The theme of our last PAC meeting was “Welcome to Van Horne” and it was geared specifically for those of in our community who are new to the school; particularly new Kindergarten parents. During the event, some veteran parents and our Principal each shared a “nugget of wisdom”. I gained a lot from reading the following and I hope you do as well. Official minutes here.
- Frankie W., veteran parent and PAC Vice Chair, reminded us that kids are more resilient than we give them credit for in adapting to changes. Believe in them and give them a chance to find their own way and they will rise to the occasion. Reach out to Frankie for … anything. (Seriously, she knows everything.)
- Tim L., veteran parent, told us to imagine your school experience as an eight-year journey. Get involved and help out. Each person may be doing little things, but cumulatively, it builds a great community. Reach out to Tim if you want to get involved or have bike questions.
- Hilary S., veteran parent and PAC Inclusivity Coordinator, encouraged everyone who has a question about their child to ask the teacher. You can try communicating by agenda/journal or email. Teachers are nothing but supportive if you have a question, so don’t hesitate. Reach out to Hilary for her well-reasoned opinions.
- Jenn E., veteran parent, suggested empowering your kids to contribute. They really do want to help. Also, if you are frustrated about getting kids ready for school, make before- and after-school checklists and use them. Check out @biglifejournal on Instagram for more tips. Reach out to Jenn if you want to know more about the YMCA afterschool program and other extracurricular activities.
- Lek S., veteran parent and PAC Fundraising Coordinator, said make sure that kids are not experiencing things alone. Stay active with what is going on at school. Reach out to Lek if you want to get involved with hot lunch (suspended) and other fundraising activities.
- Jenni L., veteran parent and PAC Parent Education Coordinator, suggested parents attend the PAC meetings, where parents meet and get to know other parents and learn about school events. Reach out to Jenni if you are a new family and really need a family doctor (not just because you don’t like your current one).
- Stephen Leung, Van Horne Principal, encouraged parents to read his emails thoroughly. They are lengthy but he tries to put in as much information as possible in anticipation of questions that may arise. If parents have questions, email him; school staff and parents are partners.
More tips generated through discussion rooms:
- It is a tough year for parents, so try to be active and get engaged/involved with the school and with your kid. Take up opportunities to connect and participate as much as you can to help build your community.
- If you have questions or if you need something (even if it is a sensitive matter), do not hesitate to reach out to PAC, teachers, and other parents. Never feel alone; there is always someone there to help you out.
- Kids often melt down during pick up because they have been on their best behaviour for at least six hours and they are probably hungry, so bring a snack!
- When something happens, listen to your child, validate their feelings, and report the incident to the school via the incident report form. Academics are important but be on the lookout for your kids’ mental health, which is just as important. Resiliency, responsibility, and perseverance are important skills to teach kids.
- Join the WhatsApp group for your division. It’s a great source of information.
To end, a quote from Kindergarten teacher, Erica Saunders,
“Everything will be just fine, and your children are in good hands with the help of our school staff and community that surrounds us. I have always felt like a partner working together with parents over the years, and I can’t thank [the PAC] enough for lifting us up when we sometimes need it! We are certainly a unique school that has lots of support from our parents, which is one of the reasons I enjoy coming to work!”