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2019-2020 Preschool Calendar

Vancouver Start Smart Preschool operates on the same schedule as the public school system. We are closed for all statutory and public school holidays, as well as professional development days.

September 3 First Day for Tuesday/Thursday 3 year old classes– gradual entry in effect
September 4 First Day for Monday/Wednesday/Friday 4 year old classes–gradual entry in effect
September 9 First Full Day for  Monday/Wednesday/Friday 4 year old classes
September 10 First Full Day for Tuesday/Thursday 3 year old classes
September 23 No Preschool: Teacher Professional Development Day
October 14 Thanksgiving Day – No  Preschool
October 25 No Preschool: Teacher Professional Development Day
November 8 No Preschool: Teacher Professional Development Day
November 11 Remembrance Day — No Preschool
December 18,19 Last Day of classes before Winter Vacation
December 20 Winter vacation period starts:  Christmas Break — No Preschool
January 6 Schools reopen after Winter vacation
January 20 No Preschool: Teacher Professional Development Day
February 14 No Preschool: Teacher Professional Development Day
February 17 BC Family Day – No  Preschool
March 14–29 Spring vacation– No  Preschool
March 30 Schools reopen after Spring vacation
April 10-13 Easter—No Preschool
May 15 No Preschool: Teacher Professional Development Day
May 18 Victoria Day – No  Preschool
June 18 Last Day for Tuesday/Thursday 3 year old classes
June 19 Last Day for Monday/Wednesday/Friday 4 year old classes

2019-2020 Preschool Special Events

Vancouver Start Smart Preschool has special events and traditions which are important community building opportunities for preschool families.  Most importantly, these events give parents an opportunity to observe their children at preschool and participate in their accomplishments.  Here is an overview of calendar dates to enable your planning /work schedules as needed.  Throughout the year we will update and remind you of these events through the monthly newsletter and by email.

Note:  All dates are tentative and subject to change.  Should changes be required appropriate advance notice will be given.

October 21 Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes:

Pumpkin Patch Day:  Parent/Caregiver Participation required

October 22 Tuesday/Thursday classes:

Pumpkin Patch Day:  Parent/Caregiver Participation required

October 30 Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes:

Halloween Costume Parade and mini-performance—

     Parent Photo-op last half hour of class

October 31 Tuesday/Thursday classes:

Halloween Costume Parade and mini-performance—

     Parent Photo-op last half hour of class

December 12 Tuesday/Thursday classes:

PJ and Stuffie Day

December 13 Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes:

PJ and Stuffie Day

December 18 Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes:

Christmas Concert and Community Potluck—Parents and Family invited

December 19 Tuesday/Thursday classes

Christmas Concert and Community Potluck—Parents and Family invited

December 20 Preschool Closed for Winter Break
February 12 Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes:

VALENTINES DAY:  Bring Valentines to exchange.  Treat will be provided!

February 13 Tuesday/Thursday classes:

VALENTINES DAY:  Bring Valentines to exchange.  Treat will be provided!

March 14 – 29 Spring vacation — No Preschool
June 15 Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes:

Year-end Show and Family Potluck—Parents and Family invited

June 16 Tuesday/Thursday classes:

Year-end Show and Family Potluck—Parents and Family invited

June 20 Tuesday/Thursday classes:  Last Day of Preschool
June 21 Monday/Wednesday/Friday:  Last Day of Preschool


Notes from a Parent

Why I chose the afternoon preschool class for my child – and am glad I did!

My child’s first year at our neighborhood preschool was Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. The afternoon class was the only class available as the morning was full. I took it because the program with Fine Arts looked amazing. I had waited too long to decide about preschool. It was one of those things I’ve noticed about parenting where the child grows up faster than I expected, and preschool just snuck up on me. To register at the end of April meant it was the afternoon class or “no preschool” at all.

Knowing that the neighborhood preschool guaranteed me a 3 day, Monday/Wednesday/Friday spot for the following year if I registered for the 2 day program I decided it was worth it, even though I wasn’t sure that the afternoon class was “right”. Despite the time of the class, I felt that the Fine Arts program provided an advantage in terms of positive experiences for my child. So sign up we did!

But still I had concerns…

  1. No afternoon nap—how was this going to work?
  2. My child was a slow-eater and lunch was an ‘event’. Could I get him out the door on time, without a fuss?
  3. The last thing I wanted was a sleep-deprived, cranky kid for the evening hours.

In short, afternoon preschool seemed like a huge challenge and presented me with change that I really didn’t feel ready for or prepared to make. This was me at the end of April—full of questions, fears, worries, and concerns—but wanting to do right by my child.

My mother had a saying “What a difference a day makes!” (not that I always agree with her! lol). But in my case, it turned out that our family had almost 140 days—including all of May, June, July, August and the first week of September—until preschool started. What can I say, but that in that amount of time my child changed, “grew up”, and his needs became different in ways I hadn’t expected nor could I predict.

Yes, he still had a nap during those months but it began to be shorter, and some days the nap became a “quiet time”, a rest time with books, independent of me.

