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The Local Guide for Active Urban Families

education january/february 2017 education | fieldtrips | fundraising

for the win!

January/February 2017


families westcoast


• education • field trips • fundraising

10 education cover story

on our cover... Science and Math and Reading, oh my! Time to read about all the great education programs offered for kids and adults.

Education Special Programs for Your School

Education Later Learning

Education Cool Field Trips

Education Technology in the Classroom





Fundraising Funky Funds

Education Facts & Figures



24 moms

from the editor


24 WCM Profile Trena White & Jesse Finkelstein 27 Time Out

6 From Our Family to Yours 8 Cool Finds 20 WCF News 28 Community Calendar 30 Last Look Starting a Book Club for Kids

next issue march/april • Family Travel & Adventure Guide • Spring Break • Camp Guide part I: Sleepaway Camp 4 Instagram: @westcoastfamilies

January/February 2017


from our family to yours

families westcoast


appy New Year!

There’s something about a new year that makes us feel like anything is possible. We can start fresh, forgive mistakes and make plans for the future. While we at the magazine like to think that wiping the slate clean can be done any time of year, it feels poetic for the new year to start with a count down and footprints in the snow. After a refreshing holiday, we’re back for another year of fantastic articles, engaging events and of course, excellent advertisers! January/February marks our education issue, and as usual, we’re jam-packed with information so families can make educated decisions about learning options. In line with all things education related, we’re talking about field trips and the best local options for classrooms and kids. We’re also looking at fundraising, since no matter whether your child attends public or private school, is in high school or elementary school, fundraising is always part of the deal, so we have a great piece on different options to help raise those dollars! And these days it’s all about technology, so check out our article on technology in the classroom; the good, the bad, and the ugly. But education isn’t all about the kids! We also have a piece on following your passions as an adult learner through different continuing education options. Once you’ve had your education fill, read our feature on WestCoast Moms, Trena White and Jesse Finkelstein, both parents and literary powerhouses making a name for themselves in the business of books while juggling growing families. We invite you to snuggle in with a hot drink and flip through our pages to find the latest and greatest information on education and literacy. Thank you for picking us up and exploring the Lower Mainland with us, and of course, Happy New Year!

Managing Editor Andrea Vance Assistant Editor Kelly S. Thompson Contributing Editor Jodi Iverson Art Director & Layout Krysta Furioso Administration Jennifer Bruyns Accounts Receivable & Payable Jennifer Brule Advertising 604.249.2866

Assistant Editor Published by National Families Network Publisher: Andrea Vance For distribution inquiries, please email For submissions to our community calendars, please email

wcf presents

To share your feedback, please email Contributors Jennifer Bruyns, Krysta Furioso, Jodi Iverson,

Birth Fair 2017

Children the Heart of the Matter

February 25 & 26, Cloverdale Agriplex, Surrey, BC Everything under one roof about bumps, babies, & beyond.

February 27 and 28th. Sheraton Guildford Hotel, Surrey Great lineup of keynote speakers and workshop presenters including Denita Dinger, Dr. Deborah MacNamara, Diane Kashin, and more!

Nic Enright-Morin, Kelly S. Thompson, Heidi Turner, Andrea Vance All contents copyrighted ©. Written permission from the publisher is required to reproduce, quote, reprint or copy any material from WestCoast Families Mailing address: 1215-C56 St. Box 18057 Delta, BC V4L 2M4 T 604 249 2866 | F 604 676 2802


families westcoast

Best of the West Readers’ Choice contest is still open!

readers choiceawards

This is your chance to win prizes, and have your say in the best that the west coast has to offer kids, parents, and families. This year it’s ALL local, so be sure to tell us your favourites.




2016 7

Ever wanted to see yourself in print? Here’s your chance! Book a business profile in the first annual Family Resource Guide, presented by WestCoast Families magazine. It’s a great opportunity to tell our readers about the amazing work you do!


resource guide

The Family Resource Guide has a full year shelf life, and includes a variety of marketing opportunities for local businesses, including ad spots, enhanced listings, business profiles, and more.... all at great prices. Coming April 2017 Watch for the first WCF Family Resource Guide online and in print!

January/February 2017


westcoast finds UE Roll 2 Ultimate Ears has long been known as one of the best wireless speakers, and they’ve done it again! The UE Roll 2 is a stylish option in a range of colours and is insanely portable, since it’s only the size of a can of pop. Best of all, with the waterproof design you can sit poolside, beachside, or have it in the bathroom for music on demand. | $130

Butzi Kids Puzzles These adorable puzzles (and coordinating placemats!) will make Lower Mainland kids feel right at home. With two different models that feature both Vancouver proper and the Whistler area, kids can play, learn, and explore the area they call home, all with original artwork and a kid-friendly design. | $16

Chalk Clock by Leventhal-Vermaat Design For kiddies just learning to tell time, it can be hard to explain the details of when it is bedtime or school hours. Enter this Toronto couple that makes chalkboard clocks, making it easy for parents to customize the clock to help their children learn to read the face and ease into routines, like after school programs and bedtime. | $55


Timbertown Tales: Chester gets a pet! by Judson Beaumont and Joanna Karaplis and illustrated by Breanna Cheek If you live in Vancouver, you might be familiar with designer, Judson Beaumont, and his unique shop, Straight Line Design, where furniture looks ready to come to life. His designs are anything but straight lines, and this adorable tale tells the story of quirky furniture characters making friendships. For local literature lovers, this book is a find! | $29

FUN (Fun Uniting Neurons) Conversation Starters

Thermos FUNtainers

Michael has autism and he wanted to make conversation easier for those with the disorder. This 10-year-old’s FUN business was born, and he now makes three different conversation starter jars with 50 topics printed on tiny, colourful scrolls. These mason jars not only make a great gift but also empower the world to make meaningful conversation with one another.

If your food isn’t boring, your food storage containers shouldn’t be either! Thermos FUNtainers offers food, snack and drink storage bottles in fun colours and designs specifically for kids, with everything from Disney characters to superheroes. Super durable and easy to clean, kids will love the choices while vacuum insulation keeps food and drink hot or cold for tasty meals. Perfect for school or holidays. | $15 and up | $15 -$22


travel &adventure Coming in the Mar|Apr 2017 issue of WestCoast Families!

Call or email now to book your spot, including discounted rates and great value-adds too. 604-249-2866 January/February 2017



Extra Education Additional in-class programs by Kelly S. Thompson


hen it comes to the way children learn, everyone wants to be on the forefront of technology and innovation. A well-rounded education makes for equally well-rounded people and in the Lower Mainland, there have never been so many options to include and amplify the current curriculum. Supplemental programming brought into the classroom can have a profound effect on the way kids learn, offering unique opportunities to grow and expand their skills and knowledge. WestCoast Families decided to scour the area to find the latest and greatest in terms of additional in-school programs that can be brought to the classroom.

Project CHEF Project CHEF (Cook Healthy Edible Foods) teaches children in kindergarten to grade seven how to prepare and enjoy their own meals. Not only will students learn practical skills, like cleaning up and safe food handling, but Project CHEF coordinates with the BC curriculum to help educators to incorporate learning points into the experience. The program brings a trained chef to the classroom to provide lessons while kids then delve into cooking and get hands-on learning experiences. “Experiential learning is one of the most powerful ways to learn and studies have shown that children who have had a hands-on opportunity to explore and prepare new and nutritious foods will be more likely to eat healthy foods,” said Barb Finley, Director of the Project CHEF program. Through measuring, weighing, and cooking, kids learn practical applications of math and science while appreciating the value of healthy meals and how to make sustainable, culturally diverse, and healthy choices at home.

