Thursday, November 27, 2014

More November News

I forgot to post these outdoor pictures in my last post. On one of our walks after the first snowfall, Thomas dove onto someone's front lawn and started to make a snow angel. Dea followed suit. Leila is not quite sure about the snow yet, but she is observing and learning, from her friends, just how fun snow can be.

When there are two or more sizes of anything (balls, cups, trees, anything), Amadea will call the smallest the 'baby': "baby ball", "baby cup", etc. So, of course, her angel was the baby, and she was very pleased with that.

These three are so close. They love each other so much. Often, one will spontaneously hug another. I think these close bonds they are making at such a young age are teaching them very valuable social skills. It's funny, but it has just dawned on me recently, how good a set-up a home daycare can be for this very reason. While large daycare centres are also wonderful, I think the value of having a tight-knit group should not be undervalued. I would even go so far as to say that socially, these guys might just be ahead of their peers who are in much larger groups.

We decided to take a trip on the bus yesterday, just for the heck of it!

And followed it up with a subway ride! I would have liked for them to have put their own bus tickets in, but we had a very grumpy and impatient bus driver. Geeesh. Kids are people too!

You may be wondering why I am posting much more frequently than I used to. This is because, since September, I have not had any children in the daycare who do not nap anymore. Before this, for the past two years, I ran activities for the older kids while the babes slept. But for this probably brief time of a few months, it feels like I get both a daily break and some prep time, so to speak! I have one new baby starting in January, and another starting in February. I'm guessing the blogs will be less frequent next year, at least until the newbies get more comfortable napping in their new environment. Until then, I'm enjoying being able to share my reflections and our experiences as often as I can! That's the news for today, folks!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Change of Seasons

Here are some pictures taken near the end of October. The kids and I have thoroughly enjoyed a glorious fall season.

Leila is not into going to the playground much lately. She is much happier (they all are actually) when we go for walks around the block. On these walks, Thomas never sees anything he doesn't want to climb!

We have been making it a weekly habit to visit the Annette Street Library drop-in program, and the Indian Road Public School "Early Literacy and Parenting Program". We usually just refer to the latter as "Leslie's", since she is the one who runs the program, and she is wonderful. She makes the program what it is. Here she is in the photo below, reading a story to the kids during circle time. You can see Leila and Thomas there on the carpet. (Dea is hidden). This kind of thing is so great for getting kids ready for the idea of school. It also gently, and gradually helps them become a little less shy, develops social skills, listening skills, and well, I could go on and on and on, but you get the picture. ;)

Our time there each week involves snack time, story and music time (circle time), a trip to the school gym (for a variety of gross motor activities), and some play time.

During play time, the children can play with the regular toys in the room, or they can line up at the learning closet, and select a special learning activity from Leslie.

Here, the kids have chosen a sorting activity. Leila is sorting by animal type. Amadea later sorted them according to colour.

Thomas's favourite activity lately is playing with the big soft blocks.

Amadea and Thomas also love the water table. On this day, Leslie had coloured the water blue, just for fun!

I tried to get the kids to stop eating for one moment, so I could get a picture of them, but this proved to be impossible. Between 11am and 2pm, they are constantly eating! And there is something about being outdoors that seems to make them that much hungrier. Little monsters! :)

Some days, we visit the upstairs part of the Annette Street Library (as opposed to the downstairs area, where the drop-in program is located). Here is Leila looking so scholarly. Do you know that last week, with a little help making individual letter sounds, she blended them to read two words (map and hug)?! Thomas is sounding out and reading individual 3-letter words like a champ. And Dea is learning more and more letter sounds. I will try to devote a blog post to describe the ways we work on reading. It is probably the most exciting part for me, in running the daycare.

With the very chilly weather that has hit Toronto, we have had to break out all the winter gear. Funny how much smaller the wagon seems when the kids become so much.....puffier.

I love this wagon. I just popped off one of the sides, and they were instantly comfortable again. Notice that some days, we also need room for their babies.

We made a couple more trips to Dollarama last week. It is a fun excursion in and of itself. Apart from getting Christmas lights for my tree, we also picked up an enormous plastic candy cane, and blinking Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer noses!

The kids always come out of the wagon to walk a little. Thomas was eager to taste some snow after the first snowfall. We managed to find him some clean stuff!

