It’s time to unfold new pages and start a new chapter in your life. The New Year is cause for celebration, to look back into the year gone by and for looking ahead to a time of new beginnings. It’s a time to set new goals, a time to reflect on the things that are important to us and the things we wish to achieve. May this new year bring many opportunities your way; our hopes are that in the days ahead all your efforts turn into great achievements.
This is the beginning of everything you want.
Every day, in some way, you are part of a team. The question is, Will your involvement with others be successful?
We all know that teamwork is a good thing; in fact, that it is essential to success. But how does it really work? Why do some teams realize their vision, while others seem to go nowhere? Good teamwork does not come naturally, it requires a commitment from everyone to succeed.
A good leader plays a pivotal role in supporting and managing their team. They know the difference between a team that just works and a team that works together.
What goals are you working towards achieving right now? As a leader, you, more than anyone, determine the environment of your organization and whether people are invested. Encourage growth, set aside time and invest in your team.
Now reflect on how you are working towards these goals. What approach are you taking? Are you doing it on your own? Or are you building a team to accomplish them?
We invite you to take the journey with us.
Winning teams have players who make things happen.
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REJUVENATE AND RECHARGE YOUR BATTERIES WITH PROFESSIONAL RESOLUTIONS
By Marjorie Cole
January always comes with New Year’s Resolutions: promises we make in hopes of being a better version of ourselves. We often make personal resolutions but what about professional resolutions? Here are some ideas to get you thinking about how to be a “better you” when it comes to your professional practice.
Challenge yourself to read something new
the books we list here in our newsletters are meant to inform you, inspire you and encourage you. I did not realize how much I actually read professionally until I had to start making regular contributions to the newsletter. You can read a professional journal, review a textbook from your student days, read a new children’s book, or read blogs from inspirational leaders.
Challenge yourself to add a new practice to your toolbox
Learn something new even if it is not related to work. You will bring that energy and enthusiasm with you when you enter your workspace.
Network, network, and network!
Learn from your children and from others who inspire you.
A colleague and friend recently mentioned that she wants to be more like her young daughters who exude happiness, breakdown barriers and stereotypes, hug unconditionally, laugh often, embrace their identities and are caring and empathetic. Inspirational, isn’t it?
Recharge and rejuvenate your professional batteries
Be present in the moment
.Be thankful for your profession; if you’re not thankful, then move on to where you can be thankful
Be organized at work so that you can focus on being a better you.
Set boundaries around your work practice – leave work at work or, if you have to take it home with you, set a time frame for work and then shut the books/computer and forget about it.
List five things you are grateful for at the end of each workday. It may range from being glad you didn’t get sneezed on to happy you got to drink a warm coffee during a break. We all have those small moments of joy, but we don’t always acknowledge them.
By focusing on professional resolutions, we are acknowledging the importance of our work and valuing those we work with including our children, families, colleagues, directors, and, most importantly, ourselves
CANADIAN KIDS NEED TO MOVE MORE TO BOOST THEIR BRAIN HEALTH
The ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth 2018
For decades we’ve known that physical activity improves heart health, helps maintain healthy body weights and builds strong bones and muscles in children across a range of skills and abilities. There are important connections between the health of the body and of the brain, connections that must be fostered in order for children to reach their mental, emotional and intellectual potential. Children’s bodies have to move to get the wheels in their brains turning. They need to be active. Their brain health depends on it. A growing body of evidence indicates that physical activity in childhood is essential for a healthy brain. Research continues to prove children who are active for at least 60 minutes a day tend toad a healthier life and perform better academically. According to the ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth; the Science Is In
Well, are you ready for winter? It has arrived! When the weather turns chilly get children moving by including playful outdoor activities in your daily routines.
During the winter months, we need to get creative and work hard to ensure that children get the exercise and physical activity that they need.
When the weather drops into the single digits, it is common for parents to want their children to stay indoors to play. Before you keep children indoors all winter, let’s consider all of the benefits that cold weather has when it comes to children’s health, development, and well-being. And remember a growing body of evidence indicates that physical activity in childhood is also essential for a healthy brain.
