little bug

Mission #8 – Confessions…

June 9, 2016
Written by Talia

Last season, Asia helped us pick out our frog friends, and got into the groove! Ready, set, hop!

At the end of our Winter Season Nature Club class – In Cold Blood – we expanded our daycare pet population to include two fire belly toads. Asia, from Aquariums West, helped us pick them out and taught us how to care for them. They were named Hoppy and Slavenko, and they lived in the tank next door to Gecko.

Over the May Long Weekend, Hoppy disappeared. 🙁

He’s a really good hopper, and we assume he made it out the mail slot and hopped to freedom. Of course the kids and teachers are sad that he’s gone, but we’re excited for his new adventures, and wish him well.

But what about Slavenko?

Since the disappearance of Hoppy, Slavenko had been pretty morose. We wondered if he would be happier with a friend, and after a little internet research, we discovered that Fire Belly Toads are social creatures who prefer (for the most part) to live in groups.

Confessing to Asia that we had lost… that Hoppy had escaped, was embarrassing but important, and now that Slavenko was probably feeling lonely, we knew what we had to do.

Mission #8: Find a friend for Slavenko.

A recap in photos:

As usual, we missioned up, and headed out.

Asia wasn’t there, but another staff member told us that neither fish, rats, bunnies, chameleons, or even fire belly newts make great friends for toads. Another toad was the way to go. (Good thing we asked 😉 )

The first Friday of June is National Donut Day (since 1938!), so Luna’s mission, to bring back a treat was right on the money, and while Jackson’s picture bonus – 2 dogs – seemed like it would be a breeze, it wasn’t until the very end of our animal laden trip that we ran into a lady walking 3 little poodle mixes. We counted 22 buses, and found a bonus waterfall where we had our snack.

Everyone knows Maksim is the sweetest, but even Isa underestimated how much charm he could turn on, until he snuggled up, and asked her if sitting by the waterfall wasn’t “so romantic”? She melted a little bit, and he got 10 bonus points, helping us achieve our first 100+ point mission: 111!

Upon our return, there was one question on everyone’s mind, and I’m sure you’re also wondering. I considered it an ill omen, but the response has been unanimous. The new frog’s name is Hoppy, and he and Slavenko are getting along just fine. 🙂

May’s Missions Accomplished: Recapped

May 30, 2016
Written by Talia

Lara has been away, and keeping up the pace without my second lieutenant has been a mission of its own…

Don’t get me wrong! We have accomplished missions! Tonnes of them! If anything, the kids and I are getting better and better at this game. And Christa, our amazing, up-for-anything, afternoon substitute teacher jumped so smoothly into the fieldtrip protocols that it feels like she’s been with us all along!

The Mission Box has eight pockets, and when we get it out, all the kids get ready to pick their missions. With topics like “Help a teacher,” “How many…?”, and the dreaded “Added Challenge,” the main mission is just the beginning. Everyone gets a mission! And it’s been going really well.

May 6th, Lara and the kids went to the Tyee Elementary school fair and fundraiser/plant sale.  The job was to buy something for the planter in the cubby area that had died. There ended up being a bouncy slide!

On May 20, the job was to weed out the garden boxes in front of Buddings, PLUS! the kids also picked a fresh round of photo missions, and items to bring back.

And last week, we went to the supermarket, for something that could be baked into a pie…

With great walking from our six troupers, Christa and I led the group to City Square Mall for something to be baked into a pie. (We picked apples.)

Brooklyn led the whole group in a funny dance, we said “have a nice day” to everyone we saw, including this adorable dog in a sweater and stroller, for a bonus point.

Maksim and Daniel folded the towels, and they, and Sylvie also gave Benson a bath and walked him around the block.

A man wearing a headwrap taught us to say “What time is in?” in Punjabi (they use the word “time” and “hoaa” to mean it’s a question), we took a big group pic with a man in a hat, who also had a bicycle, and we even had time, on the way back, to run the giant ramp. Without screaming. Woo-hoo!

