Fall Schedule

Our Fall Schedule and Calendar are up! If you’re looking for classes for this fall, look no further! We have everything from baking to hip hop. If you have any questions or inquiries about scheduling please feel to contact us at info@seasonsfamilycentre.com

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Reduce, Reuse & Recycle Craft Project

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This is a great project you can do with your kids or on your own! If you’re going to do it with your kids, you can take the opportunity to talk about reducing, reusing and recycling . You can use these nifty tin can holders to hold just about anything. We use them in the art studio and the kitchen! Here’s a list of materials and step by step guide to help you!

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  • 6 Tin Cans (all same size)
  • Nail
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • 6 Screws (plus two for the handle)
  • small 2×4 wood (scrap pile at Home Depot)
  • Metal Handle (purchased at Home Depot)
  • Can of Black Spray Paint (or colour of your choice)

STEPS

1) Spray all tin cans, 2×4 and handle with spray paint (make sure to do this in well ventilated area)

2) Once cans have fully dried, use the hammer and nail to knock a small hole in each can in the appropriate spot. You can then make the hole bigger by holding the can against the 2×4 and using the drill. Then use a screw to secure the can to the wood.

3) Screw the handle on top of the 2×4 in the middle.

4) Ta Da!

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The Importance of Learning Through Artistic Play

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>> Expert Advice from our ECE Expert: Kim Davies <<

Children’s overall development is affected by a combination of both their biological maturation and their environment. As they represent what they know in different ways, it is imperative to provide children with opportunities to practice their skills in a safe environment that offer real challenges. By problem solving through artistic play, children cognitively go through the process of accommodation. During this process, children learn new information and add it to their existing knowledge base, to come up with a refined idea about their world.

So, when I walked into the spacious art room, illuminated by sunlight streaming through the windows, I smiled as my eyes immediately noticed the long tables’ set-up with a variety of water colour paints, paint brushes of multiple sizes, colourful and bright pastels and multiple large canvases. As a qualified and experienced Early Childhood Educator and Elementary School Teacher, I understood the critical components that produce an ideal and amazing art program for children. An ideal art program must provide children with enough time, space, materials and tools to explore, along with a nurturing environment where an individual’s creative process can flourish, and where an artistically inclined teacher provides positive feedback.

To the untrained eye, it may appear that children at play are busy making a mess at the art table rather then learning. However I beg to differ, as children at play are children hard at work, constantly learning about the world around them. Artistic play based learning and problem solving stimulates children’s brain development during their critical stages of cognitive growth. As they practice and use the art mediums and tools in new and different ways, children continue to go through the process of accommodation as they learn and develop new ideas about the world around them. For instance, with toddlers, all of a sudden the wet glue is no longer just something white and sticky, but a substance used to help hold a special gem or pompom onto their canvas. Alternatively, with repeated opportunities for practice, a few strokes of red and white paint that blend together on paper are no longer accidental, but done on purpose to achieve the product of making pink paint.

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Last Day of Summer Camp!

We had so much fun on our last day of Summer Camp! We went to the Spadina Museum on a field trip in the morning and the children learned all about what life was like in the 1920’s! In the afternoon we put on a short play of “The 3 Little Pigs” for the parents. The campers did such an amazing job!

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Children’s “Critical Period” of Learning and Stages of Cognitive Play

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>> Expert Advice from our ECE Expert: Kim Davies <<

There are many types of play that use hands-on tools and manipulatives including sand play, water play, block play, music, drama, dance and creative arts that use open-ended materials. It is through the repetition of quality interactions and experiences in children’s early years that these advanced brain patterns evolve. For the duration of these “sensitive” stages of brain development, children go through two main stages of Cognitive Play.

The first is called Functional Play. This is when toddlers and young preschools learn through repetitive, open-ended free-play (with no determined outcome). During this developmental stage, they repeatedly practice their mental schemes by interacting with objects, people and language in their environment. It may appear that they have a limited attention span and may wander from toy to toy, but they are learning as they attempt to manipulate shapes, fill buckets, empty baskets and knock items over. These toddlers are rapidly developing all of their skills as they practice using their bodies in motion. Meanwhile, they are developing language, social and emotional skills as they interact with other children and adults as they play.

The second stage of Cognitive Play is divided into three sub-categories that include Constructive, Dramatic and Games with Rules. Mostly toddlers and preschool age children engage in the symbolic actions of Constructive Play where they use materials and objects to make other things (the cone-shaped pylon becomes and ice cream cone or hat). This stage of play allows children to create and construct their own representation of objects in the real world.

Mature toddlers, preschool and young school-age children engage in Dramatic Play that is based on imaginary role-play with and without props. You can see this type of play in action as children begin to use the toys around them to create imaginary play scenes. For instance, the plastic food set is used to host a pretend picnic with the bears and puppets on a blanket. You will see the children pretend to feed the toys and then let you know when they are “full”.

The third category of Constructive Play is Games with Rules. This stage is typically entered when school-age children begin to engage in complex, cooperative games that have pre-set rules for play, such as soccer, tag or board games. This stage of play requires open communication, team work and the ability to self-regulate one’s emotions while following the rules.

Learning through play during children’s critical period of growth and brain development is of most importance and timing is everything. Play is vital to all children’s learning as it provides them with opportunities to express their thoughts and feelings, to meet and solve meaningful and real problems, to foster flexible and divergent thinking, and to develop social, language and literacy skills and concepts.

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Brain Development and How Children Learn Through Play

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>> Expert Advice from our ECE Expert: Kim Davies <<

Brain Development and How Children Learn Through Play

From a historical perspective, it is well known that children’s learning occurs in all social and cultural settings and that the best practice for all children’s early learning, includes artistic play as a natural childhood activity.

According to ancient Greek Philosopher Plato, it is “the adult’s role to provide children with an environment that encourages them to enjoy learning through relevant and meaningful opportunities while surrounded by items that foster their imagination, ability to imitate, and an environment that contains materials that provide opportunities for repeated practice of skills, in order to prepare them for adulthood”. Likewise, it is common knowledge within the current field of Education that children learn best through active, hands-on learning experiences that include parent or teacher involvement, as a positive and nurturing role model. We know that children should be encouraged to learn by exploring their senses and motor abilities, as play helps them to make sense of the changing world around them.

In the Early Years Study, sponsored in 1999 by the Government of Ontario, McCain and Mustard identified the importance of young children’s Critical Periods of learning. According to the study, children go through several sensitive periods within their first six years of life, during which time particular functions of the brain go through stages of development. These developmental stages offer windows of opportunities in each child’s early years when their brain is ready to receive sensory input and develop more advanced neural systems through the wiring and sculpting process. As children’s brains are further stimulated, they continue to develop neural networks that establish patterns for later learning, behaviour patterns and overall health.

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