You are never too old to play in the snow.

With the chill of winter settling in, it is a great time to discuss the importance of outdoor play. During the cooler months, it is common for children to be restricted to indoor play, but here at the house, we embrace the outdoors during all seasons as we know it is crucial for children’s ongoing development.

The most common myth of winter is that children get sick if they play outdoors in the cold – let’s discuss. It is common for one to believe that the cold, brings on a cold. However, it is not the exposure to the cold that causes these viruses, although we may go above and beyond on the cleaning and disinfecting daily and have our HEPA filters running, it is the indoors that bacteria and viruses like to stay even when unwelcomed. By encouraging outdoor play in winter, children gain much needed exposure to fresh air, and Vitamin D.

During the spring and summer, children will become familiar with bright green foliage, flowers in bloom and warm climate. As the seasons change, they will experience different characteristics in the environment – falling leaves, brown grass, ice, and snow. These developments provide children with new experiences and opportunities, such as learning about the seasons, and the life cycles of plants. Through play in the winter, the children see their natural environment in a different lens and observe different experiences the cooler months may bring.

Inviting children to discover the wonders of winter at a young age, encourages them to enjoy the season as they grow up. As they spend time outside in the colder temperatures, they will develop resilience and foster a fascination with the changing seasons.

We are all for play, in all four seasons!

Bundle up, and enjoy the cold! It’s good for you 🙂

The Chartwell House.

New Year. Same Blog.

Twenty-twenty-three, we are here!

The hustle and bustle of the holidays have calmed
We celebrated another year over, and a new one just beginning
And if you can believe it, we are already mid-way through January!

This week, let’s do a classic photo dump showing all photos from January thus far…

A photo really does say a thousand words!

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”

We are just days away from Santa coming to town, and although it is green out there now, snow is in the forecast! “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!” We all know the hustle and bustle of the holidays can be a lot, and so my gift to you is a little time out. Pour yourself a drink of your choice, cozy into your favourite spot, put your feet up, and enjoy a snowfall of photos from December at the house.

“O, Christmas Tree – O, Christmas Tree
How lovely are thy branches”

“Thumpety thump, thump, thumpety thump, thump,
look at Frosty go”

“You’re as cuddly as a cactus
And as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch
You’re a bad banana with a greasy black peel”

“Red is the color of the season
Red decorations on the tree
Red like a candy apple
Christmas is red you see
Green, like Christmas holly
Green, like a Wreath on the door
Green, like a hat on an Elf
Christmas is green like me
It’s Red
It’s Green
It’s Red
It’s Green”
(Kermit & Miss Piggy)

“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”

“We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

From all of us here at the house, we wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Zoom, zoom, zoom!

Play is an integral part of childhood, it is through play that children learn and develop. Children will find a way to play regardless if they have toys or not, however, the quality of their play can be greatly enhanced by providing toys, and materials that allow them to expand on their learning and that challenge them. Toys can be viewed as tools we offer children for entertainment, but toys can also help them learn and engage in creative and constructive play.

There are different types of toys all designed to support the different phases of a child’s development. Sensory toys are developed to engage the primary senses – touch, sight, and hearing – whereas, imaginative play toys are designed to stimulate the imagination and promote creative play. Toy cars support various types of learning and developmental milestones.

Toy cars, trains, fire engines, police cars, buses, diggers, and other toys of similar nature all make popular choices for all children. Objects with wheels that have any sort of practical purpose, have proven to be a successful play item, and for good reason – replicas of items from the surrounding environment, make for popular toys.

Creative play gives children the freedom to create a fictitious world which is not constrained by reality – during creative play anything is possible! Playing with vehicles offers open-ended play, allowing children to exert some form of control on the objects around them and express their own will within an appropriate, controlled, and safe environment.

Playing with vehicles offers a wonderful opportunity for interactive play and the development of social skills such as communication and turn taking. This allows children to build confidence and establish relationships with other children, they will also enhance their language skills and their vocabulary.

It appears that playing with toy vehicles can help promote a range of fundamental cognitive development skills – children are inadvertently making calculations and discovering elements of basic physics – the heavier vehicle travels down the ramp at a greater speed, how much weight can be loaded onto a truck or train before it collapses.

Both fine and gross motor skills are exercised as children learn to move their vehicles around. During this type of play, they are not only able to physically exert themselves by pushing something around but to also steer and guide the vehicle successfully in the right direction, this will help them learn cause and effect – how hard they may push something or how much pressure they apply can change the outcome. This type of play helps to improve balance and coordination by the physical actions involved as reaching, bending, and pushing. Fine motor skills are enhanced through dexterity and the practice of hand-eye coordination.

All of this learning and skill development is packed into when a child simply chooses a toy car to push across the floor.

