brillante.design brillante.design

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Alana // Educator + Consultant  ArTfUl TeAcHiNg. jOyFul LeArNinG. ⌂ designing playful environments + experiences for kids. ⤖ education | consulting | design services

Whether you are a homeschooler, school teacher or early childhood educator, there is power in “less is more.” A child’s play space gets more mileage when there is LESS to choose from. And the more open-ended the toys + materials, the more opportunities for your child to use her imagination. When a child is met with a new toy, the first question is “what can this toy do?” The next question - and most important - is when the child asks, “what can I do with this toy?” .
When a toys does lots of stuff (flashes, plays music, buzzes or moves...) there is less opportunity for your child to re-imagine. The toy already has a purpose. It’s purpose has been decided for the child.
Now, let me be clear: we still have our share of Barbies, Barbie trailers, cars and the like. But more and more we’re opting for loose parts, blocks and nature objects, because their possibilities are limitless.
I remember hearing @roseandrex founder and fellow educator Allie one day: “the more the toy does, the less your child has to do.” I love this so much, and it really has me thinking about the things we bring into the home and the gifts we buy for other children.

What are some of YOUR favourite “non-toys” and how do your kids use them? Please share! 👇🏻
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Photo: @b2photography
#homeschool #earlylearning #looseparts #playroom #classroomenvironment #teachersofinstagram #earlychildhoodeducation #earlyyears #motherhoodunplugged #childhoodunplugged #wildandfreechildren #learningathome #reggioinspired #openendedplay #earlylearningtoys #earlylearning101 #reggiokids #playroominspo #teachermom #thetoddleryears #thebigkidyears #dailyparenting #toyorganization

On rainy days at the lake...one of our favourite activities is LOOK+FIND books. This is one the best ones I’ve found in a while. It’s a kind of “spot the differences” book, and great for beginning readers to discern different colours and shapes {one of the first early strategies in reading!}
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I’ve been in and out of Instagram the last few weeks, soaking up summer with our littles, and working on the sidelines on a special project designed for Early Years teachers and homeschoolers. I’m so excited to share, and think you’re going to love it! .
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#learningathome #earlyyears #reggioinspired #raisingcreativekids #wildandfreechildren #dailyparenting #summeractivities #activitiesfortoddlers #letthemexplore #letthemplay #earlylearning #learningthroughplay #homeschool #teachingkids #earlychildhoodeducation #earlychildhoodlearning #booksforkids #kidlit #motherhoodunplugged #childhoodunplugged #artsed

B E A C H • P E B B L E S .
If you’re headed to the lake wave 🌊 this long weekend, pick up a few beach pebbles for this literacy invitation!
Making words: The first word a child recognizes is her name. Family members’ names come next. A fun invitation is to build names (using a capital letter to start), with beach pebbles. I used a chalk marker to print uppercase and lowercase letters in stones, and the girls practiced building each other’s names.
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Although our girls are headed to the lake this weekend, my husband and I are in Operation: Purge mode. Basement, closets and garage! The things that are impossible to get to with littles around. How about you? What are your long weekend plans?
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#raisingcreativekids #homeschoolcollective #sahmlife #dailyparenting #summeractivities #playmatters #playroominspo #magicalchildhood #letthembekids #playfullearning #learningthroughplay #wildandfreechildren #creativekids #playideasforkids #motherhoodsimplified #literacymatters #spelling #beachpebbles #wildandfreechildren

Last day of school!
Last year’s teacher gift was this sweet teacup garden, but this year, we opted for books. We chose “What do you do with an Idea” and “Malaya’s Magic Pencil.” I absolutely love receiving beautiful children’s books, and know they will be cherished in their classroom libraries. Too often, teachers spend their own money on books for their students (books are expensive!) I hope every time they read those books, they will think of our girls fondly as their students. .
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#schoolsout #summerbreak #teachergift #learningthroughplay #raisingcreativekids #booksforkids #classroomlibrary #teachersofinstagram #teachergifts #ohheymama #schooldays #creativekids#preschooler #sahm #earlychildhood
#childhoodunplugged #earlyyears #kindergarten#preschoolteacher #motherhoodunplugged#ece #unitedinmotherhood #mytinymoments

This time of year, when the river levels have receded, I take the girls on a nature walk to collect driftwood. These nature walks ALWAYS turn up so much more than driftwood, and often lead us down rich, divergent learning paths. We find dens, beaver dams, nests and even fur. The questions and discoveries that come out of these walks are so wonderful, and I love that they are so in the moment, appreciating nature for all its wonder.
Yesterday, I published a post around the five creative projects our girls have done using driftwood.
Link in profile.
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.#homeschool #learningathome #teachermom #creativekids #natureart #wildandfree

B L O G post - 5 Creative Ways to use Driftwood this Summer.
I’m sharing five of my favourite projects for kids with one of my favourite art materials: DRIFTWOOD. I’m also sharing how to weave learning concepts into these creative projects - projects you’ll want to keep forever, perfect for teachers and homeschooling mamas. Link in profile.
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#winnipeg #artforkids #kidsdiy#creativekids #reggioinspired#earlylearning101 #creativemama#kidsactitivites #makermama #creativefun#creativeplay #kidscreate #kidsart#rockinartmoms #creativetable#artforpreschoolers #preschoollearning#kindergarten #inquiry
#earlylearning#learningthroughplay

D R I F T W O O D !
One of my favourite art materials of all time - beautifully organic, and requires a good-old fashioned nature walk to find some {which inevitably leads kids to further curiosities + investigation...} Today, I’m sharing 5 Creative Ways to Use Driftwood this Summer on the blog {link in profile}. On a side/note... I’ve been taking some time from posting for a while.
MOTHERHOOD x ENTREPRENEURSHIP {+ heart + hustle + rejection} = heartache, hard days and lots of tears.
I’ve needed to take some time to remind myself that, “nothing in nature blooms all year long, so don’t expect yourself to do so either.” It’s okay to take a break, to re-evaluate, to look deeply within.

