Over the past few years, the concept of physical literacy has grown in popularity around the world. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t feel bad – but before you ask, it’s nothing to do with running and reading books at the same time!
According to the International Physical Literacy Association, “Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding of value and taking responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.”
To put it into plain English, the concept simply means viewing all aspects of our health holistically, rather than as separate ideas.
The philosophy is gaining ground in Canada. This year, the BC Ministry of Health provided funding of $50,000 for 17 community ventures across B.C. to learn and be mentored about physical literacy and how it positively impacts our health and well-being.
But the reality is, even though experts now know that incorporating movement, nutrition and mindfulness together means children thrive, it isn’t always easy – or possible – for most mainstream and public schools to implement such ideas.
However, a progressive and modern school like Pear Tree Elementary, a private school in Kitsilano, has physical literacy at the heart of its learning approach.
Parents, do not despair. You have rights and no longer need to choose between your career and your children.
As a Human Rights lawyer and a father of two young gentlemen, I understand both the legal and practical aspects of the balancing act parents have to go through in order to fully engage in family life while maintaining their careers
I am pleased to report that parents in BC enjoy an increasingly robust set of laws that protect their jobs, ensure they can satisfy their childcare obligations and not be subject to discrimination on the basis that they have chosen to start a family. Those laws have adapted to ensure that adoptive, biological, foster and other parenting arrangements are protected.
Two of the key pieces of legislation that offer parents and guardians protection are the BC Human Rights Code and the BC Employment Standards Act.
Human Rights Protections
Section 13 of the Human Rights Code prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis that they may or do have children or guardianship. Discrimination can range from being treated negatively (such as being passed over for a promotion or bonus, or being the subject of jokes or remarks) to being fired.
While the BC Human Rights Code does not specifically state that parents or parenting choices must be protected from childcare obligations, the case law has developed to provide this protection under the heading “family status”. This means that under certain circumstances, such as those I touch on below, parents have strong legal protections under the Code.
Pregnancy & Status as a Parent or Guardian
It is illegal to discriminate against a woman on the basis that she wants to or does become pregnant, or because she wants to or does take maternity leave. Pregnancy and maternity leave are protected by the prohibition in the Code against discrimination based on a person’s sex.
For example, if a mom-to-be requires time off for medical complications due to her pregnancy or she takes maternity leave, her employer is required to accommodate that time off of work and leave her position open for her return unless to do so would be unduly hard on the employer.
Likewise, the law protects a parent’s right to take parental leave after a birth or adoption and employers have to accommodate parental leave to the point of undue hardship.
Proving undue hardship by an employer is very difficult and most employers in BC would be hard-pressed to prove that it would suffer undue hardship in accommodating a maternity leave, parental or parenting-related medical leave.
Accommodation of childcare responsibilities is another hot topic that has received a great deal of attention by Canadian Courts and Tribunals recently. Specifically, the Courts and Human Rights tribunals have been called upon to address whether employers must accommodate employees’ childcare obligations.
While the BC Human Rights Code does not specifically address childcare obligations explicitly, the law has developed to include childcare obligations within the family status protections in the Code.
In 2014, the Federal Court of Canada clarified the legal test to assess when an employer must accommodate employee childcare obligations. The test defined by the Court can be summarized as follows:
The child is under the employee’s care and supervision;
The childcare obligation is required because the employee is legally responsible for the child; it is not simply a personal choice;
The employee has made reasonable efforts to meet his or her childcare obligations through reasonable alternatives, but no such alternative solution is reasonably accessible; and
The workplace rule at issue interferes with fulfilling the childcare obligation in more than a trivial or insubstantial way.
The Federal Court’s position on childcare accommodation was heavily criticized because it obligated employees with childcare issues to go to great lengths to find alternative solutions before requiring an employer to accommodate them (whereas people claiming accommodation for other issues such as disability, were not legally required to go to such lengths). Essentially, the criticism was that under the Federal Court rulings, if the employee made significant effort to find alternative childcare options, but was unable to do so, then an employer had a legal obligation to accommodate the employee’s childcare obligations (by providing time off, an alternate schedule, etc.).
However, in 2016 the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled that employees should not be required to meet a more stringent test than those with other issues before being entitled to accommodation from employers.
In its decision in Misetich v. Value Village Stores Inc., 2016 HRTO 1229, the Tribunal abandoned the Federal Court test in favour of a more balanced and fair approach. Under Misetich, employees now just need to establish that there is a “real disadvantage to the parent/child relationship and the responsibilities that flow from that relationship, and/or to the employee’s work” and then the employer will be required to accommodate.