FAST- Choose Your Voice Fighting Anti-Semitism Together, or FAST, seeks to dispel anti-Semitism, starting in the classroom. Children will learn about ways to combat hatred while encouraging everyone to feel safe in their classroom environment free of racism. “We aren’t born racist, so within our schools and homes we can unteach discriminatory beliefs and actions if we wish to foster more equality and build community,” said Jodi Derkson, BC Regional Director for Educational Programs. The FAST: Choose Your Voice program is currently offered to children in grades six to eight, with educational tools like DVDs and a teacher’s guide to engage discussion that can also work with ESL and gifted learner programs, as per the BC curriculum. Best of all, FAST touches on a wide variety of subjects, such as social sciences, art and language, teaching how bigotry can affect all these aspects of learning and growth.


Fun with Composers

Out in Schools

Music and all its varieties connect with different elements of our brain, and for the artistically inclined, music can be a solace. Many teachers, however, feel overwhelmed with the task of teaching music when it isn’t their area of expertise. Thankfully, Fun With Composers helps to fill that void with a wealth of informational packages and educational tools for teachers looking to bring classical music into the classroom. Fun With Composers is a program led by teachers who purchase the guides and musical CDs, all made to appeal to children ranging from pre-kindergarten to grade six. Teachers receive worksheets, ideas, education plans and more, all designed to open children to the world of music and the many ways it impacts and improves education.

Bullying affects children of all ages. Out in Schools comes to local classrooms and showcases films that highlight LGBTQ+ topics. Once the film ends, trained facilitators engage students in valuable discussion surrounding transphobia, homophobia and bullying. “I don’t think that they had ever truly been talked to about the issues faced by LGBTQ people, and it allowed them to better understand that people are people, no matter sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, etc.,” said a Langley teacher. The program is supported by online videos and learning hubs, extending the discussion and education while creating a safe environment for all students. Presentations are approximately 1.5 hours and are given all over the Lower Mainland, typically for classes in grades six to 12.

iGirl, iGuy and Body Science

Gymnastics Gym Sense

Many of us are uncomfortable talking to children about sex but parents and teachers want to ensure children are provided with the proper information about their bodies and sexual health. iGirl and iGuy are two-hour, in-class workshops for kids and pre-teens in grades four to seven all over the Lower Mainland. Saleema Noon and her team, a group of well-educated and trained professionals, get real with kids about the practical elements of sexuality, inclusivity and acceptance, while learning to make smart decisions about their own bodies. In a world in which the Internet adds a new complicated element to growing up, iGirl and iGuy also teach online safety and how to respect our bodies. Body Science is a similar program with different education modules, teaching kids to respect one another, their bodies, and learn to be comfortable talking about sexual health.

Gymnastics Gym Sense provides well-trained coaches and educators, and all the necessary supplies and skills to teach kids about balance, fitness and other gymnastics fundamentals. Gym Sense breaks the classroom into four educational stations, with each group learning to spot and support one another after receiving their detailed instructions. Kids will also be exposed to equipment that might not normally be held at their school, like balance beams, bars, balance boards, and more. The program can also occasionally support French Immersion with bilingual instructors. Programs run from one to three weeks, depending on school size.

Fresh Air Learning Fresh Air Learning offers programming for children ages five to 12, with classes held at farms and in forests. The program caters to those in New Westminster’s Island Discovery program for children who are homeschooled full or part-time. Two days per week, those enrolled in the program have access to hikes, learning activities, storytelling, physical education and more, all designed to enhance and support home-based learning. Fresh Air Learning operates on Tuesday’s and Thursdays at the Lower Seymour Conservation Area and Maplewood Farm, where kids learn about food, sustainability, math, science, drama, and so much more, all through this interactive program. It also offers the opportunity to connect with other children, making for a more inclusive and communitybased experience.

HT- Science Made Fun Science Made Fun focuses on scientific understanding and knowledge for students in kindergarten to grade seven all across the Lower Mainland. The Science Made Fun team brings all necessary supplies and equipment to make for a spectacular daytime laboratory, full of fun experiments and lessons from top-notch educators. There’s also a supplemental teacher package to help the lessons continue long after the presentation. These 75-minute programs have been designed to meet the BC science learning outcomes, so parents, teachers and students are not only having fun in science but also learning in new and interactive ways to teach and learn. Science Made Fun will also cater to a specific school or classroom need to create specific requested workshops. January/February 2017



Later Learning Adult education options by Heidi Turner


f you’ve been thinking lately that you’d like to go back to school, you’re not alone. In 2012, Simon Fraser University’s NOW (Nights or Weekends) degree completion program received more than 900 applications from adults who worked at least 30 hours a week and wanted to finish off their degree. But you don’t have to be looking to complete your degree to get back into education; you can enroll in a diploma or certificate program or even just take a few courses here or there as your interest or career goals dictate. As we get older, many of us experience a desire to return to our passions before work and family life became our main focus. And while many are fulfilled by their work and their families, continuing to learn and grow makes for a richer and more meaningful life experience. These days, learning opportunities are endless, with different subjects offered across the Lower Mainland and chances to learn on weekends, evenings, online and more. On top of growing and learning as adults, continued education also gives students a chance to meet different people from all over the world (online especially!) with a shared interest. Going back to school as an adult—especially an adult with family and work commitments—isn’t easy, but is incredible rewarding. So whether you’re looking to switch into your next career, enhance your skill set to make the most of your current one, or just learn how to use new technologies, there are plenty of options in the Lower Mainland for continued education. Here are some of the more frequent concerns about continuing education, and the reasons why you should get back in the classroom.

Concern #1: I don’t have time Managing children, spouses, friends and work isn’t easy, so many feel daunted by the idea of taking on educational responsibility too. Thanks to the Internet and post-secondary institutions taking a more flexible view of education settings, there is rarely a requirement that you take courses on a full-time basis. Many programs run part-time, and some programs can be done one course at a time. If you don’t have the energy to go to a campus once a week, you can often take online versions so you have the ability to learn in your home at times convenient for you. Also, many local offerings are certificate or diploma programs, meaning you don’t necessarily have to give up four years (or more) of your life to get a degree, unless you want to.

Concern # 2: There’s nothing out there for me Whether you’re interested in becoming an editor, learning more about wine and beer, or taking an educational photography tour, there’s a course for you. Various post-secondary schools, local school boards and community centres run adult education and continuing studies programs, each with their own long list of offerings. Chances are, if you want to learn about it there are other people who do, too, and there’s an educational institution willing to teach it.


Concern #3: I can’t afford it Getting a degree can be expensive, but because many programs offer part-time programming—or allow you to take one course at a time over an extended period—you don’t have to take courses until you can afford them. Depending on what you set out to learn, some courses are short (as short as three weeks), which means they typically cost a lot less than a fullcredit degree course. Even better, some courses may be eligible for tax credits and education amounts. All you have to do is check with the Canada Revenue Agency to find out which tuition fees and education amounts are eligible (usually the institution offering the program will automatically send you the proper tax forms in February). That means the money you spend in tuition might make up a tax write-off at tax time, which should help offset some of the costs. Depending on the program type or length, you may be eligible for scholarships, bursaries, or grants to help fund your schooling. So you don’t need to break the bank to go back to school.

Concern #4: I’m too old to go back to school Some of the programs offer courses for adults 55 years and older, for older students who want to continue learning. Even if you’re not 55 years old, many programs have students with vast age ranges. There’s no such thing as being too old when it comes to life-long learning, and there are plenty of people who decide in their 40s and 50s that they want to enhance their skills or switch careers, especially after children have flown the coop. No matter your age, you won’t be alone. Once you decide on you area of interest, it’s a matter of finding where to learn about it! Here are just some of the places you can look for courses to help you follow your passion, upgrade your skills, or move forward in your career:

BCIT British Columbia Institute of Technology offers a variety of distance and online learning programs and part-time courses for people looking to gain new skills or upgrade existing ones. Course formats include correspondence, guided learning, and online learning and classes offered include technology, media, business administration, health sciences, and engineering.