I want to thank all my dear friends and family - on and off this platform - for their love and support through this challenging time of the ups and many downs lately. You are so much appreciated and loved.
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If you live in Winnipeg, and would like to know the *best* driftwood spots, send me a DM or let me know below, and I’ll share our family’s top picks! .
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#creativekids#preschooler #preschoolerlife #toddler#toddlerfun #homeschool #busytoddler#sahm #teachersfollowteachers#earlychildhood
#childhoodunplugged #preschoolathome#invitationtoplay#kbnmoms#learningthroughplay#earlyyears #playideas#simpleplay #playroom #kindergarten#preschoolteacher #motherhoodunplugged#ece #classroomdecor#unitedinmotherhood #mytinymoments#modernkids #kidsart #ecelife#preschoolathome

I N T R O D U C T I O N ...
My name is Alana and I design creative spaces for kids and all the fun stuff that happens there.
Eight years ago, I left the field of teaching to start our little family. It had always been my dream to stay at home to raise our children. There have been wonderful days {plenty}, there have been difficult days {many}, there have been days I’ve missed my colleagues at school, and days I’ve questioned my decision to stay home. And many, many days, I’ve missed teaching little kiddos and have yearned for those days back.

But the joy I get from seeing our girls grow, each day, watching them learn first-hand, helping them navigate struggles + challenges - THEM teaching ME important life lessons - I wouldn’t trade my decision for the world.
As I round out my 8 years as a stay-at-home mom, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be starting a new teaching adventure in the fall with my little class here at my
home//school Brillante Beginnings.
I am in full-planning mode, eager with anticipation about the new school year {while most teachers are counting down until summer!} People have asked me “will you continue your design work?”
In short, yes. I will be teaching part-time, which leaves the other half for consulting / design / planning / prep and GROCERY SHOPPING 😝. I will only be taking on a handful of clients and hope to narrow my focus to educational / play spaces because that is truly my passion.
My school website is www.brillantebeginnings.com (in profile) and I invite you to check out what’s in store!
Happy Friday everyone, and thanks for reading! 🙏🏻 p.s. this is a sneak peak at a playroom I designed, shot by 📷 @sawmillphotoco.
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#dailyparenting #earlylearning #childhoodunplugged #kidsplay #teachersofinstagram #teacher #creativekids #raisingmytribe #playmatters #playroom #playroominspo #earlychildhood #playfullearning #reggioinspired #wildandfreechildren #invitationtoplay #kidsdecor #reggiokids #homeschoolcollective #playroomdecor #learningthroughplay #letthemplay #funwithkids #kidsactivities #raisingcreativekids #invitationtocreate #ohheymama

This is FIVE, SIX + SEVEN, folks. Tomorrow, our eldest turns eight years old, and I want to STOP TIME. ⏰ These girls are the fiercest and most loyal friends to each other, aaaand they also know how to push all. the. buttons. |They are so incredibly different from one another, but all three share the same kind, compassionate, loving heart. Toward people, animals and nature. | Some people want their kids to be happy when they grow up. I want our girls to be kind, loving humans. [And of course, kooky.] I hope they never lose their kooky side. {swipe to see some of the outtakes from this shoot today...including the one where big sister is “annoyed” with little sister for doing a “fake smile.” 🤣, and another when they were 3,2,1!} still a challenge to get a good, natural shot of all three!! .
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#flashesofdelight #childhoodunplugged #thisismotherhood #kidsofinstagram #documentmotherhood #unitedinmotherhood #thebigkidyears #dailyparenting #writeyouonmyheart #littlefierceones #funwithkids #letthembelittle #momentsinmotherhood #childhoodmemories #sisters #birthdaygirl #learningathome #girlpower #momlife #mytinymoments #raisingcreativekids #kidstuff #momslivinghappy #thisisus

M O V I N G from one medium to another ⟶ from 2D maps to building 3D representations of our neighbourhood. This kind of invitation is typical in a Reggio-inspired learning environment. Transferring thinking from one medium to another is a great way to exercise children’s creative muscles. It encourages them to think in a new dimension, from a different perspective, in a different language.
I had collected a bunch of loose parts {stones, corks, gems, shells, blocks}, and invited our youngest in to work with the open-ended materials on the floor. I reminded her about the maps we created, and showed her the Google Maps printout of our neighbourhood. While this invitation was well-received by our youngest - 5, the older girls were much more interested in using the dollhouse figures to create stories around the set-up. Which led to bigger stories with costumes. Which led to a big. G I A N T. Mess. 😜 I don’t mind though. I have come to understand that not every provocation will appeal to them, or it might take them on a completely different, divergent path.
Also, I clean up after them. Sometimes, when their play takes them in a different direction, or outdoors, and I can see that they’re “done,” I’ll just take a few minutes and pack up for them. It’s all good. I don’t always like to clean up after MYself either {and sure do appreciate when my husband cleans up after my kitchen messes!}, so I do the same on occasion for the girls. .
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#raisingcreativekids #homeschoolcollective #sahmlife #dailyparenting #socialstudies #playmatters #playroominspo #magicalchildhood #letthembekids #playfullearning #learningthroughplay #wildandfreechildren #creativekids #playideasforkids #motherhoodsimplified #schooldays #earlylearning #reggioinspired #preschoolideas #motherhoodunplugged #childhoodunplugged #creativekids #maps #teachingandlearning #earlylearning101 #invitationtoplay

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