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Meal planning for Busy Parents: 5 tips for budget-friendly meals

Meal planning for Busy Parents: 5 tips for budget-friendly meals

As busy parents, it may be difficult to get a nutritious meal on the dinner table each night. And with food costs rising, it may be difficult to do so with a limited budget. I am sure that you have often thought, “What am I going to make for dinner tonight?”. Rest assured, you are not alone. It is possible to feed your family nutritious meals almost every day. Here’s five tips to help you offer nutritious meals for your family on a budget!

  1. Plan Ahead

I’m sure you have heard that planning is the key to healthy eating. When we fail to plan, we often choose less nutritious food choices. This doesn’t mean you need to map out each meal and snack for the entire week and stick to it. This approach is probably doomed to fail for most of us. It’s difficult to stick to a rigid meal plan. Instead, try to plan out the week by sketching out a rough meal plan centered around your proteins and think about how you will prepare the meals each week. You can start by choosing to plan the dinners only. Remember to make allowances for your schedule and obligations. For example, if you know that you will be working late one night, you will choose any easy dinner that might include leftovers from a previous meal or something that is simple to make.

  1. Shop Wisely

Shopping for food also involves some planning. It’s best to plan out what you will buy before going to the grocery store. To extend your food dollar further, try planning your meals around the weekly sale and promotional items. Use coupons and price matching to purchase items that you need. Purchase off the reduced racks if you can use the items quickly. It will save you money if you check your fridge/freezer/pantry at home prior to shopping. Many times, we buy items that we already have at home because we failed to check what we have. Most importantly, stick to the shopping list and avoid shopping when hungry or emotional. Stay clear of those eye-catching food displays too! This will help you to avoid impulse buying which often adds up at the cash register. Another budget friendly tip is to know how grocery stores place their products. The most expensive items are usually at eye level on the shelf. Try to look above and below eye level for better deals.

  1. Choose One Plant-based Protein Meal each week

You will save money by choosing one plant-based protein meal each week such as lentils, beans, or other legumes. These foods are also jam packed with fiber which we all need! Here’s a few great websites with lots of recipe ideas:

https://ontariobeans.on.ca/

https://www.lentils.org/

https://pulsecanada.com/

  1. Make a Balanced Meal

According to the Canada Food Guide, your food plate should have a balance of protein, fruit, veggies, and grains. Fruits and veggies should make up half your plate. The other half is split equally between protein and whole grains. Choose foods that are in season to get the best value for your money and the best nutrition and taste. You can find out when foods are in season in Ontario by visiting https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/page/availability-guide. When you can’t buy items in season, you can choose frozen food options that were picked at the peak of the season.

  1. Cook Smart

Having good cooking appliances, utensils and tools will make cooking easier. Invest in good quality appliances that can reduce cooking time or can be used hands-off, such as a slow cooker, instant pot, or air fryer. This will free up your time to do other things. Invest in good utensils and tools that make chopping and slicing easy too! When the cooking process is easy, you will be more motivated to make healthy meals.

You can involve your whole family (even the kids) in the entire process – from planning to shopping to cooking! Teaching about nutrition is one of our Four Pillars of Learning at Alpha’s Discovery Kids. You can find out more about our program and curriculum here.

Gardening With Kids: 7 Lessons They Learn

Gardening With Kids: 7 Lessons They Learn

At Alpha’s Discovery Kids, encouraging growth and development is what we do best. Our students have become very involved in tending to classroom plants. We have made it a seasonal tradition to create an outdoor garden with our preschoolers. They love digging and planting at the beginning of the season, watching the growth and then picking the vegetables during the middle of the season. All the knowledge they gain throughout the process will stay with them for years to come. The learnings will shape them as they grow into adults who will one day be responsible for their own little place in the world. When children help in the garden, they begin to understand what it takes to grow. They begin to understand that plants need water and food just like they do.

