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Parkland Players

Promoting Literacy: Tips for Raising an Enthusiastic Reader

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This is the second post in a series of posts regarding the importance of promoting literacy for your children. In this post we will discuss 10 tips for promoting literacy for multiple ages from earlymoments.com (full link to source page at bottom).

  1. Add playful acting: Don’t be monotone when you read. Add funny voices for each of the characters. Add actions and gestures for the different moments in the story. These extra visual and auditory stimuli are great for getting children involved and excited about the book.
  2. Encourage interaction: don’t be afraid to stop reading for a moment and ask questions about what children think about events, characters, and the endings. Even ask questions about how they would change the story, what they liked about the story and other open-ended concepts.
  3. Talk about books: even when you are not reading, talk about books in your daily conversations. For example, when children come home from school ask if they have read any books with their teacher. Or make connections between daily life and stories you are familiar with. For instance, if something happens during the day that reminds you of a book you read together, say so out loud.
  4. Don’t just read at bedtime: read at various points throughout the day and in different settings! Books need not be exclusively for bedtime stories.
  5. Book clubs for children: Yes, these are a thing! Or you can start one yourself with your friends and their children. It shows children that reading can also be a social activity and will help you collaborate with others to pick titles good for your child’s age and developmental level.
  6. Reading resources: The internet is a great place for finding reading material online. Some website have games, some actually have books and you can often find video readings by authors or fans on youtube!
  7. Reading doesn’t have to just be books: there are a lot of opportunities in the day to develop and practice reading skills. For example, even the phrases on the cereal box in the morning are good. Or magazines, newspapers, billboards, etc. Show children how words are everywhere and how reading material comes in a variety of medias.
  8. Take a trip down memory lane: share your own childhood favourite books with your kids. This will have you make an stronger connection in the realm of literacy as the extra enthusiasm you will have reading these books can be very contagious.
  9. Volunteer for literacy events in your community: for example, if your child’s school has people come in to read aloud once a week, or if they have book fairs and need volunteers, get involved to model both community spirit and a love of reading
  10. Go to the library: the library is fantastic for reminding children that there is a world of reading resources right at their fingertips. Make sure to teach them the important of respecting the loaning process and the books. This is a great opportunity for children to pick their own books and follow their own reading interests. Some libraries even have some designated story times where the librarian will read to the group. Check online or call before you go in order to find out about these sorts of events.

Source: https://www.earlymoments.com/promoting-literacy-and-a-love-of-reading/

 

Why Leaves Change Colour Science Experiment

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Today we are taking a break from our literacy series. We have been having some overdue fall weather here in the Lower Mainland lately. A wind storm came in yesterday and blew a lot of leaves off of trees in the area, and so we wanted to share this fun fall science experiment to take advantage of the current weather conditions. So here it is.

WHY LEAVES CHANGE COLOUR SCIENCE EXPERIMENT

 

Materials

  1. 3 leaves (from the same tree)
  2. Rubbing alcohol
  3. Jar
  4. Plastic baggie (or plastic wrap)
  5. Paper coffee filter
  6. Small bowl or pan

Instructions

  1. Background information: This is good to know for your own understanding and discussion with children Leaves contain a chemical structure called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll makes the leaves green and it is strong enough to cover other colours in the leaves. This science experiment lets us separate the colours. Do not tell children this before hand, let them do the experiment and hypothesize on their own what will happen and why.
  2. Have children break the leaves into small pieces and place them in the jar.
  3. Pour rubbing alcohol over the leaves so that they are covered.
  4. Mash and stir the leaf/rubbing alcohol mixture until the rubbing alcohol turns green. Be sure to do this very thoroughly.
  5. Cover the jar with plastic and place it in a small bowl. Pour hot water into the bowl. Leave it like this for 30 minutes minimum (45 to an hour is better), swishing the jar around occasionally to stir the leaves. By the time it is done the alcohol should be a very dark green.
  6. Cut a strip in your paper coffee filter so that it can reach the rubbing alcohol but also hang over the top edge of the jar, tape it to the end of the jar if you need to).
  7. The liquid will travel up the coffee filter along with the separated colours. If you soak it for about 30 minutes you will get the best effect. The coffee filter should turn varying tones of yellow and green to show the colours that are hidden under that green chlorophyll.
  8. Discuss how you think the experiment worked with the children. What did the exercise represent about the properties of leaves?

