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Dr. Fraser Mustard

A Groundbreaking Giant

Dr. Fraser Mustard influenced governments around the world on the importance of the first years of life

Over the years, so many people have tried to help Canada’s children. Some of these people made incredible progress – like Dr. Fraser Mustard. I started out mentioning him because I had reached out to him and I thought he was a historical figure in the war against parental alienation. As the Science Advisor to the Government of Canada, Dr. Mustard had come to British Columbia to help us with our Ministry of Children and Families, which was in crisis. Children were dying. Dr. Mustard quietly did what he could and went home. But in the years after that, he became even more famous for his ongoing and ground breaking work into the development of young children. One of his programs was called Success Before Six, which focused on how easily young children can learn almost anything, even something as complex as language.

I had searched high and low for help for our children for a long time. When Dr. Mustard came to British Columbia, I sent him a letter asking if there was anything he could recommend. He sent me this reply.


Abbotsford Early Learning Update

Learning to Read: Nine-years old

On Tuesday night, at our school board meeting – and yes our school board meetings have moved from Mondays to Tuesdays – one of our important delegations was the Early Learning Update with Greg Sharpe. Greg was sitting beside me before his presentation and I told him I was writing this post about Dr. Mustard. Here’s the big new statistic: KIDS WHO CAN READ BY GRADE THREE WILL GRADUATE!!!

Principal Sharpe talked about our usual practice of involving PARENTS in Grade three reading initiatives. I remember when our children were in elementary school, School District #34 had just started the Accelerated Reading Program and many parents were very involved in gathering up books around town and helping school librarians glue the reading levels on the spine of each book and novel. This allowed children to read books at their present level and to celebrate when they stepped up a level.

At every Professional Development Day Abbotsford teachers are going to do work to improve reading in our school district, asking questions like “Who are these kids? What are their stories? How do we engage them? How do we change reading results for all students?” There will be a real emphasis on Grade three.

Learning to read: Three-years old

But there’s more. Teachers will try to network the School District’s role in reading, with the Community role, including agencies like the Ministry of Children and Families, Fraser Health, and Fraser Valley Library in reaching out to families with babies and young children. There are Ready, Set, Learn Events in 2012 – 2013 for three-year olds facilitated by Early Childhood or Strong Start Program, the Montessori Day Care, and educators. There are Ready For “K” Events at all Abbotsford schools, with a special mention for the Strong Start Programs at Godson, Sayers, Alexander, and Margaret Stenersen Elementary Schools, which run programs over the summer.

Superintendents Report

McCreary Society Adolescent Health Survey

The school trustees routinely hear a report from the Superintendents. In my last post I published an old article that talked about why Abbotsford has been holding off on surveying our youth about social issues. Agencies that collect this data, like Fraser Health and the Ministry of Children and Families, had approached the Abbotsford School Board for permission to survey Abbotsford students. Five years ago the Board felt the questions about sex and drugs on some surveys were inappropriate. John Sutherland says this year’s McCreary Adolescent Health survey is worded better, sampling a smaller number of students. Only two of British Columbia’s sixty school boards have refused to allow this year’s McCreary Survey. Abbotsford has already completed the 40 Developmental Assets Survey in 2010 at great financial expense to our city. This was the survey that showed us that Middle School, and specifically Grade 8, was the grade with the greatest loss of student assets, possibly because students get lost in the transition to secondary school. Last year we surveyed students about drug use, a survey all seem to now approve. Both these previous surveys allowed us to respond to serious community problems. Hopefully, this year’s survey goes smoothly and yields more helpful statistics.

Happy World Teachers’ Day!

How to Build a Positive Parent-Teacher Relationship

Ruth Spivak is a teacher and a parent. She says that when it comes to our children sometimes irrational emotions blind us to a business-like relationship. Saying this to divorced parents is like preaching to the choir, but World Teachers’ Day is a good day to review Ruth’s 5 practices to promote respectful, co-operative relationships.

  1. Make An Appointment
  2. Respect Knowledge and Expertise
  3. Listen and Follow Recommendations
  4. Check In Regularly
  5. Don’t Be Quick To Point The Finger

    Check out Ruth’s 5 Rules to Build a Positive Parent-Teacher Relationship.

    NY Family Therapist: Linda Gottlieb

    Linda Gottlieb is a New York Family Therapist who rights wonderful posts about parental alienation. In her attached letter she expands on the following five points:

    1. “There can be no credible controversy about the power of parents to influence children.”
    2. It is simply anti-instinctual for a child to reject a parent.
    3. All the research indicates that children who have a parent either absent from their lives or only marginally involved develop very poor outcomes.
    4. We need to consider how unhealthy it is for a child to linger with unresolved anger for a parent.
    5. At some point in the child’s life she will recognize that she rejected a parent, when she rebuffed that parent’s efforts to re-enter her life.
    6. I have seen the serious detrimental effects to children in my own practice as a result of this triangulation.

    Check out Linda’s letter.

    La fête des bulles d’amour – 25 avril, 2013
    Ensemble, nous sommes capables de beaucoup.
    Il n’y a que 201 jours avant la journée de sensibilisation!

    Bubbles Of Love Day – April 25, 2013
    Together We Can Make A Difference
    Only 201 days till Awareness Day!

    Favourite Links

    Dr. Richard Gardner.com via Dr. Richard A. Warshak.com

    COCHEM, GERMANY: The Cochem shared parenting model

    L’Action des Nouvelles Conjointes et Nouveaux Conjoints du Québec

    ACALPA – UNE ASSOCIATION CONTRE L’ALIÉNATION PARENTALE pour le maintien du lien familial


    Canadian Children’s Rights Council – Conseil canadien des droits des enfants





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