Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Comments, anyone?

Working moms' kids less healthy: study (Australian Broadcasting Corporation )

Children of working mothers are more likely to have an unhealthy lifestyle than children of stay-at-home moms, suggests a U.K. study.

But experts are quick to point out that the blame should not be heaped on parents, and suggest more be done to support working families.

The research, led by Dr. Catherine Law of the Institute of Child Health at the University College London, England, examined more than 12,500 five-year-olds who were part of the UK Millennium Cohort Study.

Click here to read the full article.

6 tips on fostering love of sports in children

By Jill Barker, The Gazette

You signed your kids up for organized sport in hopes of keeping them active. But there's more to keeping kids in the game than buying gear and driving them to practices. According to McGill University's Enrique Garcia, whose area of expertise includes motivation in youth sport and physical activity, a parent's job goes far beyond chauffeur and banker.

"The very best parents can do is to encourage and nurture the youngsters' ability to generate motivation from within and for themselves," Garcia said. "This ability fuels the natural motivation to play sports."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Teaching kids good stress

By Sheryl Ubelacker, Canoe.ca

With the school year well underway, those first-day jitters most children experience are now a thing of the past. But for some kids, meeting the intellectual demands and navigating social relationships at school can trigger ongoing stress and anxiety.

And parents need to be on the lookout for signs that their child is having difficulties coping, experts say.

“It’s important to recognize the times when children are experiencing more severe or chronic stress that is beyond their ability to manage,” says Dr. Robin Alter, a Toronto-area child psychologist.

Click here to read the full story.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Terry Fox Run at Haultain!

Students, parents and staff enjoyed fantastic weather and grand enthusiasm for the school’s annual Terry Fox Run. After meeting in the gym to discuss the importance of the event, watching a touching ESPN tribute to Terry’s life, and doing some intense warm ups, everyone headed out for the run through the neighbourhood and Fish Creek Park.

Through generous donations, students from Haultain Memorial and MacKenzie Towne have raised $1623.60 to date. Thanks to all families for their generosity, to volunteers for their time, to our Parent Association for the juice boxes, and to participants for their passion and perseverance in completing the run. Bravo Haultain!

Get kids into the kitchen early

Cookbook author Karen Berman is tackling two big challenges -- finding family activities that don't involve television and getting children to eat healthier food.

In her new book, "Friday Night Bites", she presents 20 themed family meals ranging from Dinner on the Moon and An Evening at the North Pole to Dino Dinner and Teddy Bear Picnic.
Each chapter includes recipes and craft projects, educational information for conversation and after-dinner activities, along with suggestions for how children can help prepare some of the food.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Micro Survey 09.01 Results

In our first survey of the year, we asked for input on your fundraising preferences. Here are the results:

1: 2: 3: 4: With one 'Other' = "Dance-A-Thon"

As much as I would like to witness some or your performances during a dance-a-thon, I'm not sure how much traction that idea would gather - thanks for the suggestion though.

Thank you for your valuable input, stay tuned for the next micro survey.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Key Communiqué

(From the CBE's Communications Advisor, to be shared with parents at Haultain)

Welcome Back!
I hope you had a rejuvenating and relaxing summer. As you're aware, the school year is in full swing, so welcome back! I look forward to working with you this year.

If you are no longer taking on the position you held last school year, could you please ensure that either a staff member, or school council member fills out this form and fax it to 403-294-8172 Attn: Katie

System Orientation Session - Update
Every year the CBE organizes a System Orientation Session for Key Communicators and School Council Chairs. I am in the process of securing a new date for the System Orientation Session as there is a conflicting event on October 28th, the date it had originally been scheduled.
I will send out information on the meeting as soon as it is rescheduled.

Area Meetings
If you are a returning Key Communicator or School Council Chair, I would really appreciate your input with regard to Area Meetings. If you could please take a moment to fill out this brief survey it will assist us greatly moving forward.