Was he tired after preschool? Some days more than others—and on those days he had a short “cat-nap” after school, no more than an hour so that he could be refreshed and pleasant for our early evening activities. Occasionally he would be a bit grouchy at his wakeup call, but over a period of time we got used to the new schedule and routine.

As to my “slow-eater”, well that hasn’t changed much! My solution was to change what I could control—the sandwich! Instead of a whole sandwich at noon with me cajoling him to “hurry up and eat”, or with noticeable frustration spend our lunch together with me “tapping my toe” and “clock-watching”, I give him half a sandwich—the other half goes to school in his backpack for snack-time and is eaten while socializing with his new friends. I am not frustrated and it eliminates the need to nag!

Do I get a cranky child for the late afternoon and early evening hours? Maybe a little, but not really! (honest!!!) After preschool, he is always tells lively stories, or plays and teaches us his little songs that he knows. But there are some days that bedtime might be earlier, but that’s about it.

When all is said and done, afternoon preschool has been great, and I’m glad we signed on. One thing I’ve come to realize as a parent is that changes in a child are inevitable. Nap times come and nap times go—it’s all a part of growing up! When I see my child fostering little friendships on his own at preschool, and see him experiencing paint and glue and clay and…stuff that I probably wouldn’t have thought of, or if I did I wouldn’t have wanted to clean up the mess…when I hear him singing little songs to himself or coming to me with big explanations that start with “…this is what teacher says…”, when after dinner (or just about any time) he surprises me with some dance “moves”… these are the times I know we made the right choice to register him in preschool as a 3 year old, even if it was in the afternoon.

Now as a 4 year old our child still attends the afternoon preschool class, but now it is 3 days a week. Why? Because the friends he met and the families and neighbors I met have formed our own little community within the larger preschool context.

And next year? My child and his friends will move on to ‘all-day kindergarten’—“oh, no…not another change!!”—but then, it’s just another chance to grow up, isn’t it?!

by Jenny I.

All in a Day’s Drama…

Teaching Drama to 4 year olds?…now there’s a thought!   First, you have to explain what drama ‘is’…

My starting point is that in drama we are “telling a story with our bodies” and my first question to my 19 little ‘thespians-in- the-making’ is, “How do our faces tell a story?”

In a game the children select a “face” and they try to mimic that face for their friends. The friends must guess what ‘story’ is being portrayed!  Always funny is the child who chooses the angry or sad face but is so excited they just can’t stop smiling enough to harness their angry or sad!

Over the weeks we move through our bodies—how do our arms tell a story?  how do our legs tell a story?—and then we put everything together including our faces.  Suddenly we ARE sad, we ARE shy, and we ARE sleepy— or crazy, or silly!   In this, the children become very comfortable with themselves and their bodies.  They become confident in telling a story with all that they are!

Over the weeks we take on different ideas of ‘being’ as we bring in various drama exercises…and enthusiasm from these dear little souls always abounds.

One day we were sitting in a drama circle and we talked about different machines.  We had just done a drama with song and we had been a popcorn maker, washing machine and dryer and a blender.  The conversation was as follows:

Miss R.:  “What other things in our homes could we be?”

M:  “We could be hot tea kettles.”

Miss R.:  “Can you show us how to be a tea kettle?”

M. obliges and other children have input…what about the whistle sound that the tea kettle makes? and what about the boiling water inside the tea kettle? Then together we all try out our dramatic skills and we all become tea kettles…and then sizzling frying pans, and blow dryers, then vacuum cleaners. We use our bodies; we use levels—up and down, and side to side.  Ideas come fast and furious but through mutual discussion we all eventually agree what our bodies should be doing to tell these ‘appliance’ stories.  Consensus among these four year olds is a give and take affair and a thing of beauty for teacher to behold!

And then, just before our drama circle comes to a close I have time for one last little boy.

Miss R.:  “OK G., what is something in your home that we could be?“ G. takes a brief moment to consider and then taps his cheek a couple of times…I see in his eyes the bright light of the ‘Aha’ moment and the excitement comes to his lips…here it is…

G.:  “I know Miss Rebecca…we could be a wine bottle !!!”

I pause, and the teachers begin to laugh, and not quick enough to say anything in response, I watch…

And…in a split second, in complete unison, without any consensus building, without the remotest prompting needed— my theatre troupe rises to their feet.  This time I am the last to rise…this time no teacher prompting needed! I watch as in unison they put their arms straight into the air with hands together for a narrowed bottle effect and stand with legs together.  Someone shouts, “We need to take the cork out!!!”

Miss R.  “What happens then????” I say.

I watch as my little actors and actresses all start to make a “Pop” sound and movement which belies a cork coming out!  I watch as they bend to the left or right and mime filling a wine glass!

Ah yes…well, we all know that the best drama is life itself…not that the children are drinking wine…but…it’s nice that they allow their mummies and daddies that little something extra at the dinner table.   Funny that they all can be a wine bottle so ‘effortlessly’ and integrate it dramatically without any difficulty whatsoever!

Keep up the good work, Mums and Dads…it makes drama so much fun!