7 Lessons children learn from gardening

gardeningEngages all the sensesGardening can be a complete sensory experience for kids. Growing plants isn’t about just digging in dirt, although that’s a great way to experience using the touch sense, but kids can use all their other senses while learning how to grow their own food. Sight, taste and smell comes into play when they get to experience the aromas and tastes of what they have harvested.

Encourages healthy eatingLearning to grow your own food encourages you to eat it. As you and your family eat more and more fruits and vegetables as your garden produces, they may be experiencing new foods for the first time and discovering new favorite foods too. 

Life cycles-Big lessons can be learned in the garden about life and the lifecycle of plants, bugs and animals. From new baby rabbits (that you want to keep out) to mature bees carrying honey back to the hive and to the life of the plants themselves, they can literally watch life happen in the garden.

Bugs are useful-Gardening shows kids how useful bugs are in the world. They begin to understand that even earthworms have a place in the circle of life. Learning these things can help make bugs seem less scary.

Nurturing & Responsibility-These two are technically different skills but they really go hand-in-hand. Helping plants grow teaches kids how to nurture a little life and it teaches them responsibility since they will have to help water and feed the plants. Remembering to do this and helping adults keep an eye on the plants is a big responsibility for children. They love to watch as their hard work pays off and the garden vegetables grow.

Family bonding– Gardening is a family experience. Everyone can gets involved on some level. It’s fun for us to do it together and experience growing food or plants. Not only is it fun but it gives us a chance to teach kids so much and that’s fulfilling for us and them.

Gardening is good for the soul-Gardening gives us a chance to pause and get back to nature. Nature has a way of calming us. No screens are involved so that’s a big bonus. It’s a time out from the rest of life when they just get to concentrate on the dirt between their fingers.

 

Open House – Daycare and Summer Camp 2022

Daycare and Summer Camp Open House 2022

We are so excited to showcase our beautifully expanded and renovated facility in Oakville at our Open House this weekend. We want to give you a little sneak peek of the activities that will be offered for children during this event.

As families wander our hallways, classrooms, and outdoor playground area, they will see featured activities on display as well as engage in some hands-on activities with their children. This will give prospective families an opportunity to experience our Four Pillars of Learning curriculum first hand.

We will be offering some yummy snacks, treats and refreshments to enjoy during this event. We welcome children of all age groups to explore each room and participate in what is being offered along with their parents.

Our program grows with your child and because we know that your families are growing too, we have offerings that begin as early as infants all the way up to 12 years of age.

The founder of Alpha’s Discovery Kids and owner of all three Alpha’s locations, Ms. Susie will be here to meet and greet all guests. Our centre Supervisor Ms. Shannon will also be onsite ready to greet you with a smile, answer questions and offer a personal tour. Our talented team of core educators will be waiting for you in our classrooms ready to represent and showcase our proprietary holistic curriculum.

This event offers a unique opportunity for our existing parents to engage with each other and share their experiences with new families too. Even though we are a well-known award-winning location with a 5-star rating and amazing reviews, nothing beats a real parent to parent chat. We know that education, cleanliness, safety, food and nutrition, love and comfort are the top priorities of all parents. We can’t wait to open our doors and share what we have to offer. With a variety of programs and flexible options, there is sure to be something for everyone.  

We offer Full-time, Part -time, Toddler, Nursery school, Jr. & Sr Preschool, Kindergarten, Before and After School – Age programs and Summer Camps.

Activities by Age Group

 

Back to school during a Pandemic: What to expect in 2021

Back to school during a Pandemic: What to expect in 2021

After a warm summer, September has finally rolled around and it’s that time of year when our little ones head back to school or perhaps start attending a new daycare or preschool. We are now 18 months into a pandemic and it’s not over yet! We seem to headed toward a fourth wave here in Ontario which will increase our anxiety levels as we strive to find ways to get back to some kind of normal routine while staying safe.

