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A Magnetic Calendar that features all the pieces you need to help your child keep track of days, dates, months, the weather and the season. The Calendar measures 44.5cm in width by 35.5cm in height.
The use of a Magnetic Calendar, rather than a paper calendar, allows it to act as a perpetual calendar. That is, it can be reused for multiple years rather than being replaced every year like a paper calendar. This might seem like a small act in the scope of sustainable practices but it is important that we start encouraging our children to view every little contribution as a worthwhile step to take. In a classroom context, this can help to show a school's commitment to embedding sustainable practices into their program and encouraging children to engage in eco-friendly actions.
I particularly like this Calendar (out of the many that i considered) because of it's clear layout. It is arranged in a way that is visually orderly. It is colourful and fun without being overwhelming. Care has been taken to ensure that the colours of the months correspond to the colours of the seasons.
Calendars can help to encourage children to observe and identify a sense of order in life. In a practical sense it allows the child to begin absorbing the patterns and rhythms of their routines.
The use of a Calendar in the early childhood stage also helps to promote useful literacy and numeracy skills relating to the passage of time. The child can learn the names of the days of the week - and count that there are 7 - the child can learn the months of the year - and count that there are 12. The child can learn the seasons and identify that there are 4 of them, with each season corresponding to 3 months...or, to put it mathematically, 4 x 3 = 12 or 12 / 4 = 3! Putting together the single numerals to create dates also helps to provide counting skills in terms of both 'rote counting' (for instance as the adult prompts - "Yesterday was the 11th day, so let's count and find out what comes after 11. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11....") and in terms of numeral recognition ("To make '12' we will need number '1' and then number '2'").
Calendars can, in my opinion, also help the child to feel a sense of empowerment and self-esteem. Tracking the changes in days, months or seasons can help a child to feel that life is just not inexplicably happening "to" the child, but that it is something that the child is actively engaged in and can feel in-control of.
I have personally seen this having a positive impact on a child's external behaviour as well as their internal feelings. The child feels aware of, prepared for and in control of his/her activities so that there is less resistance to these routines. When children resist activities (such as "I don't want to go to swimming today!!") it can sometimes be due to the child being taken by surprise by the adult seemingly arbitrarily announcing this task. The use of a calendar, like this one, can help the child to absorb the routines and therefore to anticipate each task. The child who anticipates the task feels prepared for it, and in-control of it, and so there is less need to try to assert control by saying 'no'! This sense of supporting the child's right to feel in-control of his/her activities can be enhanced by adding specific activity cards* (see below for more details!).
*The top, right-hand corner of the Calendar does not hold a specific piece of information (other than the brand's logo!). So I find that this is the ideal spot to add your own personal touch! You can create your own cards that represent activities, events or elements of your child's routine. For instance, you might make cards to represent your child's day(s) at Montessori, swimming classes, time with grandparents and so forth. The cards I've used in my example measure 7cm by 5cm to fit comfortably in that space. I have decorated mine with photographs as well as some text to describe the activity - but you could make your cards any way you like! Your child could draw pictures to illustrate the activities, or you could use real photographs or simple symbols. You can attach a strip of magnetic tape to the back of the activity cards (preferably after laminating them for durability). Adding these individual activities to the Calendar help to create a more personalised feel and enhance the child's opportunities to take ownership over his/her routines. In a classroom context you could use this space for any routines and/or special events that occur during the school week.
The Magnetic Calendar arrives with an attached handle so that you can hang it from a hook. I tend to use '3M' removable hooks as these can be changed according to the child's height and can be moved to different locations if you tweak the prepared environment. (Hooks not included).