Creating Together would like to acknowledge the Mazon Canada Foundation for their grant of $3,000 in 2017 to help support our food and nutrition programs. This funding was used to purchase food for our daily snack program and for healthy meals provided through community events and potlucks for families. In 2017, this program served over 8,000 nutritious snacks to 628 children ages from infancy to six years and approximately 850 meals to families.
- Ontario Early Years Centres
- Parenting and Family Literacy Centres
- Child Care Resource Centres
- Better Beginnings, Better Futures
As a result, child respite programs are no longer being funded and as a result, the Parent Relief Program previously offered by Creating Together on Wednesdays and Thursdays, will no longer be provided.
While this may be unfortunate for those parents and caregivers who have accessed this service in the past, there is also a bright side for the province of Ontario: $140 million will be invested into Ontario’s early years system, bringing 100 more EarlyON centres across the province over the next three years. These new centres will be created across the province over the next three years.
For more information on these changes, please visit the following:
Moving forward, if there is a particular need or issue that you are working through as a parent or caregiver, we invite you to attend our Information Session on January 22nd at 1:30pm, or January 25th at 10am. Creating Together Staff will be hearing concerns from the community, to inform programming for the coming year. If you’re unable to make these dates, please contact staff and let them know the areas you need some help with.
Children came together with their families and caregivers to decorate our tree, an annual celebration we always look forward to at Creating Together.
Have you ever wondered what the tree decorating tradition has come from?
It so happens that in many traditions, filling one’s home with the greenery of life has been a symbol to bring strength and health at a time when the sun was returning.
“The idea of bringing the evergreen into the house represents fertility and new life in the darkness of winter, which was much more of the pagan themes.” (Dr. Wilson, University of Sydney).
For example, in the Northern hemisphere, the winter solstice (shortest day and longest night of the year) falls on December 21 or December 22. Many ancient people brought evergreen boughs into their homes, as a reminder of the return of all the green plants and the return of the strength of the sun god in summer after his wintry illness. In Northern Europe, the Celts decorated their druid temples with evergreen boughs which signified everlasting life. Further up north, the Vikings thought evergreens were the plants of Balder, the god of light and peace. The ancient Egyptians had a similar tradition, but with the god Ra, who had the head of a hawk and wore the sun as a blazing disk in his crown. At the solstice, when Ra began to recover from the illness, the Egyptians filled their homes with green palm rushes which symbolized for them the triumph of life over death. Early Romans also marked the solstice with Saturnalia, a feast in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. With the coming sun came the growth of food, so to mark the occasion, they decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs.
However, bringing branches and boughs is quite different that bringing in a full tree and decorating it – a tradition that we can thank 16th century Germany for, when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. German settlers migrated to Canada from the United States in the 1700s, and brought with them which we celebrate today, such as gingerbread houses and advent calendars. However, it became an official tradition throughout England, the US, and Canada, when Queen Victoria’s German husband Prince Albert erected a Christmas tree at the Windsor Castle in 1848.
Whatever your tradition at this time of year, most of us can certainly agree that the return of brighter days is certainly worth celebrating – so enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones, however you choose to celebrate!
For more information on tree decorating history:
Helena Vogt, a second year Ryerson student completing her eleven-week placement with us, celebrated her last day at Creating Together on December 1st.
Helena came with a lot of experience working with children of many ages, and plans to attend teachers college so that she can work as a kindergarten teacher, however she came into this placement believing that she would one day have her own childcare centre.
Helena, we certainly wish you all the best as you move forward in your journey, and are so grateful for the time and positive energy that you brought to your placement with us!
Parents are constantly being told to limit how much screen time their children spend – but their own technology habits could be equally as damaging. Did you know that the average person checks their cell phone over 100 times a day, and one addicted to their phone would check an average of 900 times per day?
Being the first generation of parents and caregivers who can access calls, emails, texts and internet, with a reach to our phone, we face a unique and new challenge around how to balance our digital universe and bonding with the children we are caring for.
With smartphone addiction on the rise around the world (about half of the adult population in North America), more studies are exposing the hidden dangers and consequence of increased phone use, and it warrants our attention. We already know from previous studies that limiting this face-to-face contact via extensive phone use could cause problems with development and reduce the level of bond between a parent and a child. A more recent study shows us that parents who spend more time with their phones have a greater tendency to shout at their children, while children also feel an increase in frustration, moodiness, and attention-seeking. Another study by AVG Technologies surveyed more than 6,000 children, ages 8 to 13, from Brazil, Australia, Canada, France, The United Kingdom, Germany, The Czech Republic and the United States. The survery discovered that 32 percent of children felt unimportant when their parents used their phones during meal times, conversations, when watching television, and playing outside. Now, we all know how important they really are, so let’s make sure they know it.
More kids between know how to use a mobile device before they can tie their shoe laces it’s even more important that we set good habits with them, early on. They take their cues from us, so it’s time to lead by example and consider how our phone use might be making them feel.
So what can we do?
If you find you’re on your phone a bit too often, try these tips from Sandee LaMotte, in an article on Smartphone addiction written earlier this month for CNN. Even if you wouldn’t consider yourself a smartphone addict, they offer some helpful boundaries for healthy phone use:
- Turn off your phone at certain times of the day, such as in meetings, having dinner, playing with your kids, and of course, driving.
- Remove social media apps, like Facebook and Twitter from your phone, and only check-in from your laptop.
- Try to wean yourself to 15 minute intervals at set times of the day when it won’t affect work or family life.
- Don’t bring your cell phone and it’s harmful blue light to bed; use an old fashioned alarm to wake you.
- Try to replace your smart device time with healthier activities such as meditating or actually interacting with real people.