After School Program Blog

Welcome to Second Semester!

The first few weeks back from the holidays were busy at the ASP! Chris and the students jumped right back to routine with a number of cooking activities and guest speakers who taught the students new skills like karate and yoga. The students especially had fun with yoga and were coming up with their own creative names for the poses.

Students practise their newly learned yoga poses—creativity named the superman, flying bird and swaying trees.

After School Program Stir Fry

This past week the students made a vegetable stir-fry, and many tried bean sprouts and snow peas for the first time—yum!

A highlight from the month was our afternoon spent camping. The students built tents in the gym, enjoyed a sing-along around a (tissue paper) fire, and were surprised with a special snack—s’mores!

February is shaping up to be a great month as well. Stay tuned for mote updates on guest speakers, yummy kitchen creations and Valentine’s Day fun! 

We've been cooking up a storm!

The Princess Elizabeth ASP has been cooking up a storm!

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This month we introduced a weekly cooking activity into our schedule. Chris and Nicole very quickly witnessed a group of budding chefs, as cooking became many of the students favourite part of the program.

We started off with a simple pasta and vegetable sauce recipe. This gave the students an opportunity to practice their knife skills and learn about working together as a team in the kitchen. By the end of the month, we were trying new foods, learning about where food comes from and the importance of making healthy food decisions. Our tastiest (and most adventurous!) recipe was black bean tofu wraps. The students loved them, and this gave us an opportunity to learn about different protein sources.

The students have been keeping a collection of their favourite recipes, and many of them plan to apply their new kitchen skills at home.

Andrew Fleet from Growing Chefs also stopped by for a visit. Andrew generously donated his time and led the group for two organic cooking demonstrations.

Due to the Holiday break, December will be a shortened program month for the After School Program. This hasn’t stopped us from planning a jam-packed month of fun activities for the students, though! December will begin with a special visit from a returning favourite - slam poet Holly Painter - and we will end with a holiday party and few very special surprises for the students. Stay tuned!

Recipes: Smoothies, Spanish Rice, and Black Bean Tofu Wraps

In November, we had an opportunity to be even more hands-on in the kitchen nearly every session. Although many of the items the kids prepared were a hit, homemade smoothies were the most popular! 

Smoothies

Ingredients:

  • Frozen strawberries
  • Frozen blueberries
  • Skim milk (or 1%)
  • Non-fat vanilla yogurt

Directions:

  1. The night before you want smoothies, peel your bananas and chop them up along with the strawberries. Put them in a freezer bag in the freezer until morning.
  2. The next day, take out your fruit and put it into a blender, add milk (we made our smoothies by adding the milk just about half way up the fruit in the blender) and add a generous dollop of yogurt.
  3. Taste test! Too thick? Add more milk! Too thin? Add more fruit.
  4. Put into a glass, add a straw and enjoy!

You can add just about anything to a smoothie; fruits, greens, vegetables. I like to add kale from my garden, on its own it can be a bit scary, but in the smoothie it’s delicious and you can hardly taste it!

Spanish Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 chopped roma (plum) tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp veggie stock

Directions:

  1. Place a pot over medium-high heat; add oil and heat until oil shimmers slightly. Pour rice into the hot oil, stirring constantly, until rice is golden to dark brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Mix water, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and bouillon into rice. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and cover pot tightly with a lid. Leave pot covered on hot burner until rice has absorbed all the liquid, about 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Black Bean Tofu Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • Wraps
  • 1 brick hard tofu
  • 1 can black beans
  • Salsa
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • Cajun spice

Directions:

  1. Crumble tofu and place in hot skillet with oil and onions for 10 minutes. Drain black beans and add into mixture, add Cajun spice. 
  2. Take mixture off of heat and add cilantro to the skillet contents and place and equal amount of mixture to the centre of each wrap. Add salsa to each wrap.
  3. Wrap burrito and place on pre-heated, oiled pan or grill. 
  4. Flip after 5 minutes or until golden brown. 
  5. Wait for 5 minutes for it to slightly cool off, enjoy!

