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Growing Up online

Evil Stepmom

FALL Activity Guide

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inside ... 4 Practice, play, perform

10 Bunking up

Music lessons are a family affair

6 I’m not an evil stepmother

Strategies for shared-room success

12 Learning to swim Why is it important?

Tips for stepparent success

14 Growing up online

8 Is private preschool an option? What to look for, what to ask

Protecting kids from technology

17 Fall Activity Guide

Publisher/Executive Editor: Forrest Phillips

BC Parent Newsmagazine

Contributors: Lori Elder, Kimberly Fowler, Gayla Grace, Carolyn Jabs, Malia Jacobson, Melissa Martz, Bev Yaworski

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BC Parent is published 8 times per year. The Publisher reserves the right to omit advertising which is judged to be in poor taste or which does not conform to the concept of this publication.


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Fall Issue 2013 Volume 22, Number 6

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Practice,Play, Perform Music Lessons are a Family Affair By Lori Elder, M.Mus. B.Mus. ARCT RMT

om, it’s time to do your practicing!” Now how’s that for role reversal? Music lessons are a great activity for everyone so kids and their parents can all get into the act. The benefits of studying a musical instrument are wideranging, and the learning outcomes and life lessons are huge. And, the fun-factor is high as well. Not that long ago family music making was a way of life. After dinner, gatherings around the piano to play and sing were common. Or you could take your fiddle down the street and play along with the neighbours. That’s because the only way to have music was to make music. All that changed however with the phonograph and radio: turn a knob and music was instantly at your fingertips. Then TV came along and kicked it up a notch with pictures as well. Now there’s endless music, entertainment, news and you name it with the Internet, iPods, YouTube etc. So does that mean that playing a musical instrument has gone the way of the Dodo bird? Absolutely not! In fact, music lessons are more popular than ever. Many parents


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want their children to experience music firsthand, especially if it is not offered at their school. And increasingly, adults are taking lessons to have quality creative time away from the stresses of work and daily life. How can taking music lessons benefit you and your family? Consider the following potential gains.

school is now on a scholarship at Duke University. “Playing the piano has greatly affected the person he is today. He has learned lessons of courage and dedication,” says Austin’s mom Jean Wang. And as for adults and parents, who wouldn’t benefit from a daily brain tune-up? (pardon the pun!) There are many small learning tasks in studying music and students must constantly set new goals. Learning to break big jobs into small manageable tasks is a useful skill. And adults’ occupations are often big and gangly and it can be hard to feel any progress or satisfaction. When playing music, even learning one bar correctly is a step forward.

Goal setting.

Adults often have more anxiety but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t perform. Learning to face your fears is a valuable life skill.

Playing music uses many parts of the brain simultaneously. There are so many things to think about—notes, rhythm, fingering and many more. It’s multi-tasking for your brain as you have to concentrate on all this and listen to the result at the same time. Austin Lu of Prince George excelled at piano and

Improves brain function.

Practicing builds perseverance and discipline. In an age of instant gratification,

studying music teaches patience. You have to practice, and you have to stick with it to see results. Setting a practice schedule will make all the difference, and if you put in the time you will improve. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so just keep plugging along.

Performances build courage and confidence. Here’s an area where kids and parents often differ. Most children, especially young ones, have no qualms about playing in front of an audience. It’s easy, they just get up there. Adults often have more anxiety but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t perform. Learning to face your fears is a valuable life skill. And no matter how your performance goes, the sun will rise in the east the next day. Just doing it is success right there.

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There are many places to make music—school bands, community orchestras and choirs, churches, garage bands and more. Once you get into the musical community you’ll meet many people with the same interest. “One of the best things about being a piano parent has been making life-long friends,” says Anne Scott of Prince George. There’s a bond formed doing music together that is hard to find in our fast-paced society.

Expands your social circle.

Less screen time. Let’s face it—any activity not done on a screen is worth pursuing. Kids and parents alike are glued to their devises for work, play, information, education, entertainment and communication. The list is endless and growing. Give yourself a break and create something instead.

So pick up an instrument and give it a try! I guarantee it’ll never be wasted time. Lori Elder is a piano teacher, music festival adjudicator and workshop presenter. She is a member of BC Registered Music Teachers, and she lives and teaches in Prince George, BC.




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I’m not an evil stepmom! Tips for Stepparent Success By Gayla Grace

I’ve been a stepmom for 18 years and can now honestly say, “It’s been a privilege to take part in raising my stepchildren.”

’ll never forget the day my stepson shot back at me, “You’re not my mom, Gayla. My mom would support my choice.” I had disagreed on an important decision he was making and voiced my opinion —because I loved him. But he didn’t see it that way. Piercing words. I wanted to respond in anger but I chose to remain silent, recognizing the loss that haunted him as a result of his mother’s death. I understood the feelings behind his words. What he was really saying to me was, “I miss my mom. I wish she were here so I could have this conversation with her.” But she wasn’t. Stepfamilies come together as a result of loss. Some stepchildren have experienced multiple losses through death, divorce, and remarriage, with little healing or understanding on how to relate to the new step-relationships in their family. As a stepmom, your words and actions can aid or hinder the growth of your stepfamily relationships. Here are a few tips to help prevent the evil stepmom stigma and promote healthy relationships in your stepfamily.


Decide that you won’t give up when it gets hard, because it will get hard. Continuously strive for love and acceptance of one another, but don’t expect harmony overnight. The average stepfamily takes seven years to integrate. Complex stepfamilies (when both parents bring children to the marriage) can take longer. You may take one step forward and two steps backward, but that

1. Commit to the long haul.

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doesn’t spell failure. Family identity is established through challenges, uniting the family in the long run. 2. Make your marriage relationship a priority. It’s easy to put the marriage on auto-pilot when the parenting demands consume your time and energy. But without the marriage acting as a foundational piece, the challenges of stepparenting can tear a family apart. Stepmom Heather Hetchler, founder of CafeSmom says, “The marriage relationship has to come first. It’s not at the expense of the children but rather for their security. Putting the marriage first by backing each other, being respectful, and modeling love toward one another, positively impacts the children.” Cracks in the foundation of your marriage allow division to seep in and separate relationships.

