Alpha’s Discovery Kids New Mississauga Daycare Location Grand Opening event!
by Susie Beghin, RECE, Founder of Alpha’s Discovery Kids
It’s hard to believe that our new Mississauga Daycare location has been open for 1 month already. This has been a whirlwind of excitement, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to welcome more families and children to their new ‘home away from home.’
We are beyond ecstatic about how well-received our new location has been, and we have just wrapped up our fantastic grand opening event, which took place on February 25th, 2023.
I feel a mixture of joy, happiness and sincere gratitude for everyone who supported me along the way and made this newest Alpha’s Discovery Kids location possible. Our event was a true celebration of support and community and I couldn’t be more proud of this brand new centre.
A recap of our grand opening event
A day to remember, our grand opening event was a huge success. In addition to the many new and existing families and children of Alpha’s Discovery Kids, our families, friends, colleagues and community members, we were pleased to have welcomed distinguished guests, Charles Sousa, Member of Parliament of Canada – Mississauga-Lakeshore, Rudy Cuzzetto, Member of Provincial Parliament – Mississauga-Lakeshore and Councillor Alvin Tedjo, Ward 2 Mississauga, and we are incredibly thankful that they took the time to attend and support this event.
Our children are our future, and having the support of all those who attended means the world to us. It was an incredible sight as we were able to see the reactions of everyone who toured our new centre. I couldn’t be more proud to provide a safe space where our children can be cared for in a fun, loving, educational environment.
And earlier this month, we had the absolute pleasure of welcoming Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce to our daycare. We are incredibly grateful for the support of Mr. Lecce, and for his participation in celebrating our grand opening.
Our new Mississauga Location
Bright, airy classrooms. Fresh white walls. A blank canvas to create multitudes of amazing memories. Our newest location has been a true labour of love.
And this weekend, we were able to celebrate everything our new location has to offer. With 6 classrooms that can accommodate 93 children, flexibility with both part-time and full-time care available and an inclusive environment where every child is welcome, the feedback we have received has been outstanding.
At the core of Alpha’s Discovery Kids is our unique 4 Pillars of Learning Curriculum. With the first 6 years of a child’s life being the most formative, it is imperative that we help children understand they can grow to be anything they desire.
From Language/Literacy, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math), physical activity/nutrition and mindful awareness, these 4 Pillars are integral to everything we do. And in our new location, these pillars are reflected in every room you visit.
MPP Charles Souza stated “Early years education is so critical, and we know how important it is in terms of everyone becoming who we are today and leaders of the world thereafter. Using the 4 Pillars of Learning principles that Susie talked about, is essential.”
Alpha’s Discovery Kids offers a family first mentality, caring and experienced teachers and thoughtfully laid out spaces meant to foster children’s creativity while ensuring the well-being of each child is at the forefront.
Each of our Alpha’s Discovery Kids locations echoes our core values while aiming to provide warm, consistent care that helps spark children’s natural curiosity, exploration, play and inquiry. From nurturing staff, to community involvement, to flexible, safe learning spaces, we are pleased to provide our families with childcare they have come to trust.
Our commitment to offering safe, exceptional childcare is our top priority and having the ability to host our families and community members in our newest Mississauga location is truly the icing on the cake.
Thank you to each and every one of those who attended our grand opening celebration and for making it such a great success. We look forward to welcoming families to Alpha’s Discovery Kids!
We can’t wait to welcome you to Alpha’s Discovery Kids!
Our New Mississauga Daycare Location is located at 2632 Liruma Road, Mississauga, ON L5K 1Z1. To book a tour or for more information, please contact us at https://www.alphasdiscoveryclub.com/contact/ or call us at 905-823-8257.
Alpha’s Discovery Kids – Your home away from home
by Susie Beghin, RECE, Founder of Alpha’s Discovery Kids
“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” – Michael J. Fox
Every year, Family Day is celebrated across Ontario to bring families together – to strengthen their ties and celebrate what family means to each of us.
