Welcome to the first Willow Tree Blog of the year!
September was off to a great start, with both the Educators and the children eager to get back in the swing of things. In the first few weeks we learned how to make paper airplanes in a few different ways, then practiced our aim with targets. We made friendship bracelets for ourselves and each other, we climbed trees, and we tried new ways of making art with water colors.
The last week of September was focused on learning the 7 Sacred Teachings, to honor Indigenous culture. We went over each teaching and discussed what they mean for us.
The Buffalo teaches us to respect all living things, especially when they help us thrive and be our best. We talked about what respect means to us and how we can show respect to others.
The Eagle teaches us about love. The children talked about ways we show love to our families, ourselves, and the Earth.
The Wolf teaches us about humility, and we talked about the strength of a wolf pack stemming from the care and consideration we give to one another.
The Turtle teaches us the importance of truth, and we had a great chat about why its important to be true to yourself and being truthful to others.
Honesty is taught by the Sabe, sometimes called Bigfoot, it is a mythical creature that protects the forest. We talked about how we're honest with our words and actions.
The Beaver teaches us wisdom, and the value of using the knowledge we gain. For example, making good choices because we are wise enough to know the difference between right and wrong.
Courage taught to us by The Bear. The Bear is brave and faces their fears, so we chatted about times we had to brave. And that a lot of these teachings require bravery.
Educator Carmen played a big role in helping us with the teachings, as she provided a lot of the materials for these activities. We'll wrap up the week with Carmen teaching us to make dream catchers!
Thanks for reading, we look forward to sharing more exciting blogs with you all!
- Jen, Milena, Carmen and Emma
At Dawn and Dusk we like to celebrate diversity. Maple Tree spent the last week of September learning about each other and our different cultural backgrounds. We asked each child in our group to bring in items that represent their heritage, and we got to travel the world without leaving Dawn & Dusk!
Language is a big part of culture and our Dawn and Dusk educators discovered that there are many other languages our amazing children can speak, other than English.
French, Polish, Cree, Inuktitut, Spanish, Punjabi, Chinese and Hebrew are just some of the languages they can speak.
After learning about the languages they can speak, they began to share different cultural items they brought in and shared a few things about them.
One child was super excited to show off their Qipao dress.
From ribbon skirts to handmade jewelry, we got to see so many unique cultural items that encouraged them to be proud of who they are and where their families have come from.
This is a Pysanka egg and it was decorated using wax and dye which is a traditional Ukrainian method and has beautiful results.
"These are earrings my auntie made! She used real rabbit" said one child excitedly as they passed them around for everyone to feel. Some children in the group talked about how soft the fur was, and asked about how the earrings were made.
We even had an educator bring in some items from India, showing off their maang tikka, a pair of earrings and bangle bracelets that some children tried on.
The amount of children in Maple Tree that wanted to share their culture with us was so beautiful. We learned a lot about their backgrounds and what was important to them in their family.
We got to see so many interesting things like a clover that came all the way from Ireland, a wooden flute that came from Croatia and so much more.
Maple Tree educators loved being able to not only connect with the children, but also help them be able to connect with other children as well. It was so fun to encourage these connections by sharing our cultures with each other. We would love to continue to learn about the children in our group, as well as their families and we hope you continue to share with us!
Oak Tree had their first potion making class this year
with all the perfect ingredients to create whatever potions they wanted. From love potions to ones that did "absolutely nothing" our potion masters made a variety of magical concoctions for everyone to enjoy!
The first step was adding fresh flowers. They had so many to choose from, and quickly got to work with choosing the perfect ingredients for their potions. Some had full flower petals while others used flowers that were grounded and mashed up. No two potions were the same!
Once they had their flowers added, our potion masters picked out which elixir they wanted.
They explained what kinds of potions they wanted to make.
"I'm making a love potion!" exclaimed one, "Mine can turn you invisible!" said another.
Other potion masters had some different ideas for their magical formulas.
"What does your potion do?" the educator asked one alchemist
"Mine does nothing, it is just to look at" they replied.
All the wonderful potions that were concocted raised the curiosity of other potions masters and soon new students were enrolled in our potion class.
Take a peek at all the closeups of these magical concoctions below!
We are looking forward to our next potion class and can't wait to see what potions are created next!
This past month, the Oak Tree children were invited to join the “Better Together Building Club”! Some of the materials we worked with included Lego, Plus-Plus, and Magnetic Tiles.
Our first building task was to complete a Lego challenge card with a buddy! I handed out secret envelopes to each child and whatever envelope they chose was their challenge! Some of the challenges they received were “Build your favourite restaurant” and “Create the Jack and the Bean stock farytale”.
Oak Tree Quotes:
"I made a piano with the keys and the chair"
"This is my restaurant"
"Look how cool my boat is"
Another memorable moment during our building club was our “Plus-Plus Bey Blade Battles”. This was a popular day for the Better Together Building Club as building Bey Blades is a very common activity amongst the Oak Tree children!
To make this day extra exciting, I set up entrance tickets for the children to wear around their necks in order to enter the Bey Blade arena.
They had to create one Bey blade out of large plus-plus, and one Bey Blade out of small plus-plus. Once they were confident with their creations, they lined up behind the Bey Blade arena and had a face-off with one of their opponents. The goal was to spin your Bey-blade and hope that is doesn't stop before your opponent’s bey-blade does.
Here was the Turn out:
What a successful club because it enticed a new group of children to participate in an Oak Tree Club! Thanks Oak Tree for all the fun!
