Celebrate Pi Day with Kumon!

Pi Day is observed on March 14 at exactly 1:59 PM and this year, Kumon Canada wants to help Canadian children celebrate Pi Day in a fun and exciting way. Pi Day is a great excuse to engage children in fun math challenges meant to enrich and deepen their understanding of the concept of Pi. Activities might include investigations of the value of Pi, special Pi projects and parties with pizza or other kinds of “Pi.”

Kumon Math and Reading Centre Instructors have compiled four fun activities to help families celebrate Pi, while incorporating the self-learning method that Kumon follows. Here are a few fun ways to celebrate Pi Day and have your kids problem-solve and learn on their own at the same time!

  1. Make a Pi Bracelet or Necklace

To celebrate Pi Day this year, break out the craft kit and make yourself a fun fashion accessory!

Supplies:

  • Different colours of beads
  • Pipe cleaners, thread or string
  • A pen and a pad of paper

Steps:

  1. Write out as many Pi digits as you can colour code each number.
  2. Grab different colours of beads and begin to string them onto the thread or a pipe cleaner you select to make your bracelet.
  3. Start to place the beads onto the thread in order of Pi’s number sequence and the colours you’ve selected for each digit.
  4. Tie up the thread and wear your new accessory – use it to memorize the digits of Pi!
  1. Throw a Pi Day Scavenger Hunt

Conduct a Pi Day scavenger hunt by hiding Pi-themed objects around the house. The objects can also represent the numbers of Pi.

Supplies:

  • Assorted circular objects (fruit, cups, wheels, balls, etc.)
  • Assorted number cards that represent the numbers in Pi
  • A pencil and a pad of paper

Steps:

  1. Hide a number of circular objects or numbers around your home.
  2. Come up with a list of the objects kids need to find (provide a few hints just in case!). Here is an example list to get you started:
    1. Three objects that have circular cross sections: cylinder, cone and sphere
    2. The first five digits of Pi
    3. Three items with the word ‘Pi’ in it
  3. Ask children to hunt for the objects.
  4. For older children, challenge them to measure the circumference and diameter of circular objects and then divide the circumference by the diameter, to find Pi.

After the hunt, reward all participants with a delicious prize, like pizza or pie!

  1. Host a Pi Word Challenge

Word challenges are always a hit with children. Here’s a fun way to enhance and test children’s vocabulary and help them learn new words as well!

Supplies:

  • Pencil and pen for each participant
  • OR Scrabble board game letters

Steps:

  1. Challenge children to write down as many words they can think of that include the word “pi” (pizza, pineapple, picture, pie, etc.).
  2. For younger players, help them out by talking and spelling things through and using images for added support
  3. Determine which child has the most number of words written down and offer them a prize!

Lighthouse Labs Teaches Teachers Coding

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.

www.lighthouselabs.ca

Choosing the Right School with Brockton

North Vancouver’s Brockton School Weighs in on this Significant Consideration 

Selecting with whom to entrust your child for their schooling is never easy and always significant. From the age of 3 through to 18, the choices we make for our children will have profound impacts on their development, their future opportunities, and to varying extents, the direction of the society within which they live.

Public or private, small or large, near or far, traditional or innovative, outcome focussed or process focussed, academically rigorous or holistically balanced… there are so many considerations.

QUESTION: In a time when it is impossible to predict the future for our children, a time when there is such uncertainty in the world, a time when knowing what is ‘best’ is not always easy, how do we choose a school that will best support our child?

ANSWER: It depends. It depends on your priorities (what do you want for your child; what is your definition of success). It depends on your child (what are his/her needs and ambitions). It depends on your options (what is available and what are the pros/cons of each option).

