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PLAY

Play serves a purpose and supports every area of development in preparation for school (MacNamara, 2016). Research shows that the brain is enhanced most of all by all the hours spent in play that is described as – unstructured, risk-free, expressive, and exploratory. When children are at Play, it allows for the time and space for emotions to be expressed and felt. The next time you see your child play, it’s a good opportunity to think about all the development, learning and growth that is happening.

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This infographic created by the Canadian Public Health Association, highlights the benefits of unstructured play and how it promotes healthy development.

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Professor Roger Hart – Director of Children’s Environments Research Group, talks about the important role that play has on the global development of the child. Dr. Hart highlights how equally fundamental play is for children’s mental, social and emotional development.

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“A “loose-parts” toy, as Nicholson defined it, is open-ended; children may use it in many ways and combine it with other loose-parts through imagination and creativity…. Nature, which excites all the senses, remains the richest source of loose parts.”

“Last Child in the Woods” Richard Louv

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Dr. Deborah MacNamara outlines how play is critical to a child's global development and how adults can create conditions for healthy development to unfold. The content in this infographic helps deepen one's understanding about the philosophy behind the Quebec's Preschool Cycle program and it's play-based approach to learning.

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The document provides us with the research behind play-based learning and paying attention to what can be done.

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There are so many benefits to brick/lego play.  The Lego Foundation's Activity Booklet demonstrates how children learn through play and these creations help to foster the global development of the child. This is a wonderful tool/guide for adults and helps us see the purpose to lego play.   

EMOTIONS

For a child’s emotional development, they simply require adults to allow for the expression of emotions and to help name these emotions. By inviting emotional expression, we validate their feelings and we are showing them that we care and we will help them through this.  Children need adults to care for them through their big emotions.Research shows emotions need to be released and felt for healthy emotional development to unfold.  

This wonderful infographic by Dr. Deborah MacNamara shares how we can support our child by listening and coming alongside their emotions.

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 It is not unusual to see a child stomp in frustration, yell when they’re upset, and drag their heels when they feel hurried. Even after a good or uneventful day at daycare or school, meltdowns may appear later at home in the form of resistance over chores or homework. Parents may feel bewildered by the extreme emotional reactions they witness in their kids—after all, haven’t they been told a hundred times to use their words and communicate clearly to get what they want?
To read more, click here

Katie Malinski is a licensed clinical Social Worker and Parenting Coach with over 20+ years’ experience working with families. Katie’s infographic is a great tip-sheet that helps us understand and respond to our child’s moments of challenging behaviors. 

A strong relationship between adult and child support healthy development and when these needs are met they are able to play, discover, and form other healthy relationships. Children can not be too attached. If anything, it only strengthens the relationship with the child. 

Attachments can be strengthened through: play, stories, creating rituals, & minimizing competition. 

Deep connections with our children, along with play and emotion, help to prepare for school and learning.

ATTACHMENT

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Click here to learn how Dr. Deborah MacNamara helps us understand the purpose of strong attachments for children 

A time-in is an opportunity for co-regulation and skill building. It is a developmentally appropriate way to remove a child from a situation they can't handle, and set an appropriate limit. This step-by-step guide developed by the Institute of Child Psychology also safeguards the child-adult relationship. 

ESTABLISHING ROUTINES

When children begin school they will experience many routines and transitions within a structured school day.

 

For young children, knowing what to expect allows for smoother transitions from one activity to the next. As mentioned, preschoolers see the world from only their perspective and this can often lead to defiance against the requests of others. But familiar routines and the structure in the environment help to guide the desired behavior through predictability.

 

Familiar routines at home will help children adapt to new routines at school while also creating a predictable structure before and after the school day.

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Watch a sleep webinar for parents and learn why sleep is so important for children. 

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My Goodnight Bag is a project that offers resources for families with children 3 to 5 years old to help establish healthy bedtime routines. You can access digital resources to help support your efforts here

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Visual schedules promote strucure and routine, and can help ease transitions for your child. Click the picture above to access this printable resource. 

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Click here for a great article on getting your child out the door in the morning 

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Click here for a guide on healthy sleep for children 

SEPARATION ANXIETY

To bridge the separation between home and school, we can focus on the next point of connection by referring to when you will see your child next. For example, saying “See you soon after snack time” or “I will meet you at the bus stop”, as long as this promise is maintained and we are there ready to ‘collect’ them again.

We also help with the separation by giving the child something tangible to hold on to, to helps to keep the focus on the next point of contact.

See a list of resources below for tips and strategies to help ease the transition and stress that this may cause your child.

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When Saying Goodbye is Hard: Dr. Debhorah MacNamara gives tips and strategies about how we can help our child separate from us and what we can do to bridge the daytime separation. 

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Connecting rituals help soothe anxiety and can even help ease transitions.

Visual schedules promote structure and routine and can help ease transitions for your child. Visuals offer some predictability, especially when transitions for your child might be difficult. For some children, the day needs to be broken down into smaller pieces. Click the link to access this printable resource and gather more information about how to use these tools. 

TIPS TO EASE TRANSITION

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

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'Light As A Bubble’ is taken from the album ‘Helpful Songs For Little People’.
Written to help anxious kids with ‘drop offs’. 
For more information visit www.teenytinystevies.com

Storyline Online®, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Kristen Bell, Rita Moreno, Viola Davis, Jaime Camil, Kevin Costner, Lily Tomlin, Sarah Silverman, Betty White, Wanda Sykes and dozens more.

Storyline Online is available 24 hours a day for children, parents, caregivers and educators worldwide. Each book includes supplemental curriculum developed by a credentialed elementary educator, aiming to strengthen comprehension and verbal and written skills for English-language learners.

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