While the more balanced approach has been rolled out in Ontario, I expect that it will be followed by other Tribunals and will become the standard nationwide.
Employment Standards Protections
The BC Employment Standards Act also provides an additional layer of legal protection for parents in BC. For example, under the Act, a pregnant employee is entitled to up to 17 weeks of unpaid leave from work for the purposes of birth or termination of a pregnancy, with additional time available if required due to issues arising from the pregnancy or termination. The pregnancy leave is supplemented by the right to up to 35 weeks’ parental leave, which is available to adoptive parents.
In addition, the Act entitles employees up to five unpaid days per year to attend to the “care, health or education of a child in the employee’s care”.
If an employee takes any of the above leaves under the Act, the employer cannot dismiss the employee or change a condition of his or her employment. Instead, the employer must place the employee in the same or a comparable position on his or her return after the leave.
This is a very brief overview of some of the protections that are in place for parents in BC, and is meant to illustrate how the legal needs and rights of parents are being addressed by the law in British Columbia. The law is changing in very positive ways and helping to alleviate the historical parenting conundrum: whether to choose career or family. Making employees choose between either having fulfilling employment or engaging in family life is not only unfair but in many cases it is illegal as well.
If you feel you are facing discrimination or negative treatment as a result of your status as a parent, get some advice right away. You might be surprised by how strong your rights are!
Richard B. Johnson is a Human Rights and Employment Lawyer at Kent Employment Law, Vancouver, BC.
Richard is married to his wonderful wife Shellee, and is the father of two young gentlemen.
Kent Employment Law
Suite 560 – 1285 West Broadway
Vancouver BC V6H 3X8
As an orthodontist, I often come across two types of parents: one who assumes their kid’s experience will be the same as theirs and another type of parent who doesn’t have the experience or knowledge they need to get the process started.
No matter where you stand, I hope to ease your questions and concerns about bracing your kids by delineating what an orthodontist is, what we do, and answer some of the questions I get asked most by parents:
- How are orthodontists and dentists different?
- Should I wait to visit an orthodontist until I am referred to one by my dentist?
- How do I know when to set up an appointment?
- At what age should I bring my children into the orthodontist?
Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is a specialized branch of dentistry that treats irregularities in teeth and jaw position. Orthodontists use traditional braces, clear aligners and other appliances to help make teeth move, then use retainers to hold teeth in position.
The journey to become an orthodontist starts right after graduation from an accredited dental school. It takes getting into a highly competitive two- to three-year residency program until orthodontists are ready to twist, push, pull, shift and turn teeth, among other things. It takes years of studying how to carefully orient teeth and jaws to make the mouth look the way it should. We complete school with a unique distinction and mission for every patient and want everyone to be proud not only of their smile but have a smile that is functional and healthy. As orthodontists, we have the know-how and expertise to transform the way people view their mouths through a growing number of technologies and innovative orthodontic practices.
It might be Hollywood stereotypes, or maybe parents harkening back to their teenage days when their mouths were full of hardware, but children often see an orthodontist much later than we recommend. Both the Canadian and American Associations of Orthodontists recommend parents bring their kids to see an orthodontist by age 7—but why age 7?
At this age, your child is in a mixed dentition stage, which means they have both baby and adult teeth. Their front adult teeth and first molars will have erupted, establishing a back bite and allowing the orthodontist to identify a possible overbite, underbite or any other issues. Orthodontists that treat patients who are growing also have the ability to take advantage of that growth to affect teeth and jaw positions.
Having your kids see an orthodontist at the right time could help identify any problems that may affect your child’s health and function early on. Secondarily, it could also save you time and money. An early orthodontic appointment will give your orthodontist time to spot current and incoming problems for children and allow them to plan appropriately. Once permanent teeth have arrived, or if a patient has passed a certain period of growth, it can potentially take more time to treat a patient. Take your child’s oral care into your own hands and don’t wait for a referral from your dentist, because a referral isn’t needed to see an orthodontist.
Seeing an orthodontist should be another childhood first, equivalent to that first haircut or parent-teacher conference. It’s another important first that a lot of parents don’t know they’re missing!
Early Oral Problems
Orthodontics make smiles look nice—yes, but it also has serious health benefits. Crooked or crowded teeth can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss. That’s because overlapping teeth can be tough to clean. A bad bite can also cause problems when chewing and talking, not to mention too much wear, grinding, and clenching.
A misaligned jaw or teeth can interfere with how your children eat, sleep and speak. The discomfort can be draining on anyone, especially kids.
Once these issues are identified, your orthodontist will decide the best method for fixing the smile.
