Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Holidays are Almost Here!

With the Grade Six farewell taking place today at Haultain, and activity day scheduled for tomorrow, there's a palpable feel of Summer Holiday in the air.

Yesterday's Haultain talent show, by all accounts, was a resounding success - congratulations to all the participants, who did a great job. "Canadian Idol" will have a lot of fodder for future episodes, if the talent revealed yesterday is any indication.

I'm putting my mouse on ice for two weeks in July (right beside the beer) - but will continue to post stories of interest to parents, and post updates from the CBE as well as the Haultain administration when I'm not holidaying.

Congratulations to the students and staff for another successful year! Make the most of the summer holidays - get as much sun and fun in as you can before the end of August, when it all starts up again!

- Nick Newton, Haultain Parent Council/Association's Key Communicator

A lifetime of bike safety starts with mom and dad

Changing Behaviour; Appeal to good sense, fashion and otherwise
By Dr . Tim Rindlisbacher, National Post

Parents don't need a lecture on the wisdom of wearing a bicycle helmet. It's the kids who put up a fight. How are parents supposed to get rambunctious youngsters into the habit of donning a helmet when boarding a bike?

According to experts, it's best to give your child age-appropriate reasons for wearing a helmet, and to be firm and consistent by insisting it must always be worn. Lastly, (this should go without saying): Set a good example and always wear a helmet yourself.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Father's Day

Father's Day is always a blast for me. This year I almost single-handedly bankrupted Smuggler's during the all-you-can-eat buffet to which I was treated. With my rolling chair and serving tray (skip the plates please - just give me a big fork) I must have consumed 4 or 5 pounds of food... then I had dessert!

A good father takes the whole thing very seriously and from golf balls to the obligatory ties, they display their gifts with pride...

See the pic of a proud Dad at work as a great example: Good going Brian!

Talent Show Today!

The Haultain talent show takes place today at one o'clock in the Haultain gymnasium - get out and enjoy the acts! Performer autographs are available after the show. For a price.

Kids often over-scheduled during summer holidays

By Jeff Heinrich, Canwest News Service

A generation or two ago, summer meant freedom. Now, for many young children, it means keeping busy.

Today's kids are hyper-organized: day camps, overnight camps, summer tutorials, swimming lessons, tennis lessons, trips abroad — they do them all.

Call it a symptom of our overactive times. But is all this a curse or a blessing?

People who know children best — parents, teachers, day-care workers, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists — come at the question two ways.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Only a quarter of Calgary Catholic school girls get HPV vaccination

CBC Website

Only about 25 per cent of Grade 5 girls in Calgary's Catholic schools have received the HPV vaccine, compared with about 70 per cent of girls in public schools, Alberta Health Services says.

Last year, the province launched a campaign to immunize Grade 5 girls against the human papillomavirus, which can be transmitted through sexual contact and can cause cervical cancer.

The vaccine was delivered through Alberta schools, but Bishop Fred Henry said it wouldn't be appropriate in Catholic schools, because it would encourage premarital sex.

Calgary Catholic School District trustees refused to allow the clinics in its schools, so the province distributed the vaccine through community clinics.

Click here for the full article.

Don't Forget!

Today, the Grade Six classes write their Science exams, and at 3pm there will be an Ice Cream Social for the office secretaries, who did a fantastic job of helping out this year.

Tomorrow night, starting at 5:30pm, there will be another family skate night at Haultain, in the gymnasium. On Wednesday at 1:00pm, there will be the Haultain Talent Show. Good luck to all participants!

The Grade Six farewell ceremony takes place on Thursday, and an activity day takes up Friday - then? Summer's here!

Enjoy your week!

Mommy Wars

Sarah Boesveld, Globe and Mail

They're the five words most likely to preface a mother's position when the topic of child care comes up: “I'm not one to judge.”

Mommy wars? What mommy wars?

The tussle between moms who stay at home to care for their children and moms who head to the office has historically divided women: Stay-at-home moms resented working moms for shipping the children off to daycare in pursuit of the almighty dollar and professional satisfaction. Working moms resented stay-at-home moms for wasting their potential and perpetuating the housewife stereotype.

