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HiMama Childcare and Preschool Blog

HiMama Childcare and Preschool Blog


May 29, 2017 | By Carmen Choi

HiMama Celebrates 100 Million Moments

HiMama has surpassed the milestone of 100 million moments documented and shared through their app. “Moments” are records of activities shared by early childhood educators with parents through the HiMama app in written, photo or video format that are intended to keep families informed on the health, well-being and development of their children in their youngest, most formative years. Read more >>

May 22, 2017 | By Katelyn Vickers

Why Preschool Small Group Activities are Important

Incorporating small group activities into your daily schedule is essential for teaching cooperation and teamwork skills to preschoolers. By creating multiple learning stations in your classroom, you will help to facilitate preschool small group activities. These activity centers are designed to suit groups of up to five or six children, featuring materials that they can play with and explore together. Read more >>

May 18, 2017 | By Carmen Choi

Private Advantage Childcare Software Alternative

Private Advantage acquired by Procare Software and no longer offering products Read more >>

May 16, 2017 | By Steven Bonnay, RECE

Early Childhood Education: Then and Now

Early childhood education goes as far back as the 1500s. In this article, we explore the origin of early childhood education and the many influences that make the field what it is today. Once we've gotten a grasp of the history of ECE, we will look at the different curricula available to parents today and assess the differences in approaches when applied to programming. Read more >>

May 8, 2017 | By Kali Kan

Choosing Appropriate Toys for your Preschool Classroom

Wondering how you can make the right decision when it comes to toys? In this article, we’ll look at how to select preschool classroom toys that are age appropriate, safe and geared towards helping toddlers' development. Read more >>

May 1, 2017 | By Steven Bonnay, RECE

Who's Who in Supporting Early Childhood Educators

Early childhood education is a field with many moving parts that come together to support the needs of children and their families. There are many multidisciplinary professionals involved in supporting the core staff that work with children daily and they all contribute to quality programming.  This article unpacks the roles of these professionals and their relationship to educators and the families that they serve. Read more >>

April 25, 2017 | By Katelyn Vickers

5 Toddler Transition Tips

Transition times can be some of the most difficult periods of time throughout the day for preschool teachers to manage. Seamlessly moving a classroom of energetic toddlers from one activity to the next can seem almost impossible, especially when you’re transitioning from activities to nap time, or from a loud and boisterous task to a quieter one Read more >>

April 17, 2017 | By Kali Kan

Teaching Diversity to Preschoolers Without the "Tourist Approach"

Because of the varied nature of the family and living situations of children today, it’s important to focus on teaching diversity to preschoolers in a way that helps them understand and respect the different situations of their peers. Read more >>

April 11, 2017 | By Steven Bonnay, RECE

Building Resiliency in Early Childhood

This is our fourth feature article from one of our ECE team members, Steven Bonnay. This week’s blog focuses on building resilience in children that attend early childhood centres, focusing on different strategies that can be employed to promote resilience in young children and future considerations for assessment and individual programming to support the individual’s development of resiliency. Read more >>

April 3, 2017 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Preschool Classroom Management for New Teachers

As a new teacher, keeping a classroom full of excited preschoolers running smoothly can be an incredibly challenging task. In addition to delivering your curriculum, following your daily activity schedule and enforcing rules, you have to keep your eye on several children at once! Read more >>

March 27, 2017 | By Steven Bonnay, RECE

The Power of Mindfulness in the Classroom

This is our third feature article from one of our ECE team members, Steven Bonnay. Steven completed his ECE diploma and postgrad certificate in autism and behaviour studies at Seneca College. He worked both at the Seneca Lab School and as a part-time field placement professor before joining our team. In the article, he discusses the benefits of mindfulness in the classroom. Read more >>

March 23, 2017 | By Carmen Choi

Hands-On Preschool Number Activities

Preschool number activities can go beyond the traditional worksheets and flashcards we are familiar with. They can be hands-on, engaging and fun to help children better understand counting and basic number concepts to build the foundation for their future success with math. Read more >>

March 20, 2017 | By Savannah Copland

7 Transportation Activities For Preschoolers

Transportation and things that move are a highly interesting topic for toddlers. Fascinated by how things go and get us from place to place, children enjoy discovering more about cars, trains, planes, boats, trucks and other ways to get around through exciting transportation activities for preschoolers. Read more >>

March 14, 2017 | By Steven Bonnay, RECE

Is Your Risky Play Risky Enough?

This is our second feature article from one of our ECE team members, Steven Bonnay. Steven completed his ECE diploma and postgrad certificate in autism and behaviour studies at Seneca College. He worked both at the Seneca Lab School and as a part-time field placement professor before joining our team. Today he is discussing the benefits and applications of risky play inside and outside of the classroom. Read more >>

March 6, 2017 | By Katelyn Vickers

Designing a Child Care Schedule for Infants

Creating the ideal child care schedule for infants can be a challenge when you have multiple children with different needs, wants and levels of development all under the 18 months of age! Balancing learning time with playtime, or mealtime with naptime and of course, diaper changing time, can make it hard to really pin down a set schedule for your preschool. Read more >>

February 27, 2017 | By Steven Bonnay

Managing Challenging Behavior in Young Children Using Positive Behavior Support

Challenging behavior in young children can be very demanding to manage as an Early Childhood Educator. One of our own ECE's, Steven Bonnay, dives into the use of Positive Behavior Support in helping children through some of the most common challenging behaviors. Read more >>

February 21, 2017 | By Savannah Copland

Parent Involvement Activities For Preschool

Most parents do want to be engaged in their preschooler’s learning and development, however they aren’t sure how to get involved. Early childhood educators can undertake a number of measures to increase parent participation! Read more >>

February 17, 2017 | By Carmen Choi

Edusight will close doors on June 30, 2017

Edusight is a Toronto-based gradebook and learning portfolio that allows teachers to document and understand their students’ learning. Earlier this month, Edusight announced on their website that they will be shutting down. Read more >>

February 13, 2017 | By Katelyn Vickers

How to Create a Child Care Center Business Plan

The prospect of starting your own child care business is very exciting, but in order to properly execute on your dream, you’re going to need to put together a child care center business plan. Read on to learn more about how to make sure you are ready for business! Read more >>

February 8, 2017 | By Savannah Copland

Surprising Facts About Early Childhood Education Salaries

Most parents would consider early childhood educators to play an important role in the development of their children before they reach school age. Yet, many would be surprised to learn that early childhood education salaries do not match up to the level importance we place on this profession. Read more >>

February 7, 2017 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

10 Tips for Planning a Healthy Child Care Center Menu

Nutrient-rich meals and snacks are a key part of optimal growth and development in young children. Little ones require the energy provided by healthy food choices to prepare them for the day’s learning opportunities. Read more >>

January 30, 2017 | By Carmen Choi

HiMama and The Early Childhood Leadership Conference (February 12 - 16th)

The HiMama team is very excited to be featured in this online conference focused on leadership in early childhood education. Experience a fantastic professional development experience by from home through the Early Childhood Leadership conference this February absolutely free! Read more >>

January 30, 2017 | By Katelyn Vickers

Easy Preschool Crafts With Paper Plates

We understand that educators are strapped when it comes to time and the resources available to them. When coming up with new and easy preschool crafts, they must be simple to teach, align with lesson plans, be fun for children to make, and of course, require as few resources and materials as possible. Read more >>

January 23, 2017 | By Savannah Copland

LivingTree Announces Acquisition of ClassMessenger

A press release on January 5th has announced that LivingTree has acquired ClassMessenger, a parent-teacher communication tool. Read more >>

January 16, 2017 | By Kali Kan

8 Creative Activities for Preschoolers

Sometimes, it can seem as though a preschooler’s imagination is boundless. By making use of the following list of activities, parents and teachers can help build a child’s creativity skills and encourage more creative thinking in preschoolers. Read more >>