Wednesday is Oak Tree’s Science Day.
One week we made homemade rockets. Items we used to make them were a box,
empty water bottles, various sized tubes, and bread bags.
Our Oak Tree rocket scientists cut holes in the box to put the water bottles through, this was our “rocket launcher” Our aerospace engineers then took the tube and attached one end to our rocket launcher and the bread bag rocket to the other end.
On the first attempt of our rocket launch, the bread bag rocket exploded! So one of the scientists came up with the idea to add another bread bag to the rocket to create a new layer
4/10 scientists said it would not work because they layers were not thick enough. The other 6 scientists said that it would work. Even though our aerospace engineers added the second layer, the bread bag rocket exploded again!
So they went back to work to figure another way to create a rocket.
“Well how about we use the big water bottles and attach the hose to them and use the smaller water bottles as the rocket?" said one of the rocket scientists.
The team got to work to start creating the new rockets.
With a big stomp, their new rocket design launched into the air!
It was a success!
We are looking forward to future Science Wednesdays!
Our Oak Tree painters used their creativity in our emotional awareness music activity! They expressed their emotions on the paper using pastels to the varying rhythms and tempos of songs. The educators played music that would resemble and help identify many different human emotions such as happiness, sadness, joy and anger.
When playing a slower song called “True Colours”, here are some art pieces and quotes that the children came up with:
“I thought of a sunset”- Oak Tree Artist
“I want to draw a rainbow” - Oak Tree Artist
When playing the fast paced song “Walking on Sunshine”, check out these awesome responses and art pieces!
“This sounds exciting” - Oak Tree Artist
“This song makes me think of science, its my favorite thing to do” - Oak Tree Artist
We had a lot of fun exploring our emotions and expressing them in art form! Music was such a great way to learn about our emotions as well as understand them.
The Pine Tree group showed interest in clay art this week.
The children loved this activity! They got their hands and their minds working together in new ways.
Clay comes from the earth and is a natural material.
Children love playing with natural materials such as sand, water, sticks, rocks, pinecones, and clay. Clay art is a fun and educational activity.
There are numerous educational benefits to playing with clay.
Children will show many parts of themselves through clay experiences.
The Pine Tree children worked in sensory activities using playdough toys, making tea cups, spiders, Christmas trees and snowmen.
The Pine Tree group had a lot of fun with this activity as they had to make their imagination 3D!
Clay play can be very soothing activity for students.
Working with clay is a positive way to express emotions, and a good stress reliever,
since it is generally an unhurried activity and is also a calming pastime.
Children can take their time using their imagination and creativity.
Pine Tree clay art activity was a successful and enjoyable activity for the children.
Pine Tree's very own grade 5 student has asked to take on a leadership role by creating her very own club. This student has a love for art and wanted to share this love with her peers and the younger children in Dawn and Dusk.
Every Tuesday and Thursday until 4:30pm our new art teacher showed the students that comics can be made with different art mediums such as pencil, marker, pencil crayons and inks. Every comic club the aspiring artists added new details to their comics by using the new techniques and ideas our Grade 5 leader taught to them.
Kids wrote comics about their favourite things such as Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon or gained inspiration from their own imaginations. Dawn and Dusk kids would be beaming with excitement whenever it was comic club day "Comic club is the best!" "I wish comic club was everyday" were some of the most common phrases said by the club members.
Comic Club was truly a very successful club and was completely kid ran, with only support and supplies from educators! The leader of comic club had an assistant to help her set up and teach the younger kids in Oak Tree. Having kids teach kids was different and exciting for everyone and Pine Tree will definately be trying this out again!
We put a lot of emphasis on sports games at Dawn and Dusk. It helps children develop many physical and physiological qualities. It is also very important to be able to play as a team. We believe that when children play sports, they acquire new skills that will help them in the future.
This month in the Oak Tree group, we held many sports games, such as basketball, football, soccer, and much more. We encourage children to find their confidence and have the opportunity to play with other players in a team and learn to respect the opinions of others. It's an amazing feeling to see the smiles on their faces.
We mostly played sports in the morning before school. Being active in the morning gives you a boost of energy for the whole day, and the children go to school in a great mood. We also try to diversify our games and are always looking for something new and interesting. For example, children were very fond of playing with hoops, and they also enjoyed playing badminton so we will continue to build on those skills.
We know that all children are unique and will develop their skills at their own pace. We really try and encourage the children to try new games, practice new skills and have fun while they engage in different types of sports. Children can gain so much from their experience playing sports whether it be how to kick a ball, how to play as part of a team, or maybe even what to work on for next time they play!
The Pine Tree group has been so excited to collect winter clothing for 'Koats for Kids' from October 11 to November 4. They made posters to advertise that they are collecting winter items and their posters have been posted all around the school! It's been so exciting for the kids to help give to other kids in need!
Here are a few of the posters the kids made.
After posting some posters and going home to tell their families, we gathered some donations and did some inventory!
Some of the pine trees wanted to do a group photo. And yes, some were laughing while falling to the ground just for the picture. Ha ha ha ha!
The Pine Trees have counted all the items they've collected over the weeks and they've even received more donations since.
Now that we've come to the end, the group has collected about 140 winter clothing items! We're so glad they have enjoyed collecting donations for families in need without expecting anything in return. We're so proud of the pine trees for becoming quite the philanthropists! I wonder what the pine tree group will do next?