But in recent years, Canadian mothers say, the conversation about child care choices has become more conciliatory in tone. As the work force has changed, moms are more polite and respectful of the decisions they make for themselves and the ones life makes for them. Mothers who spend their days in cubicle land are friends with moms who spend them on the playground – and they know full well they may eventually switch places.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Minister proposes ban on chemicals used in kids' plastic products

The federal government is proposing a ban on six types of phthalates used in common children's products because of concern they may affect reproductive development and have other adverse health effects.

Phthalates are chemical agents that make polyvinyl chloride — a type of plastic — flexible and help hold a perfume's scent.

Recent studies have suggested exposure to phthalates can have feminizing effects on male fetuses, and may cause kidney or liver failure in young children if sucked or chewed on for extended periods.

Read the full article here.

Rethinking child safety online

Globe and mail

Rowan Trollope was concerned about his son, Perry. Like many parents, he wondered what his teenager was up to online – and was looking for a way to keep track of he was doing. But unlike most parents, the solution Mr. Trollope came up with helped initiate a whole new approach to online security.

He wrote and quietly installed a program onto Perry's computer, in order to monitor the teen's behaviour and stream a feed of the activity to his own computer's desktop.

“That allowed me to have a few conversations that I needed to have with him that otherwise would have never been had, never known and remained completely submerged,” said Mr. Trollope, senior vice-president of consumer products at security software maker Symantec Corp. of Cupertino, Calif.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Alberta minister apologizes for remarks on child-rearing

CBC Website

Alberta's finance minister is apologizing to people who may have been offended by remarks she made in Toronto Wednesday suggesting that in order to raise children "properly" one parent should stay at home while the other goes to work.

The comments were "certainly targetted at financial literacy and not at people who had to work out of the home and be away from the children. It wasn't. And if they inadvertently, or if the way it's been reported, offends somebody, I do apologize," Iris Evans told CBC News on Wednesday evening.

"But it was never with the intent to slam parenting as people do when they have children in alternative care or daycare. It was an intent to point out the importance of the early years in teaching skills to children whether its behavioural issues or financial literacy."

'Raising children properly' requires stay-at-home parent: Alberta minister

CBC Website
Liberal leader demands apology from Iris Evans for 'outrageous claims'

Alberta's Liberal leader is demanding an apology from Finance Minister Iris Evans, who suggested that in order to raise children "properly" one parent should stay at home while the other goes to work.

"If she really said these things, she must apologize. If she doesn't apologize, the premier must fire her," David Swann said in a statement Wednesday. "These are truly outrageous claims. I have never been as stunned by the sheer arrogance and ignorance of the Tories as I am today.

"In a sense, Iris Evans did us all a favour by revealing her contempt for the sacrifices made by hard-working Alberta families."

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Don't forget!

The grade six students are writing part B of their Language Arts exam, and the Parent Council/Association meeting is tonight! Bring your questions or concerns to the Haultain library tonight at 6:30, and have them heard.

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

McKenzie Towne's New AP

Well, it's official. The school in McKenzie Towne has a newly appointed AP and he may be a familiar face. Mr. Murphy will serve as the new assistant principal, joining Mrs. Sarginson to form the administrative team of the new school. While he was tempted to write a poem about this great event (ask your children about Mr. Murphy's poem of the day), we convinced him to write the following piece and wish him the best of luck in this new adventure:

It seems like only yesterday that I was writing a very similar introduction to the families and staff of Haultain Memorial. I came to Haultain with the knowledge that my stay would be short lived but that the few years I would have here would no doubt prove to be a valuable learning experience for myself as an assistant principal. What I had not anticipated was the warm welcome that immediately made me feel appreciated and an instant member of the community.

For the past two years I have tried to earn this regard that I was fortunate enough to have bestowed upon myself and my family. For me, the news of McKenzie Towne school opening came earlier than I would have liked, as it is never easy to part ways when what has been built here has been so wonderful. I looked forward to the future and the challenges it held, but felt a sense of remorse that we often do when great partnerships come to an end (Mckenzie Towne and Queensland, not Barkley and I).