These are some of the issues we look for in 7-year-old patients:
- Crowding—Extraction of some baby or adult teeth can improve or help guide the eruption of adult teeth.
- Overbites and underbites—These bite problems can cause the gums to recede on the front teeth if left untreated.
- Narrow upper jaw or posterior crossbite—Some studies have shown that a narrow upper jaw can cause uneven jaw growth if preventative measures aren’t taken early on. More recent studies have shown that expanding the upper jaw can improve the airway.
- Impacted teeth—If left unmanaged, impacted teeth can cause damage to the roots of adjacent teeth
- Upper and Lower Jaw relationships—Can be managed with appliances and could potentially minimize the need for surgery later on in life.
- Oral habits—Harmful oral habits like thumb sucking can cause a bad bite and a narrow upper jaw.
- Improve Appearance—Orthodontic treatment has shown to have a psychological and social benefit. Beyond orthodontics’ immediate remedies for mouth health, research shows that it can help with self-perceptions and quality of life for your children.
Orthodontics has come a long way since stainless steel brackets and wires were first introduced in 1927. Many kids are still getting traditional braces as they are still one of the most predictable methods for correcting teeth. Porcelain and ceramic tooth-colored brackets were introduced in the 1970s, making “brace-face” a term of the past. In 1999, clear aligners made their debut. Clear aligners are transparent molds that are nearly invisible in the mouth and are a popular alternative to traditional braces. New technologies, practices and treatments are making perfect smiles much more achievable and accessible; however, more important than the technology is the specialist behind it. We’ve trained for years to understand the complexity of the mouth in a comprehensive way so that our patients have a great experience. Our specialist knowledge coupled with the advancing technology of orthodontics will give your child a healthy and beautiful smile.
Parents make the difference
The majority of a child’s oral health is in the hands of their parents.
Being proactive about long-term oral health means teaching proper habits that kids can follow throughout their lives. Parents who teach good habits at home will help kids to remain in good health as they grow up. Your dentist and orthodontist can work with you to help your children learn the best cleaning techniques and ways to maintain healthy teeth and habits.
With or without a referral from your dentist, seeing an orthodontist can help reemphasize habits that have already been introduced to your child by parents and dentist. Orthodontists can also recognize issues in the mouth that you or your dentist may not recognize. During your child’s first consultation with an orthodontist, photographs and X-rays may be taken followed by a detailed analysis of your child’s bite. At that appointment, the orthodontist can recommend what treatment option is best for your child and their long-term health. And as hard as it may be to believe, sometimes no treatment is recommended.
When to a schedule an orthodontic exam with a certified orthodontic specialist:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb sucking
- Crowding, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
- Jaws that shift or make sounds
- Speech difficulties
- Biting the cheek or the roof of the mouth
- Teeth that meet abnormally, or don’t meet at all
- Facial imbalance
- Jaws that are too far forward or back
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
Dr. Frederick Cheung has been practicing orthodontics for 7 years and his primary practice is at Monarch Orthodontic Centre – Surrey in Guildford. He is currently an executive member of the British Columbia Society of Orthodontists (BCSO). BCSO is committed to educating the public about the benefits of orthodontic treatment and is the voice for all orthodontists in BC. To learn more about the BCSO or to find an orthodontist in your area, please visit www.bcortho.ca.
Monarch Orthodontic Centre
Monarch Orthodontic Centre is committed to providing a friendly environment throughout orthodontic treatment so that our patients can enjoy the long-term benefits of this rewarding experience. Additional locations include Port Moody, Surrey and Vancouver.
The Vancouver Orthodontics team welcomes you to our practice! We provide a comprehensive range of orthodontic treatment options, including multiple braces options and Invisalign®, all in a friendly, cheerful atmosphere.
Guildford Orthodontic Centre
Our Practice Philosophy: Faces, Not Braces! We dedicate our time and energy towards providing you with excellence in orthodontic care. We believe that excellence in orthodontic care involves informed patients experiencing quality orthodontic treatment in a warm friendly surrounding.
Ridge Meadows Orthodontics
Maple Ridge, 604/463-1125
Visiting the orthodontist can make some patients feel anxious, especially our younger ones. Our whole practice is designed with our patients’ comfort in mind. We want you to feel as happy and relaxed as possible, and to feel truly at home when you’re with us.
Creating facial balance and harmony between soft and hard tissue is always our end goal, both for the sake of our patient’s appearance and comfort. The Langley Orthodontics team will guide you each step of the way on the journey to your perfect smile.
Coquitlam Family Orthodontics
We are committed to delivering excellent, high-quality orthodontic treatment to each patient. Our treatment methods are always up to date and progressive because we want to provide you with the best care available.
