BC Parent Spring Issue

Page 1

spring issue 2014 www.bcparent.ca

French Immersion in BC Learning to lead a

Disciplined Life

Summer

CAMPS


CELEBRATING OVER 50 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE

GI VE

YO U

LAN RC ND HILD O C E THE GIFT OF A S

E AG U G

The ability to learn languages is highest between birth and age 6. Our French-English preschool program maximizes a child’s natural curiosity and ability to learn a second language during this important window of opportunity.

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• Established in 1962 • Caring, experienced & highly qualified bilingual teachers • Bright, extra-spacious classrooms • Private indoor & outdoor play areas • Introduction to French, reading, math, science and nature, music, crafts • Educational field trips Accepting Wait List Applications for SY 2015-16 VANCOUVER BILINGUAL PRESCHOOL 949 West 49th Avenue (at Oak St.) Vancouver, BC V5Z 2T1 Phone/Fax: 604.261.1221 vancouverbilingual@yahoo.ca

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one cookie treat for dessert) with reserved seating in the Pizza Pizza or Triple O’s Party Zone • Storage for presents and cake • 2 guardian passes (meal not included with Guardian Pass but may be purchased separately)

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Le français au CSF,

c’est bien plus qu’une langue ! Inscrivez votre enfant dans une des écoles publiques du CSF ! Depuis sa création en 1995, le Conseil scolaire francophone de la ColombieBritannique offre des programmes et des services éducatifs valorisant le plein épanouissement et l’identité culturelle des apprenantes et apprenants francophones de la province. Le conseil compte aujourd’hui plus de 4 700 élèves, 37 écoles publiques et dessert plus d’une centaine de communautés réparties dans l’ensemble de la province.

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2 bcparent.ca • spring 2014

programme d’enseignement public de la maternelle à la 12e année; ▪ haut niveau de réussite scolaire; services à la petite enfance; ▪ portables pour tous; service de transport scolaire; programme d’anglais de qualité; ▪ programmes de musique, théâtre.


inside ... 4 French Immersion in BC 6 A Picture of Parenting 8 Finish the School Year Strong 10 A Disciplined Life 12 Prenatal Testing 14 No Siblings, No Problem 16 Spring into Health 19 Summer Camp Guide

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Spring Issue 2014 Volume 23, Number 2

bcparent.ca • spring 2014 3


When a well established program within our public education system leaves families out, we fail our youth and create systemic unfairness.

French Immersion in British Columbia: Lotteries, Camp Outs & Wait Lists By Patti Holm

ou’re 192nd on the wait list.” That’s not what parents expect to hear when they try to register their children in kindergarten or grade one at a public school in their local community. Unfortunately for Erin McCall, a Surrey parent with a 4 year old daughter, that’s what the school district receptionist told her a few weeks ago when she tried to register for her local French immersion program. Erin made over 100 phone calls to a school district registration call-in line trying, in vain, to get through. The competition was fierce. There were stories that some other parents organized call-parties with friends and families so as to be one of the lucky few who secured a

Y

4 bcparent.ca • spring 2014

coveted kindergarten French immersion spot in Surrey. Erin’s story is troubling, but by no means unique. Parents in Salmon Arm made international news a few years ago for camping out 5 to 6 nights in a row so they could get their kids a spot in their French immersion program. Parents in Tofino have been lobbying the school district for over two years to try and create a program in their growing coastal community. The list goes on and on, and the situation is getting worse. The demand by families for French immersion is outpacing availability. Some school districts are doing well to accommodate the demand, others are falling behind for a host of reasons.


According to latest reports, families in at least 23 British Columbian communities are currently being turned away from the popular French immersion program due to a lack of classroom space or because a program does not currently exist. This is denying thousands of students the opportunity to learn, use, and benefit from Canada’s two official languages. It’s also a troubling sign for our public education system. Despite an overall student enrolment decline over the past 10 years, French immersion student participation has been red-hot. As of the 2012/2013 school year, there were over 47,000 students in BC in French immersion programs; that’s about 8.5% of the entire student body or a 64% increase since 2000. Parents are looking to challenge their children and want them to have all the benefits of learning a second language. According to the latest Federal census, official language bilinguals make, on average, 10% more and have an unemployment rate of 3% lower than their monolingual counterparts. There’s also the countless studies which point to the cognitive, social, and cultural development one gains by learning and using multiple languages. It’s easy to understand why families are going to incredible lengths to give their children the opportunity to be part of this program. When a well established program within our public education system leaves families out, because of luck or chance, we fail our youth and create systemic unfairness. Tofino parent Denis Aujlia states, “My dream, and the dream of many parents, is that all students will have the opportunity to become bilingual. What a gift!” Vancouver parent Lanie Fajardo relates, “I have applied to every French Immersion school in Vancouver and have been told the wait list is anywhere from 70–140 kids. This is extremely discouraging. French is our second language and our kids don’t even have the opportunity to learn it in school unless they are one of the lucky chosen.” It doesn’t have to be this way. If you, or someone you know, is a parent trying to register in a popular French immersion program we encourage you to reach out, to get organized, and to make your voices heard. A committed group of parents who communicate their concerns to school district staff and school trustees can have a great impact and force change. There are also steps the BC Ministry of Education can take to help alleviate the capacity pressures. Every year, our Provincial government receives $10 million from the Federal Government for the provision and support of French second language education. These funds are largely distributed to the school boards based on the number of students enrolled in French immersion and Core French. There are strategic decisions the Ministry of Education can make with these funds to help aid growth—setting aside a modest French Immersion Growth Grant is one example. Being 192nd on a waiting list for a newly released gadget, concert passes, or hockey tickets, is something we accept—it is deeply troubling when it’s for a child to be able to participate in a second language educational program within our public education system. Patti Holm is President of Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon. Canadian Parents for

French is a parent-lead non-profit dedicated to creating quality and equitable French second language learning opportunities for all children.

