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The Local Guide for Active Urban Families

kids arts in the

may/june 2016

preschool & daycare | day camps

May/June 2016


families westcoast

may/june 2016

• preschool & daycare • day camps • kids in the arts

on our cover... River gets his supplies ready for art class! Photo by Dylan Doubt

Travel Birch Bay Getaway

WCF Feature Celebrate Mom & Dad

Preschool & Daycare Options for your child

Preschool & Daycare Resource Listings





Preschool & Daycare Language of Encouragement

Preschool & Daycare Are preschoolers immature?

Camp Guide Resource Listings

Kids in the Arts Up and coming local stars





Kids in the Arts Resource Listings

WCF Feature Green up gardening

Camp Guide Choosing a summer camp




dad&mom 40

from the editor


Smiley Nesbitt & Jen MacCormack

6 8 38 43 28 30

next issue july/august • Families with Special Needs • Summer Fun • Women in Business 4

From Our Family to Yours WestCoast Finds WCF News Time Out Community Calendar Last Look Making Memories Instagram: @westcoastfamilies

May/June 2016


from our family to yours


families westcoast

others, Fathers, and Art…Oh My! It’s that time of year again, and since we now publish a joint May and June issue, WestCoast Families is honoured to pay tribute to all the amazing moms and dads out there who work so hard to be the best parents they can be. Check out our WestCoast Mom and Dad feature on local business owners, Jen and Smiley, who we interviewed in honour of Mother’s and Father’s Day!

We’re also exploring the wild world of daycares and preschools, with an excellent article about the different styles of options available. At home or in a facility? Montessori or play-based? And how do you figure out which one is right for you? We’re also tipping our hats to kids in the arts! Check out our feature on local performers who can’t get enough of writing, singing, dancing and more. And last but not least, we’re discussing local day camps, including some of the most unique camps on offer on the Lower Mainland. Once again, thank you for picking us up from the stands. We welcome you to check out our amazing advertisers who live and work in the Lower Mainland, just like you. Managing Editor Andrea Vance Assistant Editor Kelly S. Thompson Contributing Editor Jodi Iverson Art Director & Layout Krysta Furioso Administration Jennifer Bruyns

Assistant Editor

Accounts Receivable & Payable Jennifer Brule

The advertisers in this issue allow us to provide you with all this great local information. Please support their businesses, and let them know you saw them in WestCoast Families! Advertising

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604.249.2866 Published by National Families Network Publisher: Andrea Vance For distribution inquiries, please email For submissions to our community calendars, please email

Point Grey Fiesta Parade and Fiesta June 18, 2016. Midway carnival Friday, Saturday, Sunday To share your feedback, please email Contributors Nicole Breit, Jennifer Bruyns, Nadia Gormley, Nic Enright-Morin, Krysta Furioso, Jodi Iverson, Deborah MacNamara, Kelly S. Thompson, Bettina Tioseco, Andrea Vance

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2016 readers choice

The 2016 Annual Reader’s Choice Awards It’s BACK! This time with a local twist. Look for more information on page 19 of this issue, or visit our website.

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



Visit us online for new contests every issue! Day Out With Thomas All aboard for a Day Out with Thomas! Join Thomas and his friends on a train adventure with our latest contest. We’re giving away a family four-pack of tickets to your choice of date during mid-day departures, plus a $50 gift certificate to the awesome retail goodies on offer. Total value is more than $175, so go to our website to enter today! Deadline to enter: May 15, 2016. Enter at

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May/June 2016


westcoast finds

Portage and Main PreSkool Shirt We love this Edmonton-based company for their snuggly clothes for kids, all made by hand. The graphic designs are fun and hip, with ironic sayings, like our favourite, “Kickin’ It Pre Skool,” printed on high-quality fleece sweaters with cozy cotton to keep little ones nice and warm. Kids and adults, boys and girls will all love these stylish fashion choices! | $48

Coleman Soft Coolers Camping trips are fun for the whole family, but nothing drags an outdoor experience down quite like warm drinks and tepid food. Coleman now offers 24-hour high performance soft coolers in several different sizes, keeping food and drinks cold even in high summer temperatures. The large holds 36 cans and the antimicrobial liner prevents mold and smells. A must-have on any camping trip! | $25-$43


Shrunks Nap Pad Parents on the go know that their children still need a rest to keep spirits high. Whether off to camp, hitting up Grandma’s house or nap time during preschool, these cozy mats pump up like an air mattress with built in blanket, all in a convenient carry bag! All BPA and phthalate-free, these snuggly mattresses will make for the best naps and the most well-rested toddler. | $70

Too Many Kisses Inevitably, children reach an age where parental affection results in utter and complete horror for your growing little one. This was a situation all too familiar for author, Nancy Duarte, whose new book, Too Many Kisses highlights a little bear cub whose mother won’t stop flooding him with love. Cute illustrations match the perfect bedtime story. Best of all, $2 of each sale goes to juvenile diabetes research. $9

Discipline Without Damage

Parents of kids in the arts know that travelling to and from auditions and performances can be time consuming and involve a lot of packing. Thankfully, these handy dancer bags look like a piece of luggage but transform into the perfect rack for hanging costumes and providing a small space to change at busy call times. They come in a variety of fun colours and prints and fun accessories to customize your bag.

Raising kids is a challenge, but Dr. Vanessa Lapoint, clinical psychologist, has you covered with Discipline Without Damage, a science -based book that strives to teach parents how to properly parent while simultaneously boosting children’s development. With an approachable tone and easyto-read tips and tricks, this new book will be permanently on any parent’s bookshelf. | $175 and up

Rac n Roll


May/June 2016



Birch Bay Getaway! The perfect spring escape by Jodi Iverson


here’s nothing better than getting away as a family, but sometimes it can be tricky to pick locations that appeal to everyone, especially if you have children whose ages span further than each other’s interest. Finding the perfect getaway can be challenging and involve hours of research into the latest and greatest, but finding a onestop destination is like hitting vacation jackpot. It means rest and relaxation instead of spending your entire trip packing and unpacking and shuttling around to new locations each night. If spring has you itching to get away but the idea of long drives and airports just doesn’t appeal to you, consider our friendly neighbour to the south. Just an hour from Vancouver, Blaine, Washington is an excellent choice for an impromptu family getaway. With lovely beaches, stunning views and lots of family friendly activities, Blaine is a place not to be missed.

Where to Stay? Reminiscent of Kellerman’s from the movie Dirty Dancing, Semiahmoo Resort is located just across the border and on the end of the breathtaking two-kilometre Semiahmoo spit, surrounded by a county park. The resort offers a cozy seaside stay with panoramic views and an abundance of family fun at your doorstep. This getaway will have you feeling a lifetime away from the hustle of city life while still providing all of the amenities one would expect of a full service resort. If you prefer to kick back onsite, you won’t lack for adventure! Enjoy the heated indoor/outdoor pool, the spa, two golf courses, tennis, or spend the day at the beach exploring tide pools. There are so many choices that your days are sure to be full. When you are ready to wind down, enjoy a movie in the resort’s own theatre or enjoy a family friendly beachfront bonfire complete with yummy s’mores! Dining is no problem with two onsite restaurants. The daily breakfast buffet is unique and absolutely tasty, with lovely upscale choices that will please the whole family. Try lunch or happy hour at Packers Oyster Bar and don’t miss dinner at the Pierside Kitchen. Cozy up with blankets on the patio, which provides a front-row seat to one of the most incredible sunsets you will ever see!


What to Do? Just a short walk from the resort you will find the Alaska Packers Museum. Housed in an original cannery building that operated on Semiahmoo spit from 1882 to 1964, the museum is chock full of interesting exhibits relating to the Pacific Northwest’s salmon industry. For another unique day adventure, hop on the Plover! This charming little walk-on ferry runs a service from Semiahmoo Resort to the city of Blaine. Originally built as a shuttle to the cannery, this historic vessel now serves as the oldest foot passenger ferry in the state of Washington. Departing from Blaine Harbour on the hour and Semiahmoo Resort on the half hour, this donation-run vessel is sure to be loved by children and adults alike.

Also not to be missed, the Juan de Fuca Strait is home to some of the largest migration paths for whale pods in the entire world. Whale watching tours are plentiful in the region and an excellent opportunity for families to experience the majestic and often private beauty of these magnificent creatures. Semiahmoo Resort offers a tour straight from their location for vacationers looking for an all-in-one experience If you’re looking for a new way to explore the ocean, Moondance Sea Kayak adventures offers guided kayak tours to explore the beautiful surroundings of the Drayton Harbor. The harbour acts as a habitat to an impressive array of visible wildlife, from sea lions and harbour seals to blue herons and bald eagles. Semiahmoo Resort also offers paddleboard rentals for the adventurous vacationer.

