Seymour Students go Dragon Boating!

Hold on! Are those Seymour Students in that Dragon boat?

Students from Division 2 and Division 6 get ready to head out!

We do many things together as a school at Seymour school. Dragon boating in False Creek? Who could have imagined?

Students from Division 1 and Division 5 paddle together

Seymour students spent Thursday morning in the water.  In Dragon Boats! Every last one of us from our kindergartens to our Grade 7 students had the opportunity to be dragon boat racers thanks to sponsorship from the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society and the guidance from Dragon Boat BC! Look below – that is all of us in the water down by Creekside Community Center.

Our morning learning happened in Dragon Boats!

After a warm up and suiting up in PFDs and grabbing a paddle, it was time to learn exactly how to paddle!

Learning how to grip the paddle

Then each group headed down the dock to climb into the boats and head out into False Creek.

Getting ready to get on the boats

In the boats we learned about the different calls we had to respond to as a team like: “Let it ride!” “Hold the Boat” “Back Paddle” etc

Students from Division 2 and Division 6 listen to paddling instructions

Can you believe we really got to paddle under the Cambie Street Bridge? Ever looked at a bridge from below? Pretty cool!

Should we paddle under the bridge? YES!!!

There were many best things about this day. No rain! A first experience for many – first time in a dragon boat, first time in any boat, first time seeing our beautiful city from a completely different perspective. Amazing school community building! Exposure to a new kind of sport! So many things to celebrate. It was especially meaningful to be out on the water and look into the other boats and see not just students and Seymour staff but also parents and volunteers. We might be a little school but we have a huge group of committed individuals who support us and it was lovely to share the day with so many people that are part of our community!

A special thank you to our wonderful volunteers, parents and practicuum students who joined us for this experience: Hazel, Nicole, Miles, Liz, Lianne, Sue, Stephen, Maryke and Kim.

Division 7 and Division 4 head out with big smiles, amazing volunteers and staff who didn't mind the extra splashing from our littlest paddlers

And then after an exciting hour in the boats full of paddling, racing and bird watching, it was all about HOTDOGS!! We had a delicious lunch together and shared highlights of our boating!

The K/1 class enjoys their lunch just outside of Creekside Community Center

Lunch line up bonding with big and little buddies!

This lunch line up was a lot of fun!

Thanks to generous donations from the Vancouver community and matched funds from Adopt a School we were able to pay for bus transportation to and from the Community Center.

When we returned to school many students did writing and pictures about their morning. Division 5 (Grade 2/3) wrote thank you letters and excerpts from some of these letters are included here: (Because kids say it best . . . )

Dear Dragon Boaters:

I got wet a bit but I had so much fun! Thanks. But why can we not see fish? From Jacky

I never in my whole life Dragon Boated! But now I have. I want to go again and again. From Carmen

It was good nobody fell in the water. I liked going under the bridge. It was hard pushing the water but I tried my best to do it. From Truman

Thank you for letting our whole school come boating. It was so much fun learning and going fast in the water. We loved eating hotdogs and hot chocolate. From Isa

Thank you for such a good time. I was a little scared at first but when I saw the boat, I knew it wasn’t going to tip over so it turned out to be okay. At the end of paddling my arms felt so tired that I had to go to the doctor. Just joking ha ha ha From Shae Lynn

I liked it when we raced. I won every race. I was in row 8. I’m 8 years old and it was my first time (I was scared) I had a blast. Thank you From Purity

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to go! One of my favourite parts was when we saw a black bird that kept dipping its head underwater. I’ve never been in a Dragon boat before and it was AWESOME! From Catriona

Look! We’re on horses!

In April some of our intermediate students got to spend the weekend at the Zajac Ranch in Mission. Thank you to the Zajac Foundation, Vancity and Thirdwave Bus Company for making this trip a reality!

On our second day at camp, students were split into two groups and had the opportunity to go horseback riding. This lovely horse is all saddled up and waiting for riders!

Many students had never been on a horse. Any nerves were quickly replaced by excitement and joy when sitting up in the saddle ready for a ride.

The Zajac staff and volunteers made everyone feel very calm as they led horses and riders off for a forest walk.

Some students told their guides that they would be happy to ride a horse for the whole entire weekend. One student said that yes he would like to ride off into the sunset on his horse but only if he could come back to the ranch for dinner. (We loved camp meals!)

