learning in the spirit of wonder and joy

Month: April 2020

Family Services of Greater Vancouver


Many of you have met and spoken to Anita Olson at our StrongStart centre.  She visited our centre once a month to answer any questions or curiosities that you may have had regarding your children.  Big or small, these discussions mattered.  Even though we are not meeting at StrongStart, her services are still available to you.  You may want to follow up with past discussions or start new ones.  Anita is there for you and please reach out if needed (reminder, her services are free).


Anita Olson works for Family Services of Greater Vancouver as Burnaby’s Early Childhood Community Consultant (ECCC). She has been working with families and young children for well over a decade and as a parent herself recognizes the challenges, complexity and delight parenting brings. Understanding the foundational importance of infant and early childhood development, Anita shares information, strategies and practical tools with parents as they begin and continue their parental journey.  Focusing on the parent/caregiver and child relationship, Anita’s work with families aims to create and preserve loving connection and curiosity.

If you are looking for parenting support: email your questions or join the daily Resource Newsletter  aolson@fsgv.ca

set up a virtual meeting, phone/text Anita at 604-723-9548


Anita Olson (she/her) ECE, BA, MEd

Early Childhood Community Consultant

T 604 525 9144

M 604 723 9548

3rd Floor – 321 Sixth Street, New Westminster BC V3L 3A7


Make Your Own Puzzles!

This simple activity only requires scissors, pencil, ruler (optional) and empty cereal/food boxes.

First, I cut out only the FRONT side of the box.  Then all you have to decide is how you want to cut out the shapes.  You can keep it simple and just cut it up into squares, like the Cheerios example.  You can cut it in different, odd shapes such as the Cheese Macaroni one.  Cutting it up with curves and waves or straight lines like ribbons are some other options.  It may help to turn it over and draw out the lines/shapes to assist your planning and cutting.


You can keep it simple and cut up the image into squares.

You can make it as easy or challenging you want depending on your child’s age.

Community Resources For Families

Hello Dear Families,

I wanted to bring attention to the “Community Resource For Families” link (found directly above in the black header).  These are some of the same supports that were offered in the StrongStart centres.  Please reach out via email or leave a comment in the “Comment” section if you have any questions about these services or any others that you may be looking for.

Information Children is just one of the free resources that is available to you and your family.

Eensy Weensy Spider

Hello Dear Families,

I hope this letter finds you well.

As I sit here listening to the rain outside, my thoughts wander to how our lives are now.  The clouds and rain certainly adds to the mood.  It has been a rollercoaster of emotions of late.  As we try to adapt to all of these changes, it has been challenging.  There are times when you may feel trapped, stressed and alone.  Acknowledge it.  Then release it.

Do this with me:  “Take a deep breath in.”   Feel the air fill your lungs.  Pause.  “Take a deep breath out.”

Release what doesn’t serve you.

Then I remind myself to look for the light, the joy, the little celebrations that came so easily before all of this “change”.  It’s there….it can be simply being grateful for the cup of coffee that you are sipping.  For me, it’s my cup of hot tea and the comfort it gives me.  It could be hearing your children laughter in the other room.  Whatever it is, big or small, these little bits of joy are there, let them lift your spirit.  Focus on those moments.  They matter.  You matter.  Be kind to yourself.

Give yourself a pat on the back for the good job that you are doing.

Deep breath in, deep breath out.



Now it’s time for the fun stuff.  Come and be silly with me.  Let’s sing the Eensy Weensy Spider together with your child.

Click HERE for the video.





Lids, Lids and More Lids!


Start collecting all those lids!  Instead of throwing them in the recycling  bin, they can be reused for something fun.  Not all learning materials need to be purchased from a store.  Use what you have around your home.  Here, I have added a sieve, chopsticks and a spoon.  Tongs would be a great idea too!



All you need is a bucket, some water and any utensils you may have.  Let your child explore scooping, picking and catching the lids.  “Can you find all the RED lids?  How many lids can you scoop in the sieve?  Why are some lids floating and some sinking?  Allow your child to investigate this open-ended activity.  There are no instructions or rules.  Step back and observe.  How are they are using the utensils, do they have a preference or are they simply enjoying splashing the lids back into the water?

Using lids for Playful Numeracy activities:

Stacking – how high can you stack them?  How many are in each stack?  Can we measure how tall it is using a ruler?

Order/Counting – can you arrange them from small to large and vice versa.  Can you make a pattern?

Sorting – can you sort them by colour, size,  or by the material, metal or plastic?

Make it into a game: have them place the amount of lids needed to correspond with the “Number” sheets.  Make counting fun!  Children are hands-on learners.  Give your child the opportunity to handle the materials/objects.  Step back and observe how they use the materials.  I am sure they will surprise you and will find new and innovative ways to play with LIDS!


Bloop Bloop Went the Little Green Frog

Hi Everyone,

I hope everyone is enjoying this sunny weather!

This whole world of a virtual classroom is still new to us all but I do appreciate your patience as I navigate this site to share and connect with you all.  I hope you enjoy this quick video.  Get your singing voices ready and let’s do this together!

Click here to view the video.




I Spy With My Little Eye…

I spy with my little eye is a simple game that you and your child can play on your next walk or even in your home.  This game invites your child to observe the world around them, increase their vocabulary/language skills, taking turns and more.

For example, you can start by saying, “I spy with my little eye, something that is yellow”.  Encourage your child to guess and find the item that you described.  Once they have guessed, invite them to ask you, taking turns going back and forth.

An extension of this game is a Nature hunt.  Using the photos above, how many of these items can you “spy” while on your walk.  Include questions such as, “I wonder what this sign means? or I wonder what these blossoms are called?  Use this opportunity to add descriptive words or actual names to increase your child’s vocabulary.   Have fun!


What a Wonderful World: by Bob Thiele and George Weiss

I see trees of green and red roses too.

I see them bloom, for me and you.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white.

The bright blessed day, dark sacred night.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky.

Are also on the faces of people going by.

I see friends shaking hands, saying, “How do you do?”

They’re really saying, “I love you!”

I hear babies cry.  I watch them grow.

They’ll learn so much more, then I’ll ever know.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

Welcome StrongStart Families!

Dearest StrongStart Families,

I hope that you are all doing well.  I miss each and every one of you!  I miss seeing you all walk through the door with your enthusiastic smiles, ready to PLAY!

I hope this blog will be a way to assure you that you are not alone.  I am here.  I will be sharing resources, simple activities, songs and more with you on this site.

I know this strange time will pass, but for now, the most important thing right now is you and your child’s health.  Please keep yourselves safe by staying home as much as possible.  When you are out on a neighbourhood walk, please remember to practice social distancing.  Let’s get through this together!

Take care,

Ms. Elizabeth