As a parent, nothing is more important to me than my family. And at Alpha’s Discovery Kids, we like to think of ourselves as part of your family, where our goal is to create a nurturing, safe space where every child feels that they are at their home away from home.
It truly takes a village to raise a child, and we certainly take this to heart. With a ‘family first’ mentality, we understand that as a parent, if you are not able to be with your children throughout the day, you want to ensure you’re leaving your child in the care of those who will treat them as you would.
I feel that no other word better encompasses what we do every day than love. And loving each and every child that comes into our doors is what we do best. Being part of the Alpha’s Discovery Kids family means having your own extended family, one who wants the best for each family member and shows this during every interaction.
As an Early Childhood Educator, I fully understand the needs and requirements of children and how daycare can make such a drastic change to their lives. And I feel blessed to be able to provide an environment where each teacher becomes an extension of your family. Where family and core values are incorporated into every child’s learning. Where comfort and safety are a top priority. And where the opportunity to teach children some of their most important life skills is a responsibility each of us takes to heart.
The Alpha’s Discovery Kids Difference
At Alpha’s Discovery Kids, we know that the first six years of a child’s life are the most formative. These are the years when young brains develop rapidly, and children are like sponges, soaking up information and modeling behaviours from those around them.
And it’s only when a child feels loved and secure that they will develop the confidence needed to explore and learn. That’s why each of our ECE teachers are hand-picked for their loving nature and wealth of experience working with children.
Providing the best learning environment possible is at the core of everything we do. And that’s why we have created an emergent, inquiry-based curriculum that sets children up for academic success. With each child’s unique strengths taken into account, we believe in child-initiated and teacher-supported learning experiences that foster their naturally inquisitive nature and cater to their individual needs. We do this by focusing on our Four Pillars of Learning:
- STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math)
- Physical Activity/Nutrition
- Mindful Awareness
With opportunities to create, build and explore abound, we have created a warm and caring environment where kids can be kids.
Every space in each of our Alpha’s Discovery Kids locations has been modelled with a child’s comfort and needs in mind. With classrooms designed to create a feeling of home, we always strive to make the hours they spend away from home filled with learning, familiarity and fun.
From toys that many kids might already have at home to our family board, where children can see photos of their families throughout the day, showing kids that they are important and loved is woven into every single thing our teachers do.
We can’t wait to welcome you to Alpha’s Discovery Kids!
With our Alpha’s Discovery Kids family growing at an incredible rate, we are so excited to welcome more families to become a part of our own.
We have just opened our amazing new Mississauga location and are excited for you to see it! With most spaces being booked on the spot, we encourage you to book a tour today or come to the Grand Opening event on Feb 25th from 10 am – 12 pm.
To book a tour or for more information, please contact us at https://www.alphasdiscoveryclub.com/contact/ or call us at 905-823-8257.
Alpha’s Discovery Kids Celebrates Their 2nd Mississauga Location Opening!
by Susie Beghin, RECE, Founder of Alpha’s Discovery Kids
As I walk into our bright, brand-new Mississauga daycare location, I’m overwhelmed with pride and happiness. From the new shiny floors to the perfectly white walls, I can’t wait to see our newest location transform from a blank canvas into many children’s home-away-from-home.
As an ECE (Early Childhood Educator), and a mom, there is nothing more fulfilling to me than being able to help the many families in our community by providing them with a safe place where their children will be nurtured and cared for in a fun and educational environment.
The History of Alpha’s Discovery Kids
Alpha’s Discovery Kids has certainly transformed since its birth in 2004. We started as Alpha’s Discovery Club, an indoor playground, and evolved into our first daycare location in Mississauga in 2012. Built from ground zero, we started with no students and quickly transitioned to full programs and a packed waiting list and, from there, opened our 2nd location in Oakville in 2019.
And here we are today. Opening our 2nd location in Mississauga – and we couldn’t be more thrilled!