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bcparent.ca • spring 2014 5


spreading the creamy paint onto the textured canvas. The scent of acrylics and wine drifted up and I felt my shoulders relax as I painted. Then, we were instructed to add a little black to the blue, painting our way down the canvas until the color was completely black at the bottom, with the blue color gradually darkening. That’s when I heard the first negative comments from around the room.

“I messed up!” “Can I start over?”

A Picture of Parenting

“I made my blue too dark!” As we worked, the conversation at my table turned to parenting and kids, as it usually does when a bunch of moms get together. Many of my group had given up careers to stay at home with their kids. We talked about how difficult the transition from professional to stay-at-home mom was for some of us. “The hardest part about staying home taking care of kids,” one friend said, “is that you never get any feedback. At least at work I had quarterly evaluations to tell me how I was doing.” “And a paycheck!” another mom said. Once the background of our canvases were done, we blow-dried our paintings, and then began adding in the tree trunks. The teacher showed us exactly how to create these with a thin paintbrush turned sideways, painting long stripes from the bottom up, then adding branches. Next, we created a big full moon and dabbed the moon’s reflection onto the water in white. The comments began again. “My moon looks like an egg!” “I hate my trees!” I don’t know how many trees to paint.” “Can I look

at yours?” By Tiffany Doerr Guerzon he other night I attended a mom’s night out with a few girlfriends. We went to one of those “Paint and Sip” places, where you take a painting workshop while drinking wine and socializing. The teacher brings in a sample painting, and takes the class step-by-step through recreating it. It’s very relaxed, and it’s supposed to be a fun way to explore your creative side while spending time with friends. All of my group have young children at home. We were desperate for some adult conversation and a break from kids in the throes of end-of-summer boredom. I figured the wine couldn’t hurt either.

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6 bcparent.ca • spring 2014

When we arrived, I stopped to look at the piece we would be painting. It featured a deep blue night sky, with a luminescent full moon. Trees with leaves in glittery fall colors graced a craggy beach. The calm ocean held a reflection the moon, and the sky was full of tiny pinpoints of light. It was beautiful. And it looked impossible to replicate. There were about thirty students that night, mostly women and a couple of men. Once we settled in with our snacks and wine, the teacher started the lesson. First, we were to paint the top third of the canvas in blue. That was easy, and it was soothing,

After the grumbling in the room died down, our table went back to our previous conversation as we tried to follow the teacher’s directions. “Any feedback on your parenting skills you do get is negative!” a mom of two said. “Yeah,” I said. “No one ever stops you in the grocery store and tells what a great job you are doing with your kids.” “No, but they sure do give you the look when the kids act up!” another added. After our tree trunks dried, the teacher showed us how to mix three colors to achieve a golden-brown for painting fall leaves onto our bare trees. Again, the comments began. “My leaves are too big!” “I can’t get that color!” “What if I put too many?”


The self-criticism I was hearing around the room reminded me of how we critique ourselves as parents. While it’s true that the media, parenting experts, and even other moms are always telling us what we are doing wrong—often our worst enemies are ourselves. No one can criticize us as harshly as we criticize ourselves. When I finished my artwork, I walked around the room and checked out the other paintings. I was amazed at how different they all were. Every student had been given the same colors and the same set of instructions, yet each person’s individuality shone through in their art. And each painting was beautiful. But when the class wrapped up, many students were unhappy with their results. “Don’t worry,” the teacher said. “In a minute we are going to each view our paintings from a distance. You will be happy and surprised at what you have done.” One by one, we placed our paintings on an easel at the front and stood behind a line on the floor to view our work from several feet away.

The comments began again, but now they were entirely different. “Wow, it really looks good!” “I can’t believe I painted that!” “My leaves look good from here!” “You were too close to it before,” the teacher said. And it was true. My less-than-round moon and too-thick tree trunks looked fine when viewed as a whole, as a small part of the bigger picture. I believe that it is the same with parenting. The little things, like the time you yelled at your kids or fed them mac ‘n’ cheese four days in a row seem huge when viewed up close. Or when you are in the middle of bigger problems like a teen with bad grades in school or a kid in trouble, you feel you have flunked at parenting. But down the road, when our kids are grown, the trials and mistakes will all fade into the background. Every painting will look a little different, but they will all be beautiful.

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Finish the School Year Strong By Heidi Smith Luedtke, Ph.D. on’t let spring fever and summer vacation planning interrupt academics: end-of-year projects and exams help kids consolidate what they learned this year and form the foundation for future knowledge. Encourage your kids’ efforts right up to the final bell. Here’s how.

