Little Lambs has been on an exciting ride so far this year. As a licensed child care agency we build partnerships with our providers as much as we do our clients…if not more. Without the support of each individual provider there would be no Little Lambs.
This was a major factor leading to Little Lambs partnership with HiMama. In addition to introducing the new software we also provided each home with a tablet. By enabling our providers to revamp the way they complete their required documentation we hope to free up their time to do what really matters.
On that note I would like to share a few photos showcasing just how amazing our providers are. These photos showcase learning environments created by these ladies, snippets from their curriculum activities and child-initiated exploration.
With anticipation for what February will bring I leave you with these words.
"Simple fact: children are more interested
in the things they choose than the things
we choose for them."
This little video was first published to our facebook page. However I realize that not everyone loves and uses facebook. I am posting it here to ensure it reaches as many people as possible.
I had the privilege of being part of an amazing conference call about a month ago. Myself, representatives from Hastings County and other Daycare Directors all spoke about a new fee affordability pilot program. This program initiated by Hastings County Child Care Services staff reduces child care fees for all parents of infants and toddlers accessing licensed child care. Both Centre based care and home child care qualify for this program. This funding is not dependant on parental income. It simply supports all families.
This is huge to me for so many reasons.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. If you enjoyed this posts and the attached video I welcome you to leave a comment and share on your social media pages. Let me know what you want to hear more about!
Enjoy this beautiful weekend.
Albert Einstein Said it best, "play is the highest form of research". The curriculum planning and spontaneous activities we do on a daily basis at Little Lambs encourages children to grow. We read, sing, explore, play, create, imagine, climb, run, jump, laugh, cry, console and cheer.
BUT… what does all of that really have to do with child development? In this post I am using a specific play based learning activity (nature walk) to explain what and how children learn. The domains of development are all encompassing and of course this learning activity did not check every single learning box. However It did check quite a few. This post is intended to support child care providers to integrate ELECT concepts into their daily journaling/reflections. I am also writing this post to show families how much children are actually benefitting from our play based learning philosophy.
Thank you for stopping by Little Lambs Blog page. As always I hope you find the knowledge I share useful in your every day life. I'd love to hear what activities you've been up to. Leave us a comment or share on our facebook page.
If home child care is a career you've pondered OR if you're a private child care provider wanting more for your business I want to help you! Little Lambs is seeking to establish Licensed child care programs in Madoc, Stockdale, Wooler, Frankford and Trenton. These locations are highly under serviced. Families are waitlisted constantly. Little Lambs has many attractive benefits for new and established providers. To learn more send a message or call Kristina at 613-827-1441 (Residents of Hastings County only).
please note: Not everyone is cut out to be a child care provider. We are only seeking providers who truly love children, have a boat load of patience, can maintain accurate records, plan developmentally appropriate activities and provide nutritious foods. We also require adequate play space (indoors and outside), a clean and inviting home, and a willingness to continue learning and growing their professional skills.
Thank you for stopping by. It's time to talk about nutrition. Toddlers and preschoolers have different nutritional needs from adults. Their tummies are smaller and therefore require more frequent meals/and snacks than adults with smaller portions.
I have created an original resource for families. This resource reads like a cookbook. Within it includes 5 simple recipes that are perfect for lunch or dinner. Preschool portions have been explained and reference Canada's Food Guide.
Some Important things to Remember when planning and feeding little ones:
I love this time of the year! The air is crisp, leaves are starting to change colours, people seem happier and everything just gets cozier.
At Little Lambs we will be busy this week exploring how our environment is changing.
We will be crafting with natural materials we've collected on our adventures. These crafts will be delivered in an "invitation to create" curriculum format. Children will have the opportunity to create using their own imaginations . They will discover textures, colours, new words and more.
We will also be busy singing some of our favourite songs. Music is a fantastic way to encourage speech and language development. Some of our favourite songs this time of the year are:
While we follow a child let curriculum that doesn't mean that the children are left to do whatever they want. We will be building on the children's interests by creating activities and co-learning with the children.
