Monthly Archives

July 2015

Popped Bubble Art

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Here’s a fun outdoor art activity that kids can do in the summer.


  • Bubble Mix
  • Bubble Wands
  • Food Colouring
  • Paper


  1. Pour 1 tablespoon of bubble mix into a small, shallow bowl.
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring to the bubble mix and stir well
  3. Place your bubble wand in the colored bubble mix, remove and blow bubbles towards your paper.
  4. As the bubbles hit the paper and pop, they will leave interesting patterns. Repeat with other colors.

Note: food colouring will stain clothes and furniture, be sure to use newspaper to protect a table and old t-shirts to protect children’s clothes




The Importance of Environment

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At Parkland Players, we utilize a Reggio Emilia Approach to childcare. One of the key aspects of Reggio Emilia is an emphasis on the importance of the natural environment. Children should have the opportunity to engage with their surrounding and the natural world. This principle can be extended to a more fixed indoor environment. Although children cannot spend all their time outside with nature, they can have the same opportunities to engage with their environment indoors if it made in a way that encourages this kind of behaviour.


The following describes important design elements for creating a quality educational environment that encourages exploration, play and social relationships:

  • Environment is clean, safe, well-lit, and an appropriate temperature.
  • This aspect applies to children’s basic needs and comfort levels
  • Environment is not over-stimulating, is calm and promotes focus and attention on materials and tasks at hand
  • Materials and furniture in the space is an appropriate size of the children using it
  • This makes children feel like the environment is catered to them and increases their comfort level
  • It also makes the environment safer as children are not playing with materials or in spaces that disproportionate to them
  • The environment is inviting to children
  • The environment provides a variety of activities that allow children to engage in things that peak their interests and have a sense of control over what they choose
    • This allows children to develop and explore their individual interests which is another important aspect of Reggio Emilia learning
  • The environment facilitates adult abilities to support children


Source: Petersen, Sandra H., and Donna S. Wittmer. Infant and Toddler Curriculum, 2nd Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions, 2012. VitalBook file.


Self-Esteem and Self-Concept

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Self-esteem: “feelings of self-worth developing from an individual’s beliefs about being valuable, capable, lovable, and worthwhile” (Petersen and Wittmer, p. 76)

Self-concept: “collection of beliefs that the child has of him or herself” (Petersen and Wittmer, p. 76)

Both self-esteem and self-concept are crucial aspects of early childhood development. Children who establish high self-esteem and positive self-concepts are found to be more successful socially and emotionally, better independent problem-solver, and have high levels of confidence.

The environment’s physical features and emotional climate play an important role in determining children’s development of self-esteem and self-concept.


There are a number of certain things caregivers can do to encourage the development of positive self-esteem and self-concept:

  • Acknowledge the need for self-esteem
  • Respect and encourage uniqueness and curiosity
  • Allow children to move and explore
  • Give children challenging activities and support them in problem-solving
  • Acknowledge children’s level of sensory learning
  • Help children to build upon previous learning experience


If children successfully develop good levels of self-esteem, this will promote their motivation: “biological drive that each person is born with to live, learn, and evolve” (Petersen and Wittmer, p. 78). Motivation can extend into all aspects of a child’s life, it is their want to achieve and it is a very good drive to have to promote emotional well-being.

Source: Petersen, Sandra H., and Donna S. Wittmer. Infant and Toddler Curriculum, 2nd Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions, 2012. VitalBook file.


Fine-Motor Octopus Craft

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This art activity is great for practicing fine motor skills, counting skills and pattern making skills.


  • Paper plate
  • Pipe cleaners (or string)
  • Markers
  • Rigatoni pasta (uncooked)
  • Single hole punch


  1. Optional: dye your pasta before beginning activity
  2. draw an octopus face on your paper plate
  3. punch eight holes along the bottom of the paper plate
  4. twist a pipe cleaner or a tie a string onto each hole
  5. let children put pasta noodles on each pipe cleaner (or string) octopus leg
    1. if you like you can give them special instructions as to the number of noodles they should place on each leg or if you dyed your noodles, the pattern of colours they should use
    2. if you used string instead of pipe cleaners be sure to tie off the last noodle for children so the legs don’t fall apart




Childhood Relationship Challenges

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Young children between their infant and toddler years may face a number of relationship challenges. These challenges can get in the way of their social learning. Children with temperamental difficulties need support from caregivers to adjust their attitudes and emotional responses.

Here we will go through a few potential relationship challenges and how caregivers can help improve on these problems.

