As much as we’ve been enjoying summer, heading back to school has been a major topic of discussion in our house for weeks now, and for very good reason. Not only are the kids back in class—older daughter Millie is returning to in-person school for Grade 4 after three fantastic years at Ottawa-Carleton Virtual Elementary School (OCV), and her little sister Ellie is “a big kid” starting senior kindergarten—but the adults are, too. For the next while, Kyle continues to teach a course in his workplace, while I’ve happily added another hat—part-time professor of journalism at Algonquin College—to my collection.
A new school year is full of possibility; old friends in new classes, new teachers, new routines. While we’re all in the same boat, our experiences will be different, which is why Parenting Times has gathered a variety of stories and views in hopes that our readers can catch a glimpse of themselves in our back-to-school issue.
Education looks different for each one of us. For some teens, that means finding reasons to go outside in addition to spending more time at their desks. The Canadian Wildlife Federation’s unique WILD Outside program encourages youth to explore nature and learn the value of giving back to their communities and the environment. Also in Focus on Education is Sheryl Bennett-Wilson’s story about individualized learning plans— what are they, and would your child benefit? If so, how? Experts tell our readers everything they need to know.
Learning doesn’t have to take place in a formal setting. Little people learn through play, with the aid of toys like the ones produced by Nepean artisans Tim Harold and Nia Moschopoulos of Twig Studios, while their parents might learn a craft skill or flex their creativity using a smart cutting machine like the Cricut.
The arrival of autumn doesn’t always mean all work and no play. We’ve got a trip down memory lane—who remembers the “The Raccoons” from the ‘80s and ‘90s? — and maybe even a real trip: a guide to squeezing in one last family vacation before the cold weather hits. Finally, for your enjoyment, we’ve got the latest from the minds of Chris Hunt (Memoirs of a New Dad) Kita Szpak (The Happiness Formula) and Jon Willing (Dad’s Dispatch).
Whether you’re seeing the kids off by bus—or like me, spending time in a school yourself—this fall, we wish you a happy and productive season. The world, as they say, is your oyster.