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Published by support, 2021-08-24 11:54:47

2021 Back to School Guide

2021 Back to School Guide


2 AUGUST 2021 y BACK TO SCHOOL Back-to-School


A local guide to shopping, safety,
education resources and more for the

new school year


403-725-3911 403-654-2288 Vauxhall Auto Care 403-654-2122

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Horizon preparing for
return to regular fall

By Cole Parkinson numbers, as that may necessitate reimplement-

ASouthern Alberta Newspapers ing health measures.”
fter COVID-19 wreaked havoc on
school divisions across the world The Alberta government announced earlier in
for several months, Horizon
School Division is heading into the summer restrictions would be completely
the new school year with opti-
mism staff and students will experience a more lifted after vaccination rates rose.
traditional schedule.
As students get their material ready to head Despite the lifting of restrictions, schools will
back to class, division administration is happy
to welcome everyone back, but that doesn’t be doing their best to accommodate all levels of
mean the threat of COVID-19 is behind them.
“It’s certainly exciting for staff and students to comfort for staff, students and families.
return to a somewhat normal school year,” said
Wilco Tymensen, superintendent of schools. “At this point, the Alberta government has
“We’re also cognizant COVID-19 is not behind
us, as it will be with us for the long haul. Our removed all health restrictions and brought
hope is we do not see a return of rising case
COVID-19 measures in-line with those used for

influenza and other viruses. Our understanding

is the government made this decision due to

the existence of the vaccine and consideration

of the overall health impact on individuals of

prolonged health measures. The government

has indicated, should a school experience pos-

itive cases, enhanced health measures would

be put in place by Alberta Health,” continued

Tymensen. y Continued on PAGE 4


Choose the right backpack

By Stan Ashbee fers it to the hips. • Always squat down, bending at the knee
• Handy compartments, the more the bet- and keeping your back straight.
BSouthern Alberta Newspapers
ackpacks are handy for carrying ter. They help distribute the weight evenly. • If you need to, you can put one knee on
books and lots of other things. They also make packs easier to organize. the floor and the other knee in front of you
But if they’re not used right, while you lift the pack and swing it around to
they can strain muscles and • Padded back. This keeps sharp edges your back.
even cause back pain, accord- from digging into the back.
ing to Alberta Health Services (AHS). Wear it safely
Backpack safety is important for everyone. • Wheels. These are nice if you or your child Pack-wearers should use both shoulder
It’s especially important for children, who needs to carry a lot. But check with your straps. It may seem easier or more comfort-
can be hurt if they regularly carry too much child’s school to make sure they’re allowed. able to sling the pack over just one shoulder,
weight or don’t wear their backpacks safely. Remember, these packs will still have to be but that’s a bad habit that can lead to back or
Look for these features: carried up stairs. And they can get messy shoulder pain.
• Lightweight. Leather backpacks may look when pulled through mud or snow. • Always use the waist belt and tighten all
nice, but other materials, such as canvas or the straps, so the pack fits snugly.
nylon, weigh less. Experts say a child shouldn’t carry more • Make sure your child stands up straight
• Wide, padded shoulder straps. A loaded than 15 to 20 per cent of their weight. Don’t while wearing a backpack. If they must lean
pack will dig into shoulders if the straps are guess — use your washroom scale to weigh forward, the pack is too heavy.
too skinny. the loaded pack. Pack the heaviest items • If your child is having back pain or neck
• Waist belt. This is an important feature. It closest to the back. Packs with compart- soreness, talk to your doctor. Encourage
takes some weight off of the back and trans- ments make this easier to do. your children to tell you about any pain or
Lift it safely
• Never bend down from the waist to pick
up or set down a heavy pack.

