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.
Published on Mar 29, 2016
Published on Mar 24, 2016
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:
- Mr. Hot Wing, a Pennsylvanian goldfish with a deformed jaw, was recently fitting with orthodontia
- the Iranian president shows his support for the rights of Mr. Bubbles' brethren
- Norwegian police seeking owner of lost goldfish
- Apparently children have lower attention spans than goldfish do. (Having met the meditative Mr. Bubbles though, this really doesn't surprise us.)
Published on Mar 22, 2016
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.
Published on Mar 22, 2016
From our "Cool Stuff Playschool Parents Get Up To" file, we bring you Playschool Mom Mahy and her online enterprise, Two Purple Figs. Mahy is a recipe developer, food stylist, culinary instructor, photographer, wife and busy mom, and she's doing it all on her site with new recipes all the time, fantastic photography to tempt you to try them—and oh, the rewards of actually doing so (i.e. the eating. Her Sweet Potato Black Bean Soup blew my mind!).
As you'd expect from a food blogger who's also a mom, there are plenty of great kid and family friendly recipes to try. We've become particularly fond of her Instant Chia Chocolate Pudding at our house, a really easy, delicious and nutritious chocolate treat. I sent it to Playschool too during the week I was on snack duty, and it went over a charm. The kids love it. And if you're requiring photographic proof of that, check out the photo on the right.
Published on Mar 21, 2016
One of the best parts of having a history stretching back nearly five decades is that our library has been around just as long, and so we have a huge collection of books to share with our children. This means that our bookshelves are ever-refreshed, new books put out all the time for classes to read together or for children to explore on their own. Our reading choices can be themed around seasons, cultural celebrations, ideas we're learning about in our programs, and those old stand-bys that everyone loves: books about dogs, babies, construction equipment and dinosaurs. Tracey also visits the Toronto Public Library often to borrow books and offer even more variety. A few times a year too we make the trip down Bloor Street to the Spadina Road Library to hear stories and participate in other children's programming. The library is definitely one of our favourite Annex neighbours.
Other great children's book/ early literacy resources:
Published on Mar 20, 2016
Enrichment programs expand our children's horizons, providing the opportunity to learn and practice new skills under the guidance of expert teachers. And most of all, these programs are fun! This year, students in the morning and after-school programs have had a great time with dance and music classes. Learn more about Music with Jennielea, and Dancing with Carolyn. Thank you to both teachers for all their amazing energy—we're so glad you're part of our community!
Published on Mar 18, 2016
Deciding when the time is right to begin pre-schooling can be difficult, and the answer is different for every child and every family. Playschool Mom Kelsie writes about making that decision in this gorgeous blog post about how it's all worked out for her family:
"And here is the part where—spoiler alert—I try to put into words how starting Charlie at PlaySchool was hands down the best decision we’ve made for him in his short life thus far. Was it good for me? Definitely. Was it good for us? Absolutely. But what takes the cake is how good—I mean really really good—it has been for my little boy."
Published on Mar 17, 2016
On the occasion of our 45th Anniversary in 2013, The Globe and Mail published an article about Huron Playschool and the various legacies of Rochdale College, "Toronto's great hippie experiment in free education and communal housing." The statue of the Unknown Student (pictured at right) is one of few artifacts remaining on the Rochdale site, which is now a Toronto Community Housing building—and certainly, many of our children have had fun running around on the raised platform where the statue sits. But culturally speaking, from Rochdale there emerged many important Toronto institutions, including Coach House Books, House of Anansi Press, the Hassle Free Clinic, and our very own Huron Playschool Cooperative.
And our tradition is still a hugely important part of playschool's own culture today:
"As was the case in the school’s inception, parental involvement is still a cornerstone of its operating model. Among other things, parents are required to come into the classroom and teach alongside staff three times a month in addition to assisting with event planning and administration.
“And when things happen in people’s lives that are not so good, the families are there to support each other,” adds [Playschool director] Tracey Pegg,'"