So, what can you expect for this new school year? Many of the COVID protocols and policies for schools and daycares will continue into the 2021-22 school year. Here’s what to expect:

COVID PROTOCOLS

  • Screening – Be prepared for daily screening of your child. Whether your child attends daycare, preschool or any type of school, there will be a requirement for the school to screen the child daily to ensure the child is free from COVID related illness symptoms, has not travelled in the last 14 days and that everyone in their household is also healthy and not exposed to anyone with COVID or COVID symptoms.
  • Illness – As cold viruses circulate in the Fall/Winter, be prepared to stay home with your child when they are ill for a few days. Also be prepared to get your child COVID tested if you want them to return to school or daycare quickly. Without testing, your child would need to isolate for 10 days.
  • Masks – Masking of children over two years old is still recommended by public health. For children in daycare under 5 years old, masks are not mandatory but still recommended at the parent’s discretion. If your child is between 2-5 years old and attending daycare, you will need to decide if your child will wear a mask or not. Starting in Grade 1, masks are mandatory so ensure your child has a comfortable mask that they can wear for long periods of time.
  • Face-to-face communication – Much of the communication between teachers and parents will take place via zoom. In daycares and schools, the use of apps makes it easier to communicate with teachers even though you can’t see them face-to-face on a daily basis.
  • Hand Hygiene – Ensure your child knows how to properly wash hands and use hand sanitizer.

In addition to these COVID protocols, there’s the regular back to school preparation as well. Here’s some tips to help you prepare:

back to school

Back to school

BACK TO SCHOOL TIPS

  • Set safety rules for travelling to and from school: if your child walks or rides the bus to school, talk to them specifically about safety rules. For children in daycare, you may want to discuss parking lot safety and suggest that they need to hold your hand while walking from the parking lot to the daycare entrance.
  • Label all clothing and supplies (but not where visible): It’s important to label everything that you bring to school or daycare to avoid it ending up in the lost and found. Remember to label on the inside so that it is not visible to strangers.
  • Ask your child open ended questions about their day as part of your pickup routine: find creative ways to talk about it rather than the typical question “How was your day?” which normally doesn’t give you much info. Make sure your child understands that it’s okay for them to talk to you and their teacher about their needs or concerns.
  • Role play: talk to your child about the new teacher/school/daycare and make it positive. If you are anxious about anything, they will pick up on that and it will cause them anxiety too! You can also role play different situations that may come up at school or daycare such as dealing with conflicts.

 

I am sure that for most of us, the first few weeks following back to school can be a little crazy. Remember to breathe, take time for yourself and enjoy the moment! Before you know it, your kids will be all grown up!

Especially in the younger years, our children will look to us for reassurance about daycare and school more than we think they will. While a cautious parent is a good parent, a wise parent will take great care to monitor the messages that they are sending to their child. If you start early by teaching your child how to stay safe and lay some ground rules, then you are off to a great start with preparing your child for life in the real world.

For more information about COVID protocols in the upcoming school year in Ontario, Visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-health-and-safety-measures-schools

For more information about Alpha’s Kindergarten program, click here

 

Water Safety Tips

Water Safety Tips

Water safety is an important topic that we must educate ourselves about as parents. Knowing how to be safe in and around water is one way to keep your family safe. While water safety is somewhat of an unpleasant topic, it continues to be an important one. Even if you think you already know everything about water safety, take a moment to review these educational tips. I few minutes of reading may help to save a life. Knowing the risks is the key to preventing injuries and or death.

 Children are naturally drawn to water and quickly discover the fun of splashing in it. Sensory play especially with water should be encouraged but ensuring that this is done safely is essential. You can never be too careful when it comes to water safety whether you are inside or out.

Close attention needs to be placed on safety around water to prevent drowning, scalding or electrocution. Regardless of your child’s age – whether infant, toddler preschoolers, school age or if you have young, curious, or even clumsy pets, it’s important to know that the number one safety tip is Supervision.

Here is why …. Did you know that babies can drown in as little as just 1 or 2 inches of water? It can happen silently, and within seconds, especially infants, because they don’t have much neck and muscle control.

Remember: Never leave your child alone or in the care of another young child in or near water—not even for a moment.

Most child drownings inside the home occur in bathtubs, and more than half of bathtub deaths involve children under 1 year of age.

