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As a parent in Toronto, I honestly find it a welcome development that the Ontario government is committing $200 million to create child-care spaces in its budget. Really refreshing. But it's hardly a solution to the child-care crisis that has given parents of young children additional sleepless nights.
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Given that inequalities emerge early in life - and seem to persist - it is imperative and urgent that Canada invest, develop and sustain a high-quality early child development framework.
Whether they're your kids or your grandkids, who can resist cuddling up with a great story and delicious snacks with your favourite little person? It's the perfect opportunity to step away from electronics and dig in to some old-fashioned story time and some homemade goodness.
Children need time to imagine, play, create, be curious, read, write and dream. Children need time to explore and discover. Children quite simply need time. And without that time, they will become anxious, agitated, fearful, worried, nervous, restless, apprehensive and uneasy. The state of their mental health becomes a huge concern merely based on the decrease of time they are allotted during the school day within which to function as typical four and five-year-olds do: with child-like, playful abandon.
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Here, in this unassuming spot, World Vision would use toys, drawings and games to brighten the lives of refugee children fleeing across Europe to find safety in new homelands. This was the first day of operations for a new child-friendly space in Adaševci.
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Canada's current patchwork of child care does not meet the needs of Canadian families. The new federal government has shown an understanding of the importance of improving our child care for the health and well-being of children and their parents.
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If children aren't well-prepared and confident for their first day at school, this may affect the entire year ahead and their grades may suffer. Aside from letting your child know you're always there to help and support them, I recommend the following at-home techniques to help set your son or daughter up for success this school year.
UNICEF recently released a report card ranking child well-being in the 29 richest countries on earth. Canada came 17th, placing us in the bottom half of the pack on factors such as child poverty, emotional well-being and life satisfaction. It's time to have a frank conversation about how our country approaches early childhood.
Something is amiss in Canada. A 2014 UNICEF report compared the health and development of children in Canada with 28 other wealthy nations. In spite of being a G8 country, Canada's children rank number 17th, a status that has not budged in the last 10 years. The question is, why are these problems still so widespread?
What would you think if your doctor handed you a prescription that recommended filing your tax returns or applying for food or income benefit programs instead of the usual medicines for high blood pressure or diabetes? You'd probably say the physician was nuts. Tax refunds? Food? What do they have to do with making you healthier?
My university Creative Writing teacher once said something that felt like it was directed at me. She said something along the lines of how the young kid in the classroom who is always staring off into space or out the window, lost in her/his thoughts, is not the bad student, he/she is simply the writer of the bunch. It helped me to move past years of self-doubt and anger. I wasn't stupid. I was a writer.
Having your child prepare a healthy meal for the family seems like an unattainable dream for most parents. However, if you instil the habit of cooking in your child at an early age, you are providing them with the skills they need to live a healthy life, and having fun while doing it.
A study published by Dobbs-Oates & Baroody concludes that preschool girls show more interest in literacy activities than do boys of the same age range.
So what? You might think - boys have other interests. Well, yes, but an interest in literacy means much more than just that.
An excited three-year-old grabs a bottle of milk from the table and joyfully shakes it until its contents spill all over the kitchen floor. The child's mother rushes towards the pool of white liquid spreading across the tiles, looks up at her child and grins.