The actives we love this time of the year are:
-sensory bins (lots of great smells and textures to add this time of the year: cinnamon, pine needles, pumpkin spice, straw, leaves, bark, etc)
-simple outside free play
-watching the clouds
-playing dress up
Eating Is also very important. Here is a menu from my home this week. Our other providers create their own menus weekly. Let's just say, "children are fed well at Little Lambs homes".
thank you for stopping by,
Have a great week!
Thank you for stopping by our blog page. Sit back, enjoy a cup of coffee or whatever you fancy and peruse our content. If you're a parent or a child care provider I hope you find knowledge in our content and inspiration to try something new.
As for me, my days may be busy but they are full. Full of smiles, hugs, laughs and typing….oh so much typing. Being an administrator of a licensed child care agency while also running a home child care business and did I mention going back to school…again... is not for the weak. It's a balancing act for sure but for me it's wonderful. I like to think I have ADHD mastered. This inability to sit still in one place, thinking of only one thought at a time is not for me. While I keep all the boring stuff organized I have an amazing team of women who make me successful. Let me tell you a little about them.
This ship would not stay afloat if it weren't for our RECE Home Visitor, Kim Rodger. Kim is a constant source of encouragement. She is ready and willing to go wherever I ask her, driving all over Hastings County to visit providers. Smiles are something she shares without hesitation and she brings a sense of calm with her wherever she goes (even when she seems frazzled lol). While her position is a ministry requirement the knowledge she shares is not. Many providers have commented how much they appreciate their monthly visits with Kim and how she treats them with respect while encouraging them to be their best. She also has the most adorable daughter whom I love to spend time with. Definitely a keeper and an asset to Little Lambs.
Little Lambs would be nothing at all if we didn't have dedicated home child care providers willing to partner with us. Some have been providing child care for more than 18 years and some have recently opened their homes. Whatever their level of experience they pour their hearts and souls into their "jobs". As an agency one of the ways I support these women is by organizing professional development opportunities. In June we partnered with Loyalist College for a full day of training. The topic for the day was "emergent curriculum and how to implement it's concepts in the home child care environment". However this day was so much more than "training". The women shared stories, tears and encouragement for each other (and me…not expected but very honoured). What I started by licensing as an agency has been made exponentially better by what these women bring. There is a true sense of community between the ladies. They often meet up with their daycare children for park visits. They share ideas and whatever's on a private facebook page. They have each other and that makes a whole world of difference. While as rewarding, fun, and all sorts of other adjectives that this job assimilates with it is also isolating. These ladies don't have co-workers to take over if they need a break or someone always there to chat with while working. The ability for them to create relationships with each other is lovely. This was an unexpected joy that came from licensing.
I cannot forget about our families. Big ones, small ones, silly ones and conservative ones. Families come in all shapes and sizes to which there is no mould or "norm". We love them and I'd like to think they love us. Day in and day out they place their most precious family members in our care. Their children become one of our own and add their own special wonder to our programs. Little Lambs started as my Private home child care business with only 5 child care spaces available each day. Now as an agency with many providers under our umbrella of care we offer 80+ child care spaces every day. Some even on weekends!
I have so many hopes for Little Lambs as we continue to grow and adapt to meet the needs of Hastings County. September marks the start of a new school year. For me it has always been the symbol of a fresh start, new goals, new opportunities and FALL (my favourite season). While the world around us changes from Lucious green to gorgeous hues of sunsets I can't help but contemplate these goals. They are simple really:
If you've made it this far (which I hope most have) I thank you. I am truly honoured to of been allowed into your lives. Whether as an agency owner, child care provider or friend I am always here.
Super exciting news came to us last week. The ministry of education supplied funding to Hastings County so that licensed home child care agencies can update equipment/toys to fit our emergent play based curriculum. This funding comes in the amount of $500 per licensed home. How incredible and vital to controlling parent daily fees!
Qualifying items are toys/equipment that are considered "open ended". This is a common term in the early years sector. We want to encourage Childrens creativity, support their independence and provide the opportunity to choose. Open ended toys allow us to do all of the above.