We make our stepmom role harder because of our insecurities. We think we’ll never measure up to the biological mom, competing with and comparing ourselves to her constantly—always coming up short. If we learn to spend more time improving upon who we are already, we’ll be more comfortable in our stepmom role. If our stepchild can’t accept us for who we are, that’s okay—God created each of us as unique individuals. When we’re secure in ourselves, it won’t bother us when our stepchild questions our choices. Our natural reaction becomes: I won’t take that comment

3. Don’t take everything personally.

personally or get defensive. I will accept her thoughts as her own, even if they’re different from mine. 4. Consider it a privilege to impact another child’s life. I remember clearly the day a counselor said those

words to me when I was crying out for help in the first year of our marriage. I didn’t understand how to consider my stepmother role a positive aspect of my life. But if we learn to embrace a different perspective, we will create a positive outcome. I love the words of stepmom and child psychologist Maria Saugstad, “Look at it as a calling—creating a good home for your stepkids; it will take sacrifices but also be rewarding to create something good.” 5. Work harder at being a friend rather than a parent, particularly in the beginning. Developing a

relationship with your stepchild is the primary goal for a new stepparent. Find common ground that allows time together comfortably, doing things you both enjoy. Study your stepchild to understand how to relate to him or her. Let the biological parent take the lead in disciplining during the relationship-building period; moving into a parental role too soon will result in anger and resentment. Find ways for you to be the “good guy” as your stepchild gets to know you. 6. Recognize that your needs count too. Give your-

self grace, space, and understanding. Admit when you’ve failed in your role but don’t get stuck there. During our early years of marriage, the shortcomings of my stepchildren irritated me. I reacted in favour of my biological children during times of conflict and was frustrated with my lack of patience and fairness toward my stepchildren. As I sought to forgive myself and learn from my failures, I could pick myself up and start again. Take a break from the stepmom role when you’re feeling overwhelmed or defeated. Recharge yourself with a spa day, coffee with a friend, or date night with your husband. 7. Create healthy boundaries with the other home.

Encourage healthy co-parenting with your spouse and his ex-wife but stay out of the middle of their disputes. Define the needs of your home and communicate expectations to the children that create a cooperative environment for managing chores, homework, schedules, friends, etc. Don’t allow the other home to dictate what happens in your home or seek to interfere with happenings in their home. 8. Live in the present—not the past or the future.

Celebrate your successes as a stepfamily. Don’t hold grudges over mistakes of the past or project challenges of the future. Live one day at a time, focusing on the needs of today. Maintain a positive attitude if

possible, thinking good thoughts about your stepchildren and expecting healthy interaction. Our thoughts dictate our behavior, creating a negative or positive atmosphere in our home. Don’t allow others to negate the importance of your role. Yes, it’s a different role than the biological mom, but that doesn’t lessen its value. A stepmom provides an objective view that a biological mom cannot. Without the emotional entanglement of a blood bond, a stepmom recognizes unhealthy patterns that a biological parent may not. I learned to listen to my husband’s objective opinion during my daughter’s teenage years and found wisdom in his stepparenting advice.

9. Affirm the value of your stepmother role.

I reacted in favour of my biological children during times of conflict and was frustrated with my lack of patience and fairness toward my stepchildren.

10. Don’t quit until you’ve arrived. The statistics of divorce in remarriage with children are staggering. According to marriage and family therapist Ron Deal, founder of Smart Stepfamilies, 25% of re-married couples with children divorce within the first two years and 50% divorce within the first three. The stepmom journey is difficult but if you quit, you’ll never know the impact you could have made in your stepchild’s life. Don’t be a statistic—commit to the long run.

Stepparenting is tough. Mistakes are made. Misunderstandings happen. And variables outside our control influence stepfamily relationships. But there are new tomorrows. A fresh start to work through differences. Hope for harmony. I’ve been a stepmom for 18 years and can now honestly say, “It’s been a privilege to take part in raising my stepchildren.” In the end, the rewards outweigh the burdens. My 21-year-old stepson’s Mother’s Day card brought tears to my eyes, “Thank you for putting up with all my crazy ways and being a great mother to me!” As a stepmom, you’ve been given an opportunity to influence a child’s life like no one else can. Are you up for the challenge? I hope so. Because there are rewards to your efforts if you don’t quit, but oftentimes they’re at the end of the journey Gaya Grace is a freelance journalist, wife, mom and stepmom to five children, ages 12-28. She loves encouraging other stepparents on their journey.

Stepparenting Resources

Stepmom Magazine (online only) Stepmonster by Wednesday Martin, Ph.D. The Smart Stepmom by Laura Petherbridge The Courage to be a Stepmom by Sue Patton Thoele The Smart Stepfamily by Ron L. Deal and Laura Petherbridge • fall 2013 7

Is Private Preschool an Option? By Kimberly Fowler and Melissa Martz

or many working families and single parents, third party childcare is a necessity and daycare is often seen as the only realistic option. Many of these same parents are astonished when they discover that private preschool is just as available to them. Even busy stay-at-home parents are realizing that preschool can provide their children with a wealth of advantages over regular daycare!


like Halifax Christian Academy, Burlington’s Halton Waldorf and St-Laurent Academy in Ottawa have nursery and preschool programs with monthly tuition costs between $487 and $1,100 a month. A variety of financial assistance options are available to help pay for private pre-school such as support from the school itself, local community programs and sibling discounts.

Preschool costs the same (or even slightly less)

What’s the difference?

Although the benefits of preschool are far-reaching, parents usually reject the idea in favour of the “lesser costs” traditionally associated with daycare. However, experts note that paying tuition for early childhood education instead of the hourly daycare rate is either about the same cost or sometimes even cheaper! According to the 2013 report, You Bet We Care: A Survey of Centre-Based Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada, the Canada-wide median monthly fee at a full-time centre for toddler care is $696, or $674 for preschool care. However, because of the wide provincial range in costs, 25% of monthly fees were higher: for toddlers $902 or higher, and for preschool aged children $816 or higher. Montessori schools offer programs designed specifically for young children. Tuition at the average Montessori School costs between $750 and $1,000 a month according to the Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators. Schools with different philosophies

Young children who attend private or independent school have a more hands-on learning environment and are introduced to many educational topics. This is a very different approach to many day-care centres where the focus is simply to provide care and opportunities for play.