Hard work put in by everyone at Horizon appreciated

y Continued from PAGE 3 planning to return to near normal in terms of one in-between is.
in-class learning and school activities, includ- “I know this last year-and-a-half has not
“We’re also aware people are all over the ing field trips will resume. Parents of course
map with regards to comfort level. Schools will have the option of deciding to not have their been what anyone expected, and COVID has
continue to support those who choose to wear child attend an out-of-school field trip or par- altered student and staff’s school experience.
a mask — but they are no longer mandated. take in school athletics if they have concerns,” As I reflect upon the 2020-2021 school year
While quarantining is also no longer man- added Tymensen. and the things our Grade 12 students have
datory, we continue to ask staff and students accomplished in order to graduate, I am
who are ill to stay home until they feel better. Provincial examinations were put on the confident students and staff are prepared for
Schools will also have hand sanitizer avail- back-burner during the pandemic, but those their future,” he said. “This pandemic has
able for those who wish to use it, but its use is will also see a return in the new school year. nonetheless provided everyone an opportunity
optional.” to validate they are resilient learners who are
“Provincial exams, both provincial achieve- able to adapt. These qualities and students’
From an administration perspective, the ment tests and diploma exams, are returning self-motivation and commitment to pursuing
planning of the new school year is returning to back to normal operations. These exams are learning while classes were cancelled tell me
much of the same as it was before the pandem- once again mandatory for all students for the they have strength and ability that will allow
ic. That being said, parents will still have the 2021-2022 school year and diplomas continue them to be successful. We know there are gaps
option to withhold their kids from things like to be weighted at 30 per cent,” stated Ty- in their learning and this is especially true with
field trips if they aren’t comfortable sending mensen. regard to literacy at the lower grades, but I have
them. all the faith in our staff and their commitment
Looking back at the last year-and-a-half, Ty- to meeting the needs of our students. I couldn’t
“We know for the majority of Albertans, mensen appreciates all the hard work that has be more proud of how our staff handled them-
summer has been more normal. Children have been put in by everyone involved at Horizon. selves.”
been playing with friends and families have While it certainly wasn’t easy or what anyone
been socializing and vacationing. Schools are wanted, it also showed how dedicated staff,
students, administration, parents and every-


HPLN focuses on providing

flexibility for students ByJustinSeward
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Prairie Rose Public Schools is now offering the
Home Plus Learning Network for local students. Where they can do some traditional home education, but also
The option began in March and is a home edu- access some certified staff within Prairie Rose schools.”
cation-based program that is learned from home
The third component that will continue into next year is the
online at-home programming that will be offered to K-to-6

and a shared responsibility program — where par- students.

ents have the opportunity to customize their children’s home “(The) at-home learning though, we just have to continue to

learning experience. evaluate to see if it’s warranted in a years’ time,” she said.

“It came out of a collection of data — where we’ve deter- “I know some other school divisions kind of said, ‘We’re

mined there are a number of families in our area who are doing this kind forever and ever.’ I think we just have to wait Photo Submitted by Sherry Rissling

already home educating their students, but would like more and see what the numbers are, what are the needs, what are Following the discovery of an injured bird on their property, the Martens family was able to take it
to the Birds of Prey Centre in Coaldale — where they received help for the injured bird and learned
flexibility in their programming,” said Sherry Rissling, HPLN families really looking for and try to diversify our program- about other species, as shown in this picture. They embarked on an in-depth study of birds around
the world with artistic opportunities, including the composition of a song for their little bird friend.
principal. ming to meet those needs.” Home Plus Learning Network provides parents the flexibility to extend the interests of their children
and to learn as a family.
“So, home class is trying to build a program — where parents Rissling has heard from home education families they would
“But for home education, I actually think the need may
can access activities and events, as well as resources from our like more opportunities to gather as a cohort. “I am working increase. So, they’re two very different things. One, I see going
down because as COVID restrictions lift, parents are excited
local schools. So, they can still be a traditional home education with them to decide what does that look like,” said Rissling. to have their kids go back to school. But in terms of our home
education program, I see that’s only going to grow, as parents
family, but still go to Prairie Rose schools for field trips, guest “Do we want to do gym nights or do we want to do art activ- realize there’s more flexibility for them to stay connected to
their schools.”
speakers or special events. Even this spring, I’ve had parents ities? What is it they are looking for to complement the home
More information can be found at and
sign out microscopes — to access resources — to complement education they’re providing for their kids? And we’re trying to clicking on the Home Plus Learning Network tab.

their home education program.” make those opportunities available for them.”

The other component HPLN offers is shared responsibility. She anticipates less students taking advantage of the pro-

“Now, there are some families who want to do home educa- gram this year compared to last year due to COVID-19 restric-

tion entirely, but maybe not one subject,” said Rissling. tions lifting and the realization parents have with supervising

“So, for families that want to do that or want to send their their children at home.

students to school maybe just half of the time and just home “I think the need is actually going to decrease a little bit for

educate the other time — we offer shared responsibility. the at-home learning,” said Rissling.