Here are a few simple safe water tips to live by and share with anyone who cares for your child.

Bathroom water safety tips:

  • Put toilet lids down. Install safety latches or locks on all toilet seat lids to keep curious little fingers from lifting them.
  • Pull the plug on the tub. Consider removing the bathtub drain plug when it’s not in use to avoid the tub filling if a child turns on the faucet.
  • Keep the bathroom door closed. As an added layer of safety, use safety latches or doorknob covers to keep bathrooms closed.
  • Check the water temperature. Before putting your baby in the bath, check the water temperature with your wrist or elbow. Tap water that’s too hot can quickly cause burns serious enough to require a hospital visit or even surgery. In fact, hot water scalding is the top cause of burns among babies and young children.
  • The hottest temperature at the faucet should be no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to help avoid scald burns. In many cases you can adjust your water setting to not go above this temperature.

Outdoor water safety:

  • Never leave a filled, open-top water container unattended. Whenever they’re not in use, be sure to completely empty any liquids in containers such as:
  • buckets and pails used for cleaning or painting
  • wading pools
  • coolers with melted ice
  • large water bowls for pets
  • trash cans or recycling bins that may collect rainwater
  • secure swimming pools, including large, inflatable above-ground pools and other temporary pools, should be surrounded by a fence on all 4 sides.

Pools:

  • Assign a qualified Adult or youth with life saving certificate to supervise children
  • Ensure life jackets and flotation devices are used with supervision
  • Ensure Life preservers are readily available
  • Use a water watcher sign. Assign a “water watcher” to supervise at all times and ensure they know their responsibility.
  • Pool fences should: be at least 4 feet high and have no opening under it or between slats more than 4 inches wide.
  • Check the gate frequently to be sure it works and keep it always locked.
  • Keep toys out of the pool area when not in use so that children are not tempted to try to get through the fence.
  • Be sure to always cover and lock hot tubs and spas right after using them.

Use touch supervision

  • Have a towel within reach so you can always keep a hand on your baby so that you are within arms reach at all times.
  • Before your baby begins to crawl or walk, check your home and surrounding area for any other potential water dangers.

Water and electricity don’t mix

  • Be sure to keep electrical cords, battery powered devices and other power sources away from water and out of the reach of children.

It’s important that you teach your children water safety!

  • Teach children the guidelines, rules, and boundaries around water that they will understand and follow.
  • HAVE FUN AND PLAY SAFE!

 

 

Mindful Mud – An Essential Play Experience!

Mindful Mud – An Essential Play Experience!

While the idea of getting messy to some may be unappealing, especially a parent or caregiver that has to clean up the mess! For those that may be skeptical, consider all the benefits of playing in the dirt.

 

The earthy goodness of mud gives our kids an opportunity to engage in messy play, practice mindfulness and connect with nature.  Think of a time when you made a sandcastle and suddenly lost track of an hour. That was you, feeling the effects of mycobacterium vacate. This is a big word for the microscopic bacteria in dirt that increases the serotonin level in our brains, making us feel happy and relaxed.

Our young technologically savvy generation of kids are just not getting enough time to play outside – especially with online learning and technological distractions. While you can simulate many experiences virtually these days, playing in the dirt is not on that list.

Have you ever noticed that children who play outside laugh more? And laughter leads to feeling good! Kids who play outside also grow in their character development: they become more adventurous, more self-motivated, and they are better able to understand and assess risk.

       mindful mud

      THE SCIENCE OF MUD

  • MUD INCREASES BRAIN ACTIVITY– When children play with mud they use all of their senses, resulting in a highly stimulated and active brain.
  • MUD INCREASES PHYSICAL ACTIVITY-When children play outdoors, and in mud, the incidental movement and physical activity increases, helping children maintain a healthy lifestyle and develop their physical literacy.
  • MUD REDUCES ALLERGIES & ASTHMA SYMPTOMS -Dirt is also great for the immune system, especially in children. Research has shown that early exposure to naturally occurring microbes in soil will help build stronger, more disease-resistant kids.
  • MUD PLAY BUILDS CREATIVITY – The open-ended nature of mud play is perfect for the developing brain. There is no end to the creations, ideas and games children will invent. During this type of unstructured, outdoor play, children are not only exercising but are building their ability to form ideas, problem solve, and think critically, as well as be innovative and inventive.

