Monthly Archives

July 2016

Benefits of Preschool

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September is nearly a month away, which means back to school and back to preschool! For today’s post we wanted to discuss the benefits of an early childhood preschool program as outlined by greatschools.org’s article “10 good reasons your child should attend preschool”.

So lets get to it:

  1. Opportunity for growth: this means that it is a chance for children to be exposed to a new learning environment that they may not have had previous experience with
  2. Preparation for Kindergarten: most kindergarten teachers would agree that you can tell the difference between the children who attended preschool before entering kindergarten and those who haven’t (if their preschool program is good). Preschool not only prepares children for the academic skills they need in their school years but also provides them with the essential social development that comes with a classroom setting through an emphasis on learning through play.
  3. Promotion of Social and Emotional Development: children learn to become more comfortable with their attachment to their parents and decrease their separation anxiety before kindergarten. Preschool also teaches children essential self regulation, self-control, and communication skills.
  4. Introduction of Structure: the environment is intrinsically structured, basically there are rules of conduct that are known and expected to be followed to encourage positive interaction between students.
  5. Choices: just because there is structure doesn’t mean there isn’t choice. Children are still faced with problem-solving activities and are given control and option within activities which helps them develop self-esteem and confidence in their abilities.
  6. Independence: children learn to take care of themselves and be less reliant on parents in a preschool setting. They also learn to empathize with peers and help take care of each other.
  7. Language and Cognitive Skills: this is one of the big ones. Preschool programs help children develop essential reading, writing, memory, problem-solving, and other cognitive skills. This development ties into their preparation for kindergarten.
  8. Curiosity: this is one of our favourites at Parkland Players. Curiosity is about wanting to learn and a good preschool program encourages children to think on their own, set their own goals, ask questions, look for answers and enjoy the whole process of discovery.
  9. Pre-math and Literacy Skills: tied to language and cognitive skills. Preschool programs help children build the foundation for learning math and literacy skills in kindergarten.
  10. Motor Skills: play helps children develop gross motor skills. Preschool programs can also help develop fine motor skills like writing and pencil grip movements.

Source: http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/why-preschool/

 

 

Sensory Motor Scavenger Hunt

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We’ve had a couple scavenger hunt posts before, just because they are so much fun, but this one from the inspiredtreehouse.com has a twist on the usual list of scavenger hunt items. The theme here is outdoor sensory and motor development. All the items on the list require gross motor movements or sensory actions. Great for younger kids developing these skills. Check out the list here or visit the source at the bottom for a free printable.

Find Something

  • To climb
  • To play catch with
  • To crawl under
  • To roll across the ground
  • That is heavy
  • That is smooth
  • That is squishy
  • To jump over
  • To walk across
  • To balance your head on
  • To use as a drum
  • That is rough
  • That is soft

All list items found at (source): http://theinspiredtreehouse.com/activities-for-kids-sensory-motor-scavenger-hunt/

 

Summer Art Activity: Nature Paint Brushes

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This is a fun one for summer art from messylittlemonster.com! Make paintbrushes out of items you can easily find at the park or in your backyard.

Materials

  • Sticks (as handles for brushes)
  • Pieces of nature you find (i.e. leaves of different shapes and sizes, flower petals, etc.)
  • Elastic bands or string
  • Paint
  • Paper

Instructions

  • First, do a scavenger hunt in your back yard or local park. Look for sticks that will be suitable for handles, leaves, flower petals, twigs, etc. Basically anything you think will make a cool texture for a paintbrush.
  • Once you have collected your nature pieces, attach the different items you found to each stick using an elastic or tying them with string. And there you have it, those are your brushes.
  • Now put out paint of different colours and some plain white paper and have fun experimenting with how the different brushes look on canvas!
  • Tip: make sure the nature pieces are cleaned and the sticks won’t give children splinters.

This activity is great for sensory and fine motor development, and also creative thinking as it requires children to see their environment in a new way.

Source: http://www.messylittlemonster.com/2015/07/stick-craft-nature-paintbrushes.html

 

Reading Aloud with Children and Why It is Important

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Most parents are familiar with the activity of reading aloud with their children. It is a great way to spend time and bond with your child, and you know reading is good for their development. This post is about what exactly reading aloud with children can contribute to your child’s positive growth based on an article from reachoutandread.org (see link at bottom).

Basically there are three areas in which reading aloud with children can be beneficial. We will discuss each in turn.