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returns to

normal year’

By Nikki Jamieson classrooms due to quarantines made a “very commendable job in a very
for disjointed and irregular learning,” trying and challenging situation.”
Southern Alberta Newspapers said Mazutinec in late July.
“I’ve learned our Westwind stu-
More than a year after the pandemic first started, Westwind “Our principals have worked closely dents and communities can over-
School Division Superintendent Darren Mazutinec is looking with our teachers to identify chal- come incredible obstacles and meet
forward to an almost normal year. lenges and opportunities resulting challenges head-on. I’ve witnessed
from our COVID-19 experiences. As a first-hand we have exceptional
Following Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s, chief medical officer of result, our schools are currently making plans to address how teachers who genuinely have our students’ best interests at
Alberta, announcement in July on masking, quarantines and we can best support students moving forward. I am cautious- heart. I’ve learned a school is a place students want to be.
close contact tracing, Mazutinec expects to see an almost ly optimistic about our new school year.” I’ve learned our students value time with their teachers and
normal, pre-COVID-type school year, with a few exceptions. face-to-face instruction is crucial for student learning. I’ve
Mazutinec expressed pride in how Westwind schools used witnessed growth in our staff in identifying essential out-
“Over the past 17 months, we have experienced three un- creativity, ingenuity and resolve to continue student learning comes and incorporating technology to help students learn in
usual and trying semesters that have proved we have resil- during difficult circumstances, saying staff and students did
ient staff and students who can do challenging things. This
last school year was particularly arduous, with lost learning
opportunities and the massive disruption to student time in


Keeping you safe for over 85 years!

St. Mary's School welcomes all students back Tyler Baker Rod Baker
to classes this fall and is following Alberta
Health's guidelines to promote student and 5705 64 St Taber • 403-223-3441

staff safety this school year. Our commitment
to following Jesus and learning in a Catholic -

Christian environment always continues.

St. Mary’s School

5427 50 Street, Taber, AB T1G 1M2

a pandemic. I’ve learned online learning was beneficial for BACK TO SCHOOL y AUGUST 2021 7

many students, and many students enjoyed it. Finally, I’ve school year will be a return to all the good things that should
happen in a school,” Mazutinec added.
always known student councils, musicals, drama produc-
“We will focus on academics and ensuring all students are
tions, choirs, volunteerism, field trips, extra-curricular ac- at grade level, creating opportunities for the arts and fine
art productions and performances, chances for community
tivities and school sports all play an equal, integral and vital volunteer and work experience opportunities, after-school
clubs, student council activities and extra-curricular sports. I
role in the public school experience for all students. These believe all these things will be considered almost ‘new’ expe-
riences and ones we have all sorely missed over these past 17
past 17 months reconfirmed this belief.” months.”

Mazutinec is looking forward to seeing classrooms and

gathering areas filled with students who are engaging and

enjoying a safe environment, for extra-curricular such as

Christmas concerts and choir performances to be enjoyed

again and gyms packed full of people to watch their athletes

play. Most of all, he’s looking forward for schools “to return

to their pinnacle role in our communities” and to be able to

showcase their students in different areas.

However, while many things will be returning to normal, Darren Mazutinec
there will still be some marked changes compared to pre- Westwind School Division superintendent
COVID times. Noting the school division had discussed the

issue with their principals the previous year, as well. practices adopted during
Mazutinec said the division will continue to follow all COVID-19 and continue
to develop the role tech-
Alberta Education and Alberta Health guidelines relating to nology plays in helping
COVID-19, and some of the practices established during the students learn and continue our Westwind tradition of excel-
pandemic may continue to be used moving forward, such as lence. The old phrase, ‘go slow to go fast,’ might be one we see
staggered entry and exit times, continuing frequent disinfect- in Westwind this year,” said Mazutinec.
ing of high touch/traffic school areas, encouraging proper
hand hygiene practices in schools, emphasizing the impor- “Time has a reputation of softening the sting of most trau-
tance of monitoring symptoms and staying home when sick ma, and I don’t want to downplay or minimize the impact
and encouraging teachers to record lessons and make them COVID-19 has had on our students for the past 17 months.
available to students who may be away. The truth is, the disruptions of COVID-19 were brutal and
relentless. It deprived our students of all the learning and fun
“Our new is a return to our traditional school year, with students should have in our schools. As a result, our ‘new’
a few added improvements. We will incorporate positive


