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Archive for December, 2016

2017 Educational New Year’s Resolutions

As kids get back to school in January, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the first half of the school year and to make some educational resolutions.

In the new year, we usually start off with the best of intentions, but don’t always follow through with the resolutions we make. That’s why our team of tutors recommends continuing to engage your child and track their progress.

Here are some subject and skill specific ideas to help start 2017 off on the right foot.


  • Practice makes perfect – Math homework can be an opportunity for students to reinforce the concepts they learned.   Schedule a regular time and location to develop a routine
  • Play Math Games to make learning fun.  Here are some of our favourites
  • Use these helpful Math apps for enrichment or support learning in more challenging areas
  • Introduce Math into real life settings. For example: on the next drive learn about distance and time.  Or during cooking time – learn about measurement.


  • Read with your child frequently and engage them by asking them to explain the story
  • Use flash cards to learn important words.  Once your child gets comfortable, combine the flash cards to create common sentences
  • Label items around the house and practice reading them with your child
  • Reading apps can help engage your child and leverage technology.  Some of our favourites include: Dr. Seuss’s ABCReading RavenQuestion BuilderWord MagicGraceabc PocketPhonics


  • Cook in French – think about all the great food you can cook and eat (ie. Crepes, Croissant)
  • TFO – Games:  Wonderful games to help improve French vocab, math, reading and science
  • French TV: expand vocabulary by watching age appropriate shows
  • Leverage technology with these helpful French Apps
  • Sign up for a French enrichment March Break or Summer Camp
  • Watch online videos to sing songs and learn new vocabulary


  • Use sports make science fun and connect it with real life.  Ie. hockey can be used to learn the Physics of friction and momentum or athletes’ nutrition can be used to learn Biology and the science of proteins, sugars and fats
  • Explore the world of science with these helpful apps for children of all ages
  • NBC Learn has wonderful videos to explain the science of everything

Organization, Time Management and Study Skills:

  • Use an agenda / planner
  • Make a consistent schedule
  • Provide a place to study with limited distractions and good lighting
  • Develop a system to track important papers / materials
  • Communicate with your child’s teacher on an ongoing basis

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Canada’s Big Birthday

It’s time to start Canada’s year long 150th birthday celebration! There are already celebrations happening around the country and it’s the perfect opportunity for kids to explore our country’s unique history, culture and identity. We have five suggestions to join in the Canada 150 fun and learning:

Plan To Visit Historical Sites

Expose children to new learning about Canadian history by providing them with cultural and historical experiences with trips to places like Fort Henry or Black Creek Pioneer Village. Many may even be a simple day trip-check out this list of National Historic Sites to help guide your explorations.

Toys With Spirit

Take a field trip to your favourite toy store for some inspiration. For all the children who love dolls, Maplelea Girls are perfect for Canada Day. This niche line of dolls captures the spirit of Canada’s unique geography, heritage and culture. Start the collection with red-haired Jenna from Canada’s East Coast and work your way to Charlsea from Canada’s West Coast.

Celebrate Canadian Authors

Check out books written by celebrated Canadian authors. Growing up, our director, Joanne Sallay, loved Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables. There are also many educational children’s books that are all about Canada. For inspiration, check out Canada concept books by artist Per-Henrik Gürth. Young readers will delight in ABC of Canada, Canada 123 and Oh, Canada, just to name a few.

Connect With Nature

Canada is home to world-famous provincial and national parks like Algonquin Park and Jasper National Park. In 2017, there will be free admission to Parks Canada places! Perhaps this will be the year you plan a family trip to visit some of our country’s sites rather than travel abroad.

Use Technology

Heritage Minutes are a wonderful way to teach your child about important moments in Canada’s history. There is a subject that will appeal to all interests from our role in sports to medicine to airplanes. Find the entire selection here. Another fun way to use technology to learn about Canada and apply problem-solving skills is by playing the Journey into the Arctic choose-your-own-adventure style game to learn about a thrilling part of our country.

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5 Holiday Gift Ideas For Teachers

Are you searching for the perfect gift for your child’s teacher? Showing your gratitude doesn’t need to break the bank. Teachers appreciate effort and love knowing their student was involved in the process. We polled our team of amazing teachers for ideas on their favourite holiday gifts. Here are five ideas to consider this holiday season.

DIY gifts from the heart: Teachers truly appreciate artwork and mementos from their students. Encourage your child to prepare a handmade present or card with a thoughtful note. If your little one has culinary flair, try baking holiday treats or giving a handwritten family recipe and put all the ingredients in a jar. Be forewarned, these personalized gifts are known to evoke tears.

