Thursday, 16 June 2016

Telus - Day of Giving Back

Generosity abounds through partnerships with Telus.

Justina, one of our parents, is an employee of Telus who recently arranged to have her team come to Creative Minds to do a classroom clean up party.  Families donated $25 toward this fundraising effort in lieu of helping at the event (although Karen, Deborah and Polly still came to help out).  In short order the centre was clean and well organized.  Thanks to Arielle and Elya's family for the donation of the Kombucha that quenched the thirst of these hardworking people.

A quote from Mary Oliver seems fitting here:

“I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.”

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Roots and Wings

Hello Families,

As I watch the new children put down roots at Creative Minds I am reminded at how the roots of the children who have been here for many months  have changed the Creative Minds landscape for the better.  I am also reminded how quickly their wings show and many of them will leave us this summer. This was timely reflection for me as I dug deep into the planter box today to prepare it for the new plants we are growing together.  We hope we'll be able to inspire the children to do some science experiments related to plants and the leaf and worm searches this week have started the exploration nicely.  We will hang the mint roots from the ceiling so I hope you'll take some time to come in and admire it all.  Check out the new plants too as you come to pick up your children tonight and thank them for the care they took to water them so well.

Thursday, 21 March 2013


Hi Families,

Before I begin, put aside all your ideas about WHY poetry is good for children.  Some of those ideas are probably true but that's not why I am about to invite you to work with me on a little project.

Two weeks ago I spent time in Minneapolis presenting a two day workshop to teachers on "inquiry".  As part of the process I displayed a few examples of the children's poetry that was completed during our unit that explored colour in our lives.  One teacher made a comment that the poem didn't really make sense to her.  Well, I could relate.  A lot of poetry doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me either.  That however, has not prevented me from writing my own, encouraging it in others and more importantly, trying to see into the world view of the other through their words, phrases and organization.  You see, for me it's not all about making sense of the poem, but more importantly, trying to connect with another's way of seeing the world because in that we are drawn together in some pretty interesting ways.

I hope you'll agree and that you'll participate in my invitation.

I will start a poem here and write it somewhere on the IB wall at Creative Minds.  You can write your poem there or here, sign it or not.  It doesn't matter.  What matters is that we are all sharing ideas around the theme of water.  We'll read these to the children every day and also invite them to write some poetry too.  I ask that you not edit yourselves to the point where you feel you "can't" or "shouldn't".  You can even write in your other languages (even pig latin).  

For instance, I sat thinking about the waters of Zanzibar and I quickly scribbled:

flowing velvet
at the tip of my toes

These 10 words brought me back to the waters and then a cascade of other ocean images came to my mind.  That lead to me thinking about how we should make a small film with the children at the beach and then more ideas arose.  I had to stop short.  Why not just allow the words to bring forth the senses?  

So I leave you with the idea and hope that I can encourage you to write.  If you don't want to write your own, bring in poems that you like about water.  Let's help the children play with language as they engage in this inquiry and let's build connections between us through our sharing our interests and experiences in this format.


Monday, 10 September 2012


I have had the good fortune in my life to be around a great many generous people and they inspired me so much that the unit of inquiry “Generosity Abounds” arose from my desire to understand it more.  Learning from the minds, hearts and actions of our little ones is inspirational. 

I was reminded of generosity once again when Anamaria called me yesterday to say that she and her boyfriend Stefan were doing the furniture shopping that she and I had planned to get done this week. What I learned was that not only was she taking her day off to do the shopping.  In fact she and Stefan were putting everything together and setting up the furniture so that the teachers and children would have things in order for Monday.  Such acts of generosity abound at Creative Minds.  From families helping keep the sinks running well, to smart board instruction and the filming and making of the concert DVDs, to paper recycling, kind words of thanks and boxes of chocolates (from our favourite places!)

This is my opportunity to thank everyone at Creative Minds who make this space such a place of warmth and joy.  Each day we come to work we know that we are appreciated and we want you to know that you are appreciated as well.  You grace us with your trust that we will care for your children and you share your laughter in so many ways.  It is this that makes the work light.

In gratitude,


Friday, 31 August 2012

Beautiful Moments

Hello Families,

The teachers and I have been reflecting on the events of the summer and giggling in the retelling of the stories about camping trips in the forest, bike riding accomplishments, water play and cake days!  It was a great summer wasn’t it?  Kathryn shared a story with us about one of the children’s sense of history while at Creative Minds.  We were astounded to hear that the young child could retell, in order, the units of inquiry that have taken shape over the last 2 years!  Can you imagine it?  I can’t even name them all in order.  It may be because his mother has copies of all of the photo journals but I don’t think that explains it all.  I think part of this spectacular re/membering comes from the child’s complete immersion in the moments of play, conversation and exploration alone and with others.  It seems to me that while we are busy photographing, collecting and recording there is a part of us that is removed from the event.  I’m sure you have noticed this too as you video record or photograph your children’s special events.  It made me wonder.  There is a emphasis at Creative Minds on recording the learning process in order to develop reflective practice, to support the children’s unique and individual learning needs and to celebrate with children and families, the wonderful events that grow out of our time together.  This seems reasonable, purposeful and important to continue.  In the middle of this thinking I came upon a quote from one of my favouite authors, Toni Morrison.  She wrote, in Tar Baby,

"At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough. No record of it needs to be kept and you don't need someone to share it with or tell it to. When that happens — that letting go — you let go because you can."

I am reminded to take the time, like our young learner, to be with the beauty of the moment.  To let it sit with me, wash over me and become part of me.

As we ask you to bring in photos of your child know that we are making this request while holding Morrison’s thought of the beauty of the moment in mind. 

Wishing you all a restful long weekend.


Sunday, 22 July 2012

Child Honouring

Hello Families,

As the teachers and I sat together for brunch on Saturday (thanks to you for the gift) we discussed the ways we support the children to enter into conversation with one another and with each of us.  We pondered the deep relevance this action has for the children.  It is central to our connection with them and what we hear them say plays an important role in the curriculum that develops.

As I continued to think about our role and the value of the conversations we all have at Creative Minds I came upon some work by Raffi.  Many years ago I participated in a conference at UBC where Raffi was the guest speaker.  At first his words seemed just that, words, with little connection to my work as a teacher of 25 children in primary classroom.  Today,  I ponder how Raffi's commitment to children has taken shape.  I also reflect on how Creative Minds has taken shape and I am grateful for the warmth, appreciation and support so many families has given us in our process.

I share these with you as an opening to even more conversation:

Here is the short clip: and here is the web site:



Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The concert was a wonderful event for us all

Thank you everyone for entrusting your children to our care.

It was delightful seeing them on stage wasn't it?

Thanks to Doug for all his care and attention to the filming (and often the hours of editing to make a great DVD!)

Thanks also to Sean (Kai's dad) who worked with a friend to create the wonderful music for The Lollipop Tree.  We were in a tizzy because we couldn't find anything on the web that worked for the children and he was quick to create a wonderful version for us.

When it was clear that the children needed some support with the song our good friend Annette Coffin sang the song for us to practice with.

It's so great when we all come together like this right down to the clearing up at the end of the evening.

Thank you for your kind words and the gifts.

We love working with the children and can't wait to add those family photos to the current photo book.  Let us know if you want to order one.