To be certain, in the years ahead, your child will need a toolkit on which they can rely – a toolkit that will survive (and thrive through) a myriad of circumstances. Yes – your child will need a basic education with essential knowledge and skills, but beyond this, your child will need: a sense of belonging, community, compassion; a sense of who they are and their responsibility in the world; a sense of vision and action; a sense of courage and character, and more. Your child will need a school that recognizes, values, and nurtures them as a uniquely special individual and walks with them on their journey.

Brockton School (JK-grade 12, IB Continuum, co-ed day school) invites families to converse more about the options that exist. Contact Brockton School at: brocktonschool.com

Literacy With YouTube

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. For more information check out kids.youtube.com

Local Book for Literacy Month: Chester Gets a Pet!

This is literacy month, and we’re keen to help our readers check out local books that are fun, entertaining and informative. Books don’t get much more local than Timbertown Tales: Chester Gets a Pet. 

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 creations 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!

Deep in a forest just north, south, east, or west of where you live, there’s a small, almost-hidden town that might be a lot like yours: Timbertown. Welcome to the first title in the “Timbertown Tales” series, which features award-winning designer Judson Beaumont’s fantastic pieces as characters who definitely have lives of their own…

Chester O’Drawers Teakson wants a pet, but his parents just don’t think he’s old enough yet. So, Chester has to find a way to prove that he’s ready and responsible. Then along comes Sandy. Is she a kitten? No. Is she a goldfish? Nope. But she does have four legs, a lovely smooth finish, and a whole lot of puppy-like energy. Now Chester realizes that maybe — just maybe — his parents were right!

The book came out in November and is great for all ages, so snap up a copy for just $20! Want to buy Chester Gets a Pet? Visit the publisher’s website here or go to your local bookstore.

Backpack Buddies in Your School?

We are so fortunate to live in an area with access to locally grown foods to maintain healthy and active lifestyles. But for some in poverty, access to nutritious food is far out of reach, meaning too many children are going hungry. With more than 20 per cent of BC children living below the poverty line, how can we expect them to concentrate in the classroom with growling bellies? Backpack Buddies looks to eradicate childhood hunger by providing a weekend worth of meals to those in need.

This charity helps the Metro Vancouver area fill the weekend hunger gap by providing stocked backpacks for children to take home and share with their families, breaking the cycle of poverty. The program works with local partners and communities to distribute the backpacks through local schools. It was started in 2012 by mother and daughter duo, Joanne Griffiths and Emily-Anne King, and today they have helped deliver more than 8,000 backpacks in the 2015/2016 school year alone. Currently there are nine schools in the Lower Mainland who are part of the program, but you can help! Donate money, food, or time and be a part of the solution to child hunger.

Win the Staples Superpower School contest!

Ten environmentally conscious schools across the country will each earn $25,000 worth of new technology from Staples Canada as part of the retailer’s Superpower your School Contest. Schools are invited to enter the contest at Staples.ca/PowerEco and share their eco initiatives for a chance to win. The Superpower your School Contest starts December 1, 2016 and runs until January 31, 2017.

“From growing their own food to banning plastic water bottles and even making their own organic lip balm, students and teachers across the country are innovating to make a difference on our environment,” said Mary Sagat, president of Staples Canada. “We call these students and teachers ‘ecovators’ and what better way to reward them than with access to the latest tech to enhance their education programs.”

The contest, previously known as the Staples Canada Recycle for Education Computer Lab Contest, is now in its seventh year and has awarded 70 environmentally conscious schools the latest technology to empower students to learn and nurture their passion for the environment.

To help schools prepare their entries, Staples has assembled a series of resources, including:
· Excerpts from the 2016 winning school entries
· A step-by-step entry guide
· A set of frequently asked questions

The contest is held in collaboration with Earth Day Canada, a national charity that works directly with thousands of schools to provide environmental resources and support. “We’re thrilled to be working again with Staples Canada to inspire innovative approaches to stewardship and reward the creative initiatives taking place in schools across Canada,” said Deb Doncaster, president of Earth Day Canada. “We’re eager to help ensure the contest reaches as many schools as possible, and provide support throughout the judging process.”

