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Years of Service to BC Families

winter/ spring 2017

Straightening Up: Chiropractic Help

Preschool & Tutoring Guides

Montessori then & now

Coming April 1st 16th Annual Family Resource Guide Have your business listed in BC’s favourite resource for parents LISTINGS INCLUDE: EDUCATION  CLASSES AND PROGRAMS  FAMILY FUN  RETAIL  SUMMER CAMPS  BIRTHDAYS HOME  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 EMAIL: 778-855-2024 OR VISIT: On the stands April 1st, 2017 (Advertising deadline March 1st)

To view current issue visit

2 • winter/spring 2017


Letter from the Editor


Years of Service to BC Families

pring is in the air, and we’re so relieved to have some sun and say good-bye to snow. With Spring also comes time for a fresh start and time to plan 2017.

In this issue, we’ve highlighted a couple of changes that may be critical to your child, both in learning and health! Have you ever considered Chiropractic help for your children? I know, as a mother, I’ve definitely considered it for myself, but I now realize how beneficial it is to infants and children and the various problems it can help solve.

Carlie Parkinson

For learning, we took a deeper look into Montessori schooling. Now that there are Montessori schools across the province, some even going to Grade 12, this truly is an option that may fit your child for the long-term. If you decide Montessori is not a fit for your child, our Preschool Guide helps to identify some of the amazing pre-schools schools around. For older children, now is the time to ensure that they finish their school year on a high note. Consult our tutoring guide for help getting your child excited about school again and read our piece on How to Help children who won’t willingly go to school. Enjoy the issue,

Inside 4 From fridge to wall: Transforming your child’s cherished art pieces

14 Montessori then and now: still ahead of the curve

24 10 ways to help your child be an excellent reader

6 Straightening up: Getting chiropractic help for your child

Tutoring Guide

26 Chores make the grade

19 Province Wide

Preschool Guide 9 Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley 12 Vancouver Island 12 Okanagan

19 Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley 20 Vancouver Island 20 Okanagan 21 How to balance electronics and nature?

30 The great due date debate Follow us on

Mailing Address: P.O.Box 30020, North Vancouver, BC V7H 2Y8

Winter/Spring 2017 Volume 26, Number 1

29 How to help kids who won’t willingly go to school

email: Canadian Publications Mail Registration No.251836

Publisher/Executive Editor: Carlie Parkinson Editor: Geoffrey Legh Advertising Design & Layout: Julie Cochrane Editorial Design & Layout: Advertising Sales:

BC Parent Newsmagazine

Contributors: Carlie Parkinson, Dr. Angela Macdonald, Nic Enright-Morin, Brenda FisherBarber, Natacha V. Beim, Lara Krupicka, Susan Cumberland, Christie Weber BC Parent is published 6 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. • winter/spring 2017 3

By Carlie Parkinson

Finished painting


herishing your children’s art is a parent’s duty, but sometimes there is too much to put on the fridge and your house is overcome by pieces from your aspiring artist. How do you encourage your child and ensure that original pieces aren’t damaged along the way? How do you capture those precious drawings that only that adorable little hand could have made? Visual artist, Joyce Ozier, has created a new type of fine art to help parents showcase their child’s prized pieces. The Little Picasso Series is a commissioned series that will take that magical image and work it into a professional, gallery-quality painting, well

Original drawing

4 • winter/spring 2017

worthy of a special spot in your living room. Joyce can relate to the art curating challenges of many. “Like most parents, I proudly displayed a changing exhibit of my children’s art on our fridge. I’ve saved a number of those precious drawings in a drawer, but they are now yellowed and dogeared and some are starting to disintegrate.” The delight Joyce felt when reminiscing about her children’s drawings was what inspired her to find a way to capture the joy and passion of those early beginnings and preserve their art by creating a large abstract painting that is gallery quality and suitable to proudly display for years to come. “Some children who show great talent for drawing when they’re small just stop when they get older, making their early art all the more precious.” Even Pablo Picasso knew that a child’s art was irreplaceable, “Every child is an artist… it took me four years to paint like Raphael and a lifetime to paint like a child.” Wanting to get a better understanding of Joyce’s process, my son and I got started on an original collaboration of our own. The first step was going through my son’s existing art. I’m embarrassed to say, there were many pieces that I had never seen. All the art had gotten tucked away and my five-year old’s collection was hidden. When we went through the pieces, it was a great opportunity to talk about the art, find out more about each piece and get rid of some that had been, sadly, destroyed along the way. In the end, we narrowed the collection to just

five pieces to choose our favourite from. The choice was a beautiful owl he had drawn at school. It stood out to me because it wasn’t his usual spaceships and Star Wars inspired art—it was more whimsical. After we picked the owl, we sent a photo of it to Joyce to let her begin the transformation. After doing some preliminary sketches, Joyce transfers the child’s drawing onto her canvas using a high-powered projector, tracing the exact lines. “I may repeat one section several times. My intention is not to restrict myself to the literal composition that is photographed, but to use the elements of the drawing in a designed arrangement,” she says. Once the essence of the original has been transferred to canvas, Joyce employs a use of colour, a vital element of her overall style. “I start the painting using large brushes and actively apply colour using sweeping gestures over the whole canvas, instinctively melding the child’s drawing into a balanced abstract,” she states. When we received our completed masterpiece, we were both delighted. The owl now has a stunning motif surrounding it and is ready to be hung on our wall. I’ll be proud to tell people the story of our newest piece of fine art, knowing that my son’s inspiration was what helped to create such a beautiful piece. LITTLE PICASSO SERIES© artworks 604-367-0809

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Straightening up Getting chiropractic help for your child


did not grow up in a “chiropractic family”. I don’t think I even really thought twice about the word or profession until I was part way through my Kinesiology degree, and a student from a chiropractic college came to speak to our SFU Pre-Med group. Her description of Chiropractic medicine treating the source of many nerve, muscle, and spine problems deeply resonated with me. You could say that day changed my life, and those of all the thousands of lives I have had the privilege to touch since graduating 20 years ago. One of the most surprising ways I have found I am able to serve my community is through my pediatric practice. I don’t think the book-wise Dr. Angela Macdonald understood quite how far-reaching her impact could be from the newborn, to the constant texting teenager, to the elite high school athlete (the last two are not mutually exclusive by the way). As my career progressed, I began to understand the quote, “as the twig is bent, so grows the tree”. Let’s start with the tiniest of twigs: the newborn. Birth is a miraculous and awe inspiring event but can sometimes be physically traumatic to a baby. Many times the trauma is not enough to require medical attention but is enough to give the infant

pain. A headache or sore back can sometimes be the cause of colic and is so easily assessed by a chiropractor comfortable with treating newborns. If you have ever been to a chiropractor, you know that as the chiropractor palpates (feels) your spine, you both know that “that’s the spot”. Post-delivery, if there is a chiropractic problem when palpating the baby’s spine, it’s much the same and we know that “that’s the spot”. I’ve seen babies go from wailing to fast asleep right in my arms from the instant relief. It is wonderful to give the baby the relief, but just as wonderful to give the parents the relief (and the sleep!) How to know if a baby might be in need of chiropractic care

Two indicators to look for that may indicate chiropractic care can help are, breast preference (they are more comfortable turning their head in one direction) and discomfort in their car seat or lying on their back (especially if combined with gassiness). Some moms and dads will choose to bring their newborns in for a wellness check, making sure the “twig” is good to go. Sometimes little things to correct are found, but often it is simply a great chance to get reassur-

By Dr. Angela Macdonald

ance that their baby’s spine feels fantastic. Assuming there are no concerns (falls off of change tables or overly aggressive big brother hugs), the next check-up should be when they begin to crawl, as the spinal curves begin to change at that point. From the get go, parents should try to limit the time in the car seat to just the car or when needed (hey, I understand, I am a mom too). This is because one of the first things we want happening is for babies to explore the length of their body and naturally get away from a fetal position. When they are strong enough, “tummy time” is nature’s way of strengthening their posterior chain muscles and is strongly encouraged. Another common concern with infants is chronic ear infections. Like colic, this is a problem that can have multiple causes (food allergies being another concern to rule out). When we get an infection, our bodies or antibiotics do a good job of killing the invading bacteria, and all that’s left of this interaction should be drained away by the lymph system. There are two challenges with a baby’s ear: their eustachian tubes are still horizontal (as we grow they become more vertical) and the lymph is very collapsible allowing for muscle tension to push up against the vessels, not allowing for the drainage. With these two challenges, there remains a moist, warm, bed for new bacteria to thrive in the inner ear. If a chiropractor can palpate tight muscles in the neck, relax them, and restore efficient movement, it quite often allows for the drainage and breaks the cycle.