Semiahmoo Park is a great place to do some exploring with kids of all ages, with far out tides that make for great beachcombing. The park offers plenty of wildlife paddling around the water, especially seals! Follow the boardwalks or trails through the Park to enjoy some worldclass bird watching! It also sports some amazing sunsets that you won’t want to miss, but do keep in mind that there are no bathrooms, so be sure to get the kiddies to make a restroom stop before you arrive! Or why not visit the Blaine Marine Park, which has some of the most captivating views and wildlife around. This stunning location has it all, with washrooms for the littles, public art to admire and stroll through, bird and whale watching, and tons of hiking trails for appreciating the amazing scenery that Blaine has to offer. Parents will love the opportunity to cozy up to a family

picnic while kids will appreciate 2015’s addition of a brand new, state-of-the-art playground! Don’t forget to check out the lighthouse and the resident totem pole for simultaneous education. If you’re looking into some other options of Blaine-related travel, why not visit some of the many local wineries? The area is well known for the variety of pinot noir red wines, thanks to the dry summer conditions. Dakota Creek Winery has some tasty options that you will be stuffing into your luggage with bottles, not to mention the incredible views you’ll have while you sip a pinot! If you are looking for a day trip away, there is no better choice than Birch Bay. Only ten minutes from the resort, Birch Bay has long been a favorite destination for Lower Mainland families. Explore miles of beautiful beach on foot or by bike and be sure to make a pit stop at the famous C Shop

for homemade treats. The “C” stands for candy, of course, but they also offer a variety of homemade fare, such as chowder and pizza, perfect for a hearty family lunch. If you are so inclined, hit up the family oriented waterslides for a cool down. Kids of ages, from toddlers to the young at heart, will enjoy the variety of slides. With its natural beauty and proximity to Vancouver, Blaine is a great choice for family travel! The next day you need an escape, Blaine is the place!


May/June 2016



mom &dad by Kelly S. Thompson

It’s time to celebrate the people in our lives who make us who we are, and guide us towards being happy, healthy adults. We know that families aren’t just moms and dads, they are also grandmas and grandpas, two moms and two dads, uncles and aunts, guardians and friends! We’ve rounded up some of the best Mother’s and Father’s Day events in the Lower Mainland...

Fairmont Mother’s Day Run Take a three, five or ten kilometre walk/run, which starts in Stanley Park and winds its way towards the Olympic flame! Moms receive commemorative scarves at the finish line and proceeds go to supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Water Adventure Have a mom or dad who can’t get enough of water and action? Rent a jet ski or kayak and take a tour though English Bay and up into the local islands.

Beer Tour Mother’s Day Artisan Sale at VanDusen Here you’ll find unique jewellery, customs crafts and more, all in one of the most stunning locales! Take a stroll through the garden after and enjoy some tea in the café.

Mom and dad will both enjoy a brewery tour where they can stop in to local breweries to test their tastiest IPAs, lagers and more!

Father’s Day at Burnaby Village Mother’s Day at Glades Garden Love gardens but live in Surrey? Sip high tea at the Glades Garden, while also relaxing to live music and a plant sale in a stunning settling of blooming flowers.

Dad will feel spoiled at Burnaby Village, where he will cruise through a collection of vintage cars and motorcycles and learn about indigenous peoples. Don’t forget to buy him an ice cream!

River Cruise

Father’s and Mother’s Day at Rocky Mountain Flatbread

Explore the Fraser River up close on a special Mother’s Day riverboat cruise. Eat a tasty meal while seeing Steveston, New Westminster and more from a unique perspective.

What better way to celebrate mom and dad than with cheap but tasty beer? Rocky Mountain Flatbread offers tasty pizzas that the whole family will love, with a $5 pint special for dad’s special day and free brownies for mom.


Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival

Brunch on Grouse

This year, the Dragon Boat Festival coincides with Father’s Day! Watch athletes in top form compete through the water while watching bands and other entertainment and snacking on tasty treats. Don’t miss the Interactive Circus performances!

There’s nothing better than brunch, except, of course, brunch at the top of Grouse Mountain, made by incredible chefs who have rounded up a spectacular menu that will be enjoyed while staring out at mountain peaks. And for Father’s Day, put off celebrations for a day or two and take on the Multi-Grouse Grind challenge, to see how many trips you and your family can make on this grueling course during the longest day of the year!

Mother’s Day Concert and Cake Magical singer, Ingrid Mapson, will polish her vocal pipes at the Silk Purse Gallery in West Vancouver. On Friday May 6, concert goers will enjoy cake and tea while being entertained and swept away by the beautiful melodies.

Take in a Play Moms, dads and the whole family will enjoy taking in a play with local writers and actors. The Cultch offers a variety of fun events in their current season.

Porsche Show and Ride for Cystic Fibrosis Have fun while supporting a great cause. Dad will love spending Father’s Day surrounded by a series of high-end, race performance vehicles, culminating in a cruise down Marine Drive.

More online! Visit us at to find even more ways to celebrate mom and dad!

May/June 2016 13

preschools & daycare

Preschool and Daycare Options While type is best for your child? by Nic Enright-Morin


ecoming a parent pretty much guarantees sleepless nights. Losing shut-eye because your little darling is up half the night is a given, but what many parents don’t consider is sleep loss due to the decisions they have to make on behalf of their child. Sooner or later, all parents have to navigate the minefield of choice in terms of childcare. With so many options available, it is little wonder that parents can feel stressed and overwhelmed. WestCoast Families has broken down the range of preschools and daycare choices available in the Lower Mainland. We’ve even included some of the most important questions that you need to ask. That way everyone will get a good night sleep, right?

Types of Preschool Montessori Developed in Italy by Maria Montessori, this method focuses on each child as an individual and strongly believes that all children learn differently and at their own pace. The Montessori Method encourages children’s sense of independence and focuses on hands-on learning and kid’s natural curiosity and desire to learn. These types of preschools also believe that all children are global citizens and cultural diversity and differences are celebrated. Parent Participation Preschool (PPP) Parent participation preschool is exactly as the name suggests; this is no “drop and run” preschool, but rather, parents are actively involved in their child’s learning. While the structure of parent participation preschools vary, depending on location, most involve stints as the duty parent (working in the classroom with all the kids) at least once a month, as well as having a role at the preschool (managing the library or writing the newsletter, for example), as well as attending monthly parent education meetings. Being a part of PPP allows you to be involved in your child’s early education, as well the opportunity to meet the other families and children your child is interacting with. Reggio Emilia Like Montessori, the Reggio approach was developed in Italy. It believes that children form their personalities in the early years of development and it encourages children and teachers to question, discover, and think critically in a stimulating and creative environment. The environment in the Reggio approach is crucial to its philosophy and is considered to be the third teacher (children and teachers are the first two). Parents are also involved in the experience and should expect frequent communication from the teachers. Waldolf Waldolf preschools (also called Steiner education) are based on the educational beliefs of Rudolph Steiner, from Germany. For preschool, the philosophy is that children learn best in an environment that has a daily routine that encompasses free play, artistic endeavours and practical tasks. The classroom is intended to reflect a child’s home and has simple tools available, as well as toys that encourage imaginative play. Using toys that


are made from natural materials is a big part of the Waldolf mandate, and the use of electronics such as television and computers for preschoolers is frowned upon. Play-Based One of the most common types of preschools to be found in the Lower Mainland is a play-based preschool. All teachers at these preschools have an Early Childhood Educator Licence (ECE). The classroom is divided into centres; such as a science area, water table or reading nook, and children are encouraged to play in the areas that they naturally gravitate towards, as well as explore other centres they may not. The belief in this approach is that children learn many valuable life skills through play, including social skills, communication, getting along with their peers and a readiness for kindergarten.

Daycare Options Daycare Centre Daycare centres are generally run out of a private facility building and are usually open Monday to Friday, during set hours. Children are usually divided by age, so you know that your kids are socializing with peers, and they are often well-regulated, which is gives comfort to some. Because of required staff ratios, you can almost always guarantee that service will be available if you have a space allotted, even when staff is sick. These types of daycares tend to be costly, but several do follow some of the preschool methods outlined above. Home Daycare Home daycares are run from someone’s home, and due to the regulations on child ratios, it often means less kids attend. They can have more of a family feel and children of all ages are mixed in together and the price is often much easier on the pocketbook. Home daycares are often much more flexible with pick up and drop off times, but if the daycare provider goes on vacation, or falls sick themselves, you can also be left without childcare. However, not all private daycares are created equally, so it’s imperative that you shop around on behalf of your child. Family Care Assistance Some of us are lucky to have family nearby, and many grandparents, aunts, and uncles are willing and interested in helping with daycare provision. The benefit is that your children will be cared for by people who already know and love them and of course, is significantly lower in cost (or sometimes free!). However, much like home daycares, if your family is sick, you can lose your provider, and family dynamics may make it emotionally tricky to make certain assertions about how your child is raised. When it comes to choosing preschools and daycares, not only do you need to consider a daycare/preschool that has beliefs similar to your own, you also need to weigh the more practical aspects: things like cost, hours, and proximity to your home. Ultimately making the right choice for your child is one that only you can make. Do your research, trust your instincts and place your child’s happiness and wellbeing at the top of your list. If you do, you’re certain to find the right fit for the whole family.

