We are proud to present Highview Wilson Daycare Centre, our Client Spotlight! Highview Wilson is a non-profit organization in Toronto, located inside Highview Wilson Public School. They provide high-quality care and an inclusive learning environment for all children. The childcare centre is licensed by the ministry of education and inspected by the city.
Highview Wilson Childcare follows a play-based emergent curriculum, allowing children to grow and develop by cultivating their interests and talents. One of the main goals is to create an environment where learners can reach their full potential by learning through trial and error and creative exploration.
Playocity has been partnering with Highview Wilson as one of their extracurricular programming facilitators, and It’s been an absolute pleasure. As an organization, we feel that we have a lot in common with our client spotlight, especially when it comes to the overall educational approach and philosophy.
We believe that children learn best when they have opportunities to explore and express themselves through play, and that’s exactly the kind of environment that Highview Wilson has created for their learners.
Highview’s experienced teachers understand that learning and development are not just about teaching children facts and figures, but rather helping them reach their full potential while enjoying the process. To do this, they create individualized activities that allow chilcren to explore topics they are passionate about while still developing essential skills.
Highview Wilson Daycare Centre is truly a fantastic facility where kids can learn and grow in an enjoyable environment and we look forward to continuing this amazing collaboration!
Mood-boosting activities can do wonders for you and your students’ overall well-being. Aside from elevating your mood, these activities offer plenty of other benefits, such as reducing stress, nurturing cognitive skills, and promoting values like responsibility and teamwork. We’re sharing our favourite 10 mood-boosting activities you can introduce in your classroom.
Music can be used as a powerful tool to reinvigorate your students when they’re feeling a bit flat. It can also be a source of inspiration for them, as well as a tool for emotional support. Moreover, listening to music has a host of benefits. It can reduce stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and enhance mental alertness. Ask your students what songs they like listening to and use their suggestions to create a unique playlist for the classroom. You can also encourage your students to get up and dance, as movement can be one way for them to process what they’re feeling. If you’re feeling a bit low yourself, you may want to join in on the fun and experience the power of music.
It might sound like a cliché, but laughter is indeed the best medicine and offers several short- and long-term benefits. A good laugh can help ease tension and stress as it can lower cortisol levels, helping you and your students feel more relaxed. Moreover, laughter improves your endorphin levels, giving your mood an instant boost.
You can start by cracking a joke or two to break the ice. You can give your students a heads-up that they’ll be asked to share their favourite jokes, or you can do it spontaneously to get the ball rolling.
Engaging in physical activity promotes better physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It can improve cognitive function and sleep, as well as reduce anxiety and depression. It can also help you and your students manage stress. The thing is everyone has different thresholds for physical activities. But there is some good news—you don’t need to engage in strenuous exercises to reap the benefits of physical activity. You can do something as simple as stretching, dancing, jumping, or playing indoor ball games.
Practicing mindfulness brings in a lot of benefits. It can improve not just your physical and mental health but also your overall well-being. Regular mindfulness practice can help reduce stress and hone our capacity to be aware and observant.
One of the most common myths about mindfulness and mindfulness exercises is that they’re only for adults. The good news is anyone can practice mindfulness, even kids. Plus, there are many ways to practice it. You can ask your students to sit down, stand, or move around. The key to mindfulness practice is paying attention and being present in the moment.
If you can, schedule a regular nature walk for your class. Being in nature and breathing fresh air can elevate your mood and give your energy levels a boost. It can also help reduce stress and promote better sleep. Plus, you can do it for free. Check your local area to see if there are any parks that you and your class can visit.
Gardening is a great mood-boosting activity that can easily be done in the classroom. It can reduce stress, help with fine motor development, especially if you’re with younger children, and it teaches them early on about responsibility and patience. It’s also a wonderful way for kids to use all their five senses. Plus, a classroom garden doubles as a teaching tool. As you plant, you can teach your students about how plants grow or what they need to thrive.
Classroom pets not only promote curiosity and learning but also help improve children’s self-esteem and teach them about responsibility. Moreover, class pets can provide richer experiences in the classroom for young learners and gives them something to look forward to when they go to school. Lastly, having a classroom pet can help enhance the well-being of your students and become a great alternative to screen time. Pets can relieve stress, offer emotional support, and enable students to feel more at ease.
Reading is always a welcome activity, whether it’s at home or in the classroom. It supports the development of students’ critical and analytical thinking skills, improves their self-esteem, and nurtures their imagination. Reading can also do wonders for your mental health. It can help reduce stress and give your students a way to cope with daily stressors, making reading an excellent mood-boosting activity.
Allot a specific schedule or time for reading, such as making it a weekly or monthly activity. Set up your classroom to make it more conducive for reading, like bringing pillows or blankets. You can also ask your students to bring some snacks.
Group activities like art projects give children the opportunity to learn about cooperation and teamwork. Moreover, art and art education are powerful tools for learning, self-expression, and creativity. It can relieve stress, keep students engaged, and make them feel excited. After all, isn’t it exciting to see your ideas come to life? Moreover, learning how to make or appreciate art can help young learners become happier.