How to read a tweet Did you know that your head weighs 10 pounds? For every inch it is forward of your body you add an additional 10 pounds. So, if you are slouched forward reading those tweets on your phone, your neck muscles are holding up 50-60 pounds! Ouch! Protect your neck while texting: tuck your elbows into your sides and bring the phone up to eye level.


The crawling checkup is the perfect time to rectify funky (asymmetrical) crawling patterns (sometimes co-treating with a physiotherapist). The next recommended check is when they start to walk, as again, new curves are created in the spine. All the while confirming symmetry and taking care of the multiple tumbles a toddler inevitably will have. As kids grow, it is beneficial to keep an eye on their spine and muscle balance especially as they try new sports and activities. It is important to have them take some responsibility for their health and help them learn how to avoid muscle imbalances from happening. From the neck of a flute player to the shoulder of a pitcher, to the rotated pelvis of a hockey player, all of these potentials for repetitive injury can be prevented by working with a chiropractor and ensuring the young person does appropriate stretches and exercises specific for their lifestyle, at that moment. Lately, it has been especially rewarding to help everyone—young and old—understand the importance of posture. Changing little habits can make a huge difference in how we look and feel. Confidence in teens is an important issue. As Amy Cuddy says, “Your body language shapes who you are”. Good posture can actually physically change your hormones, so they give more confidence. Teens also often complain of being tired, possibly due to how much less oxygen we get when we are slouched. Proper posture is an empowering thing. I think of all the adults that I treat who “just have always had a bad hip” or “it just goes out really bad like this every once in

awhile”, and wonder if the twig had been gently guided, would the tree be suffering so much? In my mind, it is all about living our best lives, and if there is a chance to not let back and neck pain get in the way of

that, then that is pretty exciting stuff. Dr. Macdonald is a chiropractor practising in Maple Ridge, BC. She is also the creator of “The Posture Project”, a social media soap box to let the masses know how to grow and live and play without pain holding them back. For more ideas find her on facebook at “Dr. Angela Macdonald DC - the posture project” or on twitter @AngMacdonaldDC.

Need to help your child’s posture? • Get them to pretend they have a helium balloon attached to their head, and it is pulling them up. • When they sit, have them pretend they have a tail off their tailbone and make sure they don’t sit “on it”, instead, flick it out behind them. It is much harder to slouch when seated this way. • Get your kids to pretend there is a balloon behind their shoulder blades, when they take a breath in, feel the balloon fill you up and lift you taller, when you “let the air out of the balloon”, try to stay just as tall. • Play the tissue dance game. Every child places a tissue on his or her head. As the music starts, the children begin dancing. Parents should encourage as much movement as possible. The goal is for the children to keep the tissues on their heads as they dance. If it falls off, the child can grab it and place it back on his or her head, but if it touches the ground, the child is out. The last child left dancing wins!

Pediatric Chiropractors

Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley


Rice Family Chiropractic 310-6325 204 Street, Langley, BC V2Y 3B3 604/539-0542

AltaVie Integrated Family Health 434 Cedar Avenue, Kelowna, BC V1Y 4X3 778/484-4414

Erin Rice is a Langley chiropractor who has a practice that focuses on pregnant women and children. Erin has completed post graduate training through the ICPA in techniques that are gentle and effective in caring for her patients. Please visit for more information.

Vancouver’s Pediatric & Family Wellness Chiropractor #1110-750 West Broadway Vancouver, BC V5V 1H1 604/566-9088 We love helping kids express their fullest potential. Our focus is on relieving nerve distress which might be a factor in issues affecting emotions, behaviour, personality, learning, immune system, and sensory integration, so kids can rest, play and grow!

AltaVie is a holistic, interdisciplinary team that focuses on family health, from preconception preparations and pregnancy support to pediatric care and postnatal rehab. We customize our treatment plans for the specific developmental stage and presentation of each patient. Let our chiropractors, registered massage therapists, and registered dietitian facilitate your family’s thriving health experience. • winter/spring 2017 7

Is your child secretly suffering from Nerve Distress?



Nerve distress can take many forms, such as:


• • • • • •

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

Emotional outbursts Difficulty transitioning Fussiness/picky eater/colic Digestive issues Withdrawn/irritable Poor sensory integration

• • • • • •

Anxiety/depression Poor concentration Frequently sick Asthma/allergies Eating disorders Autism, ADHD

Find out if your child is at risk with our FREE Baseline Health Assessment. www.Family or call us at (604) 566 - 9088 8 • winter/spring 2017

Vancouver’s Pediatric & Family Wellness Chiropractor



• 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 2018 and beyond • limited spaces available 2017

VANCOUVER BILINGUAL PRESCHOOL 949 West 49th Avenue (at Oak St.) Vancouver, BC V5Z 2T1 Phone/Fax: 604.261.1221 •

Preschool Guide Lower Mainland/ Fraser Valley Advantage Preschool Burnaby, 604/435-1263 Alderwood House Richmond, 604/272-5023 Birchland Treehouse Preschool Port Coquitlam, 604/945-0002 Brainbridge Bilingual Education and Fine Arts Centre Vancouver, 604/322-6830 Brentwood Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten Burnaby, 604/294-2671

BrightPath Kids Lower Mainland 1-888-808-2252 Burnaby French Language Playschool Burnaby, 604/432-1323 The Burnaby French Language Preschool recognizes the immense value of play in fostering a young child’s development and the benefits of learning through play. It also strongly encourages the involvement of parents in their children’s preschool experiences.

CEFA Early Learning 14 locations throughout the Lower Mainland CEFA Early Learning is a private school which offers an elite junior kindergarten program featuring a unique partnership of core subjects and fine arts that are taught through projects, activities and play. The program was designed to specifically stimulate children during the brain’s most formative years, increasing the child’s emotional, social and intellectual capacity for life.

Discovery Quest Montessori Surrey, 604/581-1620 Dunbar Memorial Preschool Vancouver, 604/222-6065 Elite Montessori Academy Vancouver, 604/655-2045

Children’s House Montessori Coquitlam, 604/931-1311

Council of Parent Participation Preschools 604/435-4430, 800/488-0660

Family Montessori School Vancouver 604/224-2633, 604/731-8810 Since 1980, FMSS is proud to have provided the highest quality of Montessori programming for preschool and kindergarten aged children. Following AMI Montessori principles and standards, our Guides provide enriching, engaging and inspiring learning environments nurturing an “education for life.”