A true labour of love, Alpha’s Discovery Kids is more than just a daycare. It’s many children’s second homes and second families. As a parent, I understand the trust and faith it takes to leave your child in someone else’s care. And that’s why at Alpha’s Discovery Kids, every child in our care is treated as an extended part of our own families. Our children are our most precious gifts, and we always aim to teach and nurture children in a loving, respectful manner. Our goal is to do our best to give them our best.
With over 10 years of experience, we pride ourselves on our family environment, where every single experienced teacher is chosen because they are caring, flexible and nurturing, with a capacity and desire for life-long learning. With an ever-evolving field, we are constantly learning – learning more about children and how to teach them, learning new strategies and techniques and learning how to deliver the best care to every child.
A peek inside our new Mississauga location
“My mission is to give each child the best start in life” – Susie Beghin
The first 6 years of a child’s life are the most pivotal. With a child’s brain growing at an exponential rate, as Early Childhood Educators, we are helping to form these little brains, so they grow and become anything they desire to be.
We consider ourselves blessed to be able to have an impact during these formative years, and it’s why our unique curriculum is the key part of all of our programs at every location. We have developed The Four Pillars of Learning, and these pillars are reflected in every room inside our Alpha’s locations. Our Four Pillars of Learning are Language/Literacy, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math), physical activity/nutrition and mindful awareness.
Our new Mississauga location embodies everything that Alpha’s Discovery Kids is about. Fresh, clean and inviting, with a capacity of 89 children, we are excited to welcome the newest members of our Alpha’s family. Each classroom has been thoughtfully laid out, from bathrooms set up within the classrooms (with mini toilets made for mini bodies!), to organized storage, to our Four Pillars of Learning areas.
We have 6 classrooms at our new Mississauga location, divided by age group:
- 2 Toddler Rooms (ages 12m-2.5 yr) with a capacity for 14 children in each room
- Junior Preschool Room (age 2.5-3.5 yr) with a capacity for 16 children
- Senior Preschool Room (age 3.5-4.5 yr) with a capacity for 16 children
- Kindergarten Room (age 4-6yr) with a capacity for 13 children
- School Age Room (age 6+ yr) with a capacity for 19 children
With teachers who are always patient, caring and committed to making each child’s experience the best it can be, Alpha’s Discovery Kids is a loving and inclusive daycare whose top priority is the well-being of each child.
We are pleased to offer:
- Flexibility: We understand every family has different needs. We work with each family according to their schedule, offering both full-time and part-time We will always do our best to accommodate your schedule based on availability.
- Inclusive environment:
- Every child is welcome at Alpha’s Discovery Kids. We are a fully inclusive daycare experienced in welcoming special needs children. We also participate in PIRS (Peel Inclusive Resource Services), providing additional support services to children with special needs.
- We celebrate diversity and all cultures at Alpha’s Discovery Kids. We accommodate all dietary restrictions, offer a fully Halal menu, and are Halal Certified. Our menu is designed with a child’s nutrition in mind, and we offer nutritious, hot meals representing all food groups
- Technology: We understand that it can be difficult to leave your child at daycare, and that’s why we use our HiMama app. Giving families peace of mind, the app provides the ability to check in with teachers, see photos and videos of your children, see the schedule of the day’s activities and receive real time reports of your child’s day (including food consumption, sleep schedule, etc)
We’d love for you to come in and take a tour of our new location, and we are now accepting registrations. With many of our families booking on the spot, we encourage you to book your tour today.
The response to our new Mississauga location has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are so happy that our families love our new space.
We can’t wait to welcome you to Alpha’s Discovery Kids!
Our New Mississauga Location is located at 2632 Liruma Road, Mississauga, ON L5K 1Z1. To book a tour or for more information, please contact us at https://www.alphasdiscoveryclub.com/contact/ or call us at 905-823-8257.
