Memories

During the half term we took a trip to the local Wildlife Conservation Park. I’ve written about our visits there before and I wasn’t going to write about it again until I read this post by Captured By Jade on Memories. It made me realise that this is exactly what I want my blog to be, a record of memories, something we can look back on and enjoy. So, even though I’ve written about the Wildlife Conservation Park before, this was a new memory to treasure and record. Also, just look at how my children have grown since our first logged visit back in 2014.

If you don’t have time to look, here’s a peak!

 

The Old and the New

I’ve been visiting the Wildlife Conservation Park for about 30 years now. I used to take my older children when they were youngsters. It was originally known as the Nature Centre, then the Nature Reserve and now the Wildlife Conservation Park. I’ve seen it grow and change with many different species of animals and growing gardens and wildlife areas. (I do wonder when they’ll upgrade the toilets though.)

This time we had some new animals to see including this creature which didn’t have an information plaque and we have no idea what it was. When it moved it kind of reminded me of a cross between a rabbit and a deer. I have asked Mr Google what he thinks and I believe it might be a Patagonian Mara.

patagonian mara, looks like a cross between a rabbit and a deer.

We saw a lot of the usual animals like the otters and monkeys, wallabies and flamingos. The kids went into the darker buildings to look at the snakes and the nocturnal animals. I preferred to wait outside soaking up some sunshine.

A lovely new addition was the wooden play park which the kids loved. They were able to run around and swing like the monkeys.

We had a wonderful day and now I’m wondering when my young ones will get too old for this place? I don’t think I need to worry about that, Daddy still loves it, even at his age 😉

 

 

Country Kids

Pastimes aren’t always something that we should place a value on. Not least some kind of inherent moral value as some things seemed to be in the past. However, when you have children, and you see them beginning to form their own views and personalities, it’s a complex conundrum. Children are so innocent and should be left to discover the world on their own. Yet we can’t help ourselves as parents to want to gift them something of our generation. Seeing little parts of your personality in them, makes you wonder could they possibly love what you did when you were growing up? Maybe you could give the gift of passing on pastimes to them and see if they resonate within them.

six children playing on the grass outside

Photo by Kyra Malicse

 

Sport and physical games

With the advent of modern technology, it seems as though children get more fun out of staying still than they do moving around. A shocking paradox as many parents will know, getting the kids to sit still while at the dentist was once a chore in itself. Now they have games on their smartphones, tablets which are all portable. However growing up in a simpler time might get you looks of sympathy from your kids until they try out the games you once played. Teach them how to play rounders, teach them the classic games of tag, and hide and seek. Get them to a park where they can run around and practice hopscotch, play with other children in a game of capture the flag, jump rope and double dutch. These games that once brought you so much joy playing with friends shouldn’t be lost to the ages.

a victorian dolls house

Image credit Vassil

Virtual to real

Indeed there are virtual game creators that you cannot deny are brilliant, no matter how distracted they make your child. The complex coding alone just for the backgrounds let alone the interactive nature should be respected. No wonder children get lost in video games because they afford them the ability to make something their own. That’s why dollhouses were much loved because they gave you the ability to make the home however you wanted. There were assortments of decor, lots of delicate pieces like lamps, paintings, mirrors, pictures and other finer details. Buying your son or daughter their own dollhouse which you can then both collect and build together will add a new layer to your bond. There are still companies that make dolls house furniture and make them in a more contemporary and traditional type of manner and style. All rooms are supplemented for, kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, even study offices.

Birthday games

It’s harsh to admit, but some kids just won’t want to play the droll old games mum and dad used to play. So you can sneak them in when it’s their birthday. Games like musical chairs, crack the whip, pass the parcel etc. are games that have a ‘last man standing’ trait. The person who can win these games is awarded a prize. It adds a competitive layer to it and thus creates an incentive for kids to drop their video games and get involved.

It truly is a gift of memory when you introduce children to your pastimes. The games create moments of pure joy that when they’re older, they will miss. Hopefully, when we’re gone, our children can pass on the games we taught them to their own children.

Are there any pastimes from your childhood that you have passed on to your children?

 

Disclosure: collaborative post

Bletchley park manor house

During half term we took a trip to Bletchley Park. It was a special treat for Graham on his birthday as he’s always wanted to visit.

We arrived on a wet and grey day, but we were lucky that it didn’t rain while we were  in-between buildings.

Bletchley Park is huge and as well as a mansion there is a visitor centre and several huts to visit. Our visit started as you may expect, with the visitor centre. We paid to get in and the prices are very reasonable. You don’t have to pay for children under 12 years and 12-17 yrs you pay £10.75. It’s £18.50 for an adult or you can pay £48.25 for a family ticket if your children are over 12. As I am in a wheelchair I have to pay but Graham doesn’t as he is classed as my carer.  After paying your ticket lets you go back and visit again as many times as you like for the next year!