Back to�

The 2021-2022 Back to School Guide First Day of School:
is available online at Monday, August 30, 2021

• 2021-2022 School Year Calendar
• Update on COVID-19 Requirements
• School Supply Lists
• Bussing Information
• Online School Registration for New



ready for games to begin

A fter many starts By Cole Parkinson COVID-19. including trips down south, the team is expecting more tradi-
and stops over “Our intention is to return to a regular schedule for school tional fall and spring seasons in 2021-22.
the last year- Southern Alberta Newspapers
and-a-half, sports,” said Wilco Tymensen, superintendent of schools. After a cancelled spring season in 2020, the Jets had several
student athletes are chomping at the bit to get Football camps have already started in several communities, delays and challenges during the past season, but thanks to it
being veteran-led squads, the coaching staff expects return-
back to their sports this autumn. With students heading back including Taber — which saw several players attend, as they ing players to learn and apply what they learned during the
prepare for the upcoming W.R. Myers Rebel season. pandemic.
to classrooms, that too means school sports will see a return to
“I’m hoping we have full attendance, and if that’s the case, I “We have some players that have meant a lot to our program
a more regular schedule. expect numbers hovering around 30 players — which for us, and I mean this sincerely — our program is in a better place
would be fantastic,” stated Jason Jensen, Rebels head coach, now than when they got here. They’ve left it in great hands and
Looking at the Horizon School Division, so far, adminis- earlier in the summer. I’m excited about our young guys who will have an opportu-
nity to lead next year. Real proud of our 14 seniors over two
tration expects things to hit the ground running early in the To the north, Vauxhall Academy Baseball Jets players have challenging years. They’ve made the most of it and gave us
already started arriving. After plenty of setbacks in the everything they could,” stated Les McTavish, head coach, at the
school year and be more in-line with previous years before previous years that saw half their season cancelled, end of the Jets’ spring season.

Volleyball and golf will also be kicking off the school year, as
athletes hope to get back to competitive play.

Hockey and figure skating are also set to return within the
next several weeks.

“With Stage 3 expected to contain few (if any) restrictions,
Hockey Alberta is planning that 2021-22 will be a full hockey
season,” stated Rob Litwinski, CEO of Hockey Alberta, in a
statement released in late June. “This is exciting for everyone
involved in our sport. Many of our Minor Hockey Associations
are already well into registration and planning for the 2021-22
season. And Hockey Alberta is ready, as we continue to work
with the government and our member organizations to focus
on health and safety, and ensuring our participants have the
best hockey experience possible. As new information becomes
available, we will make sure our members and the hockey
community are informed.”


Registration has already opened up for sev- p.m. Come see us to
eral hockey organizations and the Taber “AA” In Coaldale, Copperhead main camp achieve a
Golden Suns have already set their tryout
dates for the fall. tryouts have been set for Sept.9. at 7 p.m., higher yield!
Sept 11. at 3 p.m. and Sept. 12 at 3 p.m. Their
U13 “AA” is Sept. 8-9 from 6-7 p.m. with home opener is set for Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. Nutrien Ag Solutions is the
an inter-squad game Sept. 12 at 11 a.m. U15 leading provider of agricultural
“AA” goes Sept. 8-9 as well from 7:15-8:15 Gymnastic clubs are also gearing up for a products and services for
p.m. with their inter-squad game going right return this fall with registrations opening up western Canadian growers.
after the first game. U18 “AA” goes a couple across southern Alberta. We do this by providing growers
of days later on Sept. 14-15 from 8:30-9:30 with the latest technologies,
p.m. with the inter-squad game Sept. 19 at 4 For more information on any of the sports products and services.
returning this fall, visit your local sporting
organization’s website or social media pages. Vauxhall & Taber Locations
(403) 654-4464


