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The Importance of Friendship… for Parents!

Education Issue

Vancouver Island’s Parenting Resource for 32 Years


Advice from a Teenager

Body Image




The Meet Up Play Space, Classroom & Party Place is open now!

Curiosity • Diversity Exploration • Nature Play-Oriented Learning

Now Registering for September 2020


1581 Hillside Ave, Victoria  778•265•5651 Across the street from Hillside Centre


3905 Haro Road, Victoria BC

250-477-3731 arbutusgrove.ca

Waldorf education is imbued with life and joy. Call and book a tour of our beautiful seven acre campus today.

Now accepting applications for September 2020 Grades 1–8 | Kindergarten | Preschool

Waldorf education is imbued with life and joy. Offering a full enhanced program with French, Call and book a Ptour Strings, Woodwork, Handwork, .E. and Eurythmy of our beautiful seven acre campus today. www.sunrisewaldorfschool.org  250-243-7253

Now accepting applications 2  Island for Parent Magazine September 2018 Grades 1 – 8



Sept 2020 to June 2021


for preschoolers aged 3–5 years.

Register your preschooler starting Saturday February 8 from 8am. Saanich Recreation Full Year Preschool Programs. We offer a variety of 10 month Preschool Programs (Sept. 2020 – June 2021) in different settings. Choose from outside in nature or the fun of a classroom! Our programs provide an opportunity for your child to learn through play, while preparing them socially and emotionally for kindergarten. Various locations: Saanich Commonwealth Place, Gordon Head Recreation Centre, Swan Lake and Elk/Beaver Lake. Visit saanich.ca/alg for more information.





Licensed Preschool GORDON HEAD RECREATION CENTRE OPEN HOUSE Feb 1, 9:30am to 11am M/W 9am to 12pm OPEN Tu/Th 9am to 12pm HOUSE FEB 1, Gym and Swim 9 :3 0 A M F 9am to 11:30am TO 11AM


EN SAANICH COMMONWEALTH PLACE HOUSE OPEN HOUSE Feb 1, 10:30am to Noon FEB 1, 1 0 :3 0 A M Choose a combination of any TO 12PM day and any time. Kiddie Capers Kiddie Capers in the Forest in the Classroom M 9 to 11am M 11:15am to 1:15pm Tu 9 to 11am Tu 11:15am to 1:15pm W 9 to 11am W 11:15am to 1:15pm Th 9 to 11am Th 11:15am to 1:15pm F 9 to 11am F 11:15am to 1:15pm

Gordon Head Recreation Centre 250-475-7100 Saanich Commonwealth Place 250-475-7600

saanich.ca/recreation IslandParent.ca


In Every Issue 5


Fast Forward


Advice from a Teenager



Questions, Curiosities & Answers

Supporting Trans & Gender Diverse Youth



One thing is for sure, when it comes to tweens and teens, there is no shortage of curiosity.

Understanding gender identity.



Need to Know


Body Image




On the Cover Cruz K. Photo by Brandi Mollica brandimollicaphotography.com


Body Image

How to help tweens and teens love and accept their bodies. JILLIAN ROBERTS


Ageism…& Youth

Don’t judge a book by its cover…or employees by their age.



Helping Our Tweens & Teens Navigate Confilict


What to do when social “spats” aren’t so simple.





Family Calendar


Party Directory


Advice from a Teenager

Family Services Directory


Happy Families, Healthy Families

The wisdom of youth.








Schools & Educational Services


The Benefit of Forest & Nature Schools Learning outdoors. LINDSAY COULTER

On the Cover


Jim Schneider  Publisher  publisher@islandparent.ca Sue Fast  Editor  editor@islandparent.ca Linda Frear  Account Manager/Office Manager  linda@islandparent.ca Kristine Wickheim  Account Manager  kristine@islandparent.ca Katie Derion  Account Manager  katie@islandparent.ca

Vancouver Island’s Parenting Resource for 32 Years

Alistair Remy V. (3) Photo by Nycky-jay Vanjecek Bluetree Photography instagram.com/bluetreephotography

The Importance of Friendship… for Parents!

Education Issue


Advice from a Teenager

Body Image




4  Island Parent Magazine

Island Parent Magazine, published by Island Parent Group Enterprises Ltd., is a monthly publication that honours and supports parents by providing information on resources and businesses for Vancouver Island families. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. No material herein may be reproduced without the permission of the publisher. Annual mail subscriptions (12 issues) are available for $35 (GST included). Canadian Publication Mail Product Sales Agreement 40051398. ISSN 0838-5505.

Preschool & Child Care Directory




Diversabilities LAURA TRUNKEY



Island Parent Magazine 250-388-6905 islandparent.ca



Community & Connection


t’s almost closing time at a seaside coffee shop and most of the tables are empty. One, though, is crowded with extra chairs, a stroller, a couple booster seats and 10 people: three of them are moms; seven are kids ranging in age from newborn to five or six. The moms are leaning in to hear each other, the kids are either climbing on their chairs or their moms. Each of them looks content and happy, despite the chaos and chatter—or perhaps because of it. Connection and community. At no point are they more important than when we are raising our children. Not only do we need each other’s encouragement and support, but we also benefit from sharing our experiences—our ups, downs and inbetweens. Twyla Tharp in her book, Keep It Moving, writes about the importance of sharing—more specifically, about sharing our pleasures. Time with our children, our families, our friends, each other. “We have two choices when we discover something elegant,” she writes. “We can put it in our pocket and keep it to ourselves, or we can share it and gain a higher order of appreciation.”

Climbing on their mothers like goats at goat yoga, the kids at that cafe might not be what most would consider elegant, but seeing what they shared that day—their stories, laughs, time, and even their spills—was as elegant as watching a ballet. In this month’s issue, you’ll find articles on the importance of friendship…for parents, the benefits of forest and nature schools, and our guide on schools and educational services. Check out our special section, Tweens & Teens, starting on page 23. In this 12-page pull-out, you’ll find articles ranging from how to help your tweens and teens develop a positive body image, and what to do to resolve conflict, to what happens when ageism is directed at youth, and a Q&A on sexual health. Whether you find community and connection at the side of a soccer field during your kid’s practice, over coffee in a seaside cafe, or even in a grocery store line-up, may you have time this month for connection—not only for your kids, but for you, too. Sue Fast

Transforming disability into ability. At Discovery School, learning disabilities are transformed into valuable skills and abilities. Students work at their own pace in small classes, with focused, individualized instruction. • Experienced, highly-qualified teachers • Ongoing assessment, evaluation & feedback • Improves organizational & study skills • Boost confidence, independence & responsibility • Nurturing environment based on Christian values • For students aged 7 – 18 in grades 1 – 12 • Individual Education Plans • Low student/teacher ratio

Enrolment is limited. For more information or to arrange a tour, visit www.discoveryschool.ca, call Sherri Ko at 250-595-7765 or email principal@discoveryschool.ca IslandParent.ca

February 2020  5


ICA’s Settlement Workshops The Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA) offers a variety of educational workshops and training seminars covering a range of topics related to multiculturalism, diversity awareness, immigration, and human rights in the workplace and community. In the Prenatal Classes, moms-to-be will learn about the changes to a woman’s body during pregnancy, fetal deveopment, nutrition, diet and lifestyle, labour and birth and baby care. At Baby Talk, parents learn about baby health, feeding, dental care, immunizations and parenting. Mom & Baby English Class is for mom’s with a baby under 1 year old. Make friends and find out about your community. My Tween & Me is a free parenting program to help build lasting connections between you and your pre-teen. For dates, times and to register, visit icavictoria.org.

FAMILY DAY 2020 To help celebrate Family Day on February 17, there are several free events in communities through the BC Recreation and Parks Association and the BC Museums Association. In Victoria, the Royal BC Museum and Maritime Musuem (including the Museum Tots program and Sea Glass Jewelry Workshop) are offering free admission on Family Day. In Duncan, the Cowichan Community Centre is partnering with Cowichan Tribes will host two skating sessions where families can skate with the Cowichan Capitals. In Nanaimo, you can take part in Art Lab at the Nanaimo Art Gallery where you’ll find a photo portrait studio complete with lighting, backdrop and props for families to come and create their own family portraits to take home. In Comox, Filberg Heritage Lodge & Park will host BC Family Day Heritage Event with stories, music, crafts and more. On Saltspring, drop by Raven, storytelling and interactive performance at Mahon Hall from 1-3:30pm. To find out what’s happening in your community, check your local Parks and Recreation centres, museums, art galleries and cultural centres.

Be a Local Tourist Be a Local Tourist is a great event for families during the winter season. Local businesses unite to offer free or discounted fun over 5 days from Langford to Sidney. Gardens, restaurants, boutique ice cream shops, tours and more! For $16 per person, you can go to Miniature World, the Butchart Gardens, the Victoria Butterfly Gardens and many other attractions for free, while enjoying discounts for kids’ and teenagers’ favourite spots, such as 2-for-1 ice cream at Perverted Ice Cream. Save money while exploring the Greater Victoria area with your loved ones. It’s a great way to get out after the winter weather. The five-day event runs from Thursday, February 27 to Monday, March 2. Visit beatourist.ca. 6  Island Parent Magazine


The Kiddies Store Dedicated to providing Vancouver Island families with high-quality infant and toddler products at affordable prices for over 25 years

• super compact: aircraft cabin approved • ultra light weight: 13lbs • newborn ready • carseat compatible • dynamic front wheel suspension • extendable canopy • rain cover and toddler bar included • 4 colours available

An Evening of Black & White... Because Grey Matters

tjskids.com 250-386-2229

Finlayson St.



3045–C Douglas St. Victoria, BC



ttend Victoria Brain Injury Society’s 11th annual An Evening of Black & White… Because Grey Matters gala at the Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort on Friday, February 28. Why Grey Matters: • Brain injuries are the number one killer and disabler of people under 44. • Brain injury is more prevalent than breast cancer, spinal cord injury and HIV/AIDS combined. • 1 in 26 Canadians are living with a brain injury. The evening begins at 6:30pm with a champagne reception followed by a tapas style dinner and a silent and live auction. All proceeds support the programs at the Victoria Brain Injury Society. The Victoria Brain Injury Society (VBIS) mission is to support, educate and advocate for adults with acquired brain injuries and their families. VBIS also strives to increase community awareness about acquired brain injuries and provide a second chance at leading a productive life in the community. Find out more and register for the gala by calling 250-590-6344.



Larch St.

Entrance off Larch St.


Classes, Community & More! Classes Ÿ Childbirth Preparation & Refreshers Ÿ Baby Care & Infant First Aid Ÿ Siblings - Grandparents

Groups Ÿ Baby Groups Ÿ Pregnancy Happy Hour

Yoga & Fitness Ÿ Prenatal & Postnatal Ÿ Yoga for Toddlers


Retail Store Nursing bras and tops Breastpump sales & rentals Baby Carriers Baby Clothes, Books and Toys 975 Fort Street, Victoria motheringtouch.ca - 250-595-4905

February 2020  7

Mini Pop Kids LIVE is back on Vancouver Island with their brand new Bright Lights Concert Tour, featuring the year’s biggest hits. Performing songs by Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes, The Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift to throwback favorites that all will enjoy. This isn’t just a show, it’s an experience for the whole family. Don’t miss your chance to sing, dance, and POP, with Canada’s bestselling kids music group,

New world. New challenges. New learning.

The Mini Pops Kids.

Co-ed Preschool-Grade 12 | On-Campus Equestrian Program

Entrepreneurial Thinking

Global Sustainability

Experiential Learning

We develop new generations of confident leaders of character and compassion empowered to create a more just and connected world. admissions@qms.bc.ca 8  Island Parent Magazine


Shows are on Tuesday March 17 at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo and Thursday March 19 at the Royal Theatre in Victoria. Get tickets at minipopkids.com. IslandParent.ca

Jammies & Toons The ritual of Sunday morning animations and unhealthy cereal returns to The Vic on Sunday February 16 from 11am–12:30pm. Come out to the theatre in your pyjamas and they’ll supply the milk and cereal. How nice is that? And for parents: Fernwood Coffee to jump-start your day. The movie: Okko’s Inn. After losing her parents in a car accident, Okko goes to live with her grandmother, who runs a traditional Japanese inn. Okko soon discovers that there are spirits that only she can see. victoriafilmfestival.com.

5 TED Talks for Parents 1. Why Most Parenting Advice is Wrong. Psychologist Yuko Munakata challenges the prevailing wisdom about parents’ role in their children’s futures. 2. Let’s Talk Parenting Taboos. Babble.com publishers Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman expose 4 facts that parents never, admit—and why they should.

4. 5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do. Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School, spells out 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do—and why a little danger is good for both kids and grownups.

3. How to Raise Successful Kids Without Overparenting. Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Dean at Stanford University, tells parents to stop defining their children’s success via grades and test scores. Instead: focus on providing unconditional love.

5. To This Day for the Bullied & the Beautiful. By turn hilarious and haunting, poet Shane Koyczan puts his finger on the pulse of what it’s like to be young and different… and bullied.

Parent PLAYshop

Heads up! A new parent workshop is available for parents in our community! UVic researchers are studying whether a short PLAYshop helps parents increase their confidence in playing actively with their children to develop physical literacy. To be eligible you must: • Live within the [Greater Victoria Area] or [Campbell River] and surrounding areas • Have a child aged 3-5 years What does participation involve? • You will: Be randomly assigned to one of two groups Complete two 10 minute questionnaires Attend a free 75 minute parent workshop Depending on group participate in a 10 minute interview 2 monthsafter the workshop What are the benefits of participating? • Free workshop • Become more confident in playing actively with your child to build their physical literacy • Take home a goody bag with approximately $30 worth of active play equipment Are you interested in participating? To learn more about the study contact Kayla Morton at kamorton@uvic.ca or 250-853-3633.


February 2020  9

M O M ’ S P OV

The Importance of Friendship…for Parents!


ebruary: the month of love. Love takes many different forms, and lately I’m feeling particularly grateful for the friendships in my life. Parenting young children can be an isolating experience, even for a natural introvert like me. I meet many other parents “in the trenches” of this wonderful-yet-crazy time and, while we amicably commiserate and show solidarity over the daily challenges, once our kiddos come out of preschool or the swimming lesson is over, we go our separate ways. Sometimes our conversations stray from our offspring and we talk about

for who I am, flaws and all. And they knew me before I became a parent. When I’m feeling, literally, self-less—as in, I’ve become so consumed in the dayto-day slog of keeping a preschooler and a teenager fed, healthy, happy, and safe that “I” start to fade out of the picture— these friends are my lifeline. I don’t see many of them in person these days, since we are scattered across the globe, but thanks to technology (and the postal service!) there are still ways to connect. On my last birthday I was feeling pretty low. It had been a rough week on the parenting front and celebrating be-

what we love/do/aspire to apart from family life. I’ve experienced flashes of connection when I see a kindred spirit and think: this person would be a lovely friend! Then I sigh as I remember everything on my plate and wonder where a new friendship could possibly fit in. It’s moments like these when I am grateful (and often wistful) for my existing friendships. I am fortunate to have a handful of close friends who I think of as family. I’ve known my oldest friend for over 40 years, almost my entire life. These beautiful souls see me and love me

ing another year older was not a priority. That morning, my phone rang. It was a good friend, calling to wish me happy birthday and have a chat. My friend doesn’t know this, but in that moment that call meant everything to me. It reminded me that there was a life outside the immediate challenges, one where I was appreciated and seen as more than a food-dispenser/messcleaner/entertainment co-ordinator/taxi service. Last December another dear friend visited B.C. from overseas. She wasn’t able

10  Island Parent Magazine

to come over to the Island, so I took the ferry as a foot passenger and spent the afternoon with her at Tsawwassen Mills. Mall shopping is something we hadn’t done together since we were teenagers, and that in itself brought back sweet nostalgic memories. At one point in our visit she suggested that we rent a couple of those ride-on scooters that look like giant stuffed animals. I thought she was joking, but she was fully serious. I initially demurred, not wanting to look silly, but she talked me into it…and I’m so glad she did. For 10 glorious minutes, I felt carefree. Deep, healing belly laughter erupted from both of us as we took turns doing figure eights and filming each other (you know, for posterity). I’m sure the man running the rental stand thought we were funny in a different way, but gosh, riding that stuffed panda like a giddy teenager was one of the highlights of my year. I love being a mom, and I’m immensely grateful for my family, but reconnecting with friends helps me reconnect with important parts of myself that tend to go into hibernation during this busy season of my life. They ask me about things I forget I used to love, goals I used to work towards. I don’t ever want to take that for granted, or take them for granted. That’s why this February I want to mindfully connect with all of these special people and let them know how much they mean to me. Friendships, like gardens, need to be tended, even when there is so much else going on. The fruits they bear sustain us through hard, dark times and make joyful moments that much more poignant. And, hopefully, the next time I find myself connecting with a “new” person on the sidelines of one of my son’s activities I will actually suggest we meet up for a coffee. My son is busy making new friends—I might as well join in on the fun! Kelly McQuillan is a writer, musician, teacher and fledgling mother living in Comox, BC. kellymcquillanwriter.weebly.com. IslandParent.ca


February 2020  11


Heart, Broken


ecently, as I was flicking through photos on my iPhone, I stumbled across a pair of back-to-back selfies I’d taken last May. In the first, I’m wearing a tuxedo and mugging with my 11-year-old daughter before a work event. In the next, snapped four days later, I’m draped in a blue hospital gown, wired to a monitor, in the emergency ward of Royal Jubilee. The Tale of Two Selfies offers a stark lesson: Life comes at you fast. And so might its opposite. The night before the second selfie, our family had gone for dinner with old friends. We ate, drank, laughed, marvelled at how fast all our kids were growing up. The stress of the past few months seemed to melt away. Walking home with my family, I felt like my heart felt might burst with joy. The next morning, it nearly did. I went for a jog with my wife, but when we got home I didn’t feel quite right. After quick consult with Dr. Google, I popped two baby aspirin and went to the hospital as a precaution. We figured it was probably just indigestion from over-indulging the night before.