Accessibility

As a wheelchair user I have to check whether a place is okay for me to visit and I’m happy to say that Bletchley Park is very accessible. Every building has a ramp and there are no stairs to contend with. There is an upstairs at the mansion but it was closed on the day we visited anyway. I felt truly comfortable during my visit. The only place I was separated from my family was when they decided to go around the lake. I could have got around there but it was a shingle path and I use an electric wheelchair. I like to avoid places that may cause damage to my motor and as my wheelchair is mainly for indoor use I have to be careful outside.  I also avoid muddy or sandy areas but I didn’t have a problem with these at Bletchley Park. There are also four accessible toilets on site.

The Visitor Centre

Boo learning morse code

Boo learning morse code

The visitor centre is also a museum. It starts with a movie which tells you the story of the codebreakers and how they helped to win the Second World War. The movie is short enough, and interesting enough to keep children watching, but you don’t have to watch, and the children can run around while it’s on.

After the movie you move around into an interactive centre where the children can have a go at cracking codes and learning how coding works and what machines they used. It’s very entertaining and when we went the kids didn’t have to wait long to take a turn.

Also in the Visitor Centre was a restaurant and a shop. We saved visiting the shop until we were leaving.

 

The Huts

Each of the huts has a story to tell and this is usually done with photographs, information points and sometimes movies. You can get a tour guide video and audio gadget from the visitor centre to use on your visit. These are free to borrow and can be set up for children or adults. You wear them around your neck on a lanyard and listen through headphones. The kids loved them, but I need to concentrate more on my wheelchair navigation so I found mine a little cumbersome. Maybe it was just me. While waiting for lunch I did watch some movie clips and listen to the narration.

Not all of the huts are open to visitors yet, and some of them no longer exist. Hut 4 is now a restaurant and this is where we decided to stop for lunch. The food was nice but there was not a lot of choice for children. I think the restaurant in the visitor centre probably has more choice. Graham had a nice stew and Star had a baked potato, the rest of us had sandwiches.

The Mansion

The mansion was grand although it wasn’t quite like the houses we’ve visited on National Trust properties. This mansion had purpose, it was a place of work for the codebreakers during the war. They were gradually moved out into huts. The library is set up exactly how it was back then and so is the office. There is a large room where you can learn about the people who worked there. There are many recordings of interviews with them made after the war. It seems that a lot of them never really knew what their work was about as everything had to be secret. The hours were long and the work monotonous. But I still felt a thrill at how exciting it must have been to play such an important part of the war.

At the front of the mansion is a big lake with it’s regal swan residents.

We also got the chance to try on some war time head wear.

 

The Garage

Behind the mansion was garage that is home to a 40s ambulance and a couple of old cars. One of the cars was used in the film Enigma and belonged to Mick Jagger. He donated the car, a Talbot Sunbeam, to Bletchley Park.

Next to the garage is the courtyard and cottages. The cottages are not open to visitors. There is also a Polish Memorial.

The National Museum of Computing.

We also wanted to visit the National Museum of computing, although this is on the same site as Bletchley Park, it’s not actually part of it and there is a separate entrance fee. There is an optional tour of the museum which we decided to take.  When we visited, only the Colossus Gallery was open. The Colossus was the world’s first electronic computer and it’s purpose was to de-cypher codes from the Lorenz, which sent messages between Hitler and his generals during WWII.

The tour and chance to see Colossus was really interesting. I’m so glad that computers these days are a little bit smaller though 🙂

Would We Go Again?

We will definitely be making use of our free return visits. There is a lot to see and it’s a lot to get around on one visit alone. We will go back in the summer and visit places we’ve yet to see. I’m also really excited at the thought of taking the kids to see Father Christmas there. I love looking for new ways of making Christmas special and a 40’s Christmas sounds intriguing.

Country Kids

The Little Man loves structured activities and he loves receiving a Weekend Box in the post. This Weekend Box was dinosaur themed and he really couldn’t wait to get started on it.

If you are unfamiliar with The Weekend Box it is a subscription service where you can receive a box addressed to your child every other weekend, or once a month if you wish. In each box you can choose to have either two or four activities and each one comes with everything you need. (You may need  scissors though.) Having the things supplied means no rummaging around to find stuff.

I do have a huge box of craft bits and pieces at home but nothing excites The Little Man more than a box in the post and he’s much keener to get on with it.

Dinosaurs

The box we reviewed had four activities and was dinosaur themed. The activities come in coloured wallets, generally blue, green, red and yellow.  Also provided is a booklet with all the instructions, a sheet of stickers to put in the booklet when each activity is finished, a certificate for your child when the activities are completed, a little cartoon to finish and a colouring page.