D

Reassess the Requirements

Consult the online grade book or meet with the teacher to see what work remains to be done. And don’t just look ahead on the calendar. This is the time to evaluate progress made since September and think about areas for improvement, says Alexandra Mayzler, founder of Thinking Caps Tutoring (in New York and Texas) and author of Tutor in a Book and SAT DeMystified. Clear up confusion over missing grades and complete past-due work, even if there’s a penalty. Later 8 bcparent.ca • spring 2014

learning builds on early lessons, and all course concepts may be covered on final exams. Large projects and papers may require a series of steps. If your child skimped on initial steps—like research—or received poor grades for his work, he may need to redo it now. Add remedial work to the academic to-do list. It may take extra effort to complete a project and earn a good grade, but it may be impossible for kids to finish end-of-school assignments without filling in gaps. Even if students can’t recoup grade points, they shouldn’t ignore past failures, says Ned Johnson, self-proclaimed tutor-geek and president of PrepMatters, a Washington, D.C.-based test preparation company. “A student’s job is not just to learn, but to learn how to learn better,” says Johnson. “Study what went wrong with previous assignments

or exams and help kids reengineer their approach.” Ask a teacher or tutor for a study-skills tune up. He may suggest learning strategies you hadn’t considered. Make a Plan

Headed into the home stretch, check kids’ books and binders to make sure they can go the distance, says Mayzler. Reorganize. Put notes in order. Get a bigger notebook if needed. Stock up on paper and printer ink. You don’t want to run out the night before a class project is due. Break term papers, projects and study sessions into do-able chunks and write test prep, project milestones and deadlines on a large desk calendar. Experts recommend students focus on a subject for no more than 45 minutes before taking a break— younger learners need even shorter sessions.


Downtime allows the brain to consolidate learning and reenergize. Kids’ schedules can get crowded with end-of-year events and spring sports. Make time for fun and friends. The transition between the school year and summer vacation can be emotional. All work and no play isn’t smart. Ease Anxiety

Late-night studying may leave kids too tired to concentrate. Maintain a healthy sleep schedule and sustain energy with good eats. Start kids off with a protein-packed breakfast and plan healthy snacks every 2 or 3 hours throughout the day. Brainwork burns fuel. Kids may over-focus on failures in an effort to improve. Remind them of their strengths. Star students use their academic talents to overcome (or compensate for) weaknesses. Use teacher-provided study guides or create one using past homework, quizzes and exams. Study guides keep students from skipping over concepts accidentally and do double duty as at-home practice tests. If your child has to make an oral presentation to the class, encourage her to rehearse in front of siblings or friends first, says Johnson. “It’ll be a little awkward, which is exactly the point.” Confronting jitters in a low-threat situation builds confidence and shows kids what to improve. Hard work on spring academics will pay off in the fall when your student is in the next grade. Take time during the summer to reflect on the past year’s learning and address major challenges. Learning is a yearround endeavor.

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Online Resources These smart ideas enable end-of-school success. Oral presentation pointers http://www.jshs.org/Articles/Tips%20for %20Oral%20Presentations.pdf Project planning guide http://www.ehow.com/way_5765087_ steps-planning-out-school-project.html Test anxiety tips http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/ school/test_anxiety.html Healthy snack ideas http://www.pinterest.com/skinnyms/ healthy-snacks-for-kids/

bcparent.ca • spring 2014 9


by Shefali Tsabary, PhD t’s been said that the only things we really “learn” are the things we learn for ourselves. That’s because only when we learn it for ourselves does it become intrinsic to us. We just naturally do it, without having to be coaxed or disciplined. The key to raising a self-disciplined child is for them to learn for themselves—a process we undercut when we impose the lesson on them. As a clinical psychologist working with families, I’ve found that children learn best from consequences, whereas punishment generates resentment. A child who is punished may fall in line, but their heart isn’t in it. They don’t learn to be self-disciplined— which is why so many of our kids have a traumatic time in their teens.

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Perhaps you’ve imagined that punishment —often referred to as “discipline”—is the same as consequences. I hear parents saying all the time, “I need to give you a consequence for what you did.” Give a consequence? That’s a non sequitur. Consequences and discipline are opposites. Consequences flow spontaneously from the situation, without requiring us to “think up” something that will “teach” our child. Consequences have to do with cause and effect, which are a natural process by which an action brings an automatic result. With consequences, the situation itself, not the parent, becomes the teacher. In this way children learn for themselves. The parent is then seen as an ally and guide, instead of resented.

When we parents intervene to impose some form of discipline, we shortcircuit the teaching that comes from allowing simple cause and effect to do its work. Let me say it very clearly. Allowing cause and effect to teach our children is a world apart from a child doing something and the parent (or school) giving them a “consequence.” That’s not a consequence at all: it’s a punishment. The resentment it causes leads either to a crushed spirit, to further acting out on the child’s part, or to a crisis later in life. When children don’t develop their own sense of why they should behave in a responsible manner, they fall prey to the often negative influence of peers—especially a boyfriend or girlfriend as they gain greater


freedom in their teens. Easily swayed, they are now at huge risk. It’s because we rely on discipline to keep our kids in line that we have to continually “stay on� them. Since they haven’t learn it for themselves, we have to keep after them to get them to do or not do something. In contrast, when children develop their own self-awareness from the consequences of their actions, their own center of gravity guides them so that they aren’t so easily influenced by others and don’t constantly need to be pulled in line. That a child develops his or her own center of gravity is vital. For instance, it’s when children don’t have a solid sense of themselves that they become bullies—as well as a victim of bullying. A lack of their own sense of their worth is also why so many of our teens engage in antisocial behavior, and why more and more of them are taking their own lives. To illustrate how self-discipline develops when we don’t “discipline,� consider a child who’s late for an activity they enjoy, such as soccer or a play they want to be in. If the team or cast has already been selected, the

child has the potential to learn a valuable lesson with the situation as the teacher. The problem is that if the parent steps in to “hammer the lesson home� with a lecture about being on time, the child’s focus is deflected away from the teaching power of

