Tag Archives: Spring

The Birdhouse

We have this birdhouse in the corner of the yard near the carport.  It was built many years ago – at least ten, probably more – as a project to use up some scrap building supplies.  Initially there was hope that it would get used for nesting but I’ve never seen a bird even land on it so really it is just a decoration.

Over the years of exposure to extreme weather conditions it has begun to decay.  There are now many cracks and gaps for ‘ventilation’ and a few small pieces have fallen off. Last year  the main support post started to weaken and the whole thing tilted over at an odd angle away from the carport. The ‘decoration’ was becoming much less decorative.

A little more than a week ago I was sitting our in the yard taking advantage of the lovely spring weather.  I watched a little black capped chickadee fly in the yard and perch on the old birdhouse.  Then, to my surprise I saw it go inside!  For the next hour I watched it come and go, in and out, a busy little bird.  I believe it was only one bird – at least I only ever saw one at any given time.

Later, when there was no activity around the birdhouse I took a peek inside.  It was very dark and hard to see much but it is full of bits of things.  We tied the post over to straighten the house and give it some extra support ‘just in case’.

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I’ve seen the bird(s) on and off over the past week – mostly in the evening.  I’ve never mentioned it to the children – I know they’d be excited and it wouldn’t take much to knock that little house down.  For now I just watch…and imagine the little birdie conversations;

Bird 1: Check out this house.

Bird 2: It needs a lot of work.

Bird 1: There’s a nice herb garden in the front yard.

Bird 2: But it is so drafty inside and that perch looks like it may fall off any moment.

Bird 1: It’s a great neighbourhood and it is within our budget.

Bird 2: There’s a lot of traffic and it’s noisy – so many children, constant construction, maybe we should keep looking.

Maybe I shouldn’t watch so much HGTV

Keeping Busy

We’ve been keeping busy.

Some of the children have done lacing activities many times but for the toddlers this was new and exciting;

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Making designs with bags of coloured gel was a new experience for all of us;

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In the playroom the boxes and ponies were used for chariot races;

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It was part of a ‘video game’ dramatic play activity that the preschoolers created. They used this ‘timer’;

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Tasks had to be completed before the spinner reached the bottom of the track.

They used this set-up to control the action – ‘press B to jump’, ‘press C to crawl’ etc.

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This has been an ongoing activity that has evolved throughout the last month.  I’ve enjoyed watching the preschoolers play and develop more elements to their game.

We are still enjoying all the snow outside – running, jumping and climbing everyday.  My husband cleared the snow off the roof of the shed and completely buried the garden path.  I spent several days trying to dig it out again;

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Even with help from the children this project is not yet complete;

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We’ve run out of good places to move the snow to.  Besides, the children have decided that they like using this spot as the ‘booth’ for their restaurant;

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Next week is Spring Break.  As much as we’re enjoying our time indoors and outside in the snow I’m eager for ‘real’ spring.  I have several projects planned but the snow need to go before work can begin.  I wanted an early Spring.

Keeping busy is hard sometimes when Mother Nature has other plans.

Active Play

I consider most of the children in my current group to be ‘active’. Now you’d think that, with so many news reports about childhood obesity and sedentary lifestyles, I would consider it good that these children are so active.  In reality though, there is a part of me that is so very tired of saying ‘walk in the house’, ‘keep your feet on the floor’, ‘that’s not meant for swinging on’, etc thousands of times every day.

You see, I prefer indirect guidance – using the environment to influence the behaviour of the children. During CBA observations and evaluations my understanding and use of indirect guidance was identified as one of my greatest strengths. I detest having to interrupt play to redirect behaviour.

I have the playroom arranged into five well defined areas with specific purpose for each area.  There are no long pathways that encourage running – the main play space is less than 200 square feet and there are plenty of obstacles.  I’m beginning to think the children view these obstacles as a challenge to be overcome – like in a video game where the goal is to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ in the least amount of time preferably without touching the ground.

Have I inadvertently encouraged these behaviours by providing activities like parkour?  We’ve discussed safety in detail and differentiated between appropriate indoor and outdoor activities. We have plenty of outdoor time every day.  Yesterday we were outside for two hours and they spent most of that time running and jumping.

I rotate the toys often so the children have new choices and don’t easily get bored.  I provide a mix of adult led and free play activities so they have the opportunity to participate in organized group activities and also to engage in activities that they initiate.  I schedule downtime for relaxing and enjoying quiet activities so they don’t become over stimulated.

I briefly – very briefly – considered turning on the TV because I know that would work.  There are several children in the group that I’m certain would become almost comatose in front of a TV screen but the ‘professional’ side of me can’t allow me to resort to that.

This has been such a long winter and I know I can’t wait for the opportunity to work in the garden.  I have absolutely no desire to do any paperwork no matter how important it is.  (Please note: if my coordinator is reading this – I am no where near ready for re-licensing).  The recent freeze, thaw, freeze cycle has created a glacier in my yard that threatens to never melt even if the weather does ever really warm up.

But we can smell it.

Spring break is here and summer is on the horizon.  We are excited and that excitement is so hard to contain in any environment.

Water & Rainbows & Dreaming of Green

Today is officially the first day of Spring.

At circle/calendar time last Friday the children cheered when I told them that.  I think they believe that the snow will miraculously disappear and we won’t need to bundle up to go outdoors.

I’m sorry to say that is not correct. In the fourteen years that I have been providing childcare only twice have we been snow free by the end of March.

This year there is no chance that the snow will be gone any time soon.  There have been a few warmer days – enough to create ‘Lake 108’ as we kindly refer to the puddle in our back lane.

This picture was taken early last week when the lake first formed and we stopped parking in the driveway because we didn’t have a boat.  By yesterday evening it was 18 inches deep in the centre, extended past two houses on either side of us and was on the verge of breaching the mini dike we had built along our fence line.

Thankfully some city workers stopped by this morning to steam open the frozen drain and we no longer have beach front property.  We do still have plenty of snow – and ice.

Last week we also got to celebrate St Patrick’s Day – one of my favourite events.  I’m not Irish, I think for me the appeal of St Patrick’s Day is really the promise of spring. Rainbows and green things and magic.

I didn’t make an all green lunch as I have in the past.  The children do seem to think that it is fun but they simply will not eat artificial green food. I do miss not having ‘rainbow bread’.

Sandwiches with rainbow bread were a St Patrick’s Day tradition here until the local bakery upgraded their bread makers and the new machines can’t create the swirl effect.

We recite our favourite poems like ‘Rainbow Colors’ by Sharon MacDonald

“So, wave your arms above you
Cast your colors high
And, try to make a rainbow
Across a cloudy sky”

And dream of grass and green things to come.