Zoom, zoom!

The Chartwell House.

And we are back!

After some technical difficulties, the blog is back up and running!

Let’s get you caught up on the happenings of the House.

We will start with the Toddlers, and to do this, we have to go back…WAY back. I am talking millions and millions of years ago when the Dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

Over 700 species, from carnivores to herbivores, from the largest land-based dino the Argentinosaurus huinculensis to those that were smaller than a chicken – dinosaurs have infatuated the young for years. Although us humans and dinos did not coexist, these Todd’s love for the extinct lives on.

The Dinosaurs took over Toddler One, meanwhile Toddler Two tested their sweet tooth’s! Baking and decorating cupcakes, and scooping and packing ice cream.

Through children’s interests, the educators will create an environment that allows the children to explore their curiosity on a certain topic or focus – whether it is dinosaurs or cupcakes, the educators provided the materials and the children PLAYED. While they were playing, and maybe without them even knowing it, they were learning, and building their skills. From fine motor to gross motor, to cognitive and emotional, to language and communication – they will learn through play!

It’s as easy as…ABC!

The Kinder scholars continue to work on their letter recognition. From naming the letters, to the sound each letter makes, to learning letter sequence. They have been practicing tracing their letters, and spelling their name – all of these learning opportunities will be the foundation they need before they start to learn how to read and write.

Grasping the Pincer Grasp – The pincer grasp simply means the ability to grab a small object with the thumb and index finger. And this growing dexterity sets the stage for all sorts of skills. There are different types of grasps your child will conquer during their early stages of development from the palmer grasp, to the lateral tripod, to the inferior pincer grasp – all stages will strengthen your child’s hand-eye coordination writing skills.

The temperatures may have dropped, but the learning continued in the great outdoors…

From Nature Walks, where the children learn about the signs of the road, where they hear birds chirping and trains cho-chooing, where they see squirrels preparing for winter, feel the sun shining, see their breath, and breathe in the fresh air to using their imagination and creating a wreath out of leaves and a tire, to working together to complete a task like shoveling the snow off the deck, to digging and looking for dinosaur bones that because of dino week in Toddlers I now know have been found on every continent!

It’s just good to be a kid at play!

That’s a wrap on this weeks happenings. Have a wonderful weekend.

The Chartwell House.

Q: How did the scarecrow win an award?

A: He was outstanding in his field! HA!

Your four Chartwell classrooms worked hard, brought their creativity, and presented their very own scarecrow to participate in Chartwell’s Annual Scarecrow Contest. The scarecrows took to the front field, and have been outstanding since. The time has come to announce the winner…but first, let’s have a closer look at all participants.

From left to right, top to bottom we have Kinders on the drums, Preschool recycled, reused and reduced with their pretty lady scarecrow, Toddler Two are your superhero’s and Toddler One did not sleep on the competition with their ‘crow! All classrooms did an amazing job, we thank all of you for bringing some life to the front field and joy to all. And now, we will announce your 2022 Scarecrow contest, winner….(insert drum roll). It was far out, but the winner is…

Groovy! Prize to arrive Monday!

Now, back to this week’s happenings at the house.

We continue to fall for Autumn…

What is a play-based approach to learning? A play-based approach involves both child-initiated and teacher-supported learning. The teacher encourages children’s learning and inquiry through interactions that aim to stretch their thinking to higher levels. Through play, children can discover their own interests, abilities and limitations – they imagine, investigate and explore. Through play, children will develop memory skills, build on to their vocabulary, learn new skills and knowledge and learn how to get on with adults and other children.

The photos pictured below show teacher-guided activities that have been initiated by the interests of the children. The children may have been observed talking about fire trucks, or maybe they shared what they wanted to be when they grow up, or perhaps they saw a fire truck drive by while outside and this sparked a conversation with their teacher who then took their inquiries and created an environment where they could expand on their curiosity.

Letter recognition and number recognition during play – see it here!

That is a wrap on this week’s happenings. Congratulations again to the Kinder class whose hippie-drumming-scarecrow earned the win in this year’s Scarecrow contest! Next up, is our Pumpkin Contest, the winner will be in the hand’s of the parents so stay tuned!

The Chartwell House.

Every Child Matters.

Today, September 30th, thousands of Canadians wear orange to acknowledge former residential student, Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, who had her brand new orange t-shirt that was given to her by her Grandmother, taken from her when she was just six years old on her first day at residential school. We wear orange to acknowledge what Phyllis and so many others went through, and to reaffirm that EVERY CHILD MATTERS.

Every Child Matters.

It was an action packed week at the house – from Happy Patty, to Yoga with Jova to Sportsball – we sang, we danced, we stretched, and we scored!

