Monthly Archives: February 2012

Teaching Our Kids Life Skills


HEART Emotional Intelligence time at Golden Goose Learning Centre

Today during our HEART Emotional Intelligence circle time at Golden Goose we will be talking about ‘Doing the Right Thing”. We are working on encouraging our students to think about their decisions and possible consequences before acting. Most students start exploring their boundaries at a very young age. A typical example is when a class has substitute teacher for the day. Common, we’ve all been there. Our teacher is away for a day and the minutes a supply teacher comes in, we can do whatever we want! I am so excited to give our students an activity around role-playing different situations of right and wrong.

As we teach Emotional Intelligence twice per week, I notice as a teacher (and a parent) that most of the students are confused about ‘life decisions’. For example, while growing up I was never formally taught what to say to someone if a loved one passed away. I remember awkward moments if someone were to tell me I am beautiful or that I needed to pluck my eyebrows! I learned about the word ‘trust’ through experience along with what ‘friendship’ and the power of a positive attitude. The reason why I love our HEART circle time so much is because it give me an opportunity to understand how our students minds work and how they rationalise. It also gives me and other teachers an opportunity to share our life experiences around the topic so our young students can learn and take away their own. It’s probably the most satisfying time of my day to share, discuss and learn together.

So around our topic today I thought I would share our activity if you would like to try it! I found it on


Some decisions you make aren’t terribly important. For example, you might decide to have chocolate cookie instead of cake. But other decisions may involve a choice between right and wrong, and sometimes it’s not easy to know what to do. Whenever you aren’t sure what’s the right thing to do, stop and think! Ask yourself these questions:

What does my conscience—that “little voice” inside my head—say about it?

 Could it hurt anyone—including me?

Is it fair?

 Would it violate the Golden Rule? (How would I feel if somebody did it to me?)

Have I ever been told that it’s wrong?

Deep down how do I feel about it?

How will I feel about myself later if I do it?

What would adults I respect say about it?

If you still can’t decide, talk it over with someone you trust and respect.

Here are some things you can do to encourage your child to always try to do what’s right.

Start with your own example. If you always base your own decisions on what you believe is right, that will mean more to your child than hours of lecturing.

Take time to talk about issues of right and wrong with your child.

When you watch TV or movies with your child, look critically at the way the characters behave and have a discussion about it.

Be sensitive to what your child says about decisions involving right or wrong. Don’t hesitate to correct statements like, “It doesn’t matter—nobody will ever find out” or “Everybody does it.”

Encourage your child to think about whether something is right or wrong before acting.

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more about Golden Goose Learning Centre and HEART here:

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What I Learned:Take a Load Off!

I went to the gym today, I do every Sunday and feel guilty that I only go once per week. When I’m there it feels great. I work from home, so essentially my home is where I eat, take care of my three kids, sleep and miraculously in the midst of everything: work. I have a lot going on and when I am at the gym, I feel I am giving something back to myself, my body. But that’s not the best part of what happened today. I read a super article about called “Take a Load Off” by Martha Beck. At first glance I was like “Okay here we go: I know!! Eat well, excercise daily, take your vitamins, hang out with ONLY positive people, yeah yeah yeah. Funny enough it wasn’t and this article actually turned my day around. Here is what I took away from it:

1. What’s on your plate: This was brilliant! Martha explains that instead of fighting the to do list, why not just accept that part of being alive is doing stuff! I am always trying to finish the to-do-list and feel that I am in this race to FINISH IT! She says “To stop worrying about something, simply direct your attention toward something else. For example: What if an elk walked into the room right now?” I literally laughed out loud when I thought of that. It worked. 🙂

2. Your children:  I have been running away from my kids lately. If they are playing in a room, I let them have fun, but don’t join them, rather just close whatever door I can find, and fold laundry or try to type an email. They are at an age now where their noise is loud and continuous. Yes, I know they are kids, which is why I try to ‘shut myself out’ at least for half the day.  After reading this article, it helped change my thoughts to a new perspective. Martha spoke about worrying about our kids and she learned that we don’t actually have much control over the way our kids turn out. “Genes do a lot of the deciding and the owner of those genes does most of the rest. Either way, people blossom when we love them, not when we worry about them.” In my case I didn’t feel I was worried so much but rather not really loving them as kids when they made noise. When they were sleeping, or studying or playing a board game, they are just great! But it doesn’t work that way, I realized while reading that I have to choose my kids, for what they are and what they are not.

3.What you own: This one was big for me. The house has to be clean, and everything needs to be in its place. I’ll admit, it drives me nuts when things are untidy. I’ve tried so many times to just ‘not look’ but it doesn’t work. My husband isn’t the greatest help and thinks that Mary Poppins herself wouldn’t satisfy my clean -the -house needs. Martha gave some pretty cool advise here which got me thinking: “If you’d rather live surrounded by pristine objects than by the traces of happy memories, stay focused on tangible things. Otherwise, stop fixating on stuff you can touch and start caring about stuff that touches you.” LOVE IT.

