Twelfth Ave Strong Start

Learning in the Spirit of Wonder and Joy

An Update About Community Programs

Dear families,

I hope you are enjoying cherry blossoms and nice weather! Here is a compilation from Anita Olsen’s Newsletter, thanks Anita!

Click here: FREE Burnaby Programs and More FINAL Spring 2021 Master Burnaby (1) to check out the family program list compiled from The Burnaby Early Childhood Development Table! This comprehensive list has up-to date programing, links to registration and lots of choice for families this spring. Choose from circle times, parenting programs, workshops and more!

Family Services of Greater Vancouver is offering some great virtual community programs – click here: NewWest_CEDS_2021_SpringProgramFlyer to check out all the details. Children’s programing , parenting groups and single mom’s group – if you are interested and would like to register call 604-368-2154 or email

Also, here is now only one phone number and one on-line booking for the province’s age-based vaccine roll-out. Please see the link below, now seniors born anytime in 1950 or earlier can book their vaccine. Translations available on the page  When you are eligible, register online at or by phone at 1-833-838-2323 (toll free). You can also register in-person at your nearest Service BC location.
  • is a Harvard based child development resource for families filled with information about and how to foster your child’s development through games and play. The simple games offered are backed up with “Brainy Background” quotes to provide parents and caregivers more context of what type of learning is engaged. Here’s a little example:

    Anytime anywhere

    Sing, Read, Repeat

    Your child probably enjoys listening to their favorite stories and songs over and over again. After singing or telling stories with them, ask if they want more. How do they respond? Do they nod or squirm away? Talk about their actions like, “You said yes!” or “You look like you’re all done.”

    Brainy background

    Children learn through repetition and shared back-and-forth conversations. Repeating stories and songs helps your child understand the meaning behind words. It sets the stage for talking, and eventually reading. They’re learning the basics of communication!

    Here are a couple of ideas for Spring art.

  • April showers bring May flowers! If you are feeling crafty this morning and have a glue gun, a paper grocery bag and some artificial flowers on hand, you have all the fixings to make a Paper Bag Tiara! First cut off the bottom of the paper bag and carefully roll it outwards all the way down – you will end up with a paper circle. Use the glue gun to tack the bag closed. Have your little one choose which flowers and where to attach them on the crown, glue in place. An easy and beautiful spring crown for your little princess or prince! For a visual tutorial, check out
  •  I hope you’ve been able to take in the beautiful cherry blossoms while they last. There are lots of cherry tree art projects for children to engage with and for a more sensorial experience, you can make your own 3-D  bouquet! With a few gathered sticks from outside wrapped together with yarn or another string, stick this into a clay or playdough base. Using torn up bits of pink tissue paper, dipping them into a little dish of white glue and attaching them to the sticks, your little one can create a 3-D likeness of these beautiful blossoms. Easy and fun! Check out for step by step pictures.

    Here is Anita’s info: If you are interested in a free one-on-one consultation about your child’s development, behavior, parenting tips, tricks and education please email, call or text Anita, to set up either a virtual appointment or a socially distanced visit in one of Burnaby’s many parks. Her contact is: or 604-723-9548.

    Enjoy the Spring and stay healthy and safe!

    Ms. Lillian

Goodbye to Ernie Winch Park

Dear StrongStart families,

We have been visiting Ernie Winch park for many months now as a part of our outdoor explorations on Fridays. Now that the weather is getting warmer, the park is getting busier, and it would be getting harder to find a spot where our small group would be in a bubble. So many children want to join in!

So, from now on, we will be meeting on Fridays in front of our centre and exploring the area and nature around it, close by and further away. Please let me know if you wish to book a Friday exploration visit.

As we say goodbye to Ernie Winch Park, let’s revisit some of our explorations.

We looked around and spied with our special “eye”!

If you look closely, you can spy Grandma M’ s eye too.

We carefully looked using the magnifying glasses for things to observe up-close.

Sometimes we found unexpected, wonderful surprises. D. said delighted “I found a feather, look here!”.

We explored all nature’s presents found in the park. We collected chestnuts and made chestnut stew.

We discovered where we can find seeds and look for more.

We enjoyed using nature’s gifts and our imagination.  L. made a caterpillar and a bumble bee and all made special pinecone ornaments.

We have had so much fun with bubbles!

We wondered what made some bubbles burst fast and some stick for so long? What happened to bubbles when there are strong winds or when is so cold?

We have so much fun playing actively and enjoying the stories.

I wonder what discoveries we will make while exploring the nature around our centre, using our eyes, senses and thinking deeply? In what ways will we discover our creativity and our relationship with new materials? How we will be using our bodies while finding joy in nature and making new friendships?

See you there,

Ms. Lillian


Spring is Here!

