April 2015

March 31, 2015



From the President

Wow do I ever have a lot of news for you this month! First off, don’t forget that the closure dates for Easter are April 3-6 – we will reopen April 6. And for the rest of my news, to keep it simple, I have broken it down into a few topics:

Spring Break

We have heard from a few families asking about extending our preschool Spring Break to two weeks. As this has been a question ever since the school district moved to a 2 week break, this year we will be discussing it at the April GM, with a vote taking place at the May GM to set the length of next year’s break. In preparation, here is some background information:

– When the school district extended Spring Break to 2 weeks, the preschool’s executive at the time decided to remain with a 1 week break and see how attendance was.  As attendance for the 2nd week was high, the decision was made to continue with a 1 week break.  Attendance has been tracked each year, and has been within the normal range.

– Last year, at the request of families, the preschool year was extended by one week in June, while keeping a 1 week spring break.  This continues this year with the last day of classes being June 19th.

– We have noticed a trend that the desire for a 1 or 2 week break seems to coincide with whether a family has older children already in the school system. Those with older children favour a 2 week break, while those without older children seem to favour a 1 week break. Of course, this may not apply to all families, but is a trend we have found with those families who have approached us.

In the budget proposed for next year, we have anticipated a 1 week spring break. However, if the membership votes to extend the break to 2 weeks, the working budget can be adjusted accordingly.


Thank you to everyone who provided feedback for our teacher reviews. The reviews are in progress and will be completed by the end of April. Also coming up in April and May will be our preschool reviews. This is a great chance for families to provide feedback about their overall preschool experience.  I would like to really encourage you to share your thoughts… this is a great way for the executive to learn what is working well and what might need to be changed.  The more information we hear from families, the better able we are to make changes… so bring it on, tell us what you love and what you “just can’t figure out”!

We are in the process of creating these evaluation forms, and hope to have them circulated by the end of April.  In the past, the preschool has not tracked the responses of these from year to year (the president created them anew each year).  Moving forward, we hope to create a set of feedback forms that can be used from year to year – thereby allowing us to track trends and better respond to changes.


In marketing news, we attended the Healthy Kids Preschool Fair in Burnaby in February and it was a great success.  We brought along some homemade kinetic sand and we were a huge hit with the kids!  We have a number of families at the preschool who are not from the Queen’s Park area, and this was the first time we attended an event like this in Burnaby.  Thank you so much to Marti & Andy who volunteered!


Our kinetic sand recipe:

– 8 cups all purpose flour

– 1 cup baby oil

Mix very well to incorporate the oil, adding more oil as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

Coming up in June is the Sapperton Days Street Fair.  This will be our 3rd year participating in Sapperton Days and we always have a fun time.  By special arrangement, we provide face painting, and the organizers provide all the needed supplies and a prime location for our booth.  As we get close to the event, we will be requesting volunteers… especially those people possessing a talent for face painting!

Even though registration has gone fabulously for this year, we still like to attend these events.  They are a great way to connect with our community, raise the profile of the preschool, and chat with families about the benefits of parent participation preschools.

As always, please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

Cheers, Shelley


auctionCurious to know how we did with the Silent Auction?

The Silent Auction was a huge success – we raised for $14,000 for the preschool! Thank you to all of you who came and enjoyed the evening and supported the preschool.

This event would not have been possible without out the amazing, and hard working Silent Auction Team, so a huge thank you to:

Gurinder Uppal
Imelda Fong
Cara Engst
Sheri Fereira
Arli Amado
Felicia Wall
Tanya Stewart
Cheryl Worden
Arju Patel
Sarah Gillis
Angela Giraud
Bob Vujicic

Also, a special thank you to Re-Up BBQ, Save-On-Foods and Sysco for their incredibly generous donations! And remember, at the April GM bring $5 for your chance to win the last chance draw of a mystery basket of fabulous things.

executiveConsider yourself an Executive?