Unstructured play allows your students to simply have fun while squeezing in some physical activity. In unstructured play, they can run around or dance to some of their favourite tunes. This not only gives them a sense of freedom, as structured play can feel a bit limiting sometimes, but it also helps elevate their mood.
Aside from introducing these activities, you can go a step further and create your own mood tracker for the classroom. Your students can select colours or icons like emojis that represent their mood. This way, you and your students can monitor the state of their mental health regularly. A mood tracker will also let you see any progress or fluctuations, allowing you to take the appropriate action to help your students effectively manage their moods.
We are thrilled to introduce Keelmount Day Care Centre – our amazing Featured Client. Established in 1983, Keelmount Day Care Centre is a licensed daycare located in Keele Street Public School (Toronto, Ontario). They are a non-profit, community-based daycare that caters to children from 18 months to 12 years of age. Playocity has been partnering with Keelmount Day Care for several years by facilitating extracurricular programs for its learners. It’s been such a pleasure watching their students grow and flourish year after year.
At Keelmount, the children learn through play-based activities and hands-on experiences. They also benefit from daily physical exercise, which helps them develop healthy habits and social skills that will serve them well in life. Keelmount’s management and staff are truly dedicated to creating a fun, nurturing, and stimulating learning environment and we feel incredibly proud to have been part of that journey!
Keelmount Day Care believes that active play encourages exploration and inquiry and helps maximize a child’s success. This allows children to meet their needs for acceptance, affection, and approval. Children gain a strong sense of self-esteem and social competence through hands-on experience in a safe and supportive environment that respects individual needs, cultures, diversity, and preferences.
“Our goals are to encourage positive self-concepts in each child as well as to build resilience through co-operation and self-regulation. Each child naturally learns and flourishes when they belong, when they are engaged, when they are free to express themselves, and when their wellbeing is addressed.”
Last summer, we had the opportunity to work with BronxWorks for its Summer Rising Initiative. This was a fantastic collaboration that allowed us to provide enrichment programming for kids in New York. The program was a huge success, having had more than 500 participants from various elementary and middle schools in the Bronx community.
We at Playocity are beyond proud and honored to have shown our support for this initiative by providing acting and dance workshops to the learners. Through our carefully curated workshops, participants were able to learn and hone their acting and improv skills, giving them more room for self-expression and creativity.
We believe in every child’s innate need to play, which is why we’re focused on creating unique enrichment programs that tap into that spirit of creative play and learning. The Summer Rising Initiative allowed us to share our play-based, engaging classes with young learners while nurturing their mental and physical well-being.
BronxWorks’ 2022 summer programming kicked into full gear with programs such as the Summer Rising Initiative, summer camps, Cornerstone Programming, and Summer Youth Employment Program.
The six-week program was free for elementary and middle school participants and offered a variety of activities that aimed to develop different learning aspects and abilities.
Aside from our acting and dance workshops, BronxWorks’ Summer Rising Initiative offered a varied roster of activities that were made possible through partnerships with different organizations. Participants learned about engineering and architecture with the help of the Salvadori Center. This contributed to enhancing the initiative’s STEM program through lessons and projects that highlighted the significance of math, science, and the arts. The STEM component of the program culminated with a STEM Expo that gathered all the participants from BronxWorks’ other summer programs.
SNAP-Ed Educators from BronxWorks carried out nutrition and fitness programs, which were complemented by a hands-on culinary program called Teen Battle Chef (TBC). Learners also had the opportunity to learn from officers from the NYPD 40th precinct through the Bigs in Blue partnership, where they were mentored by officers on an array of important topics.
BronxWorks also worked with its Children & Youth and Older Adult Services Department, bringing together different generations of participants to create and strengthen their bonds through activities like gardening, cooking, and arts and crafts.
The initiative offered a balance between indoor learning and outdoor activities. Participants were able to learn about how to bike safely in an urban setting thanks to Bike NYC. They were also introduced to the joys of tennis by Gotham Tennis, which offered a scholarship to one student, allowing them to continue their lessons.
Summer participants enjoyed a diverse array of field trips. They visited Coney Island, the Central Park Zoo, the New York Aquarium, and the Museum of Natural History, among many other entertaining and educational locations. The children also had the opportunity to venture into the woods. This experience enabled them to learn critical outdoor skills like orienteering and other wilderness skills. This was made possible through BronxWorks’ partnership with the NYC Parks Department.
Participants included students from X149 Bronx Preparatory School, PS 42, and PS 130. The activities were divided into two sessions. During the morning sessions, learners received academic support from DOE-certified educators, while the afternoon sessions were steeped in enrichment activities that were facilitated by the BronxWorks staff.
Including BronxWorks’ other summer programming activities, the organization was able to reach out to a total of more than 800 participants.
BronxWorks has been offering programs and services aimed at helping individuals and families achieve better economic and social well-being since 1972. The organization works with a diverse group of individuals from the Bronx, from toddlers to seniors, to enrich and strengthen this vibrant community. Some of the services that BronxWorks offers include Education and Youth Development, Health and Wellness, and Workforce Development.