Plus! Emily kept track of how many birds we saw: 30!

I think that makes… 98 pts.!

This week, Lara is back, so she and the kids will be returning the library books. For a start…

Mission #2 – Staff Wall Refresh

May 4, 2016
Written by Talia

For our second official mission (after being hijacked last week), the 7 kids each drew a card from the mission box (worth 10 pts. each), and Lara got straight to work on the staff photos. Luckily, Isabel is also a photographer, so we were able to get a shot of everyone… except Johanna… Shoot!

Well, the staff photo wall is still in progress, and actually, we need to make another batch of cubby cards (see Mission #1), but our scores are getting higher with each outing, and the game is getting more and more complex!

My original goal had just been for the kids to practice teaming up to work together, and get some daycare jobs done, but mission fever has taken over! Everything is a mission.

Sarah’s Pirate Club receives their weekly messages from their oracle mascot, and Johanna and Monday’s Sun Shine class built their own solar oven!

The other day, after dropping some letters in the mailbox for me, Denet sent me this message:

We’ve already talked about how accomplishment gets your dopamine flowing, but who could have predicted how powerfully it would motivate the preschoolers. It’s amazing!

Sharing our mission cards gave us a united purpose, and made the kids into a team, almost automatically. They want to work together because they have missions to accomplish!

Big Kids Club is a social-centric program, but with Mission Accomplished, I feel like we’ve stumbled onto something amazing.

By sending them on real errands, maybe the kids are feeling more connected to the centre and each other, or maybe they just like having a fieldtrip every week… I’m not sure what the magic ingredient is, but Mission Accomplished lifting off.

When the kids are super excited, teamwork is a snap. And since we’re also supposed to be growing our instagram page, we took as many photos as we could. Find them below:

Maksim’s mission: Baby Esteban – 10pts. Dez’s mission: kids under a tree – 10pts. Marlow’s mission: run the laundry – 10pts
Jackson’s mission: bring a flower – 10pts. Brooklyn’s mission: something yellow – 10pts. Lara’s mission: new staff picture wall… in progress

For a total of… 65 pts + 2 BONUS pts.

Final score: 67 pts.

Bonus #1 – It was a sunny day 🙂 This beautiful lady saved the mission when Talia forgot to bring the money for the photos… lesson learned!

Hop over to our staff page to see the new pics! 😉

Mission #2: Hijacked! Isabel goes ROGUE!

April 27, 2016
Written by Talia

Lara was away last week, because she had her exams to write at UBC.

Her studies in Media Arts are super useful at Buddings, where she’s coordinating our Instagram account (follow us here!), but of course the last weeks of the year are hectic. She had to study!

So Isabel was supposed to lead the second mission, a research trip for next week’s photography mission – Refresh/Update the Staff Photo Wall.

They were excited to check out an exhibit near Science World, but before we could meet in the room to choose our missions from the box…

The kids were gone!

After her first fieldtrip went into overtime (Wednesday’s trip to North Vancouver), Isabel was determined to do better! When the clock struck one, she quickly sent everyone through the bathroom and right out the door! They didn’t have their missions!

When I tried to contact them, she maintained radio silence (or missed the call), but when they arrived at the destination she checked in.

She, Maksim, Ruby, Raffael, and Grant huddled around her walkie-talkie (AKA cell phone) while I picked their Photo Mission and Bring Back items out of the box to relay.

Photo Mission: Kid Hugging a Tree

Bring Back: A feather

It was Earth Day last week, so the missions were right on the money, and while they didn’t see a single feather (it started to rain when they left the exhibition), all was made well when she submitted her final report: Triple Points!

Mission #1: Make new cubby cards

April 16, 2016
Written by Talia

Cubby Card Mission: Accomplished – New High Score! – 25 pts.!!