10 Years – A Reflection
By Susie Beghin
As we approach the 10-year anniversary of Alpha’s Discovery Kids Preschool and Daycare, this is a great opportunity to reflect on the past 10 years and recognize those who have made it all possible.
When I first started the business in 2004, which was originally called Alpha’s Discovery Club, it was an indoor playground that provided educational entertainment and extra-curricular programs for children up to 10 years old. The business evolved over time, and it became clear to me that my dream was to open an education-focused child care facility for young children.
I realized that dream in 2012 – 10 years ago – with the first location in Mississauga called Alpha’s Preschool Academy and Child Care Centre. Over the years, the name changed slightly to what is now known as Alpha’s Discovery Kids Preschool and Daycare.
When we first opened our doors in September 2012, we had 8 children enrolled. Over the years, we have grown to our full capacity of 69 kids and expanded to open other locations in Oakville and Mississauga.
It wasn’t easy to leave my previous “corporate” job and start a new business. But I felt almost compelled to do it and haven’t looked back! It was the best decision of my life. I would say that my inspiration for starting Alpha’s was my son Gabriel, born in 2002. It was by being his mom that I learned that my true passion in life was to work with kids. In 2007, my son John-Michael was born, and he inspired me to pursue the dream of owning my own daycare – which came to reality a few years later in 2012.
We have had some very special educators that have been with us throughout these 10 years that have made a huge impact on our organization. Amanda, Roda, Meg are educators who were with me from the very beginning and are still educating children at Alpha’s. I am so thankful to all our educators – past and present! They have helped us create a unique curriculum called The Four Pillars of Learning. Through their hard work, they have contributed to make Alpha’s a place that I am truly proud of!
When I look back over these years, I can’t help but smile. I think about how lucky I am to be doing something that I love every day. I am truly honoured to be involved in the formation of these precious “Alpha’s kids” in our care. We are so grateful to the parents for their trust and support over the years. These little ones have made me smile and laugh – it is truly a joy to watch them learn!
Finally, I want to give special recognition to my husband, Adriano, who has supported me throughout these 10 years, both financially and emotionally. He has made it possible for me to follow my dream! Without him, Alpha’s would never exist!
Join me on August 27th as we celebrate this special 10th anniversary with a huge carnival theme party!
Here’s the details:
Saturday August 27, 2022
11:00 – 2:00 pm
Top 4 Fall Family Fun Activities
What are your favourite Fall activities to enjoy with your family?
September has arrived and that means as the leaves slowly change colour, we have a short window to still enjoy some warm (or warm-ish) fall weekends to spend outdoors before Jack frost makes an appearance. As sad as we are to say good-bye to summer there is still so much to enjoy in the fall. Autumn seems to come and go so fast so let’s get a jump on the fun with some outdoor activities with the kids. Here are 4 festive fall ideas to enjoy in September and October during Harvest time …. I can already smell the apple pie…
1. Visit a pumpkin patch
As the harvest season comes to an end, there is nothing more fun than picking your own pumpkin – even if you decide not to carve it. They look lovely on your front step. There are so many beautiful varieties and colors. I especially like the white “ghost pumpkin”.
Here’s a list of pumpkin patches in the GTA.
One of our favorite farms for pumpkin picking is Springridge Farm. It is a beautiful farm with lots of opportunities for children to play in the fresh fall air. With the charming backdrop of this colourful farm, you will be sure to capture your kids in action or the most perfect fall family pictures.
2. Enjoy a Fall Fair
There’s nothing like spending the day at a fall fair and enjoying the food, rides and games. Here is a list of fall fairs across Ontario with a list ranging from very old ones in small towns like the Norwood Fall Fair, to the huge Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.
There are many fairs that will be taking place soon. Oh, how we have missed fairs!
3. Apple Picking
There are many farms to visit at this time of year to get the festive fall feeling we all love. These farms are not limited to just pumpkin picking! Some farms, like these local favorites, Chudleighs and Downey’s, have fun activities for children, apple picking and lovely shops where you can purchase apples and baked goods. Check out this link for more apple picking spots where you can pick your own apples.
