Milestone moment: Grateful for the gifts of 2018 and a peek into 2019

I am so excited to share with you a pretty big milestone moment in the life of this blog.  As you all know, 2018 brought us the TransformEd Creative Studio and Learning Centre, but it also helped us surpass 3 MILLION views worldwide!!!

Thank you for following along my non-traditional journey.  I never anticipated all that would unfold after sharing my learning experiences on social media.

I'd like to take some time to reflect on 2018 and reveal some of what's to come in the year ahead...

Above all else 2018 

brought me a grateful heart.  

There have been so many personal and professional changes for me, however, for the first time I felt like I was able to slow down and really appreciate my efforts!

My Top 10 Gifts of 2018: 

  1. Dreaming up the TransformEd Creative Studio and Learning Centre, designing the space, waiting patiently through the renovation process, planning the programs, and welcoming children and families to join us and learn together.  We had over 250 students in the last 8 months!
  2. Studying in Reggio Emilia, Italy for the third time to learn about their philosophy of early learning and visiting their famous and truly inspiring infant/toddler and preschools.
  3. Continuing to present about my passion for Early Childhood Education at courses (Emergent Curriculum Certificate - Ontario Reggio Association "Environments that Support Learning Interactions" at the Bishop Strachan School), conferences (Reading for the Love of It Conference in Toronto, How Does Learning Happen in Early Years Conference in Barrie, school boards (SCDSB, TLDSB), daycares (The Children's Path, Eh to Zd Preschool Canada Early Learning Academy, Kidz World Childcare Centre), private schools (The Leo Baeck Day School, Joe Dwek Ohr Haemet Sephardic School, The Grace Christian School), several workshops for educators in various contexts/roles from around Ontario, networks (@CTInquiry), and more.
  4. Working closely with my supervising professor Dr. Isabel Killoran on my PhD proposal for research, now that all of the course work is complete.
  5. Consulting with a school principal and teacher in the TLDSB to create a new vision for their library, LTO's (new educators) for planning support with FDK in the YCDSB, and the director/founder of a childcare centre in Florida, USA.
  6. Partnering with amazing businesses and collaborating: @crayola, @redleafpress, @drsantosnd, @lacantinacatering, @airsupplyballoons, @littlerosecookieco, @royalconfections21, @lemondropzphotography, @gigiroseflorals, @derosedesigns, @twolittlelegends, @kreativekitchenz, @clarkylaura, @bijuleni, @elisabettacostaa, @blueorchidphotos, @annawithlove, @caliberbuilds, @woodbridgekitchenandbath, @canaromatoronto, @pvdtile,, @4elementslivingarts@magnetreebooks, author Catarina and book Golden Sparkles: An introduction to mindfulness, onceuponamat, etc. (If I forgot someone, I'm sorry!)
  7. Rebranding with the help of my children who co-created the abstract painting that was used throughout all of our logo designs.  Making the most unique round business cards! For the complete post click here.
  8. Offering gift certificates to our TransformEd Creative Studio and Learning Centre as well as their successful sales for holiday gifts!
  9. Reaching and surpassing the 3 Million blog views milestone!
  10. Slowing down and working only part time to spend more of those quality moments with my two children, family, and friends. 

Sneak peeks into 2019: 

Here are some of my goals, although I will be honest in saying that I have A LOT under wraps!  It's kind of fun to be a little mysterious!!! Slowly though, I will begin to reveal more of these top secret projects as we approach Spring and Summer.  You will notice that my list includes personal, professional, and academic foci...

1. A personal goal is to be more present during family time.
  • This is easier said than done and I am not doing a terrible job at it, but there is always room for improvement!  There are many times for instance where I will forget my phone upstairs to be in the moment, or keep some of our family experiences as those we actually live and not photograph/share.  However, since I am always trying to be creative with my time, so that I can have my children by my side I sometimes try to juggle too many things (emails, marketing, planning, etc.) while they nap or play.  Then I feel distracted or guilty about it!  Instead, I am going to start finding more of a balance and carving out times in the day for work and be with family. 
  • The work will always be there waiting, but these precious years with my children have already gone by too quickly for my sensitive heart!  Lilianna is walking and starting to talk. Sebastian is talking so much that I don't even remember a time when he hadn't formed long sophisticated sentences.  I just wish I could hold onto these moments, so being truly present is a definite must in 2019!  