Dear StrongStart friends,

Many families celebrate holidays during spring months – Nowruz, Persian New Year, just passed, Passover, Easter and Ramadan are upon us. Maybe you just celebrate Spring and new beginnings. We are still living in challenging, emotionally charged times, but there is a HOPE in new beginnings which is the essence of Spring. Hope holds a central space in all holiday celebrations.

I am wishing you a lot of happy, joyous times together during holidays you are celebrating, even that we have to celebrate with your immediate family. Whether you are celebrating religious or secular holidays, holidays are always about love and HOPE!

My wish is that we all find ways to make happy memories with our family, filled with light, love and HOPE!

Here are few pictures from our art explorations at StrongStart today. Easy art: you can use electrical tape or masking tape and paint over it.

When done, peel the tape off and a nice design appears- just like magic!

E. was very proud of his art!

You can also use Q-tips to decorate the egg cut-out,  just like artists used to do (pointillism) or use feathers to make some marks on the paper.

We used egg shells (desinfected, of course) for our sensory exploration today.

Stay safe and healthy, following all the health recommendations.

Much love,

Ms. Lillian

Additional Community Support For You

The Social Emotional Development in the early years (SED) from Child Health BC has began a public messaging campaign and I would like to share some of their wonderful information. Social and emotional development is critical in the early years (birth to 6 years old). Building the capacity to form close relationships, experiencing, managing and expressing a full range of emotions and exploring and learning about their environments leads to healthy brain development, success in school, increased community involvement and success in future employment. What can we do as parents and caregivers?

The Burnaby Primary Care Network has compiled a contact sheet with various supports from help finding a doctor, mental health support, or discrimination or racism supports.  Check it out here or click on the attached poster – multiple languages available online.

The Early Childhood Development Table has compiled a wonderful program resource for families – check out the poster to see fabulous free programing Burnaby offers for families and children from Mother Goose to Circle of Security, there’s something for everyone! Visit The Burnaby ECD Table at or the Facebook page at:

Information Children hosts an Online Family Story time. Join online for a 30-min interactive story time with songs and easy art activities! Suitable for ages 18-months-5 years old. Register here, check out the attached poster for more information or email/call them – 778.782.3548 to sign up.

Feelings Come and Feelings Go

Hello my StrongStart friends,

We have all been riding this emotional rollercoaster for more than a year now.  Every day brings a variety of emotions: fear, anxiety, relief knowing our loved ones are safe, sometimes  getting lost in a moment still brings us happiness.

When young children experience strong emotions, they do not have our wisdom to know that the feeling will pass. They need a loving adult to help them learn to manage their emotions by naming and acknowledging feelings with understanding and empathy (“I know you are frustrated because… I wish we could…” I understand… ). Children need to know that is OK to have all sort of feelings, and that adults have them too.

CLICK HERE to hear me read Llama, Llama red Pajama by Anna Dewdney, published by Penguin Random House. Little Llama goes through all sorts of emotions  and is comforted and reassured by her loving mama the end of the book .

Previously, I have shared how in our StrongStart we are teaching our children to to learn to recognize their strong emotions  by naming them (” You feel… angry or sad…”).  We ask them to take a deep breath, we offer them a hug. Nowdays I’m finding that I  I need to remind myself of these same things.

Let us do it together: Let us take a deep breath in. Slowly, deeply! Fill your lungs with air. Then pause. Take a deep, long  breath out. Do it together with your child, all of your children. You will be giving them a life-long gift; knowing how to manage strong emotions. They will be grateful to you!

CLICK HERE to hear the song we often sing in StrongStart to help us deal with different emotions. It is called “Happy Firetruck”.

To give love to your child you need to be kind to yourself too. We all need to look for ways to comfort ourselves, do something that brings us smile, joy and light! Small or big. To calm my emotions I often need to stop what I was doing and take a deep breath, focus on my breathing and nothing else. I plan time to do something that brings me joy: walk in the nature, connecting with people dear to me in any way I can, smelling my lavender plant…


Take care, we are all in this together!

Ms. Lillian





Celebrating Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year

Dear StrongStart friends,

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I am sending my love and best wishes your way. Let us celebrate by reading two books.  CLICK HERE to hear me read “I Love You Book” by Todd Parr, published by Little, Brown and Company.

Another book you will hear me reading is a rebus poem “I Love You” by Jean Marzollo, illustrated by Suse MacDonald, published by Scholastic.

CLICK HERE to join me in singing Skinamarinky Dinky Dink song.

For those of you who celebrate Chinese New Year, I wish you best of luck and Happy New Year –  GUNG HAY FAT CHOY! CLICK HERE to hear me read “My First Chinese New Year” book by Karen Katz. The book is published by Henry Holt and Company.

Enjoy these special holidays, together!