Simon Fraser University Continuing Studies SFU’s programs include degrees, certificates, and diplomas in everything from communications to restorative justice, to urban design. Courses start regularly throughout the year and students can choose from more than 100 online or distance courses.

UBC Continuing Education With more than 500 in-class and online courses, there’s sure to be something for most students. UBC offerings include cultural planning and development, languages and translation, and health and counselling. Mature students—those who have been out of full-time education for at least four years—can apply to specific programs.

Douglas College Continuing Education At Douglas College you can take individual courses or complete a certificate program, or you can enroll in seminars and workshops. They offer nursing, certificate programs for first responders, and courses for personal trainers.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University Continuing and Professional Studies Professionals wanting to learn more about human resources or non-profit administration should check out Kwantlen, which focuses on a variety of business skills. Programs include marketing, human resources, and business management, with online and in person lessons.

Langara Continuing Studies Want to take your learning well outside the classroom? Langara has educational travel programs, including a Greece Cultural Tour and a Haida Gwaii EcoPhotography tour. Of course, if educational tours aren’t your thing, you can still take courses in accounting, computer basics, or world languages.

Various school districts Most school districts offer continuing education for adult students looking to upgrade their courses or complete their grade 12 education. Vancouver’s continuing education program has been integrated with Langara’s. Other local school districts also offer adult or continuing education. Also, be sure to check local community centres, which offer everything from belly dancing to creative writing classes. Whatever your interest, you’re sure to find the course for you, just waiting to be discovered.

January/February 2017 13

field trips

A day of learning outside the walls of a classroom is a refreshing way to get kids active and engaged while learning in a new environment. The Lower Mainland offers a wide variety of experiences, and we have curated a selection for every subject! Evergreen Cultural Centre

Britannia Mine Museum Offering programming for K-12 Britannia Mine Museum has a hands-on learning experience for all ages! Hosting over 10,000 students a year, they have it down to an…earth science! Students will love learning about mining, sustainability, as well as social and environmental impact while exploring the legendary mine tunnel at the former industrial and National Historic Site. Booking is simple and easy with their online process that helps you choose the perfect day out for your group. Educated staff also give fantastic tours.

1 Forbes Way, Britannia Beach

Dairy Innovations What city kid doesn’t want to spend a day on the farm? Located on 80 acres of farmland, Eco Dairy offers an authentic and hands on learning experience that’s simply moovellous! Visiting students will enjoy learning about agricultural science and technology, farming and food supply, all while while exploring the dairy barn. The most fun of all is getting hands on and discovering how to milk a cow and even enjoying a milk tasting! Highly interactive displays developed in partnership with Telus Science World will keep visitors of all ages engaged and intrigued with farming.

1356 Sumas Way, Abbotsford

Art is a vital element of exploring the world, which means the subject plays a vital role in education. Evergreen Cultural Centre has developed an education program that aims to educate students in various forms of visual and performing arts, as well as language and social sciences. Offering workshops, labs and matinee performances suitable for students of all ages and abilities, choose from half or full day programs perfectly suited to your group. Making it even more appealing, Evergreen Cultural centre is easily accessible by the new Evergreen SkyTrain that stops right at their front door!

1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam

Green Thumb Theatre Want to bring the field trip to you? Green Thumb Theatre has been entertaining and inspiring students by touring original productions to schools across British Columbia since 1975. That means most of us moms and dads who attended school in the area have probably seen a show or two ourselves! Green Thumb goes deep, exploring relevant social topics that affect kids, encouraging discussion on a level they can relate to. There are even study guides supplied to help keep the conversation going even after the show has ended.

5522 McKinnon Street, Vancouver

Appleseed Children’s Playcentre Appleseed Children’s Playcentre offers customised field trip programming to schools and daycare centres for children ages one to eight. Conveniently located in Lansdowne Centre, this indoor edu-playground features five distinctively designed play structures, each stimulating creativity and physicality. Visitors will test their speed, balance and agility while learning through play.

Unit #420 - 5300 No. 3 Road, Richmond

14 14

Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art offers unique and flexible education programming for students K-12. The transformative power of cultural treasures and Indigenous knowledge will engage students to cultivate a greater awareness of the interconnectedness of all things while the talented staff and dedicated volunteers will guide each group through storytelling and inquiry based learning. Don’t miss a visit to the gallery to learn how we are all connected through nature and art.

639 Hornby Street Vancouver

Teachers as Tutors A certified teacher views tutoring as a way to give students the extra instruction and attention they need in order to develop proper skills. Ultimately, as a result of the tutoring sessions, students should be able to continually excel in school, and not just to pass a test or get a good grade on a paper. Certified teacher tutors create personalized lesson plans for each tutoring session Teachers who are tutors get to focus on one individual student and have the flexibility to spend more time on areas the student is struggling with. They can stop at any time during a tutoring session and work with the student on particular areas until they master the concept. Certified teachers apply professional techniques during tutoring sessions

Phoenix Gymnastics Teachers can support their PE curriculum with a visit to Phoenix gym for an hour, or for a series of classes. Watch as your children experience the excitement of participating via fun games, interactive circuits, trampoline bouncing and the ever-popular foam pit. Children will work with qualified coaches and be challenged on vault, bar, beam and floor, all with safety in mind. Suitable for all school ages, Phoenix Gymnastics teaches fitness and the fundamentals of gymnastics in a fun and interactive field trip.

4588 Clancy Loranger Way, Vancouver

Certified teachers are able to perform professional assessments to determine the student’s level of understanding on particular subjects. Teachers are trained to keep detailed records of their student’s assessment scores so they can easily track their progress and ensure that they attain their goals. Certified teachers are familiar with learning disabilities Teachers are trained to recognize learning disabilities and can thereby adapt teaching methods and use various strategies to enable students to learn according to their learning styles. If a student has a limited attention span, such as someone with ADHD or other behavioural disorders, the teachers will know how to facilitate learning during tutoring sessions. For more information on kids and education, go to tutor-blog/

January/February 2017 15


Technology in the Classroom The good, the bad, and the new By Nic Enright-Morin


here’s no doubt about it; we live in a digital world and with more and more aspects of our daily lives relying on technology, it was only a matter of time before it became a mainstay in schools too. In classrooms across the province, technology is used in multiple ways—from the coding component in the new curriculum, to “bring your device to school days,” to Skype-a-thons—it would appear that such tools are now as much a part of everyday school as learning your times tables. In recent years in education, there has been a rise in the use of digital technology and social media. The upside is that in our increasingly busy lives (with many parents and kids in day care) such innovations help foster communication between parents and teachers like never before. Also, children who learn through visual and audio methodology can benefit from different technological offerings. However, the downside is that no two teachers or school districts use technology in the same way, which can lead to huge disparities in how children are taught and the opportunities they might receive or find detrimental to their learning. James Gill, an elementary school teacher and former school district technology co-coordinator said, “One of my concerns is that we devote a lot of funding towards equipment, but not enough on training the staff to use it. I still think we should be investing a little more in people than we are in equipment.” Since many forms of technology are still so new, using these latest platforms is not without teething problems. Melinda Gill, a middle grade teacher in Coquitlam said, “I love the idea in theory of using these technologies in the classroom, but in practice it’s a lot more difficult than what people might think. For example, when we’ve used iPads, I’ve found instead of helping the kids with the actual curricular aspects, I’m troubleshooting; trying to get them signed in, figure out why the Wi-Fi isn’t working, etc. That’s where I get frustrated, because half of our time is spent teaching the kids how to use the technology, instead of the actual cool science project we’re working on.” Many parents and educators also struggle to keep up with the ever-evolving world of technology. What’s hot today is tomorrow’s Myspace, so to keep everyone on the same page (or tablet) WestCoast Families has done a quick round up of some of the latest technological apps and ideas currently being implemented in many Lower Mainland schools.