With consequences, the situation itself, not the parent, becomes the teacher.

the natural consequence of lateness and onto the parent who is “straightening them out.� All this does is breed resentment. The parent’s role isn’t to scold, berate, or warn them about “what happens when you’re late.� The parent’s task is to allow the natural consequence do its job by keeping quiet. What the parent can offer, if the child

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brings up the topic of missing being on the team or in the cast, is something like, “I can help you practice getting your things together the night before. Shall we practice it a few times?â€? The parent shows them how to achieve what their heart longs to achieve. It’s all about connecting with a child, instead of correcting the child all the time. It’s because we’re focused on correcting that so many parents tell me their kids shut them out, lie to them, become devious, and end up with the wrong crowd. They will connect somewhere—so it’s up to us to face up to all the things about us that need to change in order for them to want to connect with us. I share lots of examples of how this works in practice, in all the nitty gritty situations of everyday home and school life, in my new book OUT OF CONTROL: Why Disciplining Your Child Doesn’t Work‌ and What Will. Decide now to provide a home environment where your child can develop his or her own understanding of responsible behaviour, his or her own sense of gravity— the consequences of that can only be good.

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bcparent.ca • spring 2014 11


What you need to know about prenatal testing

By Rachel Butler, BSc, MSc, CGC, CCGC

eeing that blue line on the pregnancy stick can be one of life’s most exciting moments. But with a positive pregnancy test comes worries about the health of the developing baby. Fortunately there are tests available that can give you reassurance and information about your pregnancy. But if you’re feeling confused about all the different options for prenatal testing you are not alone. Even health care providers are struggling to keep up with this rapidly changing technology! Until very recently expectant moms had to rely on a combination of blood tests and ultrasounds to provide information about the health of the baby. The problem with these tests is that they have up to a 5% chance of giving a “false positive” result for a genetic problem with the baby. This means that the result comes back abnormal when in fact the baby is perfectly healthy which can result in a lot of anxiety for the pregnant mom as well as unnecessary and invasive additional testing. In addition, results are often not available until the second trimester, which is usually when the pregnancy is showing.

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12 bcparent.ca • spring 2014

The most accurate test of the genetic health of the baby is the amniocentesis—a more invasive test that involves using a needle to withdraw a small amount of amniotic fluid from the pregnant woman’s uterus. Amniocentesis generally isn’t done until at least 15 weeks pregnancy and carries a small risk (about 1/200) of miscarriage. However, there has recently been a new screening option that is highly accurate and can be done as early as 10 weeks. The new technology, which represents a major advancement in prenatal testing, is called non invasive prenatal testing (NIPT). What makes this test different from the most commonly used early prenatal testing is that it can actually test the DNA of the developing pregnancy by taking a simple blood sample from the mother. This means that it is much more accurate (>99% for Down syndrome) than current early screening tests and does not have the high rate of false positives and negatives. There is also no risk to the pregnancy. And where previously NIPT has been approved for high risk pregnant women, a

new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (http://www.nejm.org/ doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1311037) has found that it is just as accurate for low risk pregnant women. What does NIPT screen for?

NIPT measures the baby’s genetic material (which is floating in the mother’s blood) to look for too few or too many copies of certain chromosomes. When a baby has three copies of a chromosome instead of the usual two, this is called a trisomy. NIPT is used to screen for: • Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) • Trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome) • Trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome) • Sex Chromosome conditions (X, XXX, XXY, XYY) Results are usually available within 4–10 business days. If I have NIPT am I missing any other testing?

Some women worry that if they have NIPT they will not have a Nuchal Translucency (NT) ultrasound in the first trimester, and


might be missing some important piece of information that NIPT does not pick up (like a heart defect). However, the best time to look at the anatomy of the baby, including the heart, is the detailed 18–20 week ultrasound that everyone is eligible for. So even if there was some question about the NT ultrasound, the woman would usually have to wait until that detailed ultrasound in the second trimester to find out if everything is okay. How does NIPT accuracy compare to other prenatal screening tests?

See diagram, far right. How do I decide which test is right for me?

Many women I talk to wonder if they should have prenatal testing. Before embarking on the process, I ask them to make sure that they know what the test they are having can and cannot test for, and to think about what they would do with that information. Meeting with a genetic counsellor can be very helpful as your counsellor will take the time to review you and your partner’s history, review basic genetics and go over the test

options in detail. They will help you determine which test is best for you and help you interpret the results of your test. In most cases NIPT is a very reassuring test because the great majority of women who have the test will have a normal result and can feel confident for the rest of their pregnancy that their baby does not have any of the most common genetic abnormalities.

Accuracy of NIPT compared to other prenatal screening tests

Is NIPT covered by MSP?

