*** IMPORTANT NOTICE (March 15, 2020): Due to COVID-19, all meetings have been suspended. Our calendar will be updated once meetings resume. Follow us on Facebook for further information. ***
Meetings follow the school calendar, beginning in September and ending in June the following year. We meet Thursday mornings, twice a month. Meetings are typically scheduled for the second and fourth weeks, but may be moved due to school holidays and teachers’ Professional Development days.
9:15 am – 9:30 am: Child Drop-off and Informal Socialisation
9:30 am – 10:00 am: Introductions and Announcements
10:00 am – 11:00 am: Topic Discussion / Guest Speaker
11:00 am – 11:15 am: Clean Up and Child Pick-up
SET UP, CLEAN UP AND SNACKS
Many hands make light work! A list is circulated in September and January for various roles. Members may select from set up or clean up duties of our meeting room, or may choose to bring a snack for the parents . Members sign up for whichever meeting dates that are most convenient for them.
Meetings are held at Bethel Lutheran Church, 298 Bethel Drive, Sherwood Park. The building offers meeting rooms and childcare rooms at a competitive price for our members.
Please note: Our group is NOT affiliated with this church or any other. All parents and their children are welcome!
Each parent pays $5 for each meeting they attend (which is a separate fee from the annual membership fee). This helps us cover the cost of childcare, the facility rental, and coffee/tea. Please pay the treasurer by cash or cheque at the beginning of each meeting. Members will receive a 10% discount on their meeting fees if they pay for a full year of meetings in advance.
MEETING DATES AND TOPICS 2019-2020
The group’s topics coordinator schedules the topics or speakers for the next two months. Updates will be posted here.
September 12, 2019
Welcome new and returning members!
Let’s get to know each other. Don’t worry, we’ll keep it light and fun with questions such as: What is the one thing you never had as a child that you knew you’d want for your kids? What is the funniest conversation you never thought you’d have with a child? If you had a warning label attached to you, what would it say?
September 26, 2019
Topic: Best Life Hacks
Did you know that you can attach an adhesive hook to the back of your baby chair so that you always have bibs handy? Or use a hanging shoe organizer to store Lego pieces? Life hacks are tricks and shortcuts to help make our lives easier. What are your go-to favourites?
October 10, 2019
Speakers: Laura Behan, Early Years Navigator, and Robyn Coon, Mental Health Capacity Builder, with Strathcona County
October 10 is World Mental Health Day. Please join us for a presentation and discussion about how a parent’s own mental health, self-care and role modelling can impact their children’s development. Our speakers will also touch on attachment, boundaries, resiliency and emotion coaching.
Thank you to Strathcona County’s Family and Community Services department for their support of this meeting. For more information about their services, please visit www.strathcona.ca/community-families/well-being-and-mental-health.
October 24, 2019
Topic: Holiday Traditions
Wishbones at Thanksgiving, homemade costumes for Halloween, cookie decorating at Christmas… Holiday traditions help create strong family bonds. Together with our partners, we merge traditions and often create new ones for our family. What are some of your favourite holiday traditions? Come prepared to share—or to bring home new ideas.
November 7, 2019
Topic: Technology and Social Media Use
How do I keep my child safe online? What role does my use of technology play in their lives? Responsible and safe use of technology and social media are on all of our minds. Navigating this reality with your kids may take some trial and error to find what works best for everyone. And just as you think you have it figured out, there’s a new [insert: app/device/social platform/scary story!] in town. Let’s share some ideas and best practices of how to guide our children—and ourselves—through it all.
November 21, 2019
Speaker: First Aid and CPR Instructor, St. John Ambulance
Led by a St. John Ambulance First Aid and CPR Instructor, we will be hosting an information session that will cover emergency life-saving skills and first aid topics such as common childhood illness and injuries.
December 5, 2019
Topic: Birthday Parties + Toy Swap
Yay! Your child is reaching another milestone. Seems like just yesterday when sleep deprivation entered your home, and dirty nappies were on a conveyor belt out. Now that your child’s circle of friends has grown, what do you do for her birthday? Book a venue or celebrate at home? Invite everyone from school/daycare, or just a few close friends? And of course: To gift or not to gift?
Come and share your family’s best practices when it comes to birthdays, and take away some new ideas to help keep your parties fresh, happy, and memorable.
Have a toy or two you’d like to pass along? Bring it for the toy swap!