Staples Helps Schools Make a Difference
Staples is committed to helping schools make a difference by offering several easy recycling programs:
· Canada School Recycling Program: Every year 300 million ink cartridges end up in North American landfills. Staples Canada encourages schools across the country to participate in this program by signing up to receive a free ink cartridge collection bin. For details and to register for a free ink bin visit www.canadaschoolrecycling.ca
· Battery Recycling: Staples Canada partners with Call2Recycle to offer a used battery (rechargeable and single use) recycling program in all Staples stores. Schools are invited to collect batteries, hold collection events and encourage all students to bring in used household batteries to reduce the amount of electronic waste in landfills. Drop off the batteries collected at any Staples store.
· Writing Instruments: Staples stores nationwide have partnered with TerraCycle® to collect and recycle used writing instruments. Schools are encouraged to bring in used writing instruments to any Staples store and help provide a second life to these writing instruments by turning them into upcycled and recycled products such as park benches, waste bins and more.
· Electronics Recycling: In an effort to divert eight-million pounds of electronic waste from landfill sites annually, Staples has partnered with eCycle Solutions to offer an electronics drop-off program. Recyclable items accepted include PDAs, cell phones, computers, computer parts and more. To view a complete list of collection sites and accepted recyclable hardware, visit www.staples.ca/environment 

 

Screen Education at the Vancouver Baby and Family Fair

In today’s world, children as young as two are using digital technology and could be exposed to risk, says Outsmarting Your Kids Online acclaimed and bestselling Canadian book author Amber Mac, who is coming to Vancouver for the Vancouver Baby & Family Fair happening October 29 and 30 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Described as the ultimate handbook for parents, the book, which is co-authored by Internet security expert Michael Bazzell who spent 18 years as a government computer crime investigator, covers topics ranging from understanding social media concerns and tomorrow’s technology trends to reporting digital bullies or even sexual predators. Critics have labelled the resource as an “easy and empowering read” for those parents and guardians looking to find dozens of free resources that simplify and automate in-depth searching of their children’s social network activity.

“We are so excited to have Amber at our show and talking about such an important issue that is often overwhelming for parents who don’t even know where to begin when it comes to monitoring their children’s social networking habits,” says Fair producer, Virginia Ritchie.

Don’t miss the fair and all the fun, with other activities, events, and more!

Vancouver Baby & Family Fair
When:
Saturday October 29 and Sunday October 30
Where:Vancouver Convention Centre East Facility Hall A
Tickets:Only available at door & cash only: Day Pass: Adult $12;
Senior/Student Day Pass $10. Children under 12: FREE

For more information about the upcoming fair and Amber’s seminars visit: http://www.baby-fair.com/amber-mac

Feature: Sit Less, Stand More

The school months mean sitting hour upon hour each day in classrooms and then at desks while studying.  All of this sitting can be dangerous to their health, says Kathleen Hale, founder of Chair Free Project, a health movement to get people standing, walking and moving instead of sitting in chairs. Hale offers these 10 tips for students to avoid hours of sitting that can lead to a various health problems including Dormant Butt Syndrome.