Austin Heights Orthodontics
Orthodontist Dr. Suzuki and his team take the responsibility to consistently exceed your expectations very seriously. Their success is based on the relationships built with their patients and referral sources. We are grateful for the opportunity to include you in our patient family.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year — time to send the kids back to school and reclaim your household! After a summer of camps and goofing around inside, your house may need a little tough love to get back into shape for the fall. Research shows that the average North American home has 300,000 items in it, and back-to-school is the perfect time to get rid of the ones that you don’t need anymore.
As the kids head back to school and you take the steps to get your house back and order, I’m sharing ten of my favorite tips and tricks to declutter and organize your home this fall:
- Pull out all the homework and artwork from the previous school year. Before the onslaught of this school year’s homework and artwork, make sure you have decluttered last year’s. We all know Little Timmy is smart as a whip, but you don’t need to keep every piece of homework he brings. Homework has one purpose and one purpose only: to help kids learn. It’s not to be immortalized in boxes in the garage that you’ll never look it. Empty backpacks, desk drawers and those piles you’ve been meaning to tackle and pick the best of the best. Save the things that are substantial and remind you who they were at the time in their lives. As for artwork, how many turkey hands does one family need? Pare down to a small but great representation of their masterpieces and let the rest go. Take photos if you just can’t bare to let them go. You might want to also consider making art books out of the artwork. A crayon self-portrait looks so much better in a book for the long run than in a box in your garage. You can make them yourself with any number of apps but if you need a little help, I love Souvenartebooks!
- Donate (or toss if they are broken) toys that didn’t get used this summer. After a summer of “I’m bored,” you’ll have a great idea of what toys your kids really play with. And don’t forget the holidays (AKA more stuff) are just around the corner. 3.1% of the world’s children live in America, but they own 40% of the toys consumed globally. The new school year will jump them to the next developmental level, so really be honest about what’s going to get played with. If letting go of toys is difficult for your kid, try the half way there approach. Sort the toys into four piles: keep, donate, trash and not quite yet. Box up the “not quite yet toys” and put in a closet or garage. Tell your kids if they really miss the toy and want to play with it, it’s right there. But chances are, out of sight, out of mind, especially with all the homework coming their way.
- Did summer reading lists create a glut of books in your home? Time to do a purge of the books that won’t get read again or won’t ever be read. Of course there are classics and favorites that will be kept but ask your kids if they really are going to read Captain Underpants for the 4th time. Most libraries are facing deep budget cuts so lots of them have turned to book sales to keep their doors open a little later and on weekend. Check with your local library to see if they are accepting books and while you are there, return those overdue library books!
- Running around in bathing suits and sprouting up like weeds means your kids have outgrown a lot of last year’s clothes. Time to do a deep dive on their clothes and donate the clothes they don’t wear or can’t fit into any more. This is a great process to involve kids in as it gets them used to the idea of letting go of stuff they don’t use or wear any more. First do a pass when they are at school and make a pile of the clothes you think are too small or worn out. Then when they are home, ask them what they are okay letting go of. Have them try it one to make sure it really fits. If there are younger siblings or cousins, put them the hand-me-down box. Also, consider doing a clothes swap with other families. Peace Love Swap can help you organize one. And don’t forget back-to-school school shopping is on the agenda so make some room!
- Donate old backpacks. Most kids get new backpacks for each school year. If last year’s pack is still in good shape, think about donating to a local nonprofit that works with foster kids. Use this as an opportunity to declutter backpacks, duffle bags and suitcases. Foster kids are in dire need of suitcases, duffle bags and backpacks. Because they are moving around so much and don’t have a permanent home, they often move to foster home to foster home with their belongings in a trash bag. Finding a local organization that provides these donations to local foster kids is a great way to teach your kids about giving back.
- Donate old sports equipment. Has the team gotten a new logo making the old uniforms out-of-date? A client called me up to say that her daughter’s school team got a new logo and they had so many uniforms that were in great shape but they didn’t know what to do with them. I happened to be going to Kenya at that time to work with a girl’s school there, so I volunteered to bring the uniforms to Nyamasare Girl’s School and Orphanage for their football team. They were so excited about the new uniforms, they changed their mascot to the tiger to match the shirts. Talk to the coach about doing a team cleat drive. Everybody wins!
- Donate old towels to local animal rescue groups. Pool, river, lake, or ocean have all wreaked havoc on your towels. Once everyone is settled into their new schedules, pull all the towels out and see which ones can go. This is an easy one because a tired towel is a tired towel. Keep a couple on hand for spills and floods, but donate the rest to a local animal rescue group. I even had a family recently that took piles and piles of old towels to the SPCA and came home with a new dog!