  1. Reading Aloud Helps Children Acquire Early Language Skills: we all know that reading in general is an important skill throughout life. Reading aloud with children from a young age sets them up to be more successful readers in the future and to occur the language skills necessary for this task. Furthermore reading aloud can stimulate cognitive skills associated with motivation, curiosity and more. Lastly, reading aloud with children can expand their vocabulary at a quicker pace.
  2. Reading Aloud Helps Children Develop Positive Associations with Books and Reading: basically, reading aloud encourages a positive relationship to books and literature, setting them up to be more likely to enjoy reading later in life
  3. Reading Aloud Helps Children Build a Stronger Foundation for School Success: once children enter school, if they have difficulties with reading this can contribute to a lack of success in the classroom. This lack of success can have a significant impact on their confidence in an academic setting. Reading aloud with children exposes them to many of the skills they must know for their school years, not just linguistically but instructionally in terms of listening and being attentive when someone else is speaking.

In conclusion, reading books to your children is not only a fun way to strengthen your parent-child bond, it is also beneficial for your child’s development for years to come.

For more information on reading aloud with your child visit (source): http://www.reachoutandread.org/why-we-work/importance-of-reading-aloud/

 

 

Featured Book: What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig

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Our featured book for this week is “What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig” by Emma J. Virjan.

This book is an endearing story about friendship that starts with, as the title says a Pig in a Wig. Friendship is a great theme for younger readers. This book also effectively uses a lot of rhyming and rhythm, which is great for linguistic and cognitive development.

Scholastic recommends this book for children age 6-7 but it is also good as a read aloud with younger children as it includes vibrant pictures, animals, and as previously mentioned, rhyming words.

For more recommendations from scholastic books for summer reads visit (source): http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/collection/keep-kids-reading-all-summer-long

For a video reading of What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0qw_0khwf0

 

Benefits of Art in Education

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In recent years, the implementation of art in a class setting is becoming less common, and even when art activities are used, they are often viewed as fun activities or boredom busters rather than beneficial to learning and education. However, art can do a number of fantastic things for developing children, beyond sparking creativity. The above infographic from weareteachers.com provides some details on how art can be great for the developing brain.

Furthermore, the Washington Post lists the following as essential skills that can be developed from incorporating art into education:

  1. Creativity: this goes beyond the creativity required to make paint, act, play music etc. Creativity ties into problem solving and the ability to think on the fly, and shift your perspective when faced with a problem.
  2. Confidence: Art can foster a confidence in children’s own abilities and build self-esteem as it challenges them to push their limits and think outside the box.
  3. Perseverance: learning a new artistic skill (like playing an instrument or learning to sculpt) can be difficult, and so it is beneficial in teaching children how to stick with something and watch themselves improve.
  4. Non-verbal Communication: Art can teach children that communication can occur in a number of different ways.
  5. Collaboration: art projects that require team work teach children to work together and forces them to practice essential social skills.
  6. And more! Visit second source at bottom for more information.

At Parkland Players we love to incorporate art into our activities on a daily basis. We believe it can be fun, engaging and educational.

Source: http://www.weareteachers.com/blogs/post/2014/08/08/art-and-the-brain-what-are-the-benefits-

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2013/01/22/top-10-skills-children-learn-from-the-arts/

 

Summer Art: Paint Filled Egg Smash

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This art activity is great for busting summer boredom!

Materials:

  • Emptied eggshells
  • Paint
  • Canvas (or poster board)
  • Tissue paper
  • glue

Tip: don’t waste eggs, just break them carefully when cooking with them by cutting a small hole in the top with a knife and rinsing out the inside with warm water and soap.

Instructions:

  1. Fill the eggshells you saved with liquid paint of various colours
  2. Seal the filled eggs by wrapping them in tissue paper and gluing the tissue paper to the eggshell.
  3. Lean your poster board or canvas against a box in the grass.
  4. Let your kids throw the eggs at the canvas and smash open to paint it.
  5. It’s tons of messy summer fun!

Source: http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/10/paint-filled-eggs-on-canvas.html

 

 

Upcoming Events in Coquitlam

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Summer is here! And with it comes some new and fun events in the city of Coquitlam! Check out these and others!

Blue Mountain Park Toy Library and Pop Up Beach Opening: July 4th 2016: come see the sandy beach that will be open until Sept 5th with beach chairs, flags, and of course sand! Great for a “beach” day close to home.

Westminster Savings Free Swim: July 8th at Spani Pool: outdoor pool, woohoo!

Westminster Savings Free Swim: July 15th 2016 at City Centre Aquatic Complex

Multicultural Fair at Glen Pin Pavilion: July 16th 2016: this awesome free admission event celebrates culture in the community with live entertainment, music an dance, activities for kids, door prizes and more!

Coquitlam 125: Kaleidoscope: July 23rd and 24th, 2016: this is a two day festival to celebrate Coquitlam’s 125th anniversary. It will include art, food, music, activities and more! This event will be held at Town Centre Park.

For more information and more events in the city of Coquitlam visit (source): http://www.coquitlam.ca/parks-recreation-and-culture/arts-and-culture/special-events-calendar/special-events-calendar.aspx