At the end of April tiny little caterpillars arrived at our school. Teacher Liz and I filled small individual vials with special food for each caterpillar and left them on a tray. We carefully chose a warm location at the preschool to keep them at a perfect temperature.

For the next few weeks we brought the caterpillars out at circle time to see the progress they had made each day. Slowly they went from being tiny little caterpillars to big ones, and they built webs at the top of the vials preparing for the next phase of their journey.

A caterpillar was sent home with each of the children in the 4’s class, and the rest of the caterpillars remained at the preschool for daily observations. Once the caterpillars were fully grown they climbed to the top of the vials and hung upside down from the lid in a ‘J’ shape to form a chrysalis. Teacher Liz gently transferred the chrysalis to their new habitat by placing the lids on an old magnolia branch.

The next few days were filled with excitement and lots of patience. Each day during circle time we checked on the hanging chrysalis. We sang songs about butterflies. We told stories about butterflies. We dressed up as butterflies. And we waited. Patiently. While the caterpillars that had gone home with the children in the 4’s class had transformed into chrysalis and emerged as butterflies, the ones at the preschool were still in their chrysalis.

One rainy morning Teacher Liz and I took the 4’s class for a walk to gather moss, flowers, and fresh leaves for our butterfly habitat in hopes that it would encourage the chrysalis at the preschool to transform. After being in their chrysalis for almost two weeks the first butterflies emerged!

The children were thrilled and each day a few more butterflies appeared in the habitat. We cut oranges in half to feed them and we opened the butterfly habitat to let a select few out to explore. During the first few circle times the butterflies were very docile. Some jumped around, but most would stay still on tiny little excited hands and arms.

As the butterflies got stronger and older they became braver and attempted to take flight. On a beautiful sunny day during circle time in the 3’s class we released them. We sang a goodbye song and wished them a happy journey ahead as they flew away.

Teacher Libby

A season of loneliness and isolation is when the caterpillar gets its wings. Remember that next time you feel alone.

Mandy Hale

Summer Book Club

Summer is right around the corner. Bugs are starting to emerge, the water parks are in full swing, and the beach is the perfect place to enjoy this summer’s book club picks. And don’t forget to leave a comment with your favourite books for September.

1. The Amazing Life Cycle of Butterflies, by Kay Barham

From moth to chrysalis to beautiful butterfly, learn about a butterfly’s life. Children have lots of questions about the world around them, and this book helps them discover many amazing and wonderful scientific facts about butterflies.

2. Over and Under the Pond, by Kate Messner

Paddle along with a mother and son as they discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the water is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, and tadpoles growing. These secrets and many others are waiting to be discovered.

3. And Then Comes Summer, by Tom Brenner

From flip-flops and hide-and-seek to fireworks and ice-cream trucks, from lemonade stands and late bedtimes to swimming in the lake and toasting marshmallows, there’s something for everyone in this bright and buoyant celebration of the sunny season.

4. The Tiny Seed, by Eric Carle

This is a beautifully descriptive book of a tiny seed that gets swept up by the wind and goes on an adventure to become a giant flower.

5. What Bug Am I?, by Skye Wade

The little spider doesn’t initially know who he is. Yet with the ladybug’s help, he meets different backyard bugs to understand who he looks like. If your kids are interested in bugs, they’ll definitely buzz with laughs and literacy over this engaging, informative, and science (STEM) book. This funny bug-story offers interesting and kid-friendly facts about insects’ diverse features and their unique ways of life.

6. Avery Asks – Where is everyone going?, by Andrea Lowe

You never know where a simple question might take your imagination. Where is everyone going? The possibilities are endless and the answers open up a whole world to explore. Follow ever-curious Avery as she discovers the places people are going and the things they are doing.

7. The Sandcastle Contest, by Robert Munsch

When Matthew enters a contest at the beach, he builds an amazing, incredible, unbelievable sandcastle!

8. Jabari Jumps, by Gaia Cornwall

Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.

