Healthy teachers – happy classrooms

A health-focused Lynn Valley couple has written the book on keeping teachers healthy. With more than 20 years practicing occupational therapy focusing on the education sector Wade Repta put much of his expertise down on paper in The Well Teacher with the help of his wife Andrée.


Keeping teachers well


“Expectations on teachers are extremely high,” said Wade. “They work under extreme scrutiny and typically they are hare high performing individuals who put others ahead of themselves. The job can be overwhelming – it’s far more challenging than people think.”

Covering a range of topics The Well Teacher was written to give teachers practical tools to keep them in the classroom longer and to get them back sooner after injury or illness.

“If someone is struggling with mental or physical health it can be a tough to manage while caring for 22 children,” said Wade. “I have probably worked with over 1000 teachers either one on one or in workshops. We see so many challenges and there was nowhere for them to go to get the information they need. We wanted to give them the information to improve their well being. We hear over and over again ‘Why didn’t I know this?’ Or ‘Why was I never taught this?’”

Another big difference between other sectors and education are the return to work accommodations, explained Andrée. After an injury or significant work absence most employees are able to figure out with their employers reduced hours, part-time schedules, different responsibilities and a variety of other accommodations.

“For teachers depending on their schedule, their blocks, their specialties it can be difficult to find support for that which makes it very different from other sectors,” she said.

Most of the book is specific to the teaching profession which Wade says is to address the unique challenges teachers are facing.

“In the work we do – [the teachers we see] are already struggling,” said Wade. “Our job is to help people to manage their illness or disability and then figure out their work. This book is to help those teachers and to give information to teachers who don’t want to get to that point.”


Specific help for teachers


Topics range from mental health to ergonomics to voice as well as an entire chapter on returning to work after an injury or illness. They cover the day to day life of educators which can slowly erode health. The physical challenges are usually not brute force injuries but stem, typically, from poor routine.

“In younger grade levels everything is low, so there are repetitive injuries from bending, kneeling,” said Andrée. “Or in high school a teacher maybe working by a white board all day long and not doing in the best way.”

Often small changes to classrooms and routines can help those teachers. The Well Teacher also addresses the physical challenges of chronic conditions and disease. But that’s not the case for other teachers.

“Of those we see – people who are asking for help or had a crash – pretty universally, about 50 per cent are off for physical health and about 50 per cent are off for mental health reasons,” said Wade. “We are seeing a lot of anxiety, we are seeing a lot of depression and while it is not a diagnostic term, we are seeing burn out. They are just tired.”

People don’t realize it’s common for teachers to feel that way because they get multiple breaks throughout the year but when they are at work it is overwhelming, he said.

“So many are just barely getting by.”

The Well Teacher website also has a number of resources available that help readers implement the strategies in the book.

“We wanted it to be functional and actually used and put into practice,” said Wade. “We know sitting down and setting goals leads to more success. We want teachers to have more control over their wellness – to prevent a further decline or give them a starting point to get back in the classroom.”

The Well Teacher is available online or by contacting Wade and Andrée at thewellteacher@humanworks.ca to order your copy and arrange Lynn Valley pick up to save on shipping.

From farm to forest

Two Lower Mainland farms are growing their food and delivering it to Lynn Valley giving true farm to table options for local families. One Argyle grad is working the soil near Pemberton, while a lawyer-turned-farmer is guiding three generations on a farm on the Sumas Prairie.


What’s a CSA?


Both small farms offer a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program delivering a box of fresh seasonal fruits and veggies each week or biweekly. The goal is to bring the public and farmers closer together. Members of the CSA program pay in advance for their share which helps farms with start up costs and in-season income fluctuations.  

A Crisp Organics CSA box.

What you need to know

  1. You don’t get to choose what goes in your box – you never know what will be delivered each week. It also means you don’t get a choice. Some CSA programs allow you to pass on a particular item because of allergies or you just don’t like something but if you are picky – this might not be for you. Often the farm will send an email detailing the box which can help identify products you aren’t familiar with.
  2. Expand your palate – Farmers plant what goes best locally, not what big box stores ask for so you won’t get a red pepper in June, but you might in late August. You will also likely get some fruit and veggies you haven’t prepared before, like Jerusalem artichokes or a heritage variety of squash. It is a great way to try something new.
  3. The season’s best – You will be eating the freshest food, not grown in your backyard. You will get fruits and veggies that were picked that morning or the afternoon before. You will find some of the sweetest strawberries and tomatoes of your life in these boxes.