4. Get lost in the moment in a Corn maze
Before escape rooms for centuries many have found fun in the challenge of escaping a corn maze. Fall in Ontario brings a variety of farm activities including some amazing corn mazes which can encompass 20 acres! Some are cut in a seasonal or sports theme, but all are a super fun way to spend an afternoon. If you are feeling brave, check out this link where you can find a corn maze to find your way out of!
Enjoy the season! We would love to see you share your fall family pics with us.
Halloween Activities 2020
Halloween is just a few days away and 2020 promises to be a different kind of Halloween! Halloween has always been one of my favourite
holidays to celebrate with children. There is so much fun involved for children: the ability to transform yourself for a day in your favourite
character costume, the spooky decorations and of course – the CANDY!
As 2020 has presented some challenges with celebrating holidays according to old traditions, this is an opportunity to find new ways to celebrate
this fun holiday.
Here’s a list of Halloween activities you can do with young children in 2020!
Candy Scavenger Hunt: Kids love going on a scavenger hunt! The process of finding hidden gems (especially candy) is so rewarding and exciting!
You can create your own scavenger hunt or click on this link to print one.
Indoor Trick-or-treating: You don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home to trick-or-treat. You can setup trick-or-treating by going from
room to room in your home and having your child knock on the doors and you can have different people in the house answering the doors and
handing out candy. You can involve grandparents and other extended family members too! This activity is great for toddlers with their short
attention spans. They probably only want to knock on a few doors before they are done
Mummy Wrap: This is one of my favourite Halloween games. All you need is toilet paper and a willing person! You would wrap the toilet paper
around the person and try to cover them all up like a mummy. You now have a use for all the extra toilet paper you may have around the house!
How many Candies in the Jar? This activity will keep your child guessing all night long. Fill a jar with candy and ask your child to guess how many
are in the jar. They can take several guesses and you can record them. You can even extend the game to everyone in the house. Then you can take everything out of the jar and count it. This is not only fun, but it’s also a great math activity for young children.
Bob for Apples: This is a classic Halloween game! You can adapt it for 2020 by making individual bowls to bob for the apples. Each person gets
their own bowl of water with an apple floating in it. The object is to take the apple out without using your hands. Get creative! You can use your mouth, tongs, chopsticks etc.
Decorating yummy treats: This is a great opportunity to explore your creativity by decorating cupcakes or cookies. You can use spooky
decorations, or even candy to decorate with. Kids will develop fine motor skills by spreading the icing and adding the decoration.
Candy Toss: Grab a basket and some candy and create a tossing game. Position the basket a few steps away and ask the child to toss the candy into the basket.
Have fun creating new memories and traditions in 2020! Enjoy! Happy Halloween!
Have you ever wondered why they call it Kindergarten?
As many parents get ready to send their little 4 -5 year olds to Kindergarten, you may be wondering why we call it Kindergarten. The word kindergarten comes from the German language. The term dates to the 1840’s and was created by Friedrich Froebel who started the first kindergarten, “Garden of Children “.
The word Kindergarten symbolized his vision for early childhood education: “Children are like tiny flowers; they are varied and need care, but each is beautiful alone and glorious when seen in the community of peers.” Before 1840, children under the age of 7 did not attend school yet. Froebel was an educator who believed in hands-on learning for children. He also had a love for nature, science, architecture, and mathematics. He felt children needed to be “nurtured and caringly tended to like plants in a garden.” Hence, he founded an early education program for young children, which he called kindergarten.
It was a place where children could develop and flourish freely through self- directed play under the guidance, not direction, of the teacher. His belief system was an inspiration to many educators and philosophers including Maria Montessori. It is easy to see his influence in her work. Maria Montessori was the first to introduce a child-sized environment. She wanted the children to feel that the classroom belonged to them rather than the teachers.
