It’s been a gorgeous summer, filled with aquamarine skies and tropical waters, sandy beaches, barbecues with friends and families and lots of gardening. Although we’ve travelled to places near and far, there’s nothing quite like coming home and the comforts of your own space and bed. That’s probably more indicative of our age, but it’s a conversation that can be revisited at another time, cool drink in hand.
My dad used to always say that time goes by faster after your children are born, and in our families, that is certainly true. We don’t think just about the days and weeks anymore; instead, we find ourselves measuring time by years, holiday celebrations and the summer holidays.
This summer was particularly poignant as my daughter graduated from high school and so begins her next journey in education: University. It’s such an exciting time for her, and we’re so delighted as our own memories of University life are very special. Back at home, Christy and I each have a child going into Grade 12 this year so I’m back on the graduation wheel of special events but this will be it for me (apparently with a son it’s supposed to be simpler?). Christy’s youngest has a few more years in school so she will have a bit of a breather between her girls. It occurred to me that Christy and I are closing the circle as parents of school-aged children, and this will be reflected in our blog as we think about Kindergarten within the context, and as the foundation, of public education this year.
And now onto business.
Although many people don’t realise this, it actually takes a great deal of time to wind down the classroom, and ourselves, after a busy year of teaching. There is a lot to clean and tidy in a Kindergarten classroom and we are usually in school for another week or two, depending upon what projects we might be up to. When we’re finished, we definitely try to relax and “let it go.” But school is never really far from our minds, because in just a matter of days after starting our holiday we found ourselves out and about and shopping for some great resources for our classrooms this fall.
Whenever I go to Victoria, British Columbia, I love to visit my favourite teacher’s store, Schoolhouse Teaching Supplies. I’ve been shopping there for a number of years now and they always have such fantastic collections of books, teaching resources and supplies, stickers and classroom decorations. The lovely shopkeepers are happy to order things in for you, if you’re looking for something specific. We need to replenish our alphabet stickers, calendar pieces, birthday certificates and cloakroom tags every year, and sometimes a pretty new bulletin board border is just the perfect finishing complement to an art display.
On this particular visit to Victoria, we wanted to do a mini bookstore tour so we took a day to go to the downtown Chapters, Russell’s New and Used Books and Munro’s Books. We hadn’t been to Munro’s for a long time but our son’s English teacher had recommended he go there the next time we were in town. Munro’s is in a beautiful, high ceiling space on Government Street and very wonderful it is with not only a well-curated collection of books and fun “bits and bobs” for the literati (think cute book lovers’ tote bags, book labels, cards and papers) but they also have an outstanding children’s literature section. Naturally, we couldn’t leave empty handed so we came away with these beautiful new alphabet books:
And I had to buy this adorable tote:
Back at home, when we thought we couldn’t possibly buy anything else for school, we were having lunch in town with a colleague and walked past Vancouver Kidsbooks at their new Broadway location on the way back to the car. Although our usual neighbourhood haunt is our adored Kidsbooks in the Village store in North Vancouver, this larger store is pretty amazing. There are just so many beautiful books for children from infant to young adults, and toys, puppets and puzzles. We’ve been replacing and upgrading the learning resources for our classrooms so we decided to purchase some new puzzles for our classes:
We won’t tire you with the rest of the shopping we did, but let’s just say we’re going to need some help getting this stuff to our classrooms. The shopping bags are starting to pile up downstairs for our return to school this week, and there will be certainly be some unpacking to do. But in the meantime, we’re going to stay in this restful and relaxing state of mind, hopefully the same as you.