Ms. Lillian

Parenting Support and Resources

Dear StrongStart families,

Many of you know Anita, our wonderful Early Childhood Community Consultant from her in-person visits StrongStart in happy times.  Anita is now joining us every other Friday for our scheduled outdoor explorations (and consultations) for those registered and booked families.

Anita is currently offering:

  •  Free one-on-one consultations: learn about your child’s development, behavior and parenting tips and tricks to support them.  Email or call, Anita, to set up a free virtual appointment 604-723-9548.
  • The Power of Play – Book a Wednesday morning one-on-one play session with Anita – Enjoy a private play space with your little one as Anita coaches and models child-led play, establishing healthy boundaries, turn taking and so much more with parents/caregivers and their child. Call/text or email, 604-723-9548 or email to see availability
  • ECCC Resource Newsletter – short, informative, daily newsletter with children’s activities, up-to-date community activities, parenting tips and more. Email Anita with the heading ADD ME TO NEWSLETTER to receive yours! You can also check out the archived newsletters here.
  • Anita is a regular contributor to The Parenting Place Blog, an excellent resource for families. Click below to follow!  You will be soon able to find it on top of our blog page as Parenting Place – Activities for Children.*yvNqF4W3VrxqaCEsSZghVA.png

parentingplace – Medium

A resource for families focusing on activities for children, parent education and self-care. Our goal is to help strengthen the parent child relationship & ensure children are nurtured, youth find optimism, adults feel empowered and parents make choices that build strong families.


When Winter Comes

Dear StrongStart families,

The winter is here! Days are still short, but are thankfully getting longer. As adults, we are often looking forward to spring, but for a child there so much to experience and enjoy in any season. The best winter gift is of course snow, let us hope our children will be lucky to experience a bit more snow this year.

When you are outside with your child, take the time to notice and wonder together. Notice frost on the grass, bare trees, bristle leaves that stayed after wind blew away most of them, cherry blossom buds that came out a bit too early. Take time to feel the textures, experience cold, moisture, crunch, sliminess.

Talk about what you are noticing, but also ask your child: “I don’t see any birds, where do you think they are, I wonder?”; “Remember when we had snow… We built snowman and then it all melted away. Where did the snow go, what do you think?”

Of course, their stories or ideas might differ from reality.  Every culture or nation is full of wonderful myths which were created as early humans were trying to make sense of their world and answer the same puzzling questions: What is the thunder? Where does the sun go at night?  Where does the water from a puddle go on a sunny day? We enjoy them as stories now but they started as  scientific questions or what  we now call ” inquiry”.

When we allow children to express their thoughts and use their imagination and connect with what they already know, we’re allowing children to make sense about the world around them, think critically, and let their creativity and imagination blossom.

To start you on your wonderous journey…

CLICK HERE to join me in wondering and in reading “When Winter Comes” by Nancy Van Laan and Susan Gaber.

This wonderous book is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Stay warm and safe,

Ms. Lillian

The Winter is Here!

Dear StrongStart friends,

Join in me in reading a book about dressing up for really, really cold winter day.

The book is called “Under My Hood I have a Hat”, written by Karla Kuskin and illustrated by Fumi Kosaka, published by Balzen and Bray. I will be also singing a silly and fun song ” I Dropped My Hat”.

CLICK HERE to watch the video.

Hope you are doing well and finding time to enjoy cold winter days in your backyards,  nature or in your neighbourhood parks. Please feel free to leave a comment/suggestion on the blog, (it will be visible just by me). You can also send me an e-mail or call if I could  support you in any way.

Ms. Lillian

More Community Support

Dear StrongStart parents,

Here is the info from our community partners about additional community support available to you.

  • Information Children will continue to offer Parent Coaching services – via phone or Zoom. These sessions can be booked by emailing us at We are available for Parent Coaching: 9-4pm Mondays, and afternoons Tuesdays-Fridays.

Also, they are is offering an online New Parents Group in a six part series. Topics such as adjusting to your new baby, expectations, growth and infant development and self-care will be explored in the comfort of your own home via Zoom check out the attachment for more information or click the link below – New Parents Group – Fridays from Jan 15-Feb 19, 1:30-3pm

They offer online Family Storytime suitable for ages 18 month to 5 years old. Here is  link to more info: Information Children Online Storytime Jan 2021 copy (1)

  • Burnaby Family Life continues to offer an assortment of virtual parenting classes and of course, children’s programs, such as circle times, play to learn, and mother goose. Registration is required for all programs – check out the attachment for their winter calendar or the links provided – and WINTER 2021 – Parenting and Family Resource Programs Calendar
  • Burnaby Public Library has had a website makeover! With a new look and reorganization, everything is easier to navigate and find. Check it out –
  • Burnaby Neighbourhood House is still staying apart right now to keep each other safe, but there is still much fun to be had with all the virtual classes and programs offered! Please join BNH for many online Zoom programs for people of all ages.  For more information and to register:

« Older posts