Category Archives: Programming Ideas

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

Setting Up your School Age Gym Environment

Our gym is set up to provide an inviting, relaxed and recreational environment with a variety of child centered and play based learning activities. The different areas are set up to reflect the expectations of the program and foster the well-being, belonging, expression and engagement of each child and the group, as a whole.  Well established routines help the children to comfortably and safely join or transition from one activity to the next.

Jackson Trail 1.jpgThe snack area is purposefully set up by the gym doors, to allow the educator to greet the children and their parents.  The construction area is at the centre of the gym, on a large carpet in order to encourage walking feet. There is also lots of room for the children to expand their play and continue adding to their structures. Continue reading

Purchasing Toys and Equipment

When Resource Consultants are out in licensed child care programs they are often asked where the equipment they bring is purchased. The following list has been compiled to help programs who wish to purchase materials to support their environments. Having these materials readily available will support educators in meeting the needs of the group and the individual child.  Continue reading

Outdoor Play in the Winter Months

I have been an early childhood educator for many years, and I enjoy my chosen profession. Outdoor play is close to my heart, especially in the winter time. The benefits for children are not just the fresh air and exercise but the learning experience they gain in the winter months.

Snow Lion by David McPhail.jpgIn terms of pedagogy, in preparation for the experience one might turn to books for inspiration. Books offer ideas about what to do with snow, activities from science facts to sensory findings. One of my favorite children’s books is titled Snow Lion by David McPhail. When Lion finds the jungle too hot and travels to the mountain, he discovers cold, white, fluffy snow and brings it back to share with his friends. The learning continues as the snow melts and Lion then offers to take his friends to the mountain so they can also experience snow. Continue reading

Diversity at Mealtimes

An intricate part of the Ontario Ministry of Education pedagogy: How Does Learning Happen? (HDLH) highlights the importance of building relationships with children and families. Vanier Co-operative School-age Program has found a way to embed the four foundational conditions of HDLH “Belonging, Well Being, Engagement and Expression” through their enrollment process as it relates to the inclusion of diversity at mealtimes.

The foundation of engagement is reflected during the enrollment process which engages families, children and educators to build relationships that support the child within the context of his or her families’ culture and diversity. As part of the enrollment process, a food survey is conducted with the parents, as they know, their child best. The child’s top 3 favourites from each food groups are highlighted as well as food allergies, restrictions, intolerances and special dietary information.   Continue reading

Time Saver, Cost Saver, Super-Sized Fun Activities

Are you looking for activities that will save you time and money but that are big on fun and learning? Let us introduce 2 more activities from our featured series. All materials for the activities can be found at home or purchased in dollar stores.

#11 Bottles and Jars


Using simple objects such as plastic bottles and jars to support teaching in many different areas of development. Continue reading