Important Things to Consider • Before committing to any program for your child, do your homework. • No ones knows your child better, and what makes them happy, than you. • What do you want your child to get out of the experience? • What are the most important things you want as a parent? Make a list and choose accordingly. • Ask your potential provider: What are their views on discipline? How do they structure their day? How many people will be looking after the children? Are they licensed? Do they have formal training? First aid? What kinds of snacks (if any) are provided? • Write down questions and take a tour of the facilities.

May/June 2016 15

wcf resources in

preschool & daycare Check out these local businesses that specialize in the best care for your little ones! Advertisers in orange

Resources Child Care Options BC Aboriginal Child Care Society Child Care Resource & Referral programs Daycare Bear North Shore Child Care Resource and Referral Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre

Brightstart Children’s Academy

Vancouver Bilingual

Counsel of Parent Participation Preschools

West Point Grey Community Centre

Fraser Montessori Daycare

Association of Neighbourhood Houses

Jellybean Park

City Hall Child Care Society

Kids and Company

Creekview Tiny Tots Society

Purpose Society

Developmental Disabilities Association

Reach for the Stars Montessori

Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver


Multiple Locations

Vancouver Society of Childrens Centres




Collingwood Neighbourhood House

YMCA of Greater Vancouver

My Whole Earth

Aboriginal Head Start Association

Spare Time Child Care Society

Bee Haven Kids

SPG Child Care

Brantford Montessori Childcare

Kerrisdale Little Owls Preschool Kiwassa Neighbourhood house Montessori Daycare Society Mount Pleasant Community Centre Pomme d’Api UBC Childcare Services Vancouver Bilingual Preschool Westside Montessori Academy Westside Montessori YWCA


Burnaby Burnaby Neighbourhood House Preschool Aubrey Daycare Centres Birchwood Daycare Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion Burnaby Family Life Discovery Childcare Centre Growing Minds Childcare Centre Parkwood Childcare SFU Childcare Society Starlight Child Care Centre Sunflower Daycare

Surrey City of Surrey A Place to Grow A to Z Childcare Centres Alexandrea Neighbourhood House Bright Eyes Academy Caterpillar Fun House

Cornerstone Montessori

Port Coquitlam Daycare Society

Creative Kids Learning Centres

Shining Star Daycare

Honey Tree The Children’s Learning Centre

Stay’N’Play Daycare

Kids Zone Child Care Centre

Step by Step Child Development Society

Kidzville Learning Centres

Write Choice Early Learning Centre

Olio Childcare

Maple Ridge

Pacific Heights Montessori Children’s Centre

123 ABC Montessori

Rise N Shine Childcare Centres Roots & Wings Montessori

Coquitlam Bramblewood Montessori Early Learning Childcare Centre Friendship Corner Daycare Future Kids Daycare Green Apple Daycare Parkland Players

Alouette Children’s Centre Conscious Kids Care Fun Farm Child Care Imagination Station Kids Heaven Meadowridge Centre for Childcare Small Steps Childcare Sprouting Minds Preschool Start Smart Childcare Centre

Sunshine Children’s Centre

North & West Vancouver Gatehouse Montessori Acorn Early Education Centre Apple Blossom Childcare Centre BellaBee Childcare Bluebird Group Daycare Centre Harbourside Children’s Centre Highlands Preschool Little Rascals Daycare Lonsdale Creek Daycare Centre Society North Star Montessori Elementary Olive Grove Childcare ltd. Park Place Daycare & Montessori PJ Kids Club

Smiling Stars Daycare Sweet Peas Cottage West Vancouver Child Development Centre

Richmond Aves Early Education Centre Butterfly Progressive Montessori School Cityfarm Daycare Creative Montessori Daycare Happy May Childcare Centre Les Moussaillons Little Koala Montessori Academy Little Wings Daycare Society Raindrop Bilingual Daycare Society of Richmond Childrens Centres

May/June 2016 17

preschools & daycare

Language of Encouragement Change the Way You Praise

by Bettina Tioseco, Head of Westside Montessori School |


he language we use with children is so important. In Westside Montessori classrooms, teachers are acutely aware not to overpraise. They work to foster the child’s inner guide and not to look for external reinforcements. It’s all about building independence and an inner sense of self-worth. When teachers hear, “I did it!” from a student, Montessori teachers would never say, “Good job!” Children innately feel successful so they do not need us to reinforce that feeling. The goal is for the child to relish in the feeling of meeting success. The accomplishment is theirs.

So what does encouragement versus praise look like? Praise automatically gives an evaluation on the child’s efforts. “That’s amazing!” “You’re the best!” “You’re a good boy.” These words create the habit of the child seeking acknowledgement from others. Instead, it is best to use phrases that express encouragement, without value judgment, such as, “How do you feel about that?” or“I notice many details in your picture. Tell me about them.” A warm smile or nod can also reflect encouragement and shares in the child’s moment without verbal praise, conveying engagement and participation, but the glory belongs solely to the child. Focusing on acknowledging the child’s efforts rather than results is another affirmative route to take, with statements like, “You worked hard on that piece,” or, “Sounds like that was challenging for you and you persevered.” These comments show that you recognize their efforts, but deflects the idea of needing your approval or thumbs up. “The child, in fact, once he (she) feels sure of himself (herself ), will no longer seek the approval of authority after every step,” said Dr. Maria Montessori. In the classroom, it is important that teachers especially avoid phrases that create expectations. Comments such as, “You’re so smart,” and, “You’re really good at math,” are hard to constantly live up to. Instead of being encouraging, these statements can be debilitating, resulting in children unwilling to try new challenges, unless they know that they can live up to these words. It takes a lot to retrain ourselves to adapt and to change the language we use with our children. But the impact is huge. Here is a handy chart that might help: Instead of…

Say this…

“Clever girl!”

“How do you feel about that?”

“I love it!”

“I can see the effort you put into this.”

“I’m so proud of you.”

“You must be very proud of yourself.”

“You’re so helpful.”

“I appreciate your help.”

“What a beautiful drawing!”

“It looks like you enjoyed creating that.”

By employing these new comments and not reaching for praise for children, we are able to teach them they are capable of hard things and without detering them from taking on situations, questions and problems that require confidence and a willingness to fail. It’s not about the constant praise and affirmations.

Rewards and Punishments The same attitude towards praise applies to rewards and punishments, and we must adjust our thinking to change the way children approach challenges. “The prize and punishments are incentives toward unnatural or forced effort, and, therefore we certainly cannot speak of the natural development of the child in connection with them,” said Dr. Maria Montessori Further to the idea of fostering the child’s inner guide, the same logic can be said for external reinforcement through rewards and punishments. Gold stars, stickers, prizes – these are short-term motivators for the behaviour we want to see. They are proven to be ineffective in creating lasting change in attitude or conduct. Instead, they feed the idea that one’s positive actions warrant a reward. “If I’m good, I’ll get it…” It doesn’t make positive behaviour the expectation, rather it creates a habit of dependency on receiving something tangible or a privilege in return. Instead of…

Say this…

“If you hurry, we’ll get ice cream after.”

“It’s important that we arrive on time.”

“Put on your shoes and you get a sticker.” “It feels good when we get dressed on our own.” “If you eat all of it, you can pick out a toy.” “Our bodies feel good when we eat good food.” It takes conscious effort to use encouragement, rather than praise. While not offering consistent praise may not sound right at first or feel natural, trust that the long-term effects are lasting and powerful. Small tweaks in the daily language we use with our children can have a lasting impact on the way they see themselves.

Suggested Reading: How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish Between Parent and Child: The Bestselling Classic That Revolutionized Parent-Child Communication by Dr. Haim G. Ginott The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about Children and Parenting by Alfie Kohn


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readers choice awards

The Annual WCF Reader’s Choice Awards is BACK... And this time better than ever. WestCoast Families magazine always focuses on the best that our local community has to offer for kids and families. And now, our Reader’s Choice Awards will keep that same local focus, featuring only homegrown products, services, resources and stores. Enter, and you can WIN too!