January 12, 2017 | By Carmen Choi

Top 25 Early Childhood Education Blogs for 2017

We have determined the top early childhood education blogs, preschool blogs and childcare blogs for 2017 based on popularity and influence in the ECE community. We hope the list will help you to discover some great new resources and revisit old favorites! Read more >>

January 9, 2017 | By Katelyn Vickers

Designing a Toddler Daycare Schedule

One of the most important elements of a toddler daycare schedule is routine. Predictability can make toddlers feel safer, because they know what to expect next. The more secure a toddler feels, the better prepared they are to focus on other important things such as learning, playing and discovering. Read more >>

January 8, 2017 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

The Ministry of Education's Building a Better Future

Recently, Ontario’s Ministry of Education released a discussion paper regarding the transformation of early years education and child care in Ontario. This document, entitled Building a Better Future, offers an overview of the province’s commitment to creating more child care spaces for children under the age of 4 over a five year period, modernizing child care and family centers, as well as improving access to before and after school care. Read more >>

January 2, 2017 | By Savannah Copland

Preschool Open House Ideas to Attract Families

In order to help you make the most of your preschool open house, the team at HiMama has gathered the following tips and preschool open house ideas to ensure you are prepared. Read more >>

December 27, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Early Childhood Education Career Path Possibilities

Whether you're currently studying early childhood education or have been working in the field for several years, you may be curious to know about your career options as an Early Childhood Educator. Read more >>

December 19, 2016 | By Katelyn Vickers

5 Fun and Easy Preschool Winter Crafts

Winter is upon us, and you may be looking for some great indoor activities to add to your list to celebrate the season and avoid the cold weather outside! Here are some of our favorites. Read more >>

December 12, 2016 | By Savannah Copland

Why Your Parent Sign In Sheet Should be Digital

The parent sign in sheet is an essential part of the daily routine for many child care providers. However, a digital parent sign in sheet has many advantages when compared to a typical paper-based sign in system. Read more >>

December 8, 2016 | By Katelyn Vickers

Maintaining Early Childhood Education Quality

The choice to implement and maintain a high quality early childhood education program is ultimately made by the owner or operator of a child care program. Whether the preschool is operated by an individual business owner, a for-profit company, a franchise, a non-profit organization or a government entity, each will decide the level of early childhood education quality they will sustain. Read more >>

December 5, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Obstacles When Implementing a Curriculum for Preschool

Implementing a curriculum for preschool classrooms can be incredibly challenging to do effectively. As a busy teacher, you have countless pressures on you on top of delivering an outstanding curriculum. In addition, you’ll have to keep your classroom organized, manage the demands of parents, and handle the unique needs of each child in your class. Read more >>

November 28, 2016 | By Savannah Copland

Talking to Your Toddler About Their Preschool Experience

At the end of the preschool day, it’s not always easy to extract information from your toddler to understand the preschool experience through their eyes. That’s why we’ve put together this blog post to offer guidance on talking to your toddler to understand how their day truly went! Read more >>

November 25, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

7 Tips for Hiring a Preschool Teacher

Whether you’re opening a brand new preschool or are simply looking to expand your current team, hiring a preschool teacher who is the right fit can be a challenge. We recommend following these 7 tips to ensure your next hire is the best possible teacher for your center. Read more >>

November 21, 2016 | By Katelyn Vickers

Early Childhood Education Problems in the U.S.

Though the role of early childhood educators in society is critical, there are simply not enough resources dedicated towards the child care sector and providing educators with what they need to improve the quality of child care they can provide. Read more >>

November 18, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Why Are Parents Demanding Highly Academic Preschool Programs?

There is a high demand for academic-focused preschool programs due to consistent and strong early childhood research in recent years. Today we explore some of the reasons why parents have become more selective in their choices for preschool programs than ever. Read more >>

November 14, 2016 | By Amanda Armstrong

HiMama at the 2016 NAEYC Annual Conference for Early Childhood Education

The NAEYC conference is the largest early childhood education conference in the world that brings industry professionals, leaders and advocates together for four days of learning and fun. Attendees can attend workshops and networking sessions, as well as visit the Expo Hall with hundreds of organizations holding demonstrations, events and giveaways. The HiMama team attended this year’s conference in Los Angeles from November 2nd – 5th and had a fantastic time. Read more >>

November 12, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

The US Presidential Election and Early Childhood Education

The recent presidential election gave the country two very different options for leadership of the country. Both candidates have addressed questions about the US education system, but what does the recent race mean for the early childhood education system in particular? Today we reflect on some of the promises made by both candidates, and think about how we can expect President-elect Trump to be thinking about early childhood education issues going forward. Read more >>

November 7, 2016 | By Savannah Copland

How to give better feedback to childcare employees

Offering constructive feedback to your child care employees is key to helping them improve their skills in the preschool classroom. By taking the time to evaluate your child care employees, you will not only get a clear picture of who is performing well and who is not – you will also be able to give valuable feedback and constructive criticism to your staff to promote their professional growth. Read more >>

November 3, 2016 | By Kali Kan

What Does NAEYC Do?

NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) is more than just an accreditation program for preschools, daycares and other early years care programs. While the organization does offer a wealth of resources and assistance to help in achieving their accreditation, they also provide a wide range of opportunities for caregivers to expand their knowledge. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the opportunities provided by NAEYC and how you as an early childhood educator can take advantage of them. Read more >>

October 30, 2016 | By Deborah McNelis

Play in Preschool is Invaluable for Developing Higher Level Thinking Skills

Play provides the optimal chance to develop higher level brain skills. Activities like doing paper and pencil tasks, screen time or flash cards do not offer the possibility to develop the imagination area of the brain. Offering varied activities for play and exploring with real objects, people, and nature gives the brain the ability to pretend and to gain knowledge about how the world works. Read more >>

October 23, 2016 | By Katelyn Vickers

Continuous Professional Learning for Ontario Early Childhood Educators

Continuous Professional Learning is now mandatory for all members of the Ontario College of Early Childhood Educators to stay current in their knowledge, skills and practice. As of September 1st 2016, all Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) are now required to participate in the Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) program. Read more >>

October 17, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Pros & Cons of Opening Your Own Preschool

Are you considering opening your own preschool? Whether you are currently employed as an early childhood educator, or you are new to the field and interested in starting your own business, there are many factors to consider. Read more >>

October 10, 2016 | By Valerie Blackstock

Ideas for preschool activities

Are you looking for ideas for new and exciting preschool activities? You’ve come to the right place, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best sites for early childhood educators to find craft projects, learning resources, printable, audio, and video activities, and much more. Read more >>

October 7, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Best Preschools in Dallas

Dallas, Texas has an abundance of child care centers available to serve children from infancy to school age. However, sometimes parents are not able to find enough information about preschool programs online in order to make an informative decision. Read more >>

October 4, 2016 | By Valerie Blackstock

What is Texas Rising Star Rating Program?

The Texas Rising Star (TRS) program is officially defined as a voluntary quality-based child care rating system for child care providers who are participating in the Texas Workforce Commissions subsidized child care program. Its purpose is to improve the overall quality of child care and early childhood education in the state of Texas, and it does so by defining standards for child care settings. Read more >>

October 3, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

What is Scaffolding in Early Childhood Education?

Scaffolding is the act of an educator or parents adjusting their support techniques to suit an individual child at a developmentally appropriate level. Most who work with young children use a form of scaffolding each and every day without knowing it as we support our children and students in learning new ideas and skills. Read more >>

September 26, 2016 | By Valerie Blackstock

Current Trends in Early Childhood Education

In our work with early childhood educators, preschools and parents all over the world, HiMama has an opportunity to talk and network with hundreds of leaders in the childcare space each and every day. Recently, we’ve been observing three major trends in early childhood education that are on the rise in visibility and popularity among daycare facilities, preschools and other types of early years learning centers. Read more >>

September 20, 2016 | By Steven Bonnay, RECE

Research behind technology in preschool settings

I would like to start by asking you this question: “What indicator showcases that learning has occurred?” The answer is simple: results of a child retaining knowledge, plus documentation of the process of learning itself. Read more >>

September 20, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Where is Quality Rating and Improvement System Being Used?

