2018 Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education Recipient!

We are so very excited to announce that our very own Kayleigh McEwan & Educara have received the 2018 Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education.

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These awards honor outstanding and innovative early childhood educators for their leadership, exemplary early childhood education practices, and their commitment to help build the foundation children need to make the best possible start in life.

Thank you to all our Educara Families for believing in us and Kayleigh! We are so proud of this accomplishment. Congratulations Kayleigh.

View Kayleigh McEwan’s recipient bio “Inter-generational learning in the community” here.

Montessori Birthday Celebrations

At Educara we love that the Montessori birthday celebration gives a concrete way for young children to understand the months of the year and the earth’s revolution around the sun each year. It also is a way for children to feel special and to connect with their place in the world.

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One special Montessori tradition is the celebration of a child’s birthday. Called “The Celebration of Life,” it involves the child standing in the middle of a circle with all of the children seated around him or her. In the center of the circle is an item that reprents the sun. The child holds the globe and walks around the sun 1 time for each year while friends sing.

The Montessori Birthday Walk is sang to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”:

The Earth goes around the sun,
The Earth goes around the sun,
It takes a year to go around,
The Earth goes around the sun!
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Everyone wants to be remembered and cherished on the special day that they were born. The Montessori Celebration of Life is a lovely way to celebrate a child’s birthday in a school setting.

The benefits of inter-generational activities

In the recent past, extended families often lived within the same home or very close to each other; however, this does not occur as frequently today. Even though people live healthier, longer lives, they expect to be self-sufficient. The trend in recent decades is for older Canadians to live alone.

As a result of this desire for independence, either by nuclear families or older adults, only one in eight single elderly adults now lives with extended family. The paradox is that although children today are more likely to have healthy, active grandparents, they are also less likely to know their grandparents well or visit with them frequently.

While it is not always possible for families to be in close proximity, it is important for both youth and seniors to connect with those of differing generations.

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Benefits of Intergenerational Relationships

Developing connections with a younger generation can help older adults feel a greater sense of fulfillment. In fact, linking older adults with youth can provide advantages for both groups. For example, such relationships can:

  1. Provide an opportunity for both to learn new skills
  2. Give the child and the older adult a sense of purpose
  3. Help to alleviate fears children may have of the elderly
  4. Help children to understand and later accept their own aging
  5. Invigorate and energize older adults
  6. Help reduce the likelihood of depression in the elderly
  7. Reduce the isolation of older adults
  8. Fill a void for children who do not have grandparents available to them
  9. Help keep family stories and history alive
  10. Aide in cognitive  stimulation as well as broaden social circles should a youth introduce technology into the life a senior

Activities that Initiate, Build and Strengthen Inter-generational Relationships

  • Storytelling. Swapping stories is a great activity and can help build a connection.
  • Learning skills. Many older adults have skills or talents that would be interesting for children. Perhaps your child could learn to weave, crochet, fish, bake, or even take care of animals.
  • Reading to each other.
  • Planning/preparing a meal (if applicable).
  • Talking about ethnic heritage. Share ethnic customs, discuss the meaning of a name in native language, or relate special stories passed down about culture.
  • Planting seeds or gardening. This illustrates the stages of the life cycle. A container garden can be created if bending or space are issues.
  • Weather watching.
  • Discussing hobbies and sharing examples.
  • Having the child teach the senior a new technology

At Educara we have seen the power of inter-generational relationships first hand. Our children have had our grand-friends rich history brought to life through the stories they share with our children. And the spark of vitality has returned to the faces of so many of our grand-friends who benefit from the youthful conversations and activities they share with both children and our staff.

 

Educara is committed to strengthening these important relationships, bridging the gap between generations and even becoming extended family to those who are in need of the bonds of inter-generational relationships.

Visit our face book album “Baking with Grand-Friends- Inter-generational Fun!” to see our latest Inter-generational activity!

Sounds like? Montessori Sandpaper letters!

The purpose of the sand paper letters is for the child to learn the sound and shape of the letters of the alphabet and to gain a muscular memory of the shape of the letters as a prelude to writing.

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With the sandpaper letters your child’s teacher will introduce the phonetic sounds to the child. In today’s language, anyone who knows how to sound out words can decode any new word they confront. Eighty per cent of the time, letters use the phonetic sound. A child who can use this knowledge is far ahead of the child who is taught through a “Look/Say” approach. The child taught through a “Look/Say” approach is limited to the words he has been specifically taught and their ability to remember those words.

In the Montessori approach, the sounds of the letters are taught before the child is introduced to the names of the letters. Research has shown that it is best to learn one thing at a time. It is too much to have to remember both names and sounds. If the child is taught both the names and the sounds in the beginning, it has been found that the child gets confused when trying to sound out a word because it is difficult to remember which the letter represents. Therefore, to avoid the added difficulty, the phonetic sound of each letter is taught first, and the names of the letters are taught later. In addition, since some letters can represent more than one sound, the other sounds which are less frequently used than the phonetic sound are also taught later. In this way, the child only has to learn one sound for each letter in the beginning.

