After School Program Blog

Mother's Day Masterpiece Vases

 
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The children at the After School Program were hard at work last week on completing their Mother’s Day crafts. This year we made our moms a picture frame flower vase, using a mason jar. This craft is simple and fun. The kids had a great time designing their own mason jar.

First, we picked a shape we wanted our frame to be and taped it to the clear jar. We then spray painted our jar as a primer coat. 

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Then the fun part, designing their own individual jars! The kids loved putting their own styles and designs on the jars for their mothers. The more colourful, the better!  We used the recommended acrylic paint. We then let the paint dry for a few hours. For a glossy finish, we spray painted the jars with a clear gloss spray paint. 

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The finished products turned out amazing! We tapped a picture of the children to the inside of the jar and added coffee filter flowers for a final touch. If you want to put real flowers add a small glass of water inside the jar.

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Bracelet Making Fun!

 
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Yesterday the children at the after school program had fun bracelet making! We explored many different ways of making bracelets but our favourite was learning how to use a kumihimo disk to create a bracelet.

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Each of the children were able to get their own kumihimo disk to take home! We made the disk by printing a template that was 4” wide, glued them to cardboard and cut them out. Then our volunteer Pam helped set up each child’s disk with the colours of their choice. We even added arrows to help the children remember the motion they should be moving the string. It was simple to make and the children pick it up very quickly.

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It was awesome to see all the children so engaged in the activity. They had a great time make bracelets for their families and friends.

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Team Building and Fun at the Same Time!

The children at the After School Program have been working on Team building and problem solving skills. We are always looking at new ways to improve not just our sportsmanship but also keep our minds thinking. In this activity the children were playing a game called shipwreck! The children were put in teams of two and given one gym mat. They had to work together and think about how they can get their team and the mat to the other side of the gym without touching the ground.

It was awesome to see the many different strategies the children came up with together.

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You can also make it more challenging by providing obstacles to put in their way. As you can see I used the benches as an obstacle that they had to get around. Everyone had a great time!

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Easter Baking

 
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Last week the children at the After School Program were in the Easter spirit! We had fun creating delicious Easter Treats all together. The children Made rice crispy nests with jelly bean eggs inside. This activity is fun for all ages!

The children were in charge of reading the recipe and measuring out all the ingredients. They had a great time mixing everything all together. As you can see it was a bit sticky but we had so much fun!

You can try it at home!

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Rice Krispie Nests

INGREDIENTS

  • 60 mL or 1/4 cup margarine or butter

  • 250 g or 1 pkg (about 40) regular marshmallows or 5 cups miniature

  • 2 mL or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

  • 1.5 L or 6 cups Rice Krispies* Spring Edition cereal

  • Miniature marshmallows

  • Chocolate eggs

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large microwave safe bowl, heat margarine and marshmallows at HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla.

2. Stir in KELLOGG’S* RICE KRISPIES* Spring Edition cereal until well coated. Shape mixture into sixteen 7 cm nests.

3. Fill cooled nests with miniature marshmallows and chocolate eggs. Best if served same day.

STOVE TOP METHOD
Melt margarine in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Follow steps 2 and 3 above.

 

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Spring Sprouting

At last, spring is here!

The After School Program welcomed the new season by creating a beautiful indoor garden. We used sparkly and colourful stickers to decorate our plant holders, and then got our hands nice and dirty filling them up with soil.  We wanted the garden to include a variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers so we decided to plant seeds for carrots, basil, parsley, and impatiens. You can see each plant is labeled with a coloured stick. It’s only been two weeks but look how well our seeds are sprouting!

Finding magic at the After School Program

A couple weeks ago an extraordinary spell was cast on the After School Program. Ealing Public School was transformed into Hogwarts and all its students into witches and wizards.

Each student got their very own wand and broomstick before being sorted into one of the four Hogwarts houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw.

We feasted on Polyjuice Potion (i.e., chicken noodle soup) and got “bean boozled “ sampling some of those Bertie Botts Every Flavoured Beans.

We competed against our rival houses in Quidditch, mastered Potions with Professor Snape, and even caught a glimpse of Harry Potter himself!

It’s hard to believe that all this could happen here in London, but in the words of Roald Dahl, “those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”.

After School Program back in action at Ealing Public School!

We are thrilled to announce that our After School Program is back for its second year at Ealing Public School! This year we are lucky to have another great group of students in Grade 5-8 join us every week to enjoy sports, crafts, games, cooking, and MORE! Stay tuned for more posts from Kristen, our After School Program Coordinator, who will share more about the exciting activities, yummy (and healthy!) snacks, and creative crafts planned for this year.

Sneak Peek: Coming up in October we have a table hockey tournament, fort building, fall walks, picnics, paintings, and of course, some spooky Halloween fun!  

End of Year Wrap-up

As we are wrapping up the After School Program for the year, I would like to say thank you for following us on our journey.  This year has been fantastic! Our students have developed some amazing friendships.  Their cooperation and teamwork skills have grown exponentially.  It is our hope that many of these students will return to the program next year. 