Image Source: https://www.thesca.org/connect/blog/why-leaves-change-color-fall

Activity Source: http://www.howweelearn.com/science-experiments-for-kids/

 

Promoting Literacy: Why Encouraging Literacy for your Kids is Important

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This is the first post in a series of posts regarding the importance of promoting literacy for your children. In this post we will discuss the more general concept of literacy and why is in still an essential aspect of education.

Literacy can broadly be defined as the skills associated with reading ability, reading comprehension, and writing skills. With this definition in mind, one can easily infer that literacy has been an central skill taught in education settings for a long time, and is a skill that still is incredibly important and relevant. Children need to be able to read and write in order to participate in academic life, that is a given. But developing literacy skills can also have a number of other important benefits. These include the following.

  1. Reading with your children can help build stronger bonds between parents and children. In today’s world families are often busy with work, and school, and children’s extra curricular activities. Taking some time out of your day to read is a great way to spend some time together. Also, for the little ones, snuggling around a book can also provide the necessary physical contact for forming healthy attachments with infants.
  2. Reading is closely linked to language development. Just reading out loud with your children can help along their speech abilities. This means that it can help with basic foundation language skills like hearing and making word sounds as well more complex skills associated with communicating ideas with others and comprehending what others are saying.
  3. Reading helps develop cognitive abilities associated with logical thinking. Reading and talking about stories helps develop skills like sequencing events and linking cause and effect. It also, helps build imagination as new experiences are created in the process of reading a story, and it helps children develop concentration skills.
  4. Reading is fun! Reading with your children helps develop a love of reading that they can carry throughout their lives.

Source: https://www.earlymoments.com/promoting-literacy-and-a-love-of-reading/why-reading-to-children-is-important/

 

 

The Importance of Sensory Play in Early Development

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For today’s post we are sharing an article about the central role that sensory learning plays in cognitive development for infants and toddlers. Sensory play can be defined as any kind of play or activity that engages the five senses in a noticeable way. This is an important definition because often times sensory activities are often only conceptualized as relating to the sense of touch. However, smell, sight, hearing, taste, and even the vestibular sense (feelings of knowing where your own body is in space) are important aspects of sensory play. Sensory play is so crucial at a young age because it is the primary way in which young children experience the world.

Check out more details on this concept and its role in development at the article here: https://www.thespruce.com/why-sensory-play-is-important-2086510

 

I Statements

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Today we are sharing a post from our friends over at Parkland Elementary School. Last school year they compiled a charter written by their grade 5 students about how to treat each other with respect and kindness at school. We really like this document because it not only describes what is involved in being an active part of a community but it also emphasizes the use of I Statements when faced with difficult situations.

The use of “I Statements” is a strategy that can be used to resolve conflict for any age group, including adults! The idea of the I statement is to respectfully stand up for yourself, while still managing to not be accusatory to other individuals. The “I Statement” is not meant to take the onus off of others for their actions but rather to let people know how certain behaviours or relationship dynamics are making you feel.

“I Statements” are a great strategy to teach your child for working through conflicts on their own, at school, with siblings, and even with you.

Here is the basic structure of the “I Statement”:

“I feel _______________ (name of feeling) when __________________ (situation that is causing distress) and I would like _________________ (say what you would like to happen instead)”

Practice using “I Statements” to communicate in your family.

The second reason we are sharing this document is that the children at Parkland Elementary contributed to creating it themselves. We think this is fantastic to do at the beginning and even throughout the school year. At Parkland Players we also set our classroom expectations together in the first couple weeks of September.

