Monday, December 20, 2010

The Magic Of Christmas

The Polar Express

Needless to say this time of year is one of the best times to focus on stories. Not only reading them to the children but listening to the children tell their own as they become captivated by the festivities of the Holiday season.

In the Polar Express a young boy dares to believe in the magic of Christmas and so he climbs aboard an enchanted train that takes him to the North Pole where he receives the first gift of Christmas.

This group of SK children is busy at work making the backdrop for the class production of the Polar Express.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Can Toddlers Work with Symbol Systems?

Aidan clearly demonstrates that even children as young as two can work with loose materials to represent their thinking. After looking out the classroom window on a snowy day Aidan sits down to make this beautiful tree.
" A tree with snow, " he says with satisfaction as he gazes at his work.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

From Brushstrokes to Winter Tree

With a paint brush in hand and a simple brush stroke technique this young girl transforms a blank canvas into a beautiful "Winter Tree."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Fountain

A trip to Casa Loma sparked the Fountain Project.
The children were intrigued by the fountain in the Conservatory.
How did it work. Where did the water come from?
They had a few their theories of their own.
"The water comes from under the floor and gets pushed up."
"It comes from a pipe in the ground and then gets pushed through the spout."
"It comes from a hose."

A fountain was made using a variety of materials that the children selected. In this particular picture the children tested the hose theory. Naturally they enjoyed watching the water pour around the fountain. But what happened after the water was shut down puzzled them.
Why didn't the water recycle?
What was the missing element?
They decided to dismantle a real fountain to find out why.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Wiley Wire

Working with wire can be quite challenging as it tends to have a mind of its own. Now try asking a young child to make a wire figurine of her body in motion!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Literacy is more than the ability to read and write. It is the ability to attend to a story, to follow the elements of the story line; beginning, middle and end; to identify the characters; the setting, the morals of the story and to connect the story to real life experiences.
Our teachers strive to find innovative ways for their students to engage in the world of literary development.
These masks were made as part of the props for a production of The Three Billy Goat Gruff.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Baby's First Encounter with Paint

The Art of Painting

Paint offers children an invitation to covey ideas, express emotions, explore colors, processes and causalities. Painting as an expression of pure form engages children’s minds providing an excellent opportunity for the development of symbolic communication.
While painting children are challenged to think as they analyze, and organize their experiences.
Often times they must reflect on their strokes and redesign their work as the paint proves to be an unpredictable medium full of surprises and uncertainties.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Mascot

The children in this SK class were asked to select an animal to represent their soccer team.
Each child made a submission. The choices varied; a butterfly, snake, dog, cat etc.
A vote was taken and this Lion was selected.
He was considered the strongest of the animals, a leader, protector and champion.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Eden's Flower

The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.
~William Faulkner

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What Happens When You Provide Children with Accessories

Block play is one of the most powerful tools for constructing knowledge. It offers children the opportunity to physically and mentally engage while providing excellent large and small motor movement.
Blocks address all domains of child development; math, literacy, problem solving, social interaction. Through practice children learn weight and balance concepts, explore stability, and learn about geometry.
In fact, unit blocks, by their very name and design, teach math language and understanding. They also provide opportunities for counting and understanding quantity.
Through block play, children gradually learn elements of art, architecture and engineering as they make arches and doorways, stabilize structure height, make levers, distribute weight and create form.
Literacy is well encompassed in block play. Tales flow as children construct houses, towers, towns, buildings and imaginary places. Their creations take on a form of their own as children assume roles acting out characters in great detail and with much imagination. While interacting children develop social skills, learning to negotiate as well as value and respect the opinions and constructions of others.
When accessories are offered to the children, a new dimension is added to their work as noted in the attached photos.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Voice of the Child

Children's Bill of Rights
What do you think of children? Are they participants or bystanders in the process of learning or for that matter in the journey called childhood.
It is our belief that children have a strong voice and much to say about their world.
This bill of rights was developed by a JK/SK class and their teachers.
Every child has the right to:

Be viewed as competent and
A loving, safe and nurturing
Equality and fairness;
Healthy food, clean air and a safe world;
Learn and experience;
Be understood;
Be respected as a competent participant in the learning process:

Blow bubbles;
Listen to the wind and thunder;
Be afraid;
Be joyful;
Grow bigger;
Experience physical, and emotional well being;
Have empathetic teachers;
Express their feelings without fear;
Be a valued member of society;
Build self esteem through relationships;
Have competent, well educated teachers who work with children because they honour childhood; Imagine and pretend;
Play, run, and skip,
Sing, dance and somersault;
Walk in the rain and jump in puddles;
Wiggle his/her toes in the sand;
Catch bugs, dig for worms and pick apples;
Paint, colour, and explore;
Enjoy an unhurried childhood;
Roll in the snow, make snow
angels and catch snowflakes;
Live a long prosperous life
surrounded by family and friends.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Should we Encourage Superhero Play?

