our philosophy

We would like to welcome you and your little one on a virtual tour of our little corner on the web, and a glimpse into our home. Small Wonders Nature-based dayhome & playschool is not that different from many dayhomes in Alberta, but we do have some features that make us unique.  
My aim is to provide high quality affordable child-care to your family. It is also my goal to provide a safe space for learning and growing, in a home-like setting.
Why Nature-based? 

The question is why not? I think it is very difficult for children to simply be children these days. A lot of kids don't run around outside anymore - they prefer TV and video games. I believe nature is the best teacher. I have seen firsthand how nature calms the nerves and excites the spirit of a child. I choose nature because it is a place where  creative problem solving occurs; where senses are renewed; and it doesn't hurt that the children also get a bit of exercise.

As a nature-based home, I aim to inspire the beautiful spirit of each child and create an environment that nurtures the developing human being physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Why Waldorf-inspired? 
One thing that I take from the Waldorf philosophy is the need for caregivers to take pride in their daily work to ensure that the environment is beautiful, that (essentially) their actions and words are worthy of imitation by the young child. 

Basic Waldorf educational theory is something that I have loved for a long time. It mirrors some very important beliefs about childhood: that childhood is special, magical. That imaginative play is important...that children are not just minds needing to be filled,  they have a spirit and a soul that needs to be nurtured...that a daily rhythm is important to the whole child.

Educational Philosophy
After unschooling/homeschooling my children for years, I can honestly say that I have tried a few teaching methods. The one thing that I have learned is that no one method is best for any family. At Small Wonders I bring some educational ideas from the Montessori system such as the multi-age teaching. I also like to step back and allow the children to do their "work". I love many aspects of Waldorf (as stated above), but I also believe in using technology to help kids foster their love of learning and discovery.
Small Wonders helps each child embrace learning as s/he is able. I believe in helping each child feel like they are part of a community- a larger picture. Small Wonders is child-centered, hands on learning, and nature-based with a focus on making the most of our days - every day.

As a former unschooler, the word curriculum still seems restrictive at times. When working with younger children, I believe it is important to follow their lead in many aspects. 

We have many activities and events that allow for learning, discovery and flexibility. 
Counting rocks or leaves, as they interact with nature, or learning about colors while painting is typical.

For example, our weekly soup lunch allows for discussions about different types of foods & nutrition, bilingual vocabulary, matching games, as well as using the senses (touch, feel, taste etc). The children don't even realize they are learning.

Math is taught every day in non-traditional ways. I believe that Math skills begin with hands-on, child-led learning and exploration. I love learning while outside in nature, and try to incorporate math into our outside activities (ie. counting footsteps in the snow, learning about sequencing, or learning how to add after an afternoon of collecting pine-cones). 
I am not a teacher, and  I never sit any child down and "teach" him or her. Our learning is fun and flexible, and never forced.

At Small Wonders, the children are read to at various times of the day. We always have a short story at circle time, and another at lunch (before nap/resting). There are also impromptu reading sessions throughout the day as a child will often bring a book, and of course one book and one friend draws more friends and more books.

We also have a book of the month project. Every area of learning is highlighted (in some way). This project aims to create a shared experience among all the children, and it was worked wonderfully. At the end of each month, the children often have a small fun themed celebration.

Music is an important part of our play. Aside from allow the children to play any instrument they can get their hands on. We also start our days with music in our circle time. We welcome our friends, and shake our tambourines, and beat our drums as we sing songs. 
We also have a monthly drumming session in which I allow the children to practice their listening skills in our Call and Response sessions. It gets very loud, and very interesting :-)

French/Language Learning
There is no doubt that learning a second language is a bonus. At Small Wonders, the children are introduced to French in a playful and fun way. We sing songs, read simple stories, and learn new words & phrases.

Circle Time
How do we start our mornings? With circle time of course! Circle time is super fun! We sing along to favorite children’s songs based on the rhythm of the seasons, and then we share a short story in English or French. Once a month we also gather for our Drum Circle.

 The kids learn to  play along with shakers or bells or tambourines. It gets "interesting" when we do activities such as “call and response”, which allows the kids to imitate the sound(s)/rhythms that they hear.

Yoga has become a part of our program and the children are loving it.

I believe in allowing children to be little world travelers. This means allowing them to learn without limits. We love to explore EVERYTHING & anything. We are always learning new things, and working on something. Please check our projects page to see what, why & how we are learning.
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Copyright & Disclosure

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