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, November 29, 2011

Chickens and Cupcake Cakes

The kids became engaged and interested in the chicken for Laos project after we talked about the importance of supporting farmers and how this in turn supports communities. We went to the library and picked up a book on Laos and on chickens. We looked at pictures of Laos and talked about the differences they noticed from the landscape and culture of Laos. 
We talked about the project and the idea of giving and supporting global communities in need of support. 
The kids were really interested in the idea of providing chickens for the farmers that could then provide food and agricultural support for communities in Laos.

Olivia said, "Farmers are important because they make food". Ana said, "The food goes to store and then we go there and take it home to eat. Without them we would have no food to eat."

The kids drew pictures of chickens. They used feathers for texture and pencil crayons. 
They were really excited to send the pictures off and have Aeroplan donate $5 for each drawing to the purchase of a chicken.

ART: PRINTMAKING 
We went to the library and took out some books on different illustrators and artists that we will look at to inspire us as we start to think about printmaking for the holiday season.
We also started talking about the importance of giving and what it means to be resourceful. This conversation happened while we discussed Laos and how we could give to the community. 

MUSIC
We have been listening to different genres of music at snacktime. This started a conversation about music and what sounds and instruments we were interested in. On we took a trip to Long & McQuade. We didn't have enough time to explore the whole store, but we came to the agreement that we all wanted to see the drums and maybe play them...which we did! The kids were all able to sit at their own electronic drum kit and play away! There were some good drum rolls happening. We then went to see the brass section. The kids identified instruments and were excited that they were able to hear some of them played by people in the store. We will have to take a trip back there soon! 
In the meantime, we've been brainstorming a band name and starting to make up songs. 

MAPPING
We put a map of Toronto up and we all took turns circling where our houses were on the map. We talked about what neighbourhoods we lived in and decided that we want to walk by each other's houses so that we can share where we live we the group.
We will also mark the places we've been and where we are going to.

MOVEMBER
We talked a bit about Movember and Prostate Cancer. We touched upon "standing in solidarity" with others and showing support.

 

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A Very Fun + Productive Autumn

We' enjoyed the past month's weather, making leaf piles, collecting chestnuts, and meeting gardeners preparing for winter as we walk around the neighburhood.

So much has gone on in playschool since we first began. We're now accustomed to the everyday routine of playing in the park, reading books, singing songs, and building our little community. We have been practicing taking turns and working together.

Here's a rundown of some of the additional things we've been up to:

Art
We just got our new sketchbooks, which we'll slowly fill up as the year goes on. We'll be experimenting with markmaking  using graphite, crayons, pastels, and more. The kids are really into water colours!
In addition to working with our new sketchbooks, over the next month we'll be exploring the possibilities of different textiles, making quilts, soft puppets, and leather scrap jewelry.

Food
We visited the farmer's market a few times to see what people are growing and to try out some tasty treats. We made a delicious pirate stew made with dried fruit, maple syrup and chocolate!

Field Trips
In addition to exploring local parks like Dufferin Grove, we went further afield to check out Queen's Park and Riverdale Farm. We also went to St. James Park to talk to people at Occupy Toronto. The kids walked around and (with a little prompting) asked questions like, "Why are you here?" and "What are you doing?". After walking around and observing, we moved to the fountain and threw in pennies. Each child made one wish for the world and one secret wish for themselves.
Some wishes for the world they made:

  • I wish everyone could have a nice Mom and Dad and brother
  • I wish people in China could have more than one kid
  • I have a really cool toy that flies. (so you can wish that for everyone...) ok, I wish everyone could have that toy
  • I wish everyone could have enough food
  • I wish everyone could have enough money
In the coming month we'll be checking out some of the great museums in the city. We're hoping to visit the ROM, the textile museum, and also hopefully check out some of the imagiNATIVE programming at the National Film Board.

Movement
We've been learning to  warm up our bodies, breathe, and stretch. We are practicing skipping, galloping, and turning, and playing games like the hokey pokey and london bridge.