Not only can you help us find the best for kids and families, you can also WIN great prizes. Prizes will be drawn every two weeks, so the earlier you enter, the more chances you have to win.

families westcoast

2016 readers choice

Enter at Deadline to vote and enter: September 30, 2016

May/June 2016 19

preschools & daycare

Are Preschoolers Immature? What preschoolers wish parents understood by Dr. Deborah MacNamara


oung children are some of the most misunderstood people around—they don’t think like us, act like us, or look at the world the same way we do. They have the capacity to baffle us with behaviour and emotions that are unpredictable, impulsive, and brazen. The preschooler, a broad term given to children between the ages of one to six, routinely knows much better than they behave. The reason they act “immature” has little to do with their intentions and more to do with brain development. The parts of the brain responsible for self-control, reflection, or the capacity to think twice are not fully wired up until between the ages of five to seven, if conditions are ideal. The book Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (or anyone that acts like one), demystifies the personality of the young child and returns a sense of wonder and appreciation to this unique time of life. The book is grounded in developmental science and the approach of Dr. Gordon Neufeld, a BC based developmental psychologist. One of the distinct themes underlying Rest, Play, Grow, is how young children flourish when afforded the right conditions to grow. Parents are like gardeners who tend to a child’s environment by answering their hunger for contact, closeness, and human attachment. If a child is not rooted relationally, they cannot grow. Every child needs at least one adult who assumes responsibility for caring for them, reading their needs, protecting, and guiding them. It is a child’s love for a parent that fosters dependency on that parent to care for them. We cannot truly take care of a child if we do not have their heart. The challenge for parents is how to preserve their relationship with a preschooler in the face of their challenging behaviour and emotional upset. How do they navigate through bedtime battles, separation anxiety, resistance and opposition, as well as temper tantrums while keeping their attachment needs in mind? If we don’t lead through these incidents, our children won’t learn the limits and restrictions that are part of life, however, if we become a source of fear or are too coercive, we lose our relational dance with them. There is a way through and it means never losing sight that our relationship with our children is what fuels their growth as separate, social and adaptive beings. When a child can take for granted their relational needs will be met, they are free to explore their world, express themselves in it, and to play. It is in play where they will grow most as separate beings where their unique interests and preferences take shape. It is play where a child should feel free to experiment, practice, try things on for size, and not have to suffer “real” consequences for their actions. Play is where the neural networks that underlie problem solving and creativity are formed, and where strong emotions can be expressed. Play is the leading edge of development for a young child and parents need to buffer against the cultural tide to push youngsters towards early academics. There is a misguided belief that we can push development and that earlier is better despite developmental science that says otherwise. If young kids could tell us what they needed most it would be to not hold their immaturity against them. They would encourage us to hold onto the big picture and trust that nature wasn’t misguided in giving us impulsive,


egocentric and inconsiderate little beings to care for. Our youngsters will grow with time, patience, and good caretaking, guided by the developmental potentials that are driven growth always. Human growth is a wondrous thing but maturity is not assured without the right caretaking. It is indeed possible to grow older but not grow up. What our youngsters need most from us to work at fostering the relational gardens for them to grow in, to take the lead when their immaturity gets the better of them, and to steer them towards becoming their own separate person. Being a child’s best bet isn’t about parenting perfection but freeing our children from having to work for love. When we realize that being a child’s answer is more important than having all the answers, we can be confident that we will find our way through, taking our child with us. The beautiful thing is that what our children need most from us is already inside of to us give. Dr. Deborah MacNamara is on Faculty at the Neufeld Institute, founder of the Kid’s Best Bet Development Clinic, and author of Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (or anyone who acts like one). For more information see or

May/June 2016 21

2016 camp guide part 2: day camps

Advertisers listed in red

performing & visual art camps Arts Umbrella


Bard on the Beach


Bricks 4 Kidz


Camp Monarch

North Vancouver

Circus West

Vancouver, Surrey

Cowboys and Angels


Dance Matrix

New Westminster

Evergreen Cultural Centre

Multiple locations

Gabriela’s Movement Studio


Gateway Academy for Performing Arts


Leigh Square Community Arts Village


Pacific Dance Arts


Place des Arts


Port Moody Arts Centre

Port Moody

School of Groove




The Arts Centre

Port Moody

The Drama Class


Tom Lee Music

Multiple locations

UBC Word Wrestlers



May/June 2016 23

2016 camp guide part 2: day camps

Advertisers listed in red

sports camps BC Wheelchair Sports Burnaby 8 Rinks Cliffhanger Climbing Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Dojang Endless Biking Flicka Gymnastics First Steps Archery Gord Haukas Tennis Camp Jericho Sailing Centre Jump Gymnastics My Gym Children’s Centre North Shore Equestrian Centre Phoenix Gymnastics Pony Pals Riding Stables Royal Soccer Club SFU Camps Ultimate Soccer School Vancouver All Stars Summer Baseball Camp Vancouver All Star Cheer Vancouver Hockey School Webb’s Holiday Acres West Van Soccer Windsure Adventure Watersports


Vancouver Burnaby Multiple locations North Vancouver Vancouver North Vancouver North Vancouver New Westminster Vancouver Vancouver Vancouver Maple Ridge North Vancouver Vancouver Delta Multiple locations Burnaby Burnaby Vancouver Delta, Coquitlam Vancouver Aldergrove West Vancouver Vancouver

May/June 2016 25

2016 camp guide part 2: day camps

Advertisers listed in red

science | technology | education camps Brockton School

North Vancouver

Digital Media Academy




Finnegan Summer


Fraser Academy


GEERing Up!


Genome Geneskool Camp


High Touch Science Made Fun

Vancouver, Victoria

Langara College Camp


Pear Tree


Science World


SFU Camps





Spirit of Math

The Centre for Digital Media

UBC Phenomenal Physics Summer Camps


May/June 2016 27

2016 camp guide part 2: day camps

Advertisers listed in red

nature/adventure camps BC SPCA Kids Camp Beehaven Kids Brentwood College School Burns Bog Conservation Society Camp Pringle Fort Langley Day Camps Green Bay Bible Camps Grouse Mountain Sasamat Outdoor Centre SFU Camps Soaring Eagle Nature School Stanley Park Ecology Society Stillwood Camps Timberline Ranch UBC FarmWonders Urban Safari Vancouver Aquarium Kids Camps YMCA Camps of Greater Vancouver

Various Locations North Vancouver Victoria Area Delta Shawnigan Lake Fort Langley Kelowna Vancouver Belcarra Burnaby, Surrey Vancouver Vancouver Lindell Beach Maple Ridge Vancouver Surrey Vancouver Multiple locations

leadership & growth camps Broadleap


Debate Camp


YMCA Youth Leadership

Multiple locations

general fun camps Burnaby Village Museum City of Surrey JCC Camps Kid City Day Camps Mulgrave Camp PJs Kids Clubs Resort Municipality of Whistler Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co Royal BC Museum SPG Child Care Camps Spare Time Childcare Society Urban Academy Westside Montessori Academy Vancouver Zoo

Burnaby Surrey Vancouver Vancouver West Vancouver West Vancouver Whistler Vancouver Victoria Vancouver Vancouver New Westminster Vancouver Aldergrove

More online! Go to to see even more camps! We’ve done our best to ensure the information shown here is accurate, but it is always a good idea to check with each camp to confirm


May/June 2016 29

kids in the arts Kids in performing arts face unique challenges while also exploring their passions! Read our interviews below to get insight into exploring performing arts from a child’s perspective!

madison simms Age: 16 Singer, Actor, Dancer Q: Why did you get involved in the performing arts? A: I’ve always performed, since I was about three years old. I would make up shows and perform them for my mom. Q: What is the key to success in the performing arts? A: You need to train and develop, always. You need to understand that the arts also have a business side, so you need to be professional, polite and prepared! And you need to love what you do and be persistent because there is a lot of competition.

eden gilmore Age: 10 Actor Q: What is the scariest part about performing? A: When you first go onstage and see all the people staring at you and waiting for you to do something and messing up in front of millions of people. Q: What is the most fun part of the performing arts? A: Getting to learn new dance moves and how you can be a better actor while still having lots of fun with your friends.


olivia mcdonald Age: 9 Circus Performer and Singer Q: What is the most fun part of the performing arts? A: You get to do fun things and try out new and different stuff. Q: Why did you get involved in the performing arts? A: I love to be silly and to be able to feel and do what I want!

