Franc Depart- the French StrongStart in Poco

Program: Franc Depart or the Strong Start in French.

Location: 1618 Patricia Ave Port Coquitlam, BC V3B 4A8 and other schools in BC; see here for details

Cost: free, parent participation required

When: 9am-12pm, Mon-Fri

Parking: yes, limited

This is one post I wanted to put out there for a while, I remember some moms asking at some point if there is a version of the StrongStart in French, and yes there is. It is called Franc Depart and it takes place at Ecole des Pionniers-de-Maillardville in Port Coquitlam. I went with my kids there once at their temporary location. They were in the process of being relocated to a more final place, but shortly after we went they informed us by email that the program will be closed until the relocation is complete. And they are still closed. I believe we were supposed to receive an update on an estimate opening date somewhere beginning of May.

This time I don’t have any pictures to attach unfortunately, for some reason I can’t find them anymore, they would have been from the old location anyway. Nevertheless, once they re-open I will add some.

As for the program overall, it is indeed similar to Strong Start. The children need to be accompanied by an adult, age group is 0 to 5 years old. Activity wise they have free play in the beginning of the day, followed by snack and circle time. That time we went, they had no gym, but I am not sure if that was because of the location, or because in general Franc Depart doesn’t offer gym. I guess we will find out with our next visit.

The onsite educator welcomed us, she was very nice, took the time to explain to us what the program is about and handed us the form to fill out and some flyers. We need to get the form ready for next time I suppose.

Go if you have the chance. Good opportunity to practice your French!

I hope you enjoyed this post and like always, happy playing!

If you have any comments, please feel free to add them. If you like this post and would like to be notified by email about similar articles, don’t forget to subscribe.

Also, share your experience if you happen to visit this location!

Sorina

 

Burnaby Lake

Location: Burnaby; easiest way for me to remember its location is that it is close to Costco (3550 Brighton Ave, Burnaby, BC V5A 4W3)

Parking available: yes, limited

This regional park, right in the heart of Burnaby, is a place to reconnect with the natural world without leaving the city. The area is a stunning wildlife sanctuary where birdwatchers regularly spot great blue herons, bald eagles, belted kingfishers, osprey and even rarer birds such as the small green-backed heron.

The lake was created by a glacier 12,000 years ago, and only a century ago its shores were home to bustling sawmills. Today, a viewing tower on that same shore provides a bird’s-eye view for spotting wildlife. You can view the lake from your canoe or kayak to get an up-close look at the busy beavers, diving ducks and turtles feeding in the marsh.

Burnaby Lake has a rowing course suitable for canoeing, kayaking and rowing training.

We go there every so often, we started going when I was pregnant with my daughter and tried making it a habit every now and then. Perfect place to see birds, photograph them, watch them and spend a quiet time in the middle of nature. The scenery is spectacular, no matter what time of the year you go, rain or shine, for sure you will find it very interesting to take a moment and enjoy nature in its pure form, take a picture and simply be.

There are washroom available. You can hike, walk, stroll if suitable gear in place. Definitely a place to check and enjoy!

That is all until next time! I hope you enjoyed this post!

If you have any comments, please feel free to add them. If you like this post and would like to be notified by email about similar articles, don’t forget to subscribe.

Also, share your experience if you happen to visit this location!

Sorina

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Christmas in the malls

Ho ho ho!!! Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Just like that, Christmas in the malls. We spend more ‘Christmas time’ in the malls rather than at home. True. Busy with the holidays preparations, I took my kids and my mom to the two malls nearby, Coquitlam Centre and Lougheed Town Centre recently to buy some of the things we needed. And everyone was doing the same. The malls are packed with people, all the time, but especially during winter holidays.

You know how the malls have huge parkings and you wonder who parks in those secluded spots, far far far away from the entrance? Well, someone is, during winter holiday shopping season. That’s how you can tell how crowded a mall centre is, by looking how many cars are parked outside. I try to avoid going there too often, now when it’s so crowded. It’s true that with the cold season, sometimes, going to an indoor playground in some mall is a good idea.