QRIS (Quality Rating and Improvement System) is a program designed to award ratings to early childhood education centers that meet its clearly defined standards. If you are a child care provider who is participating in your state’s quality rating and improvement system, this means that you are committed to continuous improvement when it comes to the quality of care you provide. Read more >>

September 16, 2016 | By Valerie Blackstock

MyChild Daily Reports merges with brightwheel

A post on the MyChild support website on Tuesday, September 13 announces that MyChild Daily Reports has merged with brightwheel. MyChild provides online portfolios, daily sheets and email reports for parents in child care or head start programs. Unfortunately, it appears that access to the MyChild Daily Report app will be discontinued for child care and early learning programs. Read more >>

September 13, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

What is NAEYC Accreditation & Should You Consider It?

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), is the governing body in the United States who defines the gold standard for early childhood education and care. Preschools and child care centers who would like to become NAEYC accredited must undergo a thorough review process to ensure they meet NAEYC’s high level of standards. Read more >>

September 6, 2016 | By Valerie Blackstock

How to Choose a Preschool: A Guide for Parents

It can be difficult to know which preschool is the right one for your family. On the surface, what looks like a clean, safe, and well-run child care center may not be the right fit once you’ve already registered. Read more >>

August 29, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

7 Challenges of Being a Preschool Teacher

For preschool teachers, it can be incredibly difficult to manage both the challenges you face in your classroom as well as your career. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most common issues facing early childhood educators just like you across the country. Read more >>

August 23, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

Preschool Activities for Learning Your Name

August and September are great months to explore new ideas for helping a preschooler to learn his or her name. Recognizing and writing out your name is an excellent way to create a sense of belonging in a new classroom while also getting a head start on our ABCs. Read more >>

August 15, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

What is QRIS?

QRIS (Quality Rating and Improvement System) is a method for assessing the quality of child care programs. The intent of these systems is to provide a more organized way to assess and improve the quality of early childhood education programs that families may be considering for the care of their children. Read more >>

August 9, 2016 | By Valerie Blackstock

What is Keystone STARS?

The Keystone STARS program, which stands for Standards, Training/Professional Development, Assistance, Resources was introduced in 2002 by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) to improve, support, and recognize a continuous quality improvement efforts of the early learning programs in Pennsylvania. Read more >>

August 8, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Types of Preschool Programs

All educators have their own unique philosophies when it comes to early childhood education, and the methodology they use vary wildly. For parents who are trying to choose the right type of preschool for their child, the task of selecting the best teaching approach can be overwhelming. In this blog post, we take a look at five of the most common childcare philosophies. Read more >>

August 3, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Educator Use of Technology in the Classroom

The topic of technology in preschool classrooms is a highly debated issue among educators today. While much of the messaging related to the use of technology and children recommends that tech takes a backseat, it can play an important role in a preschool curriculum when used properly to facilitate learning. Read more >>

July 27, 2016 | By Valerie Blackstock

What is NAEYC?

NAEYC stands for the National Association for the Education of Young Children. First established in 1926, this U.S. non-profit organization is dedicated to promoting high-quality education for children from birth to age 8. Read more >>

July 26, 2016 | By Katelyn Vickers

Encouraging School Readiness Skills in Preschoolers

The preschool years are a time when parents and educators should focus on helping a child develop the tools they need to succeed before heading to formal K-12 schooling. Developing these school readiness skills will prepare children for optimal learning throughout their educational journey. Read more >>

July 20, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

How to Stay Current as an Early Childhood Educator

One of the common characteristics among leading early childhood educators is their drive to keep learning. What makes an ECE stand out from the rest is their passion for discovering new techniques, keeping up with the latest trends and research in the field, and responding to these changes, incorporating them into their curriculum. Read more >>

July 12, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

Why Invest in Child Care Staff Training and Development

For many child care facilities, training and professional development is often more of a “nice-to-have” rather than a “must-have” item. However, effectively building the skills of your employees can have an enormous impact on your center's success. Though child care staff training does involve an investment of time and money, keep in mind that having a growing team boosts the overall performance of your center and ultimately your bottom line. Read more >>

July 6, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Dealing With Challenging Behavior in Young Children

As an early years educator, you likely feel that you have tried every trick in the book when it comes to dealing with challenging behavior in young children. Whether a child throws a fit, becomes aggressive or overly emotional, there are ways to assess and manage this difficult behavior. Read more >>

June 28, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Activities to Promote Preschool Cognitive Development

It's been well documented that the preschool years are critical for building the foundation for learning in the K-12 school years. During the foundation building preschool time, your child will begin to engage in more purposeful play. Preschoolers start to form a whole new understanding as they expand their experiences with the world around them. Read more >>

June 22, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

4 Simple Preschool Science Activities to Try

Preschool children are naturally open-minded and curious, and are amazed by chemical reactions and science-based activities. This curiosity creates a perfect opportunity to start exploring science in preschool classrooms. By choosing the right preschool science activities, you can nurture a child’s authentic sense of adventure, help them begin to understand the scientific world, encourage problem solving and even introduce them to the concepts of seeking evidence and testing their predictions... Read more >>

June 20, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Best Daycares in Toronto

In Toronto, there are over 900 licensed child care centres serving children from infancy to school age. Yet, despite the large number of options available, there still appears to be a shortage of quality childcare in Toronto. The cost of childcare in Toronto also continues to be the highest in the country. While we can’t solve all of your childcare search challenges as a parent, we have pulled together a list of the top rated childcare programs in Toronto... Read more >>

June 15, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

5 Steps for More Effective Communication With Parents

Keeping open lines of communication with parents is essential to providing the best possible care to their children. By ensuring that you communicate clearly, you make it easier for you, your staff and parents to support one another. As you work together and communicate effectively, you’ll develop a partnership that can help better manage child behaviors and support development. Read more >>

June 6, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Addressing the Issue of Preschool Teacher Turnover

As a preschool director, one of the biggest challenges you may face is a high rate of staff or teacher turnover. If your child care center offers a variety of half-day, full-day, before and after school programs, it can be difficult to find skilled yet flexible caregivers who are comfortable working within the hectic schedules of your facility. Read more >>

May 31, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

Amendments to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act

Recently launched, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) is an initiative spearheaded by Michelle Obama sought to redefine the way lunches are provided in schools. Updated nutritional standards have been implemented into U.S schools, providing healthier more well-rounded lunches to children across the country. Read more >>

May 26, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Developing an Emergency Disaster Plan for Child Care Centers

Looking into putting together an emergency disaster plan for your child care center? Whether your area is at risk of natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes or floods, or you are just trying to prepare for the unexpected, having a predetermined emergency disaster plan in place is key. Following the terrible wildfires across Western Canada, most notably to our friends in Fort McMurray, we wanted to share some ideas for an Emergency Disaster Plan for childcare centers. Read more >>

May 17, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

Best Tablets for Schools & Preschools - 2016 Review

There are so many tablets to choose from in the market that it can be difficult to choose one that fits your needs. HiMama understands early childhood classroom environments and recognizes what is most important when choosing an appropriate tablet for daily reporting and observations. We want to make finding the right tablet a quick and enjoyable experience for your program. Read more >>

May 16, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

How to Manage Your Daycare Waiting List

If your daycare has a current waiting list, congratulations! A full waiting list is a sign of a successful childcare center, effective marketing and an excellent reputation. But those parents on your daycare waiting list could be waiting weeks or even months until a free spot opens up in your center. Over this period of time, they could be searching for an alternative care provider, change their mind or simply forget that your care center even exists. Read more >>

May 7, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Early Investment for Early Years Education

We all know that parents want the best for their children and that they have a vested interest in their education. Society as a whole cares greatly about educational standards and school quality across the country. Despite its importance, preschool education has faced difficulties in recent years due in large part to a lack of investment. The reality is that, unless investment in preschool programs is made a priority in America, the safety and quality of early years education is far from secure. Read more >>

May 4, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

4 Activities to Teach Responsibility in Preschoolers

It is so important to teach responsibility in early childhood education. Starting at an early age, parents and teachers alike can begin to instill habits that promote a good work ethic and teach children lessons that will serve them well into adulthood. From improved self-esteem and confidence to being considerate of the needs of others, responsibility is an essential trait that caregivers can help preschoolers learn to appreciate. Read more >>

April 26, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

Preschool Activity Inspiration: Shark Tank!