We continued to work our gross motor skills during our outdoor play, from riding bikes, to playing basketball. Gross motor skills are those which require whole body movement and involve the large muscles of the body to perform everyday functions, such as; walking, running, jumping and sitting upright at the table. They also include hand-eye coordination skills such as ball skills (throwing, catching, kicking) or carefully stacking blocks to make towers. All these types of movements are important for young children to practice as they develop because they help the child learn how to coordinate and control their body movements.

Your Chartwell House educators got to dive a litter deeper in just how important gross motor skill development can be for your child. To expand their learning, we had physiotherapist, Kate Morrison, here to visit. Kate is opening a clinic here in Oakville, called, “Kids Physio Group.” Kate shared gross motor milestones for each age group, she shared her expertise, experience, and knowledge and answered our questions too. The children are not the only ones learning at the house!

The Fall inspired programming continued – with apple crafting and name recognition to enhancing our senses!

With the sweet smell of cinnamon and apples the toddlers practiced their fine motor skills while using their senses! Sensory play includes activities that stimulate your young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, movement, balance, sight and hearing. Sensory activities facilitate exploration and naturally encourages children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore.

The todds combined their fine and gross motor skills when they took to the yard to apple pick. Walking, running and scooping they worked their gross motor skills, then carefully using their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills they placed each apple they found into their paper bag.

Every Child Matters.

The Chartwell House.

Goodbye Summer. Hello Fall!

Wednesday September 21st, last day of Summer – 27 degrees.
Thursday September 22nd, first day of Fall – 14 degrees.

No wasting time for Autumn to arrive. Winter mornings, summer afternoons with pumpkin spice in the air, Fall is here!

And what better way to celebrate than with apples! This week for “Feelin’ the Love,” with Ms. Cox, she read the story “The Giving Tree,’ by Shel Silverstein. The story may be about a tree who gives and gives and gives, but Ms. Cox’s lesson was that it takes two halves to make a whole. And just like the tree, Ms. Cox gave each child one half of an apple, and discussed the importance of sharing, as the children found a friend to bring their half of an apple together to make a whole. They then created apple masterpieces with water on the fence.

For Jolly Phonics this week, Ms. Cox challenged the children to create letters out of poker chips to match the letter presented. Skills involved: Letter recognition, fine motor, and matching.

The Fall inspired crafting in Kinders has made for some beautiful wreaths – see the final outcomes hanging on the Coach House!

Letter recognition is a key step in a child’s ability to learn to read and write. As children play with letter manipulatives, they are gaining knowledge about the letters they interact with. They can SEE the difference between “Y” and “B.” Children will typically look for letters they are familiar with, one of the very first words with great importance to them will be their very own name. Next, they will begin to expand their letter knowledge to the rest of the alphabet. Eventually, these skills grow into the ability to start identifying and associating uppercase and lowercase letters.

Number recognition is where children learn how to recognize different numbers by their names, by the way they look, and by matching them to their representative quantities. Number recognition and fluency are important parts of your child’s early learning development, they will become aware of how to compare large and small objects – they will start to understand that the number 5 is more than the number 1.

Colour recognition is another key cognitive development step for children as it plays an important role in object recognition and is a vital part in helping children to develop their descriptive language skills, which in turn encourages clear communication and understanding.

To end the week, we welcomed our first exposure to Sportball – The Toddlers were up first! After a stretch and warm-up the todds and your Chartwell educators practiced their soccer skills. Next week, Preschool and Kinders are up to bat!

That’s game over for this week!

The Chartwell House.

New School year = New classes, faces and friends!

A new school year has started, which means we would like to WELCOME all new families to our Chartwell House blog – where you will get to have a glimpse of what is happening inside the house – here, photos will capture what the children are observing, learning and exploring! To our returning and existing families, we welcome you back! 🙂

It was the first full week for our scholars in their new classrooms – not only did they all do great, but you, Mom and Dad, did pretty good yourselves. For you first timers, you did it! Your little has started their educational journey, now…let the fun begin!

To start the year off, we start with the basics – from our ABCs to our 123s to colour and name recognition we are slowly getting things rolling.

To building, creating, mastering the fine and gross motor skills, to all things PLAY, we had a successful first week.

We sang along with Happy Patty, and we took to the Yoga mat with Ms. Joanna to stretch, breathe, and flow.

For our Jolly Phonics activity, Ms. Cox tried to stump the children by showing them a set of letters, and then having the children close their eyes as she removed one letter, after opening their eyes they had to name the missing letter.

For our literacy program, “Feelin’ the Love,” with Ms. Cox, she read the story “Giraffes can’t dance,” and then after the story it was time to show off our very own dance moves – and to remember to always dance like nobody is watching!

That is a wrap on this weeks happenings – stay tuned for more from inside the house right here weekly!

The Chartwell House.