue reading

Circle Time: To Engage or Run?

As an RECE with a full day Headstart Nursery School, I found myself struggling with my concept of a successful circle and what was unfolding around me this past Fall. To put it mildly, my group’s circle time was chaotic. My goal was to assemble the eight children, sit, sing and read for 15 to 20 minutes. Honestly, assembling and sitting as a group was enough of a challenge. How was I to get them engaged or read an age appropriate book when I could barely contain them? What was I doing wrong? Continue reading

Clothing Rituals: Moving from Season to Season

Does your child have difficulty with change of clothing between seasons e.g. moving from shoes to boots, long sleeves to short, coat to just a tee shirt?  This can be a common characteristic in children with Autism and those with sensory processing difficulties. It can be the result of tactile sensitivity; the child is particular about the clothes he wears, finds tags and seams itchy or irritating, may not like having his sleeves pushed up, and likes only loose or tight clothing, socks and shoes or bare feet. Some children have difficulty tolerating touch to their skin and find that they can only tolerate certain clothing. It may also be the result of an intolerance to change in routine, transitions, or type of clothing. Some children are rigid and ritualistic because their world is confusing and overwhelming. The rituals and routines are their attempts to control their world in order to cope with it. Continue reading