- Tackle your garage. 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them, and after a summer of everyone home, the garage has become the dumping ground. Tackle this before winter comes because this is one of the biggest jobs on the list but maybe the most satisfying! Take a little time to come up with a plan to attack the garage. First, start with the purging. Then determine if some shelving would help keep you organized moving into the school year. Remember an organized garage is like staying thin — you have to be vigilant about the amount of calories/things that come in or else the weigh/clutter will pile on!
- Return order to the kitchen. Constant summertime snacking has probably turned the kitchen upside down. The kitchen is a great place to start with a purge! Kitchens are magnets for clutter and you have to be brutal with the purge, otherwise you are drowning in coffee cups you never use. The first place to start is with food storage containers. Bring them all out on the kitchen counter and match tops with bottoms. If there’s no top (or bottom) … OUT! Check your plates, if they are chipped and broken, time to let go. Is there a drawer of old plastic Disney plates that the kids aren’t using anymore? Time to donate them. Next, take a look at your pantry. I feel really strongly about the food waste problem in this country. 40% of the food in the United States is never eaten, but at the same time, one in eight Americans struggles to put enough food on the table. That being said, we all have lots of food in our cupboards that our families won’t ever eat. So when doing your pantry purge, call your local food bank and see if they take slightly “expired” food. Most do! This is also a great time to take stock of what foods the family really eats. I like to make a master grocery list that lives on the computer or can be printed out. That way, before you go to the store, you can check the pantry to make sure you don’t buy staples you already have. And to stay ahead of the clutter in the school year, never go to the grocery without a list. It’s a surefire way to over buy.
- Next year think about doing this decluttering while the kids are at sleep away camp! Once back-to-school hits, everyone is running at top speed. Many of my clients book me for one of the weeks that the kids are away at camp, and then save the second week for a kid-free staycation!
Tracy has always referred to herself as “obsessive compulsive delightful,” but who knew she could turn that trait into a booming business? Nearly ten years ago, while working for a major television director in Los Angeles, Tracy discovered she had the ability to see through any mess and clearly envision a clutter-free space. Coupled with keen time-management and organizational skills, Tracy soon found more and more people were asking her for help. Before she knew it, dClutterfly was born.
Ten years and over 1,200 jobs later, dClutterfly has been named “Best in Nest” by DailyCandy and has received the Super Service Award from Angie’s List for five years. Tracy is a regularly featured expert on KTLA Morning Show, KCAL9, and Good Day Sacramento. She and her company have also been featured in Real Simple, Women’s Day and ShopSmart. Along with her team of expert dClutterers, Tracy is ready to tackle any project, big or small.
In addition to her impressive organizing tool belt, Tracy grew up with family members who hoarded and knows firsthand that the effects of living amongst an accumulation of possessions goes far beyond the home’s walls. This personal experience gives her an advantage over most professional organizers as she has a unique understanding of the mindset of the organizationally and spatially-challenged.
When she is not dCluttering, Tracy is the proud Co-Executive Director of OneKid OneWorld, a non-profit building strong educational foundations for children in impoverished communities throughout Kenya and Central America. OKOW is providing kids with the basic (yet essential) fundamentals like desks and books, as well as paying teachers’ salaries, building classrooms and even installing solar power technology so students can study at night. OKOW’s most recent project #OneGirlOnePad will provide access to reusable feminine hygiene kits to over 4,000 girls in Kenya, allowing them to attend school all year round. OneKid OneWorld is Tracy’s “full time, non-paying passion.”
New school zone survey shows more parents driving aggressively in school zones – honking, swearing and stressing out— is putting kids in danger
BCAA asks parents to make a ‘new school year’ resolution to improve driving habits
Burnaby, BC, September 5, 2017 – BCAA’s second annual School Zone Safety survey shows that driving in school zones has gone from bad to worse. In fact, this year’s survey shows a marked increase in concern across the board. Particularly alarming is that hostile/aggressive attitudes amongst parents such as honking or using profanities has jumped almost 30 per cent (51% to 66%).
Last year, Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s Director of Community Engagement called school zones the “wild west”. Shocked by this year’s results, Pettipas is more determined than ever to get parents (the worst offenders) to make—and keep— a ‘new school year’ resolution to improve their driving habits.
“We asked over 300 school faculty and staff and over 400 parents or guardians what they’re seeing in their school zones, and it’s very concerning to see that unsafe driving in school zones has increased,” says Pettipas. “There’s no excuse for hostile behaviour and breaking traffic rules. Parents and motorists have to start driving safely, we don’t want someone to get hurt.”
