Thursday, July 28, 2016
Fashion has taken on a breezy vibe. Whether decked in muscle shirts and camo shorts or flowing dresses, the trend has moved to minimalist, feather light.
The pace on clogged urban streets has a lethargy to it, despite the pressures of the working world. Clambering out of offices, faces lift to the sky for a brief sunlight kiss. Workdays end with lazy evenings of cool drinks on patios and decks.
As we are deep in the dog days of summer, celebrating with passion in our hearts and caution in our actions, it's difficult to believe that within a few short weeks it will be back to school for students in this corner of the world. Though autumn's official arrival is a long way off, once kids return to classrooms and universities, we begin to think in terms of shorter, less lazy days. The weather seems to understand this too, as the heat and humidity dissipate, stopping by only for intermittent interludes to remind us there are still a few golden days remaining.
In the domain ruled by those working in advertising and promotions, however, the time to start thinking about this is now. For the past few months, marketing campaigns have been challenged to inspire people to leave the sunshine and shop. With the exception of summer sporting goods, camping gear, swimwear and flimsy fashions, which are purchased out of necessity and usually done so in quick stops, people are reluctant to hide indoors on brilliant summer days.
This changes as parents prepare their youngsters for back to school. Teachers too are busy getting supplies for the coming year. While they might not be hitting the shops just yet, they are certainly starting to think about it.
It's been a while, but I still remember the annual outings to the mall with my four kids. Usually taken sometime in mid-August, we arrived with a list prepared over the previous few weeks. Particular attention was paid to what school supplies were required for that year, and of course, new clothes. Fall fashions had been dragged out of summer storage and mini fashion shows staged, resulting in the need for an essentially new wardrobe as the growth spurts of a young family can be relentless.
Away from home, working for a community newspaper, I had a front-row seat for the scurrying of the advertising department as they switched their creativity to back-to-school promotions, while still sweltering in summer's heat. As staff returned from lazy vacations at cottage country and campgrounds, sharing stories of bonfires and mosquitoes, pools and beaches, ad reps' thoughts were all about classroom materials and autumn fashion.
They pored over clipart, flipping past the fun-in-the-sun images they had spent so much time with the previous few weeks, to find images of reading, writing and arithmetic, of teachers and classrooms, of falling leaves and school bells. While once upon a time, these were accessed in weighty books, that littered the production room and light tables, the internet eventually became their resource. The online subscription graphics service, iCLIPART.com has a wonderful collection of ad starters for all types of promotions. Here's a link to some perfect for education promotions, including back-to-school:
iCLIPART.com Education Ad Starters
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
The late comedian Bob Hope perhaps wasn't being entirely hyperbolic here. After years of providing entertainment at home and abroad; his USO shows brought a little joy to troops fighting overseas; he passed away just a few months past his 100th birthday. He was a role model to many proving that it's the blessings attained over years of life to be celebrated, not the years themselves.
I don't perhaps live with the same exuberance as Hope, but I've never been intimidated by the number of candles on the cake. I've always been a firm believer that regardless of age, birthdays are exalted events. This is, after all, the day when you began.
And it's certainly not just ourselves we love to celebrate. The people close to us matter, so why wouldn't we want to pay extra attention in a thankful way to the day that they came into this world?
I never missed my parent's birthdays; I call my siblings on theirs. From their first birthday to present day I have made it my goal to find a way to celebrate with my children, to let them know more than ever how special they are to me. My husband and I have a tradition for each of our special days, a ritual that is sacrosanct, that has been followed on every birthday for the close to 40 years we've known each other.
Of course, this is not to say that some birthdays aren't a bigger deal than others. While we tend to put the most effort into milestones as we get older, the newest people to this world are the stars each and every year. The light in a little one's eyes as they spy a bouquet of colourful balloons floating magically in the air is itself enchanting. There is no more charm to be found than in a child's smile when the cake with the glow of a few candles gracing the top, comes their way. There is no better life to be celebrated than one with all of its innocence and wonder.
Today marks our beautiful little granddaughter's fourth and the weekend will be all that she deserves. She will be gifted and feted, surrounded by the love and adoration of her extended family. It will be her day and no others.
As I think of our little sunshine and her party, I'm looking forward to celebrating with her. To see such delight in simple things, to know that all that matters to her is what's making her smile at the moment, are excellent reminders that the passing years have maybe taken away some of that gratitude and joy. To refresh that memory here's a collection of photos of little birthday celebrants:
iPHOTOS.com Children's Birthday Photos
Clipart.com Children's Birthday Photos
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
These words were written by Vicki Palmer, educator and founder of TicTacTeach.com, in discussing the key benefits of early childhood education. In this particular blog she goes on to say that study after study has proven ECE has a tremendous impact on life outcomes.
That certainly comes as no surprise to me. In my decades as mother and now grandmother I have seen first hand what education can mean to a child during their formative years. Trained early childhood educators unquestionably enrich the lives of little ones through learning.
I have just returned back to work from a not especially restful, but very entertaining vacation. With my daughter and her husband taking a little mini-break, I was called in to enjoy the company of my grandchildren, a four-year-old girl and her two-year-old brother.
When the plan was first put into place, it admittedly raised some mixed feelings. That these two darlings own a good portion of my heart, that spending time with them is one of my favourite things to do are indisputable facts. However, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little apprehensive about four full days with the dynamic duo. While I try to maintain a certain level of fitness, I know I'm no match for the boundless energy of a toddler and preschooler.
Any concerns were assuaged, though, when my girl told me there would be respite. Since she operates a home daycare she had hired another registered ECE to tend to her charges for two days during the week. This meant a bit of down time for Grandma as Little Missy and Mister would be eager to be downstairs with their friends.
And with the exception of a few minutes here and there when they popped their adorable faces in to check up on me, this was most definitely the case. For most of Thursday and Friday I had plenty of time to recharge. I went on a little shopping adventure, lazed on the front porch with a book and took a walk in the countryside.
What I also had the opportunity to do, was listen to the interaction and activity taking place in the daycare. Through creative play, imaginative projects, music, song and exercise a room full of youngsters were, like sponges, absorbing experiences, words and behaviours. They were encouraged to try, to explore, to move. They were directed in social practises, in teamwork and manners.
A qualified ECE is far more than a babysitter. They are as important to a child's education as any elementary or secondary school teacher, if not more. So, to celebrate these nurturers of young mind here are some terrific photos:
iPHOTOS.com Daycare Photos