This month we are sharing some great activities for the fall and winter seasons. This activity focuses on fine motor and sensory skills development in the early years. For those that don’t already know, development of fine motor skills involves improvements in the control of the small muscles in the hand associated with holding writing implements and implementing precise movements. Sensory skills are those associated with the five senses. In the early years, children learn primarily by engaging these sensory systems. Activity such as these are also beneficial because they spark curiosity, which is essential for children staying motivated and excited to learn. The activity for the month of November can be tied into science lessons as they focus on mathematics skills such as size, scale, and numeracy, as well as learning about the properties of the natural world.
This activity are beneficial for children because, like the Reggio Emilia approach (which is practiced at Parkland Players), it focuses on the process rather than the final product, making it so that activities are open-ended and children can experience them at their own rate and in their own ways. This allows for children to set the pace of their own development and get the most out of their educational experiences.
How Big is My Hand? (PSC/GD)
Developmental Goal/Activity Objective:
To learn about shapes and size as well as our own bodies in space. To compare sizes of different items.
- Different implements (small toys, blocks, items from nature, etc.)
Procedures/Strategies: (how to present activity and what children will do)
- Have children trace their own hand and cut out the tracing.
- Put out a number of small implements on a table.
- Have children see how many of the small items will fit in their hand.
Bitaa Collaboration with Parkland Players
Download the Bitaa PDF here.
What is Bitaa?
Bitaa is an app designed to assist child care providers, early childhood educators, and parents with program and activity planning. The app is created based on the idea that children grow best when they can direct their own learning, and therefore most of the activities in this resource are simple and open-ended. Bitaa makes it so that educators, parents, and most importantly, children, can take the ideas or activities and put their own spin on it. Bitaa is also a compilation for educational ideas as it pulls ideas, and activities from a variety of sources, making it a hub for the exchange of educational information.
Why the Bitaa initiative?
In 2016 Parkland Players endeavoured to fill a gap in Early Childhood Education program planning. Teachers at our centre have always worked extremely hard to plan daily activities, following children’s interest and educational goals. However, in order to support our educators in their lesson planning, the administration at the centre decided to create a resource that educators could refer to throughout the school year for those moments when they were uncertain of what themes to explore next, or how to expand on concepts, or even where to start in a new unit. And so, Parkland Players began compiling activities from a variety of sources and organizing them into themes. This new compilation of information, activities, and resources would later become Bitaa!
How does this origin story make Bitaa special?
Although Bitaa is a separate entity, the collaboration between Bitaa and the educators at Parkland Players is ongoing. The educators and administration at Parkland Players continue to contribute, ideas and feedback to Bitaa, as well as implement the activities in their daily educational method. This gives Bitaa a number of advantages in terms of the validity of the resource. First of all, it helps Bitaa to keep a fresh perspective. Bitaa is continually changing and being updated to better fit the needs of children and their development based on the work of teachers at Parkland Players. In this way, Bitaa is frequently being tested and improved through its proximity to a thriving childcare centre. Secondly, implicitly embedded in the resource are decades of experience from Early Childhood Educators who give their thoughts, approaches, and personalities to the resource. Lastly, collaboration with Parkland Players, a Reggio Emilia inspired centre, means that this resource is also focused on the fundamentals of the Reggio Emilia Approach. Activities are inquiry-based, flexible, and open-ended so that children across a variety of age groups can get the most out of each learning opportunity regardless of their individual developmental location. Essentially, Bitaa continues to support the educators at Parkland Players to be the best they can, and reciprocally, the educators at Parkland Players challenge Bitaa to continue to grow and improve its ability to contribute in meaningful ways to Early Childhood Education.