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  • Fun Family Activities to Do Over March Break

    main_145Make this March Break the week you take a step back from your busy schedule and spend some quality time with your family. Plan a few activities but keep it simple and relaxed and you’ll be sure to have a great time together.
    Use their week off to find that work/family balance. Take some time off work, if possible, and go out of town. If travel isn’t in the forecast, act like tourists in your own city. Visit the landmarks, go to some local events and exhibitions, and let the kids help plan the activities they want to do. Having them involved in the process will help the excitement grow leading up to the outings.
    If you’re looking for a creative outlet, let your kids redesign old pieces of clothing. Give them fabric paint, beads and other embellishments to decorate pieces. Or visit a pottery shop where you can all paint your own ceramics, customizing them however you want. If a sibling or friend’s birthday is coming up, suggest making something as a gift, but any creation of theirs will be a great keepsake.
    Another way to spend quality time together is to stage your own blackout. Unplug your electronics and leave technology behind for a night. Use flashlights and candles, play board games, tell stories and snack on homemade treats you whipped up together earlier that day.
    Cooking with your kids is another great activity. Whether they’re helping youbake a batch of cookies, make dinner or plan a meal, they’ll learn how to work in a team, develop their fine motor skills and become more independent in the kitchen. For an added learning opportunity, ask them to pick a country and then make a food that is specific to that culture. Find some music associated with the region to listen to and learn some interesting facts about the area to discuss when you sit down to eat the meal you’ve prepared together.
    A week may seem like a long time, but it will pass before you know it. Make sure to spend that time together, doing things that you normally wouldn’t have time for.

    Margaret Czajkowski is a leading Early Learning Specialist, Executive Director forChildventures Early Learning Academy, and a sought-after speaker and trainer. She holds an Honours ECE from Mohawk College and a Human Resources Management Degree from Queens University. Currently an Advisory Board Member for Mohawk College Early Childhood Education diploma program, Czajkowski has taught, coached and mentored students in the academic ECE program at Mohawk for 20 years. Her focus is on the curriculum models of the High Scope Educational Approach and the Core Knowledge Preschool Sequence.
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  • Importance of Family Time

    main_156Early Learning Specialist and Executive Director of Childventures, Margaret Czajkowski, meets with host Jacqueline Betterton of Rogers Daytime York to discuss the importance of family time and offers some great March Break tips.

    –1–

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  • New ideas fuel anxiety as parents expect more from their children and educators

    main_210More than 7,000 academics are gathered in Victoria, B.C., this week for the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, presenting papers on everything from what we learn about healthcare from Grey’s Anatomy to Justin Trudeau’s political brand power. In this week-long series, the National Post showcases some of the most interesting research.

