I love presents. I love planning them, buying them, wrapping them, and giving them. Watching someone open a present – especially one that you’ve thought about long and hard – is really the best. Throwing a party is even more fun!
For the last few weeks, four of my amazing teachers have had birthdays back-to-back, and Buddings turns 5 this week, too!
Making my Fall Friday class about parties gave me a perfect opportunity to show each of the teachers how much I appreciate them.
The Party Planners had our work cut out for them. And I’d say we did pretty well. 😉
First up, our beautiful centre butterfly Johanna, who has been teaching at Buddings since 2012.
She’s a nature enthusiast, and a joyful soul. She loves vegetarian food, and chocolate, so the kids and I whipped up a chocolate tofu “cheesecake”. After giving her a big “surprise” and song, she received hugs and a new bamboo friend that Sylvie named Xena.
Isabel also loves chocolate and vegetarian food, plus she knows about games, and teaches the kids about abilities, sharing, and using their strength.
After playing pass-the-present, tearing through layer after layer, the kids presented Isa with her present, and were pleased as punch with… the boxes. 🙂
On Oct. 28, we gave Sarah a rainbow of a party: The Sparkle & Shine Party.
We wore our most colourful clothes, and made special rainbow decorations.
Her gifts were either warm or colourful, and we made her a kiwi banana cake, with purple icing!
The committee had one more Sara to celebrate, and after making a list of possible presents, we set out for a shopping trip at Oakridge Mall.
While Ehlssie stayed with Emily and Mattis in the play area, Farris, Ava, Arianna, and AJ headed to the Lego store to find the perfect gift.
It’s the thought that counts, and as all the teachers will agree, if Ava picks it, it’s perfect. 🙂
Kids love birthdays, and they feel very connected, and proud, of their age. They made cakes and cards, passed out presents, played games and sang songs.
With such an exciting real-world application, I bet my party planners didn’t even notice how seriously they suggested and defended their gift ideas, how carefully they prepared the cakes and cards, and how thoughtful they were throughout.
Next time you want to teach empathy, do it through party planning!
Hint: kids come in the most colourful clothing to show Sarah how her rainbow personality shines.
There’s some other news in there, too. 🙂
It’s the time of the harvest, and a celebration of all the Earth’s bounty. Vegetarians have more reason than anyone to be thankful, and my plan was to show the kids some of the famous fall foods that make this season special, especially: pumpkins and apples.
To start us off, we revisited Herb the Vegetarian Dragon, a great book about making our own food choices that the kids know and love. This time around, we focused especially on all the different, colourful vegetables we found on the pages.
The pictures in Jules Bass’ book inspired us to create our own vegetal visions. Ari, Ava, and Vera chose pictures of pumpkins, apples, and fall favourites, and got really excited about… sparkles. 🙂
With the prep work done, we were ready to take our learning afield – to Nourish Cafe and Cooking School – to meet with Dan and Alicia, who had even more interesting information to share!
The store is beautiful, with a retro kids’ kitchen, and an inviting learning space, with a long clean counter, and tall stools so everyone could see. After the talk (that included more pumpkins!), we also checked out the small herb garden behind the store.
Dan and Alicia were kind and patient, and after touring their space, I’m excited to try the food!
They’re going to be catering our Birthday Swap on Nov. 20, and we’ve got two spots in their up-coming macaroon-making class for the grand prize!
… but I can’t win. 🙁
Before the kids (and teachers) find out what’s in store for them in October, we’ve been doing a bit of background research into the real meaning of Thanksgiving. And the equinox, and the seasons, and the night, and well, just everything that happens all the time.
In fact, September has been all about time. What a concept!
Perhaps mistakenly, I decided to start with the macro…
The animals of the Chinese calendar follow one another through the zodiac according to the order they finished the Great Race. There are many versions of this story, but in all of them, the crafty rat pushes his friend cat into the river, and takes first place in the Jade Emperor’s 12-year count. In China, Cat doesn’t even finish! No wonder they hate rats so much!
After reading the story, the kids chose their own animals, and practiced using their skills to win the obstacle-scavenger-hunt-race through Buddings. Since Caris’ heart was set on being cat, we used the Vietnamese version of the story, where cat survives his soaking, and replaces 3rd runner up, rabbit, at the finish line.