It wasn’t. “You had a heart attack,” a doctor told me, scanning my blood test. It was a “mild” one, if there is such a thing. We’d gotten to the ER quickly. The heart muscle hadn’t been damaged. But I would spend the next five days in the cardiac ward, waiting my turn until a surgeon could insert two metal stents into my ticker to keep the blood flowing. While I idled, my family lifted my spirits with visits and emoji-filled text updates about their busy lives. My 13-year-old son sent a video of his aquarium to calm my nerves. My daughter and her softball team wrote me a “Get Well, Coach!” card. Seven months later, my heart has passed all its post-surgery exams. My high cholesterol— a genetic legacy that diet and exercise alone can’t tame—has dropped back into the safety zone, thanks to medication. My various doctors gave me a green light for the seven-week trip our family took through Europe this fall. But to say I feel the same as I did the night of my Tuxedo Selfie would be a lie. My wife and I have spent 13 years of lowgrade fretting about our kids’ health and safety, like all parents


250-480-4887 imaxvictoria.com IMAX® is a registered trademark of IMAX Corporation

12  Island Parent Magazine


do, from cradle through middle school. Years after the fact, I have visceral memories of needing to rush both of them to Emergency: our son due to dehydration from a brutal flu, our baby daughter when a long hair as strong as steel wire got twisted around her tiny toe, cutting off circulation. Even today, we caution our kids to walk, bike, bus, skateboard— whatever—safely whenever they leave the house.

We don’t want our “babies to grow old

The Freya-Sophia Waldorf

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250-597-4763 ~ 3, 5380 Hwy. 1 ~ in the Sol Centre, Duncan Open Mon.— Sat. 10 - 4; Closed Sun. & Stats Extensive selection of Waldorf-inspired resources for Parents, Educators and Homeschoolers! Evening hours & groups visits can be accommodated by appointment.

DISCOVER DISANA WOOL LEGGINGS!!! 100% organic, very soft, warm & light; can be worn inside or outside. Kids love them!!!

and leave home. We don’t want to grow old either.

Now I’ve become one we must worry about, too. And that makes me anxious about someday not feeling fit enough to watch out for our kids as a dad should. It’s a perennial parental fear, I realize, the inevitable passing of the torch from giving care to needing it. Still, at 51, I’d rather hold onto that responsibility for another decade or two. Everything changes, of course, even when we might not want it to. That’s an indisputable fact of life. Accepting those changes—good, bad, otherwise—is vital. As parents we try to teach that lesson, but it’s a hard one to learn ourselves. We don’t want our babies to grow old and leave home. We don’t want to grow old either. Despite my unexpected hospital stay, I look around and see positive changes all around our house. Our kids are more independent. They have close friends and personal passions. When I scroll deep into my iPhone photos, I’m astonished at how quickly they’ve grown from little imps I could hold like a football into the active, funny, sensitive, curious and loving teen and near-teen who were there for me when I needed them most. Our kids have good hearts, in other words. And that’s the most that any parent can ask for. David Leach is a professor in the Department of Writing at the University of Victoria and author of Chasing Utopia. IslandParent.ca

February 2020  13

Schools & Educational Services


n the following pages you will find a range of educational resources from preschool to post-secondary. For more information about these programs, please refer to the advertising in this issue.


the “moving sea of chaos.” At Victoria Montessori, we build a strong foundation and strong values. The directoresses model respect for the environment, respect for others, and respect for oneself. These values build confidence, self-esteem and Arbutus Grove Children’s Centre (former- self-expression, vital for emotional and ly known as Goosey Gander Kindergarten) mental health. 250-380-0534. victoriamonhas a long history of providing outstanding tessori@shaw.ca. victoriamontessori.com. Early Learning programs to the Victoria community. Our centre is a bright and engaging, purpose-built preschool with a large, natural playground surrounded by urban forest. We offer half and full day programs for 3 and 4 year olds as well as a before and after school care program for children attending Frank Hobbs School. Children’s curiosity, sense of wonder and innate desire to learn is nurtured and supported through exploration, play, discovery and creative expression. Located in the Cadboro Bay-UVIC area. arbutusgrove.ca or 250 477-3731.

ArtsCalibre Academy. There’s a reason why the first years of a child’s life are considered “formative”—they truly form the person, and profoundly influence the path and quality of the rest of their life. We believe that Fine Arts are the perfect vehicle for this formative process. Through our structured but fun program of music, dance, theatre and visual arts, children not only absorb these and all academic subjects with enthusiasm and ease, but they also develop the creativity, confidence and social skills to successfully apply them throughout their future. It’s this philosophy and comprehensive program that sets us apart from every other preschool. It’s the Art of Preschool. ArtsCalibre.ca. 250-382-3533. Victoria Montessori. Twenty-first century children are growing up in a crazy-paced world, with the stresses of busy home life and over-stimulating media and toys. At Victoria Montessori, we create harmony and the right balance. We try to cultivate self-awareness, confidence, and clam amid 14  Island Parent Magazine

exploration and problem-solving, which fuels innovative thinking and intrinsic motivation. Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” At Arc, it is by asking good questions that we make sense of life and find personal fulfillment. To find out about Parent Information Sessions, check out our website, ArcAcademy.ca.


Arc Academy. Introducing Victoria’s newest independent interdisciplinary middle school where our cornerstone inquirymethodology fosters learner engagement and Based on current cognitive C M inspiration. Y K science, 68 35 2 2 we understand that adolescence is8 a95 prime opportunity for learner-driven 55 16

ArtsCalibre Academy. Imagine a school… where music, dance, theatre and visual arts are infused into all aspects of an outstanding curriculum. The result is a learning process in which students experience, explore, exercise, and express themselves in order to truly understand and remember. Our structured but dynamic program consistently exceeds the B.C. Ministry of Education’s Curricula for Kindergarten to Grade 10. Dedicated, IslandParent.ca

highly qualified educators, excellent facilities and safe Gordon Head location, which is also home to our Junior Kindergarten. We also offer Preschool for 3 and 4 year olds within the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre’s beautiful Fine Arts wing. ArtsCalibre.ca. 250-382-3533.

are not residents of Victoria, and provides an extensive age-appropriate co-curricular program. mygns.ca.

are met. Catholic schools bring the Gospel message of Jesus Christ to all within their walls. ICS has elementary schools located in Port Alberni, Duncan and Victoria and It is the time of year that parents begin a Catholic high school located in Victoria. to consider what school they want their Our schools also offer pre-school, daycare child(ren) to attend next year. Consider a and out of school care programs. Families Catholic school! Island Catholic Schools not of the Catholic faith who support the Christ Church Cathedral School. Based (ICS) offers an excellent academic educa- Catholic mission and philosophy of our on the UK-cathedral model, this immersive tion within a faith-based environment. schools are accepted. Students of all ability program of musical education for children As BC certified schools, the curriculum levels are accepted. Please checkcisdv.bc.ca in grades four to eight is now entering its established by the Ministry of Education is for more information. third year. Founded in 2018 by Christ taught and all other Ministry requirements Church Cathedral’s Director of Music, Donald Hunt, it’s quickly proving itself to be an effective and fun way to learn music theory and vocal technique, as well as discipline and leadership skills. Rehearsals are 4-mornings per week, with a sung mid-week performances every two weeks. $1,000 scholarships. office@cathedralschool.ca. Discovery School. Is your child struggling to read, write, or do math? Would your child succeed if given more classroom support, individualized learning assistance, and a personalized learning plan? How does a classroom of 10 students, with a 1:3 staff to student school ratio sound? Look no further! For four decades Discovery School has provided a nurturing Christian atmosphere that encourages academic development, perseverance, responsibility, and organizational skills for students with diagnosed learning needs. The school is Ministry inspected, follows B.C. curriculum, and provides individual educational programs from the early grades to graduation. For more information go to discoveryschool. ca or call 250-595-7765.

Each child holds our attention at Glenlyon Norfolk School, a Junior kindergarten to Grade 12 co-ed independent day-school that is firmly rooted in the values of the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Round Square. As one of only seventeen schools in Canada authrorized to offer three IB programs, GNS is proud of its unique ‘IB Advantage’: a 21st-Century approach which educates the whole child and creates global thinkers. GNS offers 5- and 7-day Family Boarding options for students who IslandParent.ca

February 2020  15

Oak and Orca Bioregional School and Oak and Orca PrePrimary School offer BC-certified PrePrimary and K-12 education in a child-directed environment. This ungraded program provides students with structure, opportunities, and choice, allowing them to learn at their own pace and in their own way. As part of a community of learners students are able to practice effective communication, think and act creatively, and develop into responsible ecological citizens. Regular field trips encourage connections with the natural and cultural heritage of the larger community. Blended learning opportunities are available (space-permitting) to students in the Hands-On Home-Learning (DL) program. oakandorca.ca, info@oakandorca. ca, 250-383-6609. Pacific Christian School: Educational Excellence to the Glory of God. PCS nurtures students in Christlike living, critical thinking and joyful service to be faithful citizens in God’s

world. PCS is committed to a Christian program of instruction helping children gain a true Biblical perspective of who they are, and prepares them for a life of dedication and service to God. By developing a sense of goal-directedness, coupled with skills of self-discipline and self-evaluation, children will be equipped to develop their talents and gifts to their fullest God-given potential. Quality academics, athletics and more. Accepting registrations for pre-school to grade 12. PacificChristian.ca. 250-479-4532.

St. Margaret’s School (SMS) is Vancouver Island’s only all-girl, independent day and boarding school located in the City of Victoria. At SMS, we are focused entirely on the education, development and well-being of girls. We provide a personalized learning experience in an environment where girls can be daring, gain confidence and discover their passions. Our student-directed programs equip girls with the knowledge, attitudes and courage to thrive - in their studies and careers, and in life.

St. Michaels University School is one of Canada’s leading independent co-ed day (Kindergarten to Grade 12) and boarding (Grade 8 to 12) schools. We are defined by our commitment to excellence through the full development of each student’s potential. Offering diverse programming and realworld learning opportunities, students at Junior, Middle and Senior School discover their interests and fulfill their potential to prepare them for life. Guided by talented faculty, students develop a love of learning and excel in academics, the arts, athletics, leadership and community service. We invite you to discover if SMUS is the right fit for your family at smus.ca.

Distributed Learning Under the new BC curriculum, inquiry and personalization are key to 21st century learning. HandsOn Home-Learning (DL) at Oak and Orca (K-12) offers an experience-based, individualized, and child-led approach. Families are supported in providing engaging opportuni-

S covery at SMU is d f o y a d n e p An o

February 20

Middle & Senior Schools

April 17

Junior School

Join us to discover how St. Michaels University School can be the strong start your child deserves. Take a tour, see hands-on learning in action and ask all the important questions before you apply. Find out more and register at:

smus.ca/spark 16  Island Parent Magazine


ties so each student can follow their own learning path and build on their strengths and interests. All learning experiences are acknowledged and tied to BC learning standards or high school courses by a certified teacher. Original, multi-age, hands-on learning activities are provided to inspire inquiry. Blended learning opportunities are available (space-permitting) at Oak and Orca Bioregional School and Forest School. Special Education inquiries are welcome. oakandorca.ca, info@oakandorca.ca, 250383-6619. 1-888-383-6619.

Kool & Child is your complete resource store for educational toys and games. We carry a wide assortment of educational games, homework helper workbooks, brain teasers, science kits, chewelry, and much more! Teachers love our Kool School House full of everything they need to outfit their classroom in style, including an amazing selection of stickers. For homeschooling families, we carry grade appropriate resources for the elementary

level. Preview some of our products online at koolandchild.com or come in and explore our store for a much greater selection. We are always happy to answer questions, please call us at 1-888-390-1775. Queen Margaret’s School is a welcoming co-ed university preparatory school, from Preschool through Grade 12, with boarding for students in Grades 6-12. Located on 27 beautiful acres in the Cowichan Valley, our signature programing focuses on sustainable innovation and entrepreneurial thinking, experiential and inquiry-based

Mid-Island Schools/ Education Services Aspengrove School is a JrK-Grade 12 Independent School in Lantzville, BC at the Northern edge of Nanaimo on a beautiful 40-acre wooded campus, teaching the world-renowned International Baccalaureate curriculum. With 310 students, Aspengrove is offering a new entrance scholarship program that is available to students entering grades 6-10 in September 2017; additionally, a significant new two-year scholarship for outstanding students entering grade 11 for the IB Diploma, a two-year program of university-level studies, has been established. Students interested in applying for one of the new scholarships can learn more on the Aspengrove website. aspengroveschool.ca. Cowichan Montessori Academy. Inayat Unissa Bergum was born in Nice, France. After obtaining comprehensive Montessori training in Paris, she started the first Montessori school in 1962 in Southern California named the Sophia Montessori of Santa Monica. In 1964, she opened the first Montessori school in Costa Mesa, California known as the Montessori Centre School. Through the years she has trained numerous teachers using Montessori methodologies and opened many Montessori schools throughout California. Cowichan Montessori Academy’s purpose is having children learn to appreciate and understand the importance of tolerance of different religions with an attitude of love, harmony and beauty. cowichanmontessori@gmail. com. CowichanMontessori.com.


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enroll their children at our Waldorf school. Founded in 1980, SWS offers programs from early childhood through class eight. SWS is the only full member school of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) on Vancouver Island. 250-743-7253, sunrisewaldorfschool.org.

Educational Services & Programs Oak and Orca Bioregional Forest School is an outdoor, nature-based program at PKOLS and Mount Douglas Park. The program fosters an inclusive, caring community in which students learn by doing. Through an emergent curriculum, we offer students the opportunity to connect with plants and animals in the temperate rainforest and on the beach. Outdoor experiences include stories and drama, wood carving and sculptures, beach art, shelter-building, learning about wild edibles, hiking, and learning, and a unique equestrian program. ral seven acre campus. SWS offers students active games. This unique program is availOur vision is to create new generations of an education that is imbued with life and joy. able to all students, including those in our confident leaders of character and compas- Through movement, connection to nature, Hands-On Home-Learning (DL) program. sion empowered to create a more just and the practical arts, and an inspired cur- Tours are available by request. oakandorca. connected world. Visit qms.bc.ca. riculum, Waldorf students develop a strong ca, info@oakandorca.ca, 250-383-6619. sense of imagination, creative and critical 1-888-383-6619. thinking skills. Enhanced by Handwork, Woodwork, Music, Strings, Movement, Sylvan Learning’s personal and engaging French, Plays, Gardening and Seasonal Fes- approach to learning has helped millions tivals. SWS is located south of Duncan in the of children see success in school over the Sunrise Waldorf School (SWS). Where Cowichan Valley and attracts families from past 40 years. Our tutoring programs are children learn and grow on our beautiful ru- all over the globe, who have relocated to individualized and tailored specifically to the needs of each child. The use of technology, and our specific approach to motivation helps keep students focused and makes learning fun. When your child just isn’t getting enough out of the classroom you need someone knowledgeable whom you can trust to help guide and engage your child. Someone with insight and experience. You can count on Sylvan. With four FEBRUARY 1 & 2 - 12:30PM FEBRUARY 22 & 23 - 1:00PM locations on Vancouver Island. Call us at MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL ARCTIC DOGS 1-800-Educate. 119 minutes, PG 93 minutes, G

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leaders provide safe place for children to develop socially, mentally, physically and spiritually. Spring Break Camp for ages 7-123 at only $460 + GST, Sunday to Friday with meals provided by our dietary Chef Lorri; you will love Camp Pringle. Visit camppringle.com for easy online registration or call 250-743-2189.