Have you been looking for new activities to explore water, aquatic and marine life in your classroom? With summer just around the corner, why not complement the ABCs by introducing all things water and fish with your preschoolers? Read more >>

April 25, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Preschool Literacy Activities to Encourage Cognitive Development

Developing literacy at an early age is essential for enabling a number of early learning experiences that will impact a child’s adult life. Read more >>

April 18, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Tips for Creating a Green Child Care Center Environment

For some parents, a child care center that is committed to protecting the environment is an important factor in their child care search. They are looking for a green daycare that makes use of the latest in environmentally friendly products and practices to offer a safe, non-toxic space for their children. As a result, many facilities are transforming into eco-friendly child care centers, allowing parents to feel comfortable leaving their children in a healthy environment for them to learn and grow. Read more >>

April 14, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

How HiMama Engages Parents in a More Meaningful Way than Facebook

When selecting a parent engagement app for your child care center, many opt for Facebook given the ubiquitous nature of the social network. It’s understandable to opt for a channel that so many of us use on a weekly or even daily basis in our personal lives. However, there are some major distinctions between sharing children’s daily updates with parents on an open social network like Facebook, and sharing those same updates on a private, password-protected app like HiMama. Read more >>

April 12, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

5 Child Care Marketing Strategies to Set You Apart from the Competition

Finding the right combination of child care marketing strategies can be difficult. To increase enrollment, you need to find innovative ways to market your facility and stand out from the rest. Since parents are very involved in research to find the ideal care center for their child, it is becoming increasingly challenging to demonstrate why you are the best fit for their needs. Read more >>

April 9, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Can We Bring Fair Pay and Respect to Preschool Teachers?

In one New York City school, preschool teachers are being paid “poverty level wages." When we consider the critical role of Early Childhood Educators -- guiding the social and educational development of our children -- it’s hard to understand why they are not valued financially. The continued debate centering on the lack of pay for our educators, especially those working in early education, has many voices. Many education professionals recognize that lobbying the government or calling for widespread change isn't solving the problem effectively or fast enough. Read more >>

April 4, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

New Daycare Outdoor Regulations in Ontario: What You Need to Know

Recent updates as part of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 came into effect late last year. While much of the revised act focuses on child to caregiver ratios for licensed and unlicensed care providers, there were also some overall updates and modernization to the regulations surrounding outdoor play. These changes were implemented to ensure that adequate space for play and learning in an outdoor environment is made available to all children, so they can connect with the natural world and begin to develop an interest in physical activity. Read more >>

March 31, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Investing in Our Future: The Changing Face of Child Care

The child care system in the U.S. and abroad is going through significant changes based on experts’ realizations that the first five years of life are a crucial stage for a child's physical, intellectual, emotional and social development. Core developmental learning happens during this critical time when children require high quality, personalized care in environments where they can learn, play and develop in a safe, monitored environment. Read more >>

March 28, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

The Reggio Emilia Influence in Childcare Today

Over the decades, there have been many theories and frameworks for approaching early childhood education. One approach that became popular following World War II was the Reggio Emilia Approach, a philosophy of education that was named for the region in Italy where it was first conceived. Following the war, educators believed that a new approach to childhood learning was necessary, leading to the wide adoption of this philosophy and its values. Read more >>

March 21, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

6 Ways to Tell Your Child Care Provider Isn't the Right Fit

Even if initially the fit seems right, your child may struggle to respond to the environment, or other factors could have you reconsidering your choice. Read more >>

March 15, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

What Ontario's Proposed Child Care Regulations Mean for Quality Early Childhood Education Jobs

The Ontario government is proposing new child care regulations to address the needs of parents, as recently reported by The Globe and Mail. Read more >>

March 14, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Childcare Cleaning Tips for a Healthier Center

As a child care provider, you know how quickly germs, bacteria and illnesses can spread throughout your center, children and your staff. Every surface, from toys and books to tabletops, floors and walls can harbor unsafe bacteria and grime. Therefore, it’s essential that you make germ fighting a priority to stop the spread of sickness, create a healthier and safer environment, and ease the minds of parents who are frequently concerned about center cleanliness. Read more >>

March 7, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

Proper Use of Technology for Preschool Teachers

A popular topic in early childhood education today is the use of technology in child care centers. The rise of technology in the classrooms has parents and teachers asking questions such as, “How much is too much?” and leaves them wondering if children will still receive the quality care they require. Read more >>

February 29, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

3 Reasons to Pursue an Early Childhood Educator Degree

Many colleges and universities are offering accredited Early Childhood Education degree programs that equip graduates with the knowledge and skills they need to help young children develop during their extremely important early years. Read more >>

February 21, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

Child Care Observation: How Much Documentation is Too Much?

It can be difficult to know exactly how much time each day you should devote to documentation as an early childhood educator. While you’ll want to record important developments and milestones for each child so you can gather the information you need to guide future learning, doing so can take up a substantial portion of your day. Read more >>

February 12, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

Where to Start Your Search For Early Childhood Education Jobs

Whether you are a graduate or an educator with years of experience under your belt, you may be on the lookout for an early childhood education job that allows you to make the next move in your career. It can be tough to navigate the job search process without proper guidance. After you’ve updated your resume, LinkedIn profile and have your references ready, your next step is to start applying! Read more >>

February 7, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

Toddler Nutrition: Is My Child Eating Enough At Their Child Care Center?

When sending our little ones off to daycare, one of our top concerns as parents is whether or not they are receiving nutritious meals – and if they are actually eating those meals! When first considering your child care options, it’s important that you look for a child care provider who makes weekly meal plans available to you. Read more >>

February 4, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

Great New Childcare App: CubbySpot

We're always on the lookout for apps that can be useful to the HiMama Community. CubbySpot is a mobile platform that connects parents and daycares to fill available spots easily. They help parents find quality available day care and assist child care centres fill openings faster. Read more >>

February 3, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

Congratulations Sarojini - our ECE of the Year

In December, Sarojini Anthonypillai was selected as our Early Childhood Educator of the Year (2015). I had the opportunity to visit Sarojini's Center and learn more about her day and all the fantastic work her team accomplishes. As part of our ECE of the Year Award Sarojini received a prize package with Fit Bit, David's Tea and an Award recognizing her effort. Read more >>

February 1, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

7 Tips to Ease the Transition Into Child Care

Ensuring that your child is emotionally, socially and physically prepared to enter into child care can seem like a daunting task for most parents. Since you’ve done your homework, you’ve already chosen a care facility that matches the unique needs of your child and family, has an approach to childcare that works with your parenting style, and plenty of experience that allows you to feel comfortable with your decision. Even still, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly how you can best prepare your child for this big change, so we're offering a few ideas below. Read more >>

January 25, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

Why You Should Write a Child Care Center Blog: Tips for Success

Maintaining a blog for your child care center offers a range of benefits for both current parents and prospective families who may be looking for a new daycare for their children. Blogging regularly about your facility, its events and the latest news in the industry can help get your center’s name out there in the community and position you as a child care expert. Read more >>

January 17, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

What is Emergent Curriculum?

