Monthly Archives

February 2016

Bilingualism: Resources to Aid Bilingual Development

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This is the third and last post in a series of posts about bilingualism.

Lastly, some resources to consider in helping your child develop their bilingualism include:

  • Books: be sure your child has access to and is reading books in both languages they are learning
  • Audiotapes and CDs: music is a great way to introduce language and learn, make sure your child has CDs and tapes in both languages
  • Videotapes and DVDs: Children’s programming that incorporates language, specifically the ones they are learning, can also be beneficial for your child
  • Programs: children can also participate in community language education programs, search for resources in your community if this option appeals to you



Bilingualism: What to Expect When Your Child Learns More Than One Language

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This is the second post in a series of posts about bilingualism.

Like other skills, each child develops linguistically at different rates. This simple fact still holds true when two languages are involved.

Some milestones to look for in bilingual children include:

  • First words by the age of 1 (ex. Mama/dada)
  • Two word phrases by the age of 2 (ex. My juice)
  • The above two milestones are common to both bilingual and monolingual children.
  • Specific things to note for bilingual children include the fact that they may from time to time mix up grammar rules or words from the two languages they are learning. This is normal and they will eventually work it out as they continue to practice the languages.
  • Another thing to consider for bilingual children is the “silent period” this is a period of time in which children may not talk much. This is also normal and will go away.



Bilingualism: How Do I Teach My Child to Be Bilingual

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This is the first post in a series of posts about bilingualism.

In today’s multicultural society, bilingualism can be a great asset for any adult, teenager and even children. Bilingualism also aids in linguistic development overall, and children are natural language learners up until approximately age 12 at which point language acquisition can take slightly more work.

So how do you teach your child to be bilingual? Well there are a number of ways to do it. This includes:

  • If you yourself are bilingual, use two languages at home with your child fro the start. This may seem like it will confuse your child but children are natural language learners and they will work it out.
  • Use one language at home that is different than the language they use at school. This way, you will be teaching them one language and school will be teaching them the other.
  • Give your child many opportunities to hear and practice BOTH languages you are trying to teach them
  • Lastly, once they are school aged, some schools offer immersion programs in which classes are in French. This may be a good option if you want your child to be bilingual but you yourself are not.



Social-Emotional Development

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In past posts we have discussed various ways in which children learn, the role of attachment, the centrality of self-regulation and the importance of building a strong foundation for children to develop. This foundation is largely rooted in a child’s social and emotional development, and the security of their attachment to their primary caregiver.

To better understand this, there are a number of essential skills that a child can achieve that will put them in a better position for positive growth and learning experiences.

  1. Social attachment and coping mechanisms
  2. Emotion regulation
  3. Sensory acuity (hearing and vision)
  4. Motor development
  5. Linguistic development
  6. Cognitive development

To achieve the above skills, young children use a number of strategies that are natural to their development and should be encouraged by caregivers

  • Toddlers strive to be independent: this means that they want to do things by themselves, helping them be in positions to learn and do things autonomously helps them build self esteem and confidence in their abilities
  • Toddlers need to practice emotional regulation: this means children should be given the change to acknowledge their emotional responses, and cope with them in whatever ways necessary, as long as the coping behaviour is not harmful. It is important to let children know that their emotions are valid and to teach them how to respond in distressing situations in a constructive way.




Reggio Emilia Approach: A Review

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 As you probably know by now, Parkland Players prides itself in being a Reggio Emilia Learning Centre. In previous posts we have discussed the history of Reggio Emilia, its core values, and what possible Reggio activities look like. In this post we will revisit what Reggio Emilia is in order to establish a firm understanding of the Reggio Emilia learning process and to put together all of the pieces of Reggio Emilia that we have previously discussed.


