Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Learning through Play

Our "big friends" learned about the benefits of "play" and are able to apply this knowledge to working with our "little friends".
Our HPC 3O0 class said the following about their participation through the "Learning through Play" workshop:

"I liked that we were able to make connections between the topics discussed in class and this session to the behaviour that we see in playschool."

"I learned different ways of interacting with children through play. Also that play doesn't only mean games and that it's interacting, imagination and learning skills."

"I really enjoyed this workshop because it was very interactive. I also enjoyed exploring the toys and talking about them."

Monday, May 9, 2016

University of Toronto Mississauga - Junior Scientists

Researchers from University of Toronto Mississauga's Infant and Child Studies Centre are looking for participants for their research about children's language, music, and social-emotional development.

If you are interested in having your child be a part of one of these studies please call 905-828-5446 or email juniorscientist@utoronto.ca or fill out one of the forms at Playful Pals Playschool.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Drawing Development

Early Years Stages of Drawing Development


            Each child is able to grow as an artist. Children go through visible stages of artistic growth, reflecting the increase muscular control and rapid cognitive development. Drawing of course, is only one of many art forms that can be used to analyze and define a child’s linguistic ability. It reflects the cognitive growth that is necessary for them to become writers. Drawing is an important form of thinking and communication for children in the early years. At first children may be aimlessly marking up paper with a variety of lines and colours. Overtime they begin to repeat and vary the marks that they have made previously. During this period, it shows the child becoming comfortable with the drawing tools, refining their control over the direction and types of lines they can produce.



Presented below are the developmental stages of child art;


2-4 years
A.      1- 2 ½ years
Random Scribbling
-Random lines are made using the whole arm, while tool is held with the whole hand
-Lines may extend beyond the paper
B.      2 ½ -3 years
Controlled Scribbing
-Begins to use wrist motions
-Stays on paper, makes smaller marks
-Controls where lines are placed
C.      3- 4 ½ years
Named Scribbles
-Holds tool with fingers
-Can make many different lines and shapes
-Name scribbles, but often changes name
4 ½ - 7 years
-Develops a set of symbols to represent concepts
-May not resemble or be in proportion to real objects
-Learns pictures communicate to others
7 - 9 years
-Drawing shows concept, not real images
-Baseline and skyline appear
-X-ray drawings appear


What Do They Learn in Each Stage?


            Physical Development

  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Fine and gross muscle development
  • Hand manipulation

  • Naming or labelling
  • Conversation (with peers, parents, and educators)

  • Self-confidence
  • Independence
  • Initiative
  • Enjoyment
                With the skills above they are additionally developing

  • Observation
  • Thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Feelings of competence

            Children will be developing skills that are important for art, science and mathematics

  • Trial and error
  • Patterns
  • Shapes
  • Numbers
  • Interpretation



What Are the Parent’s and Educator’s Role?

Parents and educators are encouraged  to allow children to scribble. Children need proper materials that will provide them with easy control. Crayons, non-toxic markers, and pencils, are a few examples of mediums that can be used. Communication is a strong factor when it comes to children who are beginning to scribble. For example, a child who has only begin to scribbling, parents and educators can make comments on the child’s movement rather than the artwork itself. Comment on how fast the child’s arms are moving or how big the child’s movements are. As the child gains more control of their scribbling, talk about the variety of moments and different marks that the child has made. When the child starts to name their scribbles, it is encouraged to ask open ended questions that will help them to verbalize their thoughts, feelings and experiences.



For more information please visit:


Monday, March 21, 2016

Bunnies and Chicks

In small group today, children were learning all about bunnies and chicks.  We have noticed that the children have been taking a keen interest in dramatic play and puzzles – our small group activity this week took these interests into consideration.  The small group activity allowed children to use their thinking skills, and vocabulary while connecting to the bunnies and chicks theme – what do we find inside the egg? 

While the activity is in progress, there may be interactions occurring between the children, their peers and the educator. Each child was given a carton of about 4 eggs, which has different objects inside. The children will be shaking and listening to the sounds that the objects make, by doing so they can make predictions as to what is inside. The objective of the activity is for the children to explore their imaginations and use their 5 senses.

As the children were shaking the eggs the educator would ask them questions such as; “What kind of sound do you hear?” or “What do you think is inside?” By asking these questions the educator is able to stimulate the children’s cognitive skills. They are able to make connections to everyday events or come up with their own conclusions. For example; during the activity a child was cracking the egg rather than squeezing the egg open. This shows that the child was able to bring his real life experiences into his play.   The children are able to practice using descriptive language, as they explain, explore and extend their thoughts.

For some of the children, the task of opening the eggs were fairly hard. However, they progress with the challenge, using trial and error they were then able to figure out how to open the egg. The children had a positive attitude towards their learning. Showing persistence, engagement and curiosity they engage the educator and peers in the activity in a positive way.

Michelle Le - Sheridan College ECE student


Monday, February 29, 2016


This week our "Little Friends" will be learning about patterns.  On Monday, our small group activity was creating a macaroni necklace and creating a blue and yellow pattern.  We have been focused on simple A, B, A, B patterns.

This small group activity also helped develop a number of other important skills including counting,  fine motor skills and hand eye coordination.  According to ELECT, children should be encouraged to count in meaningful ways in play and daily life.  At home, try counting things at the kitchen table or the number of steps you take on your way up to bed.  This helps make numbers more meaningful for children.  Stringing of the macaroni pieces onto a string, in our small group activity also helped the children with their fine motor skills and hand eye coordination.  The more practice they are given the better they will become.  Fine motor skills/control is important for primary printing, a skill they will be required to use on a daily basis when they enter school.    

Monday, November 23, 2015

Little Readers

Our Little Readers

Today we found these two “little friends” reading in our library center.  We LOVE to see children “read” independently!  Early Learning for Every Child Today suggests that an indicator for enjoying literacy is “choosing and spend[ing] time with books.”  When children are engaged in literacy activities they will often “discuss and make connections between books and stories…..request specific stories, poems, songs [and] show pleasure and enjoyment during activities with language, music, and print materials.”  When children are exposed to a variety of print materials children will be motivated to learn more about reading. 

While reading children also work on their letter recognition skills and learn about the conventions of print.  Children will often “pretend to write….hold books the right way, turn pages from the front to the back, [and] use left to right directionality”.  These are important skills to learn before children enter the kindergarten classroom. 

Children can practice and learn these skills at home too.  Providing children with books of their own, visiting the library, demonstrating how to read a menu at a restaurant are all good ways children can practice their literacy skills with parents.  They begin to learn that reading is an important skill they will use in everyday activities. 

Happy reading everyone! J