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June 22, 2007

Teacher Gifts - end of year

Creative, inexpensive yet very thoughtful ideas...

  • Movie Package; a box of organic microwave popcorn + movie theatre or movie rental certificates packaged in a large popcorn-friendly bowl.
  • Coffee Lovers Package; coffee mug + plastic spoon dipped in chocolate + certificate to coffee shop.
  • Sun Package; Plastic beach pail containing a bottle of sunscreen + book store certificate.
  • Weekend Project; Building or garden centre certificate + work gloves + clipboard.
  • Patio Package; plastic tableware, tablecloth, fancy napkins.
  • For the Classroom...sharpeners, pens, books or materials.
  • Practical Gifting: note paper, envelopes + national/international postage stamps.
  • Simple Flowers or a plant.
  • Small Donation to a children's centre or educational fund in their name.
  • Portrait of teacher, drawn by your child, placed in a nice frame.

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June 20, 2007

Bilingual Child - resources on the web

As an anglophone parent, of a bilingual child...I have done much research into fun franco resources for pre-schoolers & school aged children. Surfing the web, in French, can be a fun (and gulp -- educational) family activity. Of course, always supervise your children when they are on the Internet. I once typed in a princess name into the search box -- only the search didn't take me to anything Disney...rather to many XXX pop-ups. Lesson learned...Don't leave kids & computers alone together -- the computer doesn't talk the language of age-appropriate.

Here are some tried & true recommended franco sites: - French colouring pages, games, activities - a great selection of French books (by age range and reading readiness) - has websites/games for pre-schoolers as well as tweens (also has a homework hotline called SOS DEVOIRS for kids in French school). - cooking with kids en francaise

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June 19, 2007

Dinner Time

Cooking dinner and fixing dinner are two very different things. We cook the same things, week after week in a rotating fashion - at least I do. It's time to fix this. Challenge your child to try one new thing once a week. Not a whole casserole -- but one side dish.

Activity: There's a Challenge at the Table! Everyone stops...tries one bite (at the same time because if one child tries it before another and doesn't like it -- the whole activity is toast). Use hand signals; thumbs up, thumbs middle or thumbs down for the answer. They don't have to like it -- but they do have to try it...even a small - tiny - minuscule bite. Respect the choice and commend them for their GOOD TRY!

It's not just about the food - it's about the concepts of "trying", "making choices" and "family conversation".

Comment Question: How do you introduce new foods to your kids?


June 18, 2007

A new choice...affordable after-school care

One of the main justifications, in my stay-home-and-work plan, was the high cost of finding - good - after-school care for my kids. I would need great motivation to do this; something close to home, dependable, engaging, a physical/sports activity component, creative activities -- homework help would be a bonus.

The City of Toronto, without one letter of advice from me, has introduced the ARC (After-School Recreation Care) for children 6-12 years. Wait for it -- inhale -- the cost is about $5 per day. Exhale. No, they are not just being watched by web cams it is in fact real actual (and trained) staff supervising and engaging our children. Locations run across the city and additional sites are opening for September.

They also have Youth Co-operative Programs for kids 13-16...a FREE 12 week leadership/employment readiness course with a 20 hour supervised placement in an ARC program, FREE standard First Aid Certification, Free City of Toronto First Alert Training, and successful graduates receive a $100 honorarium and the opportunity to be interviewed for a summer camp position with the City. Yes, perhaps a glorified leader -in-training programme...but for those of us with teenagers this presents a time of learning, experience and a physical separation from the dreaded ipod.

Single parents, desperate housewives and frustrated families have a great solution in this programme. Yes, I would still ask for references and check out the facilities. Yes, I would learn more about child care centres, Au peres & home care options.

No...I'm not really ready to put my kids in an outside care environment despite this new motivation -- but that's a MOM issue not a choice issue. Having child care choices are important issues for parents.

Click on the link below to find out about ARC:

Comment question...Would you put your child in care for $5/day in a public programme or pay more for a private caregiver...why?