Category: I ❤️ CEFA
I always say the same: We live in a community, we all have to do our part. I volunteer a lot of time with different Committees and Boards, especially for our Government. Normally they are for the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Children and Families, and other organizations working with children, families and youth. Sometimes, for the Ministry of Small Business. They are creating a new legislation to protect franchisees in our province, and I was a part of the group who helped evaluate it, work on it, and make sure it was good for everyone involved. To be honest, as a franchisor, it will mean that we will have to do more work and divulge more information to our franchisees, but what’s easiest is not always best, and in this case, the bigger issue is not that it will delay things on my end as a franchisor, but rather that it will ensure that franchisees are protected, and that they know what they are getting into when they invest on a franchise. This is a good thing.
Yesterday, the proposed legislation was introduced for first reading, and I was asked to go as a franchisor, to share my thoughts on it. It was so great to see the people who worked so hard on it finally see the fruit of their labour! But the best part, the very very best part, was hearing one of our franchisees (who was asked to speak on behalf of franchisees), talk about how fortunate he and his wife were to have opened one of our schools, and now a second and third. He talked about CEFA providing all of the information that will now be required, without being required to do so, and about having the peace of mind of knowing thy had made the right choice. It made my heart burst with pride 🙂
I am not sure that I can share their photo, but here’s the one of me, and the link to the report:
Anyway, happy to have done my part, and to continue to be the type of franchisor I can be proud of. Go CEFA!!
It is soooo amazing to see that another one of our schools has celebrated 10 years in their community. Working at CEFA makes me so happy! Never did I ever imagine that we would have so many schools and make such a difference in children’s lives! 🙂
I just watched a TED Talk called “The nerd’s guide to learning everything online” by John Green.
He talked about how much he disliked learning in the traditional sense (school), and how pointless he felt it was, until he changed schools and got inspired to learn. This happened, he says, because he, for the first time, felt inspired to do so by the people around him. I quote: “And all at once I became a learner. And I became a learner, because I found myself in a community of learners. I found myself surrounded by people who celebrated intellectualism and engagement, and who thought that my ironic oh-so-cool disengagement wasn’t clever, or funny, but, like, it was a simple and unspectacular response to very complicated and compelling problems. And so I started to learn, because learning was cool.”
Being an educator, people’s experiences and interactions with education fascinate me. I love school. I have always loved school, always loved learning, reading, participating in class. I loved it so much that I knew, when I was two years old, that I was going to become a teacher, just so that I could always be at school. What I didn’t know back then, is that not everyone loved school, and it wasn’t for a lack of effort or enthusiasm, it was just not the right way of learning for them.
This is why hearing people, like John Green, talk about what finally attracted them to be a lifelong learner, is very interesting to me: It gives me a window into that person’s way of learning. My job is then to climb through that window and look at my schools from the inside, from their viewpoint, to see if we are reaching people like him.
You see, schools don’t have to teach the way they teach, they just do. It takes time to revolutionize an entire educational system. I have the advantage of owning my own school, which keeps us nimble. We discover a new way for people to learn, like John on Youtube, and we evaluate our program immediately, not decades later, to see if we are reaching all our students.
Like John, there are many children (and adults) who would feel re-inspired to learn, if only they felt that spark that John felt. My job as an educator, is to make those sparks happen. How?
In the classroom, by making all classroom learning experiences interactive. The student’s job is not to listen, it is to get involved, ask questions, find answers, be interested. If you want data, there’s google for that now.
Outside of the classroom as well, by teaching children to learn from every form that it presented to them. They can learn from asking questions, but also from teaching someone. They can learn from just walking outside, because the have been taught to look around, ask questions, discover. They can learn from Youtube, like John, because like him, they discovered something appealing, and found their tribe of learners.
Children are avid learners, but schools show them a very narrow vision of what learning is. They learn that classrooms are for learning, they learn that there’s nothing one can learn from looking at a tree, running down a hill, watching television, so when they do those things, they don’t get the benefit of learning from it.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that children should spend all their time running down hills or watching tv. What it means is that at school, they have been taught how to find learning everywhere, how to be lifelong learners. They have been encouraged to be curious, to try new ways of doing things.
That’s also why I work with children younger than five. That time is the most significant in the development of their brains, but also, setting up good habits (like the habit of looking for ways to learn and get engaged) at such a young age ensures that, regardless of the teachers they have in the future, they will always be lifelong learners.
I personally don’t spend any time on Youtube, so I don’t often find learning opportunities there, which is exactly why it was important for me to listen to John’s talk. I would not have connected those dots because they were not of interest to me. But to John, they are, and most likely, to many people too. Now that I have seen John’s TED Talk, I have a newfound understanding of Youtube, and of people like John, who want to find a learning community to interact with. I can now integrate this into my own views on education, and therefore make our schools more responsive to this specific type of learning.
Today I learned about why John thinks that “in a lot of ways, the YouTube page resembles a classroom”, and started thinking about how communities learn, beyond the classroom walls. I also learned something that i had not thought of before but that was so obvious now that I think of it, which is that every person can learn to want to learn (no pun intended here), given the right community. So how do we build these rich communities? How do we make this free learning accessible to everyone? How do we encourage our children to ask questions and marvel at the world, if they don’t already? How can our children, like John, re-connect with their love of learning? It’s there, we all have it.
