As part of The Season of Sharing, the annual Christmas Toy Drive will be taking place as Pebbles and Piaget—at both the Vancouver and Langley daycare locations. As an ECE school and daycare, we offer a thematically diverse curriculum that paves the steppingstones for learning across all areas of early childhood development—this includes literacy, creativity, and critical thinking, as well as social and interpersonal abilities.
Learning to share is part of the childhood development process. For our youngest students, sharing can be difficult. Parallel play is considered normal for babies and students younger than two years. Children start by playing beside or around each other rather than interacting. As little ones grow and become more self-aware, a little selfishness is normal. In many cases, phrases such as mine and I’ll do it myself are the earliest words a toddler learns. As pioneers in early childhood education, one of the best ways to raise caring, sharing children is by role modelling the behaviours we wish to nurture.
Sharing is about empathy. It’s an essential skill because it feeds into skills like how to make friends, keep friends, take turns, play cooperatively, and even cope with disappointment. Most children don’t start to develop genuine empathy until around the age of six. A two-year-old does not possess enough awareness to share—they care about their possessions and their feelings. However, when teachers and parents model awareness and sharing behaviours, an indifferent two-year-old can still become a kind and generous three or four-year-old.
Sharing and empathy is a balancing act—and it’s important not to force the issue. The act of sharing must be balanced with respect for other people’s feelings and property, as well as individual feelings. Sometimes saying no is important. Asking a child to share a prized toy or possession may seem trivial, but for a child, it may feel like they’re sacrificing their whole world or even an important part of their identity.
Children with lots of siblings often feel extra protective about toys and possessions. If one or two possessions are extra special, then feelings should be respected. For example, families may have individual toys that belong to each child and communal toys that belong to everyone. For playdates, ask which toys a child feels comfortable sharing and put special toys away. Occasionally, playing referee may be necessary, i.e., that’s Donald’s special toy. You may play with it when he’s ready to share. However, this one belongs to the whole family.
As instructors and caregivers, we make sharing shine by role-modelling the behaviours we encourage in our students. Kids on the receiving end of generosity tend to be more kind—and we present many opportunities to develop these social skills through periods of interaction and purposeful play. The earliest expressions can be as simple as sharing a pretty crayon or a bit of glue. Self-directed learning—the requests and negotiations between students—are powerful lessons for little ones learning how to function in a group. As licensed caregivers and instructors, we guide these interactions, gradually fostering traits like fairness, honesty, generosity, and sensitivity.
The Season of Sharing Toy Drive is an excellent opportunity to teach about generosity and kindness. Explain the concept and ask little ones about their opinion on a gift—do you think we should get the red or blue truck? At Pebbles & Piaget Early Learning, we believe in planting the seed to share and help others early on. As such, both our in Vancouver and Langley daycare locations will be participating in our local toy drives this year. Kingsway will be supporting Fire Fighters Toys for Kids & Walnut Grove will be supporting the Langley Christmas Bureau.
Join us in support by donating a new, unwrapped toy to make the holidays memorable for less privileged children in our communities—and help our little ones learn about generosity and sharing in the process.
Drop off donations between Nov 14th and Dec 5th at tat both the Vancouver and Langley daycare locations during office hours.