Once again the search for QPPS executive team volunteers continues. Several key positions are yet to be filled. The 2015-2016  executive positions will be voted in during the May AGM. Some of these positions run during the upcoming school year and some start in January 2016 for the calendar year. Please ask your awesome teachers or equally awesome executive members if you are interested in next years executive team.
Rusty Rhyne, VP

SurveyJob Survey

As we now have only 3 months left of preschool, it’s that time where we start thinking about jobs for next year and we’d like to ask you to complete this VERY brief survey on your job at the preschool this year. This helps us to design the jobs and the assignment process for the next year, and to make any necessary changes before we continue on with our jobs for the remainder of the year.  All responses are anonymous (unless you’d like us to know who you are, in which case please include your contact information 🙂
The survey will take 2-3 minutes and can be answered here:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z5JSNPZ until April 10.

train2_950x354Social Activities for Spring

All Aboard! Join QPPS families for a potluck lunch at Burnaby Central Railway at Confederation Park on Sunday, April 12 from 11am to 1pm. Train rides are $2.50. This event will run rain or shine. Please bring your own beverages and meet under the canopy area. A sign up sheet for the potluck will be available at the preschool.

RSVP to Amber Orchard, Social Coordinator at amberorchard@gmail.com.

Burnaby Central Railway
Confederation Park
120 North Willingdon Avenue
Burnaby, BC

More info and directions at www.burnabyrailway.org.

Save the Date!

Just in time for Mother’s Day! Flower arranging workshop with the Bloom Bloom Room at Pop and Dot Studios in Sapperton on Thursday, May 7th from 4pm to 5pm. Cost: $25 for one child with guardian. Includes flowers and materials. Limited space. RSVP to amberorchard@gmail.com.

bw-wedding-head-shotParent Education

Got Shades?

If you weren’t able to attend the March meeting, or if you lost the handout from the presentation, know that the $25 coupon towards eyewear at the FYi Doctors at Royal City Centre (valid with booking of a free eye exam for your child) is offered whether you have a copy of the coupon or not.  If you don’t have a copy, just tell the clinic staff you are from Queens Park Preschool and they will honour the coupon.  Remember the $25 coupon can be used to purchase a pair of children’s Babiator sunglasses of the same price, so you get them for free!  Amy and Dr. Pfeiffer are passionate about children’s eye health and want our support to reach their goal of every child in New West having an eye exam and a pair of sunglasses.

What’s Up for April?

Talking to kids about sexuality and reproduction can be difficult for caregivers.  At the April 7 General Meeting, we will have a special 1.5-hour interactive workshop developed by Options for Sexual Health and delivered by Jessica Wollen.  Jessica will take us through exercises to discover why we might feel uncomfortable talking about sex with our children, and provide strategies for caregivers on how to overcome these feelings.

We will also look at how to begin discussions and how to share information with kids in a clear and understandable way.  We will hear suggestions on:

• What kind of sexual health information is needed at various ages
• How to handle questions
• What kinds of words to use
• How to discuss feelings, emotions, and family values
• Exploring your own personal beliefs around sensitive topics

The more informed we are as caregivers, the more opportunities we have to communicate with our children. Parents and/or guardians should be the primary sexuality educators for their children, but sometimes they need tools and information to take advantage of ‘teachable moments’ with their children. Feeling comfortable and informed as a parent or guardian ensures that the information from school family life or sexual health programs is not the only source of sexual health information for your children.

Jessica is an Options for Sexual Health, Certified Sexual Health Educator and a secondary school teacher. She is known for her sense of humour and ability to build meaningful relationships by creating safety and comfort when teaching Sexual Health Education. Jessica trains professionals, and has workshops for parents, youth, children and preschoolers. She has ongoing Sexual Health Education contracts with the Vancouver School Board, Crofton House School (an All Girls Private School), Parent Participation Preschools, North Vancouver School District, North Vancouver Disability and Resource Centre, Lower Mainland Down Syndrome Society, Pivot Point Family Growth Centre, Sunshine Coast School District, and Vancouver Waldorf School.  Her company, Shift Education (www.shift-education.com), focuses on sexual health and online safety.

This workshop is not to be missed!  As always, duty parents and caregivers from the same household can all attend for free.  We have a limited number of tickets available to family, friends, alumni or community members who are not currently QPPS members.  Tickets are $10/each and must be reserved ahead of time with Tasha.