Children are able to see the outdoors through a new lens
After the change in season or the first snowfall, children view their environment through a different lens which enables them to imagine the outdoors differently, be creative and play in different ways.
There is an increase in Gross MotorExperiences
The winter months provide us with different ways of moving our bodies. Larger muscles are put to use as the snow provides new challenges. This large-muscle use and increase in physical activity support children’s gross motor development and overall health.
Getting Fresh Air and Avoiding Bacteria
As adults we often associate the winter months with getting colds and illnesses such as the flu. However, it is not the cold weather that causes colds and flus, it is increased exposure to indoor environments where bacteria and viruses live. Adults and children who spend long periods of time in a heated and poorly ventilated environment, without exposure to fresh air, can easily pass germs to each other.
New Challenges and Problem-Solving
Weather that adults consider challenging provides environments and materials that are inspiring and fun for children; for example, patches of ice, large snow hills, and trees covered in snow. Engagement with outdoor environments in the winter provokes new problem-solving skills and provides children with the challenges that are essential for healthy body and brain development.
Vitamin D Exposure
When we stay indoors during the winter, we are not only missing out on play, but also on necessary vitamins that the outdoor environment gives us. Children get vitamin D through sun exposure and absorb it even though the sun is not as warm in the winter. Vitamin D helps regulate mental and emotional moods, doing so by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin plays an important role in regulating mood and keeping us happy. The more exposure you have to the sun, the higher your serotonin levels will be.
So how much outdoor play time should children actually be getting in the winter months? It is recommended that children get at least half an hour of playtime outdoors in the winter. Creating and engaging in winter play is actually fun for you and the children, and very easy to do! Here are some activities that you can do outdoors with very little prep or materials.
Spray paint art: fill spray bottles with water and food colouring and draw on the snow
Target snowball: hang a target on a tree or lean against a wall, let children take aim with snowballs
Tic, tac, toe: make the grid in snow, use sticks and pinecones
Snow search: hide objects in the snow and give children time to find them. Glow sticks are lots of fun
Snow Sculptures: Freeze water in large tubs, add food colour if you like. Use hammers, spoons, sticks, shovels, etc. to sculpt
Frozen Bubbles; blow bubbles outside in the cold air, they will be harder to pop and last longer
For you and the children to have a great time in the cold weather, the most important thing to consider is appropriate clothing.
REMEMBER: There is no bad weather only bad clothing choices.
CANADIAN KIDS AREN’T ACTIVE ENOUGH
35% of 5- to-17-year-olds meet the physical activity recommendation within the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (2014-15 CHMS, Statistics Canada).
62% of 3- to 4-year-olds meet the physical activity recommendation within the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (2009-11, 2012-13 and 2014-15 CHMS, Statistics Canada).
We love the children we work with, but this time of year is challenging for all of us. Those lovely children are like Petri dishes of infection. Their young immune systems haven’t encountered enough germs to build up virus-fighting white blood cells, so they pick up all kinds of illnesses and pass them around to one another constantly.
Here are some simple, yet effective ways to stay healthy
Wash your hands whenever possible. To prevent cracking, invest in some good quality, fast-absorbing moisturizer. Stop at the dollar store and buy your own nail brush and use it every single time. There is no need to use antibacterial soap. Regular hand soap will effectively clean off the germs. Spending a few dollars right now will prevent a lot of missed time at work.
Perhaps you like to treat yourself to manicures and to keep your nails a little on the long side. For then next few months, keep your nails short. Short nails are much easier to clean, and those horrible germs have one less place to hide.
3. Don’t Touch Your Face
The average person touches their face 3000 times a day. Rubbing your nose, eyes or chin is a marvellous way to transfer cold and flu germs into your body. For many of us, this means building new habits. Try to become aware when you touch your face and gently remind yourself to save it for home.
4.Skip the Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is usually based on alcohol, which can be drying to your skin. They also give people a false sense of security that their hands are clean, and many people do not use them properly. Opt for hand washing instead and you will likely be much healthier.
5. Stay Hydrated
Keep your water bottle near and stay well hydrated. You want your body healthy on all fronts and hydration is a great place to begin.