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Why preschool?

Private preschool dispels the myths that children don’t like to learn, and that ECE will rob them of their sense of play. In fact, preschool starts toddlers on a path to lifelong learning through a variety of techniques “disguised” as play and can help cultivate the linguistic, logical and social skills needed for success in later school experiences. Preschool also develops emotional intelligence, encouraging responsibility and self-expression. But the advantages of private pre-school even go beyond the exceptional learning environment, including:

• Flexible schedules and after and before school care to meet your needs • A highly secure and safe setting for children • Small class sizes, ensuring that children feel secure away from home and allowing them to make friends easier, grow in self-confidence and develop a positive attitude towards authority. Private preschool is also a great way for parents to test out Montessori school, Christian school or any other private school and gauge if it is right for their child. Experts also insist that it is best to start private education early in order to foster learning in a child’s developing stage. Often, this “trial run” will not only provide children with a mental and social advantage, but also give them an edge when gaining acceptance into elementary programs.

• What is the school’s reputation? • Are meals and snacks provided? If so, are they included in the fees? • Is transportation (i.e. school bus) to and from school included in the fees? • Does the fee cover the entire year, or just the school year? Are March break and summer programs offered? • Is there an extra cost for before- and after-school care? Can the school work within your schedule? What is the fee for picking your child up late? • Will you have to pay for care when your child doesn’t attend school on holidays, when they are ill or on a family vacation? • Are there any school trips materials, uniforms or other subsequent costs you will need to add to the regular fees you will pay?

Experts note that paying tuition for early childhood education instead of the hourly daycare rate is either about the same cost or sometimes even cheaper!

What to look for, what to ask

The cost and type of childcare varies greatly depending on your location. Contact day-care centres and private schools in your area for accurate fees and care options. When evaluating the pros and costs of your childcare options, make sure to ask the following questions: • What is the school’s educational philosophy?

Starting school at a young age plays a major role in preparing your child for the educational challenges of his or her future. Learn more about preschool programs at -pre-school.php. Kimberly Fowler and Melissa Martz write for, Canada's trusted source for camps and schools. • fall 2013 9

By Malia Jacobson

orey and Katey Hage’s second son, Josiah, was destined for a shared bedroom from day one. The Hages wanted him to bunk up with his older brother, Ezra, to conserve space in the family’s modestly-sized home and help the boys build a lasting bond. But reaching the goal wasn’t easy. Sleeping near a sibling took some getting used to for both boys, and the Hages spent several months moving Josiah in and out of Ezra’s room. In the end, it took three tries for the new sleeping arrangement to finally take hold. “There were times when I wondered if it would ever work,” says Katey. Their persistence paid off—Josiah and Ezra, now 4 and 6, have been happy roommates for three-and-a-half years. As bunkmates, the boys enjoy sharing a bedtime routine and chatting about their days as they drift off to sleep. They’ve learned to 10 • fall 2013

compromise and resolve conflict. Most importantly, they’ve learned to cherish their relationship, says Hage. “The idea of each child having his or her own bedroom is a fairly recent phenomenon

Shared bedrooms can be a boon to siblings, helping anxious kids sleep better and fostering cooperation, negotiation, and close family bonds.

in history,” says James J. Crist, Ph.D., psychologist and co-author of Siblings: You’re Stuck With Each Other, So Stick Together. People have shared habitats forever, so parents shouldn’t feel bad if kids need to share

bedrooms, he says. In fact, sharing a bedroom with a sibling can be an irreplaceable bonding experience. And the early childhood years can be a great time to try a shared-room arrangement, because young kids haven’t had time to get used to having their own bedroom. “The younger kids are when they start sharing a bedroom, the more normal it feels,” he says. Small homes, big benefits

Shared bedrooms are the norm throughout much of the world, and a trend toward smaller homes is making shared bedrooms a reality for many families. The “McMansions” of years past are giving way to more economical, efficient abodes where affordability and energy efficiency are prioritized over square footage, according to a recent survey by Better Homes & Gardens.

Room sharing is a fact of life for families choosing smaller houses, or those staying put in smaller homes as their family grows, like Anna and Aaron Petersen. The family hopes to eventually add a third bedroom to their 100-year-old bungalow, but for now, 6-year-old Ephraim and 3-year-old Shiphrah share a bedroom. Though many families put kids in shared bedrooms out of necessity, it’s not a matter of making do, says Crist. Shared bedrooms can be a boon to siblings, helping anxious kids sleep better and fostering cooperation, negotiation, and close family bonds. Some children don’t like sleeping alone and would actually prefer a shared bedroom over a solo bedroom, he notes. Sleep times two

But some families will experience a few bumps on their way to room-sharing success. Sleep problems held up the Hage brothers’ move to a shared room. Ezra is an early riser; Josiah still needed multiple daytime naps. Ultimately, the boys were able to bunk up after Katey worked to get their sleep routines in sync. Success was all about timing, she says. “We had to get them getting up, napping, and going to bed at the same time. Everything works much better that way.” When one boy goes to bed after the other, the Hages play a “quiet game,” getting him ready for bed and tucking him in as noiselessly as possible. To keep earlyrising Ezra from waking his brother before dawn, he has a special clock that tells him when it’s time to get up. To keep Ephraim from barging into the bedroom during Shiphrah’s naps, the Petersens moved the kids’ toys to the den. Aside from these small accommodations, having the kids in one bedroom has been remarkably easy, says Anna. “We thought they’d wake each other up, but they don’t—kids are deeper sleepers than we realize.”

What about opposite-sex bunkmakes? Crist says the arrangement can work well in the early years, before kids approach puberty and develop a sense of modesty about their bodies. Kids who feel self-conscious can dress and undress in the bathroom or another room in the home. Opposite-sex room-sharing generally works better when siblings are close in age, he notes—kids at vastly different developmental stages may not feel as comfortable sharing close space with an opposite-sex sibling. Siblings now, friends forever

After getting off to a bumpy start, roomsharing has been smooth sailing for the Hage family. It’s not about splitting the room down the middle or dividing things up 5050, says Katey. “We don’t want them to see this as an obligation—this something exciting that they get to do. This is their special time together, and it won’t last forever.” Malia Jacobson is a nationally published sleep and health journalist and mom of three. Her most recent book is Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers and Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades.

