September was a busy month for schools, students, and parents as the routines of a new school year took shape.
October offers some welcome breathers in the form of several short weeks, with Thanksgiving, the annual P.E.I. Teachers Federation meetings in mid-month, and parent-teacher interviews late in the month. Those long weekends are a great chance for families to hike, walk or bike along P.E.I.’s trails and enjoy the beautiful fall scenery.
To inspire families to be healthy this month, October has several important themes. This first week of October is Healthy Eating Week, Sept. 30 to Oct. 4. The folks at go!PEI and P.E.I. Healthy Eating Alliance are teaming up to invite elementary students to participate in the Boost Your Breakfast & Activity Blast contest. A good breakfast makes children ready to learn, and sets them up for healthy eating through the day. P.E.I.’s School Nutrition and Activity Project (S.N.A.P.) 2012 report indicates that 25.5% grades five and six students do not eat breakfast daily.
Parents – this is our challenge! Nutrition and learning go hand in hand. Well-nourished children tend to have higher test scores, better school attendance, and fewer behavior problems in the classroom. Under-nourished children may have difficulty focusing on task, have lower self-esteem, and are absent more often from school.
Building stronger connections internally is a key theme for Home and School. A good turnout is registered for the 2013 series of leadership training seminars Oct. 1-3, with two more sessions to go: today at Souris Consolidated school; Oct. 3 at Spring Park Elementary School. Facilitators areVicki Bryanton and Stephen Gould. Materials will be posted on the federation’s website at: https://peihsf.ca/content/leadership-training-volunteers
Oct. 6-12 also marks the 14th anniversary of Verbal Abuse Prevention Week, founded by the Premier and the Minister of Education in 1999 to support and advance the work of Tami Martell in preventing verbal abuse. Raise awareness by encouraging parents, teachers and the community to discuss ways to further educate homes, schools and communities to help those who are being verbally abused to seek help and to prevent it from happening. For presentations in schools or to a community organization, contact Martell at 838-4900. The federation continues to put priority on building and accepting a respectful school environment, through such initiatives as the 2011 Parent Engagement project: Sticks and Stones where a Summerside group of elementary Home and Schools conducted a survey on the safety and wellbeing of children in their schools.
Bluefield High School will host the federation’s semi-annual meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 15. The heart of the meeting will be small-group discussions between the members and others in the education system with an emphasis on finding achievable, practical actions.
Alan McIsaac, minister of education and early childhood development, Sandy MacDonald, deputy minister, Imelda Arsenault, senior director, learning and early childhood development, Cynthia Fleet, superintendent of education and Fred Osborne, chair of the English Language School Board, and Sterling Carruthers, healthy schools specialist, will participate in the Roundtable. Don’t miss this meeting. Register by Oct. 8 on-line at: https://peihsf.ca/semiannual or 620-3186 / 1-800-916-0664.
In the past some local home and school associations have been holding movie nights as a fun night for parents and children to spend together. However, recent changes to the Copyright Act passed in 2013 have significant implications for this practice. The teacher-librarian in each school is the first contact for questions about future licensing for these events or contact Robin Phillips, Education and Early Childhood Development at (902)438-4837 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looks like October will be a busy month as well! Best wishes to families for a happy and safe Thanksgiving weekend.
Pam Montgomery, president of the P.E.I. Home and School Federation, lives in Summerside with her husband and two children. Her column appears in The Guardian during the school year on the first Wednesday of the month. She welcomes comments from readers and information for the column and can be reached through the federation office at email@example.com or 620-3186/1-800-916-0664.
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