Welcome Back to the PE After School Program!

October marked the start of the ASP at Princess Elizabeth, and what a month it was! Eighteen students in Grade 5-8 participated in a jam-packed month of games, crafts and cooking. Chris and Nicole from Investing in Children enjoyed every minute of getting to know this year’s students, and are looking forward to the year ahead!

The month was topped off with a Halloween party where we carved pumpkins, roasted pumpkin seeds, told spooky stories and dressed up in wacky costumes. It was a frightfully good time!

October is just the beginning of what is sure to be an amazing year at Princess Elizabeth. Stay tuned for our November posts, featuring visits from our friends at Growing Chefs, St. Johns Ambulance Therapy Dogs and London EMS.

What a Talented Bunch

On Wednesday, May 28th the After School Program kids shared some of their talents with parents, friends, teachers and Investing staff. 

They sang, danced, recited poetry, told jokes and performed magic tricks. The students put a lot of time into rehearsing for the talent show and it really paid off. They all did a great job and were very proud of their performances. 

Watch the video below to catch some of the highlights! 

An Anti-Bullying Anthem for 2014

The After School Program students have their own talent show coming up at the end of the month and we wanted to share this video for inspiration! Bars & Melody are a young singing duo who express their real life struggles in an honest and moving performance. Check it out!

Showing the Love

Holly Painter, the incredibly talented slam poetry champ, stopped by to share her spoken word poetry. She helped the kids write and present their own poems, while making sure they "showed the love" for everyone's creativity. 

Investing's own Denise Ritchie visited the program to teach us how to make sushi. The kids carefully chopped, rolled and ATE vegetarian and teriyaki chicken sushi. They were even able to take some leftovers home for their families! 

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, the students made Mexican jumping beans out of paper and clothes pins and took their creations to the gym for a race! Then they made giant, festive tissue paper flowers that happened to also look great as headpieces.  

The kids were thrilled to learn some basic karate skills from Larry Bowlby at London Shito Khan Karate and look forward to his second visit this month. 

Spring is Here!

The students celebrated Earth Day a little early last week by cleaning up the school yard. They did a great job making the school property neat and tidy just in time for spring.

Miranda Robson, a previous staff member of the After School Program, organized a career night to showcase some exciting jobs. Visitors included Will Perrie, Electrician, Lorelei Rollings, RCMP Officer, Bob Geilen, London Firefighter, Beverly Robson, Office Manager and Miranda Robson, Flight Attendant. The speakers were really interesting and it was neat to hear about some of the many opportunities out there. A definite highlight of the day was when the team from Firehouse #5 made a surprise visit to give the kids a tour of the truck and to talk about the role of a firefighter. 

April has flown by but the students still have lots of fun activities planned to bring us into May. 

 Fire Engine No. 5

Fire Engine No. 5


April Happenings

The month of April has gotten off to a great start! The students entered Eggs Factor, an online Easter egg colouring contest by the Egg Farmers of Ontario. They created some egg-citing designs and have a chance to win an iPad mini. Good luck everyone! 

Principal Mr. Duff and Vice Principal Ms. Fleet were pleasantly surprised last week when the students made them posters to acknowledge all the great work they do. 

On the 7th we received basic first aid training from Neil at St. John Ambulance. He generously volunteered his time to help make the students more prepared in an emergency situation. 

We were also lucky to have Ryan Hunt from the DH Maker Bus visit the program. His "Makey-Makey" device made music by pressing bananas (!!) instead of piano keys. They had a lot of fun and are excited for Ryan's next visit at the end of April. 

There's a lot to look forward to this month, especially with the overdue arrival of spring weather! 

 Making music with Ryan from the DH Maker Bus. 

Making music with Ryan from the DH Maker Bus. 

Make-A-Wish!

Our After School kids helped brighten the lives of very special children this week through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They were so lucky to be a part of delivering a wish to children with life threatening illnesses.