As a philosophy of teaching, emergent curriculum is a way of planning curriculum in response to children’s interests to create meaningful learning experiences. Activities and projects are planned by educators to match the skills, interests and unique needs of the specific children they are working with. Read more >>

January 12, 2016 | By Amanda Munday

Parents Online Journal Kidmondo Closes Their Door

Sadly, Kidmondo announced they are closing their app in the next 30 days. Read more >>

January 11, 2016 | By Ron Spreeuwenberg

How to Make Daycare Sign in More Efficient

Is your child care center currently using paper sign in and sign out sheets? Read more >>

January 8, 2016 | Austin Soboleski

Introducing the HiMama Jobs Site

Our team just launched an Ontario-based job site aiming to connect talented Early Childhood Educators with exceptional employers. Read more >>

January 5, 2016 | Amanda Munday

Bringing Child Care Forms Into the Digital Age

From initial registration forms to contracts, emergency contact forms and questionnaires about each child, there are hundreds of possible documents that your staff and parents must complete so your child care center has the information it needs to operate each and every day. Read more >>

January 1, 2016 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Top 25 Early Childhood Education Blogs 2016

Last year we started what we anticipate to be an annual tradition of evaluating the top 25 early childhood education blogs. In the process of evaluating all of the blogs out there it is amazing to see all the phenomenal content that is being created, in particular many of the practical ideas that can be implemented in any early learning program immediately. While we stick to the top 25 early childhood education blogs, there is so much more amazing content out there... Read more >>

December 20, 2015 | Amanda Munday

Why You Should Track Daycare Meals

Tracking daycare meals offers a host of benefits for you, the caregiver, as well as children and their parents. Not only does accurate tracking help you stay organized when it comes to mealtimes, it can also put parents at ease knowing exactly what their child is eating over the course of the day. Here are just a few of the most important reasons you should consider improving the tracking of your daycare’s meals... Read more >>

December 12, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

The Importance of Observation in Early Childhood Education

Most child care providers understand the role of observation in early childhood education. Observation is often seen as one of the most simple, yet effective methods of assessing young children as they develop. For a child care provider or educator, observing a child begins with noting how each child behaves, learns, reacts to new situations and interacts with others. Later, you reflect on this information and determine how it can help you improve your classroom to meet the needs of your young learners... Read more >>

December 8, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

5 Reasons to Maintain Your Daycare Website

As we become an increasingly connected society that is used to having the information we need at our fingertips, it is important that your daycare website provide the information that current and prospective parents are searching for. If your daycare’s website is not updated regularly, or you simply do not have a website at all, you may not be providing families with access to the information they need... Read more >>

December 7, 2015 | Amanda Munday & Rebecca Leslie

The 7 Greatest and Not So Great Holiday Teacher Gifts

There are a lot of people to buy for - after family and close friends, there is also the neighbour who shovels your driveway, the mailman, the Secret Santa at work and… your childcare provider! We love Educators and know that you appreciate all their hard work and effort throughout the year. This year, make sure your gift is something they will truly cherish. We put together a list of affordable items to buy for your daycare provider, Educator (ECE) and any other staff. Read more >>

December 1, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

5 Ways to Boost Your Child Care Enrollment

Many facilities like yours are looking for new and creative ways to boost their child care enrollment. Brand new care centers, home daycare providers and well-established early years programs alike may face the problem of under enrollment. If you are looking to attract new families to your care facility, here are some methods you may want to give a try so you can run a full program this year... Read more >>

November 25, 2015 | Amanda Munday

Looking for a new Tablet? Now is the time to shop for your Center!

The Black Friday flyers are out and we can't help but scan the lists for incredible deals. Since HiMama loves you so much, we wanted to make sure you get all the best information directly in your inbox. This way, once you have a new tablet you can start this holiday season with the best HiMama experience possible! Read more >>

November 23, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Winter Outdoor Activities for Preschoolers

Winter time is nearly here, and you may be wondering what types of fun and educational outdoor activities you can incorporate into your daycare schedule. Whether you are looking for activities that you can relate back to your lesson plans, or simply want to get outside and get active, winter weather can be a lot of fun for preschoolers... Read more >>

November 24, 2015 | Drew Williams

We LOVED the NAEYC Conference

Last week, Ron and I ventured south to Orlando for the NAEYC conference, a 10,000-attendee event promoting trends and the latest best practices in early education. Read more >>

November 16, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

How to Create a Daycare Parent Handbook

If you own or operate a child care facility, developing a daycare parent handbook is a must. A clear, useful parent handbook can act as a contract between your business and the families you provide care for. Your handbook can also serve as a reference guide for parents, ensuring that they are aware of certain policies for payment, holidays, your hours of operation, sick days and much more... Read more >>

November 10, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Simple Natural Playground Ideas for Your Preschool

Natural playgrounds are one of the most popular alternatives to traditional play spaces among child care centers today. These types of playgrounds typically make use of natural materials to create an outdoor play area for children. A natural playground is thought to encourage young children to interact with their environment and make discoveries through open-ended play... Read more >>

November 9, 2015 | Amanda Munday

Supporting Classrooms with Innovative Technology

On Wednesday, Canada's new Prime Minister hosted a Google Hangout with 5 classrooms from across the country. Read more >>

November 3, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Integrating Physical Activities for Toddlers into Your Schedule

Incorporating physical activity into your child care schedule is a must. Today, parents are looking for a child care provider who offers a well-rounded curriculum, which includes plenty of physical activity to keep their child healthy and active. However, physical activity in child care programs goes far beyond giving children the exercise they need – it also helps develop crucial social skills, helps children build self-confidence and learn to work together cooperatively... Read more >>

October 27, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

The Value of a Parent Satisfaction Survey for Child Care Providers

One of the most valuable tools a child care provider can use to grow their success is a parent satisfaction survey. Conducting an annual survey of your clients can provide you with much-needed data that can be used to improve your child care center. Within your survey, it’s important to ask pointed questions that ask parents to rate their satisfaction in regards to your communication methods, payment processes, curriculum, meals and more. Trends in these answers will indicate which parts of your operations are working well, and which are not... Read more >>

October 20, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Developing a Personal Philosophy of Early Childhood Education

When you apply for ECE jobs, many prospective employers will ask you to explain your own personal philosophy and approach to education so they can begin to get a picture of who you are as a teacher. However, developing your philosophy should go beyond a simple requirement for finding employment. A personal philosophy of early childhood education should be used as a tool that not only guides your own teaching, but also helps your staff and parents understand your individual approach to early learning... Read more >>

October 13, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

5 Ideas to Simplify the Collection of Daycare Payments

Collecting payments from parents can be one of the biggest challenges for daycare providers. It can be unpleasant to ask for tuition to be paid, and consistently remind parents to get their payments in on time. Luckily, there are ways that you can improve the daycare payment collection process and make it simpler for you and your staff members to collect the money you are owed... Read more >>

October 6, 2015 | Katelyn Vickers

Benefits of Natural Playgrounds for Child Development

One of the latest trends in child care is the move towards natural playgrounds. A natural playground is designed to make use of existing topography and natural materials to create an open-ended outdoor play area for children to make discoveries and interact with their environment. Play structures within natural playgrounds are often created using tree stumps, logs, rocks and water to offer a wide range of opportunities to connect children back to nature, stimulate creativity and encourage development. Here’s a look at why the idea of a natural playground is becoming increasingly popular among child care centers, schools and cities across North America and beyond... Read more >>

September 30, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Early Childhood Educators of the Year

Early Childhood Educators take on tremendous responsibility in their critical role in society, ensuring not only the health and safety of our precious and fragile young children, but also applying their expertise to improve learning and development outcomes for children in the most critical first five years of life. It is due time that the world starts to hear the powerful personal stories of our most undervalued educators... Read more >>

September 29, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Early Childhood Education, Child Care, and Daycare Worker Salary in the U.S.