Making it work

When kids share rooms, discipline requires some parental creativity. The time-honored tactic of sending each child to their bedroom for time-out doesn’t work in sharedroom scenarios. But bedrooms aren’t the only place that kids can cool off or take a break, notes Crist. Kids who need solo time can chill in the bathroom, the den, or even a parents’ room.


Happy Roommates: Making Shared Rooms Work (Source: James J. Crist, Ph.D.) Transitioning kids to a shared room? Here’s how to smooth the bumps. • Validate Feelings: Ask the child how they feel about sharing a room, and validate their feelings. Instead of telling kids “Too bad, you have no choice,” let them know that you understand this might bring up lots of feelings for them. • Prepare the Room: Before transitioning moving a sibling into a child’s bedroom, physically prepare the bedroom for its new inhabitant. Moving a crib or bed into the room in advance helps the older child get excited about the new arrangement. • Create Sacred Space: Give each child a private space within the shared bedroom, whether it’s their own bed, a bookshelf, or a bulletin board. Let each child help decorate their private space, and designate it off-limits to sibs. • Pick Cool-Down Spots: Designate “cool-down” places in other rooms in the house where kids can take a solo break without their sib.

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Read our new blogs… catch up on past issues… enter our contests and find out about great family events in the Lower Mainland. • fall 2013 11

by Bev Yaworski

recent survey reported by the Lifesaving Society showed that over 60% of Canadian children have not had swimming lessons. Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years of age. Children under 5 are most at risk. The profile of drownings in Canada is shifting, contributing to an upswing in the past five years. Many of the most tragic drownings involve children too young to swim, or those in the company of others unable to swim or perform a lifesaving rescue. Organizations such as the Red Cross and the Lifesaving Society encourage parents to ensure that all family members obtain swimming and lifesaving skills so that they are prepared to save themselves and others in an aquatic emergency.

and told his mom to cancel all lessons! Today he is an accomplished swimmer who says: “I can’t believe how much I learned, especially when I didn’t even want to put my head in the water at first. I would never have thought I could swim 32 lengths of the pool, but now I can. I also always had a lot of fun with the other kids I met in my swim classes.” Reilen took swim lessons from a young age at Aquaventures Swim Centre. Mom Michele is very thankful for “the exceptional fun and very special learning environment created for Reilen over the years.” She particularly appreciates the style of teaching that focuses on care, support, enthusiasm and discipline all at once. “It’s been rewarding watching Reilen’s skills evolve lesson by lesson, year-by-year.”

Why is it important for children to learn to swim?

Learning to be safe around water is a lifelong skill. Along with the obvious safety aspects, learning to swim is great exercise that develops a child’s endurance and muscles. Sharron Crowley, swim instructor, owner and founder of Aquaventures Swim Centre, feels it is important to develop happy, safe and confident swimmers. “Helping children love to learn to swim and remain safe from harm will also give children a sense of achievement through mastery of new skills.” When youngster Reilen first began swimming lessons at the age of three, his Mom Michele says he refused to come into the pool 12 • fall 2013

When is the best time for children to be exposed to water and swim lessons?

Crowley believes in safely exposing children to water as early as possible—even as babies. “Early mastery of water movement gives children a head start in learning the basic swimming skills,” says Crowley. “Stroke instruction can begin as early as 3 years for children who have had the proper preparation.” She further highlights how researchers have documented that the stimulating effect of child-paced infant and toddler swimming lessons has the potential to increase intelligence, concentration,

alertness and perceptual abilities. Improvement in social, emotional and physical development has also been noted. Which swim classes to take will depend on conditions such as age, skill competency, previous experience and readiness. At Aquaventures Swim Centre, classes are offered at various levels for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school aged kids and for adults. Staff are particularly passionate about their infant and toddler classes including: Waterbabies for ages 6 month to 18 months, Parent and Tot for ages 18 months to 3 years and Family Tot for ages 6 months to 3 years. Emphasis in these classes is on learning through fun by the use of songs, games and colourful equipment. Participants are introduced to basic water orientation, floating skills, breath control and gentle water submersion. Aquaventures Swim Centre

Aquaventures Swim Centre offers a number of unique features for parents considering placing their children in swim lessons. The colourful and vibrant facility features a tropical warm water pool with filtration using an enhanced ultra-violet disinfection process. Teaching staff are hired for their dynamic and child-friendly approach that emphasizes teaching principles such as: keeping kids safe, unconditional respect and teaching with creativity, variety and fun. Classes are kept small to provide a more individualized student teacher ratio. For example, classes for children 3 to 5 years old and lessons for school-aged kids 6 to 14 years both have student/teacher

ratio of 4 to 1 to provide optimal personal attention. Parental Involvement

Aquaventures Swim staff are hired for their dynamic and child-friendly approach.

Sharron Crowley enthusiastically invites parental involvement and parent support for a child’s swim experiences. Here are some of her tips for parents: • No child is ever drown proof. There is no substitute for parental supervision. Never leave a child unattended near any amount of water. • Encourage positive safety behaviours in and around a pool. It is always good practice to carry a young child or hold your child’s hand while walking on a pool deck or when entering a pool. • Relax around water because children can easily sense your apprehension or excitement. • During swim lessons, smile, laugh and give plenty of encouragement to your child. Note: Most swimming lessons are eligible for the Federal Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, but keep your receipts and check with Canada Revenue Agency for exact details. Resources: Aquaventures Swim Centre Life Saving Society BC Red Cross






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At the York House Little School, girls explore, discover and grow their passions. To find out more about our exceptional early learning program, please go to: • fall 2013 13

Protecting Kids from the Health Hazards of Technology By Carolyn Jabs

ny adult who spends much time with technology knows that it can cause physical strains ranging from headaches to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Children who use computers, laptops, mobile devices and video games can also be vulnerable to these problems—both because their bodies are developing and because they may not notice the twinges that signal overuse. Fortunately, parents can take relatively simple steps that will protect kids from the physical wear and tear associated with technology. Helping children establish good tech habits now makes it less likely that they will have problems later. Here are suggestions about how to protect the moving parts your children will need for the rest of their live.

slumping over a handheld device creates strain on a child’s back and neck. Whenever possible, encourage your child to do extended projects such as homework or even lengthy gaming sessions at a work station set up to promote “neutral” posture. Feet should rest on the floor (or on a box for younger children). The chair should provide support for the lower back (a rolled up

Hands. Repetitive stress injuries occur when the same motion is repeated over and over, something that’s hard to avoid when playing video games or using a cellphone. Encourage your child to develop a light, relaxed touch to minimize stress on fingers. To prevent wrist strain, rest devices on a pillow and position keyboards at elbow height so wrists are loose instead of flexed. Arms should hang rather than being outstretched.

towel may help). Screens should be at eye level. Adding an inexpensive keyboard to a laptop or tablet allows you to put the screen at eye level so your child won’t have to hunch over the device.