    Krista Chau knows her expectations are high.
    When she sends her four-year-old son Maddox to public school kindergarten in September, she wants her little boy — who can already write his name, is learning the sounds of letters and beginning to add and subtract — to flourish into a confident reader. She wants him to learn patterns with math and how to problem solve. She hopes he doesn’t lose the little bit of French he’s already picked up at Childventures Early Learning Academy in Vaughan, Ont., where Ms. Chau is director.
    “Part of my fear is knowing about play-based learning,” she said, referring to the new approach that emphasizes social interaction as part of a more flexible, low-key way of easing kids into school, one of several new concepts gaining traction in education circles.
    “Some of the things he’s learned now … is he going to lose all of that?”
    The teachers she “drilled” at kindergarten orientation assured her he would not.
    But Ms. Chau is not the only one feeling some anxiety as recent changes to kindergarten — still transitioning to all-day in Ontario and British Columbia — and the challenges of modern child-rearing ratchet parents’ expectations of what their children will learn ever higher. Meanwhile, as teachers work to introduce the new kindergarten curriculum that focuses on “21st-century learning,” their expectations of what children will learn — and how they will learn — have shifted too.
    This growing disconnect between what parents and teachers expect children will learn in their first year of school is highlighted in research to be presented this week at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, a massive gathering of more than 7,000 academics at the University of Victoria.
    Play-based learning has a role in this. It’s part of the new curricular movement toward “21st-century learning” that considers “early literacy” to be anything from which the child draws meaning in the world and learns to communicate it with others. “When kids are playing with blocks and they’re talking with each other and working out their problems, that is actually literacy,” said Kari-Lynn Winters, assistant professor of teacher education at Brock University.
    Their small-scale study, titled “Won’t She Learn that in Kindergarten?” gathered perspectives from 24 teachers and 11 university-educated parents (all female) from three school boards in southwestern Ontario, asking them how they defined literacy, what specific literacy practices kids are exposed to at home and what they expected children to learn in kindergarten.
    Their answers revealed very different perspectives.
    “Parents wanted their children to succeed in a holistic way,” said Prof. Winters, who conducted the research with colleague Debra Harwood. “They wanted their children to have access to every kind of advantage, whether that means access to French speaking opportunities, technology, whether that means access to print literacies and books — all of it, that’s what parents wanted. They want their kids to be critical thinkers, to be humane people and to be successful in their lives.”
    Meanwhile, the teachers wanted more “skill-based kinds of ideas” — for the children to be academically successful, to read at a higher level, to understand the world in a less literal way, she said. These values didn’t always pan out in practice, they said — for example, teachers tended to teach these skills in more “traditional” ways.
    Researchers also noted that while children were exposed to literacy via technology at home (on iPads and computers), that happened a lot less at school, despite the value placed on 21st-century learning.
    As society has become more child-centric, and the world an ever more competitive place, parents like Ms. Chau are preparing their children academically before they even hit kindergarten. That’s a shift teachers and schools have had to keep up with, said Prof. Harwood, co-researcher and professor of early childhood education at Brock.
    “If you look at the history of curriculum … the Grade 1 curriculum has been pushed down to the kindergarten level, so parents do have that expectation that in kindergarten they will be taught to read, write, communicate the critical things,” she said.
    There’s a “huge spectrum of thinking” when it comes to play-based learning too, she said, with “some parents highly valuing the role of play and learning while others not really understanding the connections.”
    Parents tend to think back to their own experience in school and try to do everything they can to improve on it with their own children, said Marilyn Chapman, director of the Institute for Early Child Education and Research at the University of British Columbia. It’s often a challenge to help parents understand these “expanding notions of literacy in the 21st century,” which includes play-based learning, she said.
    “One of the things that was a deliberate choice with the full day kindergarten program was not to say, ‘OK kids are going to be in full day kindergarten so now they’re going to be farther ahead in their reading.’ What we’re trying to do is build a rich foundation so that ultimately they will be farther ahead in their reading, but it may not show until after kindergarten,” she said. “One of the things we know is that if we try to hurry kids up, it can cause an awful lot of anxiety…. Parents may feel uncomfortable when a child writes something in phonetic spelling and it’s not spelled correctly. They may feel, ‘Oh the child is learning this wrong.’”
    While many parents are delighted to see their kindergarten and early primary school children delving into chapter books, picture books are actually beneficial for helping kids connect images with text — a huge demand in a world of flashy billboards and websites, Prof. Winters said. Exposing children to a larger vocabulary without worrying about the proper spelling might pay dividends once they get to Grade 3, said Prof. Chapman. Because of this exposure, she said, students are spelling most words correctly by then.
    Robyn Thompson, a mother of two in Oakville, Ont., said she felt a bit of “disappointment” over what was taught in kindergarten versus what she had to teach her son at home. Her youngest son, Zac, 5, will graduate from senior kindergarten this spring, a program that runs all day, every other day.
    “I thought he’d be able to read with confidence, would be taught spelling and proper handwriting,” she said. “Of course you have the social stuff you want — I do think they delivered on that front in terms of interaction and sharing. But when it comes to more academic stuff — the reading, the writing, the printing — I don’t think they ever teach that.”
    She remembers doing little spelling tests in kindergarten, tiny words like cat and dog, learning the days of the week. Her son, she said, has no real concept of the calendar, and so she tries to teach a lot of this stuff at home.
    Social pressure is strong, after all.
    “I have a lot of friends with kids in Montessori and private school, you can’t help but compare your child. When you’re in the park and you see Suzy reading books but your son is not at the same level, you get nervous and concerned,” she said. “University’s a long way away, but there are limited spots. Certainly you don’t want to think your child’s falling behind.”