Child Who Bites People

  • Children who bite are not aware that other people’s feelings are different from their own and may not know that they are harming someone else
  • To help change and understand biting behaviours a caregiver can:
    • Teach children how to communicate with words (if they are able) when frustrated, or use sign and body language if they do not speak yet
    • Realize that children are still new to social situations and are learning how to interact, and use this knowledge to support their social development
    • Pay attention to which specific incidents result in biting in order to narrow down and minimize the triggers for this behaviour
    • Lastly, caregivers should be aware that there may be mistrust between the two children involved in a biting incident and this relationship needs nurturing and support to be repaired

Child Who Feels Fearful, Cautious, and/or Withdraws from Others

  • Some infants and toddlers are just naturally more fearful and cautious in social situations. They tend to withdraw from potential peers and adults and never seem comfortable in their social environment
  • To help change and understand withdrawal/fearful behaviours caregivers can:
    • Pair fearful children with less fearful ones to support a peer relationship that may alter overly cautious behaviours
    • Always communicate with these children in a calm, soothing voice, especially when changes are happening in their day
    • Do not reprimand the fearful child as this may make them withdraw more. Rather, provide emotional support when attempting to engage the child in activities

Child Who Hurts other Beings or Materials in the Environment

  • Often times the child who exhibits aggressive behaviour has learned this behaviour by seeing it in other places, or are they are aggressive in an attempt to seek attention
  • To help change and understand aggressive behaviour caregivers can:
    • Observe when the child behaves in this manner and attempt to determine what they are trying to communicate, and teach them how to use words or other body language to communicate the same thing
    • Communicate with other caregivers to create plans for reducing behaviour
    • Give child one-on-one time to build relationship and give attention to them
    • Alter the environment to promote calm if necessary

Child Who Feels Rejected

  • Sometimes children may be rejected by peers
  • To help children bounce back from rejection caregivers can:
    • Observe when and why child is rejected in order to alter circumstances that lead to that situation
    • Teach the rejected child how to better interact with peers and keep a positive attitude
    • If rejected child becomes aggressive, teach them alternative ways to express their frustration and give them emotional support

Source: Petersen, Sandra H., and Donna S. Wittmer. Infant and Toddler Curriculum, 2nd Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions, 2012. VitalBook file.


Coquitlam Summer Activities

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The City of Coquitlam has a number of fun summer activities running for the next couple months in an attempt to encourage the community feel of the neighbourhood.

One such initiative is the Neighbourhood Nights schedule where families are encouraged to come out for fun activities and to meet their neighbours!

The schedule for neighbourhood nights is in the photo above. For additional information visit:

For a more comprehensive look at summer events this year in Coquitlam visit:


Theory of Art

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For preschool aged children, art is often a key learning tool and can be used in a variety of ways. Three central approaches to art include: product-based art, process-based art, and arting based art.

Each of these approaches has a unique process involved and contributes to learning in different ways.

Product-Based Art

  • Adults present a model to students of artwork (whether it is something the teacher made, or work from famous artists the children can learn about)
  • Children are instructed to make their own artwork like the model
  • They are limited in the resources they can use and must strive to match the adult prototype
  • The teacher will ask children what are you making and the children should be able to respond
  • The goal is for children to become more skilled at the artistic tasks and techniques and become caught up in the end products they are creating

Process-Based Art

  • Process based art is much more open-ended and free spirited than product based
  • The goal of process based art is for children to engage in the process of making their own artwork
  • Supplies are given to students by the teacher based on the teacher’s assessment of what materials the children will enjoy working with
  • Little instruction and no model is given to children and they are allowed to make pieces as they please which provides greater opportunities for creative thinking and problem solving

Arting-Based Art

  • Arting based art is unique in that it is just art for the sake of art
  • There are no expected outcomes of children, they are simply given the opportunity to express themselves creatively in whatever way the see fit
  • They are not required to finish their work as the goal of the activity is a low pressure low stakes environment in which children can simply engage with their natural creativity


Source: Art and Creative Development for Young Children by: Robert Schirmacher


Sequential Motor Development

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In previous posts we have discussed the difference between fine motor skills (those required for small movements using small muscles) and gross motor skills (required for larger physical activities like running). In this post we delve further into the development of motor skills by looking at the predictable and sequential order in which they develop for infants:

  1. Head and trunk control: babies can lift and move their head towards stimulation
  2. Rolling movements: infants roll from stomach to back and back to stomach until approximately 4-5 months old
  3. Upright seated position: strengthening of back and neck muscles between 4-6 months of age
  4. Pulling oneself into seated position
  5. Crawling
  6. Hitching: from seated position, infants pull themselves across the floor moving arms and legs and sliding on their bottom.
  7. Stronger crawling on hands and knees
  8. Standing with help (of furniture or adults)
  9. Walking with assistance
  10. Pulling self up into a standing position
  11. Standing independently
  12. Walking independently


Source: Infant and Toddlers (1st edition) Watson, Watson, Wilson, Crowther (2000)