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MEGA gift for Concordia kids

Department of Education grateful for support of its Observation Nursery
May 14, 2014
By Louise Morgan

The fun factor was increased for preschoolers at Concordia’s Observation Nursery, thanks to a gift from a Montreal-based toy manufacturer.

“We thank MEGA Brands for their very generous donation of construction toys, games and puzzles. The kids love them!” says Fiona Rowlands, head teacher at the Observation Nursery.

Fiona Rowlands (left), head teacher at the Department of Education’s Observation Nursery, Anneke Schuddeboom (right), teacher, and the children showcase toys donated by MEGA Brands | Photo credit: Concordia University

Part of Concordia’s Department of Education, the Observation Nursery is a model school that embeds learning into play — and provides a living lab for student teachers in the Early Childhood Education program.

The nursery provides a secure, nurturing environment full of interesting, stimulating materials for kids to explore, with a building-blocks corner, reading nook, arts and crafts area, climbing structure and more.

Future teachers learn by observing the children through one-way, mirrored glass and by engaging with parents, required to attend and participate in a weekly discussion group.

“Through creative activities and peer interaction, learning comes naturally, feels more relevant and less stressful than a structured lesson,” explains Rowlands. "It's a fairly unique environment as there are not many play-based programs which allow parents to observe and participate."

Each child is recognized as a unique individual with particular needs, desires and abilities. The program builds children’s sense of identity and independence, encouraging them to making their own decisions about what to play with and when.

The nursery will expand in 2015, when it moves to new digs on two floors of the Grey Nuns Annex. For the first time, the nursery will include an outdoor playground and additional space to welcome families. Now in the J.W. McConnell Building, the facility was established in the 1960s in the Henry F. Hall Building.

“We look forward to offering an even better learning environment for the children and our student teachers,” says Rowlands. 

Parents interested in enrolling their children may contact Harriet Petrakos.   

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