Huron Playschool Cooperative


By Kate Burgess

Today we took the morning Playschool children for a big adventure and we walked down to the lovely U of T teach pool for a swim. What a great activity to experience a little taste of summer in the middle of chilly winter! There were big smiles all around as the children experienced splashing, jumping, and “swimming” along the steps of the pool with their hands. They were excited to see their teachers and many parent volunteers who helped them to move and groove through the water with many splash parties! 

It’s a fun adventure for the children to get a chance to experience something new together. Being in the water is not only a great gross motor activity to help burn energy and get exercise, but it’s also a great sensory activity as well. Water is soothing and calming, and interesting for them to see how it reacts to kicks and splashes with bubbles, ripples, and waves.

It was a special day for everyone and we can’t wait to do it again! As a special bonus, the U of T Women’s Rugby team was having their bake sale fundraiser so some families couldn’t resist a yummy treat for a great cause! Some of our families packed a lunch and enjoyed it together in the bleachers of the athletic centre while watching the swimmers in the pool below. 

A Day In The Life of Huron Playschool Morning Program

by Kate Burgess

I had a lovely co-op shift at Playschool this morning, and wanted to share what the children were up to today.

The morning started outside in the wintery snow of the park. One by one the group arrived to cheerful excited greetings from their friends. We went in the swings, dug for dinosaur bones (haven’t found any yet!) and pretended to be puppies.

Then, we headed inside to warm up again in the cozy playschool. Once winter boots and snow pants were off and indoor shoes were on, we washed hands and sat at the table for snack time. We enjoyed red pepper, pears, and delicious homemade mini blueberry muffins!

After that, everyone was ready to start exploring around the classroom and find something just right to do to suit everyone’s mood. The group spread out. Scissors and tissue paper sat on the light table inviting little hands to come try out some satisfying little snips and admire the colours. The sand bin attracted a small group who helped me to make a pretend cake. We cracked in our eggs, sifted in our flour, added some stone ‘cocoa’ and were sure to mix it well with our spoons. Many of the children took a turn to play quietly with the wooden menorah, carefully balancing in each candle and adding in the flame. Others worked on the train number puzzle, played with the babies, or grabbed a book to sit and rest. A collage station was set up which welcomed the group to come try out their hand at gluing beautiful assorted craft pieces with different textures into a piece of construction paper. There was certainly lots to do.
Soon, an exciting visitor arrived with a warm greeting and it was time to gather on the carpet with Jennielea! She started clapping and singing with her tambourine and immediately the group joined her in clapping and echoing her song back to her. Favourites included Where Is Thumbkin and Little Bunny FouFou. We also got to stand up and move around the circle which was great fun for everyone.

The fun and excitement did not end there. We all went up to the open church gymnasium and Amy led us in running back and forth together from one wall to the other. Then, “let’s go!” again and again. Getting out lots of energy and lots of smiles all around.

Before we said goodbye, we sat down together to thank our wonderful co-op students on their final day with us. We presented them with a gift and a huge card to express our appreciation.

What a full, fun, fantastic morning!

My name is Apollo

I am 3 and a half years old. I like trains, trucks and all transportation things. I also like to play pretend games with my sister, Nara. We pretend that we are on a train with our stuffed animals. I say really loud, ALL ABOARD!! Sometimes I like dressing up in princess dresses too. I’m not so big on drawing pictures like Nara. I love playing with my friends at Playschool, like Roshi. I love my teachers, Tracey, Amy, Julia, and Christine. Sometimes I don’t do what my mom says, but when she says, “brush your teeth and get your socks on, then we’ll go to Playschool” then I say YAY and get ready. I’m not a baby but I don’t want to grow up because I love playing at Playschool so so much.


Happy Pride Month!

Happy Pride Month from everybody at playschool. As the refrain from one of our favourite stories goes, "A family is a family is a family." (And we're glad you're part of ours!) 

Our Playschool Days

If I'd had my way, Iris would have been born at playschool during Circle Time while we were dancing together to the raucus round of "Shake Your Sillies Out." Okay, if I'd really had my way, Iris would have been born a week and a half before that, on my due date, in a painless and efficient homebirth as we had planned, but Iris had other plans. She usually does. She ended up being born two weeks late by c-section on a Wednesday afternoon, while her older sister, Harriet, was being ferried to a playschool classmate's birthday party in Christie Pits by another playschool family. 