Despite being considered by many medical experts as the best prenatal screening test available, NIPT is not currently covered by MSP. The provincial screening program is lobbying to have at least high risk women have NIPT covered but this has not been approved to date. The cost of NIPT is from $795 to $900. Some places include genetic counselling in their fees, which is an important advantage.

genetic counselling for both high and low risk women. Some family physicians also offer NIPT but do not include genetic counselling. Rachel Butler, BSc, MSc, CGC, CCGC, is the prenatal

Where can I get NIPT?

Women who are considered high risk can get NIPT with genetic counselling through BC Women’s Hospital. Olive Fertility Centre offers NIPT with

genetic counsellor at Olive Fertility Centre. Rachel is both Canadian and American Board Certified and is currently a Clinical Instructor at UBC. She has completed a 4-year term on the Canadian Genetic Counselling Certification Committee and was also editor of the Canadian Genetic Counselling newsletter. You can reach Rachel at nipt@olive fertility.com

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No siblings? No problem! Raising a happy only child By Malia Jacobson

arenting an only child comes with plenty of perks. Just ask Hope Austin—she has plenty of time and energy to play with her 3-year-old daughter Grace, she isn’t drowning in childcare expenses, and she knows Grace will have more money for college. But that doesn’t mean raising a singleton is easy. “With the cost of childcare and the fact that I’m about to go back to school, I just don’t know if I can give her a sibling. But I wonder if I’m doing the right thing.” Increasingly, researchers say that she is. Like Austin, many of today’s parents are opting for just one child, and new research is challenging long-held assumptions that siblings are a must for a happy childhood. In fact, some researchers and authors are making a convincing case that only children may have an edge over kids with siblings in some areas—academics, for example. In her 2011 book The Case For the Only Child, social psychologist and author Susan Newman, Ph.D. writes that many women are having children later in life and more and more families are concerned about the cost of raising children. With these demographic and economic trends dovetailing with research showing that only children aren’t disadvantaged at all, it’s not hard to understand why single-child families are growing at a faster rate than families with more than one child, she says.

P

Downsizing the family

A recent study of 13,500 kids found that any difference in social competence between only children and those with siblings disappears by adolescence.

The iconic image of two parents surrounded by two or three rosycheeked children is dated—and quickly disappearing, says Newman. Until 1967, over two-thirds of Americans preferred a family of three or more children, but in a 2007 Gallup poll, half of Americans said the ideal family contains one, two, or no children. According to government reports, America’s birth rate declined from its 1957 peak of 3.7 children per woman to 1.9 children per woman in 1980. Today, the number of children per family hovers at 1.88, and over 20 percent of women have only one child. A singular advantage?

A century after iconic psychologist G. Stanley Hall famously proclaimed that being an only child is “a disease in itself,” researchers 14 bcparent.ca • spring 2014


are discovering just the opposite: hundreds of studies show that only children are socially capable and academically adept. One researcher making a strong case for only children is Douglas Downey of Ohio State University. His recent study of 13,500 kids found that any difference in social competence between only children and those with siblings disappears by adolescence. By grade seven, only children were just as popular as their peers with siblings. In another study, Downey found that only children have an academic edge over their peers with siblings. He collected data from 24,599 eighth-graders and found having more siblings lowers academic success. As family size increases, each child receives less parental attention and fewer educational resources. And adult only children fare just fine, according to California State University assistant professor Heidi Riggio. She found that adult singletons make friends just as easily and display similar social traits as adults who grew up with siblings. According to Jeffrey Kluger, TIME magazine contributor and author of The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us, only children have some key advantages over children with siblings. “Only children tend to wind up with better vocabulary and a more sophisticated sense of humour, simply because they grow up in a house outnumbered by parents,” he says.

including negotiation and joint problemsolving—by developing close relationships with friends and cousins. Childcare can also serve to boost socialization. “Only children can get a great deal of socialization through daycare, because they’ll be interacting closely with the same children for many hours a day,” says Kluger. Regardless of family size, family play is highly beneficial, says Good. The parentguided interactions that take place during family play help children develop behavioral regulation and emotional understanding. One and only

When deciding how many children to have, today’s parents have a lot to ponder, says Newman. “No one can decide what the right family size is for you except you and your partner,” she says. “The biggest influence on how your kids turn out is your parenting, not how many kids you have.” It’s a message Austin appreciates. She grew up with two brothers, and remembers feeling left out and excluded at times. Though she never wanted to be an only child, she can see herself raising one. “Grace

is happy and growing up well—that’s what matters.” Malia Jacobson is a nationally published health and parenting journalist and mom of three. Her latest book is Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers and Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades.

RAISING SUCCESSFUL SINGLETONS Encourage healthy conflict resolution:

Don’t shy away from family conflicts. Instead, use them as a springboard for lessons in negotiation, emotional understanding, and self-control. Only children can benefit from observing parents as they resolve minor conflicts. Promote extended-family relationships:

Only children can gain a deeper sense of identity and gain valuable social skills through interactions with extended family members of all ages. Play as a family: Parent-guided interactions that occur during family play allows only children to develop empathy, social understanding, and behavioral regulation.

—Dr. Kyle Good, Ph.D., M.Ed.

