Monday, September 30th is Orange Shirt Day! This is to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. Dress up in orange with us to participate in raising awareness for this cause!
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013. This project was the vision of Esketemc (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins, who is a former student himself. It brought together former students and their families from the Secwepemc, Tsilhqot’in, Southern Dakelh and St’at’imc Nations along with the Cariboo Regional District, the Mayors and municipalities, School Districts and civic organizations in the Cariboo Region.
The events were designed to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. Chief Justice Murray Sinclair challenged all of the participants to keep the reconciliation process alive, as a result of the realization that every former student had similar stories.
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of this project. As spokesperson for the Reunion group leading up to the events, former student Phyllis (Jack) Webstad told her story of her first day at residential school when her shiny new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, was taken from her as a six-year old girl.
The annual Orange Shirt Day on September 30th opens the door to global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools. It is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind. A discussion all Canadians can tune into and create bridges with each other for reconciliation. A day for survivors to be reaffirmed that they matter, and so do those that have been affected. Every Child Matters, even if they are an adult, from now on.
The date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year. It is an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.
Here is the link to their website if you care to learn more about the project.
As a prototype centre, we are lucky to be trying out a new early childhood education ‘inclusion coordinator’ position. This has given us the opportunity to think more about what inclusion is. Inclusion is a bit of a buzz word; it seems like a great model that is hard not to get behind but what is inclusion exactly? It encompasses so much complexity and grappling with what inclusion actually is has been a difficult and on-going task! I see inclusion as a way of looking at the world. It encourages us to question our environments and habits and asks us to think about the way we do things, and what people we privilege and messages we put forward through our environment, language, materials, routines, etc. It encompasses thinking about culture, ability, family structures, age, and more. When I think about inclusion in the childcare setting I like to refer back to the quote “equality is not always about treating everyone the same – it is about treating people in such a way that the outcome for each person can be the same” (NYCI, n.d). This means realizing we all have capacities to be successful and to meaningfully contribute to a classroom, work place, relationship, etc but at the same time recognizing that we live in a world of social inequities that does not provide people with equal opportunities. We value particular abilities, ways of being, appearances, talents, family structures etc over others and tend to have trouble seeing beyond the ways we already do things. This means working to unpack our normalized distinctions and realize that many of the lines we draw between “able” & “disabled” or “successful” vs “unsuccessful” are arbitrary and culturally dictated and thus can be changed.
By working towards inclusion we make space for not knowing the answers & asking others how they want to be represented and known. Creating more inclusive spaces can provide opportunities to learn and to grow, to try new things and to consider new ideas, activities and ways of thinking. To me, inclusion means not simply accommodating or tolerating a difference or celebrating aspects of it, but truly learning from and valuing it.
NYCI (n.d). What is Equality. National Youth Council of Ireland. Retrieved from: https://www.youth.ie/articles/what-is-equality/
We will be putting out coffee and/or baked goods (made by the kiddos) every Friday! We would love it if you took a moment out of your morning to spend some time with us and the children. We’re hoping that this will be a positive way for you to start your Friday as well as a chance to build stronger relationships between families and create a stronger sense of community within The School House. There are so many benefits of parents being involved in their child’s care centre and we would love to work toward stronger partnerships between families and staff :)
I know mornings are often very rushed - if you don’t have any time to stay, feel free to bring your own mug and take some coffee to go!
"When a baby falls down or gets hurt, even if it is obviously a minor injury, our instincts might tell us to rush over, pick her up immediately and shower her with sympathy or distraction in an attempt to calm her as quickly as possible. Infant expert Magda Gerber advised something a little different and counter-intuitive (especially for those who find a baby’s cries difficult to hear…namely, all of us!). She encouraged parents and caregivers to remain calm so as not to add our alarm or distress to the equation, and to take our cues from the child. She also suggested that we take the time to reflect on the experience to help the baby understand it, acknowledge her feelings and support her to express them freely and completely. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better example than this one..."
Follow this link to read the full article from Janet Lansbury and watch the tender video. Follow Janet on Facebook to see several more informative posts!
Please come out and join the School House in attending the 2019 Earth Day Parade this coming Monday April 22nd. Miss Ashley will be there representing the School House with our parachute painted by the School House children. We'll be meeting at 2pm at the Hall St. Plaza. There will be a parade, planting, parachute games, and a recycled instrument band. The Lynx room will be constructing instruments from recycled materials for the parade this week.
Please dress up as your favourite animal or insect :)
That wave of emotion comes out of him and it catches me off guard. Maybe it’s because I expected something different from him or something more from him, that I expected him to be able to “handle it.”
Thanks to Tracy for finding this article on Emotion-Coaching By ASHLEY SODERLUND PH.D.
Read the full article here.
Read the full article here.
Biting. No one likes to think about it. The hard truth is that, yes... it is NORMAL and almost every child in a daycare classroom has either attempted it, or done it to another child/staff member. As an Early Childhood Educator I would like to take the opportunity to communicate some of my strategies for dealing with this common issue in my classroom.
First thing to understand is, “Why do children bite?”
Typically toddlers bite for 3 different reasons.
To relieve teething pain- If a child is biting because of teething we are careful to offer more appropriate items for the child to gnaw/bite to relieve their pain. We also take the time to explain to the child’s friends that the toy is to help them with their teeth.
Frustration/anger or intense joy- the key with this one is prediction and redirection. Children that are as young as our Lynx group have not mastered their self control yet, nor do they understand all their emotions yet. It is important to remember that fact when you come to pick up your child and see the incident form waiting to be signed. We all need to have realistic expectations of our toddlers.