In addition to more hostile/aggressive attitudes, BCAA’s School Zone Safety survey also reveals an increase in unsafe driving behaviours and ignoring traffic rules amongst parents and guardians dropping off or picking up their children: Over 80 per cent witness parents not following rules of the road, including not stopping at a marked crosswalk (82%) or driving over the speed limit (93%). Distracted driving has also increased and remains high (82% to 86%).
Shawn, a parent himself, understands how stressful school zone driving can be. “We appreciate the honesty of parents and guardians who participated in the survey and shared what they’ve been witnessing in their school zones,” says Pettipas. “Because parents and guardians are in school zones every day, improving safety in school zones can really start with them, and the first step is to improve their driving habits and keep the right attitude.”
BCAA provides tips for parents and motorists to help make school zones safer:
- Avoid running late. A great deal of stress arises from feeling rushed. Give yourself plenty of time in the morning and consider completing tasks and preparing your child’s school items the night before.
- Focus on what you can control. No matter what’s going on around you, be patient and courteous. Reacting with extreme frustration may aggravate the situation and increase the risk of unsafe behaviours.
- Follow the rules, which includes school drop off and pick up procedures and rules of the road such as driving within the speed limit, stopping at marked cross walks and not driving distracted. If everyone follows the rules, problems and misunderstandings are less likely to occur.
- Pay close attention while driving. Expect the unexpected and look out for safety risks such as kids darting from cars, along with kids who are cycling and other pedestrians.
- Reduce congestion. Consider walking or cycling your child to school or park a few blocks away and walk your child the rest of the way to school.
When it comes to rules of the road, BCAA reminds drivers of sections within the BC Motor Vehicle Act which address common driving mistakes made in school zones:
- Speeding. School zone speed limit is 30 km/hr between 8AM-5PM on school days unless otherwise posted. In playground zones, a 30 km/hr speed limit is in effect from dawn to dusk, 365 days of the year.
- Crosswalks. Drivers must stop for pedestrians crossing the road at a crosswalk. The best and safest rule is for drivers to stop once they see a pedestrian standing on the curb at a crosswalk and to wait for as long as it takes for all pedestrians to reach the curb on the other side
- Crossing guards/patrollers. Drivers, pedestrians and cyclists must follow the instructions of a school crossing guard or student patroller.
- Distracted driving. Using an electronic device while driving, including holding the device in a position in which it may be used, is considered to be distracted driving and is against the law. For parents and guardians dropping off or picking up their child from school, BCAA recommends they avoid using their cell phone altogether within a school zone, even when their car is parked and idling at the curb.
But the onus is not entirely on drivers. It’s also important for pedestrians and cyclists to follow the rules of the road. BCAA recommends that parents teach their kids how to walk or cycle safely near or on the road.
Visit bcaa.com/blog to learn more about school zone safety.
About the survey
Results are based on an online study conducted from July 15 to July 21, 2017, among a representative sample of 720 adults in British Columbia, including 307 who currently serve as principals, teachers or school staff at a British Columbia elementary school, and 413 parents or guardians who drop off and/or pick up a child from school. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error for the entire sample—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.7 percentage points.
The most trusted organization in British Columbia by its Members, BCAA serves 1 in 3 B.C. households with industry-leading products including home, auto and travel insurance, roadside assistance, Evo Car Share and full auto service at BCAA’s Auto Service Centres. BCAA has a long history focused on keeping kids safe on the road and at play through community programs such as its School Safety Patrol, Community Child Car Seat Program and BCAA Play Here. Please visit bcaa.com.
Examples of common driving offences and fines
|Motor Vehicle Act section||Description||Fine||Driver penalty points|
|179(1)||Failure to yield to pedestrian||$167||3|
|147(1) and (2)||Speeding in school or playground zones
|179(4)||Disobey school guard/ patrol||$167||3|
|214.2 (1) and (2)
|Using electronic device while driving or emailing or texting while driving||$368
Looking for places to go, people to see, party places? Be sure to check out our comprehensive guide to Family Fun, Birthday Parties, Home, Education, Classes and Programs, Summer Camps and Family Health! All the contacts a BC parent needs to know for 2017.
Read the issue here!
Move More to Learn More: The Connection between exercising and education
As parents, we’re all well aware that the mind and body are undeniably linked. Any new mother who has endured a sleepless night thanks to her newborn may have issues instantly recalling her breakfast from the previous day or that upcoming doctor’s appointment next Friday. This is why we look into the connection between exercising and education.
