WE STRIVE TO SEE THE WORLD FROM A KIDS-EYE-VIEW
Bellwoods Playschool uses a child-centred, socially conscious pedagogy to engage young children in social and artistic thought and action. Using what the city has to offer, we empower our students with the knowledge to be socially and environmentally responsible citizens while they develop into explorers of their urban landscape.

WE THINK OF THE CITY AS OUR CLASSROOM
A valuable aspect of the Bellwoods Playschool program is to empower children as navigators of their city. We journey on regular excursions, by foot and by public transportation, to art galleries, museums and cultural events, as well as markets, parks and city landmarks.

WE KNOW ITS TAKES A VILLAGE

Our Playschool runs on a model that links a range of artists together to engage and inspire children. We like to bring in different perspectives and actively pursue a diverse teaching staff. As such, professional educators and artists trade chalkboards for personal anecdotes and textbooks for real life experiences. Together, they create an atmosphere that is at once intellectually stimulating and deeply personalized.

Our Community

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring has sprung !

The other day, we ran around the park fending off enemy bats who wanted to take over and destroy the park. We got word from the Boss Lady that the bats don't like tomatoes and our mission was to plant tomato seeds in order to maintain our park and share food with others. Alas, our mission was successful. On our shelf in the Trinity Bellwoods community green house, we planted tomato seeds, as well as sunflower and moonflower seeds to enhance our powers and 'magic seeds' (a mix of herbs embedded in paper) to protect us.

We also finished our collaborative spring mural, done in the style of


March Break

March Break was busy and fun. We could not go to the Kortright Centre for the Maple Syrup festival as planned because the bus stop is a 2 KILOMETRE WALK AWAY! We ended up seeing some interesting creatures at Reptilia and the boys were very excited to ride the Viva. We did some animal drama and drawings at the Zoo and enjoyed fiddles and violins and wooden puppets for the St. Patrick celebrations at the Gladstone. We also enjoyed the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre's Monster Under The Bed.  Photobucket

The kids also participated in a claymation workshop at the NFB. Their masterpieces come in at 32 seconds : )

Boys' Claymation from NFB Workshop from Bellwoods Playschool on Vimeo.

MARCH 12, Canadian Music Week

We went to an afternoon house concert to see Halifax's Ghost Bees. There was plenty of sunlight in John O'Regan's Roncesvalles loft and we had our own snacks while nibbling on their complementary perogies and beets. The children were very attentive during the quiet acoustic set! One of the performers played a mandolin and sang while her twin strummed a guitar and did harmonies. Half way through, the boys drew to the music. At one point one of the boys had his eyes closed while his pastel glided around this page.


                                                                 ARTIST CHILD 1






ARTIST CHILD 2




ARTIST CHILD 3



This is an excerpt from BlogTO's review:
After a bit of mingling I noticed two masked ladies sitting patiently in the corner that served as a makeshift stage. These were the Ghost Bees, Halifax's spooky and surreal shoegaze folk combo. Incense was lit, bells were chimed ceremoniously, and children were drawing quietly in the crowd. They sound like something halfway between traditional folk music and an all acoustic movie score for a Wes Anderson film. I loved them.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Titles Added to Our Library!

These were all purchased from Another Story in Roncesvalles - - - one of the best book stores around.


THE PERFECT SWORD
Scott Goto
Master swordsmith Sensei Masa and his apprentice Michio work long and hard to create magnificent swords. When a new sword is finished, they must find a warrior worthy of it. A series of seemingly worthy men come to buy it, but Sensei finds them each too cruel, too privileged, or too selfish. While in the market one day, they see a brave young samurai disarm a thief without using his sword. They invite him to their home. When he reveals himself to be both honorable and constantly trying to be better, Sensei gives the humble but delighted youth the sword.



THE GOLDEN RULE


Ilene Cooper

A nameless boy and his grandfather discuss the meaning of the Golden Rule, its universality, and ways to practice it. Grandfather points out that many religions and cultures, from Christianity to Hinduism to the Shawnee tribe, have their own variations, and he quotes six examples. The boy wonders what the world would be like if more people practiced the Rule, and Grandfather explains that "It begins with you." The rich, golden paintings and large format reinforce the importance of the topic. 


THE CITY ABC BOOK

Zoran Milich

Every large city is filled with sights and sounds and lots and lots of words. But have you ever looked at the city itself? At the shapes created by wood, concrete, metal and paint? A keen eye and a little inspiration are all it takes to discover a hidden alphabet among the architecture of a bustling metropolis. The City ABC Book features dramatic black-and-white photographs of urban landscapes with hidden letters boldly highlighted in red.

















