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Opening Doors for Children & Families

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I was visiting one of the ABC Head Start classrooms yesterday. Although most ABC Head Start classrooms have a high number of children who are learning English, this classroom has more than the average. I walked up to the "house" centre and peaked my head through the little window. "Hello!" I said, "Can I have some chia?" The little girls in the house all looked at each other and smiled, one shrugged. I said, "Can I have lunch?" Trying again hoping to get a verbal reply. Nothing, just smiles.

Then one of the girls handed me a frying pan full of fake vegetables. I took it from her and when I did...

Halloween is in ONE WEEK! And if you are like me you have nothing ready. But I'm sure you are not like me and are far more organized and certainly don't procrastinate as much. Yesterday I was poking around the good ol' internet looking for some interesting Halloween ideas. Nothing too complex or complicated, just some things to make the day a bit more fun.

Here is a list of my favourite Halloween ideas for this year:

1. The first one came from my Mom. One thing you must know about my Mom is that she is a festive freak! She loves to decorate for holidays most people don't even know exist. God...

My sister recently came for a visit with her two children. Her oldest is five and her youngest three years old. The three-year old is fascinated with three things right now: superheros, letters and numbers. After he dons his favourite superhero costume (this weekend Hulk was the stand by, complete with puffy muscles), he likes to get on the iPad and play letter/number games (seems like a natural superhero activity.) I got so much joy out of watching his excitement. He would jam his little Hulk finger onto the I and yell "I! I FOR EYES CEEEEEEEM!!!" That's three-year old speak for Ice Cream. He...

This weekend is the finale of the Scarecrow Festival. For 20 years the Scarecrow Festival has been supporting ABC Head Start. To put on a festival of this size it takes countless hours and most of all countless volunteers. The festival is organized by a committee of volunteers who work year round to make the festival a success. The amount of hours the committee puts in during the year is truly unbelievable.

I spoke with our Community Coordinator, Ann Babb, who estimated there have been nearly 20 000 volunteers in the lifetime of the Scarecrow Festival. Many of these volunteers come back year...

The wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving is this weekend. Well it is if you live in the land of the true north strong and free, or as my Australian friend likes to call Canada (insert loud booming announcer voice here) "THE LAND OF GIANT SHOPPING MALLS," OK maybe that's more specific to Edmonton. I digress; THANKSGIVING! My favourite holiday! A time to share good food and gratitude with friends and family. And that's all that is expected! No gifts to worry about, or extras, just a good meal and a chance to reflect and say, "We are pretty lucky aren't we?"

I hope everyone gets a chance to do that...

Recently, Alberta lost a very impactful leader. Peter Lougheed led the Progressive Conservative Party to victory in 1971, ending the 36 year reign of the Social Credit Party. Lougheed became one of the most influential leaders in Alberta's history with legacies such as The Heritage Trust Fund and the development of oil and gas in this province. I had the great fortune of sitting with one of Edmonton's greatest volunteers at a luncheon yesterday. He spoke about work he had done with Mr. Lougheed. He described him as a compassionate but tough leader who everyone admired. He said with a smile...

It was a beautiful, warm, sunshiny day in June. I was out on the playground with one of the ABC Head Start classes. The teachers and I were chatting about our upcoming fundraiser gala, called Magic and Masquerade taking place on October 12, 2012. One ABC Head Start employee has been volunteering for the Scarecrow Festival Steering Committee. The Scarecrow Festival is heading into its 20th and final year. This steering committee puts in countless volunteer hours to make the festival and the gala a success.

We started chatting about donations for the silent auction and raffle at the Magic and...

ABC Head Start staff are all prepared for another year of Early Learning. The children and families first day is tomorrow. It is always an exciting time to meet the new families we will have the pleasure of working with for the school year and meet the children as they have their first educational experience.

Earlier in the week I called my Mom to see what my first day of preschool was like. Not surprisingly it didn't exactly go smoothly. First of all my parents describe me as a "difficult" or "strong-willed" child (but they are very careful never to call me their problem child although I know...

If you have ever been in a ABC Head Start classroom you will know the day usually ends by singing a "goodbye song." What I love about these songs is they are different in each classroom. It's kind of like a teacher's trademark. This week is our final week at ABC Head Start and there has certainly been many goodbyes. We are saying goodbye to staff who are moving on to other opportunities, having babies, moving away and a few who are retiring. So with a mixture of sadness and joy we wish these colleagues luck in their new endeavours.

The goodbye we say every single year, which never seems to get...

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At ABC Head Start we believe the best way to help children is to strengthen families and community. As we work together in partnership we benefit from the shared enthusiasm, energy and ideas that each partner contributes. Community support ensures the continued success and sustainability of ABC Head Start. Every year volunteers donate thousands of hours of time in classroom and non-classroom activities. Find out how you can get involved today!

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