These ideas have had a huge impact on how preschool and kindergarten have developed over the years. As we approach back to school this year amongst uncertainty due to the global pandemic, we must remind ourselves of the initial motivation, “Children are like tiny flowers; they are varied and need care. “Like plants and flowers, children are fragile yet resilient. Parents and educators alike share the responsibility of keeping these precious little ones safe. We want to provide a place for them to grow and flourish while shielding them from the elements!
At Alpha’s Discovery Kids Preschool and Daycare, we are growing too. We have created a new Kindergarten program where children 3.5-5 years old can grow and flourish in a place that belongs to them. We have enhanced our Four Pillars of Learning curriculum for this age group to challenge them further. Our stimulating program allows children to grow along side their peers and gives parents the reassurance that their children are in a safe environment. We have large classrooms with less then full capacity ratios to create more space for physical distancing within the day. If you would like to find out more about our Kindergarten program, click here.
Wherever you may choose to grow your flower(s) let us not lose sight of the foundations, inspirations and intentions set into motion in 1840 with “Kindergarten”! We wish all our little flowers a prosperous year full of growth and new learning opportunities!
SENIOR PRESCHOOL/KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM – AGES 3.5-5 years
Alpha’s Discovery Kids Sr. Preschool/Kindergarten program offers advanced academic opportunities which promote learning readiness for primary school preparation. Our Kindergarten program is based on our unique curriculum called the Four Pillars of Learning, which incorporates a holistic approach to learning using the four pillars. As our students become more independent, we can devote more time to an increased level of academics. We approach this as an opportunity to build upon each child’s abilities and strengths to reach full potential in all areas. Our holistic approach is consistently based on providing a sense of belonging, engagement, security, and nurturing. We provide an environment that is stimulating, fosters curiosity and encourages inquiry-based learning. We provide child-led and teacher supported learning experiences to encourage the mental, physical and spiritual growth of our students. We strive to achieve the utmost quality of care while working along side families as a partnership. The relationship we strive to create allows us to fully to embrace, encourage and maximize learning and support well being in each individual child. This program is designed to build skills, confidence and empower the “Alpha” in each one of our students before moving into the primary grades.
Four pillars planning time –The children will come to the table to gather where they will have their printing cards ready for them. During this gathering time the educator will present any new options that are available in the room for the morning work period. The children will have an opportunity to choose which activities they would like to work on, or what materials they would like to explore. The educators will recognize each choice and what area of the room the child is interested in. The educators will also encourage inquiry to further engage the children’s minds, promote exploration as well as develop further awareness and mindfulness as they carry out their learning each day.
Pillar 1 – Language and Literacy
Language and Literacy is our first pillar of learning as we focus on building communication skills as the foundation of all other learning.
Progressive printing cards –This fine motor/literacy activity will allow the children to progressively improve upon their printing skills each day. This process will be gradual and based on each child’s ability level. This process may begin with hand over hand, tracing and eventually as their abilities progress, the children will soon be able to print words independently (starting with their own names). This process will prepare children for name recognition and lead to phonological awareness and the ability to read and write.
Phonics – We will be using an inductive approach to motivate the children to learning letter sounds. By using the multi-sensory components of the Jolly Phonics program, we can make learning synthetic phonics fun. We do this by incorporating songs and games into their activities.
Pillar 2 – STEAM Learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math)
Work Time – Educators will plan activities to explore STEAM learning each day. During Work Time, children will choose areas of the classroom to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, Language, Literacy, Nature, Fine motor, Dramatic, Music and Movement, Sensory Activities. Children will explore materials in the classroom in each of these areas in a meaningful and purposeful way. The Work Time period takes place two times per day, in the morning and afternoon.