6. Flu Shot
There are differing opinions on whether people should get flu shots or any immunizations. If you are not opposed to immunization, a flu shot can help support your health. You may fight off the flu with it, or the shot may lessen the time you are away from work. They are free in Alberta and available at clinics and pharmacies.
7. Constant Cleaning
Clean your tabletops. Clean high touch areas like doorknobs and chairs. Run regular loads of laundry. Make your classroom the cleanest one in the centre. This might take you a few more minutes of your day, but if it saves you from missing work, it’s worth it.
Don’t underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep. This is when your body is able to take over and restore you're well being. If you are on the verge of getting sick, a good night’s sleep can often be enough to prevent a full-blown illness from taking hold.
9. Change Clothes
When you arrive home, go to your room and change your clothes. Take all the germs you are carrying home on your shirt or pants and put them in the laundry basket. This will also help the people you live with from getting sick too.
10. Eat the Rainbow
Eat a diet rich in colourful vegetables and fruit. There are so many immune-boosting foods that are available year-round! If you are a confessed junk food junkie, this is the time you need to make more thoughtful choices around your food. Remember, you are what you eat. At very least try to take a multivitamin each day.
11. Get Fresh Air
When possible get outside with the children. Staying indoors exposes you to a multitude of germs. Get out into the fresh air and sunshine. Being in the cold does not make you sick; in fact, it’s a great way for you to remain healthy.
12. And Speaking of Sunshine….
Getting outside in the winter gives a dose (albeit small) of Vitamin D.
We would love to hear how you and your colleagues remain healthy this time of year! Drop us a line at:
Inspiring Wonder and Curiosity in your OOSC Programs
By Diane McKean
January and February are the perfect months to conduct some personal reflection on our practices, evaluate our curriculum, freshen up our environments and align our programs with our organizational goals. All this provides the opportunity to inspire wonder and curiosity within our program environments.
Children learn naturally when they have the opportunity to experience the joy of exploration; referred to as the ability to be curious and full of wonder. Quality out of school care programs provide environments that support children with the opportunities to:
Connect with people and nature
Become engaged in freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated play.
Conduct research using print, technology, and scientific methods.
Ask questions while feeling safe and free of judgement
Co-create their learning and the environments they learn in.
Here’s a great web-based resource that will support you and your team to do some reflective practice on your environments and provide some further insight on Inspiring Curiosity and Wonder.
Educators reward curiosity and wonder by providing the tools and materials to help them grow. Curiosity and wonder are often compared to a garden. If you want your garden to grow, you have to feed it. The same is true of curiosity and wonder. How you, as an Educator, approach curiosity and wonder will impact the child’s willingness to be curious and explore new learning opportunities.
Here are some strategies you can use to promote curiosity and wonder.
Build a mutually fun, stable and trustworthy relationship with all children.
Stop, look and listen to the children around you. Ask them questions, record your observations, reflect on what experiences you can offer that will help grow their curiosity and then provide the materials and support to enable them to feel safe to further explore their curiosities.
Teach children how to ask questions. Quality question-asking is a vital life skill. Good questions are those why, what if, and how questions. Using current events to open up conversations is an excellent way to develop strong questioning skills.
Notice when children feel puzzled or confused. Educators can model their own curiosity and wonder by asking some good questions that may lead to some quality co-learning
Encourage children to think. Tinkering with materials, inventing, constructing, STEM, service learning, writing blogs, or incorporating inquiry-based projects are all excellent ways to encourage wonder and curiosity. These materials can be spread out in many different areas throughout the environment to encourage a variety of different choices on a daily basis.
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult, who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the real world we live in.” Rachel Carson
EVENTS AND SPECIAL DAYS
National Bird Day
Bubble Bath Day & Make your Dreams Come True
Secret Pal Day
Dress up Your Pet Day
Penguin Awareness Day & Cheese Lovers Day
National Hugging Day
Measure Your Feet Day
Chinese New Year – Year of the Rat
National Kazoo Day
National Puzzle Day
Ground Hogs Day
National Weatherman’s Day
Ballet Day & Wear Red Day
Stop Bullying Day
Make a Friend Day
Love your Pet Day
Fairy Tale Day
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