apply with a friend

Brooks, Taber & Coaldale

Focusing on Financial Literacy10 AUGUST2021 y BACKTOSCHOOL efforts of the Government of Alberta and the educators in-
volved for building on that initiative and taking such a proac-
By Nikki Jamieson proposals totalling $1 million to deliver Financial tive approach to delivering these critical life skills,” said Kevin
Literacy programming to junior and senior Cochran, president and co-founder of the Enriched Academy.
Southern Alberta Newspapers high school students starting in fall 2021.
Enriched Academy will receive $700,000 “The Canadian Foundation for Economic Education
Alberta Education is putting a renewed and the Canadian Foundation for Eco- (CFEE) is honoured to have been selected as one of the grant
focus on Financial Literacy for students nomic Education will receive $300,000 recipients. CFEE believes Financial Literacy is essential to
in Grades 7-12. to deliver the programming. help youth build a healthy and happy financial future. We
Through the programming, Grade are delighted to be able to provide a variety of resources and
Through partnerships with the 7-12 students will learn about Financial programs that will help Alberta youth be prepared to under-
Enriched Academy and the Canadian Literacy topics such as money man- take their financial decisions and actions with confidence and
Foundation for Economic Education, agement, budgeting, Tax Free Saving competence,” said Gary Rabbior, president of the Canadian
Alberta Education aims to give these Accounts, Registered Retirement Savings Foundation for Economic Education.
students the knowledge and skills they Plans, credit, student loans and saving.
need to better understand saving, bud- Professional learning opportunities will also According to the media representative for the education
geting, spending and investing. minister, this is the first time Alberta Education has put out a
be provided to teachers and school leaders, call for grant proposals to provide Financial Literacy program-
“Understanding how money works will along with additional resources to help facilitate ming and resources to students, and the first time Financial
help students gain confidence, solve practical Financial Literacy learning. Literacy is worked into the draft K-6 curriculum and is specifi-
problems and prepare them for the future,” said All school authorities in both rural and urban areas will be cally being taught in Mathematics and Social Studies.
Adriana LaGrange, minister of Education for Alberta. able to access the programming and resources for students in
“Now more than ever, we all need Financial Literacy. These Grades 7 to 12, and they will be able to access programming “It’s never too early to become financially literate. The ability
are important lessons that can be taught and learned from a and resources from Junior Achievement for students in Grades to understand finances, in terms of budgets, income, expens-
young age and we owe it to our students to give them a com- 3 to 6. es, saving, borrowing, credit — this is knowledge, skills and
prehensive understanding of real world problems, and more “Enriched Academy is excited to continue helping Alberta practices that will not only last one’s entire life, but enable
importantly, give them the tools to overcome them.” students learn the essential life skills of money management young Albertans to set themselves up for success and to lead
and looks forward to bringing our innovative and engaging a prosperous life. Students are Alberta’s future entrepreneurs
In the upcoming school year, many students will learn about approach to personal finance to even more students this — future business owners, restauranteurs, innovators, creators
concepts such as costs, interest, debt, investing, insurance year. We saw incredible engagement from students, parents — all roles that require sound knowledge and insight into
and how the economy can affect their lives, added LaGrange. and teachers over the last 12 months and we applaud the finances and budgets. I applaud the Government of Alberta for
Financial Literacy for students is a commitment we made to investing in the financial literacy of Alberta’s next generation,”
Albertans and is an important skill-set for students to have said Adam Legge, president of the Business Council of Alberta,
inside and outside the classroom.” in a media release from the April call for proposals announce-
Back in April, the Alberta government had put out a call for

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Medicine Hat College expected BACK TO SCHOOL y AUGUST 2021 11
back to near normal this year
Medicine Hat ences with them again.”
College is By Justin Seward semester — we can even be more on campus, because of Data shows student enrolment is down three per cent from
course, we like to have students on campus and we know
Southern Alberta Newspapers they like to be on campus.” last year, which Spielman said is pretty normal.
The college’s health and safety department have been put-
preparing for MHC’s expectation is to start the school year as close to
ting together return-to-school packages to assist in monitor-
students to come back to campus in Sep- ing how classes go for a little while.

tember and it’s expected operations will be normal as possible. “It’s being worked on, but I don’t think it’s been finalized at
this point,” he said.
back to near normal. “So, pre-pandemic everybody was on campus every day.
“Because based on my conversations, they’re still working
“Generally speaking, we’re going to want students on cam- Basically, they had classes — libraries open, all those sorts of really hard, because you know it’s a dynamic situation. And
given how dynamic it is, we want to be as prepared as we can
pus,” said Timothy Spielman, MHC’s School of Business and things,” said Spielman. be.”