Report to the Community
We are currently starting to work on our Report to the Community for the 2008/09 school year. If you have not seen last year's report, you can read it here. Your input on this publication is most welcome. Do you find the stories interesting? Are there areas you'd like to see less of, or expanded? What would you like to see in a report from the CBE? We would greatly appreciate your thoughts and feedback on this publication. Please email me.

Key Communicator Steering Committee
There are some vacancies for the Key Communicator Steering Committee this year. If you are interested, please email me for details.

Public Board Meetings:
All parents are welcome to attend public board meetings, held every second Tuesday from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the CBE Education Centre (515 Macleod Trail SE). The next meeting is Tuesday, October 5th. If you've never been to a Board meeting, you may find it very interesting to see how decisions are made about your child's education. Agendas and minutes and all reports are available online here. Check it out!

YMCA Peace Medals:
Do you know someone making a difference?Since 1991, YMCA Calgary has been acknowledging local peacemakers who inspire and impact others. The 2009 YMCA Calgary Peace Medals will honour young people & adults from all walks of life who commit time to advancing peace in their own community or abroad.

Students, teachers, parents, schools, and community groups have been honoured with Peace Medal nominations. Click on the links to see nominees from the last two years or to view all past Peace Medal recipients. We would love to receive nominations from CBE staff, students, and parents again this year. If you know an individual or group deserving recognition, visit www.ymcacalgary.org to learn more, submit an online nomination form, or download a copy to print or email. Nomination deadline is October 1.

Please forward this email to others in your school or community. For more information, contact:Dan TaubenseeInternational Manager, YMCA Calgary403-531-1655 dtaubens@calgary.ymca.ca

CAPSC is Calgary’s city-wide, public school parent association. CAPSC’s primary goal is to keep parents up to date and involved in their children’s education, and to help make individual school’s Parent Councils as effective as possible. CAPSC provides parents with resources, learning and sharing opportunities. They represent parent concerns to the CBE and all levels of government. For more information or to subscribe to their newsletter, visit www.capsc.ca.

School Council Development
School Council Development (SCD) provides workshops and resource materials to assist school councils.

School Council Development provides the following services:

  • Workshops for school councils anywhere in Alberta
  • Toll Free School Council Consultation Line - 1-800-661-3470
  • Instructor training to deliver workshops to school councils
  • Resource manual and materials for school council

Alberta Education

School Council Resource Manual

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

CEOPs Proposal Progress

Hi, Parents - this is a quick update on our progress, as we work our way through the CEOP (Community Engagement & Organizational Planning) proposal to close Queensland Downs Elementary.

In order to perform due diligence on our part, CEOP requires that we take with us to the next community consultation a team of ten parents from Haultain. Shane and I are embedded in the process, and we have a lot of interest so far for the remaining eight spots - if you have a keen desire to be a part of the process, and are willing to commit time from now until January, please let Shane or I know via the 'feedback' link at the top right hand side of this page.

We'd like to have an idea of our final group participants soon, as we want to meet and discuss options and the procedure with everyone prior to our next meeting (time and date of this meeting to be determined shortly) with CEOP on Monday October 5, from 7:30pm – 9:30pm at Haultain.

If you're interested, the sooner you put your hand up, the better!

Keeping away from the Joneses

By Joanne Chianello, The Ottawa Citizen

Here are what qualify as flu-like symptoms this fall: Fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with the swine flu virus, say health agencies, have also have reported diarrhea and vomiting.

Based on that assessment, you're probably thinking, "Hey, I might have swine flu right now!" And if not you, then certainly someone in your family. Barely a week goes by in any household when someone isn't experiencing at least a touch of one of these. A runny nose? De rigueur for fall and winter among the under-six set. Headache? A favourite excuse when a test's in the offing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Did You Know - 4.0!

The Three Pillars of Care Mural

My thoughts in painting a mural up the ramp hallway in the school were based on some meaningful concepts.