Cloverleaf Montessori Surrey, 604/574-9899

Discovery Montessori Richmond, 604/807-9796

Gatehouse Montessori West Van, 604/925-1437

Canyon Heights Preschool North Van, 604/986-5597

Cornerstone Christian Academy Richmond, 604/303-9181 • winter/spring 2017 9

preschool guide Hazelwood Early Learning Port Coquitlam, 604/377-8385 Highlands PreSchool North Van, 604/980-1740 Inglewood Parent Participation Preschool West Van, 604/925-1888 Kiddies Korner Preschool Port Coquitlam, 604/941-4919 Kids Care Preschool Vancouver, 604/325-2222 kidscare_preschool La Calypso Vancouver, 778/373-4000 Little Mountain Montessori Preschool Vancouver, 604/709-9621 Little People Parent Participation Preschool Vancouver, 604/261-2219 Little Pythagoras Academy Richmond, 604/370-0199 Caters to parents who are looking for a sophisticated educational program for children 3 to 5 years of age that combine a dynamic academic curriculum with strong fine art components. We teach young learners that creative ideas come from within the individual and not technology. Our main goal is to encourage children to create their own authentic work by using their inner power. Little Neighbours Preschool Coquitlam, 604/521-5158

Marpole Bilingual Montessori School Co-ed, grades PS–K Vancouver, 604/266-1091 Our program sets a fantastic foundation for your child. With our unique approach to the daily Bilingual French Program combined with the Montessori Curriculum, your child will be prepared academically, socially, emotionally and physically. Meadow Montessori Elementary & Preschool Maple Ridge, 604/465-3492 Monkey See Monkey Do Montessori Vancouver, 778/371-4659 We have offered high quality programs for children ages 2.5–6 since 2007. Children learn language arts, math, geography, music, gym, and have access to a beautiful outdoor play area. Experienced and warm teachers. Graduates have a solid academic foundation, good problem solving skills, pro-social behaviour and a love of school.

Vancouver Montessori School Co-ed, grades PS–7 Vancouver, 604/261-0315

Finearts Preschool Richmond, 604/221-0141 Pomme d’Api Preschool Vancouver, 604/877-1122 Reach for the Stars Montessori 5 programs in Vancouver and Burnaby 604/688-7827 We educate infant/toddler, preschool and kindergarten students. Personalized attention fosters a balanced atmosphere that is cheerful, nourishing and orderly. We incorporate the additional enriched areas of learning into the AMI Montessori method of teaching through guides that are specially trained professionals in the AMI Montessori method and certified as Early Childhood Educators.

Vancouver Talmud Torah Co-ed, grades PS–7 Vancouver, 604/736-7307 Vancouver Waldorf School Co-ed, grades PS–12 North Vancouver 604/985-7435 Wesbrook Parent Participation Preschool Vancouver, 604/224-3112 West Point Grey Preschool Vancouver, 604/257-8140 West Point Grey Licensed Preschool at Aberthau offers care for children 30 months – 5 years old in a learning through play environment. Uniquely located in a mansion with large outdoor space this Preschool is a hidden gem on the West Side of Vancouver.

Sandcastle Park Children’s Centre Richmond, 604/274-8380 Stepping Stone Preschool Vancouver, 604/261-5315

Morning Glory Montessori Richmond, 604/506-1627

Sunshine Cove Preschool North Van, 604/770-2683

North Star Montessori Co-ed, grades PS–7 North Van, 604/980-1205 We offer an authentic Montessori program that fosters a love of learning, independence and respect, an integrated curriculum that connects children to their local and global communities. Practical experiences build confidence and inspire an intrinsic motivation that students carry with them throughout their lives.

University Hill Preschool Vancouver, 604/228-8610 Vancouver Bilingual Preschool Vancouver, 604/261-1221 Vancouver Bilingual Preschool offers a proven English-French curriculum developed to prepare your child for a lifetime of learning and success. Our specially trained teachers are dedicated to starting children on the journey of second (or third!) language learning.

Westside Montessori Academy Preschool to Grade 7 Vancouver, 604/434-9611 WMA is a small school with a big heart—an established preschool through to Grade 7 since 2008. Offering Montessori education, lower student to staff ratios and thoughtfully designed learning environments. Love of learning starts here.

Pacific Rim Montessori Academy Richmond and Vancouver 604/726-8428

Vancouver Hebrew Academy Co-ed, grades PS–7 Vancouver, 604/264-1245

Westside Montessori School Vancouver, 604/731-6594

West Point Grey Licensed Preschool at Aberthau (30 Months—5 Years)

Give your child a head start in French Immersion ECE certified teachers French ­immersion program For children ages 3 to 5 2 teachers per class Small class size (maximum 15) Teachers fluent in French & English

Spots available for the 2017-2018 School Year 604.257.8140 4397 West 2nd Ave. Vancouver, BC

10 • winter/spring 2017

(604) 432-1323

Busy life? Have BC Parent delivered to your inbox. Visit to subscribe. • winter/spring 2017 11

preschool guide

Vancouver Island A Secret Garden Preschool Victoria, 250/380-8293 preschool Adel Play N Discovery House Sidney Sidney, 250/655-4888 Bloom Montessori Victoria, 250/812-3137 Island Montessori House School Victoria, 250/592-4411 Lakehill Preschool Victoria, 250/477-4141 Parkdale Early Childhood Centre Victoria, 250/382-0512

Maria Montessori Academy Grades PS–12 Victoria, 250/479-4746 Selkirk Montessori School Co-ed, grades PS–8 Victoria, 250/384-3414 Montessori observed it, modern research proves it, and we continue to evolve the practice of it. Come learn at Selkirk Montessori where ever-evolving education is a rich and exciting experience. “Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.”  —Maria Montessori Starchild Centre Mill Bay, 250/929-3240 Victoria Montessori Preschool and Childcare Victoria, 250/380-0534

12 • winter/spring 2017

Westmont Montessori School Grades PS–8 Victoria, 250/474-2626

cifically stimulate children during the brain’s most formative years, increasing the child’s emotional, social and intellectual capacity for life.

Wiseways Preschool & Daycare Gordon Head, Victoria 250/477-1312

Heritage Christian Preschool Kelowna (Rutland area) 250/980-5604


The Lil’ Cottage Educational Daycare Lower Mission, Kelowna

BrightPath Kids Kelowna & West Kelowna 1-888-808-2252

Okanagan Montessori Kelowna, 250/878-0014

CEFA Early Learning Kelowna, 236/420-3868 CEFA Early Learning is a private school which offers an elite junior kindergarten program featuring a unique partnership of core subjects and fine arts that are taught through projects, activities and play. The program was designed to spe-

Shannon Lake Preschool W. Kelowna, 250/707-3223 Willowstone Academy Kelowna, 250/764-3111

preschool guide

Montessori Preschool in Dunbar  helps children develop positive social skills, a love of learning, and a good academic foundation

Qu ality todd ler, pr eschoo l & ki n de rg ar ten e du cation

Education for life.

Invest in our children today. Make our future bright.

Experience our beautiful and engaging ­classrooms filled with a full range of Montessori materials.

CURRENTLY REGISTERING Nanaimo & 20th Ave. – Full & half day options 3606 N anaimo St, Vancouver Main & 15th Ave. 3085 Main St, Vancouver Boundary Road – Full & half day options 3440 Boundary R d, Burnaby Kitsilano – Full & half day options Arbutus & W. 7th Ave, Vancouver

Visit us at one of our TWO LOCATIONS to learn how we offer your preschool-kindergarten aged child “education for life.” Jericho Hill 4196 W 4th Ave. Vancouver, BC

 Montessori curriculum plus music, gym, and crafts  experienced teachers and a great community of parents INFORMATION SESSION FOR PARENTS SAT. MAR. 4, 3-4PM – RSVP

Sitka square 1099 Sitka Square Vancouver, BC

Contact the office at:

604.688 STAR (7827)


778-840-2659 (Laurie)

Ad revised with Information session update for Winter 2017 issue... not sure which ad they will use

Love of Learning Starts Here

WMA offers classes from preschool through elementary grades 1-7 based on the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori. • • •

Enriched Curriculum Small Class Sizes Multi-Age Groupings

Our curriculum inspires students to become independent learners who appreciate and understand their world.