Young children have minimum power over their own lives-as they live in an adult world of preset rules and guidelines for behaviour. Therefore it is easy to see why superheroes are so attractive to them. In the superhero world, they are the creators of the play, where they become the good guy who saves the day or the villain who frightens them.
Through Superhero play children see first hand the difference between right and wrong as Superheroes are by their very nature courageous and virtuous .
Often times children will use their superhero play to make sense of a confusing or frightening experience in their lives. As they work through the Superhero scenario, they gain insight into their own feelings and can better cope with their fears (the dark, the rain, bed time, a bully at school, the fire alarm system).

As children weave their Superhero tales they learn about
the development of a story line-the beginning(conflict), middle (the development of the conflict) and the end (resolution). Often times these tales develop in group format thus encouraging group skills, negations, compromise, cooperation, and respect for others ideas. Imagination explodes as children share ideas to further develop their plot.
Literacy skills improve as children find new words to describe their characters and develop their story line.
Other areas that are supported with this type of play;
Development of art skills as children design and create 3 dimensional characters using a variety of materials.
Little scientists emerge as children explore the properties of the elements they give their heroes powers such as fire, water and, wind.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


From the minute we open our eyes in the morning to the time we go to sleep at night, we are greeted by beautiful sights; the sun rise, the colours of autumn leaves, flowers... But do we ever stop to think of why this is possible. Are we actually seeing the object or are we seeing the light that leaves it?

Can we manipulate light waves by running them through objects?

Or by bouncing them off a mirror?

Does water bend the light wave?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Elusive Shadows

Shadows have long held a mysterious and elusive quality; giving rise to many a folk lore and frightful story. In fact, at one time, many cultures believed shadows held mystical meaning. Some thought that an unattended shadow was that of a ghost, a flicker of a life unable to end for some reason. An alternative construct was that shadows were in fact a representation of God's presence around an object. Whatever their meaning, it is a well known fact that children are intrigued by shadows as they weave around them in the playground or follow them in the classroom. Even at a very young age, when engaging in shadow exploration the children construct an understanding of the principles of shadows.
What does a child think when he looks at his shadow? Does he understand that the shadow is caused because his body obstructing a light beam?
Around the age of four children begin to make their own theories on the why and how of shadows.
They begin to notice that their shadows moves as they do.
They see that the length of the shadow is impacted by the position of the light source.
Colourful shadows are formed by translucent objects.
Black shadows are formed by opaque objects.

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Stingy Jack"

He is Jack the Jack-o-Lantern!

Halloween is a time for fun and revelry but where did the
tradition of carving and lighting a Jack-o-lantern come from?
We may save this information for older children but the story is quite interesting!

It comes from an old Irish myth about “Stingy Jack.”
Old Jack was a miscreant who enjoying tricking people. He was even so bold as to try to fool the Devil.
On one occasion, Jack managed to trap the Devil in a tree. In exchange for his freedom the Devil promised not to take Jack’s soul when he died. Needless to say, tricky Jack eventually died and because of his wicked ways, he was denied entrance into heaven. When he arrived at Hell’s door, the Devil kept his promise and did not take Jack’s soul. Instead, he doomed Jack to walk the earth at night for all eternity. As a boon, The Devil gave him a piece of coal from Hell's fire. Jack took the coal and dropped it into a hollowed turnip using it to light the dark roads he travelled. Hence the birth of the Jack-o-lantern . When the Irish
immigrated to America they replaced the turnip with a pumpkin because it was much larger and provided better light for them on all Hallows Eve.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Perfection of Nature

A dragonfly provides the perfect opportunity for the children to explore the phenomena of symmetry. How could a tiny creature be so perfect as to have the harmony and beauty of form that results from perfect proportional balance?

Monday, November 8, 2010


I dreamed I stood in a studio and
watched two sculptures there.
The clay they used was a young
child's mind and they fashioned
it with care.
One was a teacher, the tool she
used was books, music, and art.
The other, a parent, and a gentle,
loving heart.
Day after day the teacher toiled
with a touch that was careful,
deft and sure.
While the parent laboured by her
side and polished and smoothed
it over.
And then at last, their task was
done, they were proud of what
they had wrought.
For the things they had moulded
into the child could neither
be sold nor bought.
And each agreed they would have
failed if each had worked alone.
For behind the parent stood
the school and behind the
teacher the home.

~Unknown Author

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Piece of String

"We made a girl and her house!"
Sometimes, as teachers, we struggle to find just the right material for young children to work with to represent their thoughts. Yet the discovery of an errand piece of string inside a container of loose materials promoted this interesting work.

"This is my mushroom."

"This is my flower!"