2. After my family, my top priority will remain running the Transformed Creative Studio and Learning Centre for children birth to 12 years of age and their families. 
  • New schedule - now open 5 days a week (Tuesdays-Saturdays) For more details click here.
  • Adding some new programs and offerings in the studio for children and families: 
      • For Current Programs click here.
      • Languages classes - Greek, Italian, and looking to hire a Portuguese teacher.
      • Daddy Dates: A Science, Art and Building Experience - A drop in class dedicated to fathers, grandfathers, or Godfather figures and their children.  Espresso will be served with some Italian pastries while we get creative and have fun learning together! 
      • Monthly Mama meet ups - For the Mama's who want to socialize with their relatives/friends, but know how hard it is to carve out the time, let alone clean their home, organize the food, setup activities to host it themselves, etc. etc...  Once a month (for six months) come and let us do all of the planning while you enjoy the time with your child and relatives/friends.  A unique social opportunity to see the ones you love, and witness how your child grows and changes!  
      • Private Tutoring for reading, writing and mathematics in a play-based and creative way. I have hired several tutors who will work in the studio from 4:30-7:00 p.m. after the regular school day.  Each student will work one on one with our tutor and we will plan and tailor their learning experience according to their specific needs. 
      • Birthday Parties and Events for small intimate groups. I know that a popular one will be our Friday after-school/evening "Pyjamas, pizza, and painting!" 
      • Professional Photoshoots by Season - photographers have already started to rent out our space that is decorated for each holiday and will continue to provide various photography sessions and packages in our studio
  • Update the blog with new logos and make it more accessible within the mobile view so that it is easier to get the studio info
  • Adding a coffee table keepsake book to our photo options (currently we offer digital photos, a portfolio binder of learning moments and art work)

3. I will resume TransformEd Consulting Services in full force and continue my PhD research.
  • Virtual tours of my studio with online eWorkshops for educators
  • Updated consulting services - planning meetings to design spaces/programs, new presentation topics for face-to-face workshops and a willingness to travel once more for out of town sessions and share my experiences as a Reggio Emilia inspired educator
  • Resuming my work with York University instructing their Kindergarten course to teachers and early childhood educators - the register for January's course click here.
  • Adult fine arts classes and socials with skilled instructors
  • CTInquiry - resuming this network to include teachers, ECE's, but also families and fellow creatives.  I want a place for Mama's, artists, and community members to feel as though they belong in this important dialogue about education.  Where each meeting can include a guest speaker and allow us to learn together!
  • Continuing my PhD research with a focus on posting about what I read. So often I get deep into a book or new idea, that I don't get around to actually sharing my process.  My goal is to see the PhD as just that, a process.  The "during" is just as important as the "end goal."

4. I will begin making some social media goals, networking, and sharing my passion!
  • Bring on the collaborations 2019! I would like celebrate the creativity of fellow bloggers in the community or even small business owners within my own neighbourhood.  My mantra will be "let's connect more and compete less." I believe that the best competition is with yourself.  Try to be better than who you were yesterday, last month, last year.  Growth will come, but rarely if we spend our time comparing ourselves with others (their work, their life, their followers, etc.). So let's choose to do more creating, collaborating, and celebrating of each other! If you or someone who you know might be interested in collaborating with me this year send me an email.  I am open to most possibilities, so long as the content can relate to children, learning and being creative in my studio space!
  • Posting more of our studio with easy learning experiences to try out in your own context (classroom, home).  I would like to widen my audience from educators and schools to include new parents without an educational background.  My plan is to include the practical strategies and ideas for learning/creating, the setup, how the experience can be adapted by age and where to buy the materials.
  • Sharing about reusable objects found around the house and affordable options or products for learning to make it more accessible to children, families and schools. 

5. Focusing more on myself as a person.  Perhaps some people may think that this one should be first, but the fact that it even made it onto my list is a start in the right direction!

I want to make self-care a priority and a conscious effort to carve out time to do some of what I love:
  • More reading less screen time
  • Photography lessons to improve my existing skills
  • Fine arts classes to get back into sketching and painting 
  • Yoga, long hikes/runs outdoors, and resuming spin classes
  • Baking healthy alternatives to sweets - I have a serious sweet tooth!
  • Socializing, travelling, and enjoying the company of family and friends
  • Learning to find some balance in my life and shutting my mind off to actually sleep at a decent hour each night!

So why am I sharing all of this with you?  I believe that by typing it out or writing it down, my intentions may become actualized.  A few years back I had written that I wanted to begin offering classes in a studio and I really made it happen!

Hopefully my sharing might inspire you in some way.  Even if it is just to believe in something and jot it down for a later date...

But most of all, thank you for following along over the years! I read somewhere that once we know our passion, we need to find a platform to share it with others.  Whether that be in your school, at a network meeting, online, etc.  My platform has first and foremost been this blog. It has given me an authentic audience where my ideas were valued and an overall a purpose to continue to go deeper in my own learning journey.  I am beyond grateful !  This blog still feels like a hobby to me, and I often pinch myself when I think about how far TransformEd has come!  My work and business would not exist without this blog!

If you would like any additional information on what I have shared within this post regarding my services or upcoming offerings, please don't hesitate to reach out to me by email.

Until then...

Happy New Year!  We have so much to celebrate and I will continue to dream on into 2019 and well into the future!!!

FOREVER, an eternal optimist because I truly believe that anything is possible!

Thank you to @clarkylaura for all of the beautiful photographs and @elisabettacostaa for your graphic design work.  

I love that this milestone moment included my children.  They inspire me everyday and truly are my brand ambassadors.  Perhaps they will be the future employees of TransformEd - or maybe I will be working for them someday!

You're not the same
person you were
a year ago,
a month ago,
or a week ago.

You're always growing.
Experiences don't stop.
That's life.
And the very experiences 
that seem so hard 
when you're going 
through them
are the ones you'll
look back on with gratitude
for how far you've come.


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