Camp Qwanoes is a youth-oriented highadventure Christian camp celebrating 52 years of adventure on Vancouver Island. We are fully accredited and maintain standards of the highest quality. Choose from week-long co-ed camps for Juniors, Junior Highs, and Senior Highs, plus Family Retreats. Seeking to encourage, challenge, and develop the entire person, our well-rounded programs include over 75 activities, stimulating speakers, music & singing, Bible study, firesides, and of course pure fun! Qwanoes is an ideal place for fun-filled, life-changing adventure. Watch our video at qwanoes.ca/summer/media. Order a free brochure at 1-888-997-9266 or qwanoes.ca.

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Join20+ us atyears Westshore Parks & Recreation experience in our community for free, low cost and inclusive youth drop in programs. Somethingconsultations for everyone includComplimentary ing sport and floor hockey in the brand flexible available newSuper Indoor Sportsfinancing Complex at Juan de FucaARecreation Centre, Friday night Youth top 1% Invisalign Provider drop in and Trans and Queer youth drop in at Centennial Centre. Activities are wideranging and youth directed. Check out the For more info: online Activity Guide for more information at westshorerecreation.caNanaimo: or contact Carly250.390.1331 Bryson cbryson@westshorerecreation.ca.•

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February 2020  19


What’s Out in Winter?


ate winter isn’t usually considered the best time of year to get out in nature. The days are short, the air is chilly, and the excitement of the holiday season is behind us. Leaves have long fallen from the trees. Many animals are hibernating for the winter. Even animals who stay awake, like squirrels, spend less time being active and more time staying in their dens eating food stores. Who can blame us for viewing winter as a time of dormancy, cozying up, and waiting for spring? While there is nothing wrong with embodying the winter

duck. Buffleheads are known for arriving here so promptly each fall that October 15 is known as “All Buffleheads Day.” By May, many of our winter resident ducks, including the Bufflehead, have left us for their summer breeding grounds. Another bonus to winter birding? Because many local plants lose their leaves in winter, it can be easier to find birds and spot nests, even in areas with a lot of vegetation. Though many plants remain dormant over winter, others retain fruit even when they lose their leaves. You and your child can learn to recognize certain species based solely on what stays on the plant during the winter months. Snowberry plants leave small clusters of waxy white berries over winter. Tell your little ones they can identify Snowberry by looking for the bush with the mini snowballs. Many rose species have bright red rosehips, adding a splash of color to your winter walk. Oceanspray shrubs retain distinctive dead flower clusters, which remain until new flowers bud in spring. And although it’s still winter, you may already see the first signs of new growth in Indian plum, one of our earliest plants to bud each spring. If you know what to look for, there is plenty to see on a midwinter nature walk. We are fortunate to live in an area with many options for winter wildlife viewing. Francis/King Regional Park is a great place to look for mosses under the sheltered canopy of some of the largest trees in the Capital Region. The strollerfriendly loop trail at Island View Beach Regional Park offers many opportunities habits of a squirrel, you risk missing out If the understated beauty of mosses to view winter birds and dormant plants. on some unique seasonal nature watching isn’t enough, you may look to our larger For a more adventurous hike, try the opportunities. Midwinter nature walks and livelier winter waterfowl. Many birds Lagoon Trail at Witty’s Lagoon Regional can be a treasure trove of life for those undertake seasonal migrations, so the Park. Both Francis/King and Witty’s Lawho know where to look. birds you see locally during winter can be goon regional parks have nature centres The miniature landscape of mosses quite different from what you would in open on weekends year-round and they can be a fascinating place to explore in summer. Southern Vancouver Island is an are great places to warm up on a rainy the winter months. Mosses tend to thrive excellent place to look for a certain type day. Don’t wait for warmer weather to in moist, shady locations, so Vancouver of winter resident–ducks. get outdoors. There are many special Island is an ideal places for them to grow. Large, abundant, and often colorful, things to look for in winter, which may They don’t have a true root system, so ducks are the perfect subject for young be gone by spring. you can find them on rocks, old fence bird watchers. Look for American Wiposts, logs, tree trunks, or even the cracks geons with their pale blue-grey bills, or Andrea Neumann is an Assistant Parks in sidewalks. You can find dozens of spe- Common Goldeneyes with their bright Naturalist with the CRD. For information on cies on the ground or bases of trees–the yellow irises. Keep an eye out for our upcoming nature events and outings, visit perfect height for young nature explorers. local seasonal celebrity–the Bufflehead crd.bc.ca/parks-events. 20  Island Parent Magazine

Try taking a magnifying glass to count the number of different species you can see on a single rock or tree trunk. Learning the names of some local species can be entertaining in itself. Cat-tail moss hangs in strands from trees, giving the impression of a freshly-brushed cat. Meanwhile, electrified cat’s-tail moss looks like a collection of tiny fuzzy cat’s tails. In summer, many mosses appear to die as they dry out and enter a dormant state until the return of wet weather. Our mild, moist winters are the best time to see mosses in all the lush, green glory.


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Advice from a Teenager

Body Image



Questions,   Curiosities & Answers R

ecently I was setting up my teaching materials in a Grade 8 classroom when I overheard one of the students say, “I hope we get lots of time to do questions without names [aka anonymous questions] because that’s the best part of THE talk!” That Grade 8 student definitely spoke the truth—youth questions always provide the best opportunities for learning. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned as a seasoned sexual health educator is that every young person has questions about sexuality. Whether youth are asking for themselves or the universal, ever curious “friend”, there is no shortage of curiosity. As the supportive adults in their lives, it is our privilege and responsibility to create safe and comfortable spaces for youth to explore their questions and seek realistic and honest answers. Parents often ask me what types of questions today’s youth are asking. They tell me that when they ask their own youth if they have any sexuality questions, they often receive the apathetic shoulder shrug/grunt “I don’t know” combo in response. More often than not, the questions are at the ready but youth need reassurance and coaching to do so comfortably. There are very few times in life that a person gets the opportunity to ask their most burning, obscure, or agonizing questions and receive reliable answers without the help of a search engine! This is why students love the opportunity to ask anonymous questions. Having the opportunity to hear the questions of their peers and learn the reliable answers normalizes and validates the experiences, hopes, fears and feelings of youth in the most valuable of ways. While life as an adolescent in 2020 carries some major differences than that of previous generations; contrary to popular belief their curiosities and questions about sexuality remain very much the same. As a way to provide a bit of insight into what today’s youth are asking and to provide some inspiration for your own family conversations, here’s a compilation of the paraphrased five most frequently asked questions I receive from youth (grades 6-12) with answers.

24  Island Parent Magazine

What is the average or healthy sized penis for a 12 year old/16 year old/people our age?

This is the most common question ever asked! It’s asked multiple times on a DAILY basis in an attempt by youth to normalize their developing bodies. It is essential to reassure our youth that the healthy sized penis for a person their age is the penis they currently have which depending on their age/ stage of development may change further or not. Remind them that the size, shape and appearance of all genitals (not just the penis!) have zero effect on the health, function or amount of the pleasure they may give and receive. This question provides a fantastic opportunity to further explore body image messages we receive in society and how these influence our feelings of self-worth and confidence.

Is it normal to have discharge in your underwear when you’re a girl in middle school?

Yes, it definitely can be!! An increase in discharge from the vagina is very typical as bodies move through puberty. It will fluctuate throughout a cycle and become more predictable as cycles regulate. It’s important to remind our youth that many parts of our bodies discharge fluid as a way of keeping it balanced and healthy—think of our eyes and noses. It’s not always a sign that there’s something wrong. If they notice a difference in amount, colour, texture, odour or experience irritation this would time to follow up with a trusted adult and health care professional. Body function questions provide a great opportunity to encourage youth to become the best experts on their bodies and to learn their typical functions. This question also jump starts the conversations about how/when/ where to talk with a health care professional so they are prepared to access care privately and independently if needed.

What’s a good age to begin a relationship?

Being ready for a relationship requires a lot of self knowledge. Youth need to consider circles of influence: what are their own feelings/concerns/desires/values about having a relationship and how do they compare with those of their family/culIslandParent.ca

ture/society? Will having a relationship add to/change/take away from other areas of their lives; friends, school, sports, work, and family? Are they able to set boundaries comfortably and talk about their own needs. Do they understand consent and practice it in other areas of their lives? Relationship questions provide an exceptional opportunity to talk about your family/cultural/religious values and beliefs and hopes for them as they develop their relationship skills.

How do I talk to my parents/ family about all of this sexuality stuff? They seem really freaked out about it!

In all honesty, this questions breaks my heart a little bit when I see it in the box. I feel like students should be asking me how to get their families to STOP talking to them about sexuality! This question underlines the importance of these conversations to youth. They want to have these conversations and often try to take the responsibility on themselves to make it happen! It can be easy to make assumptions about why these conversations aren’t happening. Ask each other how and when you want to have these

conversations? Is it when you’re doing the dishes, walking the dog, or driving to practice when eye contact is optional? This is a great opportunity to set an intention/make an agreement about having these conversations and to find a way to make these conversations more comfortable for all.

Is watching porn bad?

This has become an increasingly common question found in the box and is one of the most challenging questions to answer. When something is perceived or labelled as bad it has the opportunity to create feelings of shame and guilt and when shame and sexuality mix; the results can be really damaging to a person’s healthy self-concept and decisions. I usually ask students to consider why someone would be using pornography and suggest alternative ways to explore those motivations. I think it’s most important to focus on what isn’t being shown in sexually explicit material—consent, communication and caring which are the foundations of a sexually healthy relationship. Typically, the sexually explicit materials youth can readily access through a search engine narrowly por-

trays sex as a physical performance void of emotion and relational aspects. When a person lacks a solid understanding of sexuality as a whole or an alternative for information, these materials can become very misleading. Youth are lacking a solid understanding of sexuality because of their developmental stage in life and we don’t want to limit that further by using a very narrow construction of sex as a performance rather than an experience. As supportive adults, it’s our job to encourage youth to ask questions, reassure them the question only feels awkward until it’s asked, and remind them they are deserving of honest, reliable answers. The more opportunities we create for our youth to explore their curiosities in comfortable ways, the more open they will be about these curiosities and there will be no need to “ask for a friend.” Jennifer Gibson, M.A. is also known as “The Sex Lady”—officially now for 16 years in Greater Victoria!—to the thousands of amazing youth and adults she is lucky to educate and learn with through her job as Coordinator of Community Education at Island Sexual Health. She’s passionate about making sexuality education as positive, fun and non-cringe-able as possible.

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February 2020  25

Helping Our Tweens & Teens Navigate Conflict


he “tweens” (between the ages of 8 or 9 and 12) are rough. Carefree childhood innocence rapidly slips away as kids encounter higher expectations at school and home, an ever-widening sense of a chaotic world outside themselves, confusing hormonal and physical changes, and the increasing complexity of social interaction with their peers. Suddenly, social spats aren’t simple: “Jane wouldn’t share the toy,” but can become complicated, multi-layered issues: “Jane was mad that I didn’t eat lunch with her, so she wouldn’t talk to me and told everyone not to be friends with me anymore. Then she said mean things about me on {insert social media du jour here} and now everyone hates me.” How do we help our kids get through this incredibly challenging time in a healthy way that promotes positive social skills? Apart from making sure they are secure in our unconditional love, and helping them build genuine confidence in themselves, it’s essential that kids learn how to work through conflict constructively. There are several important skills and mindsets that we can help them build that will make this easier.

How We View Conflict

Conflict is a natural and unavoidable part of human interaction, but working through it isn’t always intuitive, or easy. When I was a rookie elementary school teacher, I struggled to help my Grade 6 students sort out daily drama. I attended several workshops on Restorative Justice and conflict resolution, and learned to view conflict not as “right” versus “wrong” but as two people wanting or needing different things. Resolving conflict isn’t about punishment or exacting revenge—it’s about making sure that everyone’s experience is heard and acknowledged, and that they find a way to move forward from the conflict in a way that meets everyone’s needs. Our school formed a “Peace Squad”— a group of students, many from my 26  Island Parent Magazine

class, trained to help mediate playground conflicts. This wasn’t a miracle cure for conflict and, obviously, there were issues (physical altercations, and bullying, among them) that mediators had to refer to adult supervisors. Sometimes students weren’t interested in participating when they realized that the other kid wasn’t going to get in “trouble.” However, anyone involved in the process, whether as a mediator or someone in conflict, came away from it seeing that there is an alternative to the pervasive idea that if someone “wrongs” you, they need to be “punished.”

is a great tool for helping us see and understand peoples’ emotions and motivations. Act out social situations and discuss what you are thinking and feeling when, for example, your best friend decides to sit with someone else at lunch. How might you react? What are some alternative ways of handling the situation?

Over the year I noticed more students solving their own conflicts within the classroom, as well as increased empathy towards others, evidenced in their personal writing and even the way they spoke to each other.

Labelling. We can help our kids develop and expand their emotional awareness, starting with labelling and talking about our own emotions. We can also provide a safe space and opportunities for them to practice. Visual Aids. My four-year-old has a calendar with emotion magnets, and every day when we change the date, weather, and day of the week, he also takes a moment to think about how he’s feeling and picks a face. Sometimes we get into the “why” of his emotions, but just labelling them is a great start. Shared Journal. If your tween isn’t yet comfortable with verbalizing their feelings, you could try keeping a shared journal (with a list of emotion words taped inside the cover for easy reference). There are some beautifully-designed journals out there for this purpose, full of creative prompts. Some are even fill-in-the-blank. Games. Emotion charades and other activities derived from theatre sports can

Perspective-Taking and Empathy

Helping kids more fully understand how their actions affect others is something that can be practiced at home. Books. When reading, you can discuss the characters’ feelings, and point out how several characters can feel differently about the same situation. Powerful “tween” books, told from multiple perspectives, are R.J. Palacio’s Wonder, and Rob Buyea’s Because of Mr. Terupt. Authenticity. Give them feedback when their words or actions have an emotional effect on you, positive or negative. Drama—the Good Kind. Role-playing

Boost Emotional Awareness

Being able to describe how someone’s actions make you feel is an essential key to finding satisfying resolutions to conflict, but many kids struggle with a limited emotional vocabulary.


help your child develop and strengthen their ability to read facial expressions and body language. A lot of kids have difficulty with tone and emphasis. They might repeat something funny a TV character says and not understand why their classmate finds it hurtful (it might be said with a sarcastic tone). You can make a game of saying the same sentence in different ways and trying to guess the speaker’s intent or emotion. For example, “What are you doing?” vs “What are you doing?” communicate different messages.

BRANDI MOLLICA PHOTOGRAPHY Film Photography Digital Photography Maternity Newborn Family Pets brandi@brandimollicaphotography.com


Calming Strategies

Learning and practicing calming techniques (mindful breathing, counting, visualization, positive self-talk) helps us be rational and receptive instead of reactive. You can help your child to determine which strategies are most useful for them and encourage them to practice when you see they are agitated.

Life Like No Other

Acknowledge Mistakes… and Grow

When conflict occurs, it’s important to work through it so that everyone can move forward peacefully. We can’t change what happened, but we can decide to learn and make different choices in the future. To do this we need to acknowledge our own part in conflict. No one wants to believe their child is capable of causing hurt to another, but it happens every day. Not because they are “bad,” but because they are learning. If your child is involved in a conflict, take time to hear the whole story of what transpired. Encourage them to own their actions and be part of a solution. Just as in any new subject, they are going to make mistakes and that’s when they need our support the most—to help them grow positively from a negative experience. Schools are beginning to teach emotional and social skills more explicitly within an evolving curriculum, but developing empathy, emotional awareness, self-regulation, and problem-solving skills starts with parents. They watch us for cues, and if we negotiate our own conflicts constructively this goes a long way to helping them get through the trials and tribulations of Tweenhood.

