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Chorus & Clouds Blog

Building Your Child's Toy Library - Stage by Stage

Building Your Child's Toy Library - Stage by Stage
One of the wonderful benefits to having our own learning studio is that we get to test drive our toys and quickly determine which ones have the longevity and encourage the exploration, learning and creativity that we're hoping to provide. Continue reading

What Is A Prepared Environment?

What Is A Prepared Environment?
By arranging the materials or toys in a thoughtful way, imagining them from your child's perspective, you can create an environment that will stimulate learning and creativity. Continue reading

Top 10 Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Over the Holidays - with Sasha Kern

Top 10 Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Over the Holidays - with Sasha Kern

This week at The Nook, our resident sleep consultant, Sasha Kern from BlissfulBabySleep. Before she had her own children, Sasha was a postpartum doula, often helping new families at night. She has had over 20 years experience helping babies sleep and has seen sleep recommendations change over the years. Her depth of experience allows her to offer help tailored to a family's particular sleep challenges.

She has returned to Chorus and Clouds with tips to help your baby (and you!) get better sleep over the holidays.

The holiday season is a wonderful time and magical with a new baby, however, with all the fun and special moments come a shake up of your usual routine and whether baby is sleeping and napping on a schedule or not there are unexpected changes that can throw things off.

Sasha gives her top tips to keep things calm and easy:

 Tip #1: Use black out curtains and white noise at home and then you can recreate their home sleep environment wherever you go.

Tip #2: Maintain your bedtime routine when you're away (bath, story, songs - whatever you do) this will cue your baby that it's time for bed.

Tip #3: Grandparents and friends will want your baby to stay up late to spend time with them, but hold your ground! If they want to spend the time with baby, then have them do part or all of the bedtime routine and spend time together that way.

Tip #4: If your out and can't get home at bedtime bring pajamas and put baby to sleep at a restaurant or a friend's house. Walking with them in a carrier may help them fall asleep more easily.

Tip #5: If your baby is walking don't let them know they can walk in the aisle of the plane!

Tip #6: Time Changes: With a 3 hour time change or less just jump into the new time zone, preferably start the new time while you're on the plane. Luckily, planes have lots of white noise!

Tip #7: With a longer time change start the adjustment on the plane. If you're travelling at night, but it would be daytime in the new time zone, instead of letting them sleep through the night treat the sleep as naps, as you would in the new time. At night, if they wake up thinking it should be daytime, keep it as boring as possible.

Tip #8: During the day get out in the sunshine as much as possible.

Tip #9: When you're coming back do the same thing.

Tip #10: Car rides: Leave first thing in the morning when they're rested. Time your stops with feeds and then time long stretches of driving with naps.

Contributed by Shauna Farrell

For Sasha's sleep fundamentals please visit this blog post from an earlier visit or contact her via her website BlissfulBabySleep.

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Play Therapy and Learning Through Play with Anna Bardi

Play Therapy and Learning Through Play with Anna Bardi
In order to learn something through memorization it takes about 400 repetitions to create a synapse in our brain, but if we do it through play it takes only 10-20. Continue reading

Claiming More of Ourselves in Motherhood with Cayley Benjamin

Claiming More of Ourselves in Motherhood with Cayley Benjamin

Cayley is a regular guest at The Nook and you can read a full blog post from an earlier visit here. Today she offers two quick, but meaningful ideas on how we can claim more of ourselves in our experience of motherhood.

What came up strongly for many of the mothers present was the ever present guilt they felt at taking any time for themselves - at even acknowledging that motherhood is hard, all-encompassing and even suffocating at times. In expressing these feelings they were almost always met with comments like, "But it goes so fast. Just enjoy it!" so that we almost always reflexively add "but, of course, I love it!" to balance or almost negate those difficult and often contradictory feelings. That you can love being a mother, love your child and really NOT love some parts of the experience.