Entering the parking lot, I quickly realized that finding a closer parking spot may prove to be a challenge. Crossing the entire space with a double stroller equals no fun.

Everyone is shopping, that is the word of the day, shopping, sometimes I wonder what do we buy all the time. We’re walking away with tons of bags of stuff. Well, that is for another discussion.

Coming to one of the central figures in the mall these days, Santa Claus, this year I took my daughter for the second time to see him and surprisingly, she reacted exactly like last year, and that is very suspicious of the fat man dressed in red that she didn’t know. She kept checking him out, with a serious face and said no whenever Santa or myself invited her to sit in his lap and tell her wishes.

My son on the other hand, didn’t seem to be bothered in any way. Those are the two sides of the story, you either love Santa or you don’t.

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It’s funny how every time we go, to either of the malls, and I ask her if she wants to go visit Santa, she gives me a confident ‘no’ and keeps her distance, watching him from afar, curious, checking every moves he takes and probably wondering what’s that about, what he is up to. It’s like she wants to keep an eye on him.

One time, Santa was telling me that it may take a few years until she ‘accepts’ the idea. She may continue to show this resistance the following years too, but that’s fine. Astrid doesn’t really know or understand what Christmas is, or what Santa can bring. She is not familiar with the concept of present or gift. But that is ok, there is no rush.

Well, that is all for now. Wrapping presents almost done, shopping list checked out, we are waiting for the holiday spirit to take over and let’s enjoy some quiet time with family and close ones!

And of course, let’s hope for some snow if possible. White Christmases are the best!

I hope you enjoyed this post and Merry Christmas everyone!

If you have any comments, please feel free to add them. If you like this post and would like to be notified by email about similar articles, don’t forget to subscribe.

Also, share your experience if you happen to visit these locations during this time of the year!

Sorina

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Playground at Central City Surrey

Location: 10153 King George Blvd, Surrey, BC V3T 2W1

Cost: free

When: depending on the mall hours

Parking available: yes

A few days ago we decided to check the indoor playground at Central City in Surrey. We were in the area so we stopped by a bit, with the rain and all, we have less and less outdoor options.

First thing busy parking outside, we parked on the first available spot. The mall is not very big but it is crowded. Once we entered, so it happened we ran into their indoor playground, which of course was very crowded as well. Lots of kids and unfortunately lots of kids that were clearly too old for that playground, accompanied by their parents made the experience not so pleasant. Hubby decided to be the playmate for Astrid this time, let himself guided thru the maze.

They hardly tried any of the options, there were kids everywhere. Some of them monopolizing some of the toys, making it difficult for anyone else to play.

Second, you know how I mentioned these playgrounds require that you wear sock? Well, noone was and those who weren’t barefoot, were not wearing socks, but shoes, parents too.

We didn’t spend too much time there and headed out. My daughter didn’t really enjoy and neither did we.

See you next time!

 

If you have any comments, please feel free to add them. If you like this post and would like to be notified by email about similar articles, don’t forget to subscribe.

Also, share your experience if you happen to visit this location!

Sorina

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Coquitlam Public Library

Location: Coquitlam Public Library

Poirier Branch 575 Poirier Street Coquitlam, BC V3J 6A9
City Centre Branch 1169 Pinetree Way Coquitlam, BC V3B 0Y1

Cost: free

When: depending on the library schedule

Parking available: yes

One of the obvious places you can go is of course the library. Very multidisciplinary, the libraries are extremely popular, they are full of people all the time. The variety of books they offer is huge, and depending of what you want, to read something onsite, borrow, google something, they have it all. It is amazing, I am always happy to be able to access such places nowadays, but it’s quite interesting to see how libraries have adapted to keep up with the trends in technology. It might not seem much, but back in my home town as a kid in Romania we didn’t have this kind of library, so I am enjoying it as much as possible. And of course, I am happy to take my kids too and enjoy some reading, or some walks around.

When we first moved to BC we used to go to VPL (Vancouver Public Library), but since we are now in Tricities, Coquitlam Public Library is the closest one for us, Poirier or City Centre, either one works.