As the saying goes, “as one door closes, another opens” and to my great fortune I was chosen to be the new assistant principal of McKenzie Towne School. This opportunity will help to preserve and develop those relationships that have already begun as well as foster new ones as we welcome families from Acadia school as well. The excitement of opening a new school and the adventures that we will go through together has us all dreaming of the possibilities.

McKenzie Towne will be my third school in which I have been in the assistant principal role and my fifth school in the 12 years I have been with the Calgary Board of Education. My teaching experience has had me teaching every grade from kindergarten to grade six, and I can truly say every grade level has its unique and wonderful aspects. I thrive on exploring and discovering with students and staff while bringing learning to life for them in the classroom and beyond.

It will be a true honour to serve as you new assistant principal and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting down to work with you all in the coming months.

Yours truly,

Patrick Murphy

L'immersion ou la mort!

Tenille Bonoguore, Globe and Mail

In the rural Okanagan town of Salmon Arm, B.C., an annual early spring rite plays out like clockwork.

At the end of March, parents arrive at the school district building toting coolers packed with food, fold-out chairs and a deep well of patience.

For the next two days, they'll trade jokes, watch movies, and sip Tim Hortons coffee delivered by amused neighbours, all in a bid to get their child into French immersion kindergarten.

“It's actually quite a jovial set-up,” said Alan Harrison, principal of the École Élémentaire Bastion, the only French-immersion school in the town of 15,000.

Forty years after the Official Languages Act was passed, demand for French immersion is soaring across the country.

Click here to read the full article.

Full Day Kindergarten in Ontario

“Her reading is miles ahead of where her brother's was...”

Is Canada's quality of education sub par because of half-day Kindergarten?

This article talks about Ontario's plans to start a blended full time Kindergarten using both certified teachers and early childhood educators. Unions, parents who need childcare, and politicians all chip in on this hot button issue.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Artist in Residence

The recent Micro Survey has so far indicated a very positive outcome in favour of repeating our Artist in Residence program. I did receive a number of comments asking exactly what the program entails. Following is a summary from Ramona for everyone's elucidation. It would be good to hear from your children, use the comments section to post their thoughts.

From Ramona:

The Artist in Residency program that I recently completed at Haultain involved working with grades one through six to teach them crucial basic techniques in art. I incorporated some of the curriculum subject matter that children were studying into their lessons using various mediums.

We did various contour studies (upside down contour, still life contour, etc), learned about chiaroscuro (light and shadow technique in art) and movement, and how to render it, learned one point perspective (horizon lines and vanishing points), and learned about paint techniques with watercolor pencils, watercolors, and, my favorite – acrylic paints (rendering in realism and in impressionist methods).

I thoroughly enjoyed working with the children and would like to thank the teachers for letting me “barge in” for six hour-long sessions in each of the classes to share what I love to do. I think you will be amazed at what your children were able to accomplish. Ask your grade 3 student about their Taj Mahal or their Ukraine cityscape in perspective, or a grade 4, 5, or 6 student about their Emily Carr-like totems , or their prairie landscapes, or their Group of Seven style acrylics, or their whale in motion. Ask your grade 2’er about one point perspective of a pier on their Nova Scotian coastal-scene or any grade 1 student about desert and arctic landscapes...

We covered a lot of art in a very short period of time, but it was a wonderful experience, and I hope you will have me back again next year!
- Ramona Lind

The significance of age six

By Elizabeth Payne, Canwest News Service

They can be bouncy and bossy, hyper-focused one minute and driven to gap-toothed silliness the next. But pay attention, to spend time with a six-year-old is to witness the future. Every childhood milestone is important, but six is magic.

Author A.A. Milne captured the sense of optimism that defines the age in his poem The End, which finishes with the lines: "But now I am six, I'm as clever as clever, So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever."

I recited the poem to both of my children when they turned six and have clear memories of my own sense of invulnerability at that age. But not every six-year-old shares that optimism.

