Each month for years now, Marcella from Food Share has come into Creating Together to offer a workshop for families around toddler food prep. This month’s workshop on March 20th was a great hit – cheese and bean tortilla roll-ups (pinwheels). Take a look at the recipe below, and mark your calendars for next month’s workshop: April 24th from 10-11am.
Did you know that the Literacy Area at Creating Together holds incredible opportunities for communication, language, literacy, and social skills? Reading aloud here not only improves expressive language and vocabulary, but also social skills such as imitation, turn taking, social interest, and the ability to maintain connection across space.
On March 11 & 15, Creating Together hosted “Benefits of Literacy” information sessions, to share with parents and caregivers why reading to your child is such an important part of childhood development. Read below to learn what reading aloud to your child for 15 minutes per day will bring, while preparing them for success in school.
10 Great Reasons to Read to Your Child (A Message From the Toronto Early Literacy Specialists)
- Reading stimulates your child’s imagination.
- Children learn lots of new words through reading.
- Reading builds a child’s ability to concentrate.
- Children learn about the world through books.
- Reading builds a child’s listening skills.
- children gain awareness of letters and words.
- Children learn to appreciate the richness of language.
- Reading together brings you and your child closer.
- Children thrive on the positive attention at story time.
- you will give your child a life long love of books by reading aloud regularly.
Join us each Monday for Literacy Mondays!
Every Monday at 9:30 and 1:30, Creating Together hosts “Literacy Mondays“, and we’d love to see you there. Come read and sing along with parents/caregivers and a staff member. This program is designed for one-on-one or small group storytelling, featuring developmentally appropriate books and CDs. Children also have a choice to listen to a story with headphones on their own.
One of the beautiful things about Creating Together is the varying ages of caregivers. When you come in and scan the room, you’d see grandparents, parents and nannies mingling and supporting each other, while the children play and learn.
This intergenerational connection brings out a better quality of life for all ages. For the young, it improves self-esteem, empathy, respect, and a healthier approach to aging. For the wise, it contributes to joy, meaning, improved memory and active living. On a community level, connecting our wisest and our youngest promotes the transmission of cultural traditions and values from older to younger generations, helping to build a sense of personal and societal identity while encouraging tolerance.
Join Creating Together each Month at White Eagle Residence
Apart from offering a space within our community for different ages to come together, Creating Together also spends Circle Time with the senior citizens at White Eagle Residence once per month. In February, this happens this Thursday, February 28th from 10:45-11:15pm. We sing songs together, read stories and chat with the residents. Next month, we’ll be going over on Thursday March 21st (same time) – so do consider joining us! You can either walk there with us from Creating Together, or meet us directly at Chartwell White Eagle Long-Term Residence (138 Dowling) at 10:45am. If you can’t make it to these ones, keep an eye on our calendar for our next visit.
About White Eagle Residence
Located in a mature, residential area in Toronto’s west end (right around the corner from Creating Together), Chartwell White Eagle Long Term Care Residence is committed to delivering quality care to its residents. A strong community partner, White Eagle’s highly trained staff has earned a positive reputation for being compassionate and professional in equal parts. Competent in the care and management of residents with mental health concerns, White Eagle is able to accommodate a wide spectrum of care needs, including short-stay residents. With 24-hour nursing care, assistance with daily living activities and high levels of personal care available, family members can feel confident that their loved one is well cared for. Home-like and comfortable, this residence has a warm atmosphere that is welcoming to both residents and their visitors.
Honouring our Elders
The Toronto Seniors Strategy identifies Respect and Inclusion as one of the 7 priority areas, and intergenerational initiatives as one of the core recommendations for combatting ageism and ignorance through improving connections all Torontonians, and ensuring a place for all in our communities. As a result, resources are being circulated to help promote respect for older adults among the youngsters. Here are some tips for honouring our elders:
- Spend time with them
- Ask for advice
- Be kind to them
- Eat Together
- Discuss family heritage, history and traditions
- Call them
- Tell them how much you appreciate and respect them
- Visit senior living communities
- Get involved in Intergenerational Day Canada on June 1st this year
Tips for Grandparents and other Older Adults
Sometimes the gap in age can make it challenging for our wisdom keepers to connect and relate with children. After all, so much has changed since they were young. The Healthy Aging Partnership offers these suggestions for grandparents and others who want to play a bigger role in young lives:
- Be yourself. Youngsters will benefit from and enjoy having someone who listens and gives them their undivided attention. All too often parents don’t have enough time to spend with their children and that’s where you can help. Be a mentor and a friend.
- Arts and crafts, such as making a scrapbook, create great memories and allow you and a child to learn something new together.