Skill-building for singletons

Though only children enjoy some advantages, Downey’s research shows that young only children lag slightly in some areas of social development, though the gap disappears later on. Only children have fewer opportunities to practise key social skills like negotiation and sharing, simply because they aren’t living with other children. According to Kirkland-based child and adolescent therapist Dr. Kyle Good, Ph.D., M.Ed., conflict is the key to social learning for only children. “Parents often shy away from conflict and want to avoid it,” says Good. “But conflict can be a valuable teaching tool.” Parents can create learning opportunities by allowing only children to observe parents resolving minor conflicts. Singletons can gain some of the skills children learn from having siblings— bcparent.ca • spring 2014 15


Spring into Health By Dr. Tomah Phillips

pring is a time of renewal. As the sun warms the earth the seeds begin sprouting and the flowers budding. After conserving our energy during the cold winter months, we are ready to become active again and regain our vitality. This is the time that many of us look to cleanse our bodies—one needs only to walk into their local health food store to see how popular cleanses have become! All of the options can be overwhelming, and if not done properly, a rejuvenating ‘detox’ can actually do more harm than good. So before you buy that kit and begin your spring cleanse, it is important to prepare your body by following these steps.

S

1. Minimize Toxic Exposure

Most commercial cleaning supplies are filled with chemicals that are harmful to our bodies. Try to choose natural cleaning supplies without harsh chemicals, or better yet, get creative and make your own household cleaners by combining water, vinegar and lemon in a spray bottle! Personal care products: One oft-overlooked source of toxin exposure is the personal care products that we use every day. Although our skin is thought of as a barrier to the external environment, the things that we put on our skin are readily absorbed into our bloodstream. The ‘Skin Deep’ website and app allows you to search from a database of over 72,000 products and provides you with a hazard score and information on the chemicals found in each product. Visit www.ewg.com/skindeep Without for more information. preparation, Cleaning Supplies and Personal Care Products:

The first step in reducing your toxic burden is by decreasing your exposure to environmental toxins. you may end up This includes the foods we eat, the water we drink, feeling worse the type of cleaners we use, and the personal care 2. Optimize Bowel Health than when you products that are absorbed through our skin. This is an essential step before beginning any cleanse or started! Food: The best way to reduce toxin exposure from food detox program. A detox can stir up lots of toxins in your is to opt for organic fruits and veggies whenever possible. body, and unless you can efficiently eliminate them through These contain fewer pesticides and often contain more nutriyour stools, a cleanse can end up doing more harm than good! ents. A helpful guide is the ‘clean fifteen & dirty dozen’, put together Strategies to improve bowel health include eating more fiber by the Environmental Working Group, which lists the foods you (think fruits & veggies, and ground flax seeds), which will bind to should always try to buy organic (those that contain the most pesti- the toxins and allow them to be excreted from your body. When cides) and the foods that are not as harmful to buy non-organic. increasing fiber it is important to also increase your water intake. A Water: It is recommended to filter your tap water or buy fresh spring healthy gut flora (bacteria) is also essential for bowel function, so water. Avoid plastic bottles, which can leach harmful chemicals into consider adding fermented foods such as sauerkraut to your diet or your water, and instead opt for stainless steel or glass water bottles. supplementing with multi-strain probiotics. 16 bcparent.ca • spring 2014


3. Strengthen antioxidant reserves

During detoxification your liver actually produces harmful toxins called free radicals. Left unchecked, these little guys can wreak havoc on your body and your health. You need adequate amounts of antioxidants, also known as free radical scavengers, to protect against damage. Antioxidant levels are highest in deeply coloured fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, beets, pomegranate, and kale, and drinks such as green tea. There are also antioxidant supplements available for those who require additional support. 4. Enhance Liver Detoxification

This is often step one for many cleanses and detox kits found in stores. However, if the previous steps are not taken to prepare the body for the increased release of toxins, you may end up feeling worse than when you started! The liver detoxifies chemicals in two phases. The first phase converts harmful toxins into less harmful, water-soluble substances. In phase two, these chemicals are bound to other substances (termed conjugation) to allow for excretion through the urine and stool. It is important to have both of the phases working optimally and properly balanced, as an excess of phase one without adequate phase two elimination can increase the toxic burden in your body. There are many herbs that can support the liver and enhance detoxification, most notably milk thistle, but others such as turmeric and artichoke can also be helpful. 6. Maintenance

So you finished your cleanse and are feeling great. Now what? Before diving back into the pizza and beer that had you craving a detox in the first place, consider incorporating the things you learned into your every day life. Continue to minimize your toxic exposure and ensure optimal bowel function, and treat your liver with some compassion (i.e. don’t overdo it on caffeine and alcohol). A spring cleanse can be an excellent way to kick-start your health and regain your vitality for a new season. It is important to keep in mind that every body is unique and has different requirements for health, so it is always best to consult with a health-care practitioner before undergoing a detox program. Dr. Tomah Phillips is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor practicing in downtown Vancouver,

where he runs personalized detox programs. Visit www.doctortomah.com for more information.

Additional Support: Acupuncture In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the 5 elements (fire, earth, metal, water, and wood) are used to describe the flow of Qi (energy) and the balance of yin and yang. The wood element represents the Liver, and the corresponding season is Spring. So from a TCM perspective, there is no better time to support the liver and detoxification than the Spring. The Liver is responsible for the smooth flowing of Qi (or life energy) throughout the body, so when the liver is functioning optimally, physical and emotional activity throughout the body will also run smoothly. The Liver can be supported through acupuncture, which uses tiny needles (about the size of a hair) in specific locations to remove blockages and encourage the smooth flow of Qi.