Here are some ideas for your children:

  1. If you want to control the mess a bit or have limited space, try a mud kitchen !
  2. Give your child a bucket and a shovel and set them in the dirt. See what happens.

mud kitchen

If you really want to control the mess, you can also create a DIY mud sensory bin. Check out our blog on how to create DIY sensory bins.

BabySafe Project – Pregnancy and Wireless Radiation

BabySafe Project – Pregnancy and Wireless Radiation

Have you head of the Babysafe Project? I recently became aware of this project which addresses a very serious issue affecting our future generations of children. What is the impact of widely used wireless technology on the unborn?

I have always been in awe of the process by which humans come into existence. From a single cell to a growing fetus to a baby born into this world full of life! Many women who learn that they are pregnant start to eat differently, take care of themselves and feel a strong sense of responsibility for this new life inside them.

Over time, we have learned more about environmental impacts to children within the womb. From the food you eat to the water you drink to even the air you breathe can all have an impact to that new life growing inside you. It may seem overwhelming but knowing the risks and things you can do to reduce harmful exposures is within your control.

pregnant mom

The Babysafe project focuses on one key environmental influence – wireless radiation. They point to scientific research that indicates that wireless radiation exposure can be harmful – even carcinogenic – to your baby and therefore should be avoided or reduced. Visit www.babysafeproject.org to learn more about the science and research and the effects of wireless radiation on both you and your child.

So, what can you do to reduce or eliminate your wireless radiation exposure risk? First and foremost, is awareness of the issue. Spread awareness to everyone you know about the risks and steps you can take to protect yourselves and your little ones.

Here’s some simple steps to reduce exposure to wireless radiation:
1) Do not carry your cell phone on your body – not in your bra or pocket
2) Don’t hold the cell phone, tablet or other wireless electronic device against your abdomen
3) Avoid cordless phones – especially in your bedroom – phones with a cord don’t emit radiation!
4) Streaming results in higher levels of radiation exposure – try to download and then use it in “Airplane mode”
5) Use connected wired devices for your computers instead of wireless
6) Unplug your WiFi router at home when not in use (e.g. at bedtime)

We’re fortunate to have two locally-based national not-for-profit organizations that collaborate with The BabySafe Project in raising awareness about the Project. Canadians For Safe Technology (C4ST) is based in Oakville, online at c4st.org. Electromagnetic Pollution Illnesses Canada Foundation (EPIC) is based in southwest Etobicoke, online at iexistworld.org. These organizations welcome questions, have a wide variety of resources (electronic and printed materials), and meet online with parent groups who want to learn more.

More resources:
In this video, women talk about how they reduce their risk. 

Lockdown Staycation Ideas – Indoor Camping!

Lockdown Staycation Ideas

5 Easy Steps to a low cost and low mess indoor camping experience

Thinking up ideas for a staycation is more challenging then ever with lockdown and stay at home orders in place. Planning ahead can be difficult with the uncertainties of the pandemic. We all look forward to long weekends. In Canada, May 24th is a holiday in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday and is considered the first long weekend to kick off the summer season. For many Canadians, it means the beginning of camping season, gardening and local festivals, concerts, outdoor markets and picnics. While we can still enjoy some of these outdoor activities, the options are limited by the restrictions of the pandemic. Here’s a staycation idea that actually works really well during a pandemic.

Have you every tried camping in your own home?

Chances are that there is more then one of you out there thinking that even camping in your backyard sounds like a task you are simply not up for.

What if I told you that you are not the only one? It doesn’t have to be difficult. And it can be a lot of fun for both you and your kids!

What if I told you can now camp with the kids, with no packing, no driving, no paying for campsite rental, no bugs, no questionable bathrooms, and you can sleep in your own bed?