Click here to read the full story.

Gym Dandy!

Well, the work is now complete and the marveling has begun. Fortunately, the weather has been so nice lately, the kids have been having gym outside, otherwise we'd have a number of accidents as kids would be staring at our latest upgrade.

Ramona Lind has completed her homework and finished our sports action figures, now gracing our gym walls. Hockey, lacrosse, tennis, gymnastics, males and females now inspire our budding athletes. I could type for hours... better yet, take a look for yourself. Even better yet, you'll be able to see them first hand at one of our many gatherings in June.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Parental vigilance vital around water

The weather's heating up. So is the water at the beach and in the backyard pool. Even if it's just splashing in a plastic wading pool, the kids are poised for summer fun.

Fun can turn tragic within seconds as very little water is needed for a child to drown, says Barbara McDougall, the Red Cross Vancouver Island representative for water safety and first aid.

"A couple of inches," she says, before proceeding with a plausible but grim scenario: "A small child hits his head, falls face down in a puddle and has difficulty in turning himself over and righting himself."

What averts a potential tragedy is constant supervision when kids are near or in the water.

Click here for the full article.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Micro Survey #6

Our Artist-In-Residence program seemed like a real hit this year. I would like to know how many of you would like the PA to try to keep the program going. Please provide your answer and comments here or in the email I sent - thank you.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Comments are welcome, and encouraged!

But please, if your comments could be considered hurtful to others, refrain from leaving them. Unless, of course, you have identified yourself, and are not using an anonymous identity. Then feel free - but be prepared to explain your comments to those who live in and share your school community.

The mandate of this website is to keep Haultain parents engaged and informed. Dialogue is always welcome, but it's MOST welcome when it's constructive dialogue.

Blog on!

The debate over the future of unwanted school sites

CBC News | Patti Edgar and David Bell

The mayor’s hopes of turning unused land into affordable housing may come up against resistance among neighbourhood residents who use the sites for playing sports, walking their dogs and other recreational activities.

CBC News obtained the addresses of 16 sites that have been declared surplus by Calgary’s school boards.

The provincial government passed a bill late last year allowing towns and cities to turn unused school sites into affordable housing, police stations, community centres, libraries or daycares.

Only the portion of the land that was intended for a school can be developed.

Click here for the full story.

My ADHD 8-year-old

I overcame a violent past, but my kid is testing my limits.

By Cary Tennis,

I've always considered myself to be the kind of person who handles adversity pretty well. I grew up in a household with a crazy, violent drunk, but I eventually went away to college, got therapy (a lot of therapy) and cobbled together a nice life: good husband, two healthy kids, gainful and occasionally satisfying employment. I try to be proactive, having learned pretty early that no one's going to solve your problems for you.

Read the rest here.

How to Wake Up Slumbering Minds

Will the discoveries of neuroscientists help us to think, learn and remember?

By CHRISTOPHER F. CHABRIS, Wall Street Journal

We are in the midst of an explosion of knowledge about how the human mind and brain work -- how memory comes in many different types, each stored in a different part of the brain; how our minds constantly process information outside our conscious awareness; how differences in brain function help to define differences in our personalities. A lot of this new knowledge raises provocative questions, not least about human nature.

Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A girl can get pregnant the first time?

(This relates to our Government's brand spanking new Bill 44 - a work of genius. Read on!)

My 13-year-old son David's entire grade seven class was gathered in the gym when the health nurse broke the news. "Most of you have contracted a sexually transmitted disease." Only the condom-users and the abstinent had been spared.

Just before entering the gym, every student in the class had been handed a card. Although they didn't know it at the time, that small piece of cardboard dictated if they had had unprotected sex, oral sex, were abstinent, used a condom, or had an STD.

Click here for the full story.

Deciding when to be a cyber-parent

Finding out what your kids are up to in cyberspace can be touchy, but experts say parents must try

By Gillian Shaw, Vancouver Sun

Julianne Doctor doesn't bother sneaking around cyberspace to see what her teenage daughter Hayley is doing.