  • The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education was founded in area of Italy called Reggio Emilia
  • It was established by a group of parents in this community but its main founder was Loris Malaguzzi (1920-1994)
  • This approach developed in response to World War II. People were feeling as though they needed to change education after the war to better support children and a positive future

Reggio’s View of The Child

  • One of the core principles of Reggio Emilia is the view that children are competent, curious, industrious, and inventive
  • Children have a natural curiosity and a desire to learn if we present them with adequate opportunities
  • Children are also extremely social and learn well through interactions with peers, teachers, parents and the environment

Key Features of Reggio Emilia: The Environment as the “Third Teacher”

  • Reggio Emilia approach requires an environment that stimulates curiosity and encourages learning, therefore, the environment in a Reggio Emilia classroom is incredibly important
  • An atmosphere of playfulness and openness is important
  • Teachers organize the classroom so that it is rich in provocations and invitations for children to explore
  • Children work and learning should be displayed where children can look and it and admire it
  • Classroom space should be shared by all children to encourage social interaction

Key Features of Reggio Emilia: Children’s Multiple Symbolic Languages

  • Children are able to express their intelligence in a multitude of ways
  • Reggio Emilia supports the integration of creative arts, linguistic activities and social activities for cognitive development

Key Features of Reggio Emilia: Documentation

  • Documentation of projects and activities is important
  • Helps children revisit their learning experience and validates their self-esteem
  • Pictures of children in the learning process is also important for understanding their development

Key Features of Reggio Emilia: Role of the Teacher and Parents

  • The role of the teacher is to facilitate learning, they are to observe what children are curious and inclined to learn about and any given time and then create appropriate opportunities for them to do this
  • The role of the parent is a collaborator. They are suppose to stay in touch with what their children is learning through documentation reports and contact with teachers
  • Altogether, the goal of these roles is to create a tight-knit community that supports the children it cares for



Sensory Play Without the Mess

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Sensory play is a great way for children to develop sensory skills and use their hands to explore new environments, or objects. A lot of the time sensory activities can be quite messy, involving foam or rice or mixes of ingredients. Some children and some parents don’t like the mess, so here are some options for less messy sensory play that can still be beneficial for childhood development.

  • Discovery Basket
  • Mystery Sensory Balloon Game
  • Sandpaper Art
  • Mess Free Golf Ball Painting
  • Clothes Peg Painting
  • Bath Tub Sensory Play
  • And more!

If any of the above titles interest you, check out the link (source): for more details on how to execute these activities:


FitBall Activity

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This activity was initially created for older children in a large group setting but we think it can be modified to do at home or with a group of your child’s friends to get some physical activity happening even on an indoor day!

The FitBall works by having children pass around a ball with a number of physical activity commands, when given a cue they will stop passing the ball, and the person holding the ball will determine a physical activity for all kids to perform by looking at the activity closest to their right thumb (or some other indicator you can determine).

Here are the directions in more detail:

  1. First, you need to create a FitBall! A colourful beach ball will do as it is light and large enough to write on. Once you have inflated the ball, add physical activities to it by writing them in sharpie on the ball. Our source (given below) suggests the following, but really you can pick whatever activities suite you, and simpler ones if your child is younger.
    1. 5 squats
    2. 10 toe touches
    3. 10 arm circles
    4. run in place for 10 counts
    5. 5 push ups
    6. stork stand (stand on each leg alone for 5 counts)
    7. 5 side to side jumps
    8. 5 jumping jacks
    9. 10 sit ups
    10. butterfly sit (hold for 10 counts)
    11. 10 lunges (alternating legs)
    12. 10 shoulder rolls
    13. side arm stretch
    14. 5 forward and backward jumps
    15. 5 jumps to the sky
    16. hop on 1 foot (5 hops per foot)
    17. upward arm stretch (hold for 10 counts)
  2. Once your FitBall is made with the number and kinds of activities you want on it, you need to determine how you are going to play the game. For a larger group, the suggestion is to play music, pass the ball around and designate someone as the DJ who stops the music to signal the person with the ball to select an activity. If your group is smaller (say just you and your child(ren)), it may not be as easy to designate a DJ to stop and start the music, in which case you may want to yourself just say “stop” whenever you feel, or toss the ball up and determine an activity based on the way it lands.
  3. Either way, whenever you select an activity on the ball, everyone in the group is supposed to do the activity, and then the process repeats.
  4. And that’s all there is to it!

Why we like this activity:

  • We like this activity because it is important to keep children moving in order for them to not only effectively use some of that extensive energy they have, but also to develop gross motor skills, and to develop an interest in physical activity which becomes increasingly essential in later years of their lives.