Collaborative Reflection Time and Showcase of work – During work time, the children will be able to put their name card on any work they would like to save and share during gathering time. If it is not possible to save the work, a photo will be taken so that it can be shared with the group. During collaborative reflection time, the children will be given the opportunity to share their work or photo (both independent and collaborative). This process will enhance the children’s experience during work time, allowing a focus on uninterrupted work schedules and helping to develop their skills in whatever domain they are working (fine motor, spatial relationships, creativity, problem solving, language and literacy etc.). Additionally, allowing children time to present their work within a group environment, with the active help of their teacher, will support children’s socio-emotional development, self-confidence, descriptive language, stimulating peer interactions and co-operative skills. This will inevitability build upon each child’s natural curiosities individually and as a group.
Collaborative Lesson – In the afternoon, there will be a teacher-led presentation of material and activity demonstration to build further inquiry in Math, Science, Language, Literacy and French. This will be an opportunity for each child to gather and learn through collaboration with the educator and peers. This gives the educator an opportunity to plant seeds to create new interest and inquiry-based learning or build upon existing interests within the classroom. Following this lesson, the children will have the opportunity to work independently in addition to working in collaboration with peers.
Pillar 3 – Physical Activity and Nutrition
Outdoor Time – Developing a lifelong healthy lifestyle starts in the early years. Our third pillar of learning is an important component of our program to not only provide opportunities for physical activity and healthy meals but also to instill the importance of the overall health benefits of both. We offer two outdoor time periods in the day (morning and afternoon) for physical activities as well as indoor physical activities to promote physical fitness and well being. We strongly believe that fresh air and engaging in nature along with healthy eating are valuable daily practices at all times of the year.
Lunch/Snack Time – We reinforce a healthy lifestyle by modelling healthy eating habits and participating in family-style dining with the children. We discuss portions, nutritional facts and provide a variety of food choices to help children develop an understanding of how to take care of the human body.
Daily Routines – Including daily routines where the children practice independent tasks such as pouring, scraping their dishes, cleaning up after themselves and using manners, we build on other valuable areas of development such as physical fine motor skills, accountability, confidence and empowerment.
Pillar 4 – Mindful Awareness
Mindfulness is incorporated in all parts of the daily routine and curriculum. Educators reinforce this concept through daily conversations and interactions between educators and children. We discuss choices and acknowledge feelings to create awareness within and promote social-emotional health and self-regulation skills. Educators provide tools and strategies to help children to learn how to manage stress, anxiety and interact with peers in a positive manner.
Mindful Yoga – During our mindful yoga practice, we reinforce this by honouring our physical health and promoting self-regulation. This part of the daily routine is intended to provide the children an opportunity to go within and experience a sense of calm each day. This practice encourages the children to shift gears and allow for quiet self-reflection within their minds and bodies. This practice will be carried out in several different methods and the children will be encouraged to embrace this as a tool to manage stress, anxiety, increase self-control, and sustain attention. Children will develop the ability to focus, visualize, improve balance and develop an acceptance of self and others.
To learn more and register for the program: click here
Leading up to the days prior to re-opening daycare following the pandemic closure, we all had so many questions and fears of the unknown. As educators, we want to do our best to create an environment that keeps children physically safe and healthy. Parents may have question too because although they may trust their educators and caregivers, the situation is new to all of us. But the question remains for all, how do we provide a safe environment according to the guidelines without creating an institutional feel within the classroom?
What does engagement look like now?
Educators and parents often share many common goals when it comes to children. We all want and strive for their overall health, safety, and well-being both at homes and at school. Considering the pandemic, more emphasis has been placed on physical health for obvious reasons. But now that we have some experience implementing these new health guidelines, we have also gained some confidence to provide a broader sense of well being for each child that extends beyond just the physical well-being.
After months of being house bound with limited interactions with friends, family and the community, children have now returned to daycare. For many children, this may be the only place they go other than their home. This means that the time spent with educators and peers becomes even more precious. These social interactions are critical to the child’s emotional well-being.