What sort of toys are open ended? Simply any toy/object that does not have a predetermined use or a "supposed to be use this way" objective. Examples include: blocks or all shapes and sizes, art supplies, play silks or large pieces of fabric, sand and water tables, natural items found in the Childrens environment and so much more.
On Tuesday August 7th I will be supplying our home child care providers with a Christmas list of sorts. It will be a list of qualifying toys and their costs. They will then get to make their wish list and these new items will be purchased. The children will be thrilled with the new toys. While they think they are having fun, we know they will be learning and growing thanks to this generous funding.
Have a wonderful, play filled day,
I picked up a new book recently because the title it's self grabbed me. It says everything we "Big People" worry about most. Are we damaging our children with our parenting?
Every parent worries if they are doing this whole "parenting thing" right. Am I being too strict? Am I not being too soft? Am I going to ruin my kid?…. No one is perfect but we all have the ability to grow and learn. We can learn from our experiences and be mindful of how we react to situations. That being said the Author Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, R.Psych warns that most-championed discipline methods not only don't work they are actually harmful to our children. She breaks discipline down from a science perspective and starts with an understanding of child development. How children's brains are actually forming and what we as "Big People" can do to support them.
Our need for discipline stems from our adult perspective that children will eventually need to function in the grown up world. We try to form our children into little minions who fit a perfect societal mould. "Unfortunately developmental science doesn't support this theory… Developmentally children are very different from big people. The frontal and prefrontal cortex in their brains are comparatively immature, and as a result, children have a lesser capacity for self-control". (Dr. V.Lapointe pg. 18-19). Children will eventually grow into adults and join this so called "grown up" world. We should not be using our ego's to sway our parenting choices. It is our own misconceptions of what a child should be that upsets us when they misbehave.
When our children misbehave we need to slow it down. Be mindful of our own feelings. Reacting with your first impulse in anger will generally lead to a parent-child power struggle. Taking a minute to connect your feelings to your environment and then connecting your child's feelings to their behaviour will help you to approach the situation with a much more level head. For example: you've gone out to dinner as a family. You've placed your food orders and your two children are busy colouring their kids menus. All of a sudden your daughter breaks her red crayon. She wants her little brother to give her his because "he isn't even using it". Of course he won't because "it's his". Sibling fighting commences. Restaurant patrons are staring at you. Your husband is looking like he's going to morph into "Hulk Dad" and take the kids right out of the restaurant!! what do you do? Well…every child is different so underlying personalities play a crucial role in understanding what to do. However I can give a few simple steps based on Dr. Venessa Lapointe's new book.
#1: respond with connection: allow your children to understand that you have their best intentions in mind.
#2: stay low: be calm and compassionate
#3: give an immediate simple direction of what needs to happen
#4: hold your ground but be kind
#5: give no explanations: you do not need to explain yourself to your child
#6: pick your battles (you don't always have to be right or control the situation)
#7: exit gracefully if you have picked the wrong battle. If you realize after taking your stand that "this really wasn't worth it" find a way to exit without making your child feel they "won".
#8: keep relationship the bottom line. Never do or say anything to damage the relationship you have built with your child.
#9: Once the incident is over debrief. Children just like big people have a fight or flight response. When this response is triggered the brain stops processing cognitive thoughts and is a reaction only state. Once all involved are in a calm state then go over the incident.
Discipline is a part of parenting. It is crucial for our children to have boundaries and have respect for their parents. However it is just as important that parents realize that their children are just being kids. That our societal views of the "poster" child are unfair. By respecting our children and providing discipline from a place of love and respect we are helping them along their developmental journey.
"Discipline without Damage" is a must read for parents. It simplifies the scientific studies of child development while explaining what discipline actually is. Today's current methods are focussed on making bad behaviours go away quickly. What Dr. Lapointe points out is that contemporary science understands that once Childrens physical needs have been met, "the most important influence on child development is that children feel they can count on their parent to take care of them emotionally. As part of this, the universal fear of all children is that their parent will abandon them-physically or emotionally. What does this tell us about how we should be disciplining our children?" (Dr. V.Lapointe, "Discipline without Damage".,pg.206)
I am the creator of this amazing business and I am filled with hope and aspirations for a childcare program that far exceeds expectations.