Kelly McQuillan is a writer, musician, teacher and fledgling mother living in Comox, BC. kellymcquillanwriter.weebly.com. IslandParent.ca

February 2020  27

Supporting Trans & Gender Diverse Youth

Healthy Families, Happy Families

Child, Youth & Family Public Health South Island Health Units Esquimalt Gulf Islands

250-519-5311 250-539-3099

(toll-free number for office in Saanichton)

Peninsula 250-544-2400 Saanich 250-519-5100 Saltspring Island 250-538-4880 Sooke 250-519-3487 Victoria 250-388-2200 West Shore 250-519-3490

Central Island Health Units Duncan Ladysmith Lake Cowichan Nanaimo Nanaimo Princess Royal Parksville/ Qualicum

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Port Alberni Tofino

250-731-1315 250-725-4020


North Island Health Units Campbell River 250-850-2110 Courtenay 250-331-8520 Kyuquot Health Ctr 250-332-5289 ‘Namgis Health Ctr 250-974-5522 Port Hardy 250-902-6071

islandhealth.ca/our-locations/ health-unit-locations 28  Island Parent Magazine


s a parent or caregiver, having your teen come out as Trans may be an overwhelming experience. You may feel confused about what this means, question whether their gender identity is a “phase,” or feel concerned about what this might mean for your teen’s safety and well-being in the future. You may also feel relieved about having a better understanding of what has been going on for your child, and grateful that they feel safe to disclose their gender identity to you. It’s important to know that you are not alone. Statistics suggest that at least one to three out of every thousand people identify as a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth, so there are plenty of other parents who can relate to your experience. It’s also important to recognize and work through these feelings in a supportive environment so that you are emotionally equipped to support your child. Evidence shows that strong parental support is the most important factor in improving physical, emotional and mental health outcomes for trans-identified youth.

Understanding Gender Identity

When you are working on understanding what it means to be Trans, it’s important to remember that everybody, whether they realize it or not, has a gender identity! Typically, when a baby is born, a healthcare provider looks at the baby’s sex organs, and, based on what they see, decide whether that baby is a boy or a girl—this is sometimes referred to as “biological sex” or “gender assigned at birth.” Gender is distinct from the sex a person was assigned at birth. The term “gender” refers to socially constructed behaviours, roles, identities and expressions that we tend to associate with men, women, or transgender people. For many people, gender identity aligns comfortably with biological sex. If you are one of these people, your gender identity can be described using the term “cisgender.” For Trans people, gender identity doesn’t match their biological sex. Some may feel that their identity is aligned with one particular gender (e.g. “man” or

“woman”), whereas others may identify somewhere in the middle, or find their identity fluctuates over time. People who feel this way may use any of a number of terms to describe their gender identity, depending on what fits best—common terms include (but are not limited to) transgender, trans woman, trans man, nonbinary, genderfluid and two spirit (which is a special term used within some Indigenous communities). In the interest of simplicity, in this article we are using the term “trans” as an umbrella term to include all non-cisgender identities.

Supporting a Trans Teen

Lux Welsh, a peer support worker who works with Trans, non-binary and TwoSpirit youth in Victoria says, “It’s important to recognize your emotional reactions and find a supportive way to let those feelings out in a way that doesn’t necessarily involve your kid.” Welsh reminds parents that youth have often gone through years of introspection and consideration to get to the point where they are ready to come out to family members. While the news about your teen’s gender identity might seem to arrive totally out of the blue, it’s likely something they have been contemplating for a long time. Other suggestions from Welsh: • Attend a support group for parents/ family members. • Use affirming language: mirror the language that your teen uses around their gender, pronouns and choice of name. • To help advocate for your teen, ask them “what kind of support do you need?” • Identify what types of support and advocacy are within your power as a parent; this might mean calling your teen’s school to have their listed name changed, reminding other family members to use your teen’s chosen name and pronouns, or helping them access medical care. • Anticipate change, growth, and exploration over time, as you would with any youth.

Next Steps

It’s important to ask your child what they IslandParent.ca

A vibrant inquirybased middle school

General Information Trans Care BC, phsa.ca/transcarebc Trans Care BC is a B.C.-wide information service and resource hub, working to make sure people have the information they need to access gender affirming health care and supports.

Resources for Parents/Caregivers Gender Spectacular Caregiver Support Group and Family Drop-ins–Victoria support@genderspectacular.com Families in TRANSition Guide is a comprehensive guide for parents and caregivers of Transgender and gender questioning youth. PDF booklet can be downloaded at: ctys.org/ information/resources/ctys-publications/

Medical Care & Access to Hormone Therapy Foundry Victoria (250-383-3552) and Foundry Campbell River (250-286-0611) Primary care, mental health and gender care services for youth aged 12-24 Island Sexual Health Society located in Saanich (250-592-3479), islandsexualhealth.org Gender Affirming Care for youth and adults aged 16+; reproductive and sexual health for individuals of all ages BC Children’s Hospital Gender Clinic, bcchildrens.ca/our-services/clinics/gender Treatment with puberty blockers and/or gender-affirming hormones for transgender and gender-questioning youth. Physician referral required. Chelsea Walton is a registered nurse, working in the fields of sexual and reproductive health and gender affirming care in the Greater Victoria area. Lux Welsh is a peer support worker with Trans Care BC. They have been working with Two-Spirit, trans and gender-diverse youth in various capacities for four years. IslandParent.ca

Find the courage to explore what interests you. Visit our Open Houses Jan 25 • Feb 9 • Feb 20


need help with when it comes to affirming their gender identity safely. For some youth, this may mean helping them access clothing and other supplies that help them feel more comfortable in their bodies. Some teens might feel that it is important to access medical interventions, such as hormone therapy and/or gender affirming surgery. Some services for Trans youth on Vancouver Island are listed below. Please note that this list is not exhaustive. If you have trouble finding the service or supports you need, contact Trans Care BC (see info below).

Find out more:

www.arcacademy.ca 250-294-8395 February 2020  29

Body Image


hildren and teenagers can be incredibly vulnerable when it comes to developing negative body image. Growing up in a media-saturated world can make it hard for them to accept their bodies when they’re different from the ones they see on TV, social media, or in magazines. Even adults have difficulty remembering that the bodies portrayed are often altered and completely unrealistic for the average person; this can be even harder for kids to comprehend. Rather than focusing on this more technical argument that everyone is flawed, we can instead put emphasis on how our differences make us beautiful and that our greater value is in our character. Here are some ways you can help your child or teen internalize this:

Ditch the math

Your body needs food to survive. Period. It does not “deserve” more or less of it depending on how much movement you do. If you find yourself doing this math in your head about your own body be sure to keep it to yourself and avoid verbalizing it to your kids. Statements like “I was bad and had two pieces of chocolate cake! I need to make up for it at the gym tonight,” tells kids that they have to “earn” their food. This creates a negative power imbalance and frames food as some sort of a reward when it’s not.

of voice become judgmental? What does your body language say? Fostering this awareness in yourself can help you understand the messages your kids are getting about how physical bodies are judged.

Leave gender out of it

Women and girls also tend to get considerable more attention in the area of self-image than men and boys. This disproportionate amount of attention means that body image and self-love issues such as height are not being addressed as they should in our sons. While most would

First, look in the mirror

The single best way to raise body-positive kids is to lead by example. Find what you love about yourself and embody it. Strive to be a positive role model for your children. You are the best educator they have and they look to you for guidance and examples of how to behave in this world (whether you want them to or not). Model the behaviour you want to see, including refraining from talking negatively about your body in front of your kids.

Explore different kinds of hunger agree that there is huge pressure on fe-

If you want your kids to be body positive, you need to shatter the false dichotomy between “good” and “bad” foods. There are certainly foods that are more nutritious for you than others but there are no foods that are inherently “good” or “bad.” Ensure that you’re helping your kids understand healthy nutrition by talking about moderation and balance rather than good and bad.

Help your kids understand how hunger can be influenced by various factors. There is a big difference between emotional hunger, boredom, and physiological hunger. If your child constantly wants cookies when they’ve had a bad day, this is likely emotional hunger. While having cookies to make you feel better once in a while is totally fine—and you should tell them that—maybe one day you suggest another activity they enjoy, like doing arts and crafts or setting up a playdate. The most important thing is to teach them to listen to their bodies and consider what’s it’s saying and why.

Don’t villainize food

Be self-aware

Be mindful of implementing unnecessary food restrictions

Do not make food “the enemy.” Use cooking together as a family bonding opportunity. Make it fun and create memories together in the kitchen. Portray food in a positive light and don’t project your own negative associations with various foods onto your kids.

30  Island Parent Magazine

How do you react in front of your kids when you interact with someone who appears a little disheveled, unclean, or a larger body size than average. Do you talk negatively about them? Do you use them as an example for why your kids should always look “presentable,” “shower,” or “watch what you eat”? Does your tone

males to be “skinny,” what is less known is that similar amounts of pressure exist on males to have clear skin and to be tall and muscular. Promoting body positivity across all genders is key to a healthy body image.

Disrupt the association between body size and worth

When we think about our loved ones, we think about how caring and kind they are, how they always make us laugh, or their admirable sense of honesty. We love and appreciate people for who they are on the inside—not how they look on the outside. Make this connection clear to your kids: someone’s body size is just that and nothing more. It is just one part of them, and not nearly the most important! It says nothing about who they are as a person. Ask your children to name their favorite things about their best friends, and then themselves. Show them that what others love and appreciate them for is not about their physical appearance. Model what IslandParent.ca

you want to see by habitually and genuinely complimenting your kids on their inner qualities rather than their outer ones.

Use positive self-talk

When you begin to sense that your children are becoming self-conscious about their bodies, ask them to remind themselves about their favorite characteristics. Maybe they like how funny they are, how well they can cook, or how good they are at math. Increasing their self-confidence is how children learn to love and accept themselves just as they are. When they feel embarrassed about their bodies, building up their self-confidence will help to build the solid foundation of self-esteem they need to guide them successfully through life.

Interrupt negative behaviour patterns

Help your kids spend more time making connections with their friends, family, and with activities that they love. Limit screen time and explain that what we see online is not real life. Emphasize that we should not compare ourselves to others. Encourage your children to spend more time doing creative activities rather than watching YouTube videos for hours on end or scrolling Instagram. Lastly, teach and practice gratitude expression with them. An example would be: “I am thankful that my body is healthy, and lets me play with my friends!” This is especially important to lean on when they express dissatisfaction with their bodies. Raising children who love and accept themselves and their bodies starts with modelling healthy behavior at home. Cultivate acceptance of your own appearance (if you’re not already) and seize learning opportunities with your children to reinforce the importance of character over appearance. Remind your kids that what they see in the media is often not real-life, and that they can’t make fair comparisons. Even if you feel you’re a work in progress (don’t we all!) you can still choose which thoughts you verbalize and which ones you choose to let dissipate. Dr. Jillian Roberts is a child psychologist, UVic professor and mother. She is the CEO and Founder of FamilySparks and the author of Kids, Sex and Screens: Raising Strong, Resilient Children in the Sexualized Digital Age. IslandParent.ca

Create and perform your own opera!

Opera Works

Full bursaries available!

Pacific Opera’s Spring Break Camp March 23 – March 27, 2020 | $225 Empowering youth ages 9 through 13 to tell a story through music. Work with a singer, a composer, and a visual artist to write words, craft music, and design your own set – ending the week with a performance of YOUR NEW OPERA! PHOTOS: Lia Crowe



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February 2020  31

Ageism...& Youth W

Community Board Kaleidoscope Theatre kaleidoscope.bc.ca

Mothering Touch motheringtouch.ca

Royal BC Museum royalbcmuseum.bc.ca

Victoria Children’s Choir VictoriaChildrensChoir.ca

Victoria Conservatory of Music vcm.bc.ca Enquire about brochure or magazine distribution in Greater Victoria:

sales@islandparent.ca 32  Island Parent Magazine

hen teens reach legal working age, many are encouraged to go out and find a job. Something to give them a taste of the adult world, to help them save money while they are still able to live at home. But for some young teens who have taken that initiative, it’s not always an easy road. My boss is inclusive when it comes to hiring. In my workplace, I have the pleasure of working with a girl who is only 14. She has a strong work ethic, rock-solid communication skills, and is efficient at keeping the place going. At work, this 14-year-old is so responsible and mature that it’s easy to forget her age—that is, until she eats too much sugar! Despite being an enthusiastic and knowledgeable employee, she still faces challenges that others do not. With the majority of her coworkers ranging in age from 20 to 40, she often has to work harder than the rest of us to be taken seriously. It seems that for some customers, it’s hard to accept that someone so young could know just as much as someone twice her age. Customers will sometimes assume that because of her youth, she has no knowledge of how the world works. One of the most frustrating aspects of working at such a young age is all the questions: “How old are you? Are you even allowed to work here? Do you need to be supervised?” While these questions may be out of concern for a violation of child-labour laws, they are often misplaced and come out as being patronizing. There are several laws and strict guidelines in place for employing young teens, and if a business wants to remain successful and avoid controversy, it is assumed they would follow these guidelines. From 2003 to 2019, children as young as 12 were legally allowed to work in British Columbia at any type of job, including trades, mining or construction, however the workplace hazards involved were deemed unfit for minors. This law was changed in April 2019 to raise the minimum working age to 16. Younger teens, however, are still allowed to hold a job so long as they have parental consent. There are several restrictions that are

in place for those working under 26. Minors are not permitted to do any work considered hazardous to their health and safety. So working in a flower shop is fine while working at a construction site is not. Young employees between 12 and 16 are also not allowed to work for more than 12 hours during a school week and cannot work during school hours. A notable exception to these laws is children employed in a family business, which may not be covered by the Employment Standards Act of B.C. These regulations for working minors are in place to ensure that a teen’s job does not interfere with their education or other aspects of their lives. In the case of my young coworker, she is aware of the rules set out by the Employment Standards Act as is everyone else in the workplace. She keeps track of her hours and she knows that she is not permitted to open or close without a legal adult present. I think that those teens that are ambitious enough to get a job—especially at 14—deserve respect. As a society, we can’t pressure our teens to go out and work a minimum wage job, and then belittle them for doing so. It’s troubling to watch this bright young employee be dismissed or ignored altogether simply because of her age. If the customers saw how hard she works or how quickly she learns new things, perhaps they wouldn’t be so quick to assume that they need to speak to someone with more “experience.” What’s more is that these young workers offer so much potential that is often overlooked. Even if they may not know all the tools of the trade right away, their drive that motivated them to get a job in the first place will also push them to learn as much as they can. Many adults could stand to learn from these young teens that take their jobs and their responsibilities seriously. Emily Collis is a writer/illustrator born and raised on Vancouver Island. She is currently self-employed working on everything from crafts to cartoons. She hopes to publish a novel someday. IslandParent.ca

Where Students Choose To Be

Daily transport from Duncan and the Westshore

Brentwood's Grade 8 day student program is now accepting applications! Space is limited. To ďŹ nd out more contact crystal.harvey@brentwood.bc.ca or call (250) 743.5521

Designed for students bridging into high school with a fun, supportive educational experience including numerous arts and sports options. Co-ed | Day | Boarding | Grades 8-12 | Mill Bay | BC | www.brentwood.ca IslandParent.ca

February 2020  33

Advice from a Teenager Dear Mom and Dad, I need to teach you a few things about parenting. Love, your Teenager

On maintaining meaningful connection with teenagers:

“Just because we don’t spend as much time with you or with the family, doesn’t mean that we don’t love you anymore. ot only do I research and write about We need to go out into the world and find our way, but we will always come back, teens, but I am, in fact, parenting especially when we need to feel safe or a teenager in my own home. Truthfully, need help solving a problem. If you want that’s what drives most of my research. I take what I am struggling with, as a moth- to spend more time with your teenager, find out what they are interested in and er, see what the research says, try it with experience that with them. I like going on my kids, and report back. What worked? holidays with my family because we like What didn’t work? I generally consult with the experts, not being at the lake together, but spending time together doesn’t always need to be a only academic ones, but the ones in the battlefield. My mom friends. What do you big adventure. Come to my soccer games, take me for a hike or find a TV show that think about this strategy? Do you agree we both love and can watch together.” with that philosophy? I read a lot. I visit My take on this: Teenagers still need conferences. I listen to podcasts. I pride their parents and crave connection with myself on being pretty well informed. the family. These moments may be fewer However, it recently occurred to me that and farther between, but they’re still I was ignoring a large and important demographic, a wealth of opinion and important. Finding a mutually agreeable knowledge. I had never consulted the activity may take more work than it used teenagers, themselves. What do they think to. We need to meet our teens in their about how they are parented? So, recently, comfort zone. The bonus is, when we are I decided to do just that. spending time together in an atmosphere Meet my teenage son, Jackson. He is 13 that is relaxed and enjoyable, conversation years old, just dipping his toes in the water will flow. Teens will let their guard down of the high school experience. In the last and give us a glimpse into what is going few months, he has been exploring new on in their world. freedoms and responsibilities, defining new boundaries and enjoying new experi- On respecting privacy: ences and making new friends. Our rela“Parents ask too many questions, estionship has changed and evolved in the pecially moms. I get it. You are trying to last year. I am no longer the centre of his find out what’s happening in our lives, world, but am now stepping back and act- but sometimes it feels like an invasion of ing as a guide, a sounding board. At times privacy. Sometimes, it’s important to wait it is exciting, others it is uncomfortable for until your kid brings something up. If they both of us. We’ve had many conversations want to tell you about their life, they will. about the fact that we are each learning It’s okay for you to ask, once in a while, as we go, that we will each make mistakes especially if your kid doesn’t tell you and will each need to practice compassion anything, but, you need to respect them and forgiveness. He is learning how to be if they say that they are not ready to talk a teenager and I am learning how to parabout it.” My take on this: Teenagers process event one. It’s quite an adventure. ery day. They navigate academic expectaI recently took my son for dinner and picked his brain for an adolescent perspec- tions, social pressure and family dynamics. tive on everything from technology to sex. When they get home, they need to unwind and their version of decompressing may It was one of the most valuable conversations I have ever had. I think he enjoyed it, not be having a heart-to-heart with their parent. I love the term “holding space.” too. Here are some tidbits of advice from As parents, we essentially need to stand my insightful, charming and painfully ready, arms open wide, for at any moment honest son.


