Monday, February 28, 2011

Black and White Photography

Tracy's Trinkets & Treasures (blackandwhitebutton9.jpg) is having a Black & White photo linky party and I decided to play. I have always loved b&w photography, especially of people. I'm a big fan of Karsh-he was a portrait photographer based in Ottawa, Ontario. I think one of his most famous photos is of Sir Winston Churchill-scowling & without his cigar (Karsh had just pulled it out of his mouth). I believe that b&w show who the person is.

Yes, it is THE Ty Pennington...a quick shot as he kept moving around! Some of my best shots were of the top of his hat because he bent over to sign autographs.

Like Tracy, I find buildings very interesting to photograph.

I love colour also, as b&w just doesn't do Canadian sunsets/sunrises justice. And when I find one that wasn't taken from the front seat of a moving vehicle I'll post one.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What kids really need to develop

The biggest mistake the majority of daycares do is putting the same ages together instead of having mixed aged groups. In a home setting that is the natural state of affairs (with the exception of large multiples, but those children have a genetic link with each other). Because the children are the same age the developmental quirks to deal with are multiplied. Instead of having only one or two child with the "if I see it, it is mine" (ego-centric) moments, the worker has 8 to 10 children with it. All. day. long.
With mixed age groupings, the older children model maturer behaviour (for their age) and can 'scaffold' the younger ones. Scaffolding is what a Soviet developmentalist named Lev Vygotsky labeled the teaching that happens when children teach each other informally. The younger child has some rudimentary skills and sees the older child doing something that builds onto that basic skill set and tries it. That is scaffolding, building onto what is known. It doesn't happen very much with same-age children. Since children's brain development is experiential (experiences create more & stronger neuro connections), the experiences an older child could offer are not happening that muchin same age groups.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thank you to all SAHM

I'm into week three two of my career (shudder) in daycares I'd like to thank all moms/dads who stay at home raising their own children. You are doing your children a great favour by NOT putting them into a daycare. If you do have to work...please, for the sake of your child, try if at all possible to work part-time. The children are ready to go home by noon. Not at 5:30 or 6pm after being here since 7 or 8 am. They are with the same children day in and day out...and no they aren't like their brothers and sisters. These children aren't part of the family routines, the other children aren't preparing for bed with them or going shopping or traveling with your child. They get tired of them and need their own parents during the day.

That is my rant of the day. For now. I have to go back to work now. May the children be not too tired and cranky this afternoon. (BTW this is a small daycare, licenced for 31 children 3yrs.-Kindergarten).

11pm Same day: Yes, unfortunately it is like this. And this is a pretty decent daycare. And will be even better when they get into their own building this summer. They other workers (4 including the director) tell me this is the way it is. Parents aren't really involved with it or invested in it as a place that can educate their child. They HAVE to put their kid into daycare unlike a pre-school where they choose to. Personally I really don't see the difference in being involved but that is just me I suppose. Too many years at home with my own kids I guess. Parents don't want to pay a lot--which I really do appreciate, I'm cheap too--but if they pay more, they should get better care for their child. If my provincial government didn't pitch in $6.62/hour, I would be making $13/hour for being "on" for these children. No telling them to play quietly while I nap, or loosing it and telling to shut up and quit bickering. The government incentive allowance is there in hopes that better qualified people will join. I'm at the top level with the base wage of $13/hour! In some counties that would be a month's wage, but in Calgary that means you are living with roommates or at home with your parents because the wage you need to live here is a minimum $15/hour.
The children really do want to be alone sometimes. I was talking with two of the girls (separately) and they wish it were quieter sometimes (so do I) and be alone.
I remember when my eldest was in kindergarten and the school put in a daycare to boost the student numbers (it was in danger of being closed due to low enrollment). The daycare kids all went to the afternoon class. For that year only. The next year the kids were split up because their behaviour was less than stellar. Aggressive. They were tired of each other. And with only 8 days into this job I see that behaviour in these boys and the girls as well. It is sad. I feel for the children. They want to be with their parent(s) so badly. To visitors they look and behave like everything is hunky dory but it isn't. Just like us, they can rally themselves up and play after a down moment.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Adults need to play too!

I played this week...and my playmate Susan was curtesy of Wendy's Re-vamp Valentine event (

So....take one thrift shop jewelry box
Rip out its innards & pull off broken clasp and start an attempt at decoupaging.

Rip & wash paper off box and paint it instead. Sand it and attempt to cut vinyl (with Silhouette)for name on lid (font: Chocolate Box). Works except pulled and distorted said vinyl. Use as stencil instead. Spray protective coating over entire box. Let dry.

Measure once and cut out, oh, about 4 times, 3 pieces of satin (leftover from DD's high school grad gown) for the lining. Iron on lightweight interfacing onto back, serge edges & eyelet to said satin. Attempt to smear hot tepid glue over area. After ripping out cooled glue, use spray adhesive to attach it to interior. Use the vinyl hearts to cover saturated glue spots. Use hot glue for gluing edges. Glue red bow from package of socks to cover top clasp holes and loop brown ribbon through bottom clasp holes.

Admire handiwork and fill with candy & chocolates (only in Canada eh? stuff).

Pack up and arrive at post office after closing time. Now wait until Monday to post it (the deadline for doing so).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Go Hug and Play With Your Kids

There is a screening tool used by professionals to gauge the interaction between a parent and their child. It is called the Brigance Parent Child Interaction Scale. I found it really interesting to read through it and mentally mark my interactions with my kids when they were young. I don't know how to score it and I can't post it because it is owned by someone and it costs mega$$ to use. Which is probably why it isn't include in parenting books!
The diagram below is one I developed for a conference I went to with my BossLady & associate a couple of years ago. I took a chart that Dr. Bruce D. Perry created for an article on the sequential development of the brain and what the areas regulate. The two numbered items that are linked to areas are the statements from the BPCIS. I did have five initially but it became really crowded for a PowerPoint presentation.

This shows what areas of the brain are being affected when you, say, read a book or play with your child. The brain develops from the brainstem upwards and from the inside out. Our brains were undeveloped when we were born although the physical mass was all there (oh so many quips in a so inappropriate time) but the neurons and their connections is what is undeveloped and with experiences our brain, well, comes alive! The more positive experiences, the more connections being made. The vast majority of connections are created in the first few years before it slows down.
If you are interested, Trauma Academy's website is an absolute minefield of information about development and trauma. Dr. Perry is a child psychiatrist who assisted with the children from the Waco, TX incident, Oklahoma City, Columbine, September 11, Haiti and apparently is a Senior Consultant with the Alberta Mental Health Board. The man is no slouch! Every time I find out he's coming to Alberta his visit is cancelled or there is no response from the sponsoring organization. I do so want to hear him talk...nice to meet him too! He wrote "The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog". (That story is sad but it wasn't a situation done with malicious intent). His newest book is "Born For Love: Why Empathy Is Essential and Endangered"

Now go hug and play with your kids!