May/June 2016 31

kids in the arts

theo seto Age: 11 Gymnast Q: What is the most fun part of the performing arts? A: The most fun part of performing arts is being able to express yourself and share your passion with others. I love the Performing Arts and Gymnastics because whenever I tumble or dance or act etc. I feel like I can do anything. Q: What is the key to success in the performing arts? A: The key to success in performing arts is to believe in yourself and to work hard and not give up.

letizia reyes Age: 11 Dancer Q: What is the most fun part of the performing arts? A: The most fun part about dance is learning new choreography from the teachers at the studio and to dance with my friends. I love dancing because its the perfect way to express myself. It has given me so much confidence to accomplish many things in dance and outside of dance. Q: Why did you get involved in the performing arts? A: I started dancing because I had been watching my older sister dance for years and I wanted to look as beautiful as she did on stage. I also wanted to try something new instead of doing the same old activities and play. I love dancing. It’s the best thing in the world.

Go to to browse our online Kids & the Arts resource guide! 32

isabella troche Age: 14 Musical Theatre Q: What is the scariest part of performing? A: The scariest part of performing begins at about two weeks prior to the show, with the feeling of impending doom because everyone is under the impression that we are not yet prepared. Q: Why did you get involved in the performing arts? A: When I was four years old I wanted to sing, dance, and act, however, with my parents working fulltime, it was difficult to fit all three activities in the schedule. The Lindbjerg Academy fulfilled all those desires with a one stop drop and helped me express my animated personality.

visit us online

May/June 2016 33

wcf partners in

the arts Check out these great local performing arts programs for kids! Arts Umbrella Theatre, music, visual arts, dance, and more: Arts Umbrella has it all! Located on beautiful Granville Island, Arts Umbrella strives to foster a strong sense of self and a lifelong love of the arts from an early age. Bard on the Beach Looking for a program suitable for your young thespian? Check out Bard on the Beach young Shakespearean workshops. Inspiring kids ages eight to 18 for over 20 years! Brentwood College School Hello Dolly! Musical Theatre camp at Brentwood College is the perfect choice for the triple threat kid. Campers will spend the week at the spectacular oceanfront campus working on singing, dancing, and acting, culminating onstage with a Broadway-style performance! CircusWest You don’t have to run away to join this circus! CircusWest is the ultimate in high flying fun. Develop skills in acrobatics, trampoline, aerial silks, juggling and more! They also offer a variety of class schedules and locations on the east and west sides of Vancouver. Gabriela’s Movement Studio For growing children, dance and movement are fun ways to creatively express themselves. Gabriela offers movement and ballet classes for young children with an innovative and awardwinning approach to instruction. Gateway Theatre Academy for the Performing Arts Get immersed in the theatre! Gateway Theatre Academy offers summer camps and yearlong performance training in musical theatre, acting, singing, speech, and playwriting for youth six-18.


Northwest Academy of Performing Arts Who doesn’t want to dance in a state-of-theart facility? Boasting a built in sound system and three dance studios with sprung floors, NAPA offers exceptional training in many dance genres taught by an experienced and accredited staff.

SFU Summer Camps SFU is famous for their wide range of summer camps. This year they are inspired by the hit television series’ “Glee” and “So You Think You Can Dance!” No experience is required to attend camp so sign up kids ages eight to 13 so they can live out their small screen dreams!

Place des Arts Situated conveniently just off Hwy 1 in Coquitlam, Place des Arts offers quality arts education including music, dance, drama and much more, with classes available for the entire family! Don’t forget to check out the shop and some of the many quality exhibitions and performances that run throughout the year.

Tom Lee Music Tom Lee is well established as the go-to for local music lessons with seven Lower Mainland locations. Tom Lee features the popular Yamaha Children Program, private and group lessons, instruction in keyboard, piano, violin, guitar and so much more. Whether you have a budding Chopin, Adele or Hendrix on your hands, Tom Lee is a one-stop shop for professional instruction.

Port Moody Arts Centre Housed in the stunning former City Hall heritage building at Kyle & St. Johns Streets in Port Moody and boasting over 300 classes a year, Port Moody Arts Centre has something for everyone! They offer unique classes like adventures in film, imagination theatre and creative movement for ages tot to teen. Royal City Youth Ballet The Royal City Youth Ballet Company is a unique society, giving young dancers the opportunity to further the training their current dance education by offering the chance to perform at a high level in quality, professional productions. Famous for their annual Nutcracker shows, RCYB offers company positions as well as summer training programs, ending with an audition to be a part of next year’s Nutcracker tour.

Vancouver Bach Choir Since 1984, the Vancouver’s Bach Children’s Chorus has been giving kids aged five years to young adulthood the unique experience of singing in a choir. With seven levels of choirs, from beginner to an accomplished chamber choir, the Bach Children’s Chorus offers quality instruction and the opportunity to participate in concerts, including Christmas with the Bach Choir at the Orpheum Theatre.

More online! Visit us at to find even more ways to introduce your kids to performing arts!

May/June 2016 35

wcf feature

Green Up Gardening Tips and Tricks for a Successful Veggie Garden by Kelly S. Thompson


here’s nothing quite like the start of summer, when the skies are starting to turn blue, sun is shining and our bodies and homes seem to awaken from hibernation. As spring turns into summer, leaves unfold and lawns turn green, signifying the start of the growing season. It’s the perfect time to launch into planting your own garden and WestCoast Families has lined up a few tips and tricks for growing in the Lower Mainland. For those of us without a green thumb, the thought of starting a garden can be daunting to say the very least. These days, it doesn’t seem as easy as just throwing down some topsoil and sticking in a few half-living plants! There are countless methods out there for growing the perfect garden, and advice abounds online and in magazines. But if you’re new to the idea of communing with Mother Nature, we suggest starting with the basics and adapting your garden to suit the space, location and time you have to dedicate to your new floral friends.

Choose your plants It’s not as easy as deciding that you want to have certain plants and flowers in your garden. Some choices just won’t work in the Lower Mainland, thanks to our temperate climate and milder summers. Look for plants that do well in our moderate temperatures and also keep in mind the planned location for your garden. Something that requires full sun, like lavender, won’t do well in the shady northern side of your home or balcony. Also keep in mind the space you have for growing. Some plants, obviously, will grow larger than others. If you only have a balcony and a few pots and window planters, growing large cedars might not be wise and likewise, a single low-level petunia will look lost in a larger garden without larger plants to anchor it.

Shop, shop, shop! Now is the best part. Go out and source the best plants you can find from a local garden shop, seed swap or local farm. Look for plants and flowers that aren’t too leggy, meaning they haven’t been allowed to grow too long

without being pruned and trimmed to maximize health and growth. This is especially important for some bushes and shrubs. When purchasing flowers, they shouldn’t sag and wilt or be obviously damaged. Don’t be fooled into thinking that only the pansies with lots of blooms are the only ones worth buying. This can sometimes mean that the plant is past its prime. You can also consider growing from seed, which isn’t as challenging as it might seem. Simply start your plants indoors a few weeks before the last frost, keep them in a sunny location in loose soil, then harden them off with slow exposure to outdoor air so they don’t die of shock (literally) in their new permanent location.

Plant! It’s time to get your hands dirty. Take a look at the soil you already have, and if planting in pots, buy a good quality potting soil mix, which drains well to keep roots from rotting. Depending on the plants, you might want to consider adding some peat moss, bone meal, or other fertilizers to help your garden get off to a good start. Next, dig appropriate sized holes in the earth and place the plant inside the hole, careful to keep the stem of the plant level with the earth (especially important with trees and shrubs!). Press soil around the plant to keep it in place, then give a good dose of water for several days in a row to ensure that they take to their new home.

Maintain Now is the time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour! After reading labels to learn about the necessary care for all the plants you’ve purchased, kick back on the patio and enjoy the blooms or fruits and veggies! Water regularly, where required, and deadhead any flowers that have lost their vibrancy to make way for new growth. The fall is usually the best time to do any major pruning projects, so make sure you wait until then or you can risk permanent damage or death of your new garden. Whether a seasoned gardener or new to the planting game, a little garden can go a long way into improving the curb appeal of your home, contributing to the environment and maybe even growing the perfect ingredients for salad! Happy gardening!

Plants that do well in the Lower Mainland • • • • • • • •


Lavender- Draught resistant and lots of sun required Heather- Draught resistant and easy to grow in full sun Roses- Two inches of water per week and gentle pruning Ornamental grasses-Basically plant and grow! Full and partial sun options Daisies- Plant in spring and water every few days. Full sun recommended Herbs - Most require little maintenance, other than watering every few days. Beets - Little maintenance required, especially as you trim the greens, which are perfect for salads! Kale - Grows all year, easy to grow and harvest.