Firstly, I wanted to brighten the hallway so that it had a feel of walking into the outdoors instead of a dark passageway more often avoided by the students than not.

I have attempted a trompe l’Oeil method although there is some distortion due to the changing perspective as you walk down the hall.

Secondly, I hope that you will recognize the landscapes: the wide-open prairies with big skies and the majestic Rocky Mountains recognizable in the distance. As a born and bred Albertan, I’ve always felt lucky to have such beauty right outside my door.

Most importantly, though, is my incorporation of the Three Pillars of Care: Care for Self, Care for Others, and Care for this Place (a framework for the virtues program) that the school has embraced over the last few years.

In front of the first pillars you will find a boy quietly reading under a tree, representing the importance of learning and bettering oneself by exercising the mind. Another boy enjoys physical activity (while paying attention to safety). Perseverance, Responsibility, Contemplation, Excellence, Determination and Joyfulness come to mind.

As you approach the second pillars (Care for Others), you will find a girl caring for her puppy, and another coming to the aid of her friend who has fallen and hurt his knee: Compassion, Kindness, Reliability, Friendliness.

Finally approaching the third pillars (Care for this Place), we find a girl participating in a tree planting program, and clean wind energy to emphasis the importance of caring for the place we live in and share with all life: Respect, Caring, Decency, Responsibility, Peacefulness.

Ramona Lind

Friday, September 18, 2009

Quality ingredients and smart packaging make lunch more enjoyable

By Iris Winston, For Canwest News Service

From kindergarten through Grade 12, children eat more than 2,500 school lunches.
At least, parents hope their children eat all that's in those lunch bags. But preparing daily lunches that are healthy, tasty, interesting and in keeping with school requirements can be a challenge.

"It's really difficult to give the kids something they'll eat every day," says Jody Taylor, an Ottawa mother whose eight-year-old daughter, Broughan, and six-year-old son, Tavish, take their lunches to school regularly.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Micro Survey 09.01: Fund Raising

Continuing our practice of collecting your thoughts and ideas using micro surveys, following is a question regarding fund raising. We have a brand new Fund Raising Coordinator (Kristie A) and she would like a little input regarding your thoughts. Please take a second select your preference below or fill in the 'other' section. Don't forget to click the submit button when you're done.

Don't forget!

There are parent-teacher interviews tonight and tomorrow. Tomorrow is also a day off for students.

Also, if you haven't had the chance, go and have a read about this week's Community Engagement Plan meeting - and submit your feedback on the proposal.

Top 10 tips for helping children love books

By Jane Venus, Ottawa Citizen

We all know that reading is good for kids because they need it for school and learning and eventually for working.
But there are other reasons that reading is important, so share this "Top 10" list with the kids you know: (Click here to view article!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Updates - Part III

I have received a question (or two) about the re-allocation of Attendance Area in the CEOPs presentation document below. The school zones show some different boundaries than we are used to.

First - this is way ahead of the process. No decisions have been made about the school closures and won't be for months to come.

If the proposed recommendation for closure is accepted by the Trustees, then the proposed attendance area would likely be as well. It is Mr. Barkley's stance that each family's circumstance would be examined on a case by case basis but that in general, it is accepted that a student would continue at the school where they started.

Again, focusing on the preliminary nature of the proposals, there still might be amendments made to the walk zones or clauses added to the recommendations that say a student can stay at their originating school if its desired. There is still the public forum for any concerns as outlined in the proposal document on page 56. If you want to provide input suggesting alternatives to the attendance area map that has been proposed, let me know and I will look into the best way of getting your opinion heard.

Updates - Part II

Further to Nick's post. I've embedded the full presentation from the meeting. There is a lot information regarding the process, the background, the demographics, the rationale and the actual recommendation.

For the meat of the matter, be sure to read page 44 (the recommendation that will be presented to the Trustees pending the process), page 45 (the proposed attendance area), and pages 46 and 47 (the rationale for the recommendation).