Back. You may feel self-conscious about telling your child to “sit up straight,” but

14 • fall 2013

screens and, if necessary, adding an antireflective filter. Clean screens (and, for that matter, eye glasses) by wiping them gently with a soft, damp cloth. Kids in front of screens blink less often, so their eyes may get dry and irritated. Teach your child to shift his focus to something else every five to ten minutes. One in five teens already has hearing loss caused by extended exposure to sound —especially music—that is too loud. Set the volume for devices that have headphones and tell young children they’ll need your permission to make it any louder. Instead of earbuds, get your child earphones that cover the ear so there’s less need to increase volume to block out environmental sound. To make children more aware of sound levels, try installing an app like Sound Meter for Apple products or Sound Level for Android. Although the top decibel measurement in these apps is limited by the mic on the phone, they are a graphic way of letting kids know when sound approaches the danger zone.


The best way to protect your child from the health issues associated with using technology is to encourage breaks—lots of them.

Eyes. Computer Vision Syndrome won’t necessarily cause long-term damage to your child’s eyes but can result in fatigue, blurry vision and headaches. Show your child how to increase font size so devices can be held comfortably about 20 inches from the face. Reduce glare by adjusting the position of

Brain. Even though the research is inconclusive, many experts recommend that parents err on the side of caution when exposing children to the electromagnetic waves creat-

ed by mobile devices. Dr. Devra Davis, author of Disconnect: The Truth About Cellphone Radiation urges parents to limit young children to very short conversations on cellphones. Older children should get in the habit of using the speaker phone or a headset. Some kids will find it amusing to use an inexpensive retro handset, readily available at sites like Amazon. Somewhere in the fine print, most cellphone manufacturers recommend that phones not be pressed against the side of the head. Study the manual to find the ideal distance from phone to ear. To find out how much radiation a particular phone routinely emits, check its SARS level at http:// Dr. Davis also recommends other precautions that will limit exposure to unnecessary radiation: Turn off WIFI whenever it’s not in use or set the phone to airplane mode so it doesn’t emit a wireless signal. Avoid using the phone in a moving vehicle or when reception is poor because the phone will emit more radiation in its effort to find a relay antenna. Keep phones and tablets out of the bedroom when your child is sleeping. If your child (or for that matter, you) uses your cellphone a lot, consider investing in a case that redirects radiation like the one available from The best way to protect your child from the health issues associated with using technology is to encourage breaks—lots of them. Try installing a timer app or use an old-fashioned kitchen timer. Set it for 20 to 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, have everyone stop what they are doing and MOVE for at least five minutes. You may also want to help your child become aware of the aches and pains that indicate overuse. Teach your child simple stress reduction exercises like shoulder rolls and yoga stretches. Have a squishy ball available for soothing cramped hand muscles. All of this advice is, of course, for adults as well as kids. In the end, the very best way to get your kids to develop healthy habits with technology may be to adopt them for yourself—and tell your kids what you are doing and why

E 9 5 8 < A é      J E < G < A é      @ 5 G ;      F G H 8 L  F > < ? ? F  5 A 8  @ B E 9  

BRIGHT from the start.!


Forget those new jeans and superhero lunchbox. Confidence is the best school supply you can give your kids to set them up for school success. FdçbddYZcèWçbcdb_^XgZdYç`Wbc_^çææWçb^Z^X `æç^d_Ädè_ebåç]Zæè¼cTecèTçU\!d_!cUY__æ cUYWVeæW¸ç^VTeVXWd"


1.800.EDUCATE Abbotsford  Coquitlam  Delta  Kelowna Langley  North Vancouver  Richmond Surrey  Vancouver  West Vancouver  White Rock


Carolyn Jabs, M.A., raised three computer savvy kids including one with special needs. She has been writing Growing Up Online for ten years and is working on a book about constructive responses to conflict. Visit to read other columns. • fall 2013 15

Film Fest Contest!




Win two tickets to the wonderful film Harmony Lessons, part of the 2013 Vancouver Film Festival. Harmony Lessons by Emir Baigazin Kazakhstan/Germany/France


With its culture of intimidation, the playground has always eerily resembled a prison yard. Equally lyrical and jarring, Emir Baigazin’s commanding debut centres on a teenager trapped in a cycle of mind games and bullying.


“Grimly poetic, formally disciplined and psychologically gripping...”—Hollywood Reporter


Outstanding Artistic Contribution, Berlin 2013

Winner, Best New Director, Seattle 2013

Visit to enter and preview.

16 • fall 2013

academic Academic Advantage Tutoring 604/439-1790 ADNC Neurofeedback Centre of BC 604/730-9600 Canada’s Best Independent Schools—Our Kids Go To School Googol Learning 604/720-9377 Ho Math and Chess Learning Centre 604/263-4321 Language Tutors 604/338-9598 Mimic Baby Sign Language MPM Math 604/266-6762 PD Plus Tutoring Service 604/421-6101 The Reading Foundation 604/222-2254 Silbury Education and Resource Centre 604/261-4696 Full and part time education for gifted and creative learners K–8.

