CREATIVE CHILD CARE CONSULTING JUNE 2019 NEWSLETTER
Hello fellow educators and welcome to June!
I am very excited about this month’s newsletter. Creative Childcare Consulting has a new look. I’m loving the change and think you’ll love it too! You definitely don’t want to miss everything that is happening.
As we continue to grow, change, and move forward we would love your feedback especially on the topics you would like to see addressed in future newsletters. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Everyone at Creative Child Care Consulting loves the summer months, and we hope that we can help you discover more reasons to be outside with your children and how to bring nature into your classroom. Here is a list of June events that may inspire provocations and invitations to play.
Nature inspires, refreshes, and nurtures us. When experiences with nature are embedded in the early learning curriculum and daily routine, children benefit physically, emotionally, and intellectually as they have new experiences, exercise their bodies, and enjoy the feeling of freedom that comes from being connected to the natural world”. Debbie Handler and Ann S. Epstein
I have always firmly believed that children and nature go together and that the early learning classroom is a perfect place to stimulate natural curiosity. With the help of caring educators, children can learn how to be gentle, empathetic and respectful towards other living things.
Being an outdoor girl myself I am constantly on the lookout for inspiring nature activities that I can bring into the classroom, this is one of those activities. Living just outside of the city I have the privilege of enjoying a number of natural ponds in my community. Wanting to provide a unique experience for the children and as usual, having little time I scooped a bucket of water from a pond and poured it into a clear container to see what I would find. To my surprise, it was filled with tadpoles at various stages of metamorphosis into frogs, how exciting!
Arriving at the program with my treasure, I set it out on a table, stepped back and watched the magic happen. The children and educators were excited to see the tadpoles, a few water bugs and a small worm swimming in the container. We spent the entire morning looking through magnifying glasses; watching them, talking about what was happening and examining them carefully. As the morning progressed I set out additional material; play frogs, snakes, insects, small containers filled with water or sand, books and open-ended art material to expand on the children’s ideas and extend the play. It was a fascinating and educational experience for children and adults alike. The final lesson learned was too be responsible and release the critters back into the wild where they were originally collected.
There are multiple ways to bring nature into your classroom (or bring your classroom out in nature). Here is a list of ideas to get you started!
Have a picnic with your classroom (you can discuss where your food comes from and whether the food you are eating grows in the ground or on trees).
Have a garden or wildlife habitat (where children can share some responsibilities in maintaining it).
Create nature art (where children can create pieces of art out of rocks, leaves, sticks, bark, etc).
Start a compost pile utilizing the program’s green space (this is a great way to make the connection between food, waste, and nature at work).
Teach children how to recycle (children will often share the information they receive with the people who surround them).
Adopt a classroom pet (this is a great time to teach about animals and how to care for them).
Organize a nature-inspired show and tell (challenge children to bring something they find from their backyards or nearby parks and ask them to talk about their item. This promotes speech development and creates an opportunity to learn about habitats and ecosystems).
And don’t you just love Mud!
By: Traudi Kelm
INTERNATIONAL MUD DAY
This year’s date for International Mud Day is June 29th.
In 2008, Gillian McAuliffe, the Founder of Bold Park Community School in Perth, Australia, was participating in the World Forum for Early Childhood Care and Education. There, she had a discussion with a colleague from Nepal about the challenges children face when playing together in the mud. On the flight returning home from the Forum, McAuliffe thought about the obstacles that stand between many children and their ability to enjoy the simple, natural act of playing in mud. Some of the challenges are: cultural preferences for cleanliness, lack of access to “disposable” clothing that can be dirtied and proper cleaning supplies, or dry, sandy geography not conducive to muddy conditions.
When she returned to school in Perth, she shared her experience with a large group of 7 and 8 year olds. Those children decided to fundraise to purchase clothing for Nepalese children, so that they could all play in the mud “together”. Their efforts raised over $1000, which paid for new clothing for children in Nepal, where a Mud Day event was held for an orphanage. Now, every year near the end of June, children from all over the world celebrate International Mud Day to connect and celebrate the natural joys of playing in the mud!