Experimental- Sometimes children bite just to see if something happens. They want to see what reaction they will receive. Dealing with this one is not much different than when dealing with an emotional bite.
When diffusing a biting occurrence it is important to comfort the child who was bitten first. Showing attention, even if it is negative, to the biter teaches them that biting gets them immediate attention. Instead, first comfort the child that was bitten. After, turn to the biter, get to their level and use a calm, firm tone to explain, “Biting is not allowed.” Use simple language to describe feelings. “Sarah took your ball. Did you feel angry? You bit Sarah. We do not bite our friends. Teeth are for eating, not biting our friends. That hurt Sarah.” Then show them an appropriate way of dealing with a friend who grabs toys from them.
Language that I try to always use whenever in a “biting situation” is as follows: “Teeth are for eating food, not for biting our friends. That hurts our friend’s bodies!” “Instead of biting, use your words and gentle touches.” Then I would model the language and behavior that I’d prefer the children use. Often the children will want to hug/kiss to show affection/apology. Having a child who bites, or is bitten frequently can be a heartbreaking thing. It is NOT forever and educators in no way hold it against them. We know they are learning about social and physical boundaries every day. Self regulation takes a lot of practice! It is important not to label any children as biters. Negative labels can affect how you view your child and even how they view themselves.
As hard as it is, punishing a biter is not effective. Punishment is not going to help them learn discipline and self control. Instead they get angry, upset or embarrassed. It also undermines the relationship that you/a staff has built with them. In the end prevention is key. Seeing the moments before the bites happen takes practice. Understanding the precursor moments helps parents/educators assist children in managing their actions.
In my experience, biting occurrences happen most often during a transition. [A transition means a time between two activities. IE: diapering/bathroom before lunch, getting dressed before outdoor play] Transitions are some of the most stressful points in our days in school. Everyone is either tired, hungry or needs a staff’s attention RIGHT NOW. Of course, these are the moments when children’s emotions are running high and it makes sense that this is when they would bite. A strategy that has proven effective is to keep group sizes small, take time for each child during transitions and generally slow things down so that each child gets the one on one that they need during these tough periods in the day. For your own peace of mind, talk to your child’s educators. Even better, talk to your child. The issue of biting doesn’t need to be such a feared, whispered about topic.
-Lynx Team Leader, Hayley
After some reflection from our educators in the Lynx Room, we agreed that it would be helpful to us and to the families if we added a few tips and suggestions about assisting and encouraging self-help skills with toddlers.
Potty/Washroom- If your child is interested in the potty or you are increasing your potty-sitting expectations it is VERY helpful if you dress your child in clothing that they can manipulate themselves. Ie: Pull down and pull back up. Overalls, onesies and tight, skinny jeans might look adorable, but they are potty training no-nos. By dressing your child in clothing that they can handle themselves you are empowering them and setting them up for success! The same goes for outdoor apparel. Although our current season makes getting dressed for outside extra tricky, we still take the time to slow down and explain how to get dressed as much as we can. You will be surprised by how well your child can get dressed on their own if you slow down and take your time to get dressed!
Here at the School House we strive to normalize the use of correct anatomical words and break the shame around body parts for our future generations. Multiple times in a day the Educators in the classroom accompany the children to the bathroom to assist in the routine of toileting and diapering. While the children use the potty or are having their diapers changed we use proper anatomical terminology. For example: "Please point your penis down into the potty. Then your pee will go inside, and not spray you or the floor." or "You have a big poop in your diaper. So I'm going to wipe your vulva. I'm just going to separate your labia to get the poop out of there.".
As adults, many of us grew up being shown that these types of words were not OK to say, or maybe not taught them at all, instead being given vague or "cutesy" words. Using proper terms for our bodies empowers children by normalizing all body parts so saying something like "scrotum" is no more strange than saying "elbow". Using this type of correct language will allow children to be clear about their bodies in the future. If issues like allergies, infections, pain or abuse come up for a child during their lifetime, they will be able to be clear about exactly where and what is happening for them. When we use language like "down there" it is not specific and creates an air of mysterious shame around our bodies.
In the classroom we also strive to teach children about consent. Many adults believe that consent is a conversation that should be saved for sexual maturity. But the truth is that consent is something humans learn from birth. As we grow the adults around us teach us about consent and whether our voice is worth being heard. One example of this is how we treat children, especially those who are pre-verbal. We give children warning before we physically move or manipulate their bodies. For example: I will let a child know that I am going to wipe their nose or face with a cloth before I do so. I wait 10 seconds for them to process what I've said, since it can take a young child 10-15 seconds to mentally process what they're hearing. Then I will wipe the child's face. I find that when I take the time to tell a child what will happen before hand they are much less likely to get upset or fight against what is happening. It is respectful to the child. I know that I wouldn't want someone to just come up and put a wet cloth in my face without telling me. Why do we believe children would feel any different?
I will leave you all with one more thought regarding consent. This is a very relevant topic as we enter the holiday season when visits with family and friends are occurring. We have the responsibility to be our child's advocate. Well meaning people in our lives will be exciting to see our child and will ask, or maybe just go, for a hug or a kiss. Support your child's boundaries if their answer is "no". Suggest an alternative. High five? Fist bump? Blow a kiss? Wave? Don't allow another adult's disappointment to rob you of this opportunity to let your child know that you have their back and will make sure their boundaries are respected. Besides if that adult respects your child's "no", chances are, as the day progresses your child will become more comfortable around them and be included in their play or maybe even receive a child-initiated hug or kiss.
Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions please feel free to talk with me!
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This page is for little extras that we'd like to share.
Recipes, guidance strategies, or simply links to important content related to fostering a rich learning environment for your child.