Edmonds StrongStart

Expect Children to constantly surprise and amaze you!


Thanksgiving Day is an annual Canadian holiday, occurring on the second Monday in October, which celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year. A celebration of being thankful for what one has and the bounty of the previous year.

Please join me for some Thanksgiving Songs and Rhymes .

You can listen to 10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston and Illustrated by Rich Deas here.

Mindfulness For Children – THE GRATITUDE TREE

Purpose: Gratitude, Positivity, Connection

Best for ages: 3+


What you need:

Colored paper to cut out leaves (double sided is nice for colorful leaves)

String or ribbon to hang the leaves on the tree branches


Twigs or tree branches

Rocks to add stability to the tree


Grateful hearts




  1. Make a leaf cutout (or a few for variety) to use as your template. Here’s a PDF template from Jennifer Cooper at Classic Play. Trace the rest of the leaves on a bigger sheet and cut them out.
  2. Punch a hole at the top of each leaf and loop a piece of string through each.
  3. Put stones in a vase and stick the tree branch there.
  4. Have your child draw or write about things he is grateful for on the leaves. If they are too young, you can write for them. You could also find some old photos and make a visual tree instead of writing things down.
  5. You can make a few leaves of your own to model the concept for your child.
  6. Hang the leaves from the branches
Have fun counting your blessings as a family!

Fun filled jars

  • Collect a few, clear plastic jars with easy to remove lids.
  • Place a different nature element, that you collected last week, inside each jar and close the lid.
  • Ask your child to take off the lid and pull out the item. (you might need to start this activity with loose lids so his small fingers can remove the object more easily).
  • Your young child will be eager to remove the items from the jars again and again. (make sure the objects are big enough, so they won’t be a choking hazard).
  • For additional challenge for your preschooler provide jars and boxes that have different types of lids.

Learning to remove a lid, even if it’s already unscrewed, helps your toddler develop eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills. And just attempting to unscrew a lid enhances these same skills as well. In this activity, success is immediately rewarded, ensuring that your toddler and preschooler will want to try removing the lid again and again.

Repetition in Children’s Play

It is not unusual to find that the play of young children can be very repetitive.

It can be pretty hard to read exactly the same story, to repeat the same nursery rhyme over and over and over again. To do the same activity you did last week, and the week before, and the week before that.

But there is a reason why children in the early years love repetition so much. It is more than just doing the same thing twice. What seems to you like a dry, repetitive activity is a world of new learning and the comforting embrace of something familiar to a child faced with a world that is anything but.

Young children are surrounded by things they don’t understand.

That means their daily lives can be a melting pot of confusion and uncertainty.

So while older children may search for novelty, it makes sense that children in their early years search for understanding and predictability.

Repetition is valuable because each time they experience something the knowledge becomes more secure and their feeling of self-worth increases.

Remember that repetition is not a repeated experience but something that gives them a new level of understanding each and every time.


Think back to when you learned to ride a bike, drive a car or play a new sport. First, you needed to learn the essential skills. Then it was all about practice and more practice until you increased your confidence, improved your speed and became skilled.


The next time your little one asks you to read a book yet again, watch the same circle time on the Strongstart blog or wants to play the same game over and over, remind yourself that it’s a good thing! It’s good because repetition provides the practice that children need to master new skills. Repetition helps to improve speed, increases confidence, and strengthens the connections in the brain that help children learn.

Repetition is not just the same thing twice.


You can foster repetition for your infant by making everyday activities “teachable moments.” Babies learn so much during daily routines like diapering, feeding and bath time. These are great times to talk with your little one, sing songs and play games.

Try new activities from the blog or adapt the ones that are favorites of your baby. For example, you might give your baby some everyday items instead of toys. A wooden spoon, a set of plastic bowls or a cardboard paper towel tube can entertain your little one and give her repeated practice in holding, nesting, stacking and many other skills that can only be perfected through repeated practice.



Toddlers really love to repeat actions over and over again. If you begin to get impatient, try to remember that your toddler’s brain connections are being strengthened through this repetition!

When you find an activity that your toddler really loves, follow your little one’s lead and let him do it over and over again. You might offer suggestions to add a new twist to the activity.