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    – National Post

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  • Childhood Nutrition 101

    main_213In today’s society, children are at a greater risk of shorter life expectancy as a result of long-term health effects caused by obesity. According to Statistics Canada, almost 1 in every 3 Canadians aged 5 to 17 are overweight or obese. Obesity in children is largely a result of low activity levels and frequent consumption of fast food and highly processed foods. Parents often find that the answer to a busy schedule and picky eaters is fast food. It’s quick, convenient and affordable, however, what some parents may fail to recognize is the lasting negative effects it can have on their children.
    Childventures Early Learning Academy, a network of leading childcare centres for preschool and daycare, incorporates a number of practices into their everyday meal activities to ensure children get the best of both worlds – great taste and nutritional benefits their bodies require.
    Healthy Bodies, Healthy Mind – At Childventures, children receive healthy and nutritional meals which conform to Canada’s Food Guide. It is strongly believed that the food a child consumes directly impacts their academic performance. Wholesome foods boost cognitive function and overall health, while fast foods and highly processed foods can actually prevent a complete learning development. All classrooms are stocked with a plethora of fresh fruit, out of which children are encouraged to pick a snack for themselves.
    Multicultural Menu – Give your everyday menu a full makeover. Transform your meals by serving an international menu from different parts of the world. Search online for some healthy items and recipes. It can also be very beneficial to involve children in the cooking process. By putting on an apron and allowing them to help cook, children will grow curious and interested in the new dishes.
    Role Modeling – Dietary and physical activity behaviours in children are heavily influenced by many groups, including families, friends, child care providers etc. Teachers at Childventures act as role models by encouraging good eating habits within the classroom. Normally when a child says they are hungry, they are simply bored. Create food art by cutting fruits and veggies into shapes and providing a tasty dip to go with it. This will also help with the picky eating syndrome. Another important tip: do not bribe children with rewards of dessert as it will imply that healthy food is unpleasant.
    Parents can take these approaches and apply them into their daily routines. It is never too late to make a positive change in a child’s life.

    About CHILDVENTURES EARLY LEARNING ACADEMY – ChildVentures was founded when Dr. Heidary was unable to find the high level of care he was seeking for his own young child. As a doctor he had read the research showing the importance of the formative early years and he was looking for something better than he found. As busy professionals with full-time careers, he and his wife were seeking a loving place with caring people, qualified educators and caregivers, great programs and curriculums designed to influence neurological development at specific ages, a sequential program of learning at each stage with measurement systems to track progress, a secure, safe, modern environment, beautiful classes and play areas, a fun, child-focused atmosphere that embodies play techniques, a strong nutritional component, teacher-to-child ratios congruent with learning and caring, parental involvement for continued success of the child, modern learning, monitoring and security technology. These are the elements found at ChildVentures in Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Burlington and Ancaster.