This ad revised again on Sept 20/16 for use in Fall 16 This ad revised again on March 17/16 for use in RG16 This ad revised on March 14/16 for use in RG16 This ad from Resource 2015, revised for Resource 2016.

Apply today! 3075 Slocan St. Vancouver BC • 604-434-9611 • winter/spring 2017 13

Montessori then and now: still ahead of the curve


ur ever-changing world impacts us in many ways; even in the way our kids are taught at schools. In recent years, the BC government has been rolling out changes to the education curriculum, which has meant big differences to the way our children are taught in schools. There are several key changes that the BC government has made, including new standards on how kids progress is documented (children won’t be just be given letter grades. Instead school assessments of children’s learning will try and look at the bigger picture), as well as other major modifications in learning approaches. The new curriculum aims to prepare children for our changing world, paying particular attention to our increasing reliance on technology. It also intends to give them the knowledge necessary to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. One of the other main philosophies within the new BC curriculum is the understanding that no 14 • winter/spring 2017

two children learn in the same way, or at the same pace, and that effective learning comes from not just memorizing information, but the ability to apply that information in real-life situations. It also takes into consideration that students learn best through approaches that harness their interests and passions. While there has been a lot of interest in how the new curriculum has been applied in traditional BC public schools, not a great deal of time has been given to alternative schools systems, such as the Montessori program. BC Parent spoke with educators and parents in the Montessori system to find out their thoughts on how the new curriculum was working in tandem with the Montessori method. Firstly though, what exactly is Montessori? It is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori, who’s scientific approach was based on the belief that education should

By Nic Enright-Morin

nurture the individual needs of a child. Her teachings advocate working with children’s independence and with respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. Through the course of her research, Dr. Montessori discovered that children had “absorbent” minds, and so learning was something they did naturally, without it having to be forced upon them. The Montessori program is popular in countries all over the world, and here in BC, it is a choice program, like French immersion. Parents can opt into the program through public schools that offer it, as well as through private schools that offer the program. For example, on Vancouver Island, one of the first ever Montessori schools in Canada opened in the late 1940s. In BC, Montessori schools follow the provincial curriculum, as well as the educational philosophies of Maria Montessori. Erin Higginbottom, principal of the Family Montessori School Society in Vancouver,

says that so far, merging the new BC curriculum with the Montessori system has been a success. “The new BC curriculum is actually fitting in quite well with the Montessori educational philosophies, as the new curriculum is moving towards the way that we do things, so it’s been very easy for us to demonstrate how our curriculum meets the new BC curriculum - and then some. What the new BC curriculum has done is to offer up a more project and inquiry-based collaborative model of working, presenting the bigger ideas, and in a Montessori program that is how our program has been designed from day one. We start our lessons with the bigger picture. We start by telling a story, or by asking questions, and then we allow the children to explore in their own individual way and get them to dig a little deeper and pick out those details that they find important. Then they transfer that knowledge into projects, field trips or any other subject area that it might take them, so there are a lot of cross-referencing and cross-curricular proj-

ects that are happening. So because we’ve always approached learning in that way and because now, the new BC curriculum is doing that as well, it’s been very lovely to see that the way we’ve been doing things is

Montessori is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori, who’s scientific approach was based on the belief that education should nurture the individual needs of a child.

more widely accepted. Because of that, it’s been much easier to marry the two curriculums together.” Higginbottom, who last year during her maternity leave created a document that shows how the Montessori program integrates the new BC curriculum, says schools

haven’t had to overly modify their curriculum to meet the new provincial standards, as the Montessori program already covers all the bases of the core curriculum. But she said that there are some areas that they have adjusted. “We’ve always had to figure out ways to implement specialty programs such as French and physical education, which we’ve been able to integrate quite well, especially when we turn over the ownership of learning to the students and allow them to pursue those specialties, not only when they have the outside instructors but when the interest arises as well.” As well, in the new BC curriculum, there is a focus on readying students for life beyond school. Higginbottom says that goals such as career development have always naturally been a part of the Montessori day-to-day classroom routine, as children learn how to goal set, problem solve and communicate from very early on, through journal writing, day-time planning, and class discussions. However, she says there are areas in the • winter/spring 2017 15

Montessori (Continued from page 15)

new curriculum that Montessori educators will need to be mindful of. “The applied skills design and technology components of the curriculum that affect kids from grades six and up is much more thorough than the previous curriculum and is something that Montessori educators will have to look at a little more closely, moving forward.” Higginbottom, who has been involved in education for over fifteen years, firmly believes in the success that a Montessori program can offer children. “Doctor Montessori’s method has been proven to work for over a hundred years now and research is catching up to validate her original findings, which were that education should be based on the developmental and psychological characteristics of the child and when you set up the classroom that meets the needs of a given age, the children thrive and they’re happy. Not only are we paying attention to their academic development, we’re encouraging social and emotional intelligence, as well as skills that are really coveted in the workplaces of today and the future. Ironically, this ‘new’ twenty-firstcentury learning has been implemented by Montessori since the early 1900s.” On Vancouver Island, the Montessori method is also a popular option for many families. Penny Barner, the administrative head at Selkirk Montessori in Victoria said, “The island is very rich in Montessori

16 • winter/spring 2017

schools and we have some of the best Montessori options available in Canada. Not only do we have Montessori preschool and Kindergarten schools, we also have a number of elementary and middle school programs. We even have the only Montessori high school in Canada here in Victoria.”

What the new BC curriculum has done is to offer up a more project and inquiry-based collaborative model of working, presenting the bigger ideas, and in a Montessori program that is how our program has been designed from day one.

Selkirk Montessori School academic head, Erin Hayes, agrees with Higginbottom that the changes to the new BC curriculum have been easy to implement and that, in actual fact, many of the changes are philosophies that are already at the core of Montessori learning, especially at higher-grade levels. “The middle school and high school Montessori model is based on the development of the adolescent. It’s not just a regurgi-

tation of the elementary model, it definitely takes it that step further. I think the new BC curriculum is very much based on the Montessori model, meaning that learning is research based and the children are in charge of their own education. They learn good time management and organization skills and they have that independence, so that by the time they are in middle school, they have learned all the executive skills that will stand them in good stead for high school - if they go into a non-Montessori high school or for when they get to university.” Nathan O’Donnell is a parent who lives in Vancouver and has two kids. His oldest son is five and is currently completing his final year in a three-year cycle of a Montessori program. He says before his son started school he was new to Montessori, but the more he learned about the program the more attractive it became. “Immediately it was apparent to me that in the classroom there was a sense of mindfulness of self and of others and knowing that was going to be a part of the everyday school routine was very impressive to me. Beyond the classroom, my son has brought those expectations home with the way he conducts himself with his younger brother. The mentoring that he’s received from the older kids at school has really influenced him and so he practices the same behaviour when he comes home. There is a nice harmony between home and school.” Jean Marine, who lives in Vancouver, has a four-year-old daughter who has been in the Montessori program since she was three. Marine also attended a Montessori school herself and it was this experience that lead her to seek out the same choice for her daughter. “I just love the program. I’ve gone all the way through to higher education myself, I have a PhD and when I reflect on my own learning, it’s my Montessori education that still sticks with me. The thing that I love is that Montessori instills in kids a love of learning for the love of learning, not just for a mark on a test. I love that it’s mixed age classrooms. I think that the freedom that is given to your child to explore and develop at their own pace in a safe, contained environment is fantastic.” Higginbottom says that parents considering Montessori as a choice for their child should definitely do their homework. “You do need to do your research because not all Montessori schools are created

equally. Parents need to look for schools that are accredited or affiliated with certain Montessori organizations like AMI, the organization that Doctor Montessori and her son founded, or AMS to make sure quality programs are being delivered.” Ultimately, when it comes to the new curriculum, Higginbottom says things couldn’t be going better and that so far, the transition has been a great success. “I think because we’ve been trained specifically to deliver education in this way and we’re comfortable doing it, we’re not scrambling, we’re quite sure of how to deliver the program and we know and trust what the outcomes will be. I think parents respect that and appreciate the individualized attention children receive and the fact that they’re with a teacher for at least three years means we’re developing a more meaningful relationship with their children.”