9. Grandpa’s stories, by Joseph Coelho

One young girl reflects on a year with her beloved grandpa. She remembers the fields and parks they explored in the springtime and the old toys they fixed up in the summer. An honest and relatable depiction of loss, Grandpa’s Stories celebrates life and the ways in which love lives on.

What books should be featured in September’s Book Club?

Year end letter from our teachers

Here we go another year almost over! Where did the time go? It is not like it just disappeared, because we have seen the children grow and thrive in our programme. Our classes have come a long way since back in September and we, as teachers, have also grown and learned throughout the year.

We are so pleased in the way we were able to keep the programme going strong and all of us keeping healthy within our environment. I know we have missed parts of our school space, with our classes, but we have done so much more in our wonderful outdoor space.

Our children will be stronger and more aware of their surroundings after enduring these difficult times. Libby and I have made use of every corner of the playground, pulling so much together from our cupboards of inventory and realizing that our ideas have worked well. We should be thankful for getting through this as a group. It has been possible only with your support and your ongoing commitment and participation within our programme.

For our graduating class:

This year especially, I feel that our 5 year olds, or soon to be, have been able to tread in the footsteps of Dr. Seuss’ book titled “Oh the places you will go”. We have taken them to places that they have explored, the forest and its stumps, the field and its openness, the creek and its banks, the labrynth and its path. They were able to use spaces creatively, so congratulations to you all. Carry these memories with you wherever you go. Keep on asking the questions and reaching further for the answers, you will all go far.

Cheers to the classes of 2020/2021. Hip hip hooray!

Your teachers,

T. Liz and T. Libby

Best places for mountain biking with your preschooler

My husband started taking my sons up mountain biking on Mount Fromme as soon as they could ride a pedal bike. But since my idea of a perfect day out cycling is a flat and preferably paved trail, the gnarly inclines of the North Shore hold little allure.

So when I take my cycling mad sons out, I go for a happy medium: easy trails with some extra features that help test their technical skills.

If you’re not ready to tackle the big mountain trails with your preschooler, here’s a few places you can try instead:

Digger Park forest – Officially called Lynnmour park but known locally as “Digger Park” this park has it all: winding paths through the forest, roots and bumps to practice going over, and a playground in the field in the middle of it all. It’s just south of Inter River bike park so you could even start with a ride around the pump track.

Windsor Park – This forested area behind Ron Andrews recreation centre has wide, easy paths. It’s easy to do a loop and there’s a few extensions you can explore. If you start and stop at the recreation centre you can even use the playground.

Loutet Park – This park has a wonderful trail which runs all the way from behind Sutherland High school to Loutet farms. There’s a crazy dirt jump track behind the farm where you’ll get a glimpse of the heart stopping feats your kids may one day be attempting if you’re there on a day the older kids are out. The rest of the trail meanders through the forest with some gentle ups and downs, perfect for little cyclists.

Diana Davis, LVPPP President

Where are your favourite preschool bike haunts?

May Book Club

Spring is officially in full swing. Enjoy all those May flowers this month, but don’t forget to get in your daily dose of reading with your little ones. This month we not only celebrate spring, but also Fitness Day, Cinco de Mayo, Brothers and Sisters Day and Star Wars Day. Leave us a comment and let us know which your favourite book was this month and which ones should be featured next month.

1. Little Raindrop, by Melanie Joyce

This book is a new favourite of ours! Colourful illustrations and a lyrical story captivate young readers as they follow the journey of a little raindrop. This book is a great way to learn about the water cycle.

2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle

Originally published in 1969, this story is a classic and a must-read for any child. Littles will love reading along as the hungry little caterpillar eats, and eats, and eats, finally emerging as a butterfly. The collage-style illustrations and fun storyline make learning about food, counting and the butterfly lifecycle an engaging experience.

3. Little Yoga: A Toddler’s First Book of Yoga, by Rebecca Whitford

May 1 is Fitness Day! Yoga is a great way to introduce children to movement. This book is colourful, fun and easily guides parents and kids through nine basic yoga poses.