There are two great programs servicing Lynn Valley. CSA programs typically sell out each year,  so if you want to sign up get it done early. Even if the websites aren’t quite ready for the summer 2019 season, sign up for their email lists and get notified of their program kick off.


Four Beat Farm


Argyle grad Naomi Martz has leased 10 acres of land near Pemberton on the traditional territory of the Lil’wat Nation. Four Beat Farm grows 35 different products for its CSA box. Four Beat Farm is Certified Organic, which means no GMOs or synthetic fertilizers are present on the farm and its methods are third-party verified.  They are certified by the Biodynamic Agricultural Society of BC (BDASBC 10*500-40), and use biodynamic growing practices that focus on soil health and creating regenerative farm systems.

A unique feature of Four Beat Farm are its “solar tractors” – their draft horses. The farm uses horses rather than vehicles to work the fields reducing its use of fossil fuels and providing essential compost.

Four Beat Farm delivers biweekly to Lynn Valley on Wednesdays. As a member of the CSA you (or someone you ask) must pick up your box from 3-5:30 p.m. They send out a reminder each week. Last year the season was scheduled from August 15 to October 24 for  a total harvest season of 12 weeks and an extra-large “double share” of storage crops planned to enjoy late into the fall at the final pickup.


Crisp Organics


In 2010 newly minted lawyer Andrew Arkenstyn-Vogler hung up his robes and started a new dream with his parents – an 11 acre farm in Abbotsford.  They have been working the land focusing on sustainability and organic certification. The home farm is certified by the Pacific Agricultural Certification Society, while their extended land is organic transitional.

Crisp Organics runs a large CSA program and serves many farmer’s markets. They grow an array of seasonal vegetables with a focus on greens. They also partner with other organic growers at times to add diversity to their offerings.

The farm’s summer CSA program runs from May 3 to October 25. They deliver once a week to a location near Argyle Secondary. Unique to Crisp Organics – it offers an option to add SPCA certified eggs to your weekly box. If you sign up before the end of February with the code EARLYBIRD you will get a box weekly box free!


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Coffee addicts rejoice

A steady stream of bleary-eyed coffee lovers gave an almost a palpable sigh of relief recently as they returned to their daily pilgrimage to Lynn Valley’s new and improved Starbucks.


Back and bigger


A short walk across the street from its original location, Nancy Oldham and her team have opened the new Reserve store in Lynn Valley Centre, in the old Quiznos’ location on the exterior west wall. The larger space has been elegantly designed, with a dark charcoal accent well, warm wood and stunning wallpaper. It’s a polished upgrade from the previous store than encourages lingering.

“It is so good to be back. During the renovation I worked at several different stores,” said Oldham. “What sets Lynn Valley apart is the community – we serve the same 200 people every morning. We know the people here. That’s pretty unheard of.”

The new store features ample bar space – which highlights the difference between a Reserve and typical Starbucks store.


Roots recognized


“Lynn Valley was chosen for a Reserve store because of Starbucks long history in the area,” explained Oldham. “Lynn Valley was the fifth store outside of the United States. It’s originally lease was signed Howard Schultz [the Starbucks CEO credited with creating coffee cafe culture in North America].”

The long history and loyal customers made Lynn Valley the perfect place to add one of the new reserve stores, she said.


New brew innovations


“Reserve stores offer specialty, small lot coffees not available in the majority of Starbucks stores,” said Oldham. “The assortment of offers change over the year, with new coffees coming in four-six times a year. These coffees are offered by the half pound for sale, or for brewing on our Clover Brewing System.”

She explained the Clover Brewing System uses immersion vacuum extraction. The technique preserves all the coffee oils by eliminating the need for a paper filter.

“It makes an exceptionally flavourful, smooth cup of coffee,” said Oldham. “It is brewed to order, and guests can watch the experience as their coffee is made.”

Also along the warm wood bar are two taps – giving the entrance of the store a feeling closer to brewery than a coffee shop.  

“We offer Cold Brew and Nitro Cold Brew coffee on tap,” said Oldham. “Cold brew is made in-house, at cold temperatures, over 20 hours. This brew process allows the coffee to develop a naturally sweet taste with low acidity. We use a blend of African coffee, which gives a citrus flavour, and Latin American coffee, which adds the sweet chocolate notes. We pour the coffee over ice, or we infuse it with nitrogen gas, which gives an incredibly smooth mouth feel and adds even more sweetness to the cup.”