The more I ask myself these questions, the more the world around me expands, and the more possibilities I see. And the more possibilities I see, the more I can share with my teachers, and the more they can offer their students.
Here’s John’s talk, if you’re interested:
Here is a report on it, if you, like me, want the nitty gritty. We can’t truly be educators if we are unaware of the social emotional needs of our children.
Read this in the Human Early Learning Partnership (UBC):
Life remains challenging for British Columbia’s most vulnerable children and youth – including those in government care and Aboriginal children and youth – says a joint report released on June 18 by B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall.
Growing Up in B.C. – 2015 examines the question, “How are our children doing right now?” As a follow-up to the first Growing Up in B.C. (GUIBC) report issued in 2010. The report documents the state of B.C.’s children and youth over six areas of well-being, and features the perspectives of both youth and experts, including contributions from HELP’s Interim Director, Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl. View the full report.
I just saw their tweet:
She started @CEFAschools as a teacher, but to continue to grow it @natachabeim had to become a student of business:
It’s true, all I wanted was to work in a school that had an amazing program for children. When I didn’t find one, I started my own. Little did I know that it would turn into a Franchise, owned by families, teachers, mothers, people who wanted the same thing for their children.
I am very grateful to all of our amazing franchisees, teachers, staff, and families (www.cefa.ca) You have helped me grow so much, and so far beyond what I ever thought I could give as a person!
I am also grateful to EO, the Entrepreneurs Organization (http://eoaccess.eonetwork.org/vancouver). Since I joined EO almost 4 years ago, I learned so much, grew my company, and made many amazing friends.
The first 19 years with CEFA have been amazing, and the next 40 will be even more incredible, because every day, we all try to do better, learn something new, contribute, and that is what keeps us moving forward.
OK, this post was a little sappy. Man, you would think I won an Oscar or something! 🙂
Here is the 3 minute Youtube video:
I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was two years old. Maybe even earlier than that – I think I might have come out of the womb with a chalkboard. It is my passion, my calling, my contribution. I love children so much, I want to help make their childhood a magical one.
Being a great teacher is much like being a professional athlete: It requires, drive, commitment, passion, and hours of daily practice.
I was exploring the internet today and came across a great blog post, featuring a great video by @KeyAndPeele, and I want to share with you. Meredith Bennett Smith (@) wrote the greatest blog post about it, I couldn’t have said it better myself, so here it is, in her own words:
ps – I am new at this social media thing. I am sure there’s a better way to share, but not quite sure how to yet 🙂
My friend Jeff Duncan invited me to this year’s Variety Show of Hearts, which happened a few months ago. It was a televised fundraising event and I was happy to volunteer my time, as they work for a cause that I strongly believe in: They provide support for children with disabilities (http://www.variety.bc.ca/).
I was already impressed with their work, and many of my friends and CEFA families have benefited directly from their help, for their own children. Today, however, I reached a higher level of admiration for these folks.
Jeff insisted we all meet for lunch as he saw a potential synergy between CEFA and Variety. He was so amazing, he even organized it and paid for the whole lunch (that man has to get a medal soon), can you believe it?
So we met, and first of all, they were such interesting people with interesting lives, I was very tempted to set our agenda aside, order a few drinks and just chat about life instead! This will have to be done another day. They are really passionate about what they do, they have clear goals for the next three years, they had done their research on our schools and on potential projects we could work on together, and they had this incredible enthusiasm for their organization! It is not often that I meet people like that outside of my CEFA, EO, YPO and personal friends circles, so I was really blown away.
We talked about where the gaps were between what families with children with disabilities need, and what the government can provide, and they also talked about a sector that is very near and dear to my heart: children who have no home and have nowhere to go and no resources. They are expanding their programs to collaborate with organizations that work with these children, such as, I just found out, St-Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. They worked with a new Autism Centre in Richmond, they worked with great organizations.
This coming year is their 50th anniversary (and CEFA’s 20th – yay!), and we are hard at work trying to figure out how we can help each-other. For instance, they can help us bring awareness to these issues in our schools, and we can help them fundraise, or even help in other ways (more on this later).
At CEFA, one of our Core Values is Contribution, and it is intertwined in all of the aspects of our curriculum. Children feel needed, feel important, and know that they are learning BECAUSE they are counted on to make a difference. They expect that much from themselves, and it an incredible gift to give them. Our children, as young as 1 and 2, and our teachers, have worked on projects like building schools in developing countries, contributing to libraries worldwide, sent one of our teachers to her native city in Japan, when the tsunami hit, with supplies, gifts, clothes, gifts, and kept in touch with her through e-mails and video… The list goes on. These children feel that what they do matters, makes a difference.
I think that if we developed a curriculum piece around awareness, acceptance, empathy, Variety would be the perfect fit. I have a lot of ideas already, and we will start working together as soon as next week!
I love CEFA so much! I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to inspire children to contribute, to live their lives with purpose, to live it to the fullest!
I can’t wait to see how incredible this collaboration will turn out for them, for our teachers, and for Variety! Definitely the highlight of today!
This is at their show earlier this year. Oh, and if you have any suggestions or ideas on how we could collaborate, please leave a comment or e-mail me at email@example.com!