4. Snuggle the Baby, by Sara Gillingham

Celebrate National Brothers and Sisters Day on May 2 with this cute board book. We were gifted this book just prior to welcoming our second baby. It is ideal for soon-to-be older siblings or toddlers who love playing with dolls. It is full of practical, interactive activities for caring for a baby, like swaddling and shushing.

5. Star Wars: A Jedi you will be, by Preeti Chhibber

May the Fourth be with you! May 4 is Star Wars Day and you can introduce your kids to the iconic series with this picture book narrated by everyone’s favourite Jedi Master, Yoda. Whimsical illustrations will guide your future Jedi’s as they learn to use the force.

6. My First Frida Kahlo (Little People, Big Dreams), by Isabel Sanchez Vegara

The Little People, Big Dreams book series is a wonderful tribute to inspirational leaders. My First Frida Kahlo tells the story of the one of the most famous artists of the twentieth century. This would be a fun, educational read to help celebrate Cinco de Mayo on May 5th.

What books should be featured in June’s Book Club?

April Book Club

Take advantage of some of our April showers to cuddle up with your kid and a good book. This month we also celebrate Easter and Earth Day. Hope you and your littles enjoy this month’s book club picks. And don’t forget to leave a comment with your favourite books for next month.

1. The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter

The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a classic story originally published in 1902. What better time to introduce your littles to this beloved tale than Easter. The book tells the story of a mischievous rabbit and the trouble he gets into when he disobeys his mother and ventures into Mr. McGregor’s vegetable garden. 

2. The Honeybee, by Kirsten Hall

Honeybees are a vital part of our ecosystem. This beautifully illustrated picture-book with equally enchanting wordplay follows a little bee in its day-to-day activities. The Honeybee will soon become a favourite in your house!

3. We are the Gardeners, by Joanna Gaines and Kids

The well-known TV personality Joanna Gaines recently published this adorable story about a family learning how to garden. The story shows that trying something new isn’t always easy, but if you work hard at it, you will reap the rewards. A cute and endearing book for budding gardeners.

4. This Little Environmentalist, by Joan Holub

This brand new book published in March 2021 invites young readers to learn all about leaders and their quest to protect the earth. This book is a great introduction to the environment and how we can all make a difference. 

5. My Friend Earth, by Patricia MacLachlan

This adorable book personifies the earth as a young girl. Die-cut pages and poetic text take young readers through a celebration of all the wonderful things our friend Earth does. This interactive story will engage young readers and get the conversation started about the environment and climate change.

6. The Hike, by Alison Farrell

The Hike is a delightful story about the three little girls and their adventure in the great outdoors. They experience the highs and the lows of a hike including picnics and tough terrain. Your little one will enjoy spotting all the animals throughout the book and learning a bit more about the science of the environment. This book will leave you all wanting to embark on a hike to explore more.

What books should be featured in May’s Book Club?

Spring Break Activities on the North Shore

With spring break just around the corner, it’s time to start planning some new adventures to fill your days. The North Shore offers some great amenities and activities for you to take advantage no matter what spring weather we are treated to. Here’s a round up some of our favourite local spring break activities for you and your little one.

1. Go for a swim at Karen Magnussen Recreation Centre

Kids love going to the pool and they always seem to sleep better after a good swim. Another great reason to head over to your local swimming pool is that it’s an activity that can be done rain or shine. To book a swim session at Karen Magnussen or another North Vancouver pool, visit the NVRC website.

2. Learn about nature at the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre

Learn all about our local plants, animals and human history at the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre. Kids can get a closer look at everything from bird eggs to snake skin and they can discover the world of bears through the black bear exhibit. The centre is booking 30-minute visits daily between noon and 4 p.m. They are also hosting a virtual storytime on Friday, March 19 about bugs. For more information and to book a visit, go to the Ecology Centre website.

3. Visit the farm animals at Maplewood Farm

Horses and pigs and goats, oh my! Maplewood Farm is a great space to let the kids run around and get up close to some of their favourite farm animals. The rabbits and the ducks tend to be fan favourites. To book your visit, go to the farm website.