Edmodo Edmodo is an educational website that takes the ideas of a social network, refines them and makes them appropriate for a classroom. It’s currently used by several BC school districts, particularly at middle grade levels. With Edmodo, students and teachers can connect by sharing ideas, problems, and helpful tips. The great thing about it is it’s a useful tool to connect parents with what their kids are doing at school. The downside is the social media aspect (sending messages to classmates etc.) can be annoying and distracting for everyone, if misused.


PAC Facebook Pages Gone are the days when along with your kids agenda, you got a photocopied handout detailing your school’s PAC events and fundraisers. Nowadays, most schools have gone digital with electronic PAC newsletters or Facebook pages and groups. Fran Onley, who has three kids in the Surrey school district, says she has mixed feelings about this information going digital. “My oldest son graduated last year, so I remember the days when everything was in paper form and I have to say, I kinda miss that. I used to read the newsletter when it came home, then pin it to the fridge for reference. But now, with my younger kids, I get the info by email. I might not always have time to read it, so I tell myself I’ll read it later, which of course I don’t. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does that.” However, with so many people using social media, a Facebook PAC Page can be a great resource. Another plus about digital PAC communication is that it’s great for the environment and saves schools money on photocopying costs.

Teachers Classroom Blog Blogs can be a wonderful way to create a sense of community in the classroom and lets parents see pictures of special moments, like a science activity, or fieldtrips. It can also be a great way to get students involved in learning how to run content management systems and craft paragraphs. The downside to classroom blogs is that these vary as much as teaching styles and a good blog requires a teacher to constantly maintain it, in order for it to be worthwhile.

Sway Sway is a new digital storytelling app for project or problem-based learning. Teachers can create interactive web-based lessons, assignments, project recaps, newsletters and more, from a phone, tablet, or browser. Students can collaborate and use Sway to create engaging reports, assignments, projects, study materials, and portfolios.

Fresh Grade Fresh Grade is a free app that aims to connect teachers, kids, and parents with what students are getting up to in school. The aim of the app is to capture a child’s learning as it happens, and track their progress. Judith Netscher from North Vancouver says she got to try the program out last year when her daughter was in kindergarten. “I loved getting the opportunity to see Lili’s work, as well as the chance to see how she interacted with other kids and her teacher, which I never would have been able to if it wasn’t for this app.”

Microsoft OneNote One of the newer applications that some local school districts are using, OneNote is an organizational tool by Microsoft that allows teachers to share their work and see the children’s too. The advantage of this system is that it helps students and teachers stay on task by teaching them valuable organization skills, so that they can focus on the actual learning. Since all the work is stored digitally, there are also no messy (or lost) papers. The downside is that newbie’s find it complex and it can take time to learn and get used to.

Social Media Social media is such an integral part of modern life that some schools are now using it as a platform to keep parents, teachers, and students on the same page. The most common platforms used in schools are Twitter and Facebook. Twitter accounts often represent a school or district, offering short snippets of information or sharing of relevant articles and links, but Facebook seems to be the most popular in terms of usage, especially when groups are created for particular classrooms, schools or districts. Facebook groups can be a great real-time way to share classroom activities with parents and students alike, with restricted access for only those directly involved in the class (users require access permission from a key administrator). Facebook groups can also create and share events for the sake of fundraising, concerts or performances. The downside is that a teacher or administrator must constantly monitor the group to ensure proper language and respect is exercised at all times, as one of the reasons many schools eschew social media is the risk of cyber-bullying. It’s hard to track and monitor what students are posting and inappropriate content can be very damaging, so its use in the classroom can be difficult to maintain adherence to a code of conduct.

January/February 2017 17

$$$ fundraising

Funky Funds Unique Fundraiser Ideas by Jodi Iverson


ith education budgets getting smaller and smaller, there are more schools than ever that seek to raise extra cash for the classroom through various fundraising events. Beyond schools there are also some extracurricular organizations in need an influx of cash, such as dance troupes and sports teams. Now more than ever, fundraising is falling to parents in order to buy textbooks, pay for field trips and of course, update playground equipment. A great fundraiser doesn’t just bring in the money for the organization but also engages the community in which it operates. The goal is to bring people together in fun and unique ways while contributing to a good cause. Thankfully, there are more ways than ever to raise the extra cash that schools need. Gone are the days of labouring over baking cupcakes that will sell for a dollar (and cause parents tons of stress when time and funds are limited), so WestCoast Families decided to search out the most unique ways to raise money for your school. What’s best is most of what’s needed are man-hours and a little ingenuity.

Have a Social Media Party Many schools and PACs have their own social media accounts. Whether you’re on Twitter or Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, many companies are hosting online parties where participants can win cool prizes, engage in discussion and host mini auctions. The first step is to find some local companies to donate neat prizes, or see if some crafty parents can whip up unique giveaways of their own. It’s wise to have a few smaller items that can be given away for free to boost participation, while having some bigger ticket items to auction off to raise funds! The next step is to create an invite for the event and share it far and wide, which social media makes super easy. On the actual day of the “party,” prepare a set of questions to get the engagement ball rolling (this is a great time to promote your school!) and do the giveaways throughout. At the close of the party the auction winners get tallied and everyone has a blast! For added flair, figure out ways to engage the audience with fun questions or online games… they can only win the prize if they participate! This is also a great chance to share more information about your school or organization in hopes of further donations in the future.


Bingo! Who doesn’t love a good game of Bingo? Kids and adults alike can have a blast at this event, and all you need is a gymnasium and some chairs and tables. Have kids draw up unique Bingo cards that speak to their community and their school—think drawings of teachers and the school, classroomrelated words or even math problems—before making photocopies. Participants pay to buy a card and have a blast marking off as a student “caller” draws the symbols and questions from a bowl. Best of all, these events can be open to the whole community and not just those in the classrooms, and it offers tons of fun with or without grand prizes. If there’s no money for a prize, get creative with crafts, promises of front row seating at the next school play/event, or a guided tour of each classroom so children can show off their learning space.

Car Wash An oldie but a goodie! The car wash fundraiser doesn’t need much explaining, but there’s a reason so many people are still clamoring to do it. Since we live in the Lower Mainland, we’re lucky that the weather means being outside in March won’t necessarily chill us to the bone, so these events aren’t limited to the summer months. With students and teachers lending a hand, the community gets clean cars and kids have clean fun throwing about suds while scrubbing for a good cause. Consider setting a price for an exterior wash and then offering a full-meal-deal option with interior window wiping and dusting too.

Crowdfunding Sometimes the Internet can be a saving grace, and these days, many of us are turning to crowdfunding websites to boost not only incoming cash, but also to raise awareness about important issues. Sites like Kickstarter offer schools and organizations a chance to provide information about what the money is needed for and how it will be spent. Once it’s posted online, use social media to share and have kids get involved by managing a social media account (with monitoring, of course) where they update donors, provide fun videos and answer questions from potential donors.

Pet Parade Remember our childhood days that often involved bringing our pet for show and tell? Kids love to show off their furry family members, so why not take advantage with this unique fundraising idea! A pet parade can be done two ways, either having kids dress up their pets and walk them down a pet-friendly park “runway” (with attendees paying an entry fee), or organize a pet walk with students soliciting donation support from their community. Consider engaging other animal-related organizations to see if you can pool funds for other great causes, like the SPCA or rescue programs.