Guides led three horses and riders at a time through the forest and back into the stable area. Walking through the forest on horseback is pretty amazing!

Excerpts from some student writing:

I was scared to go horseback riding but I got to go on Teddy. It was bumpy. It was my first time to go horseback riding.

We saw the petting zoo and so many animals. Oh and you can’t forget the horses! They were the best!

After breakfast we went horseback riding. My horse was Lexy She is brown. Can we go back to this camp please?

Walking in the woods

In April, some intermediate students were fortunate enough to spend a weekend at the Zajac Ranch in Mission. Thanks again to the Zajac Foundation, Vancity and Thirdwave Bus Company for making this trip possible.

One of the highlights on Day 2 at camp was the Nature Hike through the woods to the lake.  We broke the students into two groups and each group got a guided walk and then had some time to just “be” on the shores of the lake. Beautiful.

Many students had never been in a forest before so walking through a tree was a pretty wild experience!

Students loved the feeling of the springy forest floor and kept commenting on how fresh and clean the air smelled.

photo via Zajac Ranch

It was lovely to hear the birdsong and wonder what animals we might encounter. Banana slug spotting beame an obsession for some! These lovely forest floor creepers really do look like mushy bananas!

Coming up onto the lake with the mountains in the background was just breathtaking! We paused before climbing over the fence to explore the lake shore.

Here are the Rangers, group 1 to go on the walk and lakeshore visit.

Favourite things to do on this lovely morning? We skipped stones, found interesting sticks and just spent time being quiet and calm in a beautiful place. Making new friends. Sharing stories. It was just about perfect.

Yes, it was really this beautiful. And the stone skipping record? Rumour was nine!

Getting There is Half the Fun!

Thanks to the generosity of the Zajac Foundation, Vancity and Thirdwave Bus Company, 27 intermediate students from Seymour got to experience a weekend away at the Zajac Ranch!

Students were excited to participate in a variety of planned activities such as horseback riding, a forest walk, archery, the low ropes course and campfire songs.

Of course, just the bus ride was a big thrill! Our little campers proudly sported their nametags as they found a seat on the bus. What a quiet ride we had! Except of course for the numerous, “How much farther?” questions! Every horse we saw on the ride to the ranch made the students more excited. These wide open spaces certainly didn’t feel like Vancouver!

Our bus driver and assistant were fantastic and students enjoyed the scenery and the smooth ride – until that last thrilling 8 k.m. on the bumpy road into the ranch where we really got a sense that we were going to really be “somewhere else.” Everywhere we looked we saw trees, rocks and waterfalls. Absolutely beautiful!

While there was much to see as we started our tour, for many students the dorms held special charm! This was really our home away from home for two whole nights! We couldn’t believe how beautiful the dorms were. And comfortable! There was a large common room, a ping pong table and a girl’s side and a boy’s side for sleeping. And nothing beats bunkbeds!

Excerpts from some student writing:

Camp Zajac was awesome! I can’t believe that I got to go to camp. I had the best time ever! Espeically the bus ride was awesome. I got to sit with one of my good friends and talk.

The camp I went to is called Zajac. It was the best camp ever. I wish I could to Zajac again! I bet a lot of people like Zajac Ranch. When I first got there it was so pretty.  I was a little bit nervous and then the next day I felt happy. On that day I felt like I wanted to stay there for 1 or 2 weeks! This is the best camp in the world.

I went to camp. I fell asleep on the bus. When I got to camp, I was surprised at the big dorm. I liked the farm animals and the bunny named Ninja!

Stay tuned for more blog posts about our fantastic April weekend!

Important Information about Whooping Cough

This information is from Vancouver Coastal Health

26 March 2012

Increasing pertussis (whooping cough) activity in Vancouver Coastal Health region

To members of the school community,

There has been an increase in pertussis in our region since January 2012. Almost forty cases have occurred in communities – including some Aboriginal communities – across the region as of this week. This is a large increase. There were no cases in the same period last year. As well, the pertussis outbreak in Fraser Health region continues with over 150 cases.