This mind-body connection is also evident in our children. Restless little ones with too much pent-up energy will inevitably have trouble concentrating on absorbing information or successfully completing their homework. The same applies if they’re hungry, thirsty or are feeling under the weather — optimal mental development requires their little bodies to be finely tuned and in tip-top shape.
But many kiddos these days simply aren’t moving enough to achieve peak physical wellness. The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) is just one of many industry organizations that recommend 60 minutes of accumulated physical activity daily for children aged five to 11. And according to CSEP, that should include vigorous intensity activities at least three times a week.
Unfortunately, kids are simply not getting their hour of daily exercise. According to statistics from the government of B.C., three out of five Canadian kids aged 5-17 aren’t getting enough physical activity for optimal growth and development. And here’s a number that hits much closer to home: one out of every four children in B.C. between the ages of two and 17 is overweight or obese.
So, why aren’t kids moving enough? While many factors are to blame, budget shortfalls and deep fiscal issues are forcing some school districts to make drastic cuts to course electives like physical education. So school-aged kids are often stuck sitting sedentary for hours at their desks with little to no reprieve.
And while the lack of movement and physical activity in our schools isn’t a new problem, a recent study underscores that the absence of exercise during the day could have an even deeper effect than just expanding your child’s waistline. Recently released research published in the prestigious Pediatrics journal proved what many parents had suspected all along — movement is good for kids, particularly in learning environments.
In the study, 500 Dutch children were closely monitored in Grades 2 and 3. One segment of the group was taught with “active” lessons, where they engaged in moderate to vigorous activity while doing math and language for 30 minutes three times a week. And the movement boosted their brain power when compared to their sedentary counterparts who learned at desks in traditional classroom settings. Those who learned with activity built into the curriculum performed better in speed, general math ability, and spelling, and were the equivalent to being four months ahead of the kids in their cohort. That’s some serious knowledge absorption.
With this undeniable boost in brain power, some local schools are ensuring that movement is a bigger component of the curriculum. Pear Tree Elementary, a new K-7 private school opening in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighborhood this fall, finds that maintaining physical education is integral to ensure students are ready to learn and makes it an important crux of their curriculum.
“Essentially, our core focus is on the necessity for daily physical education, so having one hour of PE every day because children need to have that physical activity in order to be able to focus in classrooms,” said Pear Tree Elementary co-founder Paul Romani. “So, we use that not just as a way to develop their body, but also to help them academically in terms of concentrating.”
Schools are not the only ones trying to help reintegrate physical education back into the curriculum. Organizations and initiatives like Canadian Tire Jumpstart are partnering with some of Canada’s influential sport, wellness and health organizations to help Canadian kids get back into physical activity.
Active at School is a multi-year, multi-million dollar grassroots program that began in 2013, consisting of a broad-based group of more than 80 partners dedicated to ensuring Canadian kids receive the recommended hour of quality daily physical activity at school. Each partner brings individual networks, unique expertise, resources and marketing channels to promote the Active at School initiative with educators and decision makers across all levels of government.
Parents can also get involved in helping keep their kids active, healthy, and prepped to learn. Check with your child’s school about after-school physical activities or with your local community centre for organized sports leagues. If sports aren’t your child’s cup of tea, there’s always children’s yoga, hiking, walking, biking, and plenty of other low- or no-cost activities to get their blood pumping (and yours) regularly.
About Lindsey Peacock
Lindsey Peacock is a writer, editor, and American expat who recently transplanted to Toronto, ON. When she isn’t crafting stories, you’ll find her at the nearest dog park with her ginger husky pup.
5 Ways to Raise a Healthy & Adventurous Eater
Raising an adventurous eater is all about instilling healthy eating habits and a spirit of curiosity and exploration in your child at an early age. Adventurous eaters typically have an open mind and are willing to try new things. Here are five tips for parents on how to raise healthy and adventurous eaters, which will ultimately set them up for success in the future.
1. Introduce a variety of flavors and textures early on.
As a parent, you are your child’s primary outlet for trying new things. By offering a wide range of food flavors, textures and smells at a young age, you will promote an acceptance of new foods and develop their taste preferences. According to Russell Greenfield, M.D. and Clinical Professor of Medicine, UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, repeated exposure (at least 8-10 times) during and between meals to various food textures and flavors in a positive environment promotes acceptance of new foods. Introducing a variety of fruits, vegetables and grains will encourage a love of healthy food from the start.