Selling Products Selling various items has always the failsafe method of fundraising for schools and local organizations. Whether schools choose to sell popcorn or cookies, pizza or magazines, there are countless items out there in which schools get part of the proceeds for any cash brought in. Be sure to do your research to ensure you’re using a local program that offers the best percentage of monies directed right to the school.

visit us online Green Thumb Theatre Is Pleased to Announce we will once again be offering

Spring Break Drama Camps For Grades 1 - 7 March 13-17 | 9am-12:30pm | Cost: $150 March 20-24 | 9am-12:30pm | Cost: $150 Early bird pricing: $125 per week until January 31st!

Hair Shaving While head shaving fundraisers have often been used for cancer support, many are now taking the trend to different fundraising levels and supporting different causes. Students and teachers alike can search out donations in the name of cutting off all their hair! It can sound scary, but you’d be surprised how many kids will leap at the opportunity to escape those mornings of hair snarled in brushes, and donors seem to love the chance to see those bald heads. Best of all, you can still support cancer research by donating longer tresses to one of many charities that makes wigs for patients in treatment.

Registration Opens January 9th, 2017 To register, please call us at 604-254-4055 or email

5522 McKinnon Street, Vancouver, BC (on the grounds of Sir Guy Carleton Elementary)

Farm to Table More and more schools are incorporating farms into learning. There are also many in-school farm programs that complement the curriculum and teach children about healthy foods. Take the school farm a step further by cultivating crops to host a fundraiser. You can either sell the food grown by students at an end-of-season farm stand, or students and teachers can prepare a meal that attendees pay to eat, all prepared from fruits and veggies grown by tiny hands or sourced locally. Farm fundraisers are a great way to get the whole community involved, not just students, and teach kids not only the value of money but the importance of healthy food cooked well. And BC has a longer growing season for a great variety of plants thanks to our weather. January/February 2017 19

wcf news >> Telus Science World Bursary Field trips have the power to expand learning. They provide a different educational atmosphere, with stimulating and engaging opportunities for children who are audio or visual learners. But field trips can be expensive and for underfunded schools, a pipe dream. Those who have been lucky enough to attend a field trip at Science World are well aware of the benefits, especially with their child-friendly program that seeks to complement the new BC curriculum. Thankfully, Telus Science World has created a new bursary for schools in the 2016/2017 school year. After another successful annual Science for Cocktails fundraiser, the bursary will provide a chance for 200 classes to attend this interactive science exploration, free of cost. The bursary will go to supporting the cost of admission, programming and transportation, allowing more kids access to this fantastic field trip opportunity. “Science World’s Class Field Trip Bursary was created to help reduce the financial burden on underserved schools that may prohibit classes from visiting TELUS World of Science and engaging with curriculum-relevant science, first hand,” said Jennifer Ingham, VP of Development for Science World. The bursary is open to BC ministry-funded classes in grades K–12. So apply today!

>> Literacy Month with YouTube Kids It’s no secret that kids love technology. With endless ways to stream content— phones, computers, tablets and televisions—it can be hard to pry kids from the screen. Thankfully, there are many educational offerings that allow kids not only to learn new and interesting information but also be entertained and engaged. YouTube Kids is especially aware of the power of video when it comes to tapping the minds of children. Since Family Literacy Day falls in January, for Literacy Month YouTube Kids will be posting a series of educational videos and tools that will feature learning language playlists and tons of fun content to keep little brains busy. Kids can cruise through the countless options that will teach the alphabet, sentences, and include immersive videos from children’s favourite online characters. In such a multicultural area like the Lower Mainland, kids can access videos on a variety of languages, from Mandarin to Japanese to Hindi and Russian! All families need to do is search for videos using the hashtag, #LearnALanguage or check out the in app Learning tab to search.

>> Abbotsford IDEA Team We all want our children to benefit from the latest and greatest in education, which is constantly changing and evolving as technology and curriculums alter. The Abbotsford Christian School (ACS) Student IDEA Team, comprised of students in grades eight to 12, is on a quest to make their school the most up-to-date learning environment in the Lower Mainland, having toured various schools and consulted with architects, innovators, educators, designers and other experts. In November the team was able to present their ideas for the twenty-first century classroom, which was based on endless research into project-based learning. The goal of the IDEA team is to create a modern classroom in which children use problem solving and unique, innovative thinking to become makers and creators, while teachers take on facilitator roles in these updated learning arenas. The team generated recommendations to bring their school into the future of learning by optimizing space through design and learning methods. The ideas and thoughts of the students are allowing kids to take the future into their own hands, meaning children will be more engaged in the classroom and in their future careers.


>> Lighthouse Labs News By now, we’ve all heard about the benefits of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in the classroom and beyond. This section makes up a large portion of jobs for the current and next generation, and understanding these areas of learning make for more stable futures for children. The BC curriculum has been changed as of recently, meaning all students will be learning coding skills by the end of grade nine. “Preparing our kids for their future is our most important job, and getting teachers trained to teach coding and the new curriculum is just one way we are doing that,” said Mike Bernier, Minister of Education. To help introduce these technologies to teachers, Lighthouse Labs has been called on to provide a learning opportunity for British Columbia teachers to gain insight into specialized coding. In partnership with Kids Code Jeunesse, these two-day workshops are intensive training opportunities so that teachers can pass on new digital literacy to the children in their classrooms. All Lower Mainland districts have been welcomed to the sessions, which began in November. Even for students not interested in STEM, learning these elements of education opens their minds to new possibilities and teaches analytical thinking and problem solving.

>> Trade the Food Fights for Face Shots: Women’s Specific Ski and Snowboard Camps Whether you’re looking to catch up to your kids on the hill or tackle that double black diamond run you’ve had your eye on, these Women’s Specific Ski and Snowboard Camps at Whistler Blackcomb vow to take your abilities to the next level. Allowing female skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to develop their skills with professional coaches in a highly motivational environment, the two-day women-only camps take place during select weekends throughout the winter season and include equipment reviews, skills training and après sessions. Upcoming dates: Jan 21-22, Feb 18-19, Mar 11-12, Apr 1-2. Sign up at

>> Learning Partnership Figuring out what you want to do for a living is a decision that is undoubtedly stressful, and the pressure to “know” can weight heavily on some. The high school curriculum requires new students to at least have a general idea about which way they would like to take their careers in order to slot them into the appropriate stream of learning. Thankfully, the Learning Partnership is making it easier for kids to experience a day in the life of their ideal job, without ever having to leave the classroom. The Learning Partnership is a charity that supports and promotes publically funded education, and they want to help showcase what a workplace experience is really like. Enter their new program that offers full 360-degree tours of virtual reality workplaces. Think of it as gaming for a career! From the comfort of their own computer, device, or classroom, kids can explore working at a zoo, museum, construction site and countless other fields. This new initiative is in conjunction with Take Our Kids to Work Day, but in this sense, the sky is the limit and children and teens can cruise hours of YouTube videos that highlight work in a variety of careers. There’s even headsets and Google Cardboard that can be used to make a virtual reality headset so the experience feels truly unique and realistic.

January/February 2017 21


facts&figures by Kelly S. Thompson

Education is a topic parents are always interested in, as everyone wants to give their little ones the best head start in life. There are countless options to choose from, including public or private, home or traditional-based schools, outdoor education and add on programming that can heighten a child’s learning experience. In British Columbia, education is on everyone’s mind, so we thought we’d round up some interesting facts about local education and how children are impacted.



$560,900,000 was allotted for education in the provincial 2016 budget.

An essay by Policy Alternatives reports an estimated 40,000 more students will be enrolled in BC by 2024.