Programs will receive a $50.00 discount if this workshop is booked for June.
Getting Back to Nature: Inspiring Nature Play in the ELCC Classroom (2 hours)
Everything around us is connected to nature. It inspires, refreshes, and nurtures us. This interactive workshop explores the many benefits of nature play and engages participants in hands-on exploration with nature activities they can immediately implement in your classrooms.
NEW FEATURE! Reading Corner
Everyone on the team at Creative Child Care Consulting is always researching and reading; all in an effort to bring you the most up to date and impactful information.
We asked all our consultants this month, “What are you reading right now?”
Marjorie Cole is currently reading Alberta's Day Care Controversy by Tom Langford.
Diane McKean is reading Bringing the Outside In by Sandra Duncan and Jody Martin and The Great Outdoors: Restoring Children’s Right to Play Outside by Mary S. Rivkin
Sharon Ness is currently reading Balanced and Barefoot by Angela J. Hanscom and Babies in the Rain by Jeff A. Johnson
Traudi Kelm is currently reading Director’s Toolbox; A Great Place to Work; Creating a Healthy Organizational Climate. by: Paula Jorde Bloom, Ann Hentschel, Jill Bello
DOES RISK TAKING SUPPORT EVERYDAY PLAY?
Long fun lazy days of summer fun are just around the corner. Some of the children’s fondest memories are being able to play outside for long lengths of time, changing their routines, challenging their abilities and making new friendships that open the opportunity for learning new fun and exciting activities. They can be louder; they have more space to roam around and explore and they are under less pressure to perform. They push boundaries and take more risks. They are instinctively doing what children are meant to be doing.
I have found myself reflecting over children I see playing every day and the benefits of some of the risks linked to play. What is my role as an Educator? Do I rule my children to the point that I am holding back their development? Have I created a “No Don’t do That” Play Zone? Heather Shumaker challenged my thinking in her book “It’s Ok to Go UP the Slide”. That makes sense. Why isn’t it ok to go up the slide? There is just as much possibility of children getting hurt going up the slide as going down the slide. My reflection led me to seek out international experts on Risky Play. After all, life is risky.
I am always asking myself what are the developmental benefits for children to take risks? What is the worst thing that can happen? How can I minimize the potential of harm and danger? How do I set the child up for success by providing a safe and supportive environment that allows that child to take that risk?
Providing opportunities for children to take risks does not mean putting children in danger, it means you are aware of the risk, you have assessed the risk, you have evaluated the benefits to the children and you and your team have done an assessment. For more information on Risk-Benefit Assessments visit Play Wales at http://www.playwales.org.uk/eng/managingrisk.
Encouraging children to take responsible risks supports them in learning safety boundaries, enables them to make responsible choices, improves social and critical thinking skills and it builds confidence and resiliency skills.
Wishing you all a fabulous summer full of treasured memories, humorous moments, lots of exploration and yes…Lots of Risky Play opportunities.
Diane McKean and the Creative Childcare Team
DELIGHTFUL IDEAS FOR MUD PLAY
Indoors or out, provide the children with a bin of mud. To make mud, us a bag of potting soil. Then add a small amount of sand, and then add as much water as you need to get the consistency you are looking for. This bin will work best if sits on the ground or on the floor.
Paint with Mud:
Provide the children with a bucket of mud and a variety of painting tools (brushes, twigs, kitchen utensils, feathers….) Make sure they have something sturdy to paint on! Cardboard or wood are great materials. Jackie Currie with Happy Hooligans website hung up an old whiteboard she was going to throw away. What a great idea!
Make Mud Castles
Who needs to go to the beach, when you can make mud castles in the play yard? Buckets, shovels and moulds, along with mud that is less liquidy will make marvellous castles!
Mud Pies, Cakes, Cookies
Look to your families for donations of pie plates, cake pans, muffin tins, mixing bowls and wooden spoons. It’s time to make an outdoor mud kitchen in your play yard. Creations can be decorated with sticks, rocks, flowers or grass.