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  • Stress Busters for Children

    main_214STRESS IN CHILDREN –
    Managing stress can be one of the biggest challenges experienced by adults, but could you ever imagine that children can experience extreme levels of stress as well? Children, like adults also experience stress, though they do not have the means or skills to understand and manage that stress. Studies confirm that children also experience high levels of stress and may develop symptoms similar to adults.Parents often misunderstand the term when it comes to their children and easily overlook the early stages of stress development as signs of growth. Research indicates that mental illness can be exacerbated by several psychological and environmental factors which trigger high levels of stress. According to the Offord Centre for Child Studies, research shows that 50% of adults diagnosed with mental illness reveal its start before the age of 14. It is imperative for parents, caregivers as well as teachers to recognize stress in early stages and support the child affected.
    POSTIVE & NEGATIVE EVENTS – 
    Both negative and positive events can be the source of stress in a child. Family events are often categorized as negative stressors, such as single parenthood, chronic family conflict, loss of a job, or the death of a family member. Positive events such as planning their own birthday party or slumber party to caring for a new pet can result in stress. Sudden changes in behaviour should not go unnoticed. Withdrawal and nervousness or anger and attention seeking are common signs of stress, while some children are resilient and do not show any direct signs. Stress developed early in a child can result in long term repercussions such as health problems, self-harm, alcohol and substance use, legal infractions and other internal illnesses.
    BRAIN GYM & YOGA TECHNIQUES –
    Childventures Early Learning Academy (Childventures), a network of leading childcare centres for preschool and daycare, incorporates a number of brain gym and yoga techniques into their curriculum to educate as well as show children appropriate ways of managing stress and anxieties. Childventures exercises the brain by incorporating entire body movements, exercises and processes. Practicing these specific sets of movements prior to a learning activity, not only enhance living but they also improve stability and mobility. These simple practices and techniques can reduce levels of stress and benefit children in multiple ways including academic success, psychological adjustment, and lower rates of substance abuse and self-harm.

    About CHILDVENTURES EARLY LEARNING ACADEMY – ChildVentures was founded when Dr. Heidary was unable to find the high level of care he was seeking for his own young child. As a doctor he had read the research showing the importance of the formative early years and he was looking for something better than he found. As busy professionals with full-time careers, he and his wife were seeking a loving place with caring people, qualified educators and caregivers, great programs and curriculums designed to influence neurological development at specific ages, a sequential program of learning at each stage with measurement systems to track progress, a secure, safe, modern environment, beautiful classes and play areas, a fun, child-focused atmosphere that embodies play techniques, a strong nutritional component, teacher-to-child ratios congruent with learning and caring, parental involvement for continued success of the child, modern learning, monitoring and security technology. These are the elements found at ChildVentures in Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Burlington and Ancaster.

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  • Stress Busters in Children – Part Two

    main_216Stress Awareness-  Brain Gym/Yoga Techinques 

    As National Stress Awareness Day falls on April 16, 2013, it is a great opportunity for parents, educators, and caregivers to get informed about early childhood stresses and become familiar with techniques that can reduce stress levels.
    Childventures incorporates a number of brain activities which they have integrated by Brain Gym International in their everyday practices to reduce potential stresses and keep students calm and concentrated. These techniques help children to stay focused, be positive and assertive, set goals, boost self-esteem and help deal with disappointment.

    * Brain Buttons – executing this exercise prior to a lesson or activity supplies freshly oxygenated blood to the brain as well as improves the flow. This enhances concentration skills necessary for reading and writing.

    * Earth Buttons – stimulating the brain, this exercise relieves mental fatigue.

    * Balance Buttons – activating the brain, this exercise is great for sensory awareness, emotional connection and gives an overall sense of well-being.  Cross Crawl – this exercise is great in coordinating the right and left brain. The information properly flows between the two hemispheres.

    * Cook’s Hook-Ups – this exercise is great to calm the nerves. It relaxes the mind and improves concentration.

    * Positive Points – by practicing this exercise, children will be able to release emotional stress and respond more rationally to such situations.

    Step by step processes of each exercise are available by request. Some additional simple activities to reduce levels of stress include the following:

    * Drink Water – drinking lots of water can help keep a child healthy. With the brain estimated to comprise of 90% water, it is important to keep hydrated as we tend to perspire under stress, resulting in negative effects on a child’s level of concentration.