There were a lot of questions after the presentation of the slides, if you have any - let us know and we can answer them if they were already asked or we can find out for you. Ask via the comments or send me or Nick an email.

DHQ Presentation

A plant request

Do any parents have tropical plants in their gardens that they don't want to overwinter? If so, please consider donating them to the school atrium. Please contact Joanne Ogilvie, and let her know.


Hi, Parents - I've just updated September's calendar (please scroll to the bottom of this page to view) with school events and important dates. I'll attempt to keep it up to date as far in advance as possible. Please, if you have anything you'd like everyone to keep in mind, let me know and I'll put it in the calendar.

As well, here is the page on the CBE's website which details our current student accomodation situation - the presentation from our meeting on Monday night is on there for viewing as well.
This is the link to use to submit your feedback on the local student accomodation situation - PLEASE take the time to fill it out and submit it.

Don't forget that there are parent/teacher interviews tomorrow night, continuing through Friday which is a day off for students.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Perfect Example

I wanted to add a small but important side story to the synopsis of last night's meeting. As you all know by now, the CEOPs group puts their recommendation forward to the Trustee's after the entire engagement process is complete. The Board of Trustee's are our elected officials representing the interests of parents and our children. Each ward of the city is represented by a Trustee that we have elected. They don't work for the CBE and are ultimately answerable directly to us, the voters.

Last night, Mrs. Bazinet took the time to come to the first of many meetings regarding the proposed school closure. Talking to her after the meeting she told me she was motivated to come out because of a contact she had with one of our parents. That parent contacted her office to alert her of their concern for what was happening. They wanted her to know that it was important to them that a correct and thoughtful decision be made regarding our school. It was enough to bring Mrs. Bazinet to our meetings so she could get a preliminary understanding of what the issues are.

This scenario really underscores the importance of parental engagement. One parent showing this level of concern drew the attention of a Trustee, one of seven who will ultimately decide what happens to our school. Whoever it was - thank you for your example.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Community Engagement Plan Meeting

Hi Parents - Trevor, Shane and I attended the CEOP (Community Engagement and Operational Planning) meeting this evening, which was aimed at getting parent input on CEOP's proposal to close one of three kindergarten to grade 6 schools in our vicinity: Deer Run, Queensland, or Haultain Memorial.

The school put forward for closure was Queensland Downs - the reasons for which being varied - to get full information on the CEOPS proposal, we highly recommend you visit the Student Accommodation section of the CBE website, and view the presentation. The full presentation will be made available online by the end of the day Tuesday September 15th, and contains the pertinent information which was considered in CEOP's recommendation. Once Parent queries are harvested, a 'Frequently Asked Questions' section will be added, so it's important to submit yours.

It's very, VERY important to remember that at this stage, IT IS STILL JUST A RECOMMENDATION, and is subject to change based on parent involvement and feedback.

Without feedback from the parent community, without parent views and opinions being heard, this consultation process is irrelevant. Your input, with the view of developing a successful learning environment which suits ALL children in our learning area is very important.

Your comments can be submitted in many ways - you are free to leave a comment on this blog, submit questions on the CEOPs 'Feedback' page on the CBE website, or contact your area trustee.

Please comment, write, get involved, and come to Parent Council/Association meetings. Our goal is to maintain the fantastic culture of learning that has been developed at Haultain - and your involvement is the key to achieve that goal.

Meeting Tonight

I just wanted to remind everyone that we (Nick, Mr. Barkley and myself) will be meeting with the CBE's Community Engagement people tonight. Along with the groups from Deer Run and Queensland Downs, we will be presented with the CBE's recommendation for the schools in our community. They will tell us which school they think should be shut down and why. They will tell us the procedures for consultation regarding that recommendation. We will ALL have a chance to say our piece and present ideas to the CEOPs group that may or may not have been thought of already.

