School for Babies

I like it when 3-BLOGThe fall season signals back to school for children and adults of all ages and in all sorts of schools. And while it’s probably true that someone somewhere is making lots of money running a school for babies, I am not that guy.

I don’t want to intimidate you with frightening statistics and insist that you need my help. I’m also not about to tell you an elaborate story about how I’ve divined the secret to making your baby a genius. Those would be lies, and I want to encourage you to think very carefully if you meet anyone who tries to sell you a story like that.

The things that we discuss in Books for Babies are pretty tame by comparison, but no less amazing if you think about what babies learn and how much there is to learn about babies. Babies are born into a life they know nothing about, and you are almost perfect strangers to one another. It’s pretty incredible if you think about how well you know them, and how much they understand about their world, by the time they are only a year old.

The trick, if you want to call it that, is that almost everything babies learn, they learn through relationships with the people they care about and who care about them. This is why we can say that parents (and other family members) are children’s first and best teachers. Babies are born wanting to understand the things around them, and they learn by watching and interacting with the important people who share their life.

Everything you do with or near your baby helps them learn about the things that are most relevant to them. If books are a part of your life, babies will want to understand them and want to be part of that experience. It’s the same reason you often see babies reaching for their parents cell phones, and why so many parents have that fond memory of the brief period when their toddler loved nothing more than to vacuum the carpet.

If you’d like to chat about how book sharing can benefit you and your baby, sing rhymes, get free books, and meet other parents, then I welcome you and your baby to join us at Books for Babies, or leave a comment below.

There is more information about the program and a full schedule of upcoming groups on our website: famlit.ca

 

hashtag: #books_for_babies

The Edmonton Literacy C.O.W. (Classroom on Wheels) Bus is coming!

Edm_Bus100_1195crop

Tuesday, September 16th, was the kickoff for our fall program on the Edmonton Literacy C.O.W Bus. Back again for the 2014-2015 season, the C.O.W bus staff – Eileen, Joanne, and Maureen – are excited and ready to sing, read, and sign out books with all of the families who come for a visit when the bus stops by their neighbourhood!

For us, coming back to the Edmonton Literacy C.O.W bus ignites many cheerful feelings, like the happy feeling of back to school we once had as children. We look forward to  seeing old friends and families on the bus and welcoming new ones as well. Moms will once again hear the routine question from their little ones, “is it C.O.W bus day?”

We have kept our old traditions of giving a stamp to the children as they leave the bus and giving out prizes to families each week, at each site, for returning their borrowed books. We have some new things on the bus as well. You will find several new books such as Teach Your Buffalo to Play the Drums by Audrey Vernick, and new robot puzzles that challenge balance, gravity and your imagination!

Teach your Buffalo

Every month, whether you have been coming to the bus for years or will be coming by for the first time, there is a variety of changing things that will challenge and engage your children, at any age or stage. We hope to see you soon on the Edmonton Literacy C.O.W Bus!

Check our website for the bus schedule and more information: http://www.famlit.ca/programs_and_projects/programs/cow.shtml

Watch a video of a program on the bus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Wmo628paVg

hashtag: #edm_cow

Alberta Prairie C.O.W. (Classroom on Wheels) Bus

As summer winds down, the Alberta Prairie C.O.W. (Classroom on Wheels) Bus shifts into high gear! Many preparations have been made for our fall visits – everything from purchasing new bus tires to putting together a wall of Legacy Library boxes.

The bus begins the month with a trip to Cypress County where it will stop at Taber, Irvine, Ralston, Seven Persons, Schuler, Acadia Valley, and Oyen. Bentley and four communities in Flagstaff County are also on our schedule for September.

We are really looking forward to meeting with families across the province and sharing family literacy activities and ideas with them. One example is a matching game booklet, made from an old calendar!

COW craft

A Legacy Library, a collection of 50 books for children ages 0 to 6, is left behind in each community we visit and includes a number of new books. Some of our new titles include: My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall, Baby Touch and Feel Park by DK Publishing, Little Noisy Trucks by Barrons Publishing, Cranes by Aaron Frisch, and ish by Peter H. Reynolds.

Please check out our AB C.O.W. Bus website for the remainder of the 2014 schedule. We look forward to visiting with you soon!

http://www.famlit.ca/programs_and_projects/programs/acow.shtml

hashtag: #ab_cow

National Grandparent’s Day

grandfather and babyThis year, National Grandparents’ Day is on Sunday, September 7. The special day began in Canada in 1995 when Liberal MP Mr. Sarkis Assadourin presented motion number 273 in the House of Commons.

The motion read, “That, in the opinion of this House, the government should consider designating the second Sunday in September of each year as Grandparents’ Day in order to acknowledge their importance to the structure of the family in the nurturing, upbringing and education of children.”

Some of us are cynical and think that Grandparents’ Day was created to support florists and greeting card companies. But when we think about the important role that grandparents play in connecting generations, it is apparent that the stronger the relationship between grandparents, parents, and grandchildren, the stronger the family.

Besides cards and flowers, here are a few ideas that your family might do together this year:

  • Create a family tree using photos so that everyone can put a name to a face. This is also a great way for grandparents to share those family stories.
  • Ask grandparents to share their favourite recipes and compile them into a cookbook so everyone has a copy.
  • Play a favourite board or card game from your grandparents’ youth.
  • Visit the neighbourhood where your grandparents grew up, and talk about how things have changed.

What traditions have your family developed to make this day special?

What do you do if the grandparents live in another place? Maybe there is an elderly couple or person who plays the role of grandparent for your children – include them in your celebrations.