    * Reading Stories – A study completed at the University of Sussex indicated that reading can reduce stress levels by 68%. Childventures recognizes the importance of reading and encourages parents to read to their child twice a week to help overcome perceived effects of stress.

    * Cuddles – A recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Vienna shows that regular hugging can positively benefit health by lowering blood pressure, heart rate and also help to reduce stress.

     

    About CHILDVENTURES EARLY LEARNING ACADEMY – ChildVentures was founded when Dr. Heidary was unable to find the high level of care he was seeking for his own young child. As a doctor he had read the research showing the importance of the formative early years and he was looking for something better than he found. As busy professionals with full-time careers, he and his wife were seeking a loving place with caring people, qualified educators and caregivers, great programs and curriculums designed to influence neurological development at specific ages, a sequential program of learning at each stage with measurement systems to track progress, a secure, safe, modern environment, beautiful classes and play areas, a fun, child-focused atmosphere that embodies play techniques, a strong nutritional component, teacher-to-child ratios congruent with learning and caring, parental involvement for continued success of the child, modern learning, monitoring and security technology. These are the elements found at ChildVentures in Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Burlington and Ancaster.

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  • Burlington dentist also a daycare entrepreneur

    main_279It was supposed to be a simple quest to find a good daycare centre for his family.
    But sometimes life is anything but simple.
    That search for a daycare centre years ago has landed Dr. Walter Heidary of Burlington a nomination as one of Ontario’s entrepreneurs of the year. The Childventures Early Learning Academy he started 10 years ago has now expanded to five locations and employs 140 people.
    Heidary, a Burlington dentist, approaches his businesses as he does all of life — with big dreams. His goal is to open 50 branches of Childventures across Canada and perhaps go international.
    “If you’re going to do something, do it very well,” says Heidary of his business philosophy. “I don’t know anything about daycare but I knew what I wanted for my own children.”
    –1–
    “When the teacher cares, it’s huge for a child,” he explained, saying an applicant’s attitude is his primary basis for hiring.
    The five Childventures locations in Burlington, Ancaster, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Thornhill have large rooms, an indoor and outdoor play area and a curriculum featuring music, arts, drama and computers.
    Heidary opened his first centre, then called Pathways, on Mohawk Road in Hamilton before moving the daycare centre and his Desired Smile dental office to a larger, new location in the growing North Burlington area of Tansley Woods.
    The centres blend Montessori methods with high scope and core knowledge, and Heidary says teaching children how to read and write early is key to success later on.
    “You don’t get a second chance,” said Heidary, whose three children now attend Hillfield Strathallan College in Hamilton.
    Heidary is one of three finalists in the business-to-consumer products and services category of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. The two other nominees are Christopher Szybbo of CBI Health Group of Toronto, a health-care services and management company that operates clinics and facilities for patients and communities in Canada, and Marion Witz of Elizabeth Grant International Inc. which manufactures and distributes a line of skin care on shopping channels globally.
    While he never thought of any awards when he kicked off the business, the recognition is significant, Heidary said.
    “I thought I was on the early road to something great,” he said. “Acknowledgment for the human soul is beautiful.”
    The Ontario winners will be announced at a gala on Oct. 24 in Toronto. The overall winner will represent the region at the national gala held in Toronto on Nov. 27.