Let’s start with a joke;

Q. What do you call a sleeping dinosaur

A. A dino-snore!

The Blue Bag

The blue bag contained everything you needed to make a dinosaur claw. This involved cutting out a template, drawing around the template and cutting that out. Adding little finger nails which were provided as stickers then threading a ribbon through it so you can tie it onto your own hand to look like a dinosaur claw.

a little boy with a green dinosaur claw made of card tied to cover his hand.

The Little Man with his dinosaur claw

The Little Man really enjoyed this activity and loved his claw.

The Green Bag

This activity was making an egg hatching to reveal a baby dinosaur. Boo was keen to have a go at this and set about drawing an egg and adding a baby dinosaur.

First the cracked egg was drawn on white card and then she cut it out. I pushed the paper fastener through the card so that the two halve of the egg would open and close. Then Boo drew a dinosaur head onto a piece of green paper. The egg and dinosaur were decorated and Boo was really pleased with her work which, apart from the paper fastener,  she had done all by herself.

a decorated egg with a little baby dinosaur inside

Baby Dinosaur hatching from it’s egg.

Yellow Bag

In the yellow bag was a Clothes Peg Dinosaur and this was rated as the most difficult activity. First The Little Man coloured in the clothes peg with the black felt tip provided. While he was busy doing this I cut out two rows of dinosaur teeth on the white sticker paper provided. Then we used the template to cut out a dinosaur head on red paper. I stuck the teeth onto the peg and The Little Man stuck the head pieces on. The end result was a cool looking dinosaur which actually roars.

The Little Man holding his dinosaur peg head

A Dinosaur that roars!

The Red Bag

This bag contained everything you needed to make Dino Egg Nests. We were provided with a little amount of chocolate, a small bag of Rice Crispies, four mini eggs, a sachet of honey and two cupcake cases.

The instructions said to melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water, but we put ours in the microwave for speed and ease. Then we stirred the Rice Crispies into the chocolate and when they were all coated we added the honey.

They were then put in the fridge until set.

 

The Little Man and Boo couldn’t wait to tuck in!

We had great fun with our weekend box and now you can try a mini box ( 2 activities) for free or a bumper box (4 activities) for just £1. Just follow this link where the discount will be already applied https://www.weekendboxclub.com/af/deliver

Here is a little video we made;

We have been fans of the Weekend Box for four years now, you can see our first review themed St Patrick’s Day here, our Chinese New Year box review here,

Our Mini Weekend Box review here,

And a special Face Paint Box review here.

 

 

Studying hard certainly prepares you to be a good preschool educator, but there are a number of inherent characteristics that will ensure you are a sensational teacher. For instance, you can certainly learn how to create a warm classroom or teach the preschool program, but exuding enthusiasm for the education of your students is something that can only come from the heart.
With that in mind, here are more important qualities that make a great educator for pre-schoolers.

1. Passion

Do you have an intense desire to really make a different in young children’s lives? Passion is arguably one of the most important qualities for any teacher. There will be those days when teaching preschool will be difficult, whether it’s because your salary isn’t what you thought it would be, the parents seem ungrateful, or the kids are acting up, getting through those low points can be overwhelming. But, when you have a burning passion for education, it is your drive and determination that will get you through.

2. Patience

Besides your passion for education, you need lots of patience. Each class, such as those in Guardian child care centres in Sydney, has children with a variety of developmental skills. When it comes to pre-schoolers, constant reminders about protocol, manners, and hygiene are all part of a normal school day. From behaviour difficulties to learning difficulties, it takes a great deal of patience to keep your classroom in order. What’s more, working with difficult parents, teachers, and administrators means you need to be patient outside the classroom, too. A great teacher knows how to keep his or her cool under varying degrees of pressure.

3. Creativity

Being creative in the classroom involves more than making projects. You may have to work in a restricted environment with limited resources, and your classroom may be a melee of children from different backgrounds and cultures. So, you need to be able to draw from your creativity to make decisions in the best interest of your class.

4. Flexibility

Even when you have every detail of each lesson planned, unexpected turns can arise. A great educator is one that is flexible in dealing with change. Whether it’s as straight forward as having a back up plan for rainy days or amending the entire plan to accommodate for budget cuts, your fine-tuning skills and flexibility will help you tackle challenges with grace.

5. Dedication

Finally, excellent preschool teachers are those who are dedicated to their career and their learners. They stand up for their beliefs and educational values, and for their student’s needs. What’s more, these educators are dedicated to education and continue to inspire students to continue learning. At preschool level, creating a fun learning environment can resonate with children for the rest of their life.
Along with these 5 important qualities, a great educator will also form part of a supportive teaching community. Many teachers find even more inspiration by aligning themselves with professional associations.
Above all, exceptional preschool educators are those teachers that continue to work on their craft and personal development to continue growing.



Disclosure: Collaborative Post