Posted March 19, 2013

In Tools for Life®, we often assist children to identify how they are feeling by sharing how big or small that feeling is, or by using visuals to concretely demonstrate how those uncomfortable feelings grow.  In the small groups that Early Identification Consultants facilitate within the primary grades of our schools in the Region of Waterloo, we have often used pictures of thermometers to draw in, often with the colour red, how big our feelings were when something happened. (more…)

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Posted January 8, 2013

By Linda Stearns

A young girl wrote a letter to one of my coworkers that we wanted to share.  As Early Intervention consultants, we have the privilege to interact with many, many children and often they touch our lives and hearts too!  Here is what she wrote…. (more…)

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Posted November 13, 2012

“The Convention on the Rights of the Child as a whole, suggests the creation of schools which are child-friendly and in which children are encouraged to be curious, to argue, to challenge, to be creative, to explore and find out, to be listened to and to be respected.”  Check out this article  (Can you hear me? The right of young children to participate in decisions affecting them.) (more…)

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Posted November 1, 2012

My Favourite Tool in Tools for Life Relationship-building Solutions Tool Box!

The Problem Solving Key Chain is the greatest to facilitate on the spot teachable moments. Children’s problems don’t just happen when they are in their classroom or in the kitchen at home where the relationship centers are. They happen as you are going out the door, in the van, on your way to swimming lessons, in the school playground or hallway where those visuals are not readily available. (more…)

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Posted November 1, 2012

How well do we really know our students? Are we aware of family dynamics and personal experiences that can add to or distract from a child’s ability to learn? More importantly, are we able to understand how a child feels based on their perception of the situation? Children that have experienced trauma may exhibit unfavourable behaviours in the classroom. Being trauma informed will provide yet another lens for teachers to look through when assessing the strengths and needs of a child. It may provide some answers to the question “what has happened to the child” rather than asking “what is wrong with the child”. (more…)

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Posted October 25, 2012

According to Today’s Family News, “72% of Canadians believe that spanking should remain a legal option for Canadian parents. This includes 57% of parents who say they never spank their children. “

As a professional working with children, would you encourage a class discussion around spanking? Why or why not?

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Posted October 15, 2012

“Mindfulness is paying attention here and now with kindness and curiosity.” ( With all of the hustle and bustle in the classroom, I wonder if our students might benefit from practicing mindfulness on a daily basis. (more…)

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Posted July 10, 2012

A new girl walks into the “classroom” and sits on a chair. None of the chairs have names on them and there are no books on the table to indicate that this might be somebody’s “spot”.  A few minutes later, 2 more girls walk into the room and sit down.  They say “hello” to the new girls but give her a “funny” look.  A couple minutes pass and another girl walks into the room and stops dead in her tracks.  She looks at the new girl and says, “Hi, I’m Abby. I’m sorry but you are in my spot.” The new girl apologized and moved to a chair that was off to the side. (more…)

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Posted June 19, 2012

“Dream Big, Dream Bigger” a quote overheard early in the formation of Stewart Avenue’s Parent Council Meeting!   Last school year, Stewart Avenue Public School had a parent council of 3. This year 8 or 10 parents gathered in the fall to create a working parent council. Over time, more parents came out and everyone was encouraged to” invite a friend to join us.” (more…)

Posted May 17, 2012

By Linda S.

With all the media coverage on mental health in the last week, I hope we are beginning to normalize the term ‘mental health’. I think of mental health as a spectrum, much like other labels that we carry that helps others, and sometimes ourselves, define who we are. If you are familiar with the diagnosis of Autism or Pervasive Development Disorder, it is a defined as ‘on a spectrum’. I think of it as a sliding scale of severity, normality and challenges. Each child is different in how they experience this disorder. (more…)

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Tools for Life. And Tools for Life® HomeSTART.

Relationship-building solutions for a modern world.