2. Read food labels.
It’s important to understand what is and what is not in the food you’re feeding your children. Many people find reading nutrition facts to be time-consuming and confusing, but it’s necessary to make informed choices and shape healthy eating habits. Look for food labels that contain words such as “certified organic,” “non-GMO” and “no artificial ingredients.” These benefits indicate that you are providing the best and cleanest ingredients that contribute to your child’s overall health.
3. Fresh is best.
Take your kids to the local farmer’s market to show them what fresh ingredients look like and the benefits of buying fresh and local. Not only is it good to support local farmers, but it can also be an informative and exciting adventure for the whole family. Engaging children in shopping and letting them pick out their own food may make them more willing to eat it and promotes a healthy palate.
4. Have fun with it.
Choosing and preparing healthy fare for your children and watching them not eat the food can be stressful for many parents. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, children pick up on parental stress, and it can manifest in different ways such as increased clinginess, tummy aches, or difficulty sleeping. “Coaxing a child to eat can backfire and actually negatively impact their food intake,” says Dr. Greenfield. “Parents should trust that as long as they are providing an appropriate amount of nutritious food to their child, the kids should not be hungry or malnourished.” Relax and try to keep things fun. This can be as simple as playing the tried and true “airplane game” with babies. For toddlers, you can get creative with the way you present healthy ingredients on their plate.
If your child won’t eat a new food you are introducing them to, don’t give up. Just because they aren’t ready for it this time doesn’t mean they won’t ever be. Keep trying. Just as it takes a few tries and some practice to ride a bike, it might take a few times before your baby or toddler gets used to certain flavors and textures. And don’t be discouraged if they grimace when eating a new food – this doesn’t always indicate dissatisfaction, it may only mean they aren’t quite used to a new taste or texture yet.
About Rick Klauser
Rick Klauser is the CEO at Sprout Foods. He provides tips on how to raise a healthy and adventurous eater
How to get a child to sleep more is often one of new parent’s biggest challenges and point of confusion.
Sleep deprivation can also be a serious health issue for parents. To get some help we asked Laura Rosin, Sleep Consultant from WeeSleep, to answer our top questions based on a Facebook Poll.
Is there an age at which you can no longer break bad habits and sleep train?
It is never too late to change sleeping habits. With consistency, strong routines, proper support and a plan habits can be altered to instill healthy and positive sleep habits. It can get a little more difficult and “strategic” when children are older simply because they have had the habit for longer and are walking, talking, moving and maybe out of the crib at the time. But healthy sleep is achievable.
Is poor sleep always going to be a problem, if the habits have been formed?
No, a new sleep incident may have created a habit, or maybe something started and couldn’t be stopped or helped- for instance, maybe a baby only falls asleep in the car so the parents start driving their child around for naps and then before they know it, during the night!
Poor sleep habits can be corrected with consistency and patience. New parents are not taught about proper scheduling, how to avoid getting into bad habits, how important sleep really is when they are preparing for their baby’s arrival. Keep in mind, every child has different needs. Parents on their 2nd, or 3rd child has no way of knowing if the same techniques they used in the past will work from one child to the next. Knowing a variety of methods and understanding the basics around sleep will help them be successful. Again, habits can be changed; meaning baby and family can get the restful sleep they need.
What if your child becomes ill – do you have to retrain?
Absolutely not! You can support and take care of your child thru illness and keep all the healthy sleep habits in check while doing so. It is important to resist introducing some of the bad habits (i.e. holding to sleep, sleeping with the child, nursing to sleep…) during the illness. A well-slept child typically gets better quicker.
Can every child sleep through the night, or are some just hardwired not to?
Sleep shaping can begin before 12 weeks (3 months) and by 14 weeks or 14 pounds, a healthy child can begin to sleep through the night. For sleep success, parents must be consistent with routines and awake times. Making sleep a priority will lead to healthy sleep hygiene and then absolutely they can learn to rock a full night sleep! One of the most important skills you can give your child is the ability to fall asleep on their own and this skill will last a lifetime. Nobody is hardwired to not NEED sleep; everybody REQUIRES sleep.
About Laura Rosin
Laura Rosin is a sleep consultant with WeeSleep Vancouver. She educates her clients on why things are happening and helps guide and support them so that baby and caregiver are always comfortable. Her goals are to give the most healthful gift of sleep, by sharing tools, guidance, one-to-one coaching and support to improve your child’s sleep health; in turn improving yours! Laura is a wife and mother who enjoys working with children of all ages. Before working with WeeSleep, she found herself playing side by side with children between five months and five years old at Cambie City Hall Childcare Society as an Early Childhood Educator. Communication and membership leader of the Kingcrest Community Garden in her area Laura enjoys coordinating and participating in local event, activities, and shopping.