1. Sit and Stand – Don’t stay sitting for too long. Prolonged sitting can have serious negative consequences on your health, regardless of your age or how much you exercise. In particular, college students can be at risk for developing life-threatening blood clots after hours of sitting and cramming for a test. To help remember to get out of your chair, clear a space on your dresser where you can place your laptop or textbooks. Stand up study at least every 45 minutes so you can get the blood flowing again.
2. There’s an App for That – If you need a reminder to get on your feet, there’s an app for that. Several actually. Check out Stand Up! or  Stand App. These apps will remind you when you’ve been inactive for too long and some even reward you when you move!
3. Walk and Study – Flashcards have been shown to be one of the best ways to retain information. They’re also a great way to study while walking. Make some flashcards for a class where you need to do a lot of memorization. Then set out for a walk where you test yourself on the flashcards or invite a friend from class to quiz each other.
4. Look Up – Staring down at your computer screen can be a literal pain the neck. Neck pain can lead to headaches and interfere with your productivity. One of the best ways to avoid neck strain is to make sure you are not craning your neck downward while looking at the computer screen. If you have a monitor, place it at eye level. If you use a laptop, get a riser for it or even a couple reams of paper to raise it up to eye level.
5. Shoulders Back – Look around the computer lab on campus and you’ll see most people sitting with shoulders slouched inward. Not only can this position lead to hunched posture, it also can physically drain your energy. To avoid it, roll your shoulders back and then shrug them both up to your ears. Drop your shoulders down and release your breath.
6. Mix Up Your Environment Research shows that you changing your physical surroundings can help you better remember what you are studying in those different environments. Use this evidence as an excuse to get up and move. Sit in the library to study at first. Then take a walk with a friend in class and quiz each other before an upcoming test. Find a tall counter in the dining room to do some reading.
7. Deep Breathing – Studying can be stressful and stress can make you sick. To help calm yourself when facing a big test, learn some deep breathing practices to help relax the body.
8. Move it, Move it – Sometimes your body needs a serious wake up call. When you have been sitting in one place studying for a long time, you often need some spark to get going. Stand up, turn on some music and get moving. Jumping jacks, dancing, or just jumping around can help to re-energize you.
9. Get Down – Outfit your dorm room or apartment with a comfy rug or big pillows. Spend some study time sitting on the floor. Floor sitting can help you open your hips, reduce back pain, and give you a chance to stretch your muscles.
10. Stand in Class – If you’re in an auditorium size classroom you might have the ability to stand quietly in the back of 300 other heads staring at the podium. It won’t draw any attention to you, and if it’s one of those 3-hour long night classes, you’ll feel much more energized and alert during the class.

Aging Out of Foster Care

All too often, youth aging out of foster care end up homeless, are thrown into adult life before finishing high school, and have no-one to turn to in their 20’s. In BC, approximately 40% of homeless youth have some history in the child welfare system, and fewer than 35% have graduated high school by 19. But it doesn’t have to be this way, argues the Fostering Change initiative from Vancouver Foundation.

In their latest effort to increase public awareness and political will on this issue, the Foundation has launched a new campaign called WRITE THE FUTURE. The campaign invites the public to sign a petition to back more support aimed at improving the prospects of youth aging out of foster care.

The petition includes a call for financial support with basic living costs, relationships with caring adults for advice and support, and more opportunities for youth leaving foster care to connect and contribute to the communities they live in through creative, cultural, and volunteer activities.

“This isn’t about youth from foster care receiving special treatment” says Mark Gifford, Director of Grants and Community Initiatives at Vancouver Foundation. “It’s about access to the kinds of support young people typically get from their families well into their 20s. If it doesn’t make sense for parents to cut ties with their own kids at 19, why would it for youth aging out of foster care?”

A 2016 opinion poll by Insights West revealed that 92% of parents in BC provide their children aged 19-28 with a range of financial, social, and emotional supports. Most BC families contribute to tuition costs, rent, groceries, and connections to help youth find that all important first job. The BC public is on board with extending these kinds of supports to youth who’ve been in foster care – 71% were in favour of financial support with living expenses until age 25.

According to Vancouver Foundation, with a year to go before the next Provincial election there is a window of opportunity for community, political and business leaders to work with young people and commit to a plan that better supports youth aging out of foster care.

“As a community foundation, one of our roles is to give voice to groups of people that may have limited opportunities to advocate for themselves,” says Kevin McCort, President and CEO of Vancouver Foundation. “Young people leaving foster care deserve every opportunity to succeed, and signing this petition will show community, political, and business leaders that it’s time for change.”

Find out more about the campaign and SIGN THE PETITON at fosteringchange.ca