Check out their charter here: http://www.sd43.bc.ca/school/parkland/Documents/School%20Charter%20with%20i-statement%20page.pdf 

 

Mixed Age Groups in an Early Childhood Care Setting

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Today for our post we are sharing something for our fellow daycares out there! At Parkland Players we have a large range of age groups in our care and in the summer months, with summer camps sometimes those ages get mixed. It can be challenging to manage a group of children at such different developmental stages and with differing needs and interests.

So for our post today we are sharing (yet, another) wonderful article from the himama blog. This article discusses what to do in a care setting with mixed ages. We like this article because even if the age range of the children in your classroom is not drastic and maybe only a few years apart, the tips here are useful! This article might even be good for larger families with significant age gaps between their youngest and eldest children.

Give it a read here: https://www.himama.com/blog/caring-for-mixed-age-groups-in-early-childhood-education/?ref=newsletter09-17

 

All About Me in Numbers

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Today we are sharing a great activity for the first couple weeks of school when kids are learning about themselves and each other. This activity is also good for practicing mathematics and numeracy skills.

Materials

  • Large pieces of paper (chart paper or posters)
  • Pens, pencils, crayons, markers, etc.
  • Post-it notes

Instructions

  1. Give each child a sheet of paper and 8 post-it notes.
  2. Instruct eac child to write the following questions on their large piece of paper, leaving large enough space for each of the post-its.
    1. My age
    2. My shoe size
    3. My birth month (as a number)
    4. My birthdate
    5. The number of people in my family
    6. The number of letters in my name
    7. The number of pets I own
    8. The number of sports games I’ve been to
    9. Or have them make their own questions that can be answered in numbers
  3. Next, each child should write the answer to each of those questions on THE BACK of their post-its (one answer per post-it).
  4. Lastly, each child has to make an equation that adds to the answer that they have written on the back of their post-9its. This can be modified for different age groups. Equations can be addition/subtraction, multiplication/division, include fractions/decimals, etc.
  5. Children are to then put their post-its, with the equation side out, on their poster. They may draw a self-portrait in the middle.
  6. Children can go around the room and test themselves using other people’s posters! And ask questions to each other to get to know one another better.

Source: http://4thgradefunfl.blogspot.ca/2014/09/figure-me-out.html

 

 

STEAM In Preschool

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Today was our first day of Preschool for the 2017-2018 School Year and so we thought we would share this lovely article from the Himama blog written by Maryann Harman on the importance of STEAM in preschool.

For those who don’t already know, STEAM is an educational approach that focuses on integrating the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics in order to make learning opportunities more real to life and to teach children to make connections across disciplines.

The article at the link below focuses specifically on making sure that the A (arts) in STEAM is not forgotten in preschool.

Check out the full article here: https://www.himama.com/blog/STEAM-for-preschoolers/?ref=newsletter

Happy first week of school!

 

Back to School

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Back to school is next week! We can’t believe how quickly the summer has gone by, but we are excited for a new school year. Your child is probably excited too, but maybe also a little bit anxious? Or tentative? Maybe they don’t know how to feel about going back to school, the summer is pretty great! Maybe as a parent, you are feeling a little nervous yourself, due to the change in routine, or because your child is headed into Kindergarten. Back to School can be a time of mixed emotions and can require a considerable period of adjustment on the part of students, teachers, parents, and caregivers.

So today we are sharing this guide from Fraser Health. It has some great tips on how best to get into the swing of things for the new school year, as well as some links to more specialized struggles your child may face with back to school and how to handle them together.

Check out the article here: http://news.fraserhealth.ca//News/August-2016/Your-Healthy-Back-to-School-Guide.aspx

At Parkland Players we do our best to make back to school as seamless a transition as possible and to address any anxiety as it comes up. We are looking forward to the new school year and welcome all our new students, as well as welcome back our returning ones! Happy September everyone!