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  • Kid at the Dentist

    main_342About three years ago, I took my first child to her first dentist appointment. It went well despite my trepidation (she does not react well to appointments of a medical nature).
    Three years in and we’re still going for regular dental appointments with minimal fuss (actually, she’s downright awesome at it!) and she is regularly given a clean bill of dental health.
    However, I’m sure she’s not brushing her teeth as well as she could. And she doesn’t floss. (My fault. I’ve always thought of flossing as an adult activity; not something a four-year-old does.)
    Now I’m facing the first dentist appointment of my second child. I’m not so afraid this time. Maybe I should be, though.
    My son has been brushing his own teeth for about a year and a half, maybe less. I know he’s not doing it properly. I try to follow-up with an attempt of my own. Sometimes he lets me. Sometimes he’s not so receptive.
    About a year ago, we switched dentists and I asked him for tips to help my kids with their brushing and dental hygiene practices.
    He showed them (and me) how they should brush. He told them (and me) about flossing. And then he sent us on our way. I felt a little lost because I knew that none of what he had said had sunk in with my kids and I knew it was going to be my fight to get them to follow his instructions which they didn’t actually absorb and will of course think that I am forcing them to do something they don’t want to do.
    And I was right. I gently encouraged them, I made up silly brushing games, we sang songs, I tried brushing and flossing with them. I tried doing it for them. And their dental hygiene routines improved somewhat, leveled off and have stayed the same ever since.
    And at each visit to the dentist, I’m reminded that, although my daughter’s dental health is basically fine, she (therefore, I) needs to do a better job.
    Recently, I had the good fortune to receive a tip sheet from Dr. Walter Heidary, dentist and founder of Childventures Early Learning Academy.
    Now I have a few tricks up my sleeve and more confidence in how to help my kids learn proper oral hygiene and make it part of their personal dental health care.
    ORAL HEALTH TIPS FOR PRESCHOOLERS
    Tips parents should know about food:

    •  NUTRITIOUS FOODS CAN HURT TEETH. Sticky foods, foods that cling to teeth, or get caught in the grooves of teeth such as dried cereals, dried fruits, crackers, milk, honey, etc., are a contributing factor to cavities. Even foods advertised as Whole Grains or All Natural can be factors.  READ YOUR LABELS.  Many of these nutritious foods have sugars added to improve taste, some even have synthetic nutrients added and may not be as healthy as they first appear.
    •  One food that is widely believed to actually help prevent cavities is CHEESE. Cheese helps to neutralize acid in the mouth.
    •  TIME OF EXPOSURE is important with food as well.  It is much better to have a sugary snack all in one sitting than to sip or snack on small amounts throughout the day.  This way all sugar enters the mouth at once and can be rinsed away by saliva or water.  Be cautious of sippy cups and bottles that toddlers carry and sip from all day long.
    •  NEVER TAKE A BOTTLE TO BED.  The only exception to this rule is if the bottle contains water.
    •  RINSE WITH WATER OFTEN.  This will help to remove sugars from the mouth and foods that cling to teeth.
    •  Crunchy foods such as VEGETABLES are not only healthy but they can also help to increase saliva flow, which helps to rinse away sugars that are present in children’s mouths.

    A few tips for when struggling with brushing:

    •  CONSISTANCY is key. Children may protest and struggle at first but will eventually fall into routines.  Aim for the same time of day (e.g. upon waking and going to bed), also the same place in the house.
    •  FOR INFANTS use a face cloth to wipe their gums, even before teeth are present to help them become accustomed to the feeling.  Once teeth start erupting you can continue this practice with a finger brush.
    •  Get them INVOLVED. Sometimes, something as simple as letting them help pick out their own brush at the store can help.
    •  Have them watch yourself or an older sibling brushing.  Discuss the SOUND the toothbrush is making and have them try to duplicate it with their own toothbrush.
    •  COUNTING is also an effective tool when having trouble with your child remaining open.  If they know you are going to count to 10 then come out of their mouth, they are more likely to stay open a couple of seconds longer.  Do this, and then give them a chance to close, or spit.  Offer them OPTIONS on which part of the mouth to count to 10 in next (e.g. should we do the top next, or the bottom?)
    • PATTERNS.  Once they are comfortable letting you in their mouth to brush or starting to brush independently, develop a pattern that touches each tooth. Have the child help decide on the pattern for their own mouth (e.g. bottom first right to left, then same on top; front-to-back on each side etc.)
    • PATIENCE is important.  If you are frustrated, they will also be.  Try and make this as much fun as you can so they don’t dread it every day.  Sing songs, play music, dance, hunt sugar bugs, whatever works for your child.
    • FOLLOW THROUGH.  What would you do if your child didn’t want to have a bath? Teeth are a vital part of their health and MUST be cleaned one way or another.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The oral health tips were produced by Beth Matthews, Director of the Children’s Self Care Dental Program at Desired Smiles, Dr. Heidary’s dental practice in Burlington, Ontario