Instead, in the cyber-parenting version of having all the kids welcome to hang out in your rec room, Doctor wanders in and out of her daughter's cyberspaces and knows who she is hanging around with and what they're up to.

At a time when the first reaction of adults to this week's story about the Facebook "hit list" is to unplug the modem, or at the very least rush off to buy the latest cyber-sleuthing software for parents, Doctor's approach probably isn't the norm.

Click here to read the full story.

Reality trainwreck Kate Gosselin was minding her own sordid affairs this week when she was called out and smacked down by none other than Nadya Sulema

When it comes to modern parenting, bad is the new good. Terrible, horrible, heartless, fill-in-the-disapproving-adjective-here mothers are all the rage
By Susan Allan, The Ottawa Citizen

Reality trainwreck Kate Gosselin was minding her own sordid affairs this week when she was called out and smacked down by none other than Nadya Suleman, a.k.a. Octomom.

"She needs to stop being so judgmental and stop pulling at straws for attention," snapped Suleman, the mother of octuplets (oh, and six other kids).

Gosselin, also a mother of multiples and the star of Jon & Kate Plus 8, evidently set Suleman off by suggesting to Dr. Phil that raising 14 children would be difficult -- "particularly without a husband to help with parenting."

Click here to read the full story.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Computer injuries on rise, youths most at risk: study

WASHINGTON — Blurry vision and wrist pain are among the well-known health perils of computer use, but a study released on Tuesday shows a rise in previously overlooked injuries due to computer equipment falling over.

Researchers found a 732 per cent rise in "acute computer-related injuries" from 1994 through 2006, double the 309 per cent increase in household computer ownership over the period, according to a study in the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Young children are particularly at risk, it said.

Read the full article here.

Lolita at 5?

(From Tuesday's Globe and Mail)

They troll gossip blogs, pore over Miley Cyrus videos and eyeball toy store shelves. They're not preteens, but a crew of early childhood educators on a mission: to show parents and teachers what their five- to 11-year-old charges are ingesting.

The educators from the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education are meeting with teachers across North America to drive home the message that consumerist culture is sexualizing girls, and early onset puberty is worsening the problem.

The educators want to deepen elementary school teachers' understanding of media. They will present their research, entitled the Pink Project, at a U.S. National Association for the Education of Young Children gathering in Charlotte, N.C., next week.

Read the full story here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Chatting to kids about cheating

By Lauren La Rose

It’s a matter typically dealt with behind closed doors, but in recent weeks, tales of confirmed and alleged infidelity involving high-profile couples have loomed large in the headlines.

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, has been on a media blitz promoting her new book and speaking candidly about her husband’s extramarital affair.

Meanwhile, Jon and Kate Gosselin of the hit reality series “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” which follows their life raising sextuplets and twins, have seen their already public relationship become sordid tabloid fodder with allegations both are entwined in romantic relations with outsiders.

Click here to read the full story.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Preventing dropouts can start in Grade 4

By Beth J. Harpaz

It’s graduation time, but not for everyone.

One out of every four students fails to graduate from high school in four years, according to the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics.

Risk factors for dropping out include low academic achievement, mental health problems, truancy, poverty and teen pregnancy.

But here’s a shocker from Lynne Strathman, director of Lydia Urban Academy in Rockford, Ill., a small faith-based alternative program for dropouts.

Click here for the full story

Friday, June 5, 2009

Skateboard Presentation

(Thanks to Trevor Barkley for this update!)

Haultain students and staff enjoyed a special presentation on a sunny Wednesday lunch hour as members of the City of Calgary Skate Park Crew visited to provide a glimpse into skateboard safety.
Students watched as team members hit the ramps and rails, all the while stressing safe boarding skills. The City will be setting up a park, complete with ramps and rails, in the Queensland Community Centre arena in mid to late August. Watch the blog for more details.

Learning Update!

(Thank you, Patrick Murphy, for this submission!)

