Huron Playschool Cooperative

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.

A Great Childcare Option for UofT Families

University College TorontoLiving next door to the University of Toronto comes from its advantages—we get to take walks through its green lawns and under its leafy trees, slide down the hill beside Robarts Library in the winter. But for student families at the Toronto, the relationship is absolutely recipcrocal. The reasons why Huron Playschool is a great childcare option for student families at the University of Toronto are as follows: 

ECONOMICS: Because of our cooperative structure, our fees are demonstrably lower than other childcare centres in the area. 

GEOGRAPHY: We're literally steps away from campus (if you go out the backdoor). It doesn't get anymore convenient than that. 

KINESIOLOGY: Okay, what we really mean is that we're flexible, which suits student lifestyles, which are variable and ever subject to change. 

SOCIOLOGY: Meet other families in the areas and strengthen your own social connections. 

But don't take our word for it. We've EVEN got a primary source:

"As a graduate student at the University of Toronto whose partner has an ever-changing schedule, I rely on Huron Playschool to provide a safe, fun, and stimulating after-school environment for my kids. They always look forward to spending an hour or two at the end of each school day with their Playschool friends and the awesome staff. As a parent who does co-op shifts twice a month, I get to see first-hand the rich and diverse array of activities that Playschool engages the kids with. The peace of mind I get from knowing that my kids have something they look forward to doing after every school day lets me complete a full workday without stress. Beyond this, the Playschool community enriches our family's extended experience with the University of Toronto." —Gabby, Playschool Parent

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Flower

The Friday before Mother's Day, Iris was very excited to bring home a present for me from playschool. 

"Should I wait until Sunday?" I asked her, but the days of the week have little meaning for a nearly-three-year-old, who is charged with immediacy. 

And so I unpacked my present right away, and she informed me that her little pot of dirt was in fact a seed and that she'd planted it herself.

It's never going to come up, I thought, unconsciously channelling Crockett Johnson's classic children's tale, The Carrot Seed, in the way that adults do. For how can a little pot of dirt possibly be transformed into a flower? Where does life come from anyway?

But for seeds to grow, one needs a little faith, and luckily Iris had plenty. Which doesn't mean that she was not delighted or even blase a week or so later when we discovered that a force through the green fuse had finally driven a flower. Or at least the beginnings of one. 

And three weeks on, it's kept going and going. 

3 wks later

So much love and gratitute to our teachers who plant so many seeds and nurture them so. Turns out water, sunshine, and a little bit of faith can work miracles. 

"One cannot empower a child without embracing her will to fight..."

Photo Credit: Rebecca WoolfEverything I love about Rebecca Woolf's writing is made clear in this gorgeous post that reframes childhood and teenage rebellion

"One of our biggest problems as a society (at least from where I stand) is our willingness to choose "good manners" over "curiosity" when it comes to our children. And our system, specifically our school system, is set up to award those who "obey" with popsicle parties instead or creating safe environments for children to question authority -- question rules -- AND FIND THEMSELVES.

Spending time with a lifetime (self-proclaimed) "radical" who used her body to block trains carrying nuclear warheads, went on hunger strikes protesting Vietnam and once chained herself to a logging truck to protest deforestation, was for me a pertinent reminder that rebellion is often our greatest gift to the world.  WE NEED DOTS on this planet! In the same way we need doctors and lawyers and writers and painters and plumbers.

One cannot empower a child without embracing her will to fight a system that is trying to strip her of her power. This is why toddlers have tantrums. And teenagers hate their parents.

Because, we, in a word, ARE THE MAN our children must challenge and question and, yes, sometimes rail against in order to grow."

Read the whole thing here

(Photo credit, Rebecca Woolf, www.girlsgonechild.net)

Playschool Goes to WeeFestival

Logo Wee FestivalWe're excited that our morning program will be attending WeeFestival tomorrow, seeing the play "Nest" at the Tarragon Theatre. The show will be put on by the company Theater de Spiegel from Belgium.

About the show: In a large, round, snug nest a violinist and a female singer go on a poetic journey of discovery. They seek out the safety and warmth of the nest to hatch their egg, to dream of ducks and to chirp like birds. They learn to fall, to pick themselves up and to fly out of the nest.

Learn more here. 

Other Plans

It's never more true than at Playschool that, as John Lennon sang, "life is what happens when you're making other plans." Which is part of the reason that open-ended play and free time is so important for our little ones—it's space to let their wild imaginations fly. And so this morning, of their own accord, the children decided to build a library. 

Little Library

They made walls and a roof together out of playmats, and took the the books from the playschool bookshelf to build their collection. Some children delighted in mixing up all the books, and others in organizing them, which meant that everybody had a role to play. They even made library cards, with markers and stickers. 

Playschool Library Kids

And then they called in a grown-up, because imaginative play can only take one so far, and these kids knew they needed somebody with full-fledged literacy skills. They all sat down attentively, rapt in literary worlds, as Mimi read them a story. 

Playschool Library

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