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Coming May 1st

13th Annual Family Resource Guide Have your business listed in BC’s favourite resource for parents LISTINGS INCLUDE: EDUCATION 쐍 CLASSES AND PROGRAMS FAMILY FUN 쐍 RETAIL 쐍 SUMMER CAMPS BIRTHDAYS 쐍 HOME 쐍 FAMILY HEALTH AND SUPPORT SERVICES Don’t miss your opportunity to have your company included in this year’s guide. For advertising and listing information

info@bcparent.ca OR VISIT: www.bcparent.ca EMAIL:

On the stands May 1st, 2014 (Advertising deadline April 14th)

To view current issue visit www.bcparent.ca


summer camp guide

art, music, drama & dance The Arts Connection 604/241-0141 www.theartsconnection.ca Richmond Arts Umbrella 604/681-5268 www.artsumbrella.com Get inspired this summer! Through hands-on visual, media and performing arts programs, children and youth ages 3–19 are immersed in creative, discovery and fun. Registration available now! Classes also available year round. Check the website for details. Bard on the Beach: Young Shakespeareans 604/737-0625 www.bardonthebeach.org Vancouver Our Young Shakespeareans workshops deliver an interactive fun-filled theatrical adventure. Professional actors lead dynamic workshops on the Bard stages all summer. Camp Monarch, Music, Art & Dance 604/723-8151 www.campmonarch.ca North Vancouver

Dance Co 604/736-3394 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: danceco.com Evergreen Cultural Centre 604/927-6555 www.evergreenculturalcentre.ca Coquitlam Gateway Academy’s Summer Camp 604/247-4975 www.gatewaytheatre.com Richmond Goh Ballet 604/872-4014 admin@gohballet.com Join us this summer to experience unique and enriching ballet and creative movement workshops designed specifically for budding dancers ages 4–7.Call or email to register. Jean Lyons School of Music 604/734-4019 www.jeanlyonsmusic.com

Place des Arts 604/664-1636 www.placedesarts.ca Coquitlam Place des Arts Summer Fun! Art Camp 6 weeks: July 7 to Aug. 15, 2014. Summer Fun! offers flexibility, choice and lots of summertime fun for children ages 5–7 & 8–12. Our half-day, week-long workshops for 11–14 year olds provide more intensive experiences in a range of visual and performing arts disciplines.

offer classes in Singing, Dancing and Drama every weekend alongside the school term as well as week long summer camps. Schools throughout the Lower Mainland; Vancouver Eastside/Westside, Richmond, Surrey, Langley, Coquitlam, Victoria.

Prussin Music 604/736-3036 www.prussinmusic.com Want to play in a Jazz Ensemble? Interested in Fiddle orSongwriting? How about Girls with Guitars or Campfire Songs? Does Music for Children sound interesting? All at Prussin this summer.

Summer Music at UBC 604/822-3113 www.summer.music.ubc.ca The UBC Summer Music Institute provides an intensive and fun musical experience for ages 10 to 18 in two levels of concert band and jazz band workshops, as well as two singing workshops. Overnight or daycamp.

StageCoach Theatre Arts – Summer Camps 877/78-STAGE (78243) www.stagecoachschools.ca 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

Vancouver Academy of Dance 604/231-8293 www.vancouverdance.com Vancouver/Richmond. Quality dance training. Starting this July, 5 weeks of summer programs in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, breakdancin’, Chinese dance, Ballroom and Acrobatics.

“Summer in the City” weekly Art Camps Suzy Birstein www.suzybirstein.com 604/737-2636

bcparent.ca • spring 2014 19


summer camp guide Vancouver Academy of Music 604/734-2301 www.vam.bc.ca Vancouver Tap Dance Society 604/253-0293 Vancouver Westside Dance Centre 604/736-1000 www.westsidedance.ca Visit our website for summer camp info.

general activities Alexandra Neighbourhood House 604/535-0015 Programs for children and families throughout Metro Vancouver. Residential Summer Camps include a 5 day camp for Families with limited resources, as well as a weekend Family Camp for families with teens/preteens with developmental challenges. False Creek C.C. Daycamps 604/257-8195, Vancouver www.falsecreekcc.ca Offers canoe/kayak camps, recreational camps and leadership camps for ages 3–14. In Wonderland Summer Camp 604/872-4665 www.inwonderland.ca Our camps offer a creative fun and

artistic experience for your child. Visit our website for details Langara Family YMCA 604/324-9622 www.langarafamilyymca.org Ages 3–16; Hours 8 am–5 pm Preschool, Adventure, Leadership, and Counsellor in Training Camps. Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House Licensed Out-of-School Care at Florence Nightingale School 604/879-8208 www.mpnh.org 8 weeks of licensed summer care for 20 children 5–10 years old North Vancouver Recreation Commission 604/987-PLAY (7529) www.northvanrec.com SFU Summer Camps 778/782-4965 www.sfu.ca/camps Sunset Community Centre 604/718-6505 www.mysunset.net Vancouver Vancouver College: A Finnegan Summer 604/261-4285 www.vc.bc.ca

20 bcparent.ca • spring 2014

residential camps

specialty camps

Camp Qwanoes 250/246-3014 www.qwanoes.ca Qwanoes is a youth-oriented highadventure Christian camp seeking to encourage biblical discipleship through relationship-focused, fun-oriented, and Christ-centred programs. Wild action and pure fun, real relationships, awesome counselors, great music, a world of discovery, all in one amazing setting.