$566,700,000 is set aside for education in 2017. (BC budget) BC spends less money per student than almost all provinces (except PEI). Stats Canada notes that BC schools receive $1000 less per student than the national average. Policy Alternatives discovered K-12 funding has fallen from 3.3% of GDP to 2.5% since 2001. Private schooling in BC is projected to receive $358,000,000 in 2017 funding.

BC is the second most educated province in Canada.

university According to Stats Canada, an undergraduate degree in Canada averages just under $6,000 per year, not including other fees and living expenses. The 2016 federal budget now offers $3,000 per year for low-income families and $1,200 for middle-income families to help offset university costs.

27.3% of British Columbians hold a degree. BC undergraduates can expect to pay around $5,100 in tuition per year.

The 2016 budget allows university graduates to make $25,000 per year before they must start paying back student loans. Stats Canada notes that in Vancouver, adults without degrees or diplomas have an average income of $36,123. BC-based adults with a degree, diploma or certificate have an average income of $61,040.

Facts were obtained from the following sources: |, report by Alex Hemingway | |


Coming in the March/April issue of WCF


travel &adventure We’re teaming up again with Claire Newell of Travel Best Bets to bring you the best resources and information for local families planning their 2017 getaways. Call or email now to book your spot! 604-249-2866

January/February 2017 23

moms westcoast

Trena White & Jesse Finkelstein books, brains, and business

by Kelly S. Thompson


hen we chat with Trena White and Jesse Finkelstein, principals and entrepreneurs behind Vancouver’s Page Two Publishing Strategies, they espouse the quintessential working mom experience. Trena’s voice crackles over her car’s Bluetooth while she searches out new daycare for her sons, three-yearold Simon and one-year-old Nicholas. Jesse had a busy morning rushing a forgotten lunch to her daughter’s school. But hectic schedules aside, these publishing powerhouses have created a niche business in an industry that most thought was going the way of the dodo, forging a successful company from literary passion. The news has been rife with stories about the troubled book business, with independent bookstores shutting their doors and the tired “digital versus paper” book debate raging in literary commentary. But for Jesse and Trena books are a passion first and business second. When this literary duo isn’t revolutionizing the world of publishing, they are busy moms raising families in the Lower Mainland, making space in their schedules for conferences, meetings and inevitable diaper changes.


Trena and Jesse met at D&M Publishers in Vancouver, where Jesse was the Chief Operating Officer who helped the imprint navigate the digital age, while Trena moved quickly through the company and soon landed the Publisher title. Both women have long legacies both in the book business and in the Lower Mainland. Jesse, a Montreal native, moved to Vancouver to pursue her master’s in Publishing from SFU before her work at Raincoast books. Also a graduate of the SFU Publishing program, Trena found a home at Canadian publishing powerhouse, McClelland and Stewart, before moving to the west coast. Both Trena and Jesse found themselves near the top of the D&M food chain, but when the company claimed bankruptcy, they were at a proverbial crossroads. “We’re publishing lifers,” said Trena. “For us, when D&M went bankrupt, we considered for about two seconds leaving the industry and then just realized we wouldn’t be happy if we did.” While Trena nursed her newborn son, she and Jesse hammered out ideas in a Vancouver living room and Page Two Publishing Strategies was born. Page Two is a unique hybrid business that incorporates a variety of different publishing services, all in one-stop shopping. Clients approach Trena and

But I think that’s a fallacy.” Today she relies on other parents in her neighbourhood for play date swaps, family members and care providers to cobble together a great network of support, but it hasn’t always been easy. Trena uses daycares, nannies, and works with her husband, Andre, to coordinate schedules. It’s clear that supportive partners, both at work and home, are the glue that holds the business together.

Jesse for their expertise in the business, while the women serve either as literary agents to shop the manuscript to publishers or help the client to self-publish, getting away from the vanity connotation of traditional selfpublishing and instead allowing it to be a practical solution to an ever-changing market. “The idea is to help people publish quality books to a wide audience in the best way that makes sense for them and the project,” said Trena. Page Two offers design, editing and marketing services too, making it full service for those in the book business. As a sign of the respect Page Two has earned in their industry, Trena says more than 95 per cent of their business is by word of mouth; clients happy with their services and recommending them to others. The innovative and collaborative nature of Page Two, and the importance placed on family as a priority, seems to trickle down into their publishing mandate as well. “Publishing is a very small industry and you have much more to gain by building bridges, even by the people who might be competing with you in the same space,” said Jesse. With upcoming and current projects featuring some big names in books, Jesse and Trena show no signs of slowing down their innovative spin on the new publishing landscape.

It’s evident that Trena and Jesse operate their business with a family-first model and it isn’t just the owners who benefit. To accommodate her growing family, Trena recently moved to the Sunshine Coast and regularly commutes or uses Skype for meetings. Jesse occasionally leaves work early when one of her children, Gabriel, 11, and Dahlia, 8, need to be shuttled to a program or lesson. There’s a feeling that Page Two is one big family where everyone has a voice and each team member recognizes their important part in the process. “One of our core values at Page Two is setting things up so anyone on our team can be the most productive that they can be in their home lives and their work lives, whatever that means,” said Jesse. That supportive spirit encouraged many former D&M staff members to follow Trena and Jesse to their new venture, and both of them report that the business is a cohesive team that feels more like family in and of itself.

“There’s always been an understanding that our families are really important and our business is really important and we have to find a way to balance both.”

Working parents have considerable hurdles to overcome when managing family and career, and this is especially so for entrepreneurs who are trying to bring an idea to fruition while also putting food on the table. This reality has meant the occasional sacrifice for the principals of Page Two, but you won’t hear them complaining. “There’s always been an understanding that our families are really important and our business is really important and we have to find a way to balance both, or rather, juggle both,” said Trena. After giving birth to her second son just last year, Trena returned to work after just three months, knowing that the business was in a place of growth and couldn’t do without her longer than that. And yet her love for her work is what made the decision easy. “The fact that I love my work is really important to me, and Page Two is really important to me, so it was hard for me to imagine stepping out any longer than that,” she said. While Jesse held the fort at Page Two, like any mother, she’s experienced the stress and strain of trying to have it all, even when the business was in its infancy. “There have been times where I’ve given myself short shrift, not just in the realm of childcare but in general,” Jesse said. She struggled when Page Two was getting off the ground, as childcare was absent and unaffordable, but with her supportive husband, Yaseen, and Trena by her side, she’s accepted that doing it all isn’t always possible. “I could tell myself that I should be able to do it all and I should race home by three every day and be with my kids but I also should be running and building this business.

When it comes to downtime, Trena and Jesse both admit that they don’t have much of it. “Especially now that I’m a business owner, work bleeds into other hours to such a great extent that I feel like spending time, it sounds like a cliché, but spending time with my kids—no matter what we’re doing—that’s my pastime with my kids and my husband,” said Jesse. Trena, too, acknowledges that challenges of being someone who once valued her private time alone, but now feels that singularity is a small sacrifice. Downtime, despite its scarcity, allows both women to cherish the simple time with their families, be it cooking, being outdoors or spending time with loved ones. Trena and Jesse both hope that their professional and personal commitments will show their children the power of chasing dreams and finding a job that brings joy and satisfaction. For Jesse Finkelstein and Trena White, books are their business but family is their driving force. Page Two thrives because the pair has learned to adapt to a market while prioritizing what matters most; the relationships—both professional and personal—that make it all worthwhile. While family is first, it’s hard to miss the undercurrent of love for something else, something tangible. The book. “There’s no other medium in which you can explore an idea as deeply as you can in a book,” Trena said. Jesse echoed the same sentiment. “We never stopped believing in the power of the book.”