Spirit of Math Schools Richmond 604/304-4032 Vancouver 604/568-0018 The leader in math enrichment in Canada for over 25 years. Visit our website for details. Sylvan Learning 800/EDUCATE TOC Education Resources 604/603-7017 Chinese language and culture program for 3 years to adult. The Whole Dyslexic Society 604/921-1084

dance A-Star Performing & Fine Arts Studio 604/266-3053, Vancouver

AUUC School of Dance 604/254-3436 Experience for yourself the joy and artistry of Ukrainian dance! Quality & creative instruction in Folk-Stage, Ballet & Contemporary Dance. 85 years of arts programs reflecting a modern multicultural experience. Ages 3 to adult. The BrightStars Program 604/662-8554, Vancouver Vancouver’s only professional Performing Arts program for young children ages 1–13. Dance, sing and act to the melody of life. Classes run year round. Crystal Ballroom Dance School 604/323-1238

The Arts Connection 604/241-0141, Richmond

Dance Co 604/736-3394, Vancouver Dance Co provides unparalleled dance training for all ages and levels. Providing technique and performance while developing confidence and creativity. Programs start throughout the year, for more information visit our website:

Arts Umbrella 604/681-5268

Dance Expressions 604/574-2277, Surrey

Al Mozaico Flamenco Dance Academy 604/671-9182, Vancouver Anna Wyman School of Dance Arts 604/926-6535, West Van

Douglas Ballet Academy 604/420-0204, Vancouver www.douglasballet.homestead. com Academy of International Dance Arts 604/327-9313 www.academyofinternational Gabriela’s Movement Studio 604/272-0607 Goh Ballet Academy 604/872-4014 Training institute of provincial champions in the Junior, Intermediate & Senior levels as well as International Gold Medal Award Recipients. Well balanced curriculum, RAD examinations & extensive performance opportunities. hz Ballet Classique 604/299-9698, Burnaby Just for Kicks School of Dance 604/596-4161, Surrey North Shore Academy of Dance 604/987-3814 Northwest Academy of Performing Arts 604/306-7390 Pacific Dance Arts 604/738-8575 • fall 2013 17

fal activity guide Place des Arts Centre & Music Shool 604/664-1636, Coquitlam Place des Arts provides high quality arts education for all ages and abilities. Over 30 music teachers offer private lessons in a wide range of instruments. Ongoing lessons in music & dance run Sept–June; session classes in music, dance, theatre, visual and literary art run fall, winter and spring. Port Moody School of Dance 604/936-0966 Precision Dance Academy 604/939-8277 Spotlight Dance Centre 604/299-6111, Vancouver Surrey Dance Centre 604/599-9961 The Landing Dance Centre 604/325-8653 Tri-City Dance Centre 604/523-6868, Coquitlam Unhinge Dance 778/833-3914

Vancouver Tap Dance Society 604/253-0293 Vancouver Academy of Dance 604/231-8293 Vancouver Academy of Dance offers summer dance camps in ballet, jazz/lyrical, tap, hip hop, acrobatics, ballroom and Chinese Dance at their main location in Richmond. Westside Dance Centre Ltd 604/736-1000 We offer great classes in Tap, Jazz, Ballet and Hip hop for kids as young as 3 years old, right up to adults.

specialty Bricks 4 Kidz 778/822-5672 vancouver Bricks 4 Kidz® provides programs that inspire kids to learn about architecture, engineering and design concepts while having fun building with LEGO® bricks. Now offering After School Enrichment Classes, Camps and Birthday Parties. Ages 5–12. Christianne’s Lyceum of Literature and Art 604/733-1356 The Lyceum encourages young people to see themselves as readers, writers and artists as they engage with abstract ideas and reflect on their own place in society. Programs include: bookclubs, writers’ workshops, literature and art classes and holiday and summer camps. The Dizzy Whisk – Cooking Classes for Kids 778/998-3530

BC Registered Music Teachers Association 604/733-5531 Visit our website to find a qualified registered music teacher. Be assured of knowledgeable, competent and qualified instruction. The BrightStars Program 604/662-8554, Vancouver Learning life long skills through the study of dance styles, music and movement. Classes range from 2 to 5 yrs.

Kimiko’s Japanese Kitchen 604/727-5331 Sewing with Frances 604/433-1030

Campos Music 604/325-0480

Vancouver Aquarium 604/659-FISH

Carillon Music 604/591-1161

music Allegro Music School Inc. 604/327-7765, Vancouver Arbutus Music Academy 604/736-8767 The Arts Connection 604/241-0141, Richmond

Pre-K to Grade 12

BC Conservatory of Music 604/299-2984, Burnaby

Clavimusic Piano Studios 778/881-0329 Colourstrings Music Studio 604/730-5418, Vancouver Delta Community Music School 604/946-1280, Delta





Act Before You

‘C’ Poor Grades Make this year the best yet with Oxford Learning. All Ages. All Grades. All Subjects.

Enrol Today!

With 7 locations in the Lower Mainland 18 • fall 2013





fal activity guide Dominanta Music School 604/767-0949, Burnaby Jean Lyons School of Music 604/734-4019 Jumpstart Music & Movement 604/777-7179 www.jumpstartmusicand Langley Community Music School 604/534-2848 Long & McQuade Music Education Centres www. Long & McQuade’s Lesson Centres – comfortable studios, qualified instructors, low rates, no registration fees, and lessons for every age, level and style. Music for Young Children 800/828-4334 Music for Young Children provides a comprehensive music program that integrates keyboard, singing, ear training, sight reading, creative movement, rhythm, music theory and music composition for children age 3–11. Music Teachers on the Go 778/882-7603

North Shore Music Academy 604/925-3403, North Van Noteworthy Music 604/270-3620, Richmond O Music Studios 604/321-1551 Oakridge Music Studio 604/321-1551 Pacific Academy for Music 604/944-0336, Port Coquitlam Pacific Piano Studio 604/329-7290 Place des Arts Art Centre & Music School 604/664-1636 Place des Arts provides high quality arts education for all ages and abilities. Over 30 music teachers offer private lessons in a wide range of instruments. Ongoing lessons in music and dance run Sep to Jun; session classes in music, dance, theatre, visual and literary art run fall, winter and spring. Prussin Music 604/736-3036 Prussin Music has been serving families since 1985. We offer instrument sales,

rentals, repairs & lessons. Our teachers are enthusiastic and active in Vancouver’s musical community. We have lessons for all levels and all ages including summer camps and Suzuki classes.

Suzuki violin, viola, piano, cello, and flute. Piano group class (ages 4–9). Ballet (ages 31/2–18). RCM music history and theory. Private instruction in piano, classical guitar, band and orchestral instruments.

