Monday, November 28, 2011

Nature art, and a Favourite Song

Yesterday, I went into work on my room, at the daycare center where I work. It was a beautiful day, with the temperature at about plus 4, so I walked from my home to the daycare, about a 50 minute walk.

I noticed some interesting pieces of nature art, on the university campus, where the daycare is situated,  and took these photos.

I think these may have been created by fine art students, or education students. I think art made from natural materials and displayed on trees, outdoors, helps it's viewers to take another look at what is around us. It certainly caught my eye .I would like to do some art like this with my children.

Last Monday, I posted a song by Kenny Loggins,  from his cd Return to Pooh Corners, and this week I'd like to share another one of the songs from this collection that I enjoy with my children. The song, The Rainbow Connection, was written by Paul Williams, and Kenneth Ascher, in 1979, for the whimsical little frog, Kermit, in The Muppet Movie. It was nominated for Best song, at the Oscars, and The Golden Globe, and was named the 74th Best Song of all time, by the American Film Industry.

Although I love Loggins' version of this song, I thought it would be interesting to share this video of Willie Nelson. I haven't been very familiar with his music, but after listening to him here, I found that he is a performer I'd enjoy to listen to in the future.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Song of Thanks

I want to wish my American friends a very Happy Thanksgiving this week. I am very thankful to have met you.
This is childrens' songwriter, and performer Raffi,and his song Thanks Alot.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Music Monday

I enjoy music with my small group of children.We listen to an eclectic mix of music.

We listen to several good children's singers such as Raffi, Fred Penner, and Hap Palmer.

As well, we listen to The Beatles; Feist; Yo Yo Ma; Anne Murray; Celine Dion and a cd my cousin made for me of old songs from the 1960's. This selection has songs such as "My Boyfriend's Back"; "It's My Party"; "Stand by Me"; "A Ticket to Ride", and my children absolutely love dancing to the simple beat of these songs, almost as much as me.

Each year I find that the children in my group define themselves as a unique group with a definite personality with interests, and tastes in books, art, and music that is different from the group from the year before.

Last year I had a group of children with a strong interest in a Baby Einstein cd of classical music which I'd purchased. We would get on the dresses from the dress up corner, (everyone even the boys), get the bells and shakers and dance rather delicately to this cd. Just this past week I had the pleasure to have most of this group of children visiting me temporarily while their teacher was away, and they immediately had me put on the Baby Einstein cd, and enjoyed some great dance time. I love seeing my "old" children return and really enjoy their time doing the "old" things.

Several years ago one of my children brought a Feist cd from home, and that became the favourite music for much of the year. We would dance to "1234", and for some reason what seemed to go with this was scarves, and throwing the scarves in the air .The children liked most of the songs on this cd, and even though some of the lyrics may have been adult; I felt that with their age, what they wanted was the rhythm, and sound of Feist's voice, and that the words might go over their heads. So we danced with abandon and joy almost every day to "Sea Lion Woman".

This month we have started listening to some seasonal cd's (a little earlier than usual), and Raffi's "Jingle Bells" is very popular. My favourite seasonal cd for sometime now is by Kenny Loggins. It just touches my soul somehow, and I like to play it at certain quieter times of day. It is not a children's cd but I like my children to enjoy some relaxing music now and then as they might if at home.

Another Kenny Loggins cd which I love and have used off and on for years at nap time, is Return to Pooh Corners.I have found that my children enjoy the soothing music and as well the lyrics, while slowly being lulled to sleep.

I thought I would like to share some of the music on this cd here,.One of the songs I like is "The  Horses". 
This cd was I believe made for Loggins' young son in 1994, and won a Grammy Award. There is a very nice selection of songs on this cd such as "BlackBird"; "All the Pretty Horses"; and "The Rainbow Connection".

I love music of all kinds, and so have decided to make Mondays here on this early childhood blog, "Music Monday", just so that I can write about the songs I love, and as well share some of them. I plan to share more songs from this cd, as well as, others; and to try to learn about the origins of some famous children's songs.

I hope you might enjoy, and come Mondays to read along, and share with me some of your favourite songs.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Shivering and Bone Tired

Shivering and Bone Tired:

This evening, after work, I had one small errand to do on my way home; well, really it was an important one - picking up food for my felines. I needed to - I would have heard no end of complaint if I'd not brought home the kibble.

In my city, the buses tend to follow quite circuitous routes, and getting to a destination often involves backtracking, and transferring a few times. I was tired, so I phoned my son, to see if he was just possibly in the area, and would be interested in picking his Mom up. I tend to sound casual when calling "just to see", because I both value my own independence, and by the same token don't want to take him for granted.

Paul, was already home, so I said, no worries, I'd see him later, probably Saturday, as he works late Fridays.

The ride to the local pet store, was short and not eventful . And darn, I still can't find "Taste of the Wild" cat food! This is the second store I've looked at! Oh, well the cat's like their "Go" food, which is grain free and healthy for them. So, I purchased kibble, and a few cans of their favourite flavours by "Go", and walked a short distance to the grocery store.

Made a couple of purchases at the grocery store, and walked through the indoor mall to the outdoor bus stop. By this time, the sun had set and the temperature had dropped noticeably, and there was a wind. Our buses are quite infrequent, as well as circuitous, and traffic often crawls once the roads are icy, so waiting for a bus is often an uncertain activity. My spirits were starting to drop abit, when I noticed a woman around my age, walking along at a chipper rate, using a cane as a walking aid. And what a lovely cane, it was decorated prettily with flowers, in tones of blue. I mentioned to her, what a nice cane, and she said, "Yes, I wanted to be sure always to see it, and not forget it." We shared a few more, words, and when she saw my bus, she pointed it out to me and hurried me along. This is common practice, in cold winter Saskatchewan, other's are usually happy for you when your bus arrives, even if their's is not here. They smile, and wave, and they stand and wait. They never begrudge another's good fortune.