Iris's whole life has been tied up in playschool. I found out I was pregnant during Harriet's first week of playschool, when she was three years old. September 2012, and I would be so grateful for playschool that autumn when first trimester fatigue practically destroyed me. To have a few hours every morning to get my work done meant that I could go to bed at 8:30, and it was all okay, mostly. Playschool also meant a community, and a group of people to hang out in the park with after school was over, warming bare feet in the sand on surprisingly warm days. Harriet played happily with her friends, and I was just as happy as I chatted with their mothers. I didn't have as much on the go back then, and was always glad to linger. We never ran out of things to talk about. Those with older children were helping to prepare for me my new life with two kids, everyone commiserated in pregnancy complaints, and they were sharing in the joys as well. 

At the beginning of my third trimester, I discovered a lump on my neck and spent the next month terrified that I'd be diagnosed with terminal cancer. And I will never forget the kindness of the playschool parents who were there for me during that scary time, from those poor people who'd innocently ask how I was and be met with floods of tears to the ones who reassured me, who shared their own scary stories with satisfying outcomes, and who promised I'd be fine. They were the same people who celebrated with me when we got the good news that all was benign. These people, these amazing women—I hadn't even known them a few months before, but I think they saved my life. 

And they continued to do so as my pregnancy progressed, helping me out on my co-op shifts and picking up my slack when I had to sit down or leave to pee all the time. During the final days when I was busy with midwife appointments and ultrasounds, playschool parents were there for us to care for Harriet and fetch her from school. Everybody was waiting: every morning my husband would deliver Harriet to school, and they'd ask him: no baby yet? We tried everything. I recall the look of horror on another parents' face when he arrived during Circle Time and caught a woman (me!) nearly ten months pregnant shaking her sillies out, but I was desperate. Would this baby ever be born?

But she was—her birth announced in the Scribbler—and the next year we returned to playschool with Iris in her carrier on my chest, sleeping and waking. She was the class pet, and never minded the attention. We measured her progress by how far she could creep or crawl across the room. It was not long before she was sitting up on the carpet she hadn't been born upon, gnawing on piece of Kapla to soothe her aching gums. And that year I learned something fundamental about playschool, which was that even though the people were different, they were also always the same. Different individuals, I mean, but the same community, the same vibe.

This has only been underlined to me during the past two years as Iris has attended playschool, making her own friends and making a path that has been distinctly her own. Things are different now—I'm busier than I was when Harriet was small, and don't have time to stay forever in the park as I once did. Afternoons are not as long. There are always places to go and things that need doing, and so I've missed out on the chances to connect and the conversations that I once so cherished. The person who needed them so badly seems like someone I think fondly of, a woman I knew once upon a time when Huron Washington Playground was the centre of the world.

What is family life—what is community—without playschool? It's a question we'll be attempting to answer in a couple of weeks when our playschool days are behind us, although I suspect they'll never be too far behind us. I know that the lessons of playschool, of friendliness, sharing and cooperation, are ones that both parents and children in our family will be carrying with us for a very long time. We'll have the songs and stories we learned there, and we'll have the memories and the friendships. And when all that proves insufficient, we will come back and visit. There is no doubt about it, we'll be seeing you all soon.  

We love you, Huron Playschool! Thanks for a wonderful five years. 

xo Iris, Harriet, Kerry and Stuart

Thank you, Spirit of Math!

Community Spirit + Spirit of Math= Gratitude          

Thanks to the Central Toronto Campus of Spirit of Math for your continued support of Huron Playschool. We are grateful for your donation and glad to be your neigbour.

Amazing Activities at Playschool!

One of the very good things about co-op shifts is the opportunity to see the very cool things your child gets up at school. Today's selection of activities was particularly amazing. 

Some were making fresh-squeezed orange juice! 

Kids squeezing oranges

Others were practicing the Japanese art of ikebana (flower arrangement). 

The water table was also open and the water was BLUE! 

And if all else fails, there is always painting. With sparkles. 

Kind of goes without saying that we had a very good morning. 


Every Picture Tells a Story

Two ice cream cones with all the fixings:

Choose a cup if you don't care for a cone:


Also tragic!!:

But don't cry. You can always go back and get another. 

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