They got creative and decorated cards that will be given to children before or after they are granted their wish. The cards say, "Enjoy your wish!" or "Hope you had a great wish" and were made with lots of care. Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for the opportunity to help! 

February Fun!

The first two weeks of February have been fun and busy for the After School students. 

Cara McMahon visited the program to teach us all about the indoor, ball sport Tchoukball. Although it was a totally new experience, the students had a great time and picked up the skills really quickly. We will all be real pros by the end of the next session on February 24. 

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The students also made Mrs. Mosely and Ms. Marchand very happy when they surprised them by decorating their classroom door for Valentine's Day. The kids were proud of their work and were so pleased to see the teachers' grateful reactions. 

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Andrew Fleet from Growing Chefs dropped by again to help the students make a delicious Thai curry dish. Although a few of the students were unsure, they all loved it and even helped themselves to seconds and thirds! 

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Eye Candy Popper

Gabrielle from Eye Candy Popper visited the After School Program two Mondays in a row for some organic baking lessons. Gabrielle talked about the benefits of eating organic, being more open to trying new foods and how to switch out ingredients in recipes to make them healthier. 

We made banana-chocolate chip muffins with whole spelt, whole wheat and buckwheat flours. Whole sugar replaced white sugar and we even cut back on the amount. Rice/almond milk was used instead of dairy and olive oil in place of canola or vegetable oil. Sugar-filled milk chocolate chips were replaced with dark chocolate chips and a few of the students made their muffins vegan by substituting eggs with chia seeds. Although many of the kids had never heard of some of these new ingredients, the final results were a hit! 

Visit Gabrielle's blog for more healthy, organic recipes. 

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Welcome Back!

Our After School Program had their first day back to the program on Monday, January 13th, 2014. The students happily welcomed their new Program Coordinator, Debbie and reconnected with their program leaders in the gym with some fun ice breakers thanks to our Take A Seat Make A Friend partnership.

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On Wednesday, January 15th, Debbie lead the students through some discussions and activities surrounding the topic of Put Ups vs. Put Downs  via Playful Learning. The students were very open to talking about their own experiences with bullying and even admitting at times we all have been a bully ourselves. They came up with great solutions for dealing with these situations and the importance of putting people up instead of down. Then, each student took a piece of paper and wrote their names in the center. Next, they passed them around and everyone wrote "put ups" about that person on the paper. Finally,  each student had to write one positive comment about themselves on their own paper (this was the hard part as we all have trouble saying something nice about ourselves). This was a great activity to start off the program and to focus on showing kindness towards each other. You can check out their "put ups" on their bulletin board display at Princess Elizabeth Public School.

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Happy Holidays

School’s almost out for the holidays! It’s such a great time of year to be with your family and friends. If you want to get out of the house and do something fun and different together, it doesn't have to cost a lot of money. London offers lots of free or low cost activities you can do with the whole family. Here are some ideas: 

Skating  
Skating is an active, wintery activity that just feels so festive. Tim Horton’s offers complimentary skating times during the holidays at these local arenas:  

Carling Arena
Dec. 28 8:00-10:00 p.m.
Dec. 29 2:00-4:00 p.m.
January 5 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Farquharson Arena
Dec. 29 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Jan. 5 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. 

 

Visit Tim Horton's website for a complete list of free skates in London this month. 
http://www.timhortons.com/ca/en/difference/free-skating.html

If you want to hit the rink but stay outside, why not visit one of London’s outdoor skating rinks. There’s nothing quite as merry as skating outside on a December night.  

Covent Garden Market
Skating at the market downtown is totally free and open to the public every day. After you've finished skating, warm up with a drink or a snack from one of the many delicious vendors inside. www.coventmarket.com/news/skating-rink/

Storybook Gardens
Although it costs a bit of money, a trip to Storybook Garden’s skating rink includes other festive activities. You can also rent skates for $6.00 if you don’t own a pair.

Adult: $4.25
Children (2-17) $3.25
Family (children with up to two adults) $13

Visit their website for regular and holiday hours: www.storybook.london.ca



If the timing works for you, Tim Horton’s is hosting free, community skate times at Storybook on:

Dec. 23 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Dec. 24 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. 