Lower Mainland/ Fraser Valley Family Montessori School Society Co-ed, grades PS–K Vancouver, 604/224-2643 Since 1980, FMSS is proud to have provided the highest quality of Montessori programming for preschool and kindergarten aged children. Following AMI Montessori principles and standards, our guides provide enriching, engaging and inspiring learning environments nurturing an “education for life.” Marpole Bilingual Montessori School Co-ed, grades PS–K Vancouver, 604/266-1091 Our program sets a fantastic foundation for your child. With our unique approach to the daily bilingual French program combined with the Montessori curriculum, your child will be prepared academically, socially, emotionally and physically. Accepting applications for Sept 2018. Call for an appt. Monkey See Monkey Do Montessori Co-ed, grades PS–K Vancouver, 778/371-4659

We have offered high quality programs for children ages 2.5–6 since 2007. Children learn language arts, math, geography, music, gym, and have access to a beautiful outdoor play area. Experienced and warm teachers. Graduates have a solid academic foundation, good problem solving skills, pro-social behaviour and a love of school. Information Session March 4, 3–4 pm. North Star Montessori Co-ed, grades PS–7 North Vancouver, 604/980-1205 We offer an authentic Montessori program that fosters a love of learning, independence and respect, an integrated curriculum that connects children to their local and global communities. Practical experiences build confidence and inspire an intrinsic motivation that students carry with them throughout their lives. Reach for the Stars Montessori Co-ed, grades PS–K 5 programs in Vancouver and Burnaby 604/688-7827 We educate infant/toddler, preschool and kindergarten students. Personalized attention fosters a balanced atmosphere that is cheerful, nourishing and

orderly. We incorporate the additional enriched areas of learning into the AMI Montessori method of teaching through guides that are specially trained professionals in the AMI Montessori method and certified as Early Childhood Educators. Westside Montessori Academy Co-ed, grades PS–7 Vancouver, 604/434-9611 WMA is a small school with a big heart— an established preschool through to Grade 7 since 2008. Offering Montessori education, lower student to staff ratios and thoughtfully designed learning environments. Love of learning starts here.

Vancouver Island Selkirk Montessori School Co-ed, grades PS-8 Victoria, 250/384-3414 Montessori observed it, modern research proves it, and we continue to evolve the practice of it. Come learn at Selkirk Montessori where ever-evolving education is a rich and exciting experience. “Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.” —Maria Montessori • winter/spring 2017 17

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18 • winter/spring 2017

tutoring guide

Tutoring Guide Province Wide BC Home Learners’ Association 866/444-2299 Teachers to Go 800/428-8164 We are a unique tutoring service that matches your child with a provincially certified teacher to tutor in your home. We create lessons tailored to your child’s learning needs and strengths while integrating a fun component to make learning fun. Leave the teaching to us and call us today! TutorSage Inc. Aspire K–12 Program 604/356-8046 Grades K–12 TutorSage offers in-person tutoring and lessons which are affordable, flexible and on your terms. Find quality, verified tutors and lesson providers in your area! Manage all your scheduling and payments online. Create a free account and start browsing tutors and lesson providers today. Voilà Learning Online and at Home tutoring across Canada 866/900-0658

Lower Mainland & Fraser Valley Above Grade Level Lower Mainland 778/832-1007 After 3 Tutoring at Fraser Academy Kitsilano 604/736-5575 1:1 tutoring, 1-hour, 2-3x/week. Our program helps children learn to read and write or do math at age-appropriate levels. We’re leaders in education designed to build the skills, confidence and learning habits needed for educational success.

Aspire Math Academy North Vancouver, 604/902-2217 Grades JK–Gr 7 Aspire Math Academy is an Educational Learning Centre and consulting firm specializing in the development of exceptional teaching programs. We excel at providing our students with flexible mathematical thinking and reasoning needed to master curriculum concepts. Eye Level Learning Center of Richmond North Richmond, Vancouver, Burnaby 604/285-3835 3–16 yrs old KEY Admissions Vancouver Kumon 800/222-6284

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Learning Disabilities Association 604/873-8139 Mathletics 1-877-467-6851 MPM Math 604/266-6762 In the MPM Math Education program, elementary-school students build problem-solving and critical thinking math abilities while developing self-confidence and independence in learning. The JELIC program, for ages 3–6 years old, is dedicated for preschoolers to solve problems independently through specially-designed logic puzzles, under the supervision of a qualified instructor. nurTutor Lower Mainland 604/449-1670 (Guide continues on page 20)

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tutoring guide Lower Mainland (Continued from page 19) Oxford Learning Coquitlam, 604/464-3090 Richmond, 604/233-5566 South Surrey, 604/575-1494 North Van, 604/990-8850 Kerrisdale, 604/266-6000 Kitsilano, 604/563-2000 West Van, 604/922-5566 Burnaby, 604/565-5877 PD Plus Tutoring Service Ltd. 604/421-6101 The Reading Foundation 604/222-2254 School Is Easy Tutoring 604/439-1790 or 1-877-ITS EASY Home tutoring. We are one of the largest and most respected tutoring agencies in the Lower Mainland/ Fraser Valley. We provide carefully screened certified teachers in all subjects: Grades 1–12, ESL (all levels), special ed, study skills, gifted programs and French immersion. We are easy to work with. Reasonable rates. No upfront fees. Winner of BBB Marketplace Excellence and 2nd place People’s Pick award 2015.

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TutorBright, Vancouver Vancouver 778/300-5000 Tutor Doctor Multiple locations in Richmond & Delta 604/943-0555 UCMAS Surrey, 604/728- 4112 Vancouver, 778/990-0749 Richmond, 604/248-7575

Vancouver Island The Dyslexia Tutor Victoria, 250/886-4484 Infinity Tutoring Centre Victoria, 250/590-4859 Oxford Learning Victoria, 250/477-5550 READ Society Victoria, 778/676-3652 School Is Easy Tutoring Across Vancouver Island 250/483-5496 or 1-877-ITS EASY Home tutoring. We are one of the largest and most respected tutoring agencies on Vancouver Island. We provide carefully screened certified teachers in all subjects: Grades 1–12, ESL (all levels), special ed, study skills, gifted programs and French immersion. We are easy to work with. Reasonable rates. No upfront fees. Smart Tutor Referrals Victoria, 250-544-1588 Sylvan Learning 1-800-EDUCATE Verbs Etc Tutoring

Okanagan 360 Learning Academy Penticton, Summerland 250/486-3238 Mind Over Learning Kelowna, 250/860-0084 Okanagan Potentials Vernon, 250/545-7766 School Is Easy Tutoring Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and Osoyoos 250/938-7368 or 1-877-ITS EASY okanagan Home tutoring. We are one of the largest and most respected tutoring agencies in the Okanagan. We provide carefully screened certified teachers in all subjects: Grades 1–12, ESL (all levels), special ed, study skills, gifted programs and French immersion. We are easy to work with. Reasonable rates. No upfront fees.