Today we went to the branch on Pinetree, that is where we usually go, except for when all the board books are gone, yes, sometimes all the baby books are gone, or almost all gone. When that happens, to check the Poirier branch. Once we get there, Astrid helps me check the books in. She is fascinated by the green/ red light that let you know when you can place the book in order to be taken away.

Then we go pick up some new books, and if we can’t find anything we like, we ask the lady at the reception to check if there are any returned / checked in but not available yet for the public. Usually, there will be some so we select a few from there as well.

Once that’s done, we check the books out and we continue walking around in the library, reading a story or two, having a snack of course, we never say no to a snack; we might play in the children’ area, make a friend or two, and then we head out.

Libraries also offer baby time/ story time/ mother goose all through the year. It’s basically 30-45 min of songs and stories. We used to go to another library when Astrid was little and when she used to stay still, for baby time, and I know both Poirier and City Centre branches offer such classes, you simply need to check their website. They have different timelines depending on the season.

That is it for now!

I hope you enjoyed this post!

If you have any comments, please feel free to add them. If you like this post and would like to be notified by email about similar articles, don’t forget to subscribe.

Also, share your experience if you happen to visit this location!

Sorina

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So, what’s new?IMG_8280

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Mommy look what I found!

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Lots of traffic….

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These steps are easy to follow 😀

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Never say no to a snack 😛

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Snack with grandma of course

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I am hiding, can you see me?

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Gotcha!

Strong Start Riverview School District 43 in Coquitlam

Program: Strong Start

Location: various schools in BC

Cost: free, parent participation required

When: mornings or afternoons, depending on the school

Parking available: yes, limited

This is probably the most complete program for 0-5 years olds that exists at the moment and it is completely free. It is more of a 360 program and I will explain why. It requires parent/ caretaker participation.

The program runs in the morning from 8:45am to 11:45am or in the afternoon, depending on the school you go to. Some schools offer it in the morning, some in the afternoon. Here’s a schedule that I found, some may have changed, it’s been a while since I found this, actually it was handed to me by a representative some time ago.

It starts with a 1h 30 m of free play, then they do clean up and head out to the gym, 15 minutes later, they come back for snack and then circle time. There are a large variety of toys and activities, every day is different, and entertaining. My daughter goes here almost daily, and she is never bored, neither am I, just by watching her. You get to network with the other parents as well.

The only downsize I see is that there are kids of different ages so sometimes the older ones will take the toys from the little ones, or some toys are not suitable for all children and so on. But the parent is there to watch the child. There is of course a coordinator as well, that makes sure things happen as they should; Jennifer Benoit is this person at Riverview Elementary and she is very nice, and helpful, my daughter loves her very much. She is definitely a good influence on her.

There is a washroom, for children mainly of course.

That’s it for now!

I hope you enjoyed this post!

If you have any comments, please feel free to add them. If you like this post and would like to be notified by email about similar articles, don’t forget to subscribe.

Also, share your experience if you happen to visit any of their locations!

Sorina

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Town Centre Park and Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam

Location: 1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, BC

Parking available: yes

Probably one of the biggest parks in Tricities, Town Centre Park and Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam together are definitely a good option to spend time outdoor with the family.

There is a generous playground, with sand pits, water/ spray park for the summer, the playground offers a large variety of play stations for different age groups. My daughter is now 20 months, and every time we go there she wants to climb up to the big kids slide, but none of the options given is something she can use, as she still too young to climb something other than stairs; so you get to the point that they were designed a certain way, so that kids of certain age to not access them.

The challenging part is that sometimes it can get pretty busy, popular place so expect it to be full from time to time. Especially during summer, when the water park is open, it really feels busy, crowded, everyone trying to find a spot in the shade.

My daughter started walking only in August, close to the end of the season so we didn’t spend too much time at the water parks, but we tried it a few times and it is quite fun for kids and adults as well. Who wouldn’t want to cool off a bit when the temperature reaches 30 degrees!!! We ended up leaving the place soaking wet, and learned our lesson for the next time and mommy made sure we had the right equipment with us.