This is an opportunity to glam it up with your own style and it will certainly be a post-worthy experience to share – Don’t forget to tag us.

Here’s 5 Easy Steps to create that perfect at-home indoor camping experience!

  1. FORT – Set it up!

camping fort

 

No camping experience is complete without a tent. Depending on the age of your children, you can choose to make this an all-hands-on deck project with the children helping set up your camp site or you can make it a surprise. This can be your child’s bedroom, basement or living room area. Notice I am not mentioning outside 😉!

Make it -check out these links for tents you can create with minimal supplies or talent.

https://www.artbarblog.com/easy-forts/

http://www.thriftyandchic.com/2016/01/diy-4-sided-drop-cloth-teepee-for-20.html

Add mini lights & decorations for a pitch-er perfect tent!

 

2. FOILAGE

camping foilage

 

 

 

Bring the outdoors in! This is really just an extra little thing you can do to bring the outdoors in and enhance the camping experience.

You can gather Outdoor items, stones, logs, branches, indoor or outdoor plants to place around the “campsite” or even setup an artificial tree.

 

 

 

3. FIRE-Spark it up

camp fire

 

One of the best parts of camping is the bonfire! A bonfire is the perfect place to gather round and sing a campfire song, or tell funny stories. It’s also a great place to read books.

Make it- click on this link for an easy way to build a crafty campfire.

http://aboutfamilycrafts.com/how-to-build-a-campfire/

 

 

 

 

4. Food- Feed the fam!

camping food

If you don’t have a fireplace to roast marshmallows the next best thing to the campfire is a BBQ. Grill some hamburgers, hot dogs, corn or make simple PB&J sandwiches. You can even roast marshmallows by holding a stick above the heat of the BBQ grill.

Whatever you decide to do – Keep it simple!

 

Here are 3 S’more options to enhance your camping staycation

Make it-Microwave Smores- https://shelfcooking.com/smores-recipe/

Smore snack bag- https://ziploc.com/en/Recipes/Sweets-And-Desserts/S-Mores-Mix

Make sure you take a nice walk after those sugary smores and tire out those kiddo’s so everyone gets a good night sleep including Mom & Dad!

 

5. FUN!

camping

 

Last but not least, Have Fun!!!

Hopefully by now the kids are tuckered out and ready to retire to their sleeping bags. Before they do, make it dark, turn on those string lights, lamps and flashlights and play with the shadows. Add in some soothing nature sounds and soothing music too!

 

 

 

 

 

You can even make your own stars on the ceiling with a flashlight! Just cover the flashlight with black paper and cut out the stars.

camping flashlight

 

 

 

 

 

More ideas to add to your indoor camping experience:

Read some camp related stories

https://www.pre-kpages.com/books-camping-preschool/

Shadow puppets

https://whereimaginationgrows.com/exploring-light-with-shadow-puppet-play/

Starry sky flashlight

https://happyhourprojects.com/make-a-starry-night/

 

To learn more about Alpha’s Discovery Kids Programs, click here!

Mother’s Day Pandemic-friendly Mommy and Me Ideas

Mother’s Day gifts you can give yourself

As a mom, time spent with your children doing things to grow and learn together is one of the best gifts you can give yourself for Mother’s Day. During a pandemic, it may seem that our choices for activities are limited. This year, what better way to celebrate then to get outside and soak up some immune-boosting Vitamin D! Sunshine and fresh air provide so many health benefits to boost your immunity and mental health. Give yourself a gift that will create lasting memories this year. Here are 3 ideas that will leave you with a smile, tired little children and hopefully a few great photos. You don’t need to go too far .These 3 activities can be done in your own backyard, neighbourhood trail or park.  

YOU’RE A NATURAL

planting with kids

1.GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY TOGETHER AND DO SOME PLANTING

Anyone can be a be a gardener even if you do not have a green thumb or a big garden. Planting can be done in a garden, garden box or even a container you may already have at home. For instance, a jar, a bowl, or box. You can even have your child paint the flowerpot before or after. You choose the size of your project. Pick up some seeds or little plants and some soil at your local garden centre or grocery store. You and your child can get your hands dirty together and create some new life! This growing garden or plant is a gift for you all season long!

