Huron Playschool Cooperative

Mimi Loves: The Subway Mouse, by Barbara Reid

Book Cover The Subway MouseIn this series, our Playschool teachers share their favourites stories to share with children at Circle Time. This time, Mimi recommends The Subway Mouse, by Barbara Reid, a perfect book for city children with their public transit-savvy ways. Among this book's many honours, it won the Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award 2003 and was a finalist for the Governor General's Awards for Illustration. 

It's the story of a little mouse who dreams big and navigates the subway tunnels in pursuit of his dream, a fabled place called Tunnel's End. As appealing as the story are Reid's illustrations which combine her signature plasticine images wtih collage using familiar every day objects whose identification children will delight in—and will quite likely inspire an art project or two. 

Support Playschool by purchasing The Subway Mouse from Amazon.ca

Scenes From the After-School Program

Because the action never stops, it's always a bit tricky to get photos of students in our After-School program, but parent Avigail was on co-op duty yesterday and managed to get a few. 

Painting (and getting a little bit messy) never gets old.

After School Students Painting

Conjuring spring with a bit of indoor gardening and planting seeds for pot plants.

After School Gardening

Checking in with Mr. Bubbles and making sure he's had his dinner.

Fishing Feeding After School

And hooray, hooray! It's warming up for outdoor play. (Now come on springtime, keep doing your thing!)

After School Outdoor Play

 

Table's Ready

On my co-op shifts, I love setting the table for snack, the satisfying heft of all those tin plates and cups, the neatness of their arrangement on the tables, and the pleasure of creating this ritual for our children—breaking bread together is serious business, important and essential to community. And that our tables and chairs are tiny, as are the people sitting down to eat, is no reason not to honour the experience, and be grateful for all we have in each other and the food we eat. Which is why, of course, we always remember to give thanks! 

Plenty the Magazine

I think that our "Cool Stuff Playschool Parents Get Up To" file is my favourite file—and let me tell you, it's full to bursting. This time we're talking about former playschool (super) parent Nathalie who connected with friends Carol and Beth-Anne in a memoir writing class more than five years ago, and they have writing together online ever since. Their parenting blog was reborn last year as the online magazine, Plenty, "for women who like intelligent substance and helpful advice with a side of fluff; hold the judgement." 

The writers' approaches are diverse, and so are the posts (which include pieces by other writers and experts). A nice place to dive in would be with Nathalie's hilarious post on tidy-up guru Marie Kondo, in which she takes issue with the suggestion that books be stored in a cupboard. Pfff. 

And see recent archives for monthly themes on sex and friendship (respectively, obviously). 

Playschool Creations

There was all kinds of creating going on at playschool today. Conventional materials rendered some unique architecture over in the blocks area. 

Blocks

Artists were hard at work on their paintings. 

Painting

painting

And who knew what fun could ensue with children sticking hair curlers to sheets of felt? The creation on the right is a house, by the way. The one on the left is decidedly abstract. 

Crafts

Tracey Loves: So Much, by Trish Cooke and Helen Oxenbury

In this series, our Playschool teachers share their favourites stories to share with children at Circle Time. This time, Tracey recommends So Much, by Trish Cooke and Helen Oxenbury, a winner of many prizes when it was published in 1998. Mama and Baby are home alone one day, not doing anything in particular, when the doorbell rings, and rings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins arriving to hug that baby, to love that baby. Cooke’s prose is almost a song, and a joy to read, and readers will be particularly excited by the story’s surprise at the end. The book is remarkable for its celebration of family ties, portrayal of people of colour, and for showing that love can be displayed in all kinds of ways—even particularly rambunctious ways, which older children can appreciate. 

Support Playschool by purchasing So Much from Amazon.ca

Teacher's Pet

Mr. Bubbles

There is no one at playschool who has seen more than Mr. Bubbles, Huron Playschool's resident goldfish for almost fifteen years. He's watched hundreds of children come and go, and has helped many of them settle into our classroom and become comfortable in this new setting. In his easy, swimmy way, Mr. Bubbles gives our little people a sense of responsibiiity as they help care for a creature smaller than themselves, and provides a calming presence for the group.

Goldfish in the News:

Childcare co-ops featured in Enterprise Magazine

The history and future of childcare co-ops with all their benefits and challenges are explored in Alexandra Samur's piece, "The Quest for Quality Childcare,"  in the November issue of Enterprise Magazine: 

Childcare co-ops grew out of need. They originated in the U.S. in the early 1900s in small or rural communities where public childcare facilities simply would not have existed otherwise. In Canada, B.C. families first began organizing preschool cooperatives in the 1940s, with organizations such as the Association of Cooperative Play Groups of Greater Vancouver and Vancouver Island’s Cooperative Preschools leading the way. Shortly after, Ontario and Quebec parent groups also began holding informal meetings. Today, they do more than merely provide a much-needed resource. Participatory models of cooperative childcare can foster social inclusion among traditionally marginalized groups. (Read the whole thing here.)

We're pleased to offer the co-op model to families looking for quality childcare/ daycare in the Annex Neighbourhood here in Toronto. Co-op programs have lower fees and stronger community ties, resulting in great experiences for children and their families alike. 

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