After the meeting Nick will have a full and transparent run down of what happened that he will post it on the blog. Please, please refrain from rumour and innuendo - nothing has been released from the CBE to any community as of yet. Tonight will be the first public airing of their recommendations - so if someone tells you they know what is going to happen - they do not, they have heard wrong or have listened to rumour.

I promise - you'll know what we do as soon as possible.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Parents should be actively involved in children's education

By Aisha Sherazi, Ottawa Citizen

In my limited experience working in both the independent and public system, there is one common theme for kids who do well at school. Their parents take a full and active role in their schooling, whether it is coming out to see them play sports, hearing them play in a musical recital, helping them review for tough tests, or simply being on hand as a consultant when they are doing their homework.
Research suggests that children whose parents get actively involved in their education get better grades and test scores, graduate from high school at higher rates, are more likely to go on to higher education and are better behaved with more positive attitudes. There is also evidence to suggest that children whose parents read to them in the early years thrive better at school.

Another Successful Ice Cream Social!

It was great to see so many folks come out and enjoy a beautiful, warm, sunny evening at the school last night. The ice cream flowed, and fuelled some serious playtime. Thanks to the Parent Association for sponsoring the event and blowing my carefully crafted diet to heck! Thanks for visiting this site - and please feel free to ask any questions you might have, or express any concerns. All questions and comments get forwarded to the council, and we're more than happy to post them in here in order to facilitate some discussion in our parent community. Have a great Friday - and enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Are you bugged by pesticide use?

There has been much media coverage and debate regarding chemical applications used to control unwanted invaders within our city - remember purple loosestrife? We seem to have an abundance of dandelions, mosquitoes with the risk of West Nile, and just recently a rat scare in the northeast. When does a weed or animal become noxious or a nuisance and what is the best practice for dealing with it?

Back in 2008, Calgary City Council directed the City of Calgary Administration to draft a proposed pesticide use bylaw. The term 'pesticides' includes herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and rodenticides (i.e. rat poison). This initiative came as a result of some citizens voicing their concerns about the environmental and health impacts of non-essential pesticides. Similar bylaws restricting the use of non-essential pesticides have been passed in other cities and provinces across Canada.

The City is welcoming comments and has opened several of its meetings to the public. On October 7, 2009 the Administration will present an update on the pesticide use bylaw and on December 2, 2009 the draft bylaw will be presented at committee along with an update on the City's Integrated Pest Management policy. Click here to access this policy. It is a somewhat lengthy document, but it is easy to scan through and pick out highlights such as common misconceptions regarding pesticide application (see Perceptions), and the various 'zones' in Calgary and how pest management differs among them.

In April 2010, if the bylaw is approved by City Council it will be added to the policy and presented to the Standing Policy Committee on Utilities and Environment.

In the meantime, the City is asking for our input in drafting the pesticide use bylaw, starting with a short 5 question survey here . It is a short-answer essay format asking your opinions on the advantages and disadvantages of City spraying programs, how you personally combat weeds and pests on your property, and to what extent you have success with your methods.

The public is also invited to attend one of the following information sessions:

Wed, Sept 23 - Deerfoot Inn and Casino, Bridlewood Room (1000-11500 35th St. SE) 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Thurs, Sept 24 - Beddington Heights Community Centre (375 Bermuda Dr. NW) 6 pm to 8 pm
Tues Sept 29 - Cedarbrae Community Centre (11024 Oakfield Dr. SW) 6 pm to 8 pm
Wed, Sept 30 - Calgary Pineridge Community Centre (6024 Rundlehorn Dr. NE) 6 pm to 8 pm

If you have any feedback on this issue, please send it here.

Meetings Last Night

We had our AGM meetings last night, first the Council then the Association. The turnout was exceptional, so many parents of children in Kindergarten and/or grade 1. It was really great to see this kind of interest so soon.