And in May….

On May 5, Kathy Flood will join us to present Awakening the Gifts Within: Encouraging Virtues in your Children.

cup-of-coffeeFor Next Year’s QPPS Families

Fancy yourself on the Silent Auction committee? The Green Team? April 10 is the date that the Job selection for September 2015 needs to be handed in – if you miss it, you can’t complain!

There is also a Coffee Party on April 14 from 7-9:15pm. Come out and meet the families you will be attending with next year!


Kindergarten - ColorWelcome to Kindergarten Registration Dates

If you have a child attending Kindergarten next year – here are some important school dates/information:
Connaught – info will be emailed directly from the school
Qayqayt – info will be emailed
McBride – June 11, 1:05 pm
Queen Elizabeth – May 6, 9:30 am
Lord Kelvin – info will be emailed
Second Street School – May 27, 1-3 pm
Howay – info will be emailed
Glenwood Elementary – May 12, 1:30 pm
Herbert Spencer – May 28
Independent Schools and Private Schools will contact you about their Kindergarten events, if you have registered there.

114148-L-LOGuided Access Refresher

Can’t remember how to enable “guided access” on their ipads/iphones? It locks your ipad in whatever app you’re currently using so that if you touch the screen or buttons nothing changes.  In other words, parents can leave their children alone with a device and not have to worry they might accidentally google something freaky, or stop the movie for the umpteenth time. Visit https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT202612 for more information – and Teacher Jenny will be discussing this at the next General Meeting!

jessNEW! Special Monthly Column for QPPS News

Jessica Pirnak is a private practice dietician working in New Westminster. She is passionate about education, prevention and creating a healthy community. In her spare time she updates her personal food blog ( http://www.foodyourself.com) where she discusses hot topics in nutrition. She loves working with kids and parents helping them create a positive relationship with food and enjoys discussing sustainable farming practices to anyone who will listen! Find her at Polo Health & Longevity Centre in New Westminster. She is going to contribute a monthly piece to our newsletter to help parent get up to speed on Food Education! Jess will also respond to questions – so if you have any you wish to see addressed in future columns, feel free to send them to qppeditor@gmail.com and they will be forwarded on!

Food yourself!  A local dietician offers you the science behind the foods that make up your family’s day.  

 A question: What is your take on Vitamin D?  How much can we get from the sun with all the sunblock and shade-seeking we have to do?  Are supplements necessary for children?Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins as it helps our bodies absorb calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth.  It protects us against infections and may help reduce the risk of chronic disease. Yet it’s also one of the most confusing vitamins!

About 90% of Canadian children (aged 1-8 years) are below their requirements for Vitamin D. This may be because Health Canada recommends that supplementation end around the age of 1 for children or we tend to seek shade when enjoying a beautiful day outside.  It could also be that children are not consuming enough foods rich in Vitamin D.  So, what to do?  Between the ages of 1 to 70, toddlers, children and adults need 600 IU of Vitamin D a day.  But before grabbing a bottle of supplements try these foods first, and because in New Westminster we can’t count on the sun!

Foods rich in Vitamin D include:

salmon (450 IU/serving)
milk (the higher the % fat the higher the Vitamin D)
yogurt (120 IU/serving)
fortified breakfast cereal (50 IU/serving)

Happy eating!

Parent Participation Preschools’ News

And for a little more reading – here is a link to the PPP Newsletter for March and April: PPP Partner March April Final 2015


unnamed3-Year Old Class Information

Welcome Spring!

With the warmer weather upon us Jenny, Carli and Donna are thrilled to finally be exploring indoor -outdoor play programming with our three year old classes! Worm, spider and insect exploring, puddle jumping, climbing over and around stumps and chunky blocks of wood, lots of digging and water play continues as well as bringing elements of the indoor class room outside. We are bringing out the ride on toys too. Expect to see art, science, instruments as well as other activities typically enjoyed inside being brought outdoors. Don’t forget that we will give the children the option to change their shoes on inside-outside days!