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The teaching of the sounds and letters is through a multi-sensory approach. The child will hear the sound, see its representation in the form of a letter, and feel the way it is written as the child feels the letter with his fingers. Since a motor pattern should be learned correctly the first time, it is very important that the child trace properly formed letters. This will help them develop a good pattern for handwriting. Therefore, a basic form of the cursive letter is used. In this way, when a child changes from writing the letters without connecting strokes to a connected cursive style, rather than change his motor pattern by changing from a ball and stick form of letter to a more flowing curvilinear letter, the child will only have to extend the pattern of writing he is already using by adding connecting strokes instead of also having to reform the letters. As a result, the only difference for the child between his “print” and his “cursive” writing will be the addition of the connecting strokes to complete the cursive style. So, the letters will be made as follows:

 

The importance of Inter-generational relationships

FullSizeRender-4Inter-generational relationships are becoming more popular these days as people are seeing the benefits that they bring.

Relationships and activities between older adults (whom we at Educara we refer to as Grand-Friends) and children serve an important role in the life of children who may not have the benefit of grandparents or elderly person in their lives.

In connecting generations we cultivate relationships to where age doesn’t matter. We can share traditions, histories, skills, creativity, spirit, and a sense of wonder. And these things can be shared through grand-friend Activities!

Inter-generational relationships help the young, the old, and the community in many ways:

  • Provide an opportunity to learn new skills for both youth and seniors, with seniors teaching youth about careers or other knowledge and youth teaching seniors how to use technology.
  • Help youth to understand and accept aging, and promote a healthy cultural attitude toward aging
  • Fight violence and crime by giving young people purposeful activity
  • Give older adults more energy and something to look forward to
  • Fill a need for children who do not have grandparents, or whose grandparents live far away
  • Reduce depression and isolation in the elderly
  • Keep family history alive
  • Give older adults a way to stay connected to the community and strengthen the sense of social responsibility in young people
  • Break down stereotypes each generation has about the other

One of our parents summed up it up perfectly by saying “My son gains so much from participating in inter-generational activities with grand-friends, as well….a grandparent figure, exposure (and reduced fear) to walkers, wheelchairs and people who like to ruffle his hair. These “grand-friends” are kind, patient, and have a wealth of information to share with the children and after every activities he comes home with a big smile and shares with us his many stories of his grand-friends”.

It’s very clear to us at Educara that taking the time to build inter-generational relationships among young children and older adults is an important aspect of early childhood education as well as an important part of daily activities for these residents.

Inter-generational friendships are a WIN WIN!

Growing older

Sand for the senses!

Can you imagine a better summer activity than Sand Play? We all know how fun sand play can be, but did you know the sensory benefits that can be found from sand play?
 
Sand Play lends itself to a multitude of sensory activities and benefits. Most of us think of sand play as a very tactile (touchy/feely) activity and don’t realize how much more sand play is actually benefiting our children’s sensory systems.
 
I am going to share just a few of sensory benefits of sand play.
  • The tactile sense detects light touch, deep pressure, texture, temperature, vibration, and pain. Sand allows children to explore various textures and temperatures, from the dry hot sand on the surface to the cool moist sand as they dig deeper. This simple play is a stepping stone for later skills such as identifying objects by touch alone, discriminating various textures, playing instruments, and even writing/typing without looking down.
  • The vestibular sense allows a child to move through space and know where they are in that space. Sand play provides a wonderful venue for vestibular input as children run through the sand, bend upside down to dig a mote with their favorite shovel, spin their feet and hands through the sand, or fill and shake an exciting sifter and funnel. This simple play is a stepping stone for later skills such as skiing, bike riding, and staying alert in a classroom.
  • Proprioception refers to a child’s ability to sense their body’s position and be aware of their surroundings. Sand play provides appropriate “heavy work” through pushing, pulling, shoveling, scooping and pouring. You might even see a child lie down in the sand, push a bulldozer against the sand, or carry buckets of sand… all of which are providing that child with amazing sensory input.This simple play is a stepping stone for later skills such as proper posture, attentiveness, reading, and proper pencil grasp.

These are just a few of the many benefits of sand play. Along with tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive sensory benefits, sand play provides opportunities for language development, fine motor development, and creative dramatic play.

Not to mention the hours of fun!

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Sandcastle

Under the sea

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This summer, we’ve been focusing on some fascinating and fun units of study with our preschoolers. But, what better way to celebrate the summer than to study the magnificent wonders of the ocean.