How to balance electronics and nature? By Brenda Fisher-Barber


o many parents today complain that their kids are always inside and plugged into something electronic, and never play outside with their friends, like we used to when we were growing up. They are worried their young children are addicted to their Ipad and cell phone and wonder what to do. They have every right to be concerned for their children and all of the others who are spending most of their free time indoors and “plugged in” to something electronic, and the overuse of screen time in general. The difference between my childhood and my 22-year-old son’s childhood is astonishing! His generation is so plugged into electronic diversions that it has lost its connection to the natural and social world. My memories of growing up include many hours spent “out of doors” after

school, after dinner, and on weekends. We could not get enough time outside with our friends and family enjoying hikes, cycling, walking and exploring nature. Our parents struggled with getting us to come inside There is a growing body of evidence linking the lack of nature and increase in time spent with electronics in children’s lives and the rise in childhood obesity, attention disorders, and depression.

and television was a limited “treat”. Times have certainly changed! I see many children under the age of 5 mesmerized by their parent’s tablets and smartphones out in their communities, everywhere I go.

I read the book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from N ature-Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv and highly recommend it to all parents and educators who are struggling with a generation lacking in direct exposure to nature and overexposure to electronics. In his book, Louv details studies and research on the growing body of evidence linking the lack of nature and increase in time spent with electronics in children’s lives and the rise in childhood obesity, attention disorders, and depression. Swedish researchers compared children within two early childhood care settings: at one centre, television and computers were readily available and the outdoor play space was limited and made of steel, plastic and other man-made materials. At the second centre, electronics were limited and rarely available and the outdoor play area • winter/spring 2017 21

Balance (Continued from page 21)

was based on an “outdoors in all weather” natural theme. The children enjoyed playing with a variety of natural materials two to three times a day. Those children attending the second nature centre had better motor coordination, more ability to concentrate, less agitation and irritation, less impulsive behaviour and greater creativity. They found that direct exposure to nature was essential for a child’s healthy physical and emotional development. Those attending the first centre had difficulty with attention span and struggled with impulsive behaviour and irritability. Sleep disturbances were also noticed. Excessive exposure to electronic games, television, computers, tablets and cell phones can contribute to limited physical activity, according to the Mayo Clinic. Activities that the Mayo Clinic defines as “sedentary” include watching television, playing video games and texting on cell phones. In some families, these activities may become a priority over going outside to play; if children routinely choose to play electronic games and watch TV, they miss out on more traditional forms of exercise and could be at risk for childhood obesity. I recommend adding nature activities and outdoor adventures to your everyday

daily routines with your young children and limiting the time they spend in screen time activities. I understand that time is precious and our lives are full of schedules and commitments. You may be pleasantly surprised that your children will sleep better after an evening of fresh air and may respond more positively after they experience the joy and wonder from outdoor activities with simple natural materials instead of an afternoon or evening in front of the television. You may also find that your time spent outdoors will also help “clear your mind” and improve your emotional well-being as well. In a recent article, researchers at Boston University School of Medicine reviewed available types of interactive media and raised “important questions regarding their use as educational tools”, according to pediatric studies. The researchers state that though the “adverse effects of television and video on very small children was well understood, society’s understanding of the impact of mobile devices on the pre-school brain has been outpaced by how many parents are using them as a “babysitter” and by how much children are already using them “excessively”. The researchers warned that using a tablet or smartphone to divert a child’s attention repeatedly, could be detri-

They found that direct exposure to nature was essential for a child’s healthy physical and emotional development.

mental to “their social-emotional development” and may impede their ability to learn self-regulation. I also found that the use of interactive screen time below three years of age could also impair a child’s development of the skills needed for maths and science and the development of social skills. Researchers urge parents to increase “direct human to human interaction” with their offspring. They encourage more “unplugged” family interaction in general and suggested young children may benefit from “a designated family hour” of quality time spent with relatives—without any television and mobile devices distracting them or diverting their attention away from each other. As an early learning expert, I question whether the use of smartphones and tablets could interfere with the ability to develop empathy and problem-solving skills and elements of social interaction that are typically learned during unstructured play and communication with other young children. Playing with puzzles and building blocks help toddlers/preschoolers more with early math skills than interactive electronic gadgets. These devices replace the hands-on activities important for the development of sensorimotor and visual-motor skills, which are so important for the learning and application of cognitive skills needed for math and science as well. I met a wonderful single father of two the other day and he shared with me a really great plan he developed for his pre-teen children. He made a sign and placed it on their TV for both children to see. It says, “No TV until TASKS are completed” and there is also a booklet for each child that includes a few tasks that are required to be completed prior to time spent on electronics or watching TV. He told me that it is a very successful tool and is working well.   I encourage all parents to educate themselves on the positives and negatives of electronics in their children’s lives, to make informed and positive decisions for their children’s well-being and to be loving and creative in their approach to electronics in their lives and in their homes. Brenda Fisher-Barber, an Early Learning Expert with 35 years’ experience working with children of all ages and specializing in the early years. Brenda has been a Preschool Teacher, Early Childhood Education College Coordinator/Instructor, StrongStart BC Facilitator and Professional Development/Workshop Presenter. Please visit her website at for more information and to connect with her.

22 • winter/spring 2017

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16-03-24 10:06 AM


ways to help your child be an excellent reader By Natacha V. Beim


eading is the most important habit to instill in a child. It will increase their vocabulary, which will directly improve their performance at school. Reading will expand their knowledge in every other area, and open their minds to so many possibilities! Because children often learn the technical phonetic combinations at school where they focus on the practical side of reading, the love of reading is best fostered at home, and supported by you, the parent. When children are little, take the time to read to them every night, and delight in the stories you discover together. To make that time even more special, here are 10 tips you can use.

1. Take the time to look at the images together

Instead of just reading the words in the book, look at the images with your child

24 • winter/spring 2017

and see what they tell you. This will teach your child to look for cues in the images that tell him what is about to happen in the book. Using this strategy will help the child increase his vocabulary by enabling him to “guess” what a new word means, just by understanding its context. 2. Use different voices for different characters in a book

By making a special voice for the ogre of the story, then for the little girl he meets, and all the other characters, you help your child imagine the story, making it come to life! Once your child begins to read, even when she is not reading aloud, she will, in turn, adopt the habit of giving book characters their own voice, their own life, which will greatly increase her reading comprehension skills and work with her imagination.

3. Follow with your finger

If your child is just learning to read or is an inexperienced reader, it helps when you follow with your finger as you tell the story. This will show him that, in the English language, we read from left to right. It will also help your child discover that every word you are reading is there, in the book, and once your child is beginning to read, he will start visually recognizing whole words. This is like watching a movie with subtitles. You don’t need to read the subtitles if you understand the language, but you tend to want to read them anyway. 4. After reading TO your child, read WITH your child

When your child is beginning to read alone, make this a great bonding experience, by spending time with them while they read. Many parents put a lot of effort into teaching their children to read, and reading to them every night until they learn to do it alone, then suddenly stop, expecting their child to read on their own. Remember, even though the child can now read, she will miss that time with you and will not feel the same encouragement. Your job is now to show her how great it is to read! Read her stories still, from time to time, even if she can read them herself, and other times just sit by her and read your own book while she reads hers. You can even let her read you a story for a change. This will not only show her that you like reading, it will still give the two of you this cozy time together.