Lara and Isabel drew a pro crew of Big Kids for their mission to Staples:

Maksim, Jackson, Carter, Rolland, Felix, and Grant loved the idea of taking on “secret missions.” It took no time at all to have them fully engaged, and when they saw the mystery mission box, they were even more on board.

For each additional mission they picked, they could earn up to 10 points, with 3 bonus points for extra photos.

Mission Scoring Card:

Doing the mission on budget (2 pts., within 25% = 1pt.)

On time (by 4pm = 2pts., by 6pm = 1pt.)

Ratio Bonus* (1:4 = 2pts., 1:3 = 1pt.)

Photo Evidence (clear photo = 2 pts., explanation req’d = 1pt.)

Lesson Learned (2 pts.)

Additional Bonus Photos – up to 3 BONUS pts. possible – explanations required :

So here’s how they did:

Main Mission: Make new Cubby Cards

Help a teacher: Talia!

Bring Back:

Photo Bonus

Added Challenge:

Destination: Staples on Broadway Buy tape refills and file tabs at Staples 1lb. of coffee Person wearing a hat Charge the Compass Card
Points earned: 5 7 5 8 0
New cubby cards: Check! Tape, tabs, and coffee: check, check… check! “Mental Picture” snapped by Maksim. Not available for display. … next time… 🙁

It’s 25 out of a possible 50…

…so there’s room to improve. And that’s a good thing! By the time this season ends, both Lara and the kids will be accomplishment experts…

Plus! We have all new cubby cards! 🙂

Lara’s writing her university exams next week, but before she left, she drew the mission card for her next class:

Mission #2: Refresh the Staff Photo Wall – Apr. 29, from 1 – 4pm

So next Friday, Isabel and the kids will be researching various techniques, as part of the Capture Photography Festival happening all over town, all this month.

Join them, Apr. 22, from 1 – 4pm, and find all the fieldtrips, on our Events Calendar.

Accomplishment as a goal

April 7, 2016
Written by Talia

When people achieve goals, it creates a positive feeling in themselves, about their abilities, and their perseverance.

Accomplishment is best delivered in regular doses, and research among entrepreneurs shows that setting short-term, achievable goals and celebrating successes not only leads to better learning, it also builds confidence to get out there, and take over the world!

Make a list, and check it twice, because when you tick things off, dopamine (the neurotransmitter of pleasure) is your reward.

So the Spring season class, Mission Accomplished, that Lara and I are co-presenting, is giving the kids (and Lara) a chance to flex the dopamine muscles.

What else are we doing on Fridays, at Big Kids Club?

Mission Accomplished is a fieldtrip intensive class, with outings every week (the first of its kind!), and the opportunity for everyone to play a part.

Their first mission – already accepted – is to design, create, and laminate a new set of cubby cards. After that, Lara and the kids will be picking their tasks out of a hat, and making it up as they go along. With just 3 hours to complete each mission, the clock will be ticking, and no matter what they come up with, the reward will be seeing their work on display – in the cubby card bowl, garden boxes, on the walls and online.

Get your dopamine flowing! Join us, on Friday Apr. 15, from 1 – 4, for the season kick-off, and keep up with the action right here on the blog.

Mission Accomplished

April 4, 2016
Written by Talia

This season’s fieldtrip-intensive Friday afternoon class is the chance for our Big Kids to take on some of the big jobs around daycare.

Talia Erickson has a to-do list, and Lara Blacklock has the can-do attitude to make this class all about “doing” things.

We need to re-home our frog friends (into a bigger tank), and to plant the upside-down strawberry growing machine. We want to build a latch-board, and make new cubby cards for the kids.

Lara’s never done any of these jobs before, but with the help of… the internet, and her dynamic, anything-goes approach to accomplishment, she and the kids will spend Friday afternoons taking on Talia’s missions, and ticking the tasks off the list.

Join them, Fridays from 1 – 4, April to June.


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