Preschoolers are ready for more advanced skills and can benefit from some added challenge. If your child really enjoys an activity, let him repeat it multiple times. Repetition is the key to learning.  Mastering a new skill gives them a lot of confidence and even motivates them for future challenges.

Play. Learn. Repeat. That’s what it’s all about.


Now let’s repeat some of our favorite Nursery Rhymes and Songs with teacher Maria.

Nature art

Children love the outdoors, love to collect things, and love arts. We can  nurture all three of these passions by helping children create a collage of natural element.

  • Take your child on a walk in your backyard, a park, or the woods and collect small leaves, flowers, grass, sticks, feathers, and whatever else she can finds and appeals to her.
  •  While taking a relaxed walk you can talk to your child about changes that happen every day. Share observations about the weather, blossoming flowers, falling leaves, as well as children’s own growing bodies.
  • Use the outing as a time to expose your child to some new words and concepts by talking about what you find. ” See this leaf? It’s from a maple tree.” How many different coloured leaves did you find?”
  • Once you are home, place a piece of clear contact paper, sticky side up, on top of a tray or on your window. Tape each corner of the contact paper to the tray or window to keep the paper from sticking to your hands.
  • Help your child to arrange her outdoors treasure on the contact paper.
  • Place another piece of transparent contact paper, sticky side down, over the first one to help preserve your child’s work of art.
  • Hang the collage in a window, or your child’s room… anywhere she can proudly showcase her creation.

Letting your child choose her nature elements , and arrange them herself helps her identify and express her personal preferences. Talking to her about nature as you explore the outdoors encourages her to notice and describe the world. And the task of applying objects to sticky contact paper helps enhance her fine motor skills.


Family and Parenting Programs in Burnaby

Dear Families,

For anyone looking for family programs available for parents and their young children here are some resources:

Early Childhood Community Consultant

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



v  Join me for a coffee and chat Monday morning at 10 – 11 AM to stay connected to other parents and have the opportunity to discuss parenting. This is a free supportive parenting group where I will briefly share some parenting educational information and then open it up for parents to ask questions, share concerns and your own helpful strategies for the remainder of the time. These meeting will be now offered over MS Teams – please install MS Teamsclick here for instructions and email me, aolson@fsgv.ca to receive an MS Teams invite for Monday’s coffee and chat! See you there.


Information Children

“Parenting Help when you need it”

All of your parenting needs, concerns and questions can  be addressed by a Parenting Educator.

Helpline:  Call us at 778.782.3548

E-support: Email us at Information Children

Parent Consultation:  for in-person support

We look forward to connecting with you soon


We wanted to draw your attention to some of the programs we are moving forward with – yes, sometimes using Zoom – in order to continue meeting the needs of  families. 

1.  Parent Helpline,  

2.  A Walk and Talk in the Park, 

3. New Parent Group – the First Months,

4. Circle of Security,  

5. Parenting in the Middle years, 

6. we are collaborating with Burnaby North Neighbourhood House Thursday afternoons to support Spanish speaking families

7. and we are thrilled to continue working with Burnaby Family Life “Baby and Me – Stage 2″.

We invite you to  view our website for more information.  www.informationchildren.com .

Burnaby Public Library

The library has now entered our next phase of reopening! As of September 8, our branches are open for browsing. Come on in and browse the shelves, take a look at new books, or read the newspaper. Because we are limiting the number of people inside each branch at one time, we are suggesting that patrons limit their browsing time to 30 minutes. Patrons can also come in and pick up their holds and use our computers and WiFi. If patrons need help picking books or with any information needs, they can still call or email us (604-436-5400 / eref@bpl.bc.ca). More details and our new hours can be viewed here: https://www.bpl.bc.ca/news/covid19 .

In case you are wondering what Tommy Douglas library currently looks like, I’ve attached a virtual tour with directions on our arrows and services provided.  To see the virtual tour click here.