We are delighted and grateful to have partnered with such an impactful organization. We were able to create memorable experiences and had such a great time working with the BronxWorks staff and learners. Our dedicated team of educators was able to share their decades of experience in the field, bringing their expertise to BronxWorks’ Summer Rising Initiative.
We at Playocity are also excited to share with you some good news. We’re taking our partnership with BronxWorks to the next level by continuing to work with them into the school year! We’ve started several programs in different locations, offering enrichment programming for kids in New York through weekly Acting and Dance classes. We’ll be working with young learners from kindergarten to Grade 5.
Our enrichment programs cover a rich selection of topics with the goal of cultivating social and transferable skills in all our students. We want to help our students become more confident and inspire them to become community leaders. Through our thoughtfully designed programs, we aim to promote not only inclusivity and diversity but also multiculturalism.
Our programs have lesson plans that are created in-house by our team of educators. We’ve designed our activities to help enhance our learners’ mental and physical wellness by adding an element of creative play. Our edutainment specialists come from diverse backgrounds and have extensive experience in fields like theatre and film. Their years of experience have given them the knowledge and skills necessary for creating and facilitating classes that not only educate but also empower and inspire learners of all ages.
We believe that through this partnership, we will be better able to help communities and chart a path for more innovative, play-based learning.
Aside from our partnership with BronxWorks, we also work with a diverse range of private and public schools, organizations, daycares, and community centers. Some of our programs include The Art of Nature, Hip Hop 101, and Creative Writing. Learn more about our enrichment programs and discover how we can help you nurture a healthier and more creative future.
Alanna and Alena, the co-founders and owners of Playocity, are currently participating in the Early Stage program facilitated by the Parkdale Centre of Innovation. Playocity is a women-led start-up company that was created in the midst of a pandemic. It is not an easy journey, especially during the current circumstance, so the opportunity to join the incubator could not present itself at a better time.
Parkdale Centre is a non-profit Incubator & Accelerator that was created to fill the accessibility and inclusivity gap to innovation, tech, and entrepreneurship, especially for underrepresented groups: women, newcomers, and those from low-income backgrounds. Playocity is honored to be a part of The Early Stage Program that supports entrepreneurs with a focus on preparing for user growth, team growth, revenue growth, and fundraising.
“We are so grateful for this opportunity to be a part of the Early Stage program and Parkdale Centre of Innovation ecosystem. It is very refreshing and inspiring to be able to learn and grow alongside like-minded individuals, entrepreneurs, and leaders, hear their stories, share ours, and just feel the support and encouragement from a group where everyone gets it – all the joys and challenges of running your own business.”
“For me, the Parkdale Program has been a fundamental part of my journey as a business owner in an ever-changing landscape. I think it is really wonderful to know that despite the pandemic, Parkdale Centre has continued to support innovation, create a non-judgmental space, and help business owners from a variety of industries.
A feeling of togetherness is of utmost importance right now – and you can feel that if you are part of the incubator program. Knowing that others are in the process of creating their own paths and dealing with similar challenges, can be very useful, and listening to the stories of others is comforting and uplifting. I think that the fusion of this type of environment with business basics is a fantastic way to retain important information that is essential to, I think, everyone’s success.”
An education in the arts empowers children and youth in so many important ways. It encourages self-expression, curiosity, innovation … and, of course, creativity. Now more than ever, this world needs creative thinkers. We need people who can imagine beautiful and radical possibilities for our future, and who have the courage to manifest those possibilities in the world around them: through song, dance, images, and through the relationships they forge with their peers. I look forward to helping my students cultivate these skills, so that they can move forward into this challenging year with hope, confidence, and kindness. – Mirka Loiselle
Thinking back to my school years, the happiest and most exciting memories are not associated with studying a multiplication table, or writing endless chemical equations. It’s the priceless experiences and discoveries born in the playground. It’s all the valuable lessons learned while making DIY costumes for a talent show, rehearsing choreography, or creating props for a school play. Today, more than ever, children need more opportunities to connect, collaborate, and have a feeling of togetherness. I believe our programs can help make a difference. Participation in fitness based activities and creative discovery will ultimately help kids to be more emotionally resilient and deal with many challenges they are faced with today. – Alena Tuchina
As adults, we are responding to this pandemic differently. Some of us with courage and compassion, and others with reasonable fear. I’m curious about what kids are thinking. If we can unearth their inner thoughts, we can help the next generation of leaders to become aware of uncertainty, and to respond with strength. Lively debates, “what if” scenarios, and multiple perspectives can foster empathy. Let’s give little humans an opportunity to have many thoughtful conversations about our current realities. – Orchid Chen
Extra-curricular programs and the arts are the reason I am the person I am today. As a professional dancer, I have realized through the pandemic that no matter where I am – I need to dance. Whether in my living room, an empty yet spacious Wal-Mart parking lot or a studio, dance is my fuel. It has been the bright spot in my day for the six months and having a moment to connect with other dancers sharing that same need for joy gives me so much energy. I have been fortunate enough to dance across the world and if there’s one thing I know, it’s that dance is a universal language that connects us all. It’s organizations like Playocity that we need more than ever right now, wherever you may find yourself. – Bailey Woodman