Okay, I am not always this keen for Christmas. It just sort of happened this year, that the decorations came out so early. We also found our children's Christmas CD, so the kids have already started listening to Christmas music.

I apologize to the parents, who upon coming to retrieve their child at the end of the day, are bombarded with Christmas music and decorations. Too early, I know. But it's just so much fun to have an exciting occasion to focus on!

And this is nothing Christmas related. Just a cool dude sitting at the table.

Love him! :)

I had completely forgotten about our interactive snowman wall, until Leila noticed part of it peeking out from the back of our storage closet. This is something I put up every winter. The kids can take off and put on all the different snowman parts, which are just attached by Velcro.

It's good for teaching about shapes, colours, and sizes. They can also make the snowman happy or sad.

Here the kids are doing the activity together.

Dea decided to wear her light-up nose for the activity. She's really getting into the spirit!

Here are a few pictures of the kids at Indian Road Public School today. These two photos were taken on our way to the gym (Thomas's favourite).

They know they are to hold hands as they walk down the hall, lest one of them gets lost in the shuffle, when the hallways get busy. This picture is so cute. Amadea sure looks happy!

While doing a learning activity with Leila at the table, I glanced over to see Dea in the book area, and this is what I saw. Isn't this awesome? She really knows how to take it easy!

Once I had taken a picture of Amadea, I showed it to her, and she laughed. Then these two monsters said they wanted their picture taken too. All of them are unbelievably adorable and amazing in their own ways. (MOST of the time - had to add that!) I am so lucky to spend my days with these little angels. I really am.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Months and months ago, I was reminiscing, and telling Thomas about when he was a baby (he was 1 year old when he started here). I told him how when he used to try to say "Peek-a-boo", he would say "Peepee-O!" So, every so often, when he means to say peek-a-boo, he'll say it in his old baby language, just to be silly. Here he is, with Amadea, playing peek-a-boo with the curtains.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Protect Children - Don't Just Pretend to, with Bill 10 (Childcare Modernization Act)

The following is an excellent article, that illustrates that Bill 10 will still do nothing to stop children being put in danger at illegal (not unlicensed) daycares. There must be oversight for all, and support for those of us trying to provide quality care to children.

Local Daycare Group Opposes Sections of New Child Care Bill

For more on this subject, posted on my blog, please see the following post: Unlicensed Daycare does not Mean Illegal Daycare

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I got this witch hat to wear for our Halloween parade around the block. In the weeks before Halloween, Thomas loved it and wore it around the daycare all the time. It was adorable.

The week before Halloween, we kept up with the crafts. I taped paper to the window and drew the outlines of different Halloween shapes on it, with black marker: cats, pumpkins, a moon, a bat, a witch's hat.

Then the kids painted it. They had a blast!

Here, Leila studies the art. :)

We made these ghosts with paper towel and masking tape. Then the kids drew faces on them.

We also made paper jack-o-lanterns out of orange and black construction paper, and then decorated our front door with them!

We had lots of Halloween stickers to make extra decorations. You can never have too many Halloween decorations, in my opinion!

The kids used these Halloween stickers to decorate witch's hats too. Aren't they beautiful? Oh, and spooky?

The alphabet leaves below were recycled from last year's crafts. We like to talk about the sounds the letters make, and we like to make short, 3 letter words with them.

One day we went to High Park to collect REAL leaves. The kids each had their own paper bags with their names written on them.

Actually, it was a little tricky to find different coloured leaves, because the big trucks had been around to clean them up. I really wish they wouldn't 'clean up' like this! One of the most beautiful things in the world, to me, is a forest floor carpeted with leaves. (Actually, I love leaves to be left on the ground everywhere, but I would settle for just this forest!)

Anyway, we managed to find enough of a variety of leaves to take home.

And I got some beautiful shots of Amadea. If you are having a bad day, please continue to look at the picture below until you feel better. Shouldn't take long. ;)

Later, we used Podgy (decoupage) to glue the leaves, front and back, to paper.

It is such a great fall craft, and produces such beautiful art work.


The kids had a hoot the day before Halloween, getting wrapped up in (clean) toilet paper as mummies! This is Noah the mummy.