As it was the AGM, we had some elections to go through, I will be staying on as Chair for the next term. Please join me in thanking the following people for the generous donations of their time and effort for our school:

Steve A - Council and Association Vice Chair
Judith N - Council Community Rep
Tracey B - Association Treasurer
Kristie A - Association Fund Raiser

In other Council business we discussed; the Garfield Weston Award, previously mentioned here, the opportunities for parental input to the school development plan, staffing and classroom sizes, and the Community Engagement and Operation Planning procedures for the CBE's upcoming changes to our school.

As mentioned before, there are many rumours floating around about what will be happening. Mr Barkley took the opportunity to address a few of them directly. There will be no schools shutting down in the 2009/2010 school year. McKenzie Towne population will be going to their own school in January. There will be no additions to our school from other communities in January. The CBE will have a recommendation to give to the Trustees (who make the final decision) by the end of December. One of the three school will be closing its doors; Haultain, Queensland, or Deer Run. All three communities will have a chance to meet and consult with the CEOPs group before the recommendations are handed to the Trustees. We will post everything that we know on this blog as the process continues.

If you would like to make a comment to CEOPs about our school, please go here and fill out the form. If you want specific information about the process, please go here. If you want to talk to our Trustee's office (Carol Bazinet), her contact information is here. If you have any input you would like Nick or I to bring to the first meeting with CEOPs please either "comment it" at the end of this blog entry or send us an email with your thoughts.

At the Parent Association meeting we reviewed the proposed budget, which passed, welcomed our new Treasurer and Fund Raiser, discussed our role as parents, and the challenges of budgeting for the 2010/2011 school year.

There will be more detail available once the minutes are posted. Thanks to all our new members as well as our familiar volunteers for coming out and making the meeting a success.

Special thank you to Lynn J for the awesome treats!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Child care helps parents make invaluable friends too

From the Canada.com website:

NEW YORK - Child care centres are often as good for the parents as for the youngsters when it comes to making friends and building a support network, according to a U.S. study.

Researchers from the University of Chicago found that many child care centers have an overlooked function -- connecting parents with each other as informal advisers in child rearing, and with agencies that help with the challenges of parenting.

"Parents come to school to find someone to care for their children, and they end up learning ways of taking care of each other," said researcher Mario Small, professor in sociology, in a statement.

Click here for the full story.

Parents urged to keep sick kids home

From the CBC website:

In the face of a possible wave of H1N1 flu cases this fall, public health and education officials are encouraging parents and teachers to help stem the potential spread by keeping or sending students with flu-like symptoms home.

But should vigilance surrounding the pandemic virus mean having kids hunker down at the first sign of the sniffles? Not necessarily, says Saskatchewan's deputy chief medical health officer. Dr. Saqib Shahab said since September is a common time for dust allergies, individuals may experience a lot of sneezing, coughing and sore throat but no fever.

Click here to read the full article.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Our first meeting of the year is on Wednesday, September 9 at 6:30pm in the Haultain library. This will be the first meeting since Sept 2006 without our McKenzie Towne guests as they now have their own Council and PA organizations. On behalf of the Council we wish them nothing but the best and hope for them the smoothest transitions possible. They will be going through a couple this school year. I would also like to thank the parents from MT who were engaged in the volunteer community surrounding our school. It was a pleasure to work with all of you. And a special thank you to Sherri M. for being a thorough and exemplary Treasurer for our PA.

This meeting is our AGM and we'll be discussing the future of our school. As I'm sure you all know by now the CBE has decided that our area has too many schools and not enough students to fill them. So one of three schools will be shut down after this school year. The CBE has a department that deals with these issues called Community Engagement and Operational Planning (CEOPS). The process for decision was touched on a bit last year during our meetings and will be discussed again on Wednesday. The first step begins on Monday September 14th with a meeting between the three schools and CEOPS to discuss the proposal that the CBE has come up with. Mr. Barkley, myself, and Nick will be in attendance representing Haultain. There will be three more meetings after that with escalating attendance by the community. I will have a full report after the first meeting so that you will be up to date.