34  Island Parent Magazine

our teens may be ready to disclose or start a dialogue. At that moment, we drop everything and listen.

On high school:

“It’s important for parents to back off once we reach high school. It’s embarrassing for a parent to be constantly emailing my teachers. I need to learn how to handle things in my own way and make my own decisions. You can guide us because we might not always make good choices. You can tell me to smarten up and do my homework. You can explain the consequences of not doing my homework. But at the end of the day, it’s my choice whether I do it or not.”

My take on this: We need to resist the urge to micromanage. Teenagers need room to make mistakes, to own their actions and to learn from them. If we are always fixing their problems and making decisions on their behalf, how will they learn to be resilient? My son is right. His choices, though I may not agree with them, are his to make. They will evolve into his problems, which are essentially, not my problems. Though they may feel like my problems, or a direct reflection on my parenting, the consequences that follow are for him to suffer and the responsibility to restore justice falls on his shoulders, not mine. IslandParent.ca

On having “The Talk”:

example. It makes me feel like I can tell you when I screw up. When I do make mistakes, sit and listen. Help me find a solution, if I ask you. Or, you can ask how I am going to fix it. But try not to say too much. I already feel bad. You don’t need to make it worse. Then, move on. Don’t keep bringing up all the mistakes I have made.” My take: Parents need to normalize mistakes so that teens feel safe coming to us when they need help. None of us are perfect, so we should be modelling ownership and restorative action. Try not to judge the person, only the behaviour, and help your child find the lesson that lives within each failure.

On technology:

I highly recommend having this conversation with your teenagers! Take them on a date and ask them to share their perceptions of the teenage experience, of your relationship with them and of how you are supporting their growth. In having this conversation with my son, it showed him how much I value his opinion. It demonstrated that I am also learning and that we are in this together. It has been said that we can learn as much from our children as they can learn from us, so put those words into action and prepare to be amazed!

“It’s best to have that conversation before kids start dating, otherwise the awkward level goes way up because it seems like you are thinking about my sex life. All kids know that they need to have ‘The Talk’ but we want you to keep it short. Be honest and direct. You can even be graphic. But don’t drag it out. I would rather have a few short talks than one long one. Also, it’s helpful to have it some place where I don’t have to sit across from you. I don’t want to look at you. Maybe in the car, where I can look out the window is a good place.” My take on this: Well said, Jackson. “I understand why parents want to check our phones. You want to keep us safe and make sure we are not getting into a sticky situation, especially when it comes to texting. It actually makes me feel like you care about me. What we don’t like, though, is you snooping and doing it when we’re not looking. Just respect us enough to ask us first. We’ll usually hand over our devices. If not, the phone belongs to you and you can take it away at any time.” My take on this: Need I say more?

On parents being real and making mistakes:

“I get that you have your own problems. You’re human. Sometimes you lose your patience or yell or swear and it’s okay. Just say you’re having a bad day, although I don’t need to know the details. If you lose it, apologize and explain why you lost your temper. We can learn from that and you are setting a good

Kelly Cleeve is a writer, speaker and educator. She has a Masters Degree in human development. More importantly, she is the proud mother of two beautiful boys. Jackson McKinney is a vivacious and charismatic teenager. He loves soccer, riding his bike, skateboarding and playing guitar.

11 – 18 Years

Indoor Sport


Wednesday Sports drop-ins

Join us on Wednesdays for our new toonie sport drop-in in the Indoor Sport Complex.



3:30 – 4:30 PM Family Open Gym 4:30 – 6:30 PM

Youth Open Gym

6:30 – 7:30 PM Youth Floor Hockey

westshorerecreation.ca IslandParent.ca

February 2020  35

FEBRUARYFAMILYCALENDAR For more information and calendar updates throughout the month visit IslandParent.ca

1 FRIDAY Books for Breakfast

7 FRIDAY P Chinese Lunar New Year

10am at Sidney/North Saanich Branch Library Fun for young children and their families! Enjoy stories, songs, puppets, a light breakfast snack and take home a book to keep. Drop-in. Offered in partnership with Peninsula Connections for Early Childhood (PCEC).

11:30am at Cook St Village Activity Centre 380 Cook St Celebrate the “Year of the Rat” with a delicious Chinese lunch. Limited tickets available. $10/ adults and seniors; $5/children.

12 WEDNESDAY V Story Club: Flight of the Hummingbird


3:30pm at Juan de Fuca Branch Library Enjoy books, games, crafts and light group discussions. During this special series, the club will listen to and read stories about courage, perseverance and resilience that are inspired by Pacific Fantastic Friday V Opera’s Flight of the Hummingbird opera. Story 4:30pm at St. Luke’s Hall Club has three session dates—attend one, two TUESDAY Cedar Hill X Road at Cedar Hill Road, or all three dates. Rice crackers and fruit will be Glow in the Dark Skate N Featuring Messy Church. Family-friendly fun, provided for a snack. This program is presented 6:30pm at Frank Crane Arena games, food, crafts, music and stories. Dinner pro- as part of the Be a Hummingbird series. For ages Skate in an atmosphere of dimmed lighting and vided. Come when you can, come as you are. Free. 9-12. Registered.  special effects. Regular admission. recreation. stlukesvictoria.ca gvpl.ca nanaimo.ca


Dad’s Night Out: Free Skate


6:45pm at Oceanside Place Arena Dads, bring the kids to and enjoy a free skate together on the pond. Sponsored by Building Learning Together. rdn.bc.ca/recreation

5 WEDNESDAY Childhood Anxiety Presentation


6pm at Cedar Elementary 2215 Gould Rd, Nanaimo Presentation and Discussion by Julie-Anne Richards, M.A., R.C.C., CCC, on Childhood Stress and Anxiety: Empowering Strategies and Effective Support. The Presentation is tailored for parents, caregivers and educators supporting children ages 5-13. Free. ericfoundation.com


Cooking for Fun: Thai-tastic


6pm at Gordon Head Middle School Spanish-English Storytime V 1671 Kenmore Road 10:30am at Bruce Hutchison Branch Tap into your inner chef with an evening of handsEnjoy a bilingual storytime and craft, and learn on culinary creation. Introduces your child to simple Spanish language songs and phrases. For basic cooking skills and nutrition tips while learnyoung children and their families; children under ing exciting dishes that can easily be recreated at 3 must be accompanied by an adult. Register. home. All ingredients and supplies provided. $20. gvpl.ca 250-475-7100

9 SUNDAY Victoria Comic Book Expo

13 THURSDAY V Cupid’s Cuties at Kindergym

11am at Comfort Inn and Conference Centre 3020 Blanshard St. 1000s of examples from all eras from the hottest books of the day to hard-to-find treasures of the past. Toys, non-sports card and other collectibles as well. Come buy, sell, trade or just browse around. victoriacomicbookexpo.ca


9:30am at Greenglade Community Centre Happy Valentine’s Day. Come for some love-ly free play fun and valentine card crafting. Some

V Victoria & Area P Peninsula W Westshore

D Duncan & Area N Nanaimo & Area C Courtenay/Comox

A��n�i�� P���nt�! WE ARE OFFERING A WIDE RANGE OF PARENTING CLASSES THIS SPRING. Check out our Infant CPR and First aid, Positive Parenting Drop-In, Transitions: Navigating your way through Change and Love Your Relationship workshops. Brush up your skills with our Small Talk workshop and Public Speaking Boot Camp.

Re�is��� a� 250-478-8384 | westshorerecreation.ca 36  Island Parent Magazine


spaces available for reservation in advance. Regular drop-in admission. panoramarecreation.ca



8:45am at Gordon Head Recreation Centre 4100 Lambrick Way There will be no school-related business, no homework and no tests, simply games, arts and crafts, running and playing and a swim to cap it all off. $40. saanich.ca

Be My Valentine


11am at Goudy Branch Library Wear Valentine’s Day colours and enjoy stories, rhymes, songs and a fancy Valentine craft. For ages 3-5. Register.  gvpl.ca

Pro-D Day Camp


9am at the Gardens at HCP 505 Quayle Rd Do you know a child who enjoys gardening? Our gardens are perfect for learning about growing plants, food and building natural support systems. $38/child. hcp.ca/youth-programs


1pm at Panorama Recreation Bring your family and friends for skating and swimming fun, music, games and prizes. Skate: 1-2:20pm; swim: 1:30-3:30pm. $2. panoramarecreation.ca


At Panorama Recreation Celebrate family day with free admission to swimming, skating, weight room and fitness classes. Free. panoramarecreation.ca

V Family Day Yoga Class

10am at Victoria Conference Centre 720 Douglas Street Presentations, workshops, vendors and exhibitors. Trade seeds at the Seed and garden book Exchange, meet other gardeners, and expand your gardening repertoire. Children’s activity area. $8; children under 16 free. victoriaseedysaturday.ca/vss

Splish Splash Swim


Free Family Day

15 SATURDAY Seedy Saturday



10am at Panorama Recreation A chance for families to enjoy active and relaxing time together. Children must be 4+ years. Registration required (each family member must register). Free. panoramarecreation.ca

BC Provincial Family Day Swim & Skate


N 10am at Ravensong Aquatic Centre and

10am at Ravensong Aquatic Centre A water adventure you don’t want to miss. The lifeguards are going to bring out the pool toys for you to enjoy. From the rope swing to the snake there will be water play for everyone. Regular admission. rdn.bc.ca/recreation

Oceanside Place Arena Free admission to both of these events is courtesy of CUPE 401, Canadian Union of Public Employees. Swim: 10am-2pm; Family Skate: 1-4pm. rdn.bc.ca/recreation

Add your upcoming family events at

Children V

Sketchy Thursdays

Thursdays 6:30pm at sxweŋxw ŋ t ŋ xw James Bay Branch Library Everyone welcome. Bring your sketchbook and pencils and join Nate Davis for an evening of sketching. Open to all ages, skill levels and abilities. Drop-in. gvpl.ca e e e

Pro-D Day Skate & Swim

Museum Tots


Saturdays 11am at Maritime Museum 634 Humboldt St, Victoria A weekly program introducing children 2-5 to the fun world of museum learning. New theme each week, allowing children to learn through crafts, play, games, song and dance.

Parksville Lion’s & Save-On-Foods N Family Skate 12:15pm Sundays at Oceanside Place Arena Pond hockey not available. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Free admission and skate rentals. rdn.bc.ca/recreation

islandparent.ca IslandParent.ca

February 2020  37

Victoria Montessori



Preschool and Childcare Building a foundation for the rest of their lives

The Best of Montessori and “Learn through Play” Combined

Baby Time


• beautiful, bright classrooms • open between 8am–5pm • open year round • licensed for children 21⁄2–5

At Greater Victoria Public Library Locations Learn songs, rhymes and fingerplays to use with your baby every day. Drop-in. For babies 0-15 months and parent or caregiver. gvpl.ca


At Greater Victoria Public Library Locations Fun-filled stories, songs, rhymes and puppets. For young children and their families; children under 3 must be accompanied by an adult. Drop-in. Check website for times and locations. gvpl.ca

Family Storytime

Stories in the Garden



Mondays 10am at the Gardens at HCP 505 Quayle Rd Seasonal and entertaining stories and garden wanders for preschoolers. Each week a new theme and story is planned around a garden adventure to explore and discover the many wonders in our gardens. $5/participating child. hcp.ca/youth-programs

Kindergym Drop-In


Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays, 10:00am at Gordon Head Recreation Centre 4100 Lambrick Way A movement program designed for children and their caregiver to play together. Balls, hoops, ride-on toys, climbers and mats allow children to creatively explore. Songs and circle time. Get active together for life. $3/child. saanich.ca

Tiny Tykes Drop in Playgroup


9:30am at Oaklands Community Centre Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Meet your

38  Island Parent Magazine

neighbours and enjoy the informal family play space. Activity tables, circle time with instruments, and large toy collection. Coffee, tea and snack provided. No playgroup on holidays. For 0-5 years. $3/suggested donation. oaklandscommunitycentre.com

Parent & Child Drop-in Art


Tuesdays 9:30am at Oaklands Community Centre Introduction to art techniques, tools and materials. Enjoy a sensory exploration into the world of art. Supplies included. Dress in clothes you can get messy in. For 2-5 year olds. $10/family. oaklandscommunitycentre.com


Parent & Baby Group

Tuesdays 9:30am at Oaklands Chapel For parents and babies up to 9 months old. Topics include nutrition, health, baby growth and development, family health and wellness and the joys and challenges of parenthood. Childcare provided for older children. Registered. Free. oaklandscommunitycentre.com

Good Morning Storytime


Thursdays, February 6 to March 5, 10:30am at Sidney/North Saanich Branch Library Bring your littlest ones to the library for stories, songs, rhymes and lots of movement. Ages 0-5. Drop in.

LaFF Mornings


Mondays 9:30am–noon at Aggie Hall, Ladysmith Play-based learning stations to explore and enjoy, including a reading centre, craft area, Brio train table, snack table and more. Meet other parents, health and social service providers. 250-210-0870


19 WEDNESDAY Story Club: Flight of the Hummingbird


3:30pm at Juan de Fuca Branch Library See WED 12 for details. For ages 9-12. Registered. gvpl.ca


20 THURSDAY Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni Hockey Game

Gymnastics W

7pm at The Q Centre 1767 Island Highway, Colwood Lifetime Networks is hosting a Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni Game. This is a family-friendly fundraising event. $20/adults; $15/children. Children under 3 are free. lifetimenetworks.org/maple-leafs

Boys & girls, ages 2 through adult, beginner through advanced

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520 Mt View Ave


21 FRIDAY Coast Capital Free Swim


7pm at Beban Pool Admission to pool only; weight room not included. Free. recreation.nanaimo.ca

23 SUNDAY Wild for Wetlands


Noon at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary 3873 Swan Lake Rd What makes a wetland such a great place to enjoy and protect? Find out with hands-on exploration, pond dipping for live wetland creatures, crafts and games. Drop in event. Admission by donation, $5 per person suggested. swanlake.bc.ca

22 SATURDAY Home Alone Program


9am at Gordon Head Recreation Centre 4100 Lambrick Way The before and after school times or occasional outings for parents are easily dealt with when your child is H.A.P.P.Y a Home Alone Program Prepared Youth. Program focuses on home and personal safety and emergency procedures. Booklet and Parent/Guardian handout included. $37. saanich.ca

Starlight Skate


7pm at Nanaimo Ice Centre Enjoy the soft light “stars” and passive LED glow lights. Great for families after dinner. Regular admission. recreation.nanaimo.ca


Toys, games and puzzles for all ages


#102 – 2517 Bowen Rd, Nanaimo  888.390.1775 February 2020  39

24 MONDAY School’s Out Everyone Welcome Skate


1:30pm at Oceanside Place Arena Stay active on your day off. Reduced rate. rdn.bc.ca/recreation

Canvas Art for Kids 7–11yrs


4pm at Oceanside Art Studio Jenny Hughes will guide you through how to paint a fantastic yet surprisingly simple acrylic painting. No experience necessary. All supplies are provided. $25. rdn.bc.ca/recreation


Story Club: Flight of the Hummingbird

3:30pm at Juan de Fuca Branch Library See WED 12 for details. For ages 9-12. Registered. gvpl.ca


Giggles & Wiggles

11am at Juan de Fuca Branch Library Little listeners with extra energy will enjoy actionfilled stories, songs and rhymes followed by free play and stations. Drop-in. For young children and their families; children under 3 must be accompanied by an adult.

