Huron Playschool Cooperative

Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards

 

There's always something good on offer on the playschool bookselves, and selections are switched up all the time! If you're interested in keeping your kids' book selection at home just as enticing, then do check out the finalists for the Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards, which were just announced, and represent the best and most exciting new books in Canadian children's literature. (We're particularly fans of all the titles nominated for the $20,000 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Prize!) These books are all available at your local library, and available for order in all the places where good books are sold.

 

Dr Tastebuds (...or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Playschool Snack)

Peppers

It was four years ago this fall that I came down with a condition I self-diagnosed as SNACK ANXIETY. It was my first time preparing snack for my daughter's playschool class, and I felt like the pressure was on. During the weekend before our family's first snack week was to begin, I actually had snack anxiety dreams, about sad sunken muffins and emaciated carrots. I was worried about what to bring, and how much, and what the teachers would think about our offerings, and what if the children hated it? 

Thankfully, these days the snack anxiety has subsided. I haven't dreamed about muffins in forever, and I could rig up a snack menu with my eyes closed. And to get you too to this peaceful place of snack duty bliss, I'm pleased to impart a few things I've learned over the years. 

1) Don't worry about "doing it right." Everybody does snack their own way based upon culinary skills, cultural background, time constraints, and children's peculiar eating habits. Own your snack week. Let your snack selves shine! 

2) Remember that nobody's going to go hungry. Snack is nicely sandwiched (see what I did there?) in between the more substantial meals of breakfast and lunch, and if a child happens to refuse what's on offer, she'll have another change to eat within the next 120 minutes. Everything is going to be fine. 

3) Make the foods that you know your child likes! This is why snack during our family's week is fruits than veggies. Full disclosure: this post is accompanied by a photo of peppers, and my children have never, ever eaten peppers ever. I'm working on it... But in the meantime, it will be apple slices and sliced strawberries on our end, carrot sticks in a pinch.

4) Take it easy on yourself. I have an old snack stand-by I keep on hand for the evenings when I barely have time to make my family dinner, let alone snack—thank goodness for whole wheat bagels with cream cheese, and a bag of apples! Snack is ready in a snap. 

5) Pay attention when you're on co-op shifts or check out the snack menu posted on the kitchen door. And then totally steal other parents' ideas. We are each others' best resources. 

6) Remember that snack is a snack and not a meal. Huge portions are not necessary. 

7) Don't be afraid to try new snack ideas. (See point 1 about OWNING YOUR SNACK WEEK.) The worst that will happen is that some children won't like what you're serving. But here's a secret: somebody's going to always not like what you're serving no matter what you do, so you might as well have a bit of fun. 

8) Fruits/veg and grains are relatively easy to prepare; protein is more of a challenge. Here's what I do: hummous, cheese, edamame, black bean brownies, chia chocolate pudding, chickpeas, or yoghurt. If you come up with another idea during your snack week, I'll probably steal it too ;)

9) If you're feeling really creative, do themed snacks. One parent did a different colour for each day of the week; another did a snack make up of different geometric shapes. I'm partial to baking scones and like to do an Afternoon Tea snack sometimes. And if you choose not to do anything like this, nobody will even notice.

10) Don't be afraid to make something amazing on the days that I'm on co-op duty. I will praise your snack prowess and probably love you forever.  

Back to School

We're so excited to be heading back to Huron Playschool for the 2016/2017 school year! 

See You In September!

While it is true that three weeks of Playschool Summer Camp are just getting underway (and the program is looking so good!!), we've only just said farewell to the 2015-2016 Playschool Year. On the last day of school, each of the children in the morning program received their own personal learning story with photographs and artwork documenting how much they have all grown and changed from September to June. The learning stories too document the memories, friendships and other strong relationships they have taken away from their playschool experience—it has truly been an excellent year. 

And if we weren't all feeling emotional enough, Tracey read just one more book before it was time to pack up and go home, and that was What a Wonderful World, the song made famous by Louis Armstrong, illustrated by Ashley Bryan: 

"I hear babies crying, I watch them grow. They'll learn much more than I'll ever know. 

And I think to myself—what a wonderful world." 

Thanks to all of you who make it so. 

Happy Pride Month

"When children don’t see themselves reflected in books they read, or when the few images they see in stories, TV and movies are negative or stereotypical, that sends a powerful and silencing message." —Robin Stevenson, author of new book Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community

Check out Robin's post at Canadian books website 49thShelf.com about the importance of there being a LGBTQ canon for young readers, and also some great book recommendations

Happy Pride Month! 

Sunny Days

We're all so happy about this wonderful June weather, which enables us to begin the mornng program outdoors every day, everybody enjoying the warm sunshine and the crisp morning air. Whether we're digging for treasure in the sandbox, pushing strollers or lawnmowers across the playground, reading stories on the blanket, making mud cakes, kicking balls or chasing hoops, there is one certainty: no one is ever, ever bored. It also means that by the time we go inside for rest of our class, everybody is ready for snack. 

COBS Bread is Raising Some Dough for Playschool

Cobs Fundraiser

We have the most amazing neighbours! Thanks to COBS Bread in the Annex for supporting Playschool with Raise the Dough. You can now eat baked goods and be making our community stronger: everybody wins. When you shop at COBS throughout the month of June, let them know you're there for Playschool (there will be a sign at the till—please let staff know before they ring up your items!) and 25% of your purchase comes back to support our programs. 

Please buy all the scones!! 

Annex Community Events in June

Flower on Brunswick

With the arrival of June, our neighbourhood is the place to be, and everything is happening. Stay tuned for news about our month-long fundraiser with the friendly people at Cobs Bread at 370 Bloor Street West. But in the meantime...

  • The Huron Picnic for the Arts takes place on Friday June 3 at Huron Street Junior Public School from 5-8pm. Delicious food, bouncy castles, a dunk tank (!), a book sale, silent auction, games, crafts, and other fun activities. And ALL PROCEEDS benefit our amazing local public school. (Reminder: cash only, please!) 
  • The 30th annual Walmer Road Street Party takes place on Saturday, June 11. From 2-10 pm, the street is closed to traffic and open for party business. There is a day full of activities for young kids: music, bouncy castle, face painting, treasure hunt, street hockey, games, cardboard house painting (the houses will be raffled off at the end of the day), a fire truck visit and, new this year, a foam sword fencing lesson.  All of the activities are free (but, of course, you can help support the party by buying raffle tickets at party HQ on the day or by buying baked goods, freezies and dinner). The bake sale starts at 3:30. A barbeque dinner is served at 6:30.
  • The Annex Family Festival happens on Sunday June 26 on Bloor Street between Spadina and Bathurst. Now in its 20th year, the Annex Family Festival (AFF) is a fun, one-day street festival that attracts over 20,000 people, making it one of Toronto's premier summer events. The event offers local businesses, Torontonians and sponsors an opportunity to celebrate our unique local heritage through a variety of activities suited for families of all shapes and sizes.
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