4.Your account balance: This is big one. I spend everything I earn. I love going out to eat, having fun on the weekend with the family and and and! There is no payoff here. I read this book called “Screw It,Just Do It!” by Richard Branson (my idol) and he mentioned that if the main reason you are going to work is to make a lot of money: it’s not going to work. Have fun and money will come. Easier said than done buddy but Martha’s article was right there with me today: “I proactively pushed aside worry as I worked. Did I make money sooner because I stopped worrying? I don’t think so. Did I enjoy my life more from that moment on, regardless of how much I had in the bank? Abso-freaking’lutely. Go about your business, whatever it is, with full energy. And drop the worry. Watch how much stronger your moneymakeing skills become when you’re not dragging around a hefty load of anxiety.”

Here’s to trying Martha! Let me know if you enjoyed this article and what you took away from it today.

-Nadia;37 Golden Goose Learning Centre Parent

Teaching Kids about Money. Yes or No?

At the Kids Bank cashing our 'cheques' at CampZoneI had an interesting conversation with the owner of a private school about HEART Learning the other day. He loved the philosophy: Health and Wellness, Emotional Intelligence, Academic Excellence, Readiness for the World of Finance and Talent through art. What’s not to love? He stopped when I told him more about our Mini-Economy and how we replicate the real world economy in order to help kids understand the world of money. “I disagree” he said. “We live in such a money hungry society and we are just training our kids to be a part of that at such a young age?!” He was very passionate about what he was saying. “I mean everything today is just about money…why not teach the kids to earn ‘points’ or teach them to do well simply because it’s the right thing to do? Why associate everything with money?”

Interesting perspective, however completely not why we replicate the economy at Golden Goose. I agree. Today’s world is more about ‘the money’ however if we look at the order of events in our lives here is what I believe happens. As we grow our parents support us through school and advise us to ‘do well’, ‘get good grades’, ‘do your best’ etc. Why Mom? Why Dad? Answer: “Well, so when you get older like me, you’ll get a good job.” Most of the time the conversation (at least back then) ends there! Grow up, play, have fun, study well and get good grades at school, to get a GOOD job, that pays well. What then? No one every explains with that job MONEY comes..and then what? I know! I’ll spend it!! Buy food, clothes, entertainment, travel etc.  And the rat race begins. You get yourself in the world of go to work, make money, spend A LOT, get a credit card to spend MORE, savings? are you kidding??? I can barely make it!! Invest? What’s invest mean??? Assets more than your liabilities?? Huh??

My point is that no one every teaches our kids what’s next after they get that job. The world of money is a  study and most of us miss the boat until way in our late 30’s or 40’s and sometimes longer! Our lives as adults (and most of the stress) comes from ‘how am I going to make enough money to do XY or Z?’ Meanwhile few  adults actually learn about the world of money and have their money working for them! They invest, own equity, wealth and work less much less than the average working man/woman yet earn  A LOT more! Now back to ‘get a GOOD job’. for a minute: What if I want to create my OWN job? Own my own business and become an entrepreneur? No one teaches that in school, yet it is a wonderful opportunity to create your own business: use your creativity, create more jobs, and get to make money doing something you love. Why not?

What we do with HEART Learning is not teach kids how to be money hungry, capitalistic, dishonest money mongers. We teach them financial responsiblity, what debit and credit mean, investment, loans and how to be an entrepreneur if they choose. All those words are real, exist and why not prepare them for it? All of this financial teaching is at a very basic level in order to help prepare our young students for the future, and that future does involve making, spending, saving, investing and all other sorts of transactions with money. What’s the harm in teaching a 7 or 8-year-old the concept of demand and supply? They can understand scarcity, opportunity cost and pricing especially if it taught in a fun way: like our Mini-Economy program! Every student gets a ‘job’ (one of my favourites is our meterologis) and earns ‘dollars’. They all have ledgers and get to record ‘debits and credits’ and they balance their books by the end of each month to cash their cheques at the ‘bank’. We have a banker, economist, mini-economy leader and our students just love it! I think that knowledge is power. We should empower our kids and to start teaching them about the world of money at a basic level.  This will  help them get ahead of the game by giving them the tools to understand how money works even if they choose not to be an investment banker in the future.

So I ask you…what are your thoughts around teaching kids about money?

Here is an article by Suze Orman’s Four Top Financial Lessons to Teach Your Kids. Let us know what you think!

From the Director: What’s the Best Thing About our Camp?