27 THURSDAY TO MARCH 2 MONDAY Be a Tourist in Your Own Town


An extended weekend of fun in Victoria. Local businesses unite to offer free or discounted fun over the course of five days. Gardens, restaurants, boutique ice cream shops, tours and more. $16. beatourist.ca

29 SATURDAY Persian Night Fundraiser


5pm at Bee’s Knees Community Café 208 Wallace Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5B2 An evening of Persian music, dance and traditional food while helping to reunite an Afghan refugee family in Nanaimo. $55. WESociety.org


Disco Light Skate 7:30pm at Oceanside Place Arena Catch dance fever under the disco lights. The flashing lights and pumping music will take you back in time on Regular admission. rdn.bc.ca/recreation

40  Island Parent Magazine





The great choral tradition of Anglican cathedrals is renowned, and a wonderful opportunity exists today for your child to become part of this ancient tradition of musical excellence.


Tuesdays 6:30pm at Central Baptist Church 833 Pandora Ave. DivorceCare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. Free. Cost for workbook. centralbaptistchurch.ca

Vic West Toy Library


9:30am at HighPoint Community Church 949 Fullerton Ave Every other Saturday. Borrow toys, games and play materials on a regular basis. Current stock for ages 6 mos-12 years. 250-383-6290 | dawn@pointful.ca


The Chorister Program is now accepting applications for entrance in September 2020, particularly from children entering grade 4. We will also consider applications from grades 5-7 on a case-by-case basis. Weekday commitments only.

Quadra at Rockland christchurchcathedral.bc.ca

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Circles A safe, supportive place to meet others in a similar situation and to share information and resources. 250-384-8042 | parentsupportbc.ca

Parent Support Circles Parenting isn’t always easy. Sometimes it helps to talk things through with other parents. At the Parent Support Services Society of BC, they believe that every parent is the expert of her/ his own family. 250-384-8042 | parentsupportbc.ca

Family Frolics


Tuesdays 5:45pm at Frank Jameson Community Centre 810 6th Ave, Ladysmith Drop in after work to burn off some energy and get ready for bed. Play with balls and tunnels, run around and meet a new friend. 0-6 years. 250-210-0870





February 2020  41

The Benefits of Forest & Nature Schools


o kids today get outside as much as you did as a child? Research says, “no.” Free play has also taken a backseat to organized activities, a focus on academic outcomes, increased screen-time, and a risk-adverse culture. Yet, Maria Brussoni, a professor at the University of British Columbia and BC Children’s Hospital, points to the power of play in nature. Specifically, the importance of outdoor risky play for children’s healthy development.

an outdoor classroom. Some programs have their own land while others are adding time on farms, too. Programs run one to three days a week for ages three (preschool) to Grade 12 (B.C. Curriculum can be delivered outdoors). The FNS formula relies on regular and repeated access to the same nature area throughout the seasons. Core values include play- and inquiry-based learning, experiential learning, risky play, and often child-centred or child-led activities. FNS aims to help children understand

• A place to embrace risky play. • Decreases the occurrence and frequency of time off for ill health. “Our forest friends are sick less due to breathing fresh air and moving their bodies through the transition of seasons,” says Jarrett Krentzel, founder and director of Hand-In-Hand Nature Education Inc. “They sleep and eat better because they are exceeding their body’s physical literacy needs.” Maria Brussoni says being in nature encourages kids to know how the world and their bodies work, to develop selfconfidence, and to build resilience, executive functioning and risk management skills.

What can parents expect at Forest Schools?

Dr. Deborah MacNamara, a clinical counsellor and developmentalist, on faculty at the Neufeld Institute and bestselling author, values true play because it’s where a child’s self can safely emerge, where problem solving networks are programmed, and where emotion can be expressed without repercussions. These same goals are at the heart of Forest and Nature Schools.

What is Forest and Nature School?

It’s been around since the fifties, rooted in Denmark and Sweden. Newer to Canada, Forest and Nature School (FNS) is the term offered by Forest School Canada, an education initiative of the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada. It can be full- or part-time learning and exploration in local parks, green spaces (forests and beaches), urban or rural, or 42  Island Parent Magazine

that we are not separate from the Earth or each other. “A forest and nature school program uses nature as the teacher and the classroom” says Bonnie Davison, founder of the Victoria Nature School Society and Forest School Practitioner.

Some of the benefits of time in nature include:

• Increases positive environment attitudes later on in adult life. • Provides kids with opportunities for self-reflection (for example, through ‘sit spots’) and connection • Increases spiritual well-being through a sense of connectedness, a sense of purpose, a sense of awe, wonder and inspiration. • Encourages gratitude rituals which can enhance our resilience and ability to face challenges.

An increase in laundry! Rituals and rythyms are valued as well as tide pool exploration, mud pie making and playing with loose parts. A child’s enjoyment, safety, and comfort can depend on good gear like waterproof, windproof and breathable layers. Waterproof mitts and insulated boots are key. Gear tips: • Red provides the greatest contrast for kids in nature. • Two-piece rain gear is preferable to one-piece for toileting. • A comfortable backpack needs a chest strap and waterproof cover. Ratios for three to five-year-olds may be 1:6 (Island Health regulations for preschools are 1:8). Victoria Nature School has three educators with a maximum of 16 students while EPIC Learning Centre (K-2) has two educators for 12 to15 students. Ask for a programs’ risk management plan, which includes policies and procedures to mitigate risks and hazards—from dog bite prevention to a lost child. Note: Early Years Nature Programs that only operate outside cannot become licensed. Island Health only licensees indoor facilities and not the program itself. Unlicensed programs do not qualify for subsidy and support workers.



What can kids expect?

Rain, shine or snow, kids play outdoors. Preschool age may be outside three or more hours a day while schoolaged (five and up), can expect a minimum of four hours. Wind warnings may bring nature schoolers inside, due to risks of falling trees and limbs. Most programs have access to public washrooms. Others may carry a portable forest toilet and hand washing station. Leave no trace is practiced.

birthday parties for all ages!

ctoria Gymnastics

What makes a FNS educator?

Along with a love the outdoors and rain pants (!), and FNS educator may be trained in: • Forest School Practitioners Training (childnature.ca/forest-school-canada) • Child and Nature Alliance Practitioner’s Course • Coyote Mentoring or 8-shield based mentoring (thrivingroots.org and/or Wilderness Awareness School, Washington State wildernessawareness.org/adult/) • Workshops by Victoria Nature School (victorianatureschool.com), Fresh Air Learning, North Vancouver (freshairlearnig.org) or Soaring Eagle Nature School, North Vancouver (soaringeaglenatureschool.org/) • Wilderness First Aid

How to find a FNS

In B.C. • Visit childnature.ca/about-forest-andnature-school/ • Search Google or Facebook. • Check local community centres. • Check programming at nature sanctuaries. • Start your own (like I did!). We all need to be affected by our world. Help children in your life develop the grounding they’ll need by finding rest and play in our natural world. Being in nature takes you out of yourself and can help stop our profound disconnection with the earth, oneself and one another. Learn more about FNS in Canada at childnature.ca/wp-content/uploads/ 2017/10/FSC-Guide-1.pdf. Lindsay Coulter is a mom of two boys and helped create Victoria’s newest nature school, EPIC (epiclearning.org). She’s a writer, community organizer, courageous conversation starter and naturalist. You may also know her as the Queen of Green (queenofgreen.ca). IslandParent.ca

2 Great Locations!

bounce , create, Swim, and more!

Henderson Recreation Centre Call 250-370-7200 Oak Bay Recreation Centre Call 250-595-SWIM (7946) recreation.oakbay.ca G Y M


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February 2020  43

FAMILYSERVICESDIRECTORY The Family Services Directory features not for profit agencies and organizations serving children, youth and families 1Up, Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre (1-up.ca) provides support, education and resources for parents in the Greater Victoria area through free counselling, volunteer training, a mentoring program for single moms, and a support group for dads, as well as a variety of integrated life skills and parenting courses which are open to the whole community, with fees on a sliding scale. For single parent members, the Centre provides free toys and books, a clothing room and bread pantry. Donations of gently-used clothing, small household items, and toys are welcome. Hours: Mon., Tue., Thu., Fri.: 9–4, & Wednesdays: 12–7. Location: 602 Gorge Road East. Phone: 250-385-1114.

Home Support, please call 250-658-6407. For other programs: 250-656-0134. beaconcs.ca.

Beacon Community Services is a community-based, non-profit agency dedicated to helping people and improving lives on southern Vancouver Island and the southern Gulf Islands. Beacon thrift shops fund important LOCAL community services and programs. Beacon also offers: child, youth and family services (including the Peninsula Early Years Centre and child care); counselling; employment services and training for people of all ages; home support care; volunteer services and opportunities; affordable housing/care/ supports for seniors and people with disabilities. For

Boys & Girls Club Services offer after-school and evening social, educational and recreational programming for children and youth at 5 locations (Colwood, Langford, VicWest, Central Saanich and Esquimalt) and summer camps both in Esquimalt and at our Outdoor Centre in Metchosin. We also offer support to parents through our Parents Together program and parent workshops. For more information on all programs and services visit bgcvic.org or call 250-384-9133.

Beacon Community Services Employment Programs. Beacon Community Services offers a full menu of employment services on the Saanich Peninsula and Gulf Islands. We’ve been helping people find work since 1982! Our programs build on a person’s strengths and resolve barriers to finding and keeping employment. We also work with our employer network to support job seekers. Need help finding a job? Need employees? Contact us for FREE assistance! 9860 Third St. Sidney. 250-656-0134. beaconcs.ca.


Fundraiser & Silent Auction by Family Services of Greater Victoria DINNER • SILENT AUCTION • ENTERTAINMENT Thursday, February 13, 2020, 5:30–9:00 pm, Da Vinci Centre, 195 Bay St Tickets $65 (eligible for a $25 tax receipt): 250-386-4331 or fsgv.org


Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jennifer Charlesworth, Representative for Children and Youth (RCY) Strengthening the Circle: Honouring and Supporting Families This presentation will focus on families and look at ways in which we, as a community of support, circle them and hold them up to provide the care their children need during difficult times. In honour of BC Family Day, we will explore the benefits of stronger and healthier communities as part of this wraparound approach and touch on some of the things RCY is doing better to maintain family connections. Vision: Family Services of Greater Victoria (FSGV) is the province’s premier agency for all family members facing change and challenges in their relationships. FSGV’s professional staff combine current knowledge with training to provide a wide range of caring, timely, and effective services. Mission Statement: Family Services of Greater Victoria helps children, youth, and adults manage the challenges of separation, divorce, or transition to a new family structure. Our highly qualified staff, working with other community agencies, provide information and practical or emotional support so people facing these challenges can make the decisions that are best for everyone. FSGV believes all individuals can find ways to move forward in their lives when family relationships have changed or are changing. ​

44  Island Parent Magazine

Canucks Autism Network (CAN) provides year-round sports and recreation programs for children, youth, young adults, and families living with autism, while increasing awareness and providing training in communities across BC. Stay up-to-date on programs, registration dates and events in Nanaimo, Cowichan Valley, and Victoria by signing up for CAN’s Vancouver Island newsletter: canucksautism.ca/ newsletter. CAN also provides training and accessibility resources for many sectors, including sport, recreation, first responders, schools, and community spaces. Learn about customized training solutions: canucksautism.ca/training. Dialogue and Resolution Services (DRS) helps people improve relationships through facilitating empathic communication in a safe, impartial and collaborative manner. We work with individuals, families, parents, co-workers, neighbours, community organizations, governments and those leaving incarceration. We continue to strive for equity and increased cultural competency, through life-long learning. DRS assists diverse clients to create lasting, effective solutions that support healthy connection and build community. For affordable, ethical, professional service, find us at 250-383-4412 or dialogueandresolutionservices.ca. Family Services of Greater Victoria helps children, youth, and adults manage the challenges of separation, FAMILY SERVICES OF GREATER VICTORIA divorce, or transition to a new family structure. Our highly qualified staff, working with other community agencies, provide information and practical or emotional support so people facing these challenges can make the decisions that are best for everyone. FSGV believes all individuals can find ways to move forward in their lives when family relationships have changed or are changing. Call us at 250-386-4331 or visit fsgv.org. We can help. Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA) is a registered charity and nonprofit helping individuals and organizations to connect across cultures. Programs offered include immigrant and refugee services, parenting programs, employment services, interpretation and translation, diversity workshops and training, English language training, volunteer placements, youth programs and tutoring,


seniors groups, and inter-cultural arts programming. Located at 930 Balmoral Road, 250-388-4728, icavictoria.org. KidCareCanada supports new parents and professionals with trustworthy information, videos and resources that explain the importance of early nurturing and show how to support social and emotional development in infants and toddlers. Babies don’t come with a manual. That’s why KidCareCanada has produced a collection of carefully-crafted resources that takes the science of Early Childhood Development and brings it to new parents in a visual format that is easy-to-understand and quick to watch. Access all resource for free at kidcarecanada.org. LDABC The Learning Curve (previously The Learning Disabilities Assn.) supports, educates and advocates for children with learning and behavior challenges. Individual and group support, education and consultation is available for children, youth, parents, caregivers and professionals. Please visit our website ldasvi. bc.ca or call us for more information 250-370-9513.


Become more confident in playing actively with your child to build their physical literacy. Take home a goody bag with approximately $30 worth of active play equipment. PLAYshops will be held in West Shore, Sooke, Quadra Village (Victoria), Campbell River and Sayward. To learn more about the study contact Kayla Morton at kamorton@uvic.ca or 250-853-3633 or go online to parentplayshop.weebly.com

Academic Excellence Innovative Thinking Global Citizenship

Lindsay Trowell R.T.C. Counsellor and Parenting Specialist—creating calm within chaos. 18+ years experience as a behaviour support professional for caregivers and parents of children and adults with special needs. I understand the struggle that families face just to get out the door in the morning. I am trained in working with individuals with FASD, attachment difficulties, anxiety, trauma, autism, and much more. Individual and family counselling. Relaxed, nonjudgmental support tailored for your individual needs. I help strengthen families and empower individuals. lindsaytrowell.com. #102-3212 Jacklin Rd (located in Stillpoint Acupuncture Clinic). 250-217-4536. Sooke Family Resource Society (SFRS) provides Family Resource Programs including: Prenatal Education and Outreach, Parent-Tot Drop-In Groups, Parent Discussion Groups, Family Support Groups and Outreach, a Toy and Book Lending Library and Kingfisher Preschool. Sooke-Westshore Child Care Resource and Referral services, as well as all-ages counselling services are also provided by SFRS. Services are provided from the Child, Youth and Family Centres in Sooke and Westshore. Call 250-642-5152 for more information or visit our website at sfrs.ca. Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS) supports immigrants and refugees living in Greater Victoria. Services are free and include oneon-one counselling, parent education workshops, youth life skills classes, a preschool program, art therapy, language classes and academic support, employment help, computer classes and fun community events like free yoga, tai chi, dance and cooking classes. Visit us online at vircs.bc.ca or phone 250-361-9433.