The reflection Cayley offers is what if when we said, "This is really hard...this was a really tough day," we stopped feeling the need to add, "but, I love it....but it's wonderful, of course!" How would start to change the culture of motherhood?

One of the things Cayley believes in, when it comes to caring for ourselves as mothers, is that we can add it in, rather than add on.

Self-care is often thought of or spoken of as time away from our kids and she thinks that is important, but she also thinks it's important to claim ourself within our experience of motherhood, when we're with our children. 

Think about ways you can integrate things that you love into your daily experience of motherhood.

Some of Cayley's examples:

  • I play the music I want, sometimes
  • I went through a phase when I made my lunch first, then I made my son's lunch and I had at least a little bit of my food before I gave him his
  • I make the lunch I want
  • I light a candle everyday and a diffuser with really nice essential oils - just for me

Mothers brainstormed their own examples - everything from dancing to having a piece of chocolate - of how they could inject little bursts of joy into their day.

What will yours be?

Contributed by Shauna Farrell

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Sarah Adams Talks Montessori at Home

Sarah Adams Talks Montessori at Home
Sarah dispels the myth that a Montessori home is supposed to duplicate a Montessori preschool, while getting to some of the core premises of the Montessori philosophy and how parents can bring those values and practices into their home. Continue reading

Travel Sleep Tips from Sasha

Travel Sleep Tips from Sasha

The bedtime routine eg. bath, change, book, song, etc. is so important because this is how the baby gets their cues that it's time to wind down and sleep for a long stretch. When they are older toddlers and children, these cues are going to make it much easier to settle down and sleep in a different situations because the routine can be the same.

Contributed by Shauna Farrell

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Play in the Early Years with Shauna Farrell

Play in the Early Years with Shauna Farrell

When we observe our children's play and allow them to lead their exploration and discoveries we are giving them the opportunity to foster their own learning at exactly the right time and stage for them. In turn, this experience will give them the intrinsic motivation and confidence to be lifelong learners.

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What Is Loose Parts Play?

What Is Loose Parts Play?

"Loose Parts" is a term first coined by artist and architect Simon Nicholson. He rejected the idea that only select people were "creative" and instead believed that introducing loose parts into children's environments would foster their creativity. In fact, Nicholson's theory extends to the children's input into the design of the space itself.

So what are loose parts?

Loose parts are materials, natural or manmade, that can be moved, manipulated, lined up, transformed, combined, taken apart and put back together in any number of ways. They can be used alone or with other materials and they come with no specific directions. There is no specific function or goal. Closely connected to loose parts play is the idea of open-ended learning. There is not a lot of difference in childhood between art and science, work and play - and all of it is learning! Open-ended materials and experiences encourage problem solving and are child-led, rather than adult-directed. However, the adult plays an important role in preparing the environment for open-ended learning experiences. 

Some examples of loose parts materials could be:

The adult's role in loose parts play could be setting up an "invitation to play" on a child height table. Offering a variety of materials in different baskets and containers within a defined work area like a tray would be one type of invitation. Another type could be a landscape created with coloured blocks, wooden animals and human figures, or a water table with bubbles, sieves and cups.

Once the invitation has been created it is up to the adult to step back and allow the child to lead the activity or use, interpret and manipulate the materials on their own. It is up to the adult to ensure the materials are safe and appropriate for the child so that the child is free to explore them. With this in mind materials set out for a child under three should be large enough that they are not a choking hazard.

Often when a child has an opportunity to use loose parts in their play we will see them making concrete connections and moving materials from one play area to another. For example, a plate of rocks will become "food" for their toy animals or "money" for their store. When children are allowed to integrate different materials creatively they are experiencing open ended learning.

Our Kitsilano shop is curated with the philosophy that child-driven, imagination based, open-ended play materials have longevity and unlimited learning potential.

Visit our loose parts play collection to help you build your own creative library of materials.

Contributed by Shauna Farrell

 

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