Notice Amadea in the photo above. She started snapping pretend pictures with Leila's princess camera and focused on that task right until the very last of the mummies was wrapped. I'd like to say she was my photography assistant, but I think I was her assistant for this activity, since I was doing more mummy wrapping than picture taking.

Here, I got some good shots, of Amadea getting good shots, of Thomas. (It's Thomas in the photos above and below, by the way.)

Then Thomas, as Noah had done, broke free of his toilet paper mummy suit, which looked to be much for fun than being a mummy. It was Leila's turn next, but she only let me wrap her legs, because she just wanted to break out of it, as Thomas was doing. She just couldn't wait for that part!

I present to you, the littlest mummy, Amadea. Actually, she called herself "baby mummy".

Is this not one of the cutest things you've ever seen? She was very keen to be wrapped up.

Okay, when Thomas thought the best part of this activity was breaking out of his mummy suit, he was mistaken. 

Because this was the best part. By far. Oh, what a fun and glorious mess! (Can you spot Minnie Mouse Amadea in the background?)

Here are some Halloween sandwiches I made for Halloween: ghost pitas with raisin faces, and jack-o-lantern pitas with pea faces.  

A friend of mine made these amazing "zombie fingers", but I guess the kids were not quite ready for this. They were a little spooked! (Leila and Dea were okay with them, because they didn't really understand what they were supposed to look like.) They are made by flattening bread, spreading cream cheese on, and rolling them up. Then you spread some jam on one side (for blood) and an almond on the other (for a finger nail).

Finally, Halloween day. Leila didn't know what she wanted to be (we have a whole dress-up bin of potential costumes), but in the morning, she finally settled on being a fairy princess. Thomas was a S.W.A.T. team guy in the morning. (He came with a few costumes to choose from too). And Dea was Tinker Bell.

We played ghost toss. We had, earlier in the week, wrapped up lollipops in tissue, and used masking tape to make them into ghosts. Here, Amadea is throwing one of these "baby ghosts" into the "mommy ghost", which is essentially a garbage bin (clean!) made to look like a ghost.

After the game, they got to uncover a ghost and eat the lollipop inside. I think this made their entire day.

We were going to have our own little parade around our block. We brought musical instruments and were planning on marching around the block, wishing everyone a Happy Halloween! But when it came down to it, not one of the three of them wanted to even get out of the wagon. It was cold and rainy and miserable outside, and it seemed to drain their energy.

Thank goodness we had also planned on going to Noah's school to watch his parade. It was supposed to be outside too, but with the poor weather conditions, they moved the parade to the gym. It was much better to get inside and get warmed up! In the above left photo, the kids hear a voice coming from the P.A. system.

My girl Leila was the cutest little firefighter! This was Noah's old costume when he was 2! Thomas opted to wear his Superman costume in the afternoon. And Dea was still Tink.

The kids got to see Riley, who was parading around with her JK class. She was so happy to see Thomas, Leila, and Amadea too!

And here is Spiderman Salim. All the daycare kids know him too, since we've spent time playing with him at the park, and on play dates.

And let's not forget Noah, the Hulk! He is all about Superheroes these days, and Hulk is his favourite, hands down. Scary, huh?

Finally, it was time to head home. It was getting late, and if I didn't get them home soon, I was afraid the wagon would turn into a pumpkin! (Let me put it plainly: all hell would break lose.) :)

But there's always a little time for splashing in puddles!

After school, B. joined the party. He and Noah played ghost toss, since they had missed it in the morning.

Then we put a bunch of foam spiders, ghosts and pumpkins on the floor, to make a path.

If you are wondering where the rest of the gang is at this point, they are still napping. They were exhausted!

Notice the tic-tac-toe board on the floor in the picture above. I made it by taping scotch tape to the ground, and the kids played spider/ghost tic-tac-toe.

Our lovely dinner set-up.

 And our lovely dinner. meat patty spiders with carrot legs, on a web of spaghetti.

The kids also got owl masks and vampire teeth.

Someone is enjoying his spaghetti! Err....ummm....I mean spider web!

Everyone got a chocolate eyeball treat!

Salim and his big brother Rustam also joined the party near the end of dinner.

We played Pin the Hat on the Witch!

And then everyone (sort-of) posed for a group picture. We are lucky we got one before little Tinker Bell started running away! It was a great Halloween. Hope yours was great too!