THE INDIE ROCK COLORING BOOK


The Yellow Bird Project



From the psychedelic cover of a hand drawing an explosion of instruments and swirls topped with a bird head to the 31 pages of coloring and games, each page in this book features a drawing by U.K.-based musician and illustrator Andy J. Miller. It celebrates some of indie rocks favorite bands. The first pages offer a chance to color in a Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! carnival and to find all of the birds in Devendra Banhart's beard. The book raises money for several of the causes that Yellow Bird Project supports. As Rilo Kiley's Pierre de Reeder writes in the foreward the book is, "a great example of how you can turn your love for music and art into something that can really help."






INUIT ART FROM CAPE DORSET


In this colouring book you'll find 22 pictures created by 10 different Inuit artists from Cape Dorset. The pictures are shown  as small reproductions on the inside front and back covers. When you colour them, you might want to try to copy the colours the  artists used, or you might choose your own. You'll notice that the Inuit artists make pictures of the animals and people of their community. You'll see owls and other birds, polar bears, seals, and fish, as well as people dressed in warm clothes. The pictures are very magical, don't you think?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Composer and His Muse

On Thursday we went to the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre for the Canadian Opera Company's Free Concert Series. It was the children's first time attending an opera and were they ever interested! They were a bit squirmish but were pretty attentive. There were two alternating pianists and several different singers.  I thought that they would have left feeling bored but they said that "it was fun" - - - "FUN"! They also said that "it was sort of funny". There were 9 songs performed and we stayed for 6 of them. This was what we saw:

News, News, News, Nixon in China - John Adams
Vains regrets!...Doute de la lumiere, Hamlet, Ambroise Thomas
Addio!...E destin!, La Boheme, Reggiero Leoncavallo
Figlia!...Mio padre!, Rigoletto, Giuseppe Verdi
Soliloquy and Prayer, Gloriana, Benjamin Britten
Cherunbino? Cherubino?, The Ghosts of Versailles, John Corigliano

-aa

Tried, Tested and True Decision Maker

There were only two little guys today (everyone else was away or sick). We biked around the neighbourhood, navigated through the back alleyways (which they LOVED) and did laps in Osler park. One named our little bike gang, "The Best Bikers of Toronto" and the other, "The West Bikers of Toronto". In fact, they pretty much disagreed on everything, all day - - - "Let's go to Dufferin Grove" - -"No, to Osler Park"; "Let's get the pizza ingredients from Price Chopper" - - "No, I really want to go to No Frills".

Well, let me tell you, with some guidance and encouragement, by the end of the day they were settling their debates on their own. As soon as they disagreed on something they automatically had their fists out for battle and chanted, "ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS!" It was pretty amazing to watch them move forward without a hassel.

The pizza we made had 4 sections for each person's desires. 1/4 plain cheese, 1/4 mushrooms + onions, 1/4 peppers + onions, 1/4 mushrooms, peppers + onions. They pretty much made the whole thing by themselves. It was quite delicious teamwork.




-aa

Friday, March 05, 2010

Very Good Children

The rink at Dufferin Grove was all slush so no skating for us today. We enjoyed the melting zamboni mountain terrain instead.

We had learned a tiny little bit about Ethiopia in the morning so we walked up to Bloor for snack and ate Ethiopian food for the first time. The very good children went right for the food. They had votes on which dishes were their favourites.
- aa

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Birthday Ride

For his birthday, one of the kids (an excellent cartographer, actually) had a TTC route that he wanted to take to a candy store. He'd been to that candy store before but never by public transit. He never rode on the Prince Edward bus in all his 6 years and so badly wanted to do so. Alas, here we end up at the "candy store" . . . in Etobicoke.

We ended up spending the day at a SUPER park. Got up close and personal with mallards and swans, skipped stones on the beach shore and basked in the sun (camera died as soon as we met the swans). Only thing not so great thing about the day was that I left my pretty red mitts on the Old Mill train and one of the children lost a mitt to Lake Ontario. We kept cooing at the mallards and swans to fetch it for us but they never did.
- aa

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Celebrations!


Our Arctic  & Inuit studies were put on hold for our Black History and Chinese New Year celebrations. We had a Dim Sum party at Bright Pearl, made dumplings and got to dance around in a real dragon costume. We were also taken into other worlds by Toronto storyteller, Bernice Hune.

We started learning about Martin Luther King Jr. and how he fought for equal rights between Black people and White people in America. We also started learning about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Diana Braithwaite's great-great grandmother escaped through the Underground Railroad and told us stories through her blues music (lucky us, there was an ENORMOUS snow pile just outside). We heard some GREAT stories and songs from Cameroon's Njacko Backo and learn about different Carribean and African percussion instruments from Trinidad's Muhtadi.

Lastly, guided by a guest teacher, the boys had an outdoor survival day. They pitched a tent in Trinity Bellwoods, made hot chocolate over a portable stove and ate homemade granola bars. 


The Boys singing with Njacko Backo



Njacko Backo from Bellwoods Playschool on Vimeo.


The Boys playing percussions with Muhtadi


Untitled from Bellwoods Playschool on Vimeo.