According to the President’s Council of Economic Advisors’ 2015 report, The Economics of Early Childhood Investments, existing research suggests expanding early learning initiatives would provide benefits to society of roughly $8.60 for every $1.00 spent. Despite this clear return on investment, a report by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkley reports that early childhood teachers and assistants’ salaries have increased by only about 1 percent since 1997.

So I did a bit more digging to find out how salaries for early childhood educators and those in the child care field in the U.S. compared to other service-related salaries. The results, in order of descending salary, should surprise you... Read more >>

September 22, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

What Makes a Successful Child Care Program?

When considering what makes a successful child care program, many parents will look to basics such as the cleanliness of the facility, its reputation in the community, the ratio of staff to children, and if the child care center offers a safe environment for children. However, there are many other elements that contribute greatly to the success of a child care program that is designed to support the development of young children while satisfying the high expectations of parents... Read more >>

September 17, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

How Does Learning Happen? A Pulse on the Early Years Community in Ontario

In June, we wrote a blog post on How Does Learning Happen and its introduction in Ontario. The article was more of an educational piece since we have many child care and early learning programs inquiring about how HiMama supports this new pedagogy. This time around, we sought out first-hand feedback from those in the early years community directly... Read more >>

September 15, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Professional Development Opportunities For Early Childhood Educators

Though you may have thought your school days were far behind you, it’s important that you keep up with the latest developments in the field of early childhood education in order to offer the best possible care for your young students. Today, parents are looking for innovative, highly educated and qualified childcare professionals to provide care for their children using the latest approaches to early childhood education. Luckily, there are many ways (both formal and informal) to enhance your learning... Read more >>

September 8, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Socialization Benefits of Early Childhood Education

Socialization with adults and children outside of the family forms the foundation upon which many other aspects of childhood development are established and grown over time. Exposing children to others is beneficial from a very early age, helping them to gain self-confidence and overcome any feelings of shyness... Read more >>

September 2, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Using Technology in Early Childhood Education

Using technology in early education is rapidly becoming an integral part of teaching children the essential skills they need to form the basis for future learning. But how can technology be used to enhance the curriculum of your child care center and make the day to day operations of your facility simpler?... Read more >>

August 25, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Early Childhood Education Assessment Tools

Assessments are a useful tool to help educators determine if young children are making progress and discover if they are being taught in a way that makes sense for their unique learning styles. Both formal and informal screening techniques exist, and it is often a good idea to make use of both types of assessments in order to truly understand the needs, challenges and strengths of each individual child. Here are a number of early childhood education assessment tools that can be used to better assess the progress of the children in your care... Read more >>

August 23, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Play, Participation, and Possibilities: An Early Learning and Child Care Curriculum Framework for Alberta

HiMama is super excited about the new Play, Participation and Possibilities framework published in Alberta earlier this year. The vision and guiding principles behind the framework align closely to many of the values and principles that we hold central in the design of learning and development capabilities of our apps for early childhood educators.

In this post, I’ll provide an overview of the Alberta child care curriculum framework, Play, Participation and Possibilities. I’ll summarize the vision, purpose, and guiding principles behind the framework so that you can get a better understanding of the fundamental drivers behind the framework, as well as the goals set out in the document and the defined role of the early learning and child care educator... Read more >>

August 20, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Canada Child Care Management Software Overview

A search for childcare management software from Canadian-based companies resulted in seven companies offering this type of product. The review provided in this post is intended to give you a high-level overview of what these options are and is based on information that was publicly available on the websites for these companies or products... Read more >>

August 18, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

What is an Early Childhood Educator?

Many parents and caregivers alike often ask, “What is an early childhood educator?” – But the answer is not always clear. The qualifications of an early childhood educator vary from province to province and state by state, but many preschool teachers hold a bachelor’s degree or have completed post-secondary education in the areas of early childhood development and teaching. They also work in a variety of settings – from preschools and nursery schools to primary grade classrooms, home daycare programs, special education classrooms and more... Read more >>

August 11, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Classroom Newsletter Ideas to Keep Parents Engaged

A monthly classroom newsletter is an excellent way to keep preschool or daycare parents engaged with the events, lessons and day to day activities of your child care center as well as the progression of their child. Whether you already send a monthly newsletter to parents, or are looking to create the first edition of a brand new newsletter, here are some classroom newsletter ideas to keep in mind that will help you engage parents and communicate more effectively... Read more >>

August 5, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

The Role of Parent Involvement in Early Childhood Education

It is essential for parents to support the learning that happens in preschool settings at home as well. Parents who are in tune with what is happening in their child’s preschool classroom or child care facility are better able to establish a connection between what is learned at school and what takes place in the home. This connection is a key component of a child’s development and supporting further learning. Not only does family or parental involvement help extend teaching outside the classroom; it creates a more positive experience for children and helps children perform better when they are in school... Read more >>

July 28, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

3 Resources for Early Childhood Education Videos

Online video content can be a valuable resource not only for enhancing your own skills as an early childhood education provider, but also the skills of your employees. Whether the content is educational or simply inspiring, it can be leveraged to discover new ideas and techniques to incorporate in your own childcare center’s programming and refine your curriculum to better meet the needs of developing children.

In this blog post, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite (and free!) resources for ECE training and educational videos you can share with your staff or coworkers... Read more >>

July 21, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Fun Math Ideas for Preschoolers

Teaching basic math is an incredibly important and fundamental skill that will build a foundation for further learning. Giving preschoolers a strong basis in math literacy early on is essential to their future success in school, as well as in their day-to-day functioning.

Whether you are a parent or an early childhood educator, you can begin to teach the children in your care the basics of math. These fun math ideas for preschoolers are simple, require very little materials, and best of all, children enjoy participating in them!... Read more >>

July 14, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Surprising Facts About Early Childhood Education in Canada

The state of childcare in Canada might surprise you. Many factors including rising parent fees, the number of open spaces for children, location of facilities and types of childcare available can make it extremely difficult for parents to balance what is best for them and their child.

The following statistics become even more important when you consider that the demand for high quality child care is increasing. Parents are looking to child care facilities to offer programming and support for social development, school readiness, language and numeracy skills, in addition to basic supervision and care... Read more >>

July 7, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Daycare Menu Ideas and Planning Tips

Serving healthy food at your daycare is a key component of an overall successful child care program. Nutritious food acts as a fuel for the developing minds and bodies of young children. Working to establish good eating habits at an early age is another important factor, as the food you serve at your child care facility will influence children’s eating habits into adulthood and how will think about food well into the future.

Taking time to design a balanced menu that addresses the needs of the children in your care is important. As a daycare provider, you are in a unique position which allows you to educate children about nutrition, help them to make the right choices when it comes to food, and offer them an opportunity to discover a wide variety of new foods. The following are a number of key points to keep in mind as you begin to plan your daycare menu... Read more >>

June 30, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

The Importance of Play in Early Childhood Education Programming

Unfortunately, the importance of play in early childhood education programming is often undervalued in favor of direct instruction. Still, building play into your curriculum is important, as it is a healthy part of childhood development. Play can have a large impact on development in many areas, including social skills, language skills, and cognitive development.

When children play, they draw on their past experiences - things they have seen adults do, what they have seen on television or have read about - to create games and scenarios. Free, open-ended play offers a satisfying experience for children, allowing them to explore and discover, while at the same time developing their imagination and thinking skills... Read more >>

June 23, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

How Does Learning Happen? Ontario's Pedagogy for the Early Years

The Child Care and Early Years Act will replace the Day Nurseries Act in Ontario. Learn about 'How Does Learning Happen?', how it relates to ELECT, and how HiMama can help you meet expectations.