So, I stayed on this bus for some time, heading "downtown", to wait at the next transfer point

Darn, I missed my connecting bus by just a second or so!

At this point as I noticed others get on several buses which pulled in, and out of the spot, I found myself feeling noticeably cold, and tired - bone tired. I found myself beginning to entertain negative why didn't Paul, my son, "offer" to pick me up, he should have known I'd be tired. And what about these bus drivers, my bus was probably early...the buses are never on schedule...and here I am stuck on this cold "godawful" night...well this weekend is sure getting off to a perfect start...

Hmmm...time to slow down, another, wiser voice said...Remember you are wearing warm clothing, boots, and mitts; you have a well paying job, that allows you to buy food for yourself and the two cats; you have a warm, enjoyable home to go to, and books to read; you have a son who likes you...Take some deep breaths. All is well, you are more fortunate than you know.

And so I chose to stop the negative rant for abit, and notice my surroundings; really quite beautiful in a cold, austere way. The stop is right at the side of an old Anglican Cathedral, and a columbarium - a place where the cremated remains of the dead are kept. A few times this year it has reminded me that there will be a time for all of us with no troubles, but really for now life is preferrable.

The old brick chuch has some very ornate stained glass windows, that are quite interesting to look at.

And I noticed one tree, with seeds still attached to it's branches - possibly an ash tree. And the seeds seemed to really be shivering, which was also interesting. I've seen leaves, and seeds shake, and tremble in wind, but these seemed to be shivering with the cold and wind combined. And the wood was extremely interesting with some knots, and twists...and before I knew it I was imagining how someone who knows how to write poetry could make a lovely poem just from the wood on the tree.

At this point I thought that blogging has really changed the way I think, because I'm here in the godawful cold, waiting for a bus, that I don't know when it will ever get here - and I'm noticing how pretty and intricate the wood in this barren tree is.

So, I cheered up immensely, and went to talk to a young man, who seemed to be shut off in his own world with his I-pod, to just ask him what bus he was waiting for.And he politely smiled, removed his earphone, and told me, and asked me mine. And when I went to look at the schedule just to move around and stay warm; he came and pointed out to me when mine would arrive. So I waited a while longer and several people arrived, buses came and left. And just as I noticed mine had pulled up, I happened to glance over to the young man, with I-pod, and he was smiling at me, and waving, and pointing to indicate to me, "You're bus"!!

And at this point I felt that I will make it through this winter, with the help and goodwill of other cold and bone tired people just like me. Hopefully I will extend some goodwill as well!
And the weekend looks to be turning out just fine!

Friday, November 11, 2011

We've Had our first Snow!

Last weekend we had our first snow, and it was several centimeters - a good one. It seems that the first snow never fails to excite both the children and adults at our center. We are blessed with lots of good windows, and the snow outside seems to change the light inside, making things brighter. For several days this week many of us have been playing Christmas music in our rooms - and me and my children found ourselves spontaneously singing "Jingle Bells".

My children love dancing with our small selection of musical instruments, and like attaching these bells to their wrists or ankles. The CD in this picture has a wonderful selection of Christmas tunes by Raffi.There are some quiet tunes such as "Snow is Falling on Douglas Mountain", which is lovely - and lots of old favourite winter tunes such as "Frosty the Snowman", and of course "Jingle Bells".

The second youngest child in my group, a toddler aged boy, decided the bells could be hung up here. :)

I enjoy these three CD's as well, during the holiday season. The Sharon, Lois, and Bram selection has some lively, happy, dancing tunes, as well as several songs for the Hanukkah season. My children tend to really like The Dreidel Song. I have a nice collection of childrens' picture books for Hanukkah, and one with the Dreidal Song which came with a small dreidal.

The music on the CD's by YoYoMa, and Kenny Loggins are very good for quieter times such as early morning, and sitting down to eat.

My personal favourite song is the first one on the Kenny Loggins', with a haunting, calming tune "We're walking on the Wind". I also have enjoyed Loggins'  CD, "Return to Pooh Corners", for use in my room, at any time of the day.

I will probably put the festive music away for a few more weeks, so that they don't become tiring toward the end of the holiday season, but it was fun to play them for a few days.

We unfortunately didn't get outside the first day of our snow, as some of my children didn't have their all their winter clothes at daycare, so we made handprint snowflakes.

We continued our interest in reading about ladybugs.      

This is a small counting or sorting work job, and I wasn't sure where the felt black spots for the ladybugs had disappeared. Later in the week, I found them in the sand table. With this age of children I find that things will go missing - put into a basket, or purse, or glued to paper, and I am learning to be fine with this. I can always make more black spots. In a preschool with older children this might be a concern, but I feel that I want my children to manipulate items in their own way. This is where they spend almost 10 hours a day, and I like that they create something from the material I provide to make it their own.

We made this small collage of ladybugs under the leaves last week. As well we did some painting with a ladybug stamp, and of course then found we needed to use our hands, and there were personal requests for other colours - such as this nice bright yellow!

 Next week, we'll be sure and get outside every day. We found our collection of "daycare" snow pants, mitts, and there will be no stopping us! 

We are expecting warmer temperatures next week, so there is a possibility the snow will disappear. There are those among the adults who won't complain, if the snow holds off for a few more weeks, and we have some more lovely warm fall weather.