Victoria Park
Skating in our beautiful park with all the Christmas lights is definitely a highlight of the season. The rink is open 10:00 a.m.- 10:00 p.m. every day (but is closed for ice resurfacing from 5:30-6:30 p.m.).

http://www.london.ca/residents/Recreation/Arenas-Skating/Pages/Skating-Guide,-Fees-and-General-Information.aspx

London Public Library
The library is always a great place for free events, especially during the holidays. There are movie marathons, craft workshops, holiday concerts and more. It’s even a fun place to explore on a cold day when no one wants to be outside. Visit their website for all the details http://www.londonpubliclibrary.ca/. 

Boys and Girls Club
The Boys and Girls Club has lots of fun activities planned for over the holidays. Enjoy sports in the gym, board games and other activities, holiday crafts, art projects and more. Checkout their webpage for holiday hours and a complete list of drop in programs http://www.bgclondon.ca/.

Other Ideas
You don’t have to leave your neighbourhood to keep busy. Make a hot chocolate at home and go for a “Bundle up Walk” to see all your neighbour’s beautiful Christmas lights. Organize a snow fort or snowman making contest with your family and friends and then go tobogganing! Or, in the spirit of the holidays, shovel a neighbour’s driveway as a random act of kindness.

Wishing you and your families a very happy holiday season! We can’t wait for 2014 and for the program to be up and running once again. We have lots of awesome activities, recipes and visitors all ready to go. See you on Monday, January 13.   

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Holiday Cooking

The holiday season truly is the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s not always easy to make healthy choices. You don’t have to miss out on the good stuff, just try these festive food ideas to keep you balanced. 

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Golden Raisin Apple Stuffing Cups 

For a healthier, meatless version of traditional stuffing, give this delicious recipe a shot. This is also an impressive dish to share with your family, friends or at your classroom holiday party. 

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
6 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups golden raisins
1 Tbsp chopped sage
6 cups homemade or store bought cube stuffing
2 9″ pie crusts, homemade or store-bought
Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Add oil to large saucepan and sauté the red onion and celery for about 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped apples, broth and sage and let this cook another 4-5 minutes. 
  2. In a large bowl, toss the golden raisins and bread cubes. Add the cooked apples, celery, onions and broth until the bread cubes have soaked up the liquid.
  3. Cut the pie crust into large circles that will a regular size muffin tin. Place them into greased muffin tin and scoop the stuffing into the crust.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the stuffing begins to crisp and golden.
  5. Enjoy!


Source: http://www.5dollardinners.com/golden-raisin-apple-stuffing-cups/
 

Festive Fruit

Fruit platters are a healthy holiday option. Try these fun ideas to bring some cheer to your arrangements.  

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Gluten-Free Healthy Holiday Pancakes

Impress your family with this easy and healthy breakfast on Christmas morning. They are low carb, offer a healthy dose of Vitamin E, protein, fiber and good fats and the pomegranate topping make them extra festive.

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Ingredients

1 cup almond flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon


Directions

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Use a non-stick pan with a little butter and spoon out the pancakes.
  3. This version won’t bubble on the top like regular pancakes, so flip them when the underside is nice and golden.


Source: http://www.yummymummykitchen.com/2011/12/merry-christmas-happy-holidays-gluten.html?m=1http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ONuTawDMqPE/TvNcbwPRPiI/AAAAAAAAaLY/T8IZXagHeVY/s1600/IMG_7442.JPG

Derby Day at the After School Program

Yesterday (Wednesday), was Derby Day at the After School Program!

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If you don't know what a demolition derby is, it basically means a sport with cars ramming into each other, To win the demolition derby your car has to be the last one operating.

Miranda, (our after school program leader) actually participates in demolition derby  as a hobby, Since Miranda participates in derby competitions, she showed us a slide show of what her derby car looked like! We even learnt a few rules on how to be a successful derby competitor. 

