10 Reasons to Choose Quality Early Learning and Child Care

Expert knowledge Early childhood educators are experts in child development and are trained to create inspiring learning environments!
Intentionality Early childhood educators provide your child the gift of time and attention. They will stop and explore the new flowers or jump in the mud puddles with your child.
Young at heart Early childhood educators know how to have fun! They’re not afraid to be silly and laugh with your child; all while nurturing your child’s creativity and helping to build their self-confidence.
Setting limits Every child needs reasonable boundaries, such as no playing ball inside. Early childhood educators set limits and support families in doing the same.
Love of literacy Early childhood educators read and tell stories, sing songs, and do puppet shows to inspire a love of language and to build early literacy skills.
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Confidence boost Early childhood educators provide safe opportunities for your child to be independent and to become confident in their personality and decision making skills.
Inspired learning Early childhood educators ask open-ended questions to inspire creative thought and curiosity, to encourage children to explore, and to make learning fun.
Life skills Early childhood educators use their expertise to develop programs that use play as a tool for teaching math, literacy, science and essential life skills that last for life!
Making friends Early childhood educators are educated to appropriately support children to gain social skills, which are so important in making friends and developing positive relationships!
Helping hand Everyone gets stumped by parenting from time to time - juggling schedules, demands, and behaviours. When it gets tough and you need someone to talk to, reach out to your child’s early childhood educator!
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Science, Art, Movement: The Benefits of Mud Play

June 29th, 2019

Lexi enjoys mud play at Little Blessings Childcare Centre in Stratford. (Jayne Crane)

Researchers, educators, and caregivers agree: high quality, unstructured outdoor play, with exposure to fresh air and increased physical activity, has positive lasting impacts on children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. 

When you add mud to the mix? It’s a recipe for even more learning!

Not only does mud play promote science, art, and movement, researchers have found that exposure to healthy bacteria in mud and dirt boosts the immune system and mental health.

Children at Little Blessings Childcare Centre in Stratford have embraced the learning. Educator Jayne Crane noticed one child’s interest in mud and encouraged their self-initiated play. Other children quickly joined in!

“Mud play is creative and multi-sensory,” says Crane. “It’s fabulous to see the children fully embrace the play and have fun – rather than running off to clean up."

The children explored the texture of mud, investigated as it dried in the sun, made mud art on the play equipment, and painted mud whiskers on each other for dramatic play. 

Leah and Leanne explore, investigate, and make art with mud. (Jayne Crane)

Scientific thinking 

Mud play encourages children to observe, make predictions, and test ideas. Promote children’s scientific thinking by sharing in their wonder, asking open-ended questions, documenting discoveries, and providing materials that provoke new ideas and experimentation.

Process-focused art

With materials that inspire child-initiated play, children can sculpt, draw, and paint with mud. Process-focused art is centred on the experience and impacts all aspects of child development – physical, emotional, social, language, and cognitive. There is no right or wrong way to explore and create. 

Movement and physical literacy

Mud adds a fun challenge to play! Children can splash, slide, roll, stir, squish, pat, pour, and dig. These movements develop gross and fine motor skills and lay the foundation for healthy physical literacy – the motivation, confidence, competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and engage in physical activities for life.

Held every year on June 29, International Mud Day is a global celebration of mud play. Mud play requires little to no equipment, is inclusive to all abilities, and encourages children to connect with each other and the environment.

As Crane points out, while International Mud Day is only one day of the year, children can experience the benefits of mud play all summer long. With mud-approved clothing and open-ended materials such as spoons, shovels, and old pots, there are endless opportunities for learning. 

For the best Mud Day celebration, ask your Early Childhood Educator for advice, keep an open mind, and have fun!