BC SPCA Among Animals Camp 604/599-7297 www.spca.bc.ca/youth/whats-happening Camps are held in various locations around the province. Participants will learn about animal care, welfare and environmental issues in a safe and fun environment.

Outward Bound 1-888-OURWARD (688-9273) ext 209 www.outwardbound.ca Webbs Holiday Acres 604/857-1712 www.webbsholidayacres.ca

Bricks 4 Kidz® 778/822-5672 www.bricks4kidz.com/vancouver With our unique, motorized Lego® models, Bricks 4 Kidz® Vancouver is offering an exciting lineup of summer camps. From our popular Space Adventures and Robotics Camps to our new Mining & Crafting and Bricks 4 Girlz Camps, kids will have a blast with hands-on activities and challenges.


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bcparent.ca • spring 2014 21


summer camp guide 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. FUN Camps www.funsociety.ca FUN Camps is a hands-on environmental leadership camp that makes caring for the environment and exploring the natural areas in our cities FUN and interactive! Runs in Victoria and Vancouver each week of summer, 9 am–4 pm. Heritage Summer Daycamps 604/592-6956 Spend a summer day on the farm at Historic Stewart Farm doing things the old-fashioned way! Tend the garden, go on a nature walk, play games, be a river pirate, and more–there is a different theme every day! K12 Plus Learning 604/767-0949 We offer special summer programs at our centre or your home. Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre 604/990-3755, North Vancouver www.dnv.org/ecology Midnight Cheer Athletics 604/263-6436, Vancouver www.midnightcheer.com Oxford Learning N. Vancouver 604/990-8850 Coquitlam 604/936-1371 Richmond 604/233-5566 South Surrey 604/575-1494 Langley 604/534-4089 www.oxfordlearning.com

St. George’s Summer Programs 604/221-3601 www.summeratstgeorges.ca Vancouver, Dunbar area Science Camps – HT Science Made Fun 778/737-5277 www.ScienceMadeFunBC.net High Touch is offering our hands-on science camps throughout the Lower Mainland at a location near you. For a complete listing of our location and camps please visit our web site. Science World at TELUS World of Science 604/443-7443 www.telusworldofscience.com/ Dive into Summer Camp at the Vancouver Aquarium 604/659-3552 www.vanaqua.org Kids explore the intriguing world of marine mammals, fabulous fish and other cool creatures through hands-on activities, exploration, games and crafts. Plus check out the behind-thescenes action! Remember Members save 20%. Westside Church Day Camps Cosmic City & Beyond! 604/263-2314, Kistilano www.churchonthewestside.com Visit our website for all the details on our outer space themed camps packed with games, crafts, science, singing and local trips. YWCA Camp Fun Girl 604/895-5844 Writing and Book Camp (Vancouver Public Library) 604/331-4093 www.vpl.vancouver.bc.ca/events/ details/bookcamp

sports The Academy at Richmond Stables 604/275-1830 Athletes in Action 604/514-2079 www.athletesinaction.com Atlantis Programs 604/874-6464 www.atlantisprograms.com Vancouver Cartwheels 604/275-0020 or 604/594-1555 www.cartwheelsincorporated.com Richmond/Surrey Cliffhanger Indoor Rock Climbing 604/874-2400 www.cliffhangerclimbing.com Fitba—Soccer Player Development 604/340-1263 www.fitba.ca Jump Gymnastics 604/568-9690 www.jumpgymnastics.ca Langara Family YMCA 604/324-9622 www.langarafamilyymca.org Ages 6–12: Hours 8 am–5 pm Basketball, Soccer, Hockey, Tennis and more! Girls and Boys only options offered, as well as a UBC Wrestling Camp for ages 12–16. Financial Assistance available. RBL Basketball 604/269-0221 or 604/253-5295 www.RBLBasketball.ca Week long camps for boys and girls from kindergarten to Grade 10. Two to three hours each day. The Little Gym 604/539-2543 www.thelittlegym.com Call for summer day camp details.

22 bcparent.ca • spring 2014

Oval Sport Camps Richmond Olympic Oval 778/296-1400 www.richmondoval.ca camps@richmondoval.ca We offer 49 different sports camps for ages 6–16. Visit our website for details. Pedalheads Bike Camp 604/874-6464 www.pedalheads.ca Vancouver Royal Soccer 800/427-0536 www.royalsoccer.com Royal Soccer is excited to offer our #1 grassroots soccer camp in Canada. Open to boys & girls ages 5 to 13 at multiple BC locations during July & August. 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 www.twinriversequestrian.com UBC Sport Camps 604/822-6121 www.ubccamps.ca Vancouver Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics 604/737-7693 www.phoenixgymnastics.com


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TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF we say it nearly every single day. But truly taking care of yourself and your family means understanding all the options available to address the underlying causes of dysfunction. Integrative and functional, our practitioners are trained to work with you to find safe, reasonable, sustainable and affordable health solutions that will allow you and your loved ones to thrive. Learn more about how Naturopathic Medicine and its allied professionals can help you to optimize your health, and how you can begin your family’s health legacy. Join us online at EVOKEMEDICINE.COM

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