Open House February 28

ASPENGROVE SCHOOL Nanaimo’s Junior Kindergarten–Grade 12 International Baccalaureate School

Call today  250.390.2201 aspengroveschool.ca February 2020  45


To Vape or Not to Vape How to reduce harm for youth Healthy Families, Happy Families

Child, Youth & Family Public Health South Island Health Units Esquimalt Gulf Islands

250-519-5311 250-539-3099

(toll-free number for office in Saanichton)

Peninsula 250-544-2400 Saanich 250-519-5100 Saltspring Island 250-538-4880 Sooke 250-519-3487 Victoria 250-388-2200 West Shore 250-519-3490

Central Island Health Units Duncan Ladysmith Lake Cowichan Nanaimo Nanaimo Princess Royal Parksville/ Qualicum

250-709-3050 250-755-3342 250-749-6878 250-755-3342 250-739-5845

Port Alberni Tofino

250-731-1315 250-725-4020


North Island Health Units Campbell River 250-850-2110 Courtenay 250-331-8520 Kyuquot Health Ctr 250-332-5289 ‘Namgis Health Ctr 250-974-5522 Port Hardy 250-902-6071

islandhealth.ca/our-locations/ health-unit-locations 46  Island Parent Magazine


he 2018 BC Adolescent Health Survey found that one quarter of youth in grades 7-12 had used a vaping product during the month they were surveyed—the number of Canadian youth using vape products doubled between 2017 to 2018. These are significant findings; coupled with the recently publicized growing vaping-related lung damage and deaths in North America, it seems that the issue of youth vaping needs to be addressed in multiple ways and across different levels of society. The most important support for youth may come from the caring adults in their lives through education and the creation of safe spaces to talk with young people about vaping. For youth, having trusted relationships with adults helps decrease stress, encourages healthy relationships and fulfills the need to be understood. Knowing some of the health concerns related to smoking e-cigarettes and how you can support youth to make healthier choices is important. It’s not enough to point out the obvious; that it is illegal for youth under the age of 19 to use vape products in B.C. so therefore they shouldn’t do it, or encourage you to tell youth to “just say no.” History has shown such strategies don’t work and may be no match for the aggressive marketing of vaping products. Vaping may lead to tobacco cigarette smoking and other substance use and can affect the greater community. Health care providers and researchers are already noting the damaging effects of first and second hand vaping smoke. We now have scientific proof that vape products alter youth brain development by increasing exposure to harmful chemicals and that the damage can be irreversible. Along with destroying brain cells and potentially addicting vulnerable youth, we also see other parallels with tobacco use. Recent research out of Quebec demonstrates that vape products act somewhat similarly on the body to tobacco ingestion. Teeth are destroyed and gums recede permanently; wounds heal more

slowly leading to infections and damage to other body organs. Just because we don’t have the complete picture or the final conclusive evidence that vaping is extremely harmful for youth doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use common sense. Inhaling metals like zinc, nickel and aluminum into your lungs (which occurs through the heating process in e-cigarettes), isn’t good for anyone. These metals are often found in vaping products as is nicotine, which is highly addictive, very difficult to quit and in unregulated products, may be poisonous. Recent figures find that 50 per cent of vape products used are from the “black market” and therefore unregulated. There really is no way to know what is going into the unregulated products unless they are tested; and these products could potentially do irreversible damage and have extremely addictive effects. The process of vaping has been shown to produce compounds such as formaldehyde, a highly toxic chemical not recommended for human consumption and commonly used for preserving deceased bodies. Unfortunately, vaping products became available and sales increased rapidly before sufficient regulation or legislation was developed. The lack of sufficient regulations and the large amount of unregulated products being consumed are some of the reasons there is so much concern. Long-term research on the future health impacts of vaping has yet to be completed but current findings suggest that the impacts of vaping seem to parallel that of tobacco. The health risks of vaping are significant and this is why we have new government legislation and regulation, increased health prevention initiatives aimed specifically at youth and lawsuits (in the United States) being put forward to slow the pace of youth consumption of vaping products. This is not enough to curb the rate of vaping addiction and we must try to find positive motivators for youth to not start or to quit vaping rather than just presenting warnings. IslandParent.ca

Legislation stopped the advertising of tobacco products at sports events and on television; however, youth are now exposed to the glorification of e-cigarette products in places like social media. Here, the language is often aimed at the young and the message is clearly set to appeal to youth: if youth vape they are happier, hipper, more successful… etc. We know that highlighting what others are doing can promote change and this is one of the reasons the marketing is effective for even non-vaping youth. There is not sufficient scientific evidence that vaping helps with tobacco smoking cessation to suggest youth vape rather than smoke tobacco; it may have the opposite effect in introducing youth to a culture of addiction and cause long term, irreversible health problems. What can adults do to reduce the number of youth vaping? They can open the conversation by asking youth what they know about vaping, be informed themselves, and present the information they are aware of when creating opportunities to talk. Recognize that involving youth in social activities with peers such as board game meet-ups or team sports is key to keeping them socially engaged and maintain belonging and community connectedness. Bring positivity into their lives and validate the progress and good choices that are being made by youth. Asking open-ended questions about topics that may make adults uncomfortable can reduce the potential harm and help youth to learn from their mistakes. The key to this is modeling good behaviour ourselves, providing positive incentives or rewards and beginning these conversations at the elementary-school level before youth start vaping.

For more information, visit: • islandhealth.ca/learn-about-health/ smoking-tobacco/electronic-cigarettesvaping • mcs.bc.ca/pdf/yrs_clearing_the_air.pdf • healthlinkbc.ca/health-feature/vaping

Morgan Fankboner, RN, BSN, MN and Charlotte Brown, RN, BSN are both experienced parents and Public Health Nurses on the South Island Comprehensive School C HIL D YOU T H & FA M ILY Health Team. P U BL IC HE A LT H IslandParent.ca

STAGES Performing Arts School since 1980

s e s s a l C e c n a D l o o nd up h

Pre -S cfor ages 12 months a

s, To t C la s s e & t n e r a P , H ip H o p, t e ll a B , z Ja z la s s e s & C o m b,oBaClle t, Ta p & z (w ith J a z h e a t re ) Mu s ic a l T

For more information

Even the littlest angel can dance

Call 250-384-3267 Email us at stagesdance@shaw.ca Or visit our website: www.stagesdance.com

SPRING BREAK ACTING & FILM CAMPS Fo r C r e a t i v e K i d s Tw e e n s a n d Te e n s !

Young film makers will get the opportunity to be guided by professional mentors. No experience necessary • Produced by Jacqui Kaese

Kids & Tweens Acting 4 Film Camp March 16-20 • M/T/W 10-1 pm T/F 10-3 pm (Ages 8-11 yrs) | Cost per camp $225 plus tax

Teen Full Throttle Film Camp

March 23-27 • M-F 10-3 pm (Ages 12-16 yrs) | Cost per camp $250 plus tax

Teen Full Throttle Film Camp

March 16-20 • M-F 10-3 pm (Ages 12-16 yrs) | Cost per camp $250 plus tax

Kids & Tweens Acting 4 Film Camp March 23-27 • M/T/W 10-1 pm T/F 10-3 pm (Ages 8-11 yrs) | Cost per camp $225 plus tax

February 2020  47


Music, Art and Nature. Stop by and experience what it is like to be part of a community devoted to the development of the whole child. Open House: Thursdays 9-11 am. west-mont.ca.

NORTH SAANICH • one of the few parent participation preschools on the Peninsula • learning through play philosophy • a large, beautiful indoor and outdoor space • offering flexible 4 hour programs 1–4 days a week • a great community to join • visit us at www.countrysidepreschool.org


In The Garden Childcare Centre.........250-654-0306 A GREAT PLACE TO GROW. Offering preschool, full day care, before and after school care for children aged 2.5 to 12 years old. Open all year. Now offering Infant and Toddler Care.


Cordova Bay Preschool......................250-658-3441 A bright and cheerful parent participation preschool with a philosophy of learning through play. 4 yr olds - M/W/F 9:151:15; 3 yr olds - T/Th 9:15-12:15. cordovabaypreschool.org.

ESQUIMALT Ciara Early Childhood Centre............. 250-386-7369 Education and Fun Hand in Hand! Exceptional care for ages 1-5yrs. Inclusive nature inspired kindergarten readiness program with Christian values. Facebook.com/ CiaraEarlyChildhoodCentre.

METCHOSIN Metchosin Cooperative Preschool............................ Play Explore Learn and Grow in beautiful rural Metchosin. Morning programs available for 3 and 4 year olds. Contact our ECEs at metchosinpreschool@gmail.com. West-Mont Montessori School........... 250-474-2626 Exceptional preschool Montessori instruction in a beautiful natural environment. Ages 30 months and up. Providing a balanced approach to incorporating French,

Island Montessori House................250-592-4411 Inclusive, integrated and nurturing Preschool and Before/After School Care programs. Lovely rural setting with a focus on nature and outdoor environmental activities. islandmontessori.com.

Oak Bay Preschool.............................250-592-1922 Oak Bay Preschool is a co-op preschool, using a play-based curriculum with qualified ECE and ECEA. We use a balance of indoor and outdoor classrooms to enrich your child’s preschool experience. Learn more at oakbaypreschool.com.

Lambrick Park Preschool & Childcare...250-477-8131 Gordon Head’s parent-participation preschool and childcare center. Flexible hours M-F 9am-3pm & drop-ins offered. Play based learning and outdoor play. Allergy friendly. Celebrating 40 years. lambrickparkpreschool.ca.

Recreation Oak Bay........................... 250-370-7200 Fully licensed, ECE Daycare, Preschool and Nature Preschool. Play based, child led learning. Afterschool care available.

Oakcrest Preschool........................... 250-472-0668 A welcoming, nurturing environment with a large, bright facility. Learn through play with 2 caring ECEs. oakcrestpreschool.org.


Island Kids Academy Esquimalt..........250-381-2929 High quality child care (ages 1-5). Enriched Curriculum. Includes Music Classes and Character Development using the Virtues Project. Wait list being taken. Islandkids.ca. La Pré-Maternelle Appletree Preschool.............................250-479-0292 A French Immersion Preschool Program. 30 months to school age. Licensed Christian centre. prematernelleappletree.com.

• Licensed 3 hr and 4 hr programs, flexible part-time classes • Qualified ECEs offer play-based programs that stimulate curiosity and imagination and support optimum growth and development. Supported spaces available. • Indoor and outdoor programming, community visitors and special activities provide opportunities for learning through play and exploration. Fullobeans.ca  250-360-1148  saanichneighbourhoodplace.com

Pre-School Junior Kindergarten PacificChristian.ca 250-479-4532

• Half day and Full day Preschool Programs • Children’s learning is nurtured and supported through exploration, discovery, play and creative expression 3905 Haro Road, Victoria BC

250-477-3731  arbutusgrove.ca Camosun College Child Care Services.. 250-370-4880 Quality licensed facilities on both campuses providing children, newborn to 5 years, with rich early learning experiences in a learn through play environment. camosun.ca/childcare. Carrot Seed Preschool........................250-658-2331 Where children can discover, imagine, construct and learn through play. Wondrous natural playground. carrotseedpreschool.com.

Educational Excellence to the Glory of God Ready Set Grow Preschool..................250-472-1530 Inside Hillcrest Elm. in Gordon Head, we help children transition to Kindergarten. Licensed Preschool with highly qualified, warm ECE. heoscmanager@gmail.com. St. Joseph’s Early Learning Centre........ 250-479-1237 A Christian childcare centre offering daycare and preschool programs for 3-5 year olds. Children learn through play-based and emergent curriculum in a warm and nurturing environment. St. Margaret’s School Jr. Kindergarten... 250-479-7171 Apply now for our Early Learning (JK and Kindergarten) Programs. Early learning at SMS is a curriculum-based program for 3 and 4 year olds. admissions@stmarg.ca.

Looking for child care? Need help with the Affordable Child Care Benefit? Taking care of children? Need child care training?

Child Care

Resource & Referral Funded by the Province of BC

Your community’s best source of child care information and resources.

48  Island Parent Magazine

Call your local Child Care Resource & Referral for free referrals and resources. Victoria & Gulf Islands: 250-382-7000 or 1-800-750-1868 Sooke: 250-642-5152  West Shore: 250-940-4882 Cowichan Valley: 250-746-4135 local 231 PacificCare (Ladysmith north): 250-756-2022 or 1-888-480-2273

vancouverislandccrr.ca   ccrr.bc.ca


Wiseways Child Care Centre........... 250-477-1312 Established, quality, licensed, Christian centre for 3-5 year olds. Experienced ECEs, cheerful spacious facilities, large playground. Subsidized fees welcome. Call for a tour. Wisewaysvictoria.com.

The Sir James Douglas Playschool.....250-389-0500 Fun, creative and educational ECE program for 3-5 year olds to grow and develop life long skills. Come play and learn in our bright and modern centre in Fairfield. sjdoutofschoolclub.com. Victoria Montessori...........................250-380-0534 Unique, innovative learning environment combining the best of Montessori and Learning Through Play. Open yr. round. 30mths–K. victoriamontessori.com.

VICTORIA v Comprehensive programs for Preschool through Grade 9 v Delivering academic excellence through music, dance, drama and visual arts v Outstanding educators, locations and facilities

Island Kids Academy View Royal....... 250-727-2929 High quality child care (ages 1-5). Enriched Curriculum. Includes Music Classes and Character Development using the Virtues Project. Wait list being taken. Islandkids.ca.

Castleview Child Care........................250-595-5355 Learning Through Play & Discovery. Licensed non-profit, ECE staff. Since 1958. Morning or full-time care. castleviewchildcarecentre.com. Centennial Day Care.......................... 250-386-6832 Exceptional childcare and education 35+ years. Nature inspired, play based program. NEW central, “green” building. centennialdaycare.ca. Christ Church Cathedral Childcare......250-383-5132 ECE and specialist teachers provide an outstanding all day licensed program for 2.5–5 year olds at our Fairfield and NEW Gordon Head (Fall 2019) locations. cathedralschool.ca. Nightingale Preschool and Junior Kindergarten Ltd.................250-595-7544 We offer education through creativity and play, providing rich learning experiences through a well sourced and stimulating indoor and outdoor environment. Early years reading programme. nightingalepreschool.com. Arts/Drama programme. kidsworks.ca.

The River Preschool

JLC Victoria Japanese Preschool The only Japanese Immersion Preschool on the Island opens at Craigflower Schoolhouse. Offering the best environment for preschoolers to learn Japanese language and culture as natural as possible. jlcvictoria.com.

Please visit our website at

theriverpreschool.stbarnabaschurch.ca or email us at riverpreschoolvic@gmail.com.

You are welcome to visit us at The River Drop-in Playgroup on Wednesdays 10–11:30am at St. Barnabas Church Hall.

St. Joseph’s Preschool........................ 250-246-3191 An enriching preschool program allowing children to grow as individuals in a safe and nurturing Christian environment.




Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 Learn more today! 250-390-2201 AspengroveSchool.ca

N A N A I M O ’ S J K -12 I N T E R N AT I O N A L B ACC A L AU R E AT E W O R L D S C H O O L

The first steps in your child’s education

QUALICUM BEACH Call for more information today: 250.746.3654

International Montessori Academy of Canada............................................ 250-737-1119 Elementary K–12. Offers an enriching environment for preschool children 2-4.9 years with potty training. Nurturing young minds, keeping the spirit free. intmontessori.ca. Parkside Academy................................ 250-746-1711 Providing high quality early learning and care from infancy to 12 years of age, in a stimulating, respectful, nurturing, nature based environment with fully educated and passionate early childhood educators. Visit parksideacademy.ca or find us on Facebook.

at St. Barnabas Church is accepting registrations for September 2019. We are a Waldorf inspired and faith based new preschool in Victoria.

Sunrise Waldorf School Preschool........ 250-743-7253 In a warm environment, this nature and play-based program enlivens and nurtures the growing child. sunrisewaldorfschool.org.



www.ArtsCalibre.ca 250.382.3533

Queen of Angels Early Learning Centre.250-701-0433 Our Centre is a lively, happy place for 3-5 year olds where children are encouraged to be confident, independent learners in a nurturing and safe environment.

Queen Margaret’s School.....................250-746-4185 Early Childhood Education Program. Co-ed nurturing curriculum to develop the whole child. Healthy snacks and lunch provided. qms.bc.ca.

Children’s Discovery Centre............... 250-752-4343 A nurturing, safe and creative learning environment. Licensed preschool, group care and out of school care. Early Childhood Educators. childrensdiscovery centre.ca. childrensdiscoverycentre@hotmail.com. Little Star Children’s Centre............... 250-752-4554 Little Gems Infant and Toddler Care... 250-228-5437 Mother, Daughter owned and operated. Earth friendly preschool education inspired by nature. Infused with fun and creative daily yoga practices! Licensed group care. Enthusiastic ECE instructors. littlestardaycare.ca

PORT ALBERNI John Paul II Catholic School............... 250-723-0637 “Where children grow and learn through play.” We provide a program that will inspire development physically, socially, emotionally, cognitively, creatively and spiritually.