Oh Christmas Tree – You’re done

We all love a real Christmas tree and all of the decorations and lights that make the holidays shine in the dark winter. But as the season comes to a close, we have a list of local options for chipping and recycling.


Chip ups


Lynn Valley Lions – January 5 & 6 – Lynn Valley Legion

You can sign up when you purchase your tree from the Lynn Valley Lions and they will pick up your tree on Jan. 5 or 6 and chip it for you for a $20 donation. Talk about making it easy.

You can also bring your tree by yourself from noon – 4 p.m.

Scouts Canada – January 5 & 6 – St. Clements Church

The local Scouts are back offering their chip-up by donation at St. Clements Church. The funds raised well fund outdoor activities and programs for local youth.


Lights


Strings of lights can be taken to the North Shore Transfer station.

Think Red for the Holidays

With the busyness and frantic obligations of Christmas and the holidays, we are featuring some of Lynn Valley’s best options for holiday solutions. From finding that perfect something for that hard to buy relative to finding something small and sweet for someone small and sweet: we want you thinking red for the holidays.


One last Christmas


The long-time institution in Lynn Valley where you alway knew you could find just the right gift – 

The Red Tulip Gift Gallery – is closing.  After a fourteen year journey that has taken owners Janice Rothenbush and Lynda Buchholtz from Deep Cove to Lynn Valley Village to Lynn Valley Centre, they are retiring from the retail business this January.

“We have gotten to know so many people,” said Buchholtz. “We have seen families grow up – little kids shopping with parents are returning by themselves as young adults. We live in North Vancouver and love how supportive the community has been. It has been a pleasure to do business here – but it’s time.”


Tulip picks


During this last holiday season Buchholtz and Rothenbush have selected some beautiful pieces to fill your home, tree or gift box. Everything in store is now 20% off as they kick off the holidays with a bang.

Topping the list are tiny felted mice Christmas ornaments. The warmth and whimsy they add to a tree is proving very popular this season, said Buchholtz.

For the bold and creative there are a wide range of Sock it to me Socks – with cheeky designs and bright colours they are the perfect choice to make someone smile.

For the smallest Lynn Valley residents, they have books from local author Tory Townsin, beautiful and delicately soft Jelly Cat stuffies, as well as some locally-made onesies to assert hometown pride early.

The perfect hostess gift are Lucia luxury candles and scents. The Red Tulip is currently carrying the scent Les Saisons with aromatic notes of softwood and pine – no one will know you don’t have a real Christmas tree with this authentic scent.

With simple, elegant designs Rothenbush’s handmade-jewelry line Red Chandelier is sure to add a touch of shine that will delight anyone on your list.

The Red Tulip is located inside Lynn Valley Centre at 1199 Lynn Valley Road.


Childhood delights at Red Door


Tucked away on the campus of the Vancouver Waldorf School, 2725 St. Christophers Road, is a Red Door. Inside you will find a non-profit, parent-run shop dedicated to the wonders of childhood.

“We take great consideration in choosing the toys and art supplies that we offer in our school store,” said Ella Pedersen, manager of the store and Waldorf School parent. “Many of the companies we order from hold values similar to ours in their care for quality, tradition, sustainability and inspiration to engage the senses of children in their development.”

The little shop is elegantly packed with items just calling for a child’s touch. The wooden figures have soft rounded corners and simple paint jobs. The felted dolls have delicate features but simplistic beauty. There are the occasional quality handmade item contributed by Waldorf family, hard to find children’s books, rocks and crystals, even parenting books and sought-after wet weather gear by Abeko.

“We carry quality items – like gorgeous dolls and wooden figures from Germany,” said Pedersen. “We carry good quality craft supplies so it lasts and it’s a pleasure to use.”

Most of the items and supplies in store are hard to find in Vancouver and have artists and art teachers making the pilgrimage to Lynn Valley to pick up molding wax and drawing materials from Stockmar and Lyra.


Whimsy and wonder


Delightful, hard to find books will immerse children in nature and the wonder of the season.

Quality wool felts and felting supplies are a treat for the eye and hands. They are wonderful to work with. Abeko products are sought after in Lynn Valley – they’re essential for outdoor kids.

The details in the tiny dolls and wooden figures are beautiful and thoughtfully created. The designs encourage imaginative hands on place.

The carefully curated art supplies are both ethically and environmentally responsible. They are long wearing and natural – perfect for small children.