January/February 2017 25

wcf feature

Participate with ParticipACTION Move your body to celebrate Canada


ow that Canadians have had their say, the ParticipACTION 150 Play List—the ultimate list of 150 physical activities that define us as Canadian—is here. Along with hockey, hiking and curling being some popular choices, so were dog walking, building a snowman and 5-pin bowling. The most important news is that Canadians find countless ways to get out and get moving!

Activities that made the list While each province had their own special activities, British Columbians have particular passions when it comes to the way they move! Below is the top ten list of BC faves. 1. Hiking We have countless beautiful fields, trails, parks and cities to explore. Strap on some shoes and get moving! 2. Pickleball We love this sport for its ability to capture several in one: it’s a little bit tennis, a pinch of badminton and a touch of table tennis! 3. Biking Few of us find ourselves without a favourite place to pedal. Whistler offers some amazing and challenging trails for those who love a challenge, whereas the seawall is a more leisurely pace. 4. Camping Camping is surprisingly active, from collecting firewood to setting up the tent to even making meals! It’s also a great way to connect with our amazing BC surroundings. 5. Swimming Pools, oceans and lakes are all at our fingertips in BC. Swimming is also fantastic exercise for the entire body, especially the cardiovascular system. 6. Walking/pole walkingWho doesn’t love a good walk? It’s an activity that can be done any place, any time, and all you need is a good pair of shoes. 7. Kayaking The area of BC is entirely spoiled for amazing places to Kayak and many local clubs offer lessons and rentals to help you ease into the sport. 8. Gardening Don’t think gardening can’t get the body moving! Kneeling, lifting and tilling is great exercise and helps contribute to a healthy planet. 9. Golf You’ve heard it said that the Lower Mainland is the one area where we can golf and ski all in the same day! Take advantage of the countless courses in our area. 10. Yoga There are so many yoga offerings, ranging from difficult to more gentle, indoor or outdoor and even hot yoga. Try them all and see which one suits you best. Throughout 2017 and in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, Canadians are being challenged to try as many of the activities on the list as possible. Residents of Vancouver are invited to sign up online, get active and check off as many of the 150 activities as they can for chances to win weekly, monthly and grand-prize draws for $100 gift cards, Canadian vacation adventures or even a brand new car.


“The ParticipACTION 150 Play List is a physical-activity movement, inspiring and motivating Canadians everywhere to move more and sit less,” said Antunes. “Busy schedules, sedentary jobs and hours spent indoors have left little room for physical activity in everyday life. Grab your family, friends or colleagues and try as many activities on this list as possible. And, remember, physical activity isn’t just great for our health—it’s part of who we are as Canadians.” Canadians are invited to sign up online, get active and check off as many of the 150 activities as they can for chances to win weekly, monthly and grand-prize draws for $100 gift cards, Canadian vacation adventures or even a brand new Chevrolet. Being physically active is its own reward, but a little motivation doesn’t hurt! The ParticipACTION 150 Play List Crew has 100 tour stops planned across Canada, with activity stations hosted by the Government of Canada, Manulife, Chevrolet and Shaw, making it easy for Canadians to try new activities and check a few of them off their list. Communities, local schools, clubs and sports organizations will also be holding events throughout the year to give even more opportunities for Canadians to have some fun and get active. Visit the ParticipACTION website to search an interactive map to find tour stops and local community events and programs nearest them. For more information visit: ParticipACTION is a national non-profit organization established in 1971 whose mission is to help Canadians sit less and move more.


Kid-free Events for Mom & Dad! STOMP Queen Elizabeth Theatre January 13-15 STOMP is a journey through sound, a contemporary form of rhythmic expression, and a comic interplay of characters wordlessly communicating through dance and drum. Tickets start at $55 Specialty Food Expo Vancouver Convention Centre East January 14-15, 10 am–4pm A fun, tasty, and informative event for those living with special dietary needs and food allergies. Discover, sample, and save on hundreds of products while learning from leading experts in gluten, dairy and soy-free foods and more. Tickets are $12 Cloverdale Antique and Collectable Show Cloverdale Fairgrounds Agriplex January 14, 9am-3pm Over 120 tables full of vintage collectables, antiques & memorabilia. Tickets are $5. 778.347.6794 It’s My Wedding Tradex, Abbotsford January 14-15 Its My Wedding is the only bridal event in the Fraser Valley that you’ll need to plan your wedding. Admission is $20 for adults. Save $2 if you buy your tickets online! 604.488.9804 | PuSh Festival | International Performing Arts January 16-February 5 One of Vancouver’s signature events, the PuSh Festival presents groundbreaking work in the live performing arts over three weeks. Positive Parenting Workshops Fleetwood Community Centre January 16 & February 20, 6:30-7:30pm Join this two-part workshop as they talk about helping your child deal with emotions and the emotions of others.

After Hours Vancouver Aquarium January 19 After Hours is an aquatic evening experience for adults (19+) that provides the opportunity to enjoy galleries, shows and special presentations in a fun and social atmosphere. Drinks and food available to purchase. Dine Out Vancouver Festival Various Vancouver venues January 20–February 5 The 17-day festival offers unique culinary experiences, such as guided dining adventures, brunch crawls, wine debates, guest chef dinners, street-food markets, and more, plus hundreds of restaurants offering multi-course dinners at $20, $30, or $40. Cosmic Nights: Time Travel H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, Vancouver January 26, 6:30-10 pm Cosmic Nights is back at the Space Centre! Discover the wonders of the universe over drinks and a party for the adventurer in all of us! This is a 19+ event. Tickets start at $20. Cannery Farmers’ Market Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, Richmond January 29, February 12 & 26, 10am-3pm This indoor community market features local food and artisan merchants in a unique historic cannery setting. Admission is free. Guided heritage tours are available on market days by donation. 604.664.9009

Children the Heart of the Matter Conference Sheraton Guildford Hotel, Surrey February 17-18 This conference brings together those involved in the care and education of young children to raise awareness and knowledge of child care and early childhood development services, family resource programs and more, through professional development, networking and sharing of info and resources. Winterruption 2017 Granville Island February 19-21 The west coast’s favourite winter festival is back with the city’s best music, theater, art, performance and food. Please see the website for more event information. Climb the Wall: The Stairclimb for Clean Air 2017 Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel February 26, 9am Are you ready to step up for cleaner air? Challenge yourself; test your strength, stamina and lungs against the 48 floors to an epic stairclimb while supporting the BC Lung Association in its fight against lung disease. $125 fundraising minimum. Visit for more family friendly events in October! To have your event included in the WestCoast Families community calendar, please email your details to Go to to see more local and community family events in your area.

Vancouver Wine Festival Various Locations February 11-19 This is an opportunity to learn about and enjoy some of the world’s finest wines, featuring tastings, pairings, educational seminars and culinary competitions.

January/February 2017 27

community Centralized Recycling Day Westhill Park, Kyle Centre & Heritage Mountain Community Centre, Port Moody January 7, 10am-3pm If you’ve got extra recycling left over from your holiday season, don’t miss the Centralized Recycling Day! Drop off boxes, wrapping paper, Styrofoam, packaging and plastic film for recycling. The Little Mermaid HUB International Theatre, Chilliwack January 11- 22 Based on the animated 1989 Disney film, The Little Mermaid the musical follows Ariel, an intelligent and strong willed young mermaid who longs to leave her ocean home in search of her destiny in the world above. Adults, $23. Yo u n g E n t re p re n e u r Le a r n i n g L a b s KidPreneur Market Day Semiahmoo Shopping Centre, Surrey January 15 Come check out the Market Day and support local KidPreneurs as they debut their handcrafted products and launch their mini-businesses at the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre! Sensory Hour! Sky Zone, Surrey January 16, 6-8pm Sensory Hour is a unique program run for guests with special needs and their parents/ family to enjoy the fun at this indoor trampoline park together! The music is turned down to accommodate sensory needs, as well as scheduling specially trained staff to work with guests. 6th Annual Hot Chocolate Festival Vancouver January 19-February 14 Hot chocolate makers have come together to spike their hot chocolate drinks with the wildest, most delicious flavours you can imagine. This festival is a fundraiser for the Downtown Eastside women’s job training program of the PHS Community Services Society and East Van Roasters.


