Just because classes are out, doesn’t mean your child’s learning has to stop during the warmer months. Use the hot weather for fun new educational opportunities and make the most out of summer learning by having a chat with your child’s educator before school lets out. Alana Powell, a registered early childhood educator (RECE) recommends that families talk with their child’s instructors about their skills and interests. “The more parents and educators communicate, share observations and ideas, the more successful they will be in supporting the child —we are a team,” she says.
“If you notice an emerging skill at home, ask your child’s educator if they have shown that skill development in child care. If they haven’t, that information can help the educator to support that skill in the child care setting. In the same way, the educator may see an interest or skill developing that the child has not shown at home,” Powell adds.
As a member of the College of Early Childhood Educators, Powell is one of over 48,000 RECEs in Ontario whose professional expertise includes the planning and delivery of play-based, developmentally-appropriate programs for children from birth to age six and beyond. The latest policy work in Ontario underscores the tremendous role families play in the well-being of children, and how important it is for RECEs to work with families to support children’s development.
When you’re planning activities with your little ones this summer, Powell recommends looking for opportunities to get outside and get messy. .“The key is that the things you choose to do are interesting to your child, play-based and, sometimes, the messier the better.” This summer, try one of these activities that Powell says are guaranteed to get your child learning, and both of you having fun.
Chill out. “In the hot weather, a great learning experience can involve ice,” she suggests. “Freeze paint in ice cube trays and your child can paint outside with melting ice cubes.”
Low-tech 3D. “Another favourite outdoor activity is painting 3D objects. A toddler will be thrilled to sit inside a cardboard box and draw or paint all over it — while practicing some important fine motor skills,” explains Powell. “Your older children will enjoy planning and plotting what to make: is it a house or a race car? Once the box is finished it can lead to great opportunities for pretend play. When they are all done with the box, you can cut up the pieces and make great ramps for driving small cars or rolling marbles.”
Learn more about the profession of early childhood education and the ongoing licensing requirements for RECEs at college-ece.ca.