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  • Giving presence instead of presents

    main_370For my daughter’s sixth birthday, I asked family to give her a gift of their time. Most people weren’t sure what to do with this information. But my daughter’s grandparents stepped up to the plate. They provided a beautiful, personally decorated shadow box that contained an invitation to my daughter for a movie and dinner date with her grandparents. She received many other wonderful gifts that day, but this is the gift she is still talking about.

    The movie and dinner date hasn’t happened yet. A date was set for a PD day in January, but my daughter talks about it all the time and can’t wait to go to the movies and to dinner with her grandparents. And after they have done that, she will still be talking about it I’m sure. And this will stay with her way more than any toy or article of clothing she has received from her grandparents.

    Apparently, I had the right idea. Ever since I’ve had kids, I have asked family and friends to consider providing experiences and some of their time rather than toys, toys and more toys to my children. Kids do so much better when they have to use their imaginations rather than having everything provided for them. And here’s more on why that is…

    Shiny toys, the latest gadgets and an abundance of “stuff” will make up children’s wish lists this holiday season. It is no wonder that the billion-dollar toy industry is thriving. However, studies have shown that having too many toys can have a negative effect on children.

    Without as many material items, children are forced to interact with others and use their imagination to invent games. A study in Germany found that social interaction in childhood leads to a range of skills including problem solving. Childhood experts agree that academic success and positive social interactions in adulthood are attributed to childhood friendships.

    “Giving children too many toys can hinder their ability to develop social skills and understanding,” said Dr. Walter Heidary, founder of Childventures Early Learning Academy. “Lessons learned from social interactions are essential for childhood development.”

    Studies have shown that children, who spend quality family time before the age of 12, are greater achievers later in life and develop fewer behavioural problems. Family time has proven to be more effective in the development of a child’s performance and social abilities than school time and studying.

    “Spending time with children helps develop your relationship with them,” said Heidary. “The time you spend together will resonate much stronger in the child’s mind than a toy that he or she will eventually outgrow. Not only do experiential gifts help develop stronger bonds between adults and children but they also create memories that last forever.”

    Experiential gifts that don’t involve “stuff”

    Experiential gifts do not need to be costly. The most important aspect is giving your time. Childventures recommends these experiential gifts this holiday season:

    • Tickets to a movie, play or musical • A trip to local attractions like the zoo, aquarium, museum or science centre. • An edible creation or art project you can make with the child • A gift certificate or contribution to music lessons or a class like cooking, pottery or acting.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    About Dr. Walter Heidary

    Dr. Walter Heidary, dentist by practice and father of three, founded Childventures Early Learning Centre in 2002, which offers the best of Montessori, High Scope and Core Knowledge. Dr. Heidary and his wife sought out a daycare centre that would provide the best early learning education for their first-born. After visiting several daycare centres, Dr. Heidary realized there was not a centre that offered qualified educators, quality programs, and a curriculum designed to influence neurological development. Aware of the positive influence early childhood education has on a child’s development and the impressive long term returns resulting from the short-term investment, Dr. Heidary decided to build his own daycare centre which comprised of his list of requirements. Childventures’ highly trained staff of professionals partner with families to develop children to their fullest potential by encouraging the importance of moral values, promoting humanity and overall interest in the world. Creating a solid foundation for future learning, Childventures provides children with a stimulating environment that meets their emotional, social, intellectual and physical needs, overall, progressing development for lifetime.

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