Nestled on 4 acres of lush west Coast forest, our Award winning, Nature based program will not disappoint! While firmly embracing the Reggio-Emila (Italy) Philosophy our dedicated team of educators use the environment as the third teacher as we encourage your child throughout their day. Our purpose built facilities have been handmade using the trees from our forest. We have recently expanded to our new Spirit Bear Lodge located right next door! Programs for Infants/Toddlers and Pre-Kindergarten children. Photo: Cheryl Cameron, Atelierista


Award of Excellence in Child Care

lexieslittlebears.ca 250-590-3603

February 2020  49


Books for Black History Month


his February, like many Februaries before it, we take the time to celebrate Black History Month. It’s a time when we can acknowledge the pain and suffering caused by slavery, racism, and discrimination. But, more than that, it’s a time to celebrate the accomplishments of this vast and varied group of people. The books this month highlight those accomplishments. Some are large, like helping land a spaceship on the moon, others are smaller, like bringing diversity to the pages of picture books, but all are important and worthy of recognition. One book that uncovers many of these hidden heroes and helpers is Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Eric Velasquez (Candlewick Press, 2017). This biography is about a historical detective: Auturo Schomburg. As a child he was told that his people had no history worth mentioning because they had done nothing of note. He didn’t believe his teacher and dedicated his life to uncovering the truth. Throughout his life, Schomburg hunted down facts about John James Audubon, Alexandre Dumas, Frederick Douglass, and so many more. These facts were found in the pages of over 5,000 books, several thousand pamphlets, prints, and papers. When there was no more room in his house for these books, they became the foundational texts for the 135th Street branch of the New York Public Library’s Division of Negro History, Literature and Prints. His incredible biography is showcased next to captivating illustrations that bring Schomburg and the individuals he found to life. For ages 9 to 12.

Other individuals that don’t appear in the biography about Schomburg are Miss Lou, Katherine Johnson, James Weldon Johnson and his brother John Rosamond Johnson. Here are some stories that cover their triumphs. A Likkle Miss Lou by Nadia L. Hohn and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes (Owlkids books, 2019) focuses on Louise Bennett Coverley or Miss Lou. Miss Lou is a Jamaican poet who wrote her poems in Jamaican patois. When she was in school and began writing poetry, patois was frowned upon. But with a bit of encouragement from her mother, her new teacher, and her burgeoning fans, she persisted. And, because of her perseverance and spirit she brought patios to the world and freed a language that others were trying to suppress. The vibrant colours and pictures highlight the fear, the excitement, and the love of words that Louise felt as she was growing up. For ages 4 to 8.

equations were being used. Eventually, all of the questions she asked ended up with her being asked one: would she help America send its first astronaut into space? The beautiful illustrations will help you and your children see the beauty behind numbers and parabolas and the mystery of space. For ages 4 to 8.

Sing a Song by Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by Keith Mallett (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2019) isn’t a biography about the Johnson brothers. Rather, using stories from the author’s own life and those of her family members, it highlights A Computer Called Katherine by how the song they created inspired genSuzanne Slade and illustrated by Veronica erations. Miller Jamison (Little, Brown and ComOne hundred and twenty years ago, pany, 2019) is about the African AmeriJames Weldon Johnson and his brother can woman named Katherine Johnson John Rosamond Johnson wrote a song who helped Neil Armstrong land on the called “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” moon. Growing up Katherine believed James, who was the principal of the allthat skin colour and gender shouldn’t Black Stanton School, wrote the lyrics, determine what someone was able to while his brother put it to music. Then, do. She knew women could be anything. on February 12, 1900, as a tribute to Yes, they could be teachers and nurses, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, 500 of the but they could also be scientists and students from James’ school sang the mathematicians. And so to prove it, she song. From there the song took on a life got a job as a computer, which meant she of its own and inspired generations. As solved long math equations. Lyons explains this song “is a symbol But, as many mathematicians are, of faith, brilliance, resistance, and resilKatherine was curious about how her ience.” For ages 5 to 8.

While there is a lot of beauty and courage in these individuals and their wider communities, there is also a lot of pain. Some of this pain is caused by the residual effects of slavery that continue to trickle down through the generations. And so this month, it is also important to acknowledge the hurt and dehumanization that has occurred. However, slavery is not an easy subject to broach with four-year-olds. They seem too young, too innocent, to burden with the hate and callousness adults can cause. The Bell Rang by James E. Ransome (Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 2019) is one book that can gently shed light into this atrocity. It teaches children about slavery through the eyes of a young slave girl. Without going into too much detail it explains that her parents and older brother had to work, it shows the fear and anxiety caused when slaves (her older brother and his friends) flee, and it gently highlights the pain that was inflicted if the runaways were caught. This book is a good stepping off point for some harder conversations, but it leaves it up to you to decide how much your children need to know about why Ben chose to flee, or why the girl’s family was afraid of their master. For ages 4 to 8. This month, channel your inner Schomburg. And, maybe, as you become historical detectives, you and your children will find other stories about amazing Black Canadians like the Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander (the 24th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario), Carrie Best (who was arrested for sitting in the whites-only section of a theater and founder of The Clarion), Senator Anne Clare Cools (the first Black person in the Senate of Canada), and Josiah Henson (who after buying and being denied his freedom fled to Canada where he taught other former slaves to be farmers). Then use these books to continue to uncover the hidden people in our history who helped shape our world, our music, and our lives.

Christina Van Starkenburg lives in Victoria with her husband, their two little boys and their cat Phillip. Her first children’s book One Tiny Turtle: A Story You Can Colour was published recently and quickly rose to its spot as a #1 new release on Amazon. IslandParent.ca

Learn a new sport or refine your skills: come join our rock climbing teams! Registration for recreational and competitive teams open now. All levels welcome! Ages 6–18.

Details and registration at climbtheboulders.com

The Boulders Climbing Gym 1627 Stelly’s Cross Road | Saanichton, BC | 250.544.0310


Great Kids WANTED! We invite you to explore our new Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten classrooms during our OPEN HOUSE on February 22 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Learn all about GNS, our unique delivery of the IB PYP curriculum and our nature school program, and experience Canada’s only oceanfront Junior School Campus. To register, please email admissions@mygns.ca.


ADVERTISERSDIRECTORY Arbutus Grove................................IFC Arc Academy...................................29 ArtsCalibre Academy....................... 19 Aspengrove School.........................45 Bluetree Photography.....................39 The Boulders Climbing Gym............ 51 Brandi Mollica Photography............27 Brentwood College School.............33 Camp Pringle...................................25 Cathedral School............................. 41 Cinecenta........................................ 18 Cowichan Montessori Academy......38 Cowichan Performing Arts Centre.......................................... 41 Discovery School...............................5 Freya-Sophia Waldorf Store............ 13 Glenlyon Norfolk School.......... 52, IBC Highland Pacific............................... 51 IMAX................................................ 12 Island Catholic Schools.................. BC Island Circus Space.........................32 Island Montessori............................ 13 Kool & Child.....................................39 Lifestyle Markets.............................54 Mini Pop Kids................................... 19 Momease........................................IFC

Mothering Touch............................... 7 NIL TU,O.......................................... 13 Oak and Orca.................12, 16, 35, 54 Pacific Christian............................. IBC Pacific Opera................................... 31 Parent PLAYshop.............................45 Peppa Pig Live................................IFC Queen Margaret’s School.................8 Qwanoes.........................................27 Royal BC Museum..................... 15, 40 Saanich Recreation...........................3 Serious Coffee.................................53 Spotlight Academy..........................47 St. Margaret’s School....................... 11 St. Michaels University School....... 16, Stages......................................... 17, 47 Sunrise Waldorf..............................IFC Swan Lake....................................... 21 Sylvan Learning...............................22 TJ’s The Kiddie Store......................... 7 Victoria Bug Zoo.............................. 41 Victoria Gymnastics.........................39 Victoria Montessori.........................38 VIHA.......................................... 28, 46 Westshore Parks & Recreation............................ 35, 36

52  Island Parent Magazine


Shuffling Forward


e do a lot for Angus. More than the average amount that parents do for their eight-year-olds. Angus’s laundry list of diagnoses means that a lot of things are more difficult for him than for other kids his age. He has trouble with executive function, so every task needs to be broken into bite-sized pieces. He requires reminders and oversight. His DCD (developmental coordination disorder) makes anything that necessitates motor skills a challenge. We do things for Angus because he legitimately needs our help: cutting his food into bite-sized portions, washing his hair, buttoning his shirts, twisting his socks so the heals line up, brushing and flossing his teeth. And sometimes we do things for Angus because it’s easier for us to do them than have him do them himself. It takes patience to be a parent. Heaps of it. And for those of us with neuro-diverse kids, the patience required is more extreme. Zen-like patience. It’s a learned skill, not an innate one, and sometimes I’m a pretty slow learner. When it takes two minutes for Angus to stack a book on his bookshelf so it doesn’t fall over when he moves his hand, and when I see that on the floor there are a stack of 20 more books, it is a lot easier for me to pick up the stack and shelve the books myself. Every morning, after a night of kicking and tossing, Angus’s sheets end up in a heap on his floor. Because his bed is pushed against the wall, a lot of bending and climbing is required to remake the bed. Bending and climbing, and tears of frustration, and words like impossible and hopeless. Most mornings I make Angus’s bed myself. In fact, most mornings I come home from dropping Angus off at school, collect the piles of books from around the house and shelve them, then make his bed and straighten his room. And then I berate myself for failing to instill responsibility and independence in my son. On particularly bad days, I imagine a future in which my adult son is not able to do anything for himself, and I am old and frail and equally incompetent. These imaginings are so bleak that I generally resolve to make Angus do more, much more, for himself. Maybe that night I get him to lather his own hair with shampoo (and then dab at his face with his towel when the soap inevitably gets in his eyes and he begins to howl). The next morning there I am again, shelving books and pulling up his duvet cover. I talked to Angus’s intervention worker about goals. Chores! I told her. I made a list: dust-busting the stairs, washing the windows, setting the table for dinner. Yesterday, she talked him through washing the living room windows. But after Angus’s tub, I toweled him off, helped him into his pyjamas and blow-dried his hair. Shuffle forward, shuffle back. Today, when we walked to school I talked to Angus about a new schedule—using photographs of him performing the steps IslandParent.ca

of his morning routine—and plastered, poster-sized, on our wall. Imagining the tower of to-do’s made his chin start to quiver. I sympathized. In my own head I was calculating how much earlier I would need to wake up in order to assist with this stab at independence. But worth it, I tried to convince myself. Soon, this poster will replace my nagging, and soon after that Angus won’t even need to refer to it. I did feel it for a moment: a flicker of hope.


patience “toItbetakes a parent. Heaps of it. And for those of us with neurodiverse kids, the patience required is more extreme.


Then I went on the internet and read child responsibilities by age and discovered that four-year-olds should be folding and putting away their own laundry and kids Angus’s age should be able to vacuum, sew loose buttons on their shirts, and write down phone messages. It seemed these articles were written by women who lived in a parallel universe. Or maybe by bots created to discourage me. I, personally, am happy that my child no longer needs to wear noise cancelling headphones when I vacuum near him. I remind myself: Angus is eight. He has years of learning ahead of him. I remind myself: researching child development on the internet has never once been useful or encouraging. I remind myself: there are so many milestones Angus has reached that at one point felt impossible. I remind myself: my kid just washed the windows! Shuffle forward, shuffle forward, shuffle forward. Even when it doesn’t feel like we’re getting anywhere, we’ll keep moving. Laura Trunkey is the mother of the amazing Angus, and the author of the story collection Double Dutch (House of Anansi, 2016). Find her at lauratrunkey.com. IslandParent.ca


Pick up your copy of Island Parent at any Serious Coffee cafÊ 5PÜOEPOFOFBSZPVHPUPTFSJPVTDPòFFDPN

Photo Contest

Send us your most memorable special event photos!

Birthdays, Easter, Halloween, Sports, Weddings, Christmas & Holiday Festivities.

All photos received will be entered into a draw to win a pair of tickets to see Peppa Pig Live at the Royal Theatre in Victoria on March 26! Only digital submissions will be accepted. Send a maximum of three photos, medium or high resolution (preferably 2–3MB). Photos must be colour. Contest is open to Vancouver Island Residents only. No professional photographers please. Entry deadline is March 15, 2020. Winning photos become the property of Island Parent Magazine.

Send entries to photos@islandparent.ca February 2020  53


The Adulting Parent


f discipline means to teach, what does punishment mean? Meaning: The infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offence. We don’t speed because we don’t want to get a ticket, so a penalty can make sense. The greater reason is not wanting to be a danger to ourselves or others. It comes from a deep sense of responsibility and care. Punishment, when accompanied by parental anger, is no longer a penalty, it is a violation by the parent. Disrespecting our kid’s boundaries by snatching their phones out of their hands or calling them names such as rude or thoughtless is aggressive and rarely turns out well, especially with a teen. Can you imagine your partner coming home late from golf and taking away his or her golf clubs? “That’s it, no golf for you for two weeks, and if you lip me back, it will be another week!” So what makes us think that this should be effective with kids of any age? It is simply immature, poor behaviour of the parent. When it comes to teens, arguing and coming out with consequences in the heat of the moment can escalate into aggressive or violent situations. Taking an adult position with your teen means that you are in control of your impulses and reactions. Recognizing when you are flooded with anger is a

54  Island Parent Magazine

signal to step back. You can’t be effective from this position, and if you think that this teaches kids a lesson, you are right, it does. It teaches them that you aren’t safe, and you won’t get respect; you’ll get fear. True caring comes from the connection that people have with each other. Respect means regard for the feelings, wishes or rights of others. True respect comes from a place of being understood and understanding. As an adult, your position is to give understanding to your child first. It doesn’t mean you agree with their perspective; it means completely hearing both their feelings and their story until they know you understand. Then, and only then is it your turn to talk about your feelings of concern and address an issue. When you move forward to resolving the issue, remain open and caring, and you might find that things go a little more smoothly. This is being an adult. Now go about nurturing your teen, they still need this from you. Show rather than tell them what respect is all about.

Allison Rees has two LIFE Seminars books available: Sidestepping the Power Struggle and The Parent Child Connection. See lifeseminars.com.


a whole world to explore PACIFIC CHRISTIAN SCHOOL 654 Agnes St, Victoria, BC 250-479-4532 www.PacificChristian.ca

Come and explore with us!

Summer FUN at GNS Glenlyon Norfolk School is offering a variety of fun summer camps for students age 4½ to 17. Arts, soccer, field hockey, day camps, kayaking, magic and more—our summer programs offer something for everyone! Registration now open.



February 2020  55

Island Catholic Schools Catholic Education on Vancouver Island is a system rich in tradition and history dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. Island Catholic Schools is a dynamic community of schools having a strong reputation for academic excellence, instilling Catholic values and building community. We are committed to educating the “whole” child in a Christ-centered community of learning.

St. Joseph’s (Pre-K to Grade 7) 757 W Burnside Rd, Victoria 250-479-1232 www.stjosephschool.ca Open House: Tuesday, Feb 4, 1–3pm

St. Patrick’s School (K to Grade 7) 2368 Trent St, Victoria 250-592-6713 www.stpatrickselem.ca Open House: Monday, Feb 3 3–4pm Science Fair 4–5pm Prospective Families Tour

St. Andrew’s Regional High School (Grade 8–12) 880 McKenzie Ave, Victoria 250-479-1414 www.standrewshigh.ca Open House: Thursday, Feb 6, 6:30–8:30pm

Queen of Angels (Pre-K to Grade 9) 2085 Maple Bay Rd, Duncan 250-746-5919 www.queenofangels.ca Open House: Monday, Feb 3, 9am–4pm

St. John Paul II (Pre-K to Grade 7) 4006 8th Ave, Port Alberni 250-723-0637 www.jp2nd.ca Talent Show & Pizza Night: Tuesday, Feb 4, 6–7:30pm

Call today for registration information K to 12, Pre-school, Day Care, Out of School Care for September 2020

250-727-6893 or visit cisdv.bc.ca

Profile for Island Parent Group

February 2020 Island Parent  

Education Tweens & Teens

February 2020 Island Parent  

Education Tweens & Teens