May/June 2016 37

wcf news >> Longest Day Road Race

>> National Aboriginal Day

Keeping fit is key to living a healthy lifestyle, and there’s nothing like a run to get the cardiovascular system firing at full speed. For those who enjoy some lighthearted competition, road races are full of opportunities to connect with likeminded runners. For those looking to get exercise while supporting a good cause, look no further than the Longest Day Road Race, which supports the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). The run is on Friday, June 10th and has a 5km, 10km and even a kid’s mile, so the whole family can participate. Some proceeds of the event go to supporting ongoing research for Type-1 Diabetes. “Our plan ensures there will be an ongoing stream of life-changing therapies moving from development through to commercialization that lessen the impact of T1D. We want to keep people with T1D healthy and safe until we reach our ultimate goals of finding a cure and the universal prevention of T1D,” said JDRF in a printed statement. Early bird registration is May 10th and closes June 8th, so be sure to register before max space is reached! If running isn’t your thing, those looking to support the cause can donate or sponsor a registered runner.

In the Lower Mainland, we have so many amazing opportunities to learn from our First Nations people and like all cultures, their stories are worth telling and celebrating. Don’t miss National Aboriginal Day British Columbia celebrations on June 21st, which was first proclaimed in 1996 and is celebrated all across Canada. In Vancouver, events take place at Trout Lake, allowing for a day for all Canadians to celebrate the cultures and contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. Trout Lake events will take place on Coast Salish Territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations. This is a community-based, full day of events that showcase and celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal people while gathering to share their spirit, experiences, stories, songs, art and dance with each other and the general community. All events are free, and include a resource fair, arts and crafts, teepee village, entertainment, food and more! Bring the whole family for a day of appreciation, culture, and good times for all.

>> Pop Star Parties!

>> No More Plastic Bags!

There’s nothing better than watching a child develop their own creative streak, but sometimes it can be difficult to find new ways to cultivate these passions, especially as kids get older and are learning more about technology. Thankfully, Pop Star CD and video parties are the new rage at Creativ Music Centre, where birthday parties and other celebrations get the celebrity spin with your very own dance video! Friends can gather together and learn about what it’s like to record in a studio, while lip syncing to their favourite pop star songs. There’s even a makeup artist to add a bit of sparkle to the day while a photo shoot will make anyone feel like a star. A green screen can simulate a variety of different backgrounds and voices can be mixed and dubbed for a truly unique experience. Best of all, the fun doesn’t have to end when the song ends because the party room on site is perfect for pizza party goodness. For the child who loves to perform, this makes the perfect gift and an even more amazing memory in the form of a take home CD.

The wor ld is becoming more and more environmentally conscious, and today we all have to be concerned about the impact our choices make on the future of the earth and the next generation. One of the greatest landfills clogs are plastic bags, which don’t break down and are extremely destructive to Mother Earth. We’ve seen many stores phase out plastic shopping bags in favour of reusable ones, and now Granville Island is heeding the call. The first of April marked the phase out of plastic shopping bags on the Island, taking things one step closer to a sustainable business area. Three years ago, the Island committed to reducing waste in conjunction with the city of Vancouver’s local plans for reduction in landfill contributions. These days, shop owners on Granville offer compostable cups and dining ware, meaning the Island was able to reduce waste by 60 per cent, and now plastic bags are up on the elimination docket! So the next time you feel the need for some fresh veggies or fruits, or wares from local artisans, be sure to bring your own bag or be prepared to pay two dollars for a Public Market shopping bag that will last you many visits into the future, ensuring Mother Earth does too!


May/June 2016 39

dad&mom westcoast

Smiley Nesbitt & Jen MacCormack Dynamic Duo

by Kelly S. Thompson | photos by Anastasia Chomlack


hose of us living in the Lower Mainland put up with the steep cost of living in favour of access to amazing shops, beautiful views, and incredible weather. For Jen MacCormack and her husband, Smiley Nesbitt, there is no place they would rather do business, raise their family and live a thrilling west coast life; Jen as owner of the baby store, Hip Baby, and Smiley as an agent with Macdonald reality, selling properties from his company,, where buyers can find homes in East Van, Squamish and Whistler. And when they aren’t running their successful businesses, the couple is busy raising five-year-old Charley Mae, their outdoorloving daughter. If there was ever a Lower Mainland powerhouse, it’s the MacCormack-Nesbitt family. Although she travelled the world, Jen is a Vancouver native and couldn’t imagine being elsewhere. “I grew up in Vancouver and can’t seem to live without the mountains and ocean,” she said. “I love that you can drop your child off at school, spin a few laps on Cypress Mountain and then be working by noon.” But her early career as a graphic designer brought her to Whistler where she met Smiley, then a professional skier. The pair remained friends for more than a decade before they started dating. “We shared a love of the mountains, and of the dance floor,” Jen said. Eventually, with his marketing background, Smiley became a real estate agent, while Jen explored her passion for graphic design through a children’s clothing business. Change was afoot in their little family.


Jen opened Hip Baby in 2009 when she was designing her line of organic children’s clothing, Fig. So when a business broker approached her with the Hip Baby business, she saw the perfect opportunity to promote Fig and other positive brands that spoke to environmental consciousness. “It seemed like a nobrainer to vertically integrate our brand into a store,” she said. Fig was eventually put aside to focus on Hip Baby, especially when Jen became pregnant shortly after opening. Little Charley came into the world and suddenly the couple had to figure out how to divide their time between a child, two businesses and each other. They took a modern approach, with both parents initially run off their feet with their newborn. Since Hip Baby was picking up in business, they decided it was best if Smiley became a stay-at-home dad until their daughter began school. “We wanted our daughter to spend as much quality time with us as she could before she started school,” said Jen. “It was a small sacrifice with huge rewards.” From there, Jen dedicated herself fully to Hip Baby. Having grown up in the 70s, raised by whom she describes as “fairly hippy parents,” Jen was taught about respecting her environment and appreciating all that Mother Nature offered. This educational background is what inspired her dedication to a sustainable baby product store. “With this many people on the planet we have to learn to be as sustainable as possible,” Jen said. “That is why we [Hip Baby] heavily promote cloth diapering, wooden toys that are built to last, and recycled and

“We wanted our daughter to spend as much quality time with us as she could before she started school. It was a small sacrifice with huge rewards.” up-cycled products.”True to form, her shop is also a promoter of local products and options for all price ranges. “I try to have something for everyone,” she said. When it comes to her Hip Baby legacy, Jen proudly acknowledges that it’s her products and informed staff who keep the customers returning. “It is important to me that the products I sell will last and be safe, and my customers appreciate that,” she said. Hip Baby also offers an online shop and a thriving gift registry. Charley is now in kindergarten, and Smiley is back at work in his real estate business, which he sees as blending his love for marketing with the ability to sell property in an area he cherishes, hoping to give others a little slice of the haven of the Lower Mainland. “Vancity has some amazing restaurants and there is a plethora of microbreweries that I’ve been known to frequent from time to time,” Smiley said. “You can ride your bike year-round, the food is amazing and you’re surrounded by a lot of like-minded people who appreciate the geography just as much.” With Hip Baby successful and giving other families a taste of the good life, there is a semblance of calm in the MacCormack-Nesbitt house. Despite hectic schedules, both Jen and Smiley ensure they take time for family, and owning their own businesses allows them to not only make time, but to appreciate that family togetherness. “It is very flexible and allows me to be in Charley’s life a lot,” said Smiley. “I think it is invaluable for both of us and has allowed me to be a pretty good dad.” If there was ever a couple that makes the most of living in such a great part of the world, it’s Jen and Smiley. When they aren’t managing their businesses, they’re busying pursuing their other passions. An avid skier, Smiley enjoys tearing up the powder on his own terms, but as Charley gets older, both he and Jen enjoy family days on the hill. Smiley also plays in the Vancouver Ultimate League, a great opportunity to make new friends and spend time outdoors.