Apart from that, we enjoy nice long walks in the park, watching the ducks, avoiding feeding them; what is odd about it is that there is a big sign saying not to feed them, and yet a lot of the passers-by feed them.

You can jog, run, enjoy a picnic, good weather and a mountains or urban scenery!

Plenty of parking and washroom available, so go check it out and I will see you around!

I hope you enjoyed this post!

If you have any comments, please feel free to add them. If you like this post and would like to be notified by email about similar articles, don’t forget to subscribe.

Also, share your experience if you happen to visit this location!

Sorina

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Bear in the area

This bear thing is new to me. Where I am from, we didn’t really have any around. Originally I am from a small town in Romania with absolutely no bear activity.
That sounds like danger. And it’s what we go through during the summer season when the bears start to wonder around. We have two little parks aka forests nearby and a simply walk in the park can turn into a saying hi to a bear (Mundy park and Riverview Forest).
This sign is everywhere and when you need to stroll with your baby daily, it becomes something you need to pay attention to. My mom is visiting from abroad and she takes Astrid out for walks daily. And the other day, when I happened to be with them, a man on his bike stopped and told us there was a bear 50 m behind us – we were on a sidewalk next to Mundy park, so we hurried to avoid the area and put some distance between us and the bear. We walked fast down the street and disappeared on one of the streets, getting as far as possible from there.

But what do you do when you meet the bear? What would have my mom done, as she doesn’t even speak English, therefore wouldn’t have understood the man telling her to watch out? Exactly. Now, apparently when you run into a bear, first thing to NOT do is run. Stay or walk backwards slowly, trying to appear big in front of the bear.

So here is my 2nd story, which this time involves an actual bear and answered my above mentioned question. One Saturday morning we went to Alouette park, which is close to Mundy park and we took Astrid for a swing. Me, 40 weeks pregnant and ready to pop, I was sitting on a bench, the only bench that park has and notice a bear crossing the street and coming towards my bench. It was obviously looking for food, sniffing around. And what do i do? Scream at my husband to grab our daughter and leave the park. At the same time, I start running, or more of a fast pacing, I couldn’t really run, given the advance pregnancy status I was in and join my husband in leaving the park.

We left the stroller behind and took a detour, came back, took the stroller and headed home. And that was it. So my immediate reaction was to run, despite the warning.

And that answers my question.

Check these articles below. More on what actions to take:

https://www.portcoquitlam.ca/city-services/pets-wildlife/bear-safety/

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/how-to-survive-a-black-bear-encounter-1.2718756

Be bear aware!

Sorina

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Keswick Park in Burnaby

Location: 9452 Cardston Ct, Burnaby, BC V3N 4R6

Parking available: there is parking available on the street

I know, I said Tricities, and yet I crossed the border and ended up in Burnaby. Just kidding. Close to Lougheed mall, where we go often, as it is close to our place in Coquitlam, you can find Keswick Park, a spray park and outdoor playground, with a lot to offer for kids of different age groups.

Several slides that appeal to kids of different ages, tunnels, climbing structures, lots of room to run around, swings, all there for your little one to enjoy. The place is great overall, worth stopping by for sure, if you’re in the area. There is a sand pit and wood chips available, as you’ve noticed, my daughter simply loves playing with the wood chips, even when it’s wet.

The playground is next to a tiny hiking zone, if interested, I remember one time i actually took the stroller on those paths, which turned out quite a workout. I only had one baby back then, but still, not a very wise decision.

If you enjoy basketball, there is a court available too. With decent amount of seating area, washrooms, green space and a generous playground, a picnic is a good option too. It is very close to the main road and the Lougheed Skytrain, which makes it pretty noisy, but still a nice urban park to consider taking your little one.

I hope you enjoyed this post and like always, happy playing!

If you have any comments, please feel free to add them. If you like this post and would like to be notified by email about similar articles, don’t forget to subscribe.

Also, share your experience if you happen to visit this location!

Sorina

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Simply loving the wood chips

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