Continuing Studies dean. “Our goal is to be as close to that experience as possible.

“Students want to be on campus and we’re open to having So, we expect all of our students in the School of Business

students on campus and all of the services will be available. to be in classes, attending classes for the classes that are

As far as how much time they’ll spend in class and all of that, face-to-face. I don’t know if we’ll see everybody on campus.

it sort of depends. Trades, obviously, much more hands-on Some students are not necessarily for being on campus with

and required to be in classrooms and labs. And in our School whatever concerns we’re having with the pandemic.”

of Business, we’ve basically taken a blended approach to stu- With a high number of students returning to campus,

dents in class — where we have them on campus part-time Spielman wanted to remind how important the students’

and off campus through electronic delivery part-time.” experience is on campus.

MHC made these plans in May before the post-secondary “That is something they shared with us,” he said.

institution knew how some things would settle out with the “The fact during the pandemic, there wasn’t compatibility.

COVID-19 pandemic. The reality of it is a lot of students were disappointed with

“But the faculty are back and we had a conversation about that. Just think about graduations and how so many of those

this and we’re pretty pleased with our blended approach and things we love to do on campus with our students, gradua-

go in to the fall that way,” said Spielman. tions — a lot of that campus experience. We’re really looking

“Of course, we’re hopeful as time goes on — like winter forward to welcoming them back and having those experi-



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Telephone: (403) 548-3606Toll Free: 1-877-880-8844 • • [email protected]


two new faces
in the Palliser
School Division
It’s back-to-school season,
By Jaxon McGinn

as students of all ages Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
return to learn — and the Southern Alberta Newspapers

Palliser School Division is pleased to announce two new with the dedicated staff at John Davidson Baker Middle School.
School and noted, ”I believe in the power “I believe a school should be a place stu-
faces in their school district. Many school divisions have of education and the ability for passionate,
student-focused staffs to help each learn- dents look forward to attending and where
welcomed new staff members to their teams, after dealing with er reach their full potential. The strength of families and community members are valued
the pack is the wolves, and the strength of the and connected,” Leusink said. “Students should
a pandemic that most definitely had been an uncertain time for wolves in the pack.” be respected, cared for and given opportunities to
scholars. In his spare time, Jack enjoys spending time with In her spare time, Leusink enjoys spending time with
his two children, Tori and Braeden. He also enjoys golfing her husband and two children. She also is very active playing and
Fred Jack, who has accepted the role of principal at John David- and fitness. Jack is also very active in the elite Lethbridge Minor coaching various sports, travelling and cooking.
Hockey community and is the lead instructor for a summer She is very excited about the opportunity to join the Jennie
son School, and Megan Leusink, who has taken the position of hockey program. Emery Elementary team and looks forward to building strong
relationships with students, families and the Jennie Emery Ele-
vice-principal at Jennie Emery Elementary School. Leusink started teaching at W.R. Myers High School in Taber mentary community-at-large.
— instructing French, English, Language Arts, Math and CALM. Palliser Regional Schools is a student-focused school division
Jack has served as principal for Carmangay School since August In August 2017, Leusink joined the Palliser School Division and serving a diverse student population across southern Alberta.
taught French, Instructed Social and Physical Education at R.I.
2019. Before this, he was the principal of Barons and Carmangay

schools collectively for five years. Jack came to the Palliser School

Division in 2014, as vice-principal of Carmangay School. He is

looking forward to bringing this strong Low-German Mennonite

background and vision to John Davidson School.

Jack is excited for the opportunity afforded to him to work

Wishing all students a Wishing all students
a happy and safe
SAFE & HAPPY return for the new
return to school! school year!

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family with quality dental care for
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Call or go online for details about our Affordable Family Plans & Financing!