Richmond CommunityMusic School 604/272-5227, Richmond

The Violin ABC’s 778/896-5729

School of Music and Dance 604/951-3725, Surrey

Western Conservatory of Music 604/530-0317, White Rock

Shadbolt Centre for the Arts 604/291-6864, Burnaby Staccato Music Studios 604/421-3753

performing & visual arts

Steveston Music Centre 604/271-3545, Steveston

The Arts Connection 604/241-0141, Richmond

Tom Lee Music 604/685-8471, Vancouver At Tom Lee Music Learning Centre, you can enjoy excellent music education in a fun community atmosphere. Students of all ages come together for a positive music making experience at our four key and satellite locations on Vancouver Island. To register, please call 604.688.8929.

Arts Umbrella 604/681-5268 Artspace Children’s Arts Centre Bard on the Beach Our Young Shakespeareans workshops deliver an interactive fun-filled theatrical adventure. Professional actors lead dynamic workshops on the Bard stages all summer.

Vancouver Academy of Music 604/734-2301 Kodaly and Orff musicianship classes.

Taking Students from the top of

the class ... Students a B+ or higher are Call towith book your considered for acceptance.



New Richmond Campus

(604) 304-4032 St. Anne’s Steveston Anglican Church 4071 Francis Rd.

Vancouver West Campus (604) 568-0018

St. James Community Sq. 3214 West 10th Ave.

Releasing the Genius®

20 • fall 2013

... to the top of the Nation The leader in math enrichment in Canada for over 25 years. After-school classes for high-performing students now in Richmond for grades 1 - 6 and Vancouver West 1-8.

Top doctors, professors, and engineers send their children to Spirit of Math®. Find out why.


www. spiritofmath. c o m

Core music skills are developed through playful activities that captivate each childs imagination.

Why Study with a Registered Music Teacher?

All children are reading & writing basic music by age 5.

Because your children deserve the best !

An innovative, internationally reputable program combining Kodaly-Orff-Dalcroze. Violin lessons – 5 yrs

Assurance of knowledgeable, ĐŽŵƉĞƚĞŶƚĂŶĚƋƵĂůŝĮĞĚŝŶƐƚƌƵĐƟŽŶ • WĞƌĨŽƌŵĂŶĐĞŽƉƉŽƌƚƵŶŝƟĞƐ • Workshops and Master Classes • EĂƟŽŶĂů͕WƌŽǀŝŶĐŝĂůĂŶĚ ůŽĐĂůĐŽŵƉĞƟƟŽŶƐ • ^ĐŚŽůĂƌƐŚŝƉŽƉƉŽƌƚƵŶŝƟĞƐ

Choose the Right Teacher



ǁǁǁ͘ďĐƌŵƚĂ͘ďĐ͘ĐĂ • fall 2013 21

fal activity guide Carousel Theatre for Young People 604/669-3410

Rainbow Art School Ltd. 604/733-9524

and abilities. We have the unique style and methods, semi-private teaching environment, tropical warm water.

CircusWest 604/252-3679

Shadbolt Centre for the Arts 604/291-6864, Burnaby

Maynard’s Pony Meadows 604/261-1295

StageCoach Theatre Arts Schools 1-877-78-STAGE (78243) Sing, Dance, Act! For 4–18 yr olds. The world’s largest part-time theatre school network, with over 700 locations worldwide in 10 countries! We offer classes in Singing, Dancing and Drama every weekend alongside the school term as well as week long summer camps. Schools locations throughout the Lower Mainland: Vancouver Eastside/ Westside, Richmond, Surrey, Langley, Coquitlam, Victoria.

Midnight Cheer Athletics 604/263-6436 Vancouver

E.J.S. School of Fine Arts 604/596-4883 Gateway Theatre 604/247-4975 In-Studio Art Classes/ Marta Roberson Smyth 604/254-0961 Mentoring children from six to sixteen with personalised instruction in small groups. JCC Performing Arts School 604/257-5111, Vancouver Performing & Fine Arts Studio 604/266-3053, N. Vancouver Place des Arts 604/664-1636 With small classes, quality instruction and a welcoming environment, Place des Arts Art Centre and Music School offers arts education in a variety of disciplines for all ages and abilities.

StageCraft Theatre School 604/267-SCTS (7287) Surrey Art Gallery 604/501-5566 Vancouver Film School 604/685-5808 Vancouver Youth Theatre 604/877-0678

sports Aquaventures Swim Centre 604/736-SWIM Award-winning program in tropical warm water. Atlantis Programs 604/874-6464, Vancouver Club Aviva 604/526-4464, Coquitlam Dynamo Swim Club 778/866-6604 The Edge Climbing Centre 604/984-9080 Jump! Gymnastics 604/568-9690 Kids in Motion 604/970-7945 Langley Gymnastics Foundation 604/532-1022 The Little Gym of Langley 604/539-2543 Marina’s Swim School 604/818-4650 Marina’s Swim School is offering swim lessons for kids and adults of all ages

22 • fall 2013

North Shore Equestrian Centre 604/988-5131 Quantum Gymnastics Centre 604/465-9293, Maple Ridge RBL Basketball 604/269-0221 or 604/253-5295 Instructional programs, leagues, holiday camps for boys and girls from Kindergarten to Grade 10. Richmond Gymnastics Association 604/278-3614 www.richmond Richmond Olympic Oval 778/296-1400 Visit our website for details about our programs. Sportball 604/688-3157 Sportball is a non-competitive sports program for children 16 months to 12 years. Children are introduced to eight popular sports: soccer, hockey, football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, tennis and golf. Sportball offers weekly programs, outdoor soccer, camps during school holidays, and birthday parties. Come try a free trial class! See our website for a location near you. Twin Rivers Equestrian Centre 604/574-5481 UBC Gymnastics 604/822-0207 Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics 604/737-7693 White Rock Gymnastics 604/542-0386

Marpole Bilingual Montessori (Est. 1985) Let your child’s dental visit be a positive experience. Prevention and maintenance of good oral health is our focus. LITTLE SMILES DENTAL CENTRE Dr. Jong Hyun Ban DDS, FRCD(C)