- Youngsters love to help in the kitchen. The hands-on cooking exercise can be as simple as baking a box cake, with a little measuring and mixing.
- Gardening is another kid favorite. Spring is fast approaching – so consider digging in the dirt, planting, watering, and sowing together. Sow fast-sprouting bean, pumpkin or sunflower seeds that grow with every visit.
- Go to the library. Computers and video games may be the new thing, but you can never go wrong with a great story. Teach them about something you love. If you’re excited about it, they will be too.
- If you don’t have grandchildren of your own, volunteer to share an interest or skill with a local youth organization. The American Red Cross, Intergenerational Innovations and Big Brothers, Big Sisters, just to name a few, can help connect older adults with young people in their community.
References and Resources
The Toronto Seniors Project
The Legacy Project
Healthy Aging Partnership
For more information on intergenerational activities or other issues related to life as an older adult, visit www.4elders.org. The free and confidential resource line offers a wealth of information and assistance to seniors and their caregivers.
Intergenerational Day Canada
This month’s information sessions helped parents and caregivers understand the benefits of water sensory play, and how to encourage this kind of play with children. Below are some tips from staff at Creating Together, which were shared with families this month:
WHERE: You can provide opportunities for your child to play with water in the bath, in the kitchen sink, in a washing up bowl or a baby’s bath, weather permitting, in a paddling pool or bins with water.
PREPARE FOR A MESS: This type of play is likely to lead to some mess, but your child should not feel under pressure to keep dry or not make a mess. It is better to try to encourage children to limit the mess and for them to help clean up afterwards.
THE VALUE OF SENSORY PLAY: Sensory play is a valuable part of quality early childhood programs. Children are provided with sensory materials used to enhance their senses of touch, sight, taste, smell, and hearing. The use of sensory materials allows children the opportunity for hands-on and self-directed play to encourage the development of fine / gross motor skills, creativity, self-esteem, social development, and cognitive development.
A FEW THINGS CHILDREN LEARN WHEN PLAYING WITH WATER:
- To improve their skill at pouring by developing their arm and hand muscles
- How water behaves when you pour it from one container to another
- How water feels and that it can be squirted
- Objects either float or sink
- That containers hold the most or the least
- That water leaks from containers with holes
- Eye-hand co-ordination
The staff at Creating Together are trained in helping children achieve indicators of success in a number of key areas of development. While many of these were shared in our information session this month, we wanted to include them here so you can be more informed when playing with your child, so you too can encourage their development and success!
- Fine Motor – holding objects with hand.
- Coordination – holding and transferring object from hand to hand; manipulating small objects with improved coordination.
- Autonomy – initiating activities.
- Tactile – tracking moving objects with eyes; touching, rubbing, squeezing.
- Words with Gesture – speaking with words and gesture.
- Vocabulary – repeating words.
Moving forward, we hope you’ll take the dive and explore the benefits of water play with your children!
Baking together as a family is filled with benefits for the whole family. The wisdom that gets shared is absolutely worth the effort. Here are some benefits, to name a few:
1. Math Skills: If you’re working with older kids, doubling a recipe requires addition/multiplication skills, while halving requires division. What’s more, recipe fractions like 1/2 cup and 3/4 teaspoon bring math into the kitchen. For younger ones, its a great first exposure to measures – how many of one cup can go into another?
2. Real Life Science: Cooking is such a science experiment, and gives an opportunity for kids to get hands-on experience with basic science. With toddlers, make sure you choose recipes that don’t take too much time, and allow your toddler to help with small jobs such as tipping in ingredients, stirring the mixture, and passing utensils.
3. Self-Esteem: Cooking gives kids instant feedback, which helps them learn and grow in understanding themselves. Learning a new skill, such as baking or cooking, is known to help children develop a healthy self-esteem, and a also a stronger, more positive relationship with food!
4. Communication: A relaxed atmosphere in the kitchen gives parents and kids an opportunity to talk about anything! It also helps younger children practice their vocabulary with words used in cooking, and follow instructions (e.g., mix, stir, combine).
5. Life Skills: Cooking is a life skill, and starting at a young age helps children when they are older, to transition to adult cooking responsibilities.
6. Fun! Having fun together in the kitchen builds great memories, good vibes, and good relationship with food.
At Creating Together, we have a monthly family baking activity for families, where everybody comes together to learn a healthy muffin recipe and practice baking it with their little ones. This month, we created “Maple Apple Oatmeal Muffins”. If you weren’t able to make it, try out the recipe below at home! And be sure to keep your eye out on our calendar for the next one!