4. Explore a bird habitat at Maplewood Flats

The Maplewood Flats Conservation Area is a North Shore hidden gem and a bird watcher’s paradise! More than 250 types of birds are have been spotted in the area. Families can enjoy the 5 kilometres of accessible trail 7 days a week. Access to the park is free. For Covid guidelines for trail use, visit the WildBird Trust website.

What activities are you planning during spring break?

French fun

It’s never too early (or too late!) to start learning another language. In honour of National French Language Day on March 20, we’ve compiled some games and resources to start learning and practicing French together at home.

What’s the weather like today?

No matter where you are or how old you are, the topic of weather is likely to come up in conversation. These weather printable are a great way to learn the different types of weather and practice the phrases in a practical way on a daily basis.

Learn the colours in French

Colours are another practical part of language that can be used in daily life. This fun colouring activity will have your little one learning 12 of the most common colours in French.

French alphabet colouring pages

Learning French can be as easy as A, B, C. Literally. Learn a new French word with every colouring page as your little one makes their way through the alphabet.

The human body

Once your little has mastered the names of body parts in English, why not try to learn them in French as well. This worksheet will take you from head to toe, or should I say, de la tête jusqu’aux orteils.

Sing in French Music is a great way to learn a new language. Search YouTube for classic French nursery songs like “Allouette”, “Frère Jacques”, “Au Claire de la Lune” and “Une Souris Verte.”

Cray Cray for Crayons

March 31 is National Crayon Day and we’ve compiled some fun activities for you to do with your littles. So bust out your crayons and let’s draw this month to a close in style.

DIY Crayons

Give new life to old and broken crayons by melting them down into cute shapes. All you need are a pile of broken crayons and some inexpensive ice cube moulds and you’ll be back to colouring with like new crayons in no time.

Crayon Watercolour Art

This craft involves using a bit of heat, but the result is really pretty! Create a watercolour look on canvas by melting crayons and watch your artwork come to life. Just make sure to keep tiny fingers away from the heat source.

Crayon Wax Transfer Art

For this craft, you simply completely colour a piece of paper using different colours of crayon. Next, you flip the coloured paper face down onto another piece of blank paper. Using a pencil or a ballpoint pen, draw on the paper. When you are done, separate the two pieces of paper to reveal your new colourful sketch.

Crayon Resist Space Art

For this activity all you need is crayons, black watercolour paint, a paintbrush, cardstock and a few paper towels. Using your crayons, colour a space scene on the cardstock. Then paint over the entire piece of paper with your black paint. The paint will not adhere to the crayon, leaving you with a piece of art that is out of this world!

Which of these activities would you like to try?

Saint Patrick’s Day Recipes

Celebrate all that is Irish by cooking up a rainbow storm in the kitchen with your little leprechaun. It won’t take the luck of the Irish to get your kid to eat these Saint Patrick’s Day recipes!

1. Rainbow Fruit Parfait

While there may not be a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow fruit parfait, the time you’ll spend together making and eating these will be better than gold! These parfaits are easily customizable based on fruit you have on hand or your child’s preferences.

2. Green Smoothie Pancakes

Which kid doesn’t like pancakes? Not only is this recipe super easy to make and the pancakes turn out delicious, but they are good for you! No green food colouring in sight- these pancakes are chalk full of spinach!

3. Saint Patrick’s Day Popcorn

Popcorn is always a fun snack for the littles. Add a festive, sweet and green spin to a classic with this Saint Patrick’s Day recipe.

4. Leprechaun Hats

These little cucumber leprechaun hats make an adorable and healthy snack. This recipe can be made with your kid or you can surprise them with the snack and a story about little leprechauns who left their hats behind.

5. Rainbow Bell Pepper Pizza

Your kid will definitely fall for this fun, colourful and healthy rainbow pizza. Made with yellow, orange, red and green peppers, putting this pizza together can also be a fun colour arranging activity too.

What will you be cooking in the kitchen for Saint Patrick’s Day?