The students in Room 8 and 9 have been learning about animal life cycles through first hand experience of raising painted lady butterflies in their classrooms. At the present time approximately 15 butterflies have emerged from their chrysalides and are working hard to dry their wings in order to prepare for their first flight. Students have been keenly researching and observing the painted ladies from the very early larva stage through to chrysalids and now the emerging butterflies. Up close observations have been made easier by using the schools video cameras and projectors to zoom in and see an enlarged view projected on the large classroom screens. Much like the viewing of the performances during the Christmas concert.

Students generated their own questions that they were most interested in researching and were sent on a quest to discover the answers. Using the internet, D2L and books they were able to share many fascinating facts with their classmates.

Prior to the arrival of the caterpillars room 8 used the new purchased digital cameras to explore the abundant insect and bird life we have right here in our own school yard. Students zoomed in and snapped pictures of a many different creatures that they then tried to identify using books and the internet.

Sports Figures in the Gym

The Association has commissioned Ramona to outline some giant sports figures in the gymnasium. She got a great start yesterday and is busily working on it again today. If you're in the school, stop by and check out the progress.

I'm sure she'd really appreciate some pointers as well...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Haultain Newsletter - June 2009

Here is Mr. Barkley's newsletter for June, please give it a little time to load into the viewer. If you want it to be larger and easier to read, click on the box near the top right corner of the square below.

Request for Comments and Info

If anyone has any comments to share from the week, or stories they'd like to share - photos, videos, etc., please let me know - I'll get them posted on here promptly.

With the council's mandate of getting and keeping Haultain parents engaged, it would be fantastic to see more comments and posts on the blog. Keep them coming!

Raising self-regulated kids takes work

By Katherine Dedyna, Canwest News Service

Lots of little kids declare "You’re not the boss of me!" to their bemused parents.

Yet the kids are on the right track. The sooner parents can instil a sense of "executive function" in their children, the better, psychologists say.

Helping even very young children develop ways to regulate their own reactions and emotions has been linked to doing better in everything from school work to getting along with others.

Called "effortful control" by Wanda Boyer, an educational psychologist at the University of Victoria, executive function includes four abilities learned by a child: to keep focused on a task; to shift attention from one task to another whether they want to or not; to initiate actions; and to stop actions whether they want to or not.

Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Haultain Calendar Updated

Please have a look at the bottom of this page - the Calendar for June has been updated to reflect the calendar in the newsletter. Please let me know if there are additional school related events that are not listed, and I'll adjust it accordingly.

Block watch meeting

There will be an informative Block Watch meeting tomorrow night at 7pm at the Queensland Community Centre for those who wish to attend.

Most kids earn failing grade on exercise, report finds News Staff

Most Canadian kids are earning a failing grade on a new report card assessing their levels of daily exercise.

Active Healthy Kids Canada's annual report card on physical activity for kids found that 87 per cent of children and youth are not getting in the recommended minimum of 90 minutes of physical activity a day.

Despite the dismal numbers, that's still an improvement compared to 2006 when 91 per cent of kids weren't reaching the target.

Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Calgary leads in learning ... again

Calgary Sun

Canada's Composite Learning Index average score fell for the first time this year, but Calgary continues to top the list measuring lifelong learning.

Ranking more than 4,700 towns and cities across the country, the CLI measures 17 indicators of lifelong learning and draws a link between learning conditions and social and economic well-being.

This year's national average fell by two points compared to 2008 -- from 77 to 75 -- but Calgary's score of 89 remained highest in the country.

Alberta passes law allowing parents to pull kids out of class


Written notice required when sex, sexual orientation, religion are covered

Alberta legislators passed legislation early Tuesday that will give parents the option of pulling their children out of class when lessons on sex, religion or sexual orientation are being taught.

The Alberta legislature held a seven-hour debate on Bill 44 Monday night before it passed third and final reading about 1:30 a.m. MT (3:30 a.m. ET) Tuesday.

A clause in the bill, which is an amendment to the province's human rights legislation, requires that school boards give parents written notice when controversial topics are going to be covered in the curriculum. Parents can then ask for their child to be excluded from the discussion.

Full story here.