5. Go out with your child to buy a book

Make it a time you spend together, just the two of you. Take your child to the bookstore and tell him you would like to buy him a book, one that he will choose. Bookstores have this special feeling to them and are wonderful places to spend a little while just looking. Your child will love the experience so much that he will remember that happy day each time he reads his book at home. If you like, you can do the same by borrowing a book from the library! 6. Refer to the stories you read together

Casually in your conversations, refer to the stories you read together with comments like ”It’s like that rabbit that we read about in that story, remember? When he couldn’t get out of his home?” This will help your child make his reading experience more valuable, and learn to enrich his personal life with the things he learned about, or just experienced through the book. 7. Write a special message

When giving your child a book as a gift, write a special message on the inside, shar-

ing with her how much you look forward to sharing this book with her, or how proud you are that she is reading so much. This will strengthen the bond between the two of you, and make the habit of reading even more enjoyable for her. 8. Read in front of your child

Children learn by example. Take the time to cozy up and read at home from time to time, a book that you enjoy reading, or even the newspaper. Children will see reading as a part of life and will tend to do the same. If you enjoy reading, they will learn to enjoy reading just by watching you. 9. Share your books with them

During dinner time, or at any time throughout the day, share the things you read about in your books by saying things like “this book made be think about...” or “I loved reading the part where this happened, it reminded me of ...”. As well, when sharing with your family about something you read, preface it by saying “I read today that ...” so your children see other positive examples of how reading enriches your life.

10. Read your children’s books

I will never forget the day when my 10 year-old son, having just finished reading a 400-page novel, passed it to me and said, “You should read it, mom. I’m sure you’ll love it. It has a really emotional part in it.” I was bursting with pride already that he was so enthralled with his novel, but what I realized that day was that our bond was so strong, and we had spent so many years reading together and talking about our books, that he knew which books would appeal to me. As well, I could see the confidence in him that reading created, knowing that he was now reading books that were more complex, not simple picture books or children’s stories. Literacy is the most important skill. Take the time to foster it at home in a way that will make it fun and appealing to your child, so they will enjoy a lifetime of reading and literacy. Natacha V. Beim is a writer, speaker, teacher, and the founder of Core Education & Fine Arts Junior Kindergarten schools ( ). You can reach her at, or read her blog at

Join the BC Parent Team! We are looking for a motivated individual to help us expand to Vancouver Island! The role is ideal for a parent looking for part-time, flexible hours, who knows their community and can build strong sales relationships with advertisers. Find out more on or email your resume to • winter/spring 2017 25

By Lara Krupicka

Chores make


rian Pacilio was a typical teenager: busy with sports, school, friends. But he was not too busy to help with dinner dishes, do some of the laundry, take out the trash, and keep his bathroom “hotel ready”. That’s because for Brian’s mom, Cheryl, it was about more than getting help with housework. It was about helping her son too. Chores can be an important part of kids’ lives. Not only do tasks at home teach life skills and allow kids to contribute to the running of the household, they also yield benefits that support your child’s academic life. Here are a few ways that chores benefit kids’ brains at different ages:


For young children household tasks can give them real-life experience with the skills of sorting, matching, and patterning Have your preschooler help sort laundry into light and dark piles. Then ask them to match up socks out of the clean laundry pile. Let them put away the silverware from the dishwasher, which requires parceling out each type of utensil. Preschoolers can also help set the table, an exercise in patterning (fork, plate, cup, knife; fork, plate, cup, knife). Amy Payton, an occupational therapist, points out that “learning to clean up at home also translates to school. Hanging their jacket on a hook. Having a place for their shoes and backpack.” Keep organization simple for this age and they’ll have the tools for following the expectations at preschool. Elementary School

Once children reach elementary school age, they’re ready to take more responsibility. And as Tara Aaronson, author of Mrs. Clean Jeans’ Housekeeping with Kids says, “Chores 26 • winter/spring 2017

the grade give kids a sense of responsibility that follows through into other areas of their lives, especially school.” She also encourages parents to “invest the time now and you’ll be rewarded with a child who takes pride (if not joy) in carrying his share of the house cleaning load.” Brain boosters for grade schoolers from housework: practicing math skills and learning how to plan. Most grade schoolers can help cook meals by working alongside mom or dad. They’ll get hands-on experience with fractions as they measure out ingredients and, with some input from an adult, can learn the science behind different aspects of cooking and baking (plus yeast recipes make for great science lessons). For younger elementary age children, focus on estimating and comparative sizes. For those families with garden space, school-aged children can be involved in the planning, planting, and maintaining of a garden. Planning out the division of space for different plants and measuring planting depth and distances provide a great mental workout. Payton agrees. “[Gardening] is a great multi-step chore. Look at it as step-by-step sequencing. Have them plan out the tools needed. It can even involve research.” Kids can learn soil properties and gardening conditions, making it a great science-related chore as well. Junior High & High School

Finding time for chores in the tween and teen years can be a challenge. But parents shouldn’t give up because of busy schedules. In fact, as her children grew older, Cheryl Pacilio added responsibilities, rather than reducing them. She tied her son’s allowance to his chores as a way to motivate him and train him in real world economics.

Rote jobs like mowing the lawn and vacuuming can be good for teenaged brains as a mental shift. The downtime from thinking about schoolwork while getting tasks done can be both refreshing and energizing. Chores at this age also develop other skills important to kids’ academic lives such as learning how to prioritize and working on time management. Payton points out the benefits of learning to plan related to housework, in particular, laundry. A teen might say, “I want to wear my favourite jeans on the weekend, but I forgot to wash them…” The big idea at this age is to progressively assign more responsibility. As Pacilio notes, “The value of chores is in creating full-functioning members of a society.” Are your kids new to housework and you’re not sure where to start? Aaronson suggests starting slow. “Begin by creating a chores list with just one or two chores for each school-age kid.” Giving kids jobs shouldn’t be looked at as a burden or a punishment. Parents need to remember chores won’t hamper kids success at school, but instead will add to it. Pacilio advises, “I would encourage parents to look at chores as necessary teaching opportunities. To let your child leave the house still a child is to thwart his adulthood and cripple a society. Chores are the tools you use to create a good employee, an appreciated neighbour, and most importantly, a good spouse and parent himself.” Lara Krupicka is a freelance writer and mom to three girls. She learns as much from sharing housework with her kids as they learn from her.

Suggested Chores By Age Note: Each list adds on to the previously mentioned chores. Preschool Put dirty clothes in hamper Help set the table Put toys and games in proper boxes or bins Help unload the dishwasher Damp-mop any spills Fill the pet’s water dish Elementary-Aged Make their bed Squeegee the shower Feed & exercise pets Clean pets’ bowls and cages Simple cooking tasks such as rinsing vegetables Put dishes in dishwasher Wipe down interior of microwave Take out trash and recycling Tween Pour beverages for meals Help hand-wash dishes Make lunch for school Unload the dishwasher Disinfect kitchen and bathroom countertops Teen Prepare meals Clean coffeemaker thoroughly Mow lawn Vacuum house (adapted from Mrs. Clean Jeans’ Housekeeping with Kids) • winter/spring 2017 27

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) is a non-profit organization with a mission to empower people to nourish themselves by providing access to healthy food, education and training. The GVFB assists over 28,000 people each week and is committed to its vision of accessible, healthy and sustainable food for all. To learn how you can leave a legacy that will help provide food to thousands in need, please contact Heidi MagnusonFord at 604.216.2329 or 28 • winter/spring 2017



How to help kids who won’t willingly go to school By Susan Cumberland, Owner of School Is Easy Tutoring


onday comes around, and your child is refusing to go to school. Your kid used to love going to school, but this has now become a daily battle. So you engage your child because you know school is a must and there shouldn’t be any reason, other than illness, to skip school. The result is a power struggle that may only intensify the negativity with which your child is viewing going to school. If this is a daily occurrence in your household, here are some ways to help your kids love going to school: Find out what is bothering them about school

According to Sara Bean, M.Ed., children who refuse to go to school may be experiencing many issues. It’s possible that they are being bullied, having trouble meeting their academic requirements, or having problems responding to authority and rules. They can also be having other types of anxieties which may or may not be related to school. When trying to find the root cause of your child’s issue with school, you should use openended questions. For example, you could ask: • Who is bothering you at school? • Which subject are you having the toughest time with? • How are you feeling in Ms. X’s class? These types of questions will probably help your child open up to you and get the conversation going.