EASY TO GROW PLANTS FOR KIDS- CHECK OUT THIS LINK

Easy to Grow Plants for Kids

 

YO’MAMA

mommy and me yoga

  1. STRETCH & BREATHE TOGETHER AND DO SOME OUTDOOR MOMMY AND ME YOGA

Practicing yoga with children is one way to build a great relationship with them. Doing simple yoga poses together can help both parent and child to relax, be in the moment, and obtain physical activity at the same time. We know yoga is good for flexibility, but yoga can also help with anxiety and muscle development for both adults and children. Combining the outdoors with yoga helps as a natural mood booster. These good feelings will help you connect and bond further with your little one. It does not matter if you are an advanced yogi, a beginner, or a newbie everyone can benefit from deep breathing and stretching. Start by just taking off your shoes, face each other and taking a few breaths. This can be on a mat, towel or in the grass. You get to choose if this will be a more an active yoga or calming yoga. You can make it up as you go along getting inspiration from your outdoor surrounds but remember to be safe and careful. Enhancing your connection with the natural world and your child through movement can be a gift you give yourself.

Nature Inspired Yoga Poses:  CHECK OUT THIS LINK

Kids Natural theme poses

 

MOM YOU ROCK

Rock painting

  1. GET CREATIVE TOGETHER AND DO SOME ROCK PAINTING

Being outdoors not only stimulates your mind but also your creativity. Art projects can be messy and often require a lot of space in which to create. So, what better place to set up a rock painting activity? Even if you do not have paint brushes you can use Q-tips or your fingers. If you do not have paint, you can use nail polish, coloured water or sharpie markers. You get to choose if this is an open- ended painting experience or want to create a special design. You can of course make finding these rocks part of your Mother’s Day experience by going on a little walk together or collect them in advance. Either way, your are left with a cute keep sake and minimal mess to boot. This is a gift you can give yourself.

ROCK PAINTING 101:  CHECK OUT THIS LINK

Rock Painting Ideas

Here’s a link to our kindness rocks activity if you want to leave some painted rocks out in the community for other’s to find. 

Try one or more of these outdoor mommy and me activities and reap the benefits. No matter what you choose to do this Mother’s Day,

Yo’ mama , you ROCK !

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, You’re a natural !

Planting a seed to inspire learning

Planting a seed to inspire learning

Planting a seed is the simple act of setting a process into motion – both in a garden and in a classroom. As educators in the classrooms, we are always planting seeds to spark children’s curiosity, inquiry and discovery. With an emergent curriculum such as ours at Alpha’s Discovery Kids, students are empowered learners, and the teacher takes the journey along with her class.

In many cases, children spend a great deal of time in a childcare setting with limited experiences in the world, especially during a pandemic. Planning based on the children’s interests is not effective all on its own. That is why we introduce projects to expand on the child’s learning. As educators of young children, it is our responsibility to empower children and to make them a big part of their own learning. It is important to understand that it does not necessarily matter where the topic originates from, if the direction it takes from inception follows the lead of the children.

One of the ways we do this is by providing and introducing rich, developmentally appropriate materials and new topics and concepts that the children may not be exposed to yet. By providing engaging materials that encourage exploration and creativity, we can provide opportunities that are open¬-ended and through these experiences provoke further interests. The materials can be purposeful, intentional and project based without becoming teacher directed.

We are continually plantings seeds in the minds of the children to inspire curiosity with the goal of teaching the children something new. Our educators have gained confidence in knowing it will take form without direction. A seed cannot stay a seed forever once planted. When cared for with nourishing soil, rays of sunlight, and water, they change shape and start to become whatever it is they were meant to be. We apply similar parallels to our approach to child development and learning. Like all things that grow, plants, trees, flowers, we want them to flourish!

To find out more about our Four Pillars of Learning curriculum, click here.

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see the curriculum in action. We offer many ideas that you can also try at home!