We played the race game all afternoon, and even though in Sharing & Reflecting, the kids agreed that Rat hadn’t behaved in a friendly way, I didn’t feel like they’d understood “time.”
So the next week, I tried again, using our copy of Goodnight Vancouver to draw the children’s attention to the seasons. Good morning, cherry blossoms, making the streets look magical… Good evening snowboarders, swooshing through the snow.
Christa taught me a catchy tune for remembering the months of the year, but even though the kids are starting to get the hang of them all, I still don’t know if they’re understanding “time.”
Back at the drawing board, I was searching for a better way to explain it, when I stumbled upon the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel, with the cardinal directions, seasons, colours, and stages of life, allocated according to medicine traditions.
In the centre of the circle is Drumming. Everything fell into place.
Time isn’t linear, it’s cyclical. Which means there’s no beginning and no end.
Seasons follow seasons, and children are born, grow, age, and die, just like the sun that rises and sets every day.
Time as an abstract, human convenience – arbitrarily decided, divided, named, and changed – probably doesn’t mean much to my preschoolers. But they had no trouble talking about time marked by the patterns they experience in the world. Or even explaining it scientifically:
As Felix says, when the Earth is spinning and it spins to the other side of the sun, that’s when it’s night. 🙂
This week, as we approach the annual autumn celebration of food, my researchers take a trip to Nourish Vancouver Cafe and Cooking School, to learn about the healthiest ways to eat well, and appreciate the world’s bounty at the same time. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
The calendar this fall has a lot of special occasions marked in:
Our beautiful manager Sarah has a birthday at the end of October – almost Halloween! – and our longest teaching teacher Johanna’s birthday is Oct. 15. Isabel’s birthday falls between them, on Oct. 19, and our Mandarin-speaking Sara has a birthday in the first week of November! Even Buddings will be turning five this fall – on Nov. 18! Wow!
To cover that many birthdays, plus Halloween, Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, and the Autumn Equinox, the Big Kids and I are getting serious about party planning: we’re forming a committee, and our meetings will be held on Fridays, from 1 – 4pm.
As the world turns, these are the days of our… daycare
Birthdays and anniversaries are annual events, of course, but our world is pulled by the moon and tempered by the seasons. Our Gregorian calendar marks the passing of days, weeks, months, and years, and while it’s not the only one, since the 1750’s, it’s the most commonly used calendar.
The History of Our Calendar is more complicated that I imagined, but since a little history never hurt anyone, we’ll spend September studying the names of the seasons, months, and days, as they are now, and how they got this way. And! We’ll make our own!
Birthday, Birthday, it’s a Birthday!
When October rolls around, we better be ready, because it’s back-to-back-to-back-to-back birthdays.
Cue the confetti, and turn down the lights. Parties are about surprises! Let’s think on it…
What would each person want? How can we express our love/appreciation/respect/gratitude? Let’s decorate, dress up, and make a cake! Hats! Balloons! – Wait! Who’s going to make the card?
Party Planning is about organizing the details, and making sure everyone knows their parts. With 12 weeks to work with, we’re sure hoping to get good at this party planning thing, so why don’t you be the judge?
You’re invited to a Special Buddings Birthday Bash – Sunday, Nov. 20.
On Nov. 20, Buddings will be celebrating our 5th anniversary. That’s right! The big 0 – 5! You’re invited to stop in for a sweet treat, a festive fall feeling, and a tour through the 2016 Fall Season of Growth and Development. Details to come.
Autumn is here! It’s Back to School! It’s the equinox, the harvest moon, and of course, HALLOWEEN! Half the teachers at Buddings have birthdays in October and November, and even Buddings will be hitting the big 0 – 5 this season. LET’S HAVE A PARTY!
Celebrating milestones in the year, and in the lives of our friends, gives us a chance to mark the passing of time, and to appreciate change that occur on a daily basis.
Talia Erickson is our daycare party planner (did you catch our Latin Summer Fiesta, on Aug. 14?) and this fall on Fridays, she’ll be sharing her passion for planning, presents, and appreciation in her Big Kids Club class – PARTY! Join her, Fridays from 1 – 4pm.