On August 31, 2015 the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 will replace the Day Nurseries Act as the new legislative framework governing child care in Ontario. A key feature of the new Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) is the focus on strengthening child care programs and ensuring high quality experiences for children. As such, CCEYA authorizes the Minister of Education to issue policy statements regarding programming and pedagogy for the purpose of guiding operators of child care and early years programs... Read more >>

June 19, 2015 | HiMama Team

Happy Father's Day from HiPapa!

Father's Day weekend is upon us! The team at HiMama would like to take a moment to celebrate all of the Dads out there. Whether it be dropping the kids off at daycare, taking them to a Miley Cyrus concert (and sporting a Hannah Montana t-shirt), or simply lending a ear, we think you're AWESOME!... Read more >>

June 18, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Tykester App Closes its Doors

Tykester is an app that was released last year to help busy moms and dads track their child's day while with their daycare or childcare provider. Tykester was created through Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) and was a 2013 co-winner of Gannett’s Innovation Grants Program, which enables teams of employees to create their own products and receive seed funding from the company. Sadly, Tykester closed its doors a couple months ago, posting this message to their website in April... Read more >>

June 16, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Health, Safety, and Nutrition in Early Childhood Education

Health, safety and nutrition in early childhood education are of utmost importance when it comes to operating a high quality child care center. While health, safety and nutrition might seem like basic, everyday elements of a good daycare facility, these factors can often be overlooked or neglected. Whether you are a parent searching for the right childcare center for your toddler, or are a daycare operator, the following are the fundamentals of a healthy and safe environment for early childhood education that simply cannot be ignored... Read more >>

June 9, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Top 3 Interview Questions for Daycare Workers

Attracting and retaining talented, hard working and dependable early childhood educators to your child care facility is a tough job, as we discussed in one of our earlier blog posts. There are many qualities that make a good daycare worker, and it can be extremely difficult to uncover those characteristics in an interview setting. Because you'll typically conduct an interview process before you have a chance to see a potential hire actually interact with children, it's important to select key interview questions for daycare workers that will allow you to discover if they are a right fit for your center. Use the following interview questions to uncover more about a candidate's early childhood education philosophy, and whether or not it matches the overall goals of your center... Read more >>

June 4, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Simple Preschool Craft Ideas for Summer

Looking for fun crafts to add to your list of activities this summer? The common elements of great preschool craft ideas for summer are simplicity and the potential for further play and learning. Even basic arts and crafts can be an excellent way to further development by exploring shapes, colors, textures, as well as enhancing fine motor skills. Here are some easy craft ideas for preschoolers that are perfect for tying in with summer-themed lessons... Read more >>

May 19, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Engaging Families in a Hyperconnected World – Adapting to New Expectations

Let us start by defining what is meant by “hyperconnected”. In a blog post last year I defined hyperconnected as a term that refers to the widespread adoption of Internet enabled technology devices allowing people to be continuously linked to other people and to information globally. A central component of the hyperconnected society is the significant trend of mobile technology adoption.

I like a quote from The Economist Intelligence Unit that really gets to the core of what hyperconnectivity is really about - “More than a technological trend, hyperconnectivity is a cultural condition to which businesses have no choice but to adapt.” The key message here is that hyperconnectivity isn’t a trend, but rather a fundamental change in our culture and our society. It’s not going away like trends sometimes do. Quite the opposite, it’s here to stay and, if anything, will become increasingly relevant... Read more >>

April 15, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Top 3 Budget Tablets For Educators To Use In School And Child Care Classrooms

Documentation in the classroom is shifting from paper to digital and it is becoming increasingly affordable for educators to make the transition. From my experiences speaking with early childhood educators, there is a common misconception about the cost of tablets.

To set the record straight, we’ve done a review of tablets providing good value. Last year we did a post about choosing the right tablet for your child care and early learning programs that evaluated the criteria to look for in tablets and suggested some of the best choices in various price ranges. The iPad still seems to be the go-to choice for many educational programs, so this year we’ve decided to focus on alternatives.

This year’s review focuses on tablets in the sub $200 price range (a couple retailers sell models just above the $200 price point). Our analysis considered both critic reviews, as well as consumer ratings, and resulted in the following category winners... Read more >>

March 11, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Schools and child care programs are not protecting children’s information online

Today HiMama released our inaugural report on Parents in a Digital Age 2015. The report is based on a survey of parents across the United States and Canada and focuses on understanding parents’ feelings, attitudes and behaviors in regards to the privacy and security of their children’s information online.

One aspect of the report investigates how schools and child care programs are sharing children’s information with parents. The results are conclusive that schools and child care programs are missing the mark when it comes to the frequency and channels through which they’re informing parents about their child.

First of all, schools and child care programs are not sharing enough information with parents. Nearly 60% of surveyed parents indicated that they wanted more information about their child’s activities and learning while in these programs. Our survey participants have children aged 0 to 14 which I think also speaks to the common misconception that parents do not want information on a regular and frequent basis as their children move from a child care to a school setting... Read more >>

February 16, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Pedagogical Documentation in Reggio-inspired Early Childhood Programs

I never cease to be fascinated by the depth of early childhood education. I feel like we’re still in the infancy of understanding it. Our limited knowledge excites me though because I feel like it is a huge uncharted territory that, with the appropriate investment, could make significant advancements over my lifetime.

Take this for example. In the first year of life, the architecture of the brain takes shape at an astounding rate of 700 new neural connections per second. Scientists now know that this process is not genetically predetermined, but is dramatically influenced by children’s experiences with people and their surroundings.

In my own search for knowledge I was recently directed to a paper written by Carol Anne Wien about Learning to Document in Reggio-inspired Education. The first aspect of this paper that I enjoyed was its focus on implementing theory in a practical setting. While not underestimating the importance of theory, as an engineer by background I have always been interested in the application of theory, in this case in the context of early childhood education... Read more >>

January 25, 2015 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

What are the challenges facing Early Childhood Teachers?

I have no background in early childhood education, either academically or professionally. However, as the CEO of a technology company that works in the early childhood sector it’s critical that I stay in tune with the latest trends and conversations that are happening. I am also becoming increasingly passionate about the topic, so enjoy taking part in important debates.

To improve my understanding of early education I try to do two things regularly. Firstly, I like to speak with stakeholders in the sector on a one-on-one basis. This includes stakeholders that are involved in the day-to-day operations of child care and early learning programs, like teachers and directors, as well as other stakeholders such as academic experts, early childhood consultants, and leaders of professional development and support organizations.

The second educational endeavour I strive for is reviewing research papers and reports on a regular basis. I feel that this complements the views of people in the field, as well as helps me to understand macro trends in the sector and the various perspectives of influential leaders and experts... Read more >>

December 29, 2014 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Top 25 Early Childhood Education Blogs 2014

In today’s digital age there is no lack of resources available to educators online. The problem instead is increasingly becoming one of information overload. As teachers and educators, time is limited between planning and programming. Yet, it’s important to make time for staying up-to-date with the latest news in the field, as well as to research fresh ideas and activities for learning and development in your classrooms.

In an effort to direct you to some of the best online resources at your disposal, we have compiled a list of the Top 25 Early Childhood Education Blogs for 2014. It is our hope that this list will help direct you straight to the best information available to you. The list of blogs that we have compiled is very diverse, from larger sites with multiple blog contributors to smaller sites where content is coming directly from a lone educator or parent. Our only requirement was that the blog’s primary focus was early childhood education... Read more >>

November 18, 2014 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

The why and what of documentation in early years programs

There was a very interesting debate that I observed on LinkedIn recently resulting from a discussion post titled, Documentation – Too Much or Too Little. There was a wide diversity of opinions, as well as some general themes running throughout the comments. Ironically, I felt the online debate itself spoke directly to one of the most important reasons why documentation is so important – ongoing critical reflection of the status quo in early years education.