It has truly been an honour getting to work with these kids and we are already excited to start back up in September 2016!

Now before I sign off, I would like to share with you the top 10 things that I have learned from the students in our After School Program!

1. The shape of food is IMPORTANT. One time, I cut up cucumbers into strips instead of slices. No one wanted them!

2. As a 29-year-old, I thought I was up-to-date on my top 40 music knowledge. I can tell you now, that I was not.  Several times the students would be singing a song, or talking about an artist that I had no idea who or what they were talking about.

3. The “Dab” dance move is very popular and “anyone” can do it. Anyone except for me that is!

4. The popular sport of the year was basketball or was it volleyball or badminton?  I discovered that the popular sport was never the same week to week.

5. Placebo effect is a real thing when it comes to sugar.  We would often bake healthy treats that are sugar-free.  After eating them, the students would be bursting with energy and they would tell me, “Andy, it is your fault. You gave us sugar!”  I would tell them that there wasn't any sugar, but the placebo effect had already kicked in.

6. There is no stopping a game of Soccer Baseball. Rain, mud, sun, heat, puddles - nothing can stop it!

7. When asked to take a group picture., you could almost always be guaranteed that someone would make a goofy face or do a goofy gesture.

8. When making smoothies with fruit and spinach, the only way to get the kids to put spinach in their smoothie is to dare them! They find it really hard to pass up a dare.  It's a good thing too, otherwise, the day would have ended with an untouched package of spinach.

9. Speaking of smoothies, I also discovered that smoothies cannot be served to these students without each and every one of them experimenting with their smoothie mustache styles.

10. And finally, although kids will often be skeptical of “Healthy” foods if they taste delicious they will devour them!

Thanks again for an amazing year!

Sincerely,
Andy

Pink Day

The kids at the after school program sported pink to show their support in ending bullying and it looks like they had fun while doing it! 

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Make A Wish!

Recently, our After School Program was contacted by Make-A-Wish Foundation to help them as they grant the wishes of children with life threatening medical conditions. We of course said, YES!

They asked us to help decorate the boxes used for Wish Enhancement Items. For example, a child being sent to Florida may receive a box filled with sunscreen, a beach towel, flip flops and other items to make their trip easier. 

It was so fun to see the students get creative decorating these special boxes. This important job also sparked some meaningful discussions and awareness of what these kids are going through. We hope the children that receive these Wish Boxes have as much fun opening them as we did decorating them. 

Thank you Make-A-Wish Foundation for letting us be a part in this fun and rewarding activity. 

If you want to learn more about the Make-A-Wish Foundation and their Wish Boxes, please visit their website

Happy Chinese New Year

At the After School Program we love to learn new things, try different types of food and celebrate holidays. Lucky for us, Chinese New Year on February 8th is a chance to do just that! The Chinese New Year marks the turn of the Lunisolar Calendar. Through the Chinese Zodiac, each year is represented by one of twelve different creatures. 2016 is the year of the Monkey!

We are lucky in London to have several Asian Markets to discover. Exploring one of the markets can be a fun family excursion. There’s so much to see, touch and smell and you can find produce and meat that just aren’t available at big chain grocery stores.

Maybe you’ll find a fresh fruit you've never tried (like a lychee or a pomelo) or you’ll find the ingredients for a traditional udon soup?  The options are endless!

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Experimenting with new foods can be fun. I keep telling our students that there’s always the risk that you won’t like something, but you may also find a new favourite food! We will be celebrating Chinese New Year at our program this month. Stay tuned for updates, recipes, pictures and more.

Gung Hay Fat Choy! (Happy New Year) 

Price Matching for the Win!

Have you made a New Year's resolution? Maybe you want to streamline grocery shopping and save your family money. Price matching could be the answer! It's a great way to buy healthy food at an affordable price. 

Get started by searching through the weekly flyers and making a list. Bring your list and flyers to a grocery store that price matches like Superstore, Wal Mart or Fresco and they will offer you the same deal. Each store has their own policies so make sure you ask an employee before filling your cart with 100 cans of chickpeas. 

If this sounds too complicated, there are apps and websites that can do most of the work for you. Apps like Flipp help you find deals, create grocery lists and completely eliminate the need for paper flyers. 

Here are some of this week's deals found through Flipp: 

  • Strawberries ($2.44/pack) 
  • Chicken breasts ($5/pack) 
  • Pork side ribs ($2 per pound)
  • Apples ($2.88/3 pound bag) 
  • Taco kits ($2.99) 
  • Grapes ($1 per pound) 
  • Tetley herbal tea ($2) 



On average, you can save $20 a week by price matching. This really adds up throughout the year and will make healthy choices for your family more affordable. Visit Flipp or Red Flag Deals to start saving today. Happy deal hunting! 

World Kindness Day

November 13, 2015 was World Kindness Day. This annual event is dedicated to paying it forward and focusing on the good. We celebrated by making cards to thank someone who has been kind to us. For the students, this included friends, teachers and family members. Many of the kids made multiple cards to thank the special people in their lives. 