Responsive Educators and Peer Interactions
How do we create a warm and inviting environment for children? Firstly, the presence of a sensitive and responsive educator is the most important part. Secondly, the social interactions between peers play a pivotal role in the child’s environment and their own social development. Children can interact with each other throughout the day within a space that has a limited number of children and that allows for physical distancing during higher risk times (such as sleeping and eating times). Children—especially young children—need quality time with their educators and other peers.
We create a safe physical and emotional environment by following routines. Routines are so important to a child’s well being. This is something that most children lacked during their time at home during quarantine. Knowing what comes next creates a sense of ease and familiarity each day and this helps to build a child’s confidence.
Creative Approaches to Engagement
Creative approaches to staying connected are important while remaining cautious and safe. A sure-fire recipe for happiness is keeping children engaged. Children need ample time to engage in play and other joyful learning experiences such as exercise, mindfulness, and regular routines for sleeping and eating. It is essential to both children’s emotional and physical well-being.
Verbal and Non-verbal Communication
As educators, we find moments to use powerful words to acknowledge children. These words can convey affection, compassion, and encouragement. We also use eye contact, smiles, hand gestures, signals, and other forms of non-verbal communications to stay connected with the children.
What we know is that creating a sense of belonging, engagement, well-being, and expression creates a foundation for learning.
At Alpha’s Discovery Kids Preschool and Daycare, we understand the importance of educating children in all areas to help them to grow and develop. Science is one of the key programs that we focus on in our Four Pillars of Learning curriculum. It is the first letter in our STEAM program. Science can be a hard area for some of us to wrap our heads around, especially as adults. We think of volcanos and osmosis when we think of science, but if you look at the activities your child does in their day, science is everywhere.
By introducing science to children at a young age, we begin to foster their interest in the subject and their success in that subject at school. It helps them to problem solve and better understand their world around them. Science allows children to make predictions, complete observations and determine an outcome. Science easily links with many other parts of our program such as math and art. For example, we discuss the types of animals in the arctic and the temperature (math), and have them create puppets from paper bags (art).
Science is also a great way to calm children. If negative behaviours are happening at home or at school try using art and science as a way to alleviate some of those issues. Children generally love exploring with science, they love the mess, and the use of imagination. Simply mixing colours is a great way to show children science. Ask them what they would get if they mixed red and blue, blue and yellow or red and yellow. Have them try mixing their own colours to see how many different colours can be made.
Children want to be involved. Science can be simple at home as well. You can grow a garden or flowers. Allow them to help put in the soil, to water the plants. Make a graph of how tall it is getting. Show them how you can cook with what you grow. Cooking can involve both math and science by measuring and mixing ingredients to make something new. All these things are simple and will help your child to be excited about learning.
Here’s a list of some great simple science experiments that we do with the children in our programs that you can try at home.
1. Lava lamp. Take a water bottle and fill it with the following ingredients.
c. Food colouring
2. Colour changing flowers. Put the flowers in a glass with water and food colouring and watch the flowers change colours.
a. White carnations
d. Food colouring
3. Magic milk (one of my favourites). Mix all the ingredients on a tray. Watch what happens.
a. A large flat tray
c. Liquid food colouring
d. Dish soap
e. Cotton swabs
4. Painting on ice cubes.
a. A piece of ice
c. Tray to collect the water as it melts
All of these simple activities can be found online on Pinterest and in Youtube videos. They are simple and easy to do and you may find your child asking to do them over and over again. With any science experiment it is important to ask questions.
1. What do you think will happen? – Make a prediction.
2. What actually happened? – Observe the results.
3. Why/How did it happen? – Make a hypothesis to explain what happened. You may need to do some research with your child to explain why or how it happened.
It is always fascinating to make observations about what your child was able to understand. Then 6 months later do the same activity. You will be amazed at how much more your child is aware of and the questions they ask. Now get out there and have fun.
Visit our curriculum page for more information about how we incorporate science into our four pillars of learning through the STEAM curriculum. We have truly developed an exceptional program that focuses on the child as a whole. We believe that language, literacy, STEAM and mindfulness can provide children a path for continuous growth.