Next we coloured some cars and the winner of the drawing competition will win a prize! But however due to the lack of 'participators' there was no competition.

 The kids colouring their cars!

The kids colouring their cars!

Next we made balloon cars! It was a very fun experiment to try! Here are some pictures of the students making the cars. 

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During the 'races' we even had food you would get at a derby demolition! We had sausages on a bun! 

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The winners of the Derby Race were Essence and Chelsee!! Essence came in 1st place and Chelsee came in 2nd place! Their prizes were a chocolate bar! Essence got a first pick since she came in first!

Yesterday was a fun derby day!

Volunteer Positions Available

Investing in Children is currently recruiting volunteers to support our After School program at Princess Elizabeth Public School. The chosen volunteers must demonstrate strong leadership skills, as they will be working with students in grades 6, 7 and 8. The program runs after school, from 3:30-6:00 on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons. The program’s goal is to promote exercise, healthy eating and positive health and wellness in an interactive after school program.

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Principle Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assist the Program Coordinator with the supervision of 20 students in grades 6, 7 and 8 from Princess Elizabeth Public School.
  • Assist the Program Coordinator in implementing a variety of small and large group activities and preparing a healthy snack.

Volunteer Expectations

  • Ensure confidentiality.
  • Lead and co-lead in all after school activities (creating, organizing and instructing recreation programs including arts and crafts, physical activities, meal preparation and special interest activities).
  • Ensure program needs and requirements are being met; demonstrate initiative, positive role modeling and interaction within the group.
  • Participate in cleaning and maintaining the facilities and equipment.
  • Operate in accordance with policies, procedures, guidelines and protocols of Investing in Children.
  • Interact professionally and appropriately with parents, teachers and school staff.
  • Represent the values and principles of Investing in Children.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills required.
  • Must be energetic and creative. 
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Commitment

  • We are currently looking for volunteers for Monday and Wednesday afternoons from now until December 2013 as well as Monday and Thursday afternoons January – June 2014. Volunteer positions are to begin immediately.

To learn more visit: http://investinginchildren.on.ca/after-school-program/ 

If you are interested in this volunteer position, please send your resume to Denise Ritchie our Community Projects Manager at dritchie@investinginchildren.on.ca


Knitting with Looms

On Wednesday, Donna and Amanda from Keeping Kids Warm came with looms for us! We hit the ground running, practicing how to make toques... maybe even mitts! Get a glimpse of our knitting circle below (video credit to the talented Alex):

Bundle-Up Walk & Geocache

On Monday, we went on a 5 - that's right FIVE - kilometre walk in the neighbourhoods around Princess Elizabeth, and so much happened. Miranda bought everyone hot chocolates (!), including an extra one for a man standing by a bus stop! We saw a cat get hit by a car, then get up (!), and carried away by a woman. 

Throughout the entire walk, we were all wearing pedometres, and, boy, we have mad ENERGY! While Rachel only took 8,000 steps, others took over 13,000, and our newest member, Elias, took 15, 949 steps in total. 

As we walked we followed a map (see below for our route), and at Watson Street at Wellington, we got a close-up map, showing us the secret location of our geo-cache - Elias found it! 

Tired, we returned to PE for hot apple cider. Great walking!! 

 Walking down High Street. 

Walking down High Street. 

 Miranda and Nivaeh keeping toasty with their chocolat chauds!

Miranda and Nivaeh keeping toasty with their chocolat chauds!

 The map... 

The map... 

Sometimes knives can be a dangerous thing

On Wednesday our Knitter Extraordinaire was sick! So instead we carved pumpkins, cleaning out the goop and roasting the seeds (in way too much butter). Thanks to London Christian Elementary School's grade 8 class for sharing your pumpkins  :)

 Step 1: de-gooping

Step 1: de-gooping

 Step 2: use huge, sharp knives to gouge detailed patterns

Step 2: use huge, sharp knives to gouge detailed patterns

 Step 3: admire handiwork. Great design, Bailey!

Step 3: admire handiwork. Great design, Bailey!