Inside each card was an insert explaining what World Kindness Day is all about and to encourage recipients to do a kind act for someone else. 

"Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you." -Princess Diana

For more information on World Kindness Day and the World Kindness Movement, check out their website.  

Making Banana Pancakes!

Well that was fun! Last week we made pancakes and they were the most popular snack yet. This healthy take on a traditional treat only needs three ingredients: eggs, bananas and baking powder.

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder

Directions

With a whisk, mix the eggs and add baking powder. Just like magic, the eggs will get very fluffy. The students enjoyed this step! Place the egg mixture and bananas in a blender and blend. Oil or butter a frying pan on medium heat. Pour batter into the frying pan (small pancakes work best). Heat until bubbles form, flip and cook the other side for one minute. These delicious, healthy pancakes will fool any pancake enthusiast.

If you're feeling creative, try adding cinnamon, cocoa, raisins or blueberries to your batter. It's hard to go wrong with a pancake.  

Welcome Back!

What a great start to the After School Program at Ealing Public School! Twenty students in Grade 5-8 enjoyed a jam-packed month of games, crafts and cooking. Andy, our After School Program Coordinator, enjoyed every minute of getting to know this year’s students. He has already seen lots of great teamwork, participation, new friendships and listening skills! 

Dr. Dodge Ball, soccer baseball, blob tag, fall crafts and food pyramid activities were just some of the activities that kept us busy in October! 

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This is just the beginning of what is sure to be an amazing year at Ealing. Stay tuned for our November posts, including recognizing the importance of Remembrance Day, a visit from our friends at Therapy Dogs and World Vegan Month celebrations in the kitchen! 

Thank you for a wonderful year, Princess Elizabeth PS!

Well, the time has finally come... we finished up another great year at the Princess Elizabeth After School Program last week! I would like to thank all of the great volunteers and, most importantly, the great kids that made this program so successful.

Our final week was shortened by a PA day, but we had a blast on the Wednesday and Thursday! On Wednesday, local artist Steven DeBruyn did a spray painting workshop with the kids and a representative from O.N.E. Hip Hop Dance Studio gave the kids a dance lesson. Needless to say, we were all exhausted at the end of the day from all of the fun we had!

Princess Elizabeth After School Program 2015 - Steven DeBruyn
Princess Elizabeth After School Program 2015 - Spray Painting 1
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Princess Elizabeth After School Program 2015 - Spray Painting 3

On Thursday, we took a more leisurely pace with a delicious pizza party and the kids tie-dyed their shirts. Thankfully, we only had one clothing “casualty” with the dye, and most of the kids' hands remained stain-free thanks to our vinyl gloves. A little risky, but the final product was worth it! Some of the girls have already coordinated wearing their new shirts for their end-of-year trip, psychedelic!

Upon reflection of the year, it is very clear to me that we have truly grown as a “team” with every member working together and showing respect to each other and the instructors. Also, every student in the group has tried some new foods and learned a few tricks and strategies for selecting and making healthy food at home, which I sincerely hope all of the students continue to develop over the summer.

Princess Elizabeth After School Program 2015 - Playground

Thanks for a wonderful year Princess Elizabeth and have a safe and fun summer!

We've Been Too Busy Having Fun

This year has zoomed by! So much so that we have been too busy to keep our blog post updated. Don’t let our absence fool you though, we have plenty of incredible things in the After School Program to update you on!

One example would be our visit to the Boys and Girls Club of London. The Boys and Girls Club generously donated transportation for all of us to go and enjoy a whole class dedicated to a FREE SWIM! I tried to fool the students into thinking we were going on a trip to “Math World,” but a quick Google search by one of our students discovered that “Math World” did not exist in London! Haha! Once we arrived, we had exclusive use of the pool for half an hour (they really know how to treat us right over there!) and the students had the option to continue to swim afterward (which many of them took).

We are looking forward to returning to the Boys and Girls Club later this week. Although the swimming was a lot of fun, there are many other great areas to explore, like a computer lab, ball pit, craft room and more! We will definitely be taking advantage of some of the other wonderful things the Boys and Girls Club has to offer!

This month we also had a fun trip to Bowlerama on Thompson. I was able to get a whopping 100 point in our 5 pin game and was easily surpassed by many of the students. Our highest score was 145, wow! While we were there, we enjoyed a light healthy snack, and some relaxing and chatting with friends between frames. Everyone enjoyed their time there, and I think that Bowlerama on Thompson may see some familiar faces throughout the summer as a result!

You can expect another post before the end of the school year, after which we will be on hiatus until the next school year. See you next month! 

Parent Tip: Over the summer, students often visit relatives, have sleepovers, go camping and a variety of other fun activities that, in some circumstances, you may not be present for... or even invited to! Haha! Be sure that your child has been provided with the necessary information in the event of an emergency, like ensuring that your child knows his or her own address, an emergency contact phone number, their own allergies and current medications, and how to contact 9-1-1. You never know when an accident could happen and it is best to prepare beforehand! Have a safe and fun summer!