Certified Specialist in Pediatric Dentistry 3770 West 10th Ave Vancouver, BC

(604) 222-2206

Pre-School, Junior Kindergarten & Kindergarten Celebrating Over 25 years of Montessori Teaching in the Community Our enriched Montessori curriculum includes: The Phonetic approach to Reading & Writing, Mathematics, Geography, Science, Music, Art, French, Yoga and a variety of Cultural subjects. Children are required to wear school uniforms. We offer 2-1/2 hour and 3-1/2 hour programs for 2-1/2 to 5 year olds as well as an Extended day program for 5 year olds. Private English Tutoring and Afterschool Phonics classes are also offered. 1296 W 67TH AVE., VANCOUVER, BC V6P 2T2 FOR AN APPOINTMENT PLEASE CALL TEL:

604-266-1091 쐍 EMAIL:

Experienced and loving teachers use the Montessori method in a loving and joyful environment to give your children a good foundation for life. The method fosters independence, confidence, self discipline and a love for knowledge in the developing child. LESCO MONTESSORI preschool & daycare [ESTABLISHED IN 1995]

12720 Cameron Dr, Richmond


VILLAGE MONTESSORI preschool & daycare [ESTABLISHED IN 1975]

2770 McKenzie Ave, South Surrey

604/535-0660 SPACES AVAILABLE 쐍 CALL FOR INFORMATION • fall 2013 23

Harmony Lessons (Kazakhstan/Germany//France, 110 min.) With its culture of intimidation, the playground has always resembled a prison yard. Lyyrical and jarring, Emir Baigazinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commanding debut centres on a teenager trapped in a cycle of mind games and bullying. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Poetic, formally disciplined and psychologically gripping...â&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;&#x201D; â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Hollywood Reporter. Winnerr, Best Bes New Directorr, Seattle 2013; Outstanding Artistic Contri Contribution, Berlin 2013. Sat. Sep 28, 12:20 pm, Vancity Sat. Sep 28, 9:00 pm, Intl Village 8 Thu. Oct 3, 10:50 am, Intl Village 8


Felix e (South Africa, 97 min.)

Wolf Children (Japan, 117 min.)

The Rocket (Australia/Laos/Thailand, 96 min.)

Guided by the joyous rhythms of Cape Jazz, this rousing crowd-pleaser centres on a teenaged saxophonist torn between honouring OPZ SH[L MH[OLY HUK VIL`PUN OPZ WYV[LJ[P]L TV[OLY9VILY[H+\YYHU[KLSP]LYZHUPUZWPYPUN JVTPUNVMHNL[HSLHIV\[Ă&#x201E;UKPUN[OLJV\YHNL [VM\SĂ&#x201E;SS`V\YHTIP[PVUZHUK[OLZ[YLUN[O[VSL[ the past go. Winnerr, Audience Awar w d, Durban 2013. *SHZZPĂ&#x201E;JH[VU;)(

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Anime helmer Mamoru Hosoda tenderly imagines the complications that follow when HU VYKPUHYY`` NPYS [HRLZ H S\WPUL SV]LY ,TIYHJPUN the patient, poetic style of such Japanese masters as Ozu and Mizoguchi... this elegant WYVQLJ[SV]PUNS`\WOVSKZ1HWHUÂťZOHUKKYH^U tradition.â&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Va ariety tyy. Winnerr, Best Animated Feature, Sitges 2012.7.=PVSLUJL

Sat. Oct 5, 6:30 pm, Rio Tue. Oct 8, 1:30 pm, Rio

Sat. Sep 28, 4:20 pm, Intl Village 10 Sat. Oct 5, 1:00 pm, Centre for Arts Fri. Oct 11, 6:00 pm, Rio

( [LU`LHYVSK WHYPHO KLZWLYH[LS` Z[YP]LZ [V L H Y U  YL K L T W[ P V U  H U K  YL ] L Y Z L  O PZ  M H T P S ` ÂťZ fortunes by constructing a prize-winning rocket. Making exemplary use of his Laos setting, Kim Mordaunt crafts â&#x20AC;&#x153;a lush and bruising coming-of-age story...â&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;&#x201D;:JYLLU Winner nnerr, Audience Award, Best Narrative Featur e, Best Actor, Tribeca 2013; Audience Award, Sydney 2013. (PG PG - Coarse language; nudity)

Note: Families welcome ome at the matinee scrreenings! e

Thu. Sep 26, 4:00 pm, SFU-GCA Sat. Sep 28, 3:40 pm, Intl Village 9 Tue. Oct 1, 6:30 pm, Centre for Arts


1181 Seymour Street, at Davie (Noon â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 7 pm) Wadjda (Saudi Arabia/Germany, 98 min.)

Ali (Spain, 85 min.)

;OLĂ&#x201E;YZ[MLH[\YLĂ&#x201E;STTHKLLU[PYLS`^P[OPU:H\di Arabia, female director Haifaa Al Mansourâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s drama follows 10-year-old Wadjda as she asserts her independence and negotiates the realities of growing up a woman in that nation. ¸6ULVMÂťZILZ[Ă&#x201E;STZZVMHYHTHZZP]LS` endearing tale...â&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Guarrd dian. Winnerr, Best Film, Dubai 2012; Audience Aw ward, Los Angeles 2013. (G - No advisory)

Chain-smoking and peddling booze, teenaged (SP PZUÂť[ VUL [V KYVW OLY N\HYK 5L]LY[OLSLZZ 7HJV 9 )H|VZÂť KLI\[ L_WVZLZ OLY ]\SULYabilities and thoughtfully tfully explorre es her insecurities. A coming-of-age tale hinging on hard-won S L Z Z V U Z   ( S P  ¸ S V J R Z  [ O L  ] P L ^ L Y  P U  I `  ] P Y [ \ L  V M its earthy performances and generosity of spirit.â&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;&#x201D;/VSS`^VVK9LWVYY[[LY*SHZZPĂ&#x201E;JH[VU;)(

Tue. Oct 8, 1:30 pm, Centre for Arts Thu. Oct 10, 6:00 pm, Playhouse

Thu. Sep 26, 12:15 pm, Vancity Sun. Sep 29, 4:00 pm, Intl Village 8 Fri. Oct 4, 6:45 pm, Rio

TICKETS Adult $13 Weekday Matinee $11 Student/ Senior $11 Youth under 18: $9

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