In the same way that early years directors, owners, consultants and trainers were debating about why we do documentation and the various approaches to documentation, we similarly need to debate about current approaches and practices in individual programs, and this can only be enabled with visual documentation that can be assessed and discussed.... Read more >>

October 19, 2014 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

The hyperconnected society and what it means for early years education

Hyperconnected is a relatively new term that refers to the widespread adoption of Internet enabled technology devices allowing people to be continuously linked to other people and to information globally. With laptops, tablets and in particular, smartphones, a large percentage of the population is reachable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and global intelligence is instantly available at our fingertips.

The phenomenon of instantly available and easily accessible information has created what many are calling a “re-wiring” of the human brain. Throughout history, humans have responded to changes in their environment to maintain an evolutionary advantage and we’re now seeing real evidence of this adaptation as a result of hyperconnectivity. There are mixed feelings about whether these changes are a net positive or net negative to society, but few would deny that the change is happening, particularly amongst the younger generations... Read more >>

September 20, 2014 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

How do we deal with employee retention in early education?

About this time last year we released our report on Documentation in the Early Childhood Setting that investigated the issue of documentation processes. As a result of our research study, we designed and released a solution that helps early education programs to document child development observations and child care daily reports and communicate this information in a way that works for today’s busy, working parent.

However, ahead of documentation, the universal issue that was top-of-mind for those that we interviewed for our research, was staff recruitment and retention. This is a much more complex issue than documentation processes, but on the one year anniversary of our research report we thought we would at least provide some of our thoughts on this seemingly pervasive and perpetual challenge in early education... Read more >>

August 18, 2014 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Why we don’t offer free trials

We understand why, in theory, free trials are appealing to child care and early learning programs interested in learning more about our child care reports service. We also know that once programs start using HiMama it is quite easy for them to get hooked.

So why, despite these benefits, do we continue to discourage free trials? In short, because we want all of our customers to be successful, and we have found that free trials don't enable customer success.

Numbers speak louder than words though and in this case the number of interest is zero. That is our turnover or churn rate. No one has ever stopped using HiMama since we launched our service last year. This is despite having no long-term commitments or contracts so programs can quit any time... Read more >>

July 28, 2014 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Changes in domestic trends and the increasing need for child care

HiMama recently reached the exciting milestone of one million moments recorded and shared. We celebrated with a HiMama One Million Moments Infographic that looks at the state of working families in Canada and how HiMama is helping to address some of the challenges faced by both parents and early years educators.

Since 1976, the employment rate of women with children under the age of six has risen 36%. Increased investment in women’s post-secondary education, which in many cases results in better-paid positions in the workforce, and decreased emphasis on gender roles that peg the man as the sole breadwinner, have both impacted employment opportunities for women. The increase in cost of living in North America over the last few decades has also tipped women’s decision in favour of employment outside the home.

This year, Canada experienced an inflation rate of 2.4% with the most significant increases seen in the areas of food and shelter, which have experienced an inflation rate of 2.9% each. The bottom line: feeding and housing a family is becoming increasingly expensive. With children in the equation, the cost of living increases further... Read more >>

June 23, 2014 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Differentiating your childcare center when marketing isn’t your expertise

As an administrator of an early childhood organization you are likely an expert in early learning, not marketing. So how can you increase your center’s visibility without spending thousands?

Making your center stand out can be the difference between a waiting list and half empty classrooms. However, many childcare operators don’t have experience in marketing, which can make the task seem daunting. Here are some tips to get you started with some affordable DIY tactics... Read more >>

May 30, 2014 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Education on cyber safety paramount in digital age

For parents today, the safety and security of their children’s information should be of utmost concern. While there are numerous benefits for both parents and early years educators to documenting children’s information digitally and storing information in the cloud, for example, it is important to be educated on how this transition should be managed to protect children’s identities and keep them safe from predators.

In the context of early years education, the storage and sharing of digital information primarily relates to how children’s records, photos, and videos are communicated to parents. In a digital context, I have found early years programs traditionally provide this information through either publicly open websites or social media sites, or through a password-protected website or private social media network... Read more >>

April 20, 2014 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Choosing the right tablet for your child care and early learning programs

With so many tablets available in the market it can be difficult to choose the one that’s right for you and your programs. However, with an understanding of the early childhood setting, you can focus in on the requirements that are most important in this environment.

The three most important considerations for a tablet operated by early childhood educators are size, battery life and camera specifications. The operating system of the device and price are other key factors that should inform your decision.

When it comes to the size of the tablet, you should prioritize portability over increased screen real estate. Larger tablets are better suited for watching movies and playing games, whereas smaller tablets will be lighter and easier to carry around. One thing I personally like about the smaller tablets is that you can type using your thumbs, similar to a smartphone. A small tablet screen is typically considered to be in the range of 7 to 8.5 inches... Read more >>

March 22, 2014 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

If you provide individualized attention, then you should provide individualized communications

Many progressive child care and early learning programs have a philosophy of providing every child with individualized attention. These programs recognize that every child develops in their own unique way. However, most of these programs have not yet aligned their communications to match this philosophy, most often using traditional communication methods.

Traditional communication methods that I see in programs often include monthly newsletters and calendars, online galleries with children's pictures, and postings of activities and projects in the center. While many of these communication methods are beneficial, most do not align with the philosophy of recognizing each child’s unique development, instead summarizing activities and outputs more widely at the class or the center level... Read more >>

January 24, 2014 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Webcams can create a stressful environment; why HiMama is different

If you work in the field of child care and early learning then you are likely aware of webcam technology which has been available for a number of years now. Some daycares have these live-streaming webcams installed in their classrooms so that parents can monitor their children from their home or office. It is meant to be especially beneficial for new parents to a center.

As HiMama is a very new innovation with video capability, it is not uncommon to ask what the difference is between HiMama technology and webcam technology. The quick answer is that they are very different, but we’ve done our best to attempt to highlight some of the key differences... Read more >>

December 12, 2013 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Smartphones are an increasingly important communication tool for today's parents

It is estimated that there are now more mobile devices on Earth than there are people. The adoption of smartphones across the world is increasing at an incredibly fast rate and an increasing number of working mothers and fathers are getting their information from these mobile devices on the go. They are used for communicating through texting, messaging apps and social media, as well as receiving and processing information with web browsing and various other apps.

Increased smartphone penetration and utilization has made it a primary communication channel for many parents and, as a result, it is now one of the most effective ways to provide parents with instant communications... Read more >>

November 25, 2013 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

Why visual learning through developmental observations is important

In our report on Documentation in the Early Childhood Setting, centers we spoke with indicated that completing daily sheets for children was their most time-consuming source of documentation which is why our launch product focused on making this process easier. However, directors also told us that documenting observations of children's development was critical, but almost equally time-consuming.

To address this challenge, we have added into our product the ability to record developmental observations with photos and videos and align these observations with skills from a relevant framework for tracking child growth and development. With this capability, you can now interact with your children and document their experiences while also educating parents on their development... Read more >>

September 30, 2013 | Ron Spreeuwenberg

HiMama report on Documentation in the Early Childhood Setting released

After dozens of interviews with childcare centers and early learning programs, HiMama is pleased to release their report on Documentation in the Early Childhood Setting.

Of all the issues that childcare centers are facing, documentation and paperwork were in the top three issues that were top-of-mind for childcare directors. This was not an overly surprising finding given the inefficiencies embedded in current processes. To put it in perspective, a center of 60 children will spend the equivalent of one full-time staff per year just on children’s documentation... Read more >>