For quiet couple time, Jen and Smiley maintain their love by connecting in the same way they did when they first met. “Jen and I met dancing, and a night out shaking it is still just as much fun,” said Smiley. They also spend a lot of time with family and friends, out exploring the water, hiking across mountains, and biking local roads. “We love seeing live music, eating delicious food and drinking good wine with our friends and family,” said Jen. The family has an off-the-grid cabin in the Gulf Islands, but when they aren’t in their cabin or exploring the shores of the Lower Mainland, the couple takes to Whistler, Mount Baker and more. “All of my family and friends are close by, and an endless supply of great restaurants and British Columbian wine,” Jen said. What is clear is that Smiley and Jen are intent on living life to the fullest and showing their daughter the world so that she may explore and grow as a person. “Experience as much as you can,” said Smiley. “The more things my little girl can experience, the better a human being she can become, and Jen and I are her gateway to that.” The family tries to have dinner together daily, and value that their jobs are flexible enough to allow them to maximize family time. With an eye towards the future, Jen is aiming to resurrect her baby clothing line, Fig, which was placed on the backburner after the birth of Charley, and Smiley continues to sell the west coast life to other families looking to get a piece of the property ladder. Smiley and Jen have managed to create an example of the life they hope for their daughter; one that includes success, love, and family. “We want Charley to have the freedoms that allow her to be her most creative self, combined with respect of both others and her environment,” said Jen. They hope that both their personal home life and their business practices show Charley how to be responsible and care for her environment, so that others can enjoy the Lower Mainland, like her family does, for generations to come. May/June 2016 41

camp guide

Choosing a Summer Camp How to pick the right one for your child


by Nadia Gormley, Manager, Marketing & Communications, YMCA

ending your kids to camp, whether it’s the first time or the fourth time, is a big deal and is fraught with stress and worries over picking the option that will best suit your child. Camp offers kids the chance to learn and grow, as they experience new challenges and meet new friends in a safe and controlled environment, but how do you find the right camp for your family amidst all the options out there? Sports camp or educational camp? Overnight or day? Thankfully, the Lower Mainland has countless of camp options that allow both parents and children to be as choosy as they please. Adim Hébert, Supervisor of Outdoor Education & Summer Programs at YMCA Camp Elphinstone, an overnight camp on the Sunshine Coast, notes that the most important thing families can do is ask questions so they can gather all the information possible and make an education decision based on what works for their child and their family. Hébert suggests gathering a fair bit of information and breaks it down into three simple steps:

Do your homework Check if the camps are accredited with the Canadian Camping Association and/or the BC Camping Association, which ensures that camps


comply with standards related to health, food, safety and much more. This designation alone will remove many stresses from parents who want to be sure that their child is getting the best care possible. Ask about the camp’s history and how long it’s been around to establish good business practices and a good reputation. Learn about what measures are in place to ensure children are well supervised, safe and what their emergency procedures are. Research counsellor to child ratios and the kind of training and qualifications camp staff have. “Don’t forget to source out parent or camper reviews too,” adds Hébert. With the Internet, there are countless ways to garner all this information, but there’s always word of mouth too.

Determine what matters most Figuring out ahead of time what really matters to your child will help set you up for a positive experience. Learn about the specific types of activities your child will experience at a given camp, both land and water based, and see if those activities will interest your little one. If you are looking for specialized programming, such as sailing or climbing, be sure to ask for these things specifically. And be sure to think outside the box about different camp offerings, as these days, there is something for everyone!

Manage your expectations You might think that intensive academic camp sounds brilliant for your budding scholar, but what if your child’s heart is set on that mountain bike camp that promises to teach some totally rad bunny hops? Sometimes the ideal that parents picture in their heads isn’t the one that will reflect reality, and setting these kinds of expectations can result in disappointment all around. Reflecting on what you really want your child to get out of a camp experience is a great way to start the search process. And keep in mind that no matter the type of camp your child goes to, they will always be learning something, whether it is about nature, kindness, music, or math. Above all, remember that camp should be fun! So make selecting a camp the same kind of family based experience so that your little one can return home and share all the new memories they made. YMCA Camp Elphinstone is accredited with the Canadian and BC Camping Associations, and has been delivering quality camp experiences to kids for more than 100 years. All Y camps have stringent safety and supervision measures in place and feature caring camp counsellors who complete a variety of training before summer starts. For more information, visit


Kid-free Events for Mom & Dad! BMO Vancouver International Marathon Midlothian Ave, Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver May 1, 8:30am Get ready to run! Named a Top 10 Destination Marathon by Forbes and one of the world’s most exotic marathons by CNN Travel, the BMO Vancouver Marathon is a Boston Qualifier that takes runners on a 42.2 kilometer (26.2 miles) adventure past beaches, through natural parks, and along Vancouver’s bustling seawall. The Lawyer Show 2016: Hairspray The Waterfront Theatre, Granville Island May 4-7 The Lawyer Show is a fundraiser for two of Vancouver’s most cherished theatre institutions: Carousel Theatre for Young People and Touchstone Theatre. Dance your way over to The Waterfront Theatre and join over thirty of Vancouver’s top lawyers in a retro celebration. Tickets from $75-$80. 604.685.6217 | Shipyards Night Market Shipbuilders’ Square, North Vancouver May 6 - to September The Shipyards Night Market believes in a local lifestyle, showcasing BC’s artisans, bakers and farmers. Products include; jewellery, clothing, bakers, produce, preserves, soaps, organic meats, honey, plants, chocolate and many more handmade products.

Bloom Market Fort Langley Community Hall May 7-8, 8am-5pm From original home décor and stunning fashion through to handcrafted jewellery and unique paintings by 30 established and rising artisans from around British Columbia. Fraser Academy Open House May 5, 10:15 am-Noon Learn all about these leaders in the empowerment and education of students with dyslexia and language-based learning differences. Meet teachers and explore the location. For more info or to RSVP, please contact Brooke Ellison, Admissions Coordinator 604 736 5575 ext 222 | After Hours Vancouver Aquarium May 5-6,10pm This adult only evening allows adults aged 19+ to enjoy the stingrays one-on-one with a glass of wine or beer! Wander through the aquarium for an up close experience. 5th Annual Baubles for Banting Gala Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden, Vancouver May 12 Attend this elegant and culturally rich venue and enjoy Asian inspired hors d’oeuvres, wines, a scotch tasting, silent auctions, performances and more! Help send a diabetic child to camp.

SexyVoices - A Burlesque Theatre Cabaret The Roundhouse Performance Centre, Vancouver May 12 -14, 8pm This community-based performance boldly explores sexual identity from a disability perspective. SexyVoices showcases members of the disability community in performances that break down the stigma surrounding sexuality and disability in playful and dazzlingly unexpected ways. All performances are paywhat-you-can. A Taste of BC’s Finest Semiahmoo House Society, 15306 24 Avenue, White Rock May 23, 7- 10:30pm With over 43 exhibitors, this fun filled event will offer amazing food and beverage tastings, free wine tutorial sessions (must sign up- first come, first served basis), door prizes, silent auction items, raffle prizes, safe ride home program, and new to the event this year—a photo booth! Vancouver Craft Beer Week Various locations throughout Vancouver May 27-June 5 Join in for ten days of the finest ales, tastiest lagers, great food and the biggest beer festival Western Canada has ever seen, featuring 12 music acts. Tickets are limited so get them quick!

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women in business

in the July|August issue of WestCoast Families To advertise in this special feature, call or email today. 604-249-2866 | May/June 2016 43

community KPU Science Rendezvous Festival Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Langley May 7, 11am-4pm Free, family-friendly event in Langley celebrates all things science. Join in for hands-on activities like making slime and tornadoes, chemistry magic show, Design Zone art tent, cool bugs, dancing fire, robot track, hi-tech simulators, KPU Brewing Lab brewery tours for the adults, and more! Free. Salmon Send Off Tynehead Regional Park, Surrey May 7, 11am-3pm Release salmon fry, tour the hatchery, eat at the concession and do children’s crafts. Allow one hour to complete. Appropriate for all ages. 604.432.6359 93rd May Day Festival Coquitlam May 7, 10am Enjoy activities for the whole family at this festival including a May Day Mile all-ages run, parade and block party! Also enjoy heritage events, Mother’s Day Picnic in Lions Park, and more! BC Renaissance Festival Presents: Pirate’s Haven Albion Fairgrounds, Maple Ridge May 7-8 Find yourself transported back to old Port Royal in the glory days of pirates and scoundrels! Explore the marketplace, play games of skill, and take part in the “Admiral’s Challenge”, a series of games for young scallywags to recruit new crew. Meet colourful characters, see amusing and entertaining stage shows, and join in a pirate “pub sing.” Owl Show Richmond Nature Park May 8, 11am-3pm Stop by for a unique opportunity to see and learn about these secretive creatures. This show is presented by Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (O.W.L.), an organization that rehabilitates injured or orphaned birds of prey. Admission by donation. 604.718.6188

Mother’s Day Tea on the Train Port Moody Museum May 8, 10:30-11:30am, 1:00-2:00pm or 2:303:30pm Reserve your table for our Mother’s Day Tea on the Train. Treat Mom and your family to live entertainment and a relaxing tea with treats! You will enjoy a leisurely tour of the museum, a stroll through the Heritage and Meditation Gardens and time to reminisce aboard the 1921 Train car. Reservations needed. Dream Factory Circus PNE Garden Auditorium, 2901 East Hastings St, Vancouver May 12-15, 12:30pm & 7pm daily A steampunk inspired CircusWest original production unmasking the machinery in the mind that creates our dreams and nightmares. Come witness western Canada’s top young circus talent as they perform awe inspiring acts of coordination, balance, flight and daring as they dream big, push their limits, and in the end — defy gravity! Tickets $17 and under. Stars on Ice Rogers Arena, Vancouver May 19, 7pm Don’t miss this chance to see Canadian National Champion figure skaters Patrick Chan, Meagan Duhamel, Eric Radford, Kaitlyn Weaver, Andrew Poje and 2016 European Champion Javier Fernández salchow, axel, and lutz their way around the ice. Under The Big Top Carnival Central Community Elementary School, Port Coquitlam May 19, 5-8pm Join Central School as they celebrate their Bi-Annual Carnival fundraiser. It is a family friendly event with a petting zoo, bouncy castles, and many other exciting games and events. Tickets are $10 at the door. Children under two are free.