Have you met January our Betta fish?  January is our Siamese Fighting fish. We introduced January to the children last month by comparing his fish scales to the scales of a dragon! Castles, fairy tales, dress up, and dragons seemed to be an intriguing jump off point to our classrooms interests in February’s Chinese New Year celebrating and Lion/Dragon dance.

Our first official short but sweet ” Shake a Bush” stroll across the street last month created just the right invitation for expanding into Spring themes such as bugs and plants. This month and beyond we will be creating our castle/bug/ city…. the children seem to be very much interested in using magnifying glasses to explore nature and creepy crawlies.

Recently Jenny brought in a snail to show the children and we all decided together to build a home for our snail and we invited the children to contribute and help us care for our snail. Did you know that snails like to eat strawberries, carrots and egg shells? Feel free to bring in any snails, or bits of nature you might find and we will happily add them to our snail abode.

Last month we celebrated Valentines, Chinese New Year and Dragon dancing. In the beginning of March we touched on Girls Day (Japan), St. Patrick’s Day, and Spring and soon we will be celebrating Easter. On March 24, Gamelan musicians visited our class room bringing a variety of Indonesian drums and other instruments for learning about and exploring. Here is a video to show you what our day was like: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=c1AiCTJ9t8g And, in April we will welcome some bunnies for a visit. Other upcoming special dates to make note of are: April 2 Egg decorating, cookie decorating and Easter Egg hunt and April 28 when we will go on a nature walk.

Setsuko Yoshizuka describes Girls’ Day as follows:

March 3 is Japanese Girls’ Day called hina-matsuri in Japanese. The celebration for Japanese girls is also known as Doll’s Day. Traditionally, parents or grandparents of a newborn girl buy a set of gorgeous hina dolls unless they have special dolls, which are inherited from generation to generation. Hina dolls are dressed in Japanese ancient costumes and are displayed on the shelves of a stand covered with a red carpet usually from the end of February to March 3. In addition to the costumed dolls organized on platforms representing , food and drink play a role on Girls’ Day, with rice wine and rice cakes taking center stage, along with flower blossoms and, of course, the dolls.

Hina-matsuri is also called momo-no-sekku, which means a festival of peach blossoms. Peach blossoms, shiro-zake (white fermented rice wine), and hishi-mochi (diamond shaped rice cakes) are placed on the stand with the hina dolls. Hishi-mochi are colored in pink (implies peach flowers), white (implies snow), and green (implies new growth).

From Teacher Jenny and Teacher Donna

composting-with-worms4-Year Old Class Information

Welcome back to preschool! We hope that everyone had a great Spring Break.

We are looking forward to sunny days and continuing with our inside-outside days. On warmer days the double doors will be open and the children will be able to explore activities both inside and outside. We will let you know when this is the case, and ask the children to just keep their outside shoes on. As we will play with water both inside and outside, please make sure that your child has at least one change of clothing.

We have many plans for this month ahead. Some of them include bug hunts in the forest, creating our “Big Painting Wall” and celebrating the arrival of Spring! As the children were so interested in building cities and lands we have decided to explore the land of worms and snails. Together we will look at what snails and worm need, and then work at creating habitats for them. Some of these habitats will be indoors and some will be outdoors. We will also start an outdoor worm composter.

We have a few special events planned that we want to let you know about:

–  Wednesday, April 1 we will have an Easter Egg Hunt outside. Parents are more than welcome to come about 15 minutes early before the end of class to help their child hunt for eggs.

–  Please save the date for our Family Tea Party on Wednesday, May 20. We would like each child to have one or two special family members at the party. There will be a sign up at the beginning of May so that we know how many people to expect at the party.

–  Combined Class 4 year old Family Picnic on Friday, June 12 at “Preschool in the Park.” We will meet at the Bandshell for planned activities from 10-12 followed by a picnic! Afterwards families can visit the petting zoo and water park! All children must come with a parent/nanny/guardian and siblings are more than welcome.

–  “Last Day of Preschool Party” on Friday, June 19. 4’s morning class party will be from 10-11 and 4’s afternoon class party will be from 1-2. Again children must come with a parent/nanny/guardian and siblings are more than welcome.

Happy Spring!

From Teacher Barb and Teacher Eleanor

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