Respond appropriately and find a long term solution

When your child opens up about what’s bothering them about going to school, don’t take the response lightly by trying to find a quick solution to it. Some parents may resort to bribing them for the day or week, or promising them it’ll get better soon but not doing much about it. Based on Sara Bean’s four possible categories your child may have fallen into, they may need extra tutoring to meet their academic shortcomings, counseling, a talk with the teacher or principal, changing classes or school, and so on. Example, routine, dialogue, involvement

Once a long-term solution to the particular issue(s) your child expressed are appropriately addressed, you can establish healthy practices going forward to keep your child motivated. Begin by becoming a motivating example to your child. According to parenting expert Brenda Nixon, “a parent’s attitude is contagious.” So if you wake up in a bad mood, remember that your attitude influences your children’s attitudes. Based on Nixon’s advice, be positive in the mornings and leave enough time to get them to school with ease. Make their mornings as calm as they can be. For this to happen, you could set up daily routines for your child. You could both do a fun routine chart, so your child knows what to expect every school day. A routine

will ensure your child has a regular bed and wake up time, a set snack, homework, dinner, and free time, for example. Ensure there is daily dialogue with your child. A great place to ask about how everything is going at school may be at the dinner table. You can also have this talk at bedtime. This can be a way for your child to open up with you about school. By having an open dialogue, you can hopefully catch issues before they become a morning power struggle again. Finally, suggests getting your child involved in either sports, music, or another activity that takes place at school, after classes. Not only will your child make new friends, but it will also give them a positive outlook on school. They will have something to look forward to after school. Do be careful that you are not over-scheduling your children though, as they still need time to do homework and rest. If your child is chronically refusing to go to school, there may be a deeper issue at hand. The solutions may be ongoing until your child graduates from school. Don’t just quickly dismiss your child’s plea. Instead, get to the bottom of it and find a workable long-term solution. Your children may love going to school for the rest of their school life if you can do so! Susan Cumberland is the owner of School Is Easy Tutoring Franchise system (founded in 2002). She has her B.Ed. and M.A.Ed. in Educational Leadership. Winner of several awards including Better Business Bureau People’s Pick and Marketplace Excellence. • winter/spring 2017 29

The Great Due Date Debate By Christie Weber,

Doula and Event Producer of Birth Fair


ou’ve discovered you are pregnant and you’ve been told when your little bundle of joy will arrive! But how accurate is that date? Is there really a point to having a due date during pregnancy? It may give you an idea as to how long you have to decorate the nursery, shop for tiny cute things and complete your prenatal classes but you’ll soon see why I think a fixed due date actually does more harm than good. A quick poll of two of my Facebook “mom” groups showed a huge range of actual birth dates compared to due dates. With just a small sample size of 34 women, there were babies born anywhere from 30 days before their due date all the way up to 14 days after! That’s a little hit and miss, wouldn’t you say? So, how did we get to this point and how is your due date calculated, anyway?

Almost everyone, including doctors and midwives, will calculate your due date by adding 40 weeks (280 days) onto the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). This calculation, also known as Naegele’s Rule, was first publicized by a German obstetrician by the name of Franz Karl Naegele, and has become the generally accepted way of calculating a woman’s due date. There are a few factors that make Nae­­ gele’s rule somewhat flawed. Firstly, it assumes that every woman remembers the exact date her LMP started and that she has a perfect cycle, lasting 28 days, with ovulation happening on the 14th day. Secondly, some embryos may take longer to implant in the uterus, a factor that varies from woman to woman. Thirdly, it has never been clear whether or not Naegele actually intended to start counting from the first or last day of the LMP. In the beginning, up until the 1900s, it was common practice to add to the last day of your LMP. Then for some unknown reason, doctors changed and began counting from the first day of the LMP. This change has essentially caused a woman’s due date to be set 4–5 days sooner than it was originally intended to be, resulting in more “overdue” babies. 30 • winter/spring 2017

Starting in the 1970s, the use of ultrasound measurements have allowed for a slightly more accurate estimate of the date of baby’s arrival, if performed in early pregnancy. This method of predicting due dates quickly replaced Naegele’s Rule as the most reliable way to determine gestational age. Despite this increase in accuracy, the due date still has a 2-week margin of error! Ultrasounds performed in the third trimester of pregnancy are sometimes used to change the estimated date of delivery. This method, however, is even less accurate than early pregnancy ultrasounds because they are basing the date on the size of the baby as compared to a “typical” sized baby. If the baby is slightly larger than average, this could incorrectly move up the due date. In 2001 a study by Gordon C.S. Smith was published on 1514 women whose LMP due date and first-trimester ultrasound due date were perfect matches. This research found that 50% of first-time mothers gave birth within 40 weeks and five days and 71% of women had given birth at 41 weeks and two days. Overall, the study suggests that due dates should be closer to 40 weeks plus five days. So why should all this matter to you?

A major problem with due dates is that many women are unnecessarily having their labour induced… all because they passed that magical date. Women themselves are thinking that the baby is “late” instead of

simply arriving when it is ready. According to the 2013 Listening to Mothers III survey, 44% of women said that they were induced because their baby was full term and it was “close to the due date.” Risks associated with inductions can include: • hyperstimulation of the uterus (the uterus contracts too frequently, decreasing blood flow to the baby). • the use of extra interventions such as pain relief or continuous fetal monitoring. • a failed induction which may lead to a Caesarean. According to an article written on the website Evidence Based Birth, the lowest C-section rates happen in women who go into spontaneous labour on their own. The next-lowest C-section rates happen in women who are induced for being late term or post-term. The highest C-section rates happen in women who choose to wait for spontaneous labour but end up having an induction later on. Given the above information, I propose that we change the term “due date” to “due month” and recognize that there is a normal range of time in which most women will give birth! Christie Weber is a registered doula who wants to help new and expecting parents access resources and information. Feeling that she might have made different choices during her labour if she had known more, she is producing Birth Fair, a two-day fun, educational event for all stages of conception, pregnancy and childbirth, Feb 25 and 26 at the Cloverdale Agriplex benefiting the BC Women’s Hospital Foundation. Visit

1 in 5 children is at risk of going to school hungry.

GtoImVakEe a


fa break

st • winter/spring 2017 31

March 26 2017 | 9am-5pm Vancouver Convention Centre

EAT • Healthy Food Sampling & Shopping PLAY • Rock Climbing, Hamster Ball Track, Tumblebus,

Springfree Trampolines, Sportball, Pedalheads & More

LEARN • CBC Kids Characters, Bobs & Lolo and Jessie Farrell Shows, SHOP

Science World, Vancouver Aquarium AquaVan, Seed Planting & More • 200 Exciting Booths Full of Eco & Healthy Family Finds $15,000 Grand Prize with Toyota Prius c One Year Lease!


32 • winter/spring 2017


BC Parent Spring 2017  

Read this issue to get great tips on when to consult a chiropractor for your child, learn more about Montessori and reference the preschool...

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