There have been many rumours circulating around the community concerning the CBE's plans. Some are absurd, some are just unlikely and some sound too good to be true - all of them can be harmful. The simple fact is that the CBE has not released any information regarding their proposed plans and won't until the 14th. Please be patient with speculation until the CBE releases their information. Stay tuned to this blog and your email for up to date info on the process and the proposals.

The AGM will also be an opportunity to vote on the positions of; Chair, Vice-Chair and Community Representative for the Council; and Treasurer, Fundraiser for the Association. The proposed budget for the next two school years will also be presented to the floor for acceptance. Please plan to attend.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What age is old enough for the walk to school?

From the National Post

On Wednesday morning, Sarah and Thomas Brisson will get on their bikes and pedal their way to the start of a new school year. It will take about 15 minutes, about the same time it would take their mom to drive them in rush-hour traffic.

The exercise will get their blood pumping, the fresh air will clear their heads and they'll arrive wide-awake for the first class, unlike when she used to drive them, says their mom, Denise Brisson.

But like a lot of parents, she's leery about letting them make the trip on their own. There's a scary intersection they have to cross where morning commuters seem more focused on merging than on the kids in the crosswalk.

Sarah, 11, is keen to go without adult supervision, and when Brisson was Thomas's age, eight, she walked to school on her own.

Parents are more protective these days because of their perception that the world isn't as safe as it used to be, says registered school psychologist Bev Baker-Hofmann. But there's a fine line between being protective and being overprotective, she adds.

It's important to help kids begin to assert their independence, and letting them make the trip to school is one way to do that, she says. But when are they ready?

Click here to read more.

You can't get away from your kids

Corinne Maier, National Post
Saturday, Aug 29, 2009

In a newly released book, French writer Corinne Maier offers reasons not to have children. The following excerpt offers Maier's take on dealing with childcare.

So what do you do with children? Everybody adores them, but nobody really wants them around. Spend years in the house looking after kids? You must know that this is death by boredom. Unlike in Scandinavia, there is no structure in most countries to encourage the merdeuf to take the kids with her to a restaurant or the movies. So she lives a monastic life, measured out in diapers, baths and bottles.

Click here to read more.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Alberta parents highest spenders on back-to-school shopping

By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald

Alberta parents are among the highest spenders when it comes to back-to-school shopping.

A Scotiabank study says Albertans with children in preschool through Grade 12 are planning to spend an average of $338 to get their children ready for school. Alberta’s household spending intentions were behind Quebec ($399) but higher than the national average of $310.

However, Alberta leads the country in the amount parents expect to spend throughout the year on school-related incidentals from field trips to pizza lunches. Albertans anticipate spending $471 with the Canadian average at $406.

“Spending by Canadian households on school-related goods and services typically is more stable than other discretionary purchases in both good and not so good times,” said Aaron Gampel, Scotiabank’s deputy chief economist. “Although cost-conscious Canadian families will look to stretch their purchasing power, allocating hard-earned spending dollars on education takes on added importance during these challenging times.”

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Your kids' healthy lunches need not put others at risk

It wasn't that long ago that harried parents would send their kids off to school with lunch boxes filled with a peanut butter and jam sandwich or two, an apple, a juice box and maybe a couple of cookies.

Times have changed. And not always for the better.

While greater awareness of food allergies has cut into the proliferation of peanuts and nut-based products in schools, there are a host of foods that can cause serious — even life-threatening issues for some children.

On Sept. 30, 2003, doctors at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa removed 13-year-old Sabrina Shannon from life support. A day earlier she suffered anaphylactic shock after eating french fries in her high school cafeteria.

Click here to read the full posting.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

10 ways to talk to kids about H1N1 without scaring them

By Joanne Chianello,
Canwest News Service

Educate your children about flu preventionAs kids flood back to school, you may be tempted to sit them down and give them a good talking to about H1N1.

Resist. Haranguing your kids to obsessively wash their hands or to shun schoolmates with a slight cough will only freak them out -- and will likely not help them avoid swine flu.