Visit for more family friendly events this month! 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. 44

Day Out with Thomas Railway Heritage Park, Squamish May 21-23 & 28-29 Kids will enjoy a 25-minute train ride behind Thomas! Meet Sir Topham Hat, mini rail rides, bouncy castle, tattoos, Thomas play tables, live entertainment for the kids etc. Allow 2.5 hours. 604.898.9336 | Forest Fairy Gathering Burnaby Lake Regional Park May 21, 11am-3pm Get ready for an enchanted family adventure exploring the world of forest fairies and gnomes. Look for flower fairies in the butterfly garden and visit the fairy market for building supplies to construct your very own fairy or gnome home. Come dressed in costume, enjoy free face painting, and be prepared for a magical afternoon. 604.432.6359 Be a Beach Hero: A Marine Exploration Beecher Place, Surrey May 22, 11:30am-1pm Join a Beach Hero Marine Interpreter to explore life on the beach and discover the creatures that call Crescent Beach home. Dress for the weather, bring water and a hat. Pre-registration is required. Ladner May Days Memorial Park, Ladner May 27-29 Enjoy rides, refreshments, and the parade at this family friendly event with tons to do for all ages. MEC North Vancouver’s Bikefest Inter River Park May 28, 11am-5pm Come join the fun and connect with your local cycling community. Try out gear, test ride a new bike, browse exhibitors’ booths, or learn skills at a bike clinic. There’ll also be bike races, performers, entertainment, food vendors and kids’ activities. Bring your bike, your family, and your riding buddies! 604.990.4417 Wildlife in the Garden: Bees, Birds & Butterflies! Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants, Richmond May 29, 10-11am Explore all the creatures than can make a home in the garden, how to encourage them with plants and habitat, and why they are important for the health of the garden. Then make animal masks to take home. Free. 604.270.4133 |

calendar Fairest Isle: Music of the British Isles The Chan Centre, Vancouver May 29, 2pm Join in for a delightful afternoon of song as the Vancouver Bach Children’s Chorus & Youth Choirs come together. Music Director Marisa Gaetanne will be joined by conductors Paula Kremer and Catherine Campolin, in this diverse showcase of the vocal talents and artistic efforts of hundreds of gifted children and young adults. Slugfest Richmond Nature Park May 29, 1-4pm This is the place to be for all those who have, or want to gain an appreciation for, these slimy, yet fascinating creatures at this free, family event. Appropriate for all ages. 604.718.6188 Vancouver International Children’s Festival Granville Island May 30-June 5 Enjoy spectacular performances from around the globe for kids and families of all ages. Acrobatics, puppetry, theatre, music and lots of arts activities. Get your tickets online. Zombie Fun Run Campbell Valley Regional Park May 31, 8:00am - 10:30am In this 10km fun run, you can choose to be a survivor or a zombie. The beautiful background is the perfect setting for this race as you are chased and hunted by various zombies along the route. The Olde Farmhouse Vintage Market Tradex, Abbotsford June 4, 9am-5pm & June 5, 10am-4pm This is a great weekend of “junking!” Find all sorts of treasures at this two-day market. Admission: $5 Adults one-day pass & $8 for two-day pass. 604.861.6997 | Lazuli Bunting Walk Colony Farm Regional Park, Coquitlam June 4, 9-11am Join members of the Colony Farm Park Association on a search for the beautiful Lazuli Bunting. Colony Farm is best place to see these stunning blue birds and the only known nesting site in the Lower Mainland. Stroll the easy park trails while watching for these and other birds found in the park. All ages are welcome. Free admission. 604.520.6442

Buzzing Bees Moms & Tots Workshop Rocky Mountain Flatbread, Main Street, Vancouver June 8 Moms bring the kids and join Registered Holistic Nutritionist Brendan Young to learn about the wonders of bees and the health benefits of honey. Try honey tasting and top tips to create a beefriendly garden, wildflower seeds included. Learn how to create your own honey lemonade and how to substitute sugar for honey in recipes. 604.566.9779 Italian Day on the Drive Commercial Drive, Vancouver June 12 Like a piazza in full swing in a sea of green, white and red, the street comes alive with Italian musical performances, hands-on activities and games, vendors, patios, food and beverage tastings, street performers, classic vehicle exhibits and so much more. Gnome’s Sweet Home Richmond Nature Park June 12 Solve mysteries with Sherlock Gnomes, follow the story of Gnomeo and Juliet, and build a take-home gnome home at the Gnome Depot at this new whimsical event. This event is for all ages. Admission is by donation. 604.718.6188 Point Grey Fiesta Trimble Park & surrounding area, Vancouver Saturday June 18, 2016 (carnival Friday-Sunday) Starting with a Saturday parade on West 10th avenue, the Saturday celebration continues in Trimble Park with stage performances, activities and exhibitors. Carnival rides in Trimble Park operate from Friday to Sunday. Free to attend. Family Day at Western Front Western Front, Vancouver June 18 Come and see the first ever Family Day at Western Front, one of Canada’s leading centres for contemporary art and new music. The day will include activities for youth and families: presentations, performances, and screenings as well as hands-on activities and workshops designed for youth, highlighting local artists. 604.876.9343

Car free day Vancouver June 18-19 A new year, a new festival season, and the volunteers are gearing up to get ready for the 12th annual Car Free Day Vancouver street festivals. The festivals will be taking place along Commercial Drive, Main Street, and Denman Street with block parties in Kitsilano. North Delta Family Day North Delta Community Park June 19 Enjoy the parade along 112 Street then make your way to the park for activities and entertainment! Hamilton Night Out Hamilton Community Centre, McLean Park June 24, 6:30-9:30pm Inflatables, carnival games, activities, community booths, food and more. There will also be a movie at dusk. Kids Swap Meet Cloverdale Fairgrounds June 25, 9am-12:30pm Come shop for kid’s toys, baby equipment, clothing, games, books and so much more, or book a table and sell your gently used kids items and make yourself a profit! 604.533.1970 Multi-Cultural Heritage Festival Minoru Plaza, Richmond June 25-26, 11am-5pm Enjoy music, dancing and performances. This festival is hosted by the Cantonese Opera. Steveston Salmon Festival Bullhead Derby Garry Point Park, Richmond June 26, 9am-12noon Children 12 and under can fish for prizes. Everyone is welcome! Ships to Shore Britannia Shipyards June 30-July 2, 12noon-6pm Free water shuttle, live music, ship boarding, food trucks, boat making, pirates and much more!

May/June 2016 45

last look Making Memories:

Family Adventure Jar by Jodi Iverson

Sharing adventures and making memories shapes us as families. With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day upon us, consider creating a gift that will keep on giving all year long! This is such a simple idea that engages the whole family, young and old. Enjoy talking about your dreams and goals and planning for a year of fun!

materials • mason jar or other container you have on hand • decorations for jar • material to write your plans on (coloured paper, cardstock, Popsicle sticks, fabric—get creative!) • pens • imagination!

make it! • brainstorm as a family to come up with ideas for family adventures • write down your adventures and place in jar • enjoy!

try this... • consider colour coding your paper by season or categories: Eating out, free adventures, staying in, going outside. The possibilities are endless! • if you are a crafty family, consider decorating your jar with stickers, photos, paints or other décor you dream up. • have each family member contribute one secret activity to share a fun surprise!






REAL LEMONADE No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. A good source of vitamin C*.


plus tax

2 1 plus tax


plus tax

Starting May 6 * 35% Daily Value of vitamin C in a small size. Not valid with any Extra Value Meal, Happy Meal® or other McCafé® beverage. At participating McDonald’s® restaurants in Canada. ©2016 McDonald’s


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WestCoast Families May/June  

Performing arts, Day Camps, Preschools and Daycare

WestCoast Families May/June  

Performing arts, Day Camps, Preschools and Daycare