Burnaby Family Life

Family and parenting programs are back for fall:

bfl fall 2020 – calendar

details and pre-registration for parenting programs

  • Nobody’s Perfect (online)
  • Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) (online)
  • Parenting for Immigrants (online)
  • Anger Management for Men (online, $65–already full, waiting list option)
  • Healthy Habits for Families (online)
  • Immigrant Women Support Group (small group)

details and pre-registration for family programs

  • Circle Time (online)
  • Mother Goose (online)
  • Learning Together Through Play (online and small group–indoors and outdoors)
  • LTTP for Korean-speaking Families (online)
  • LTTP: Playful Learning for Families (small group, in person)
  • LTTP: Healthy Families, Healthy Minds (online)
  • Baby & Me (Second Stage) (online)
  • LTTP: Creative Play for Families (online)


“Head Start” is a pre-Kindergarten program for children aged 30 months to 5 years old. Children are playfully engaged to develop pre-math skills, pre-literacy skills, science and art, through exploration and fun. The program is delivered by qualified Early Childhood Educators and McKercher is a licensed facility.

The small groups (eight children or less) comply with the Provincial COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Registration is monthly and paid before the first day of the month. Hours are 9 am to 12 pm or 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. You choose the days that work best for you:

2 days/week for $190/month

3 days/week for $245/month

Location: McKercher Centre, 6140 McKercher Avenue, Burnaby

Email your inquiry or registration at  occ@burnabyfamilylife.org  , or call 604-435-0990



Montecito Child Care Centre, opened on September 1st, is a new licensed facility children aged 30 months to 5 years located at 7230 Camarillo Place, Burnaby.

The staff are experienced and qualified Early Childhood Educators. They provide a safe, nurturing environment for children to learn at their own pace…while having fun!

The centre follows BC’s Child Care Health and Safety guidelines for COVID-19.

The centre is open Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Morning and afternoon snacks are provided for children.

…Yes, we have a few spaces available! (How did we know you would ask?!)

Please follow the link here for pricing and registration details.


Cameray Child and Family Servises

October Online Group Calendar: click the link below to view the calendar on our website. To register for groups please email us back with your full name and the dates/times or names of the specific groups you would like to attend. You can also call us at 604-436-9449 to register for groups.



Welcome to Edmonds Strongstart

Dear Strongstart Families,


Hello, how are you?

Hello, how are you?

Hello, how are you?

How are you today?


I hope you and your family members are all well and you found some safe ways to enjoy the beautiful summer weather.

I spent lots of time with my family enjoying the great outdoors. We biked, played frisbee, hiked and went camping. Also took many walks in our neighborhood.

It was lovely to see some of you during the summer walk or play with your children and grandchildren in the neighboring parks.

It was my privilege to spend the first few days of school supporting our Kindergarten students starting at Edmonds Community School. It brought me great joy to see how smoothly children adapted to their new school environment, quickly learned the morning routine, and already started forming new friendships. I was amazed to see the resilience families and children have shown in adapting to the new normal.

As you may know, things look different in our schools. Safety is the number one priority, that guides us moving forward.

Some of you already reached out to me wondering what Strongstart Program will look like this year. Please see the message from Burnaby School District below:

In September 2020, Burnaby StrongStart BC programs will continue to engage in outreach to families via emails, phone calls, and offering StrongStart services online.

There is currently no in-person StrongStart BC programs in Burnaby Schools.  

We are looking into a variety of options that will enable us to offer in-person StrongStart BC programs. Programs will be at reduced capacity that are consistent with Stage 2 of the K-12 Education Restart Plan. “Reduced capacity” means that we will limit the number of families attending in order to maintain safe physical distancing. We will also reduce the number of hours per day and/or days per week of StrongStart BC operations to accommodate cleaning and disinfecting protocols.  

Please continue to visit our website for the latest updates. We look forward to when we can welcome you back in person! 


Starting today, September 21st, I will be back to support you remotely.

You can subscribe to our blog https://sd41blogs.ca/edmonds-strongstart/ to receive e-mail notifications when a new post is published or visit the site regularly. Please do not hesitate to contact me at maria.kerekes@buranbyschools.ca to say hi or if I can help in any way.

Looking forward to connecting with you again!

Miss you all! Stay safe and healthy!

Miss Maria

Happy Summer Everyone

To all of you, a huge thank you for being a part of StrongStart this past school year. Thank you for your trust and partnership in teaching your children together. It has been a great pleasure connecting with all of you and building a community of support for each other. It brought me lots of encouragement to witness the resilience and patience many of you have shown throughout this time as we have all tried our best to navigate these extraordinary times. 