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As a Director of Golden Goose Learning Centre I just love camp. Kids are simple,they  make me  laugh and their problems similar to  “Dana, he pushed me.” Done. I can honestly say  I look forward to running every camp whether its Summer, March Break or Winter Holidays. Its pure fun with the kids. First of all they are not ‘students’ anymore but ‘campers!’ The word ‘camper’ reflects enjoyment ,excitement and its  all about being who you are. One thing I love about CampZone, is that everyone has a chance to try something new. Campers can either try Drama or Sports. Some of our ‘sporty’ 11 year old campers  even stepped out of their comfort zones to try dance and drama last year and ended up staying for the rest of the summer because they LOVED it!  Our instructors are just fun people, who work so well together, help our campers out and love what they do.  Each activity has a goal and by the end of camp we get to organize either a performance or a mini-olympics. My fondest memories of CampZone was last summer when our students performing a clip of Seussical . The costumes, make-up and songs were fantastic, especially the Grinch! Watching our campers as young as 4 and 5 work with our 10 and 11 year olds to make it happen was heartwarming. Our teenage volunteers did a fantastic job helping everyday and set such a wonderful example for our students. Watching our Mega Sports campers get a medal during our sports ceremony made us all so proud. We even served our parents fresh waffles with berries and ice-cream during performance nights. It was the best!

One thing about being an economics major : it didn’t really help me plan  my finances well straight after university.  I learned after making many mistakes, through trial and error because what was written in those books did not translate well when it came to real life. No one teaches you that, after graduation, most of us get thrown into the world of finance and we just don’t know much about what the bankers  know! At the centre, I made it a point to somehow incorporate teaching kids about the world of money, in a fun yet educational way. Our students LOVE it and always ask: when can I do my job? So, we did it for camp! CampZone incorporates a Kids Mini-Economy game and its even better because we get all day with the kids, rather than only after school. Each campers at  CampZone gets a ‘job’. For example: secretary and take attendance, caretaker and make sure everyone keeps their area clean or Mini-Economy leader to make sure everyone is doing their job (to name a few). At the end of the session, campers get to cash in their cheques for ‘money’ and spend it on fun toys at our CampZone Store! Everyone gets a ledger and balances debits and credits. It’s a blast for the kids and the instructors! Art is done everyday and my favourite craft was when we decorated wooden frames with clear beads and orange wood chips. They looked so nice!

Camp is the best time of the year for me. I feel happiest working with my students (who turn into campers) because there is nothing in the way.  I feel we get to share more time, talk more about just ‘how my day is going’ and get to open up more during Emotional Intelligence circle around topics such as: what is honesty,kindness, patience and integrity all about? I see our old campers making friend with new campers and everyone just really enjoying themselves in the sunshine or snow! It’s always so great going home at the end of the  day knowing that CampZone perhaps had something to do with creating a great childhood memory.

More information and online registration for March Break CampZone Toronto  found here:

More information on our Mini-Economy, After School Enrichment program and Emotional Intelligence program here:

When It’s Okay to “Tattle”

Sometimes, even when we are doing our best to get along, other people can choose to behave badly. This can be frustrating and hurtful. We asked our students during our Emotional Intelligence Circle the question: When is it okay to tattle? We gave students aged 6-11 some life examples and asked them if they thought they could handle the situation on their own OR if they thought they should tell an adult.  The results showed me as a teacher that young kids going to school really may not know when its important to tell an adult. If your a parent, you can try this exercise at home with your own kids and please share with us how they responded. Your input will help our kids  understand how and why other kids think the way they do.  Here is our exercise and how our students responded:

Question to the students:When is it okay to Tattle? I am going to give you some problems and please  share if you think you can solve the problem on your own or whether you think you should share the problem it with an adult in order to help you. Here is what our students said. (25 students participated)

1. A friend won’t share 

Can solve it on my own (OMO): 10

I would tell an adult (TA): 15

2.Something bad keeps happening to you



3. Someone accidentally hurts you



4.You can’t make a single friend


TA: 5

5.Someone hurts your feelings



6. You are lonely all the time



Not sure:2

7. Someone is being unfair



8. You are frightened to go to school

OMO: 20


So interesting to me as a teacher that my students were very confused about when would be a good time to actually share a problem;especially a persistent problem with an adult. I was amazed that some students even between the ages of 8-10 thought that they could solve feeling lonely every single day on their own. It made me feel a bit sad. I continued to teach them in order to help them identify the different types of  problems they may face each day and we began sharing what would be the more responsible thing to do. “When a problem goes on for a long time, it can slowly make us very unhappy. There are times when we should tell an adult and times when it is our responsibility to work out a problem. You have the right to feel safe and happy.If you don’t feel safe and happy, its time to get help.”

Try another exercise with your kids! Invite your kids to suggest situations where they may not be able to resolve conflict or problems. Ensure your kids understand  that when they are in situations that they cannot resolve themselves, the responsible thing to do is get help. Have them talk to you about who they think they could go to if they have such a problem (either at home or school). The important thing is always know that your not alone! 🙂Image)