Locally made crafts and treats: At this time of year there are many pop-up shops, neighbourhood craft shows and markets happening around the city. The Toronto Christmas Market in the historic Distillery District is still in full swing until December 22nd. You will want to get bundled up for this outdoor market. One booth not to miss is La Vela Bella featuring handmade candles created in antique teacups, tins and mason jars that can be personalized with messages. With Canada’s 150th birthday around the corner getting to know local artisans and entrepreneurs are present great teachable moments for children and parents alike.

Adult colouring books: For the teacher who loves to colour, why not include an adult colouring book. Many enthusiasts claim colouring helps them relax and unwind. After all, children are not the only ones who need fun activities over the winter break!

Personalized items: Teachers are always working to help keep their students organized, so why not return the sentiment?! At Staples you can personalize many printed items including a customized agenda, teacher planner, or journal. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with gift cards-teachers love supplies!

Children’s books: Books might just the perfect gift for a teacher. They can either add them to their classroom library (most teachers are always striving to build this) or take them home to enjoy with their own family. A few of our top picks for the season are:

Solutions for Cold Feet and other little problems: Simple questions are asked and explored with unique answers in this title. The author and illustrator, Carey Sookocheff, is a Canadian expert on this topic, having lived in many chilly cities across the country.

All I Want for Christmas Is You: This time of year has long been connected with festive music – classic and contemporary tunes that we love to hum along with. Mariah Carey fans will not want to miss the picture book where the lyrics to her bestselling song have been captured.

Yitzi and the Giant Menorah: Learn about Hanukkah with this artistic book from Canada’s very own Richard Ungar.  The tale follows villagers who are on a mission to thank the Mayor for his generous gift of a giant menorah.

GREAT Hockey fans will not want to miss this story which follows a young boy named Taylor who is excited to play on the same team as “The Great One” and Wayne’s dad, Coach Wally. As an added bonus, the pictures are from award-winning illustrator Kevin Sylvester.

We’re thrilled to be giving away a holiday gift pack thanks to our friends at Staples and Penguin Random House Canada. Entering is easy below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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7 Tips to Keep Kids Learning Over the Winter Break

Winter Break Activities

The winter break is less than two weeks away.  While students get a well deserved break from the classroom, it doesn’t mean that learning activities and opportunities have to stop.

Here are some ideas to keep kids minds challenged over the break:

1) Holiday Gifts: Give a book or educational gift for your child to read or play with over the break.

2) Visit a Museum:  The ROM and Science Centre have wonderful camps and activities for children over the holiday season.

3) Write a Story Together:  This is a wonderful opportunity to write your own holiday story or put a spin on an original holiday classic.

4) Appreciate the Arts: There are a number of wonderful concerts and events that take place in Toronto over the holiday season including  The Nutcracker.

5) Get Cooking – Engage your child in any cooking and baking.  These provide numerous math learning opportunities including counting, measuring and the science behind heat.

6) Trips in the Car: Make the most of any drive or road trip to learn signs, colours, distances, letters and numbers.

7) Family Game Night:  Board or card games can help reinforce skills such as drawing, counting and reading.

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Educational Holiday Activities in Toronto

The Holiday break is a wonderful time for to relax with family and friends. For parents and families who are interested in fun educational activities over the holiday break, we have put together this helpful list:

1) ROM for the Holidays: The ROM has a ton of family friendly activities over the holidays including Sonshine and Broccoli music, The Early Learners Lounge and fire and ice demonstrations.  Most drop-in activities are offered from Monday, December 26 to Sunday, January 8, from 10:30 am until 30 minutes before the Museum closes.

2) Ontario Science Centre – Holiday Camp: The week of January 3-6, the Ontario Science Centre will be hosting daily holiday camps from ages 5-12.  Each day is a different theme, including Super Hero Science and Magic Tricks.  The camps run daily from 9AM to 4PM with games,educational videos and fun activities.

3) Evergreen Brickworks – Children Garden Building:  The Evergreen Brickworks has a ton of wonderful activities for the family including, shopping for locally made gifts and snacking in their new street food market with internationally inspired flavours.  Don’t miss the Children’s Garden Building in the Winter Village. Participants can help build miniature villages as a way to get kids and families to come together and learn to make houses, farms, rivers and communities out of clay.

4) Make Holiday Crafts: Here are 15 cute and fun holiday projects from Toronto4Kids.  These fab kiddie DIYs will keep little hands busy over the holiday break!

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