My best wishes for all of you that are starting Kindergarten in the fall. What an exciting milestone. If you are staying at Edmonds school I’m looking forward to seeing you in September and support the children’s transition to Kindergarten. Our wonderful Kindergarten teachers can’t wait to meet and get to know all of you.  

For updates on what StrongStart will look like in the fall please visit the Burnaby StrongStart website in late August. 

Remember, you can come back to this BLOG anytime to reconnect and sing together! 

Wishing you all a safe and wonderful summer.   Enjoy the outdoors and create new memories with your loved ones. 

 Hope to see you in the fall. Take good care! 

Ms. Maria

Community Resources For Summer

As we head into summer, I wanted to pass along a list of resources for you to explore and where you can reach out for support. 

 Please note that the StrongStart Blog will not be updated, but you can still check out posts and visit the other  Burnaby StrongStart Blogs as they will be up all summer for you and your child(ren) to explore. 

For free virtual programming click here: FREE Virtual Summer Programs in Burnaby


Looking for parenting support:  

  • Information Children will continue to have their helpline open and they can be reached at 778-782-3548 


  • Anita Olson with Greater Vancouver Family Services will also be available  

Anita Olson (she/her) ECE, BA, MEd 

Early Childhood Community Consultant 

T 604 525 9144 

M 604 723 9548 

e-mail: aolson@fsgv.ca>

Blog: Parenting place










Snail friends

1. Maximize love,

Manage stress

Research has shown that spending time in nature—even just 5 minutes—can yield amazing benefits, such as: stress reduction, mood improvement, increased concentration, and a boost in overall well-being. Spending time with family outside can strengthen that family bond significantly.

So, let us get outside and look for snails together. Remember to be gentle with them just like, when we played with them, in our Strongstart room.

2. Talk, sing and point

Where to look?

During the day, slugs and snails hide in cool, dark places: under dead leaves, lumps of earth, rocks, mulch, and wooden boards. When dusk falls, they come out from their shelters in search of food. They are also more active under cloudy conditions or after a light rain. Their active period is from about April to October, and then they hibernate until the next spring.

Where have you looked?

Who found the first snail?

What colour is its shell?


Listen to “The snail song”

3.  Read and discuss stories

You can learn interesting fact about snails by listening to “Are You a Snail?” by Judy Allen

Do you want to know how Snail and Fish works out their conflict and save their friendship? Listen to “The Story of Fish and Snail ” by Deborah Freedman

The snail’s cousin is the slug. You can see lots of slugs after a good rain. What colour slugs have you seen? Look at the baby slugs, they are a couple days old.

Here is a story about a slug who wants to be a snail “Norman the Slug with the Silly Shell” by Sue Hendra

4.  Explore through movement and play

Do you remember the snails in our Strongstart room? How many where there? They got very lonely in the classroom, so I brought them home. See the pictures and a video about them exploring their new home.


Click Here to see the video.


Craft idea: Playdough/clay snail you can put an empty snail shell on its back, or you can roll up some clay to make its house.

You can also try making Norman and his friends from the story above.


Here is a link for physical movement: The Garden Snail stretching exercise

5. Count, group and compare

How many snails do you see?

What colour shells do they have? Which one is your favorite?


“One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab” by April Sayre and Jeff Sayre

Zoom Circle Time

I hope that you are all doing well. I miss you so much…

I’m glad I get to see some of you on Wednesday mornings.

For those of you, who are unable to join us for the live Circle Time, I wanted to share some of the fun we had the past few times we met.

I recorded the “Little Cloud” story by Eric Carl which we read yesterday and some of the songs we sang together. Nolan look out for the songs you requested last week, they are included. To listen to the recorded circle time click Here.

If your child has some  favorite songs that you would like me to record or us to sing it together on Wednesday during Circle time, just click on comments at the top of the post and send them my way.

These pictures  have been co-created by children and parents participating in Edmonds Zoom Circle Times:

Which picture is your favorite? Why?

  Can you find the hidden words and messages in the pictures?


What shapes can you see?

I saw a blue horsey in this one. Click Here to listen to” Yankee Doodle went to town ” rhyme.



Which nursery rhyme comes to your mind when you look at this picture? Click Here to sing it with teacher Maria.




Have a great weekend and hope to see you on Wednesday at 10 am.

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