December 19, 2019
Christmas Brunch and Gift Exchange
On the menu for our final meeting of 2019: a potluck brunch and a regifting game! Please bring a wrapped item from your home that you would like to regift. This can be anything from a household gadget to artwork, a book to mittens. Be sure to bring a favourite dish to share, and your appetite, too!
January 9, 2020
As parents, we’re pretty good at encouraging our children to find hobbies they enjoy such as dance, sports, and music. But what about us? What did you enjoy doing when you were young that you’d love to pick up again? Or have you found a new hobby recently that you enjoy? Maybe you need some new ideas, or perhaps a little motivation? (Fact: Hobbies can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health!) Join us, and let us know what hobbies or leisure activities are important to you.
January 23, 2020
Speaker: Nicole Van Den Berg, Early Literacy Librarian, Strathcona County Library
Research tells us that supporting literacy and language development in the first five years of life can benefit our children for a lifetime. Supporting early literacy, however, doesn’t have to be a chore! Nicole Van Den Berg, Early Literacy Librarian at Strathcona County Library, will teach us some simple, fun and affordable ways incorporate early literacy activities into our daily routine.
Thank you to Strathcona County Library for their support of this meeting! For more information about the library, please visit www.sclibrary.ca.
February 13, 2020
Whether because of budget or time, staycations can be a lifesaver for many families looking to break from the daily routine for a while. And being in Alberta, we are lucky to have mountain escapes within a few hours’ drive, and hidden gems throughout the province. What places are on your road trip wish list this year?
Plus: Your top tips and tricks for travelling with kids.
February 27, 2020
Speaker: The Saffron Centre
Cyberworld: What happens when youth press send?
In this presentation, you will be provided with information on the popular websites, games, and apps that are being used by children and youth. The Saffron Centre will discuss legal consequences and the potential dangers online, and share helpful tips on starting conversations with your children.
Due to the sensitive nature of the presentation topic, only adults will be permitted in the meeting room. As always, we operate two childcare rooms during our meetings. Click here to learn more.
March 12, 2020
Topic: Extracurricular Activities
There are so many options! What activities do you have your kids signed up for? What have been the pros and cons of each? How have you managed to balance these activities with enough time for free play, family, and school work? Come and share your experiences of what has worked well for your family, and what you have learnt along the way.
March 26, 2020
Topic: Best Locations for Playdates & Other Outings
Now that spring is here and our days are getting even longer, there’s no place like the great outdoors! Where do you like to meet for playdates? Do you or your kids have any favourite parks? Whether they be natural areas, outdoor or indoor playgrounds, spray decks, or other locations: let’s share the best of the best with each other. You may just want to jot down a few ideas for your next outing!
April 9, 2020
Topic: Caring for Aging Parents
Health, housing, mobility, advanced care… these are but some of the considerations you may face when caring for an aging parent or other member of the family. Whether you have travelled this path before or you are just starting to think about it, we’ll dive into some of the struggles and positive outcomes of helping meet our parents’ needs.
April 23, 2020
Speaker: Strathcona County Emergency Services
This week, we will be discussing emergency preparedness. In a disaster, emergency response can be delayed, utilities can be shut off and you may be asked to shelter-in-place or evacuate. Learn how to prepare yourself and your family to be self-sufficient in your home or in an evacuation centre for up to 72 hours. Also this week: fire safety. In a fire, seconds count. Learn what proactive measures you can take to prevent a fire and how to escape to ensure you and your family are safe.
Part of this week’s presentation is for our little ones! After meeting with the parents, Strathcona County will have a 15 minute talk and activity prepared for the older kids in our childcare rooms.
Thank you to Strathcona County’s Emergency Services department for their support of this meeting. For more information about their services, please visit www.strathcona.ca/emergencies-enforcement.
May 7, 2020
Topic: Returning to Work
While some of our members may be employed or self-employed, many are on parental leave or an extended leave from the workplace. And the decision to go back to work— whether full-time or part-time—can be a difficult one. What sort of support might you need? What are your childcare options? Are you returning to your previous line of work, or will your job be a new one? All big decisions! Let’s share what we envision for ourselves and our families, and how best to make the transition a positive one.
May 21, 2020
Executive Committee Nominations + Minute to Win It
June 4, 2020
June 18, 2020
End of Year Brunch
July & August 2020
Over the summer months, the group will be invited to meet at local parks or at another member’s home. Childcare is not provided, however these meet-ups are free for all members to attend and will be announced to members via email.