Family Movie Matinee Chuck Bailey Rec Centre January 21, 3-5pm Gather the family and enjoy a movie and popcorn with other members of the community! This is a free event! Register online to guarantee your spot. Vive les Voyageurs Fort Langley National Historic Site January 21-22 Explore folklore and culture of the voyageurs and fur traders who lived at 19th-century Fort Langley. Learn a Métis dance, attend a French 101 lesson, join the Fur Trade Wedding and fill up on delicious maple taffy and poutine while listening to live Voyageur-style music. | 604.513.4777 Family Day at PdA Place des Arts, Coquitlam January 22, 1:30-3:30pm Participate in a variety of all-ages, drop-in style art activities related to three new exhibitions, plus paint along to live music performed by Place des Arts students in a new activity called “Notes in Painting.” Admission is free; please register online. Family Literacy Day Various Locations January 27 This is a national awareness initiative held annually to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family. Events run throughout the Lower Mainland. Westside Montessori Academy Preschool Open House 3075 Slocan St., Vancouver January 28, 10:30am-1:30pm Parents can meet our teachers, view our classroom environments and learn about all the wonderful experiences our Montessori Preschool provides for their child.

Cool It! In Your Community Free Family Workshop Vancouver Public Library Kitsilano Branch January 28, 12:30-4:30pm Designed for both parents and children, the free 90 minute workshop will educate and inspire families to help combat the effects of climate change by reducing their GHG emissions. Grow a Wish Tree ArtStats Gallery, 808 Richards St., Vancouver Jan 29, 11am-1pm Come listen to a reading of The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Chris Turnham. Wishes come true as the gentle story unfolds, and once it’s done, families will create a wish tree to write and hang their own wishes on. Free. My Friend Raffi Rio Theatre, 1660 East Broadway January 29, 1pm Based on the popular book of the same name, come see this family friendly show. Sammy’s multi-talented hamster, Raffi gets kidnapped and a hamster rescue is in order! This is in German with subtitles. Odysseo Under the white big top at Olympic Village, Vancouver January 29–February 19 Cavalia presents a multimedia performance that uses equestrian arts, stage arts, and high-tech theatrical effects to examine the century-old relationship between human and horse. Tickets start at $29.50 (plus service charges and fees) VSO Tiny Tots: Mother Goose Goes to the Symphony Playhouse Theatre, Vancouver February 3-4 The VSO Tiny Tots series features professional musicians and music educators Let Your Music Shine with Lisa and Linda in their own musical presentations for little ones, from toddlers to age five. tiny-tots/

calendar The Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade Chinatown, Vancouver February 12, 11am Help celebrate Chinese New Year at this signature event featuring lion dances, cultural dance troupes, marching bands, martial arts performances and much more. Family Day at the Carousel Burnaby Village Museum February 13, 11am-2pm This program is designed for families with young children to enjoy the antics of a children’s entertainer, get creative with children’s art activities, join in some heritage games, and take unlimited carousel rides! $6.50 per person ($5.85 per member) For the Love of Nature Campbell Valley Regional Park February 13, 11am-2pm Celebrate nature with family and loved ones this Family Day weekend. Enjoy arts and crafts activities that expand your ability to observe and appreciate nature. Meet at the Nature House. This is a free event. Family Day at Fort Langley NHS Fort Langley National Historic Site February 13 Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday for free and experience a day in the life of a fur trader family. Participate in 1800s chores, watch an historic weapons demonstration, take part in a nature walk, and join in on the fun with the new family scavenger hunt.

Open House at Vancouver Bilingual Preschool 949 W 49th Ave, Vancouver February 18, 10am-2pm Explore preschool options at the Vancouver Bilingual Preschool Open House, where parents and children can learn about their programs, meet teachers and explore the facilities. Derby Tales Round the Campfire Derby Reach Regional Park February 18, 12noon-3pm Gather round a crackling campfire for tales of nature and life in the wilderness. Bake bannock and bring a mug for hot chocolate to this free family event. Bubble Guppies LIVE! Queen Elizabeth Theatre February 19, 2pm Featuring rockin’ music, comedic high jinks, and audience participation, the Bubble Guppies will leave no stone left unturned and no bubble left un-popped in order to get the show on the road. Heritage Week 2017 Various Locations throughout Vancouver February 20-26 In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, “My Canada!” is the theme and is designed to inspire Canadians to embrace, explore and enjoy their own heritage places and spaces across the country. Fun events are planned throughout the area.

Harlem Globetrotters Pacific Coliseum February 25, 1 & 6pm The Harlem Globetrotters are an exhibition basketball team that combines athleticism, theater, and comedy and they’re coming to Vancouver! Bring the whole family for this entertaining show. The Cat in the Hat The Waterfront Theatre, Granville Island February 25-March 19 The Cat and his hat appears one rainy day and turns the Boy, Sally and the Fish’s world upside down. Prepare for wacky fun and a great tale. Recommended for ages 3-8 with select all-ages performances for the whole family Birth Fair Cloverdale Agriplex, Surrey Feb 25 and 26 For soon-to-be parents, the Birth Fair is a must-see event that promises to help through this often challenging and anxious time and ensure you get the best specialized services and support, for you and your baby’s healthy future! All Ticket Proceeds go to BC Women’s Hospital Foundation! Pet Lover Show TRADEX, Abbotsford Feb 25 and 26 With educational seminars from industry experts from across the province, live animal entertainment, and the latest in pet products and services, this weekend is a “can’t-miss” for pet owners living in Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

FOR MORE amazing events, visit us at and check out our events calendar and listing pages. January/February 2017 29

last look Starting a book club for kids by Jodi Iverson

We typically consider reading a solitary activity but including a social aspect gives it a whole new appeal for kids. What better way to encourage a love of books than to create a community that is supportive of reading? A book club is a great way to foster a love of literature and thoughtful discussion at any age.

who? Decide who you want to invite and ensure they are keen. You want the kids to be excited about book club! It is optimal to select kids who are at a similar reading level. Keeping the number between four and seven members will give each member ample time to participate in the discussion while keeping each meeting entertaining.

what? We suggest compiling a list of titles of various genres and letting the kids choose from your list for the first selection. After this, encourage suggestions from the members. Check for a list to get you started!

when? We suggest every 60-90 days as a reasonable time to read each title. Keep this in mind when making your selections.

how? Loosely following a basic structure will help your meetings run smoothly. As your book club moves forward, it will find its natural flow and allow you to add your own unique touches. Opening discussion: We suggest having a few predetermined questions to get the discussion going. The length of your discussion will depend on the age of your members. Activity: Depending on the age of your members, plan a

where? Deciding where to hold your meetings will largely depend on the size of your group. You can hold it in your home or rotate amongst member’s homes. If your group is large you may consider contacting a local bookshop or public library to see if they would like to host you!


creative activity relating to the book. Try making a cartoon strip, acting out scenes, or creating a diorama. Get creative! Refreshment: Every good meeting has a healthy snack! Planning for the next meeting: Discuss the next book selection

and meeting details.

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WCF Jan Feb 2017  

The January|February 2017 issue of WestCoast Families magazine, based in Vancouver BC. Featuring our annual Education focus, plus fundraisin...

WCF Jan Feb 2017  

The January|February 2017 issue of WestCoast Families magazine, based in Vancouver BC. Featuring our annual Education focus, plus fundraisin...