Bellwoods Playschool uses a child-centred, socially conscious pedagogy to engage young children in social and artistic thought and action. Using what the city has to offer, we empower our students with the knowledge to be socially and environmentally responsible citizens while they develop into explorers of their urban landscape.

A valuable aspect of the Bellwoods Playschool program is to empower children as navigators of their city. We journey on regular excursions, by foot and by public transportation, to art galleries, museums and cultural events, as well as markets, parks and city landmarks.


Our Playschool runs on a model that links a range of artists together to engage and inspire children. We like to bring in different perspectives and actively pursue a diverse teaching staff. As such, professional educators and artists trade chalkboards for personal anecdotes and textbooks for real life experiences. Together, they create an atmosphere that is at once intellectually stimulating and deeply personalized.

Our Community

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rain Rain Come Back When We're Sleeping

It was drizzling on and off while we were in the playground so we sang, "Rain, rain, go away, come back another day, come back when we are sleeping". We talked about how we don't want the rain to go away forever, since they help the plants and trees grow and give the animals something to drink. We just don't want it to come down while we are playing.

We chanted our little song while we made a pile of sticks to make the rain come back when we are sleeping. Then, we added more and more ingredients to our rain spell pile! Leaves, helicopter seeds, bark, pine needles and grass! We danced, skipped and sang around our pile. It seemed to work because the rain went away. After all that hard spell work, we enjoyed some ice cream - - - the nice ice cream man gave us a cone & a half for free so that we could each have one.

CBC Kids at Dundas Square w/ Jason Collett & The Great Lake Swimmers

Last week, we met up with our friends at Trinity Playschool (The Wandering Hamsters) - -  (by the way we have named ourselves The Twirly Birds) - - for some games, arts & crafts and live music at Dundas Square. 

 We got to see CBC Kids TV's Mama Yama - - - a YAM lady! Some of us are familiar with her from television and were thrilled to see her in real life. She was one of the highlights of the day, even for those who hadn't known about her before.

We also played "name that instrument" with members of Toronto's own Great Lake Swimmers before having the pleasure of watching them perform their string heavy music.

Great Lake Swimmers from Bellwoods Playschool on Vimeo.

We also enjoyed bobbing along to the rugged, gentlemanly tunes of Broken Social Scene's Jason Collett.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Moon Festival

Last week we celebrated the Moon Festival by taking a trip to Chinatown.

We waited for the Streetcar and talked about how we were headed to Chinatown to celebrate the Moon festival. It was extra exciting because 4/6 of us say they have never been there before. We learned that our stop was going to be Spadina

We got to Chinatown and checked out the elderly woman's cool Chinese vegetables.

We saw some very interesting fruits from Asia that we touched and smelled.

We headed down to the market to pay for some fruit we picked out and to find some moon cake.

But first! We explored the back of the store that had so many amazing sea creatures to admire.

We found a nice spot to eat our celebratory Pomelo (its round like the moon) and took turns peeling its thick, thick skin. We also listened to the story of the moon festival and a nice lady taught us how to say Happy Moon Festival in Manderin. We also tried some Dragon Fruit for the first time and loved it.

We ended our day by sharing some moon cake and chasing squirrels in the park.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

First 2 Weeks of Fun

Our first two weeks have been busy and fun! We have been getting to know each other and finding our groove. We have a new name for our clan, The Twirly Birds. Here are some highlights from our days so far:

We walked along Dundas and started learning a bit about Little Portugal. We tried to spot as many Portuguese Roosters as we could, danced in front of the soccer store that plays Portuguese music, got a soccer ball covered in Portuguese flags and learned how to say thank you, Obrigado. We practiced our obrigado's when we bought some honey at the store for our Rosh Hashana celebrations.

We celebrated the Jewish New Year by eating apples dipped in honey. We learned how to greet each other too! Shana Tova!

The hotel workers at the Royal York were unhappy with the way they were being treated. The bosses were not being nice! We observed the way the workers marched around so that the bosses would listen to them. We found a nice comfy couch to read Peter Rabbit on in the Royal York. One of the little guys thought that maybe we should find the bosses and talk to them about being nice to the workers. The day was also exciting because of the TTC turnstiles, hotel revolving doors and escalators we got to experience. We ended our day playing shark attack and human knot, and singing some songs at Union Station. 

We got to check out famous South African William Kentridge's Journey to The Moon at the TPW Gallery on Ossington. With this short black and white silent film, Kentridge pays homage to French director Georges Méliès' Voyage dans la Lune (1902). He combines live action and stop motion animation that the kids were mesmerized by. The other film screening, also part of this show, incorporated Kentridge's drawings in stop motion animation. I had to assure one of the little ones that none of us would be going to the moon that day so there was nothing to worry about.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

This Month's Focus

For the first month with our new group, we will focus on community + community building.

a) create a caring, supportive, inclusive culture
b) familiarity with + appreciation for our neighbourhood + Little Portugal

This week we will be setting out our group agreements. A collaborative brainstorm with ideas of how all the kids think we should treat other people will be able to be summed up to these agreements that we will go by during the year:

Universal Rights: Freedoms of expression (including the right to pass), safety & happiness, of every person, plant + animal.

Respect: Accepting everyone and everything's uniqueness and avoiding harm to them (people, plants, animals and things they all create).

Appreciation: Recognizing and acknowledging qualities and contributions to celebrate in everyone and everything around us.

Care: Putting care in everything we do (listening, speaking, playing, making, etc.) and when interacting with others.

We will also work on decorating our homebase, art journals and art boxes, as well as take neighbourhood walks to local galleries and explore Little Portugal.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Back to School !

We have a new group of Kindergartens and are super excited about this coming year. Our wonderful art teacher, Leah, has left us and now has her own group, Trinity Playschool. We will be sharing ideas, going on some field trips and playing sports in the park together. DOUBLE THE FUN!!

We welcome Lorna to our team, a lovely actress who will be doing drama, dance, movement and other fun activities with us. We just filled our new space with jars of beads, paints, brushes, crayons, pastels, string and other colourful and exciting things.

At the moment, Bellwoods Playschool is waiting to hear back from Artscape about having permanent space in the Artscape Shaw Street building. We applied for space a few months ago and will find out soon about whether we can have a home there or not. Let's keep our fingers crossed!