Dr. Jackie Pitstra Mainstreet, Bow Island
Alberta T0K 0G0




SILVER SPRAY Bow Island Bow Island, Alberta
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403-545-2009 LEN’S
Expect the School is When backing St. Michael’s 403-545-2344
unexpected, back in School 115 - 5 Avenue West
especially when session, so out of a Bow Island (Main Street)
please help Bow Island, Alberta
driving protect our driveway Telephone: Have a Bow Island, Alberta
in or around a kids by or leaving a Happy
school zone, following 403-545-2131 School 403-545-2353
playground or these tips garage, Year &
park. Children behind the look for children Bow Island Stay Safe!
sometimes dart wheel. Hardware Ltd.
unexpectedly walking or
bicycling to Mainstreet, Bow Island, Alberta
into traffic,
often from school. Phone
between Also, be on the 403-545-2020

parked lookout for
cars. children walking

in the street,
especially when

there are
no sidewalks.


It’s important for parents to be kind
and practice self-care
By Stan Ashbee

Southern Alberta Newspapers

Unfortunately, the world is a very different and let them sit with that before moving onto ‘here’s some kids have spent a lot of time with their families and it will
place than it was just a mere year ago. The strategies we’re going to use.’” be hard for kids,” Pittman pointed out.
COVID-19 pandemic started prior to that,
but southern Albertans — along with the Suggestions include telling a child to get their backpack Pittman said parents can reach out to FCSS for assis-
rest of the world — learned how to cope, ready and looking at how the mornings are going to look tance. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help and there’s a lot of
the best they could, with an unrelenting enemy. once school starts back and practising the basics and see- free resources.”
Luckily, there are local organizations to assist with navi- ing beforehand what those scenarios will look like when
gating the waters, when it comes to adjusting to anxieties going back-to-school in the mornings and returning home “We’re still offering online options, as well as in-person
and uncertainty due to the aftermath (of what is hoped is after school. options,” Pittman added.
the beginning of the end of COVID-19’s previous rampage)
and what to expect when the new school year begins. “Constantly reassuring them there’s going to be some- Of the many municipalities FCSS serves, families can
Family and Community Support Services or FCSS is one there for them when they get home after school. And connect with either a counsellor or a family support work-
just a phone call or e-mail away to help southern Alberta having fun with the routine and the task. Making it as er. FCSS staff can help with back-to-school planning, child
families cope, persevere and kick COVID-related anxiety much a game as you can. Getting them to laugh,” are some or parental anxieties and struggles or can connect south-
to the curb with a little self-care and invaluable tools and suggestions Pittman added. ern Albertans with other community resources.
resources available.
Penny Pittman, a family support worker at FCSS, said There are so many dynamics to the back-to-school equa- Visit for more information about services.
what she is hearing from a lot of families is some people tion — from students to caregivers to educators, each with
are dreading going back to school and some people are re- their own unique set of uncertainties and/or expectations.
ally excited for school to start. “Everybody is nervous about
it, even if they are excited — because change is hard.” Pittman suggests parents to utilize the ‘circle of control’
If a person tends to already have social anxiety or a stu- or the idea of a parent dealing with what is in their control
dent has any school-related anxieties, Pittman explained, and to remember self-care. “And allowing yourself to feel
the re-opening of school is going to be stressful. “It will those feelings. If you have support in your life, using that
probably be a pretty difficult time for them and their care- support network.”
givers. Although it’s been on and off, some kids have gone
to in-home learning. I think there will be some big transi- Pittman, who works within the Horizon School Division,
tions for a lot of people.” said school divisions and school staff are very good at
From a parenting and support standpoint, Pittman not- being upfront with what they know and what they don’t
ed, it’s really important for parents to be kind and practice know. “Giving parents as much information as they can, so
self-care and realize it’s going to be a bit rough. “Self-com- that’s a resource.” Mental health resources, Alberta Health
passion is big and compassion for your small people Services (AHS) resources and FCSS counselling are also
because it’s even bigger for them.” options, and additional services are available throughout
As for strategy suggestions, Pittman added, listening and southern Alberta communities.
talking about worries is key and normalizing it. “Talking
with kids — letting them know it’s hard for everyone to Over the summer, some of the concerns Pittman has
deal with change. Starting a little bit early, so taking the been hearing about from families include students starting
time to talk about things and empathize with their feelings to experience separation anxiety because of having to go
back-to-school and students anxious about being safe at
school (especially after it has been announced masks are
no longer mandatory in schools).

“There still is a lot of uncertainty, so anxiety is a big one
— whether it’s social anxiety about having to be back in
school or anxiety about actual COVID-19 itself or some


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Phone 403-545-2258 • Fax 403-545-6886 email: [email protected]



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