The children have been learning about the five oceans, what wonderful mysterious creatures live in the deep blue as well as the different types of vertebrates and invertebrates. The children have worked so hard to create our under the sea theme in the preschool classroom with their own creative, colorful fish and lobsters.

Montessori-inspired units work well for preschoolers because we place the activities on trays and baskets on shelves, allowing your child to choose activities as his or her interest allows. It’s summer, so the units are water and weather focused, relaxed and fun! Parents be sure to ask your child what their favorite underwater creature is!

 

 

Parents the learning doesn’t have to stop when your child goes home for the day, you can continue the learning at home with these fun ideas!

Enjoy a yummy, crabby pita pocket for lunch!

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You’ll need:

  • pita pocket
  • carrots
  • tuna salad or egg salad
  • spinach or lettuce (optional)

To Make:

  1. Make your favorite tuna salad or egg salad recipe and slice some carrots.
  2. Cut a small side off of the pita pocket to form the mouth of the crab.
  3. Scoop the tuna or egg salad into the “mouth” of the pita pocket crab.
  4. Place the filled pita pocket on a bed of spinach on the plate.
  5. Position the carrot slices around the pita pocket to form the crabby claws and the eyes.
  6. Enjoy your yummy, crabby, pita pocket lunch!

Before you eat why not read this cute little book “Clumsy Crab” by Ruth Galloway about how Nipper the crab and his “clumsy” claws are able to save the day! Clumsy

The strawberry octopus is a fun summer-beachy treat for you to make with your child. While your making it be sure to ask your child questions about the ocean unit studies. Where does the octopus live? How many tentacles does it have etc?

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  1. Wash 2 strawberries
  2. Cut off the green stems
  3. Set one berry on a plate, cut side down
  4. Slice one berry into eight pieces for “legs” and arrange them
  5. Press the candy eyes onto the berry ( you can find these at Bulk Barn or Micheal’s in the cake decorating section)

You can continue the ocean theme to enhance math skills at home with this fun activity.

Fish Math

For the activity, you would have the child choose two number cards, placing the larger number in the space to the left. Then he or she could count out the correct number of Goldfish to place above the minuend as in the photo.

As the child counts out the correct number for the subtrahend, he or she could count out and move that number of Goldfish to the “water” above the subtrahend. After eating those Goldfish, the child could then count out the goldfish left and place the number card with the difference in the last space. Continue creating and solving subtraction equations until the Goldfish are gone.

We hope you enjoy these fun suggestions
Happy Summer and just like Dory .. just keep swimming
Dory

Celebrating Canada’s Birthday

Nothing is more Canadian than bringing generations together to celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday! The children were so excited to celebrate Canada’s Birthday through crafts, music, food, friendship and fun!

Sharing stories and working on “party noise makers” the children enjoyed their inter-generational time with their V!va grand-friends. Their grand-friends were eager to share stories of their Canada Day memories and the children were just as eager to share their upcoming long weekend plans!

Everyone worked together to create and decorate their musical instruments with a Canadian Theme. Red, white and sparkles.52044261145__9BA98743-3AC4-4B88-8325-41E0788196AF

The children worked very hard to learn and perform their Oh Canada song. Visit our facebook page to see their video.

They were very proud to show their personalized hand print flags that each child worked so hard to create! We think they turned out wonderful.FullSizeRender-4

Crafting and singing works up an appetite the children were thrilled to enjoy Canada Day cupcakes as a treat!

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From the tattoos to the treats the children enjoyed celebrations!IMG_4804IMG_4803

From all of us at Educara we wish you a safe and happy Canada Day!Canday

Fathers day fun~ Bottled with love!

Linking generations through inter-generational activities is one of the unique elements of our Educara Montessori Program.

This month we are celebrating Fathers Day!  Our children had a wonderful time with their grand-friends at V!va retirement community working together to create a fabulous one of a kind fathers day gift that every father will love.

Everyone loves food and all fathers love to BBQ right? Well our children got together with their V!va grand-friends to cook up some homemade BBQ sauce and bottle it with their creativity and love.

The importance of this activity goes way beyond just making a fathers day gift. Cooking and eating are social activities that bring people together despite differences in community standing, cultural background and age. Food is at the heart of most “communities or families” and at Educara its no different.

Many of our inter-generalization activities involve cooking or baking to promote understanding and sharing between our Educara children and their grand-friends. Food is a powerful social medium. Through the simple act of cooking together, young and old  learn that they have much in common and much to talk about. Both are often pleasantly surprised to learn of each other’s unique abilities, personalities and qualities.

The children are encouraged to ask questions, for instance is baking the same today as it was when you were little? How has it changed? The answers are usually ones that fascinate the children and the stories of when their grand-friends were little often leave them in awe.

These wonderful inter-generational activities remind our Educara children that there are many positive characteristics associated with seniors. And, through opportunities to share activities with the children, the seniors learn firsthand that young people have valuable insights to share.

 

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