Because of this increase, Vancouver Coastal Health is making free pertussis vaccine available for the following residents of the region (if they haven’t had a shot against pertussis in the last 5 years),

1. All pregnant women and their partners

2. Everyone in contact with babies 18 months of age and younger

3. All Aboriginal people

Vaccine is available from family doctors, public health clinics, and some pharmacists.

Please review your children’s immunization record to make sure they are up to date. Children usually get pertussis vaccine at 2, 4, 6, 18 months of age, at 4‐6 years, and in Grade 9. Right now, it is even more important babies and children get their shots on time.

Pertussis is a very nasty illness. Babies less than one year old can get very sick or even die from it. It starts like a cold (sneezing, runny nose, a low fever and a mild cough). Severe coughing spells start within a week or two. The cough often ends with a whoop or crowing sound when the person breathes in. Adults and teens usually don’t make the whooping sound when they cough, so making a diagnosis is more difficult. Your doctor or nurse practitioner can do a swab test from the nose to confirm it.

Coughing spells are often severe enough to cause gagging or throwing up and may last more than two months.

To see how severe pertussis can be in young babies, and to understand what the whooping cough sounds like, you can look on You Tube under “Babies with whooping cough”.

If you are exposed to pertussis, it usually takes 7 to 10 days to fall sick, but may take up to 21 days. Treatment with antibiotics cuts down the time pertussis germs can spread from three weeks to five days. Children with pertussis must stay home from school until they have taken antibiotics for 5 days.

If you or your children develop early symptoms of whooping cough, please see your family physician or nurse practitioner.

More information is available at or at or

Happy Spring Break

Hope everyone is enjoying Spring Break!

School begins again on Monday March 26th 2012

Escalation of Job Action – Letter from the Superintendent

Latest information regarding Teacher Job Action

This letter is on the VSB site. For translated versions please follow this link

March 1, 2012

Dear Parents / Guardians:

Teachers have chosen to escalate the job action that has been in place since September. A recent ruling by the Labour Relations Board (LRB) allows teachers to withdraw services for up to three days in the first week of the strike, provided that they give two school days’ notice before striking. Since that ruling, the BC Teachers‘ Federation (BCTF) has given notice that it intends to strike for three days starting on Monday next week.

Given that teachers will be on strike, there will not be sufficient staff available to provide adequate supervision for our students. Instruction will not be available. Since the safety and security of our students is always paramount, we ask parents to make alternative child-care arrangements for their children during the strike. We anticipate classes resuming on Thursday of next week, but please stay tuned to the media. At this time we don’t expect there to be pickets around the schools or childcare sites on school property. Parents may access the sites without having to cross any picket lines.

During this challenging time, we will endeavor to keep you up-to-date as much as possible. We recommend that you stay tuned to media stations for current information as it develops. You can also check our website and social media channels, which we will be constantly updating with new information as we receive it. You can find the latest information surrounding job action on our website at:

Teachers are participating in a legal job action. We are hopeful that this strike will come to a resolution quickly so that we can get back to supporting teaching and learning. Thank you for your patience.


Steve Cardwell

Superintendent of Schools/CEO

c: Trustees

New Swings at Seymour School!

Hey who are these guys?

photo via Vancouver Foundation

Thanks to donors at the Vancouver Foundation, Seymour School got 6 beautiful new swings for our playground! Iftu, an intermediate student in Ms. Parry’s class, made a holiday wish that was granted during the CTV’s 5 Days of Christmas during December. Watch the video here.

Oh and still wondering who those guys are? They installed our swings! Thanks everyone!

An Elephant in the Garden

The Seymour Book Club meets Tuesdays at lunch in the library with Ms. Sheperd-Dynes and Ms. Gelson.

Our latest book is Michael Morpurgo‘s An Elephant in The Garden.

Langara Forum: End Child Poverty Now!

On January 25th, Langara College sponsored a forum called End Child Poverty Now! The video is now available to view.

Watch it here.

Panelists included Carrie Gelson (Seymour Teacher), Adrienne Montani (First Call), and Dr Clyde Hertzman (HELP, UBC) pictured below.

Andrea Lemire (Society of Children and Youth) and Janey Lee (Thunderbird Teacher) also spoke.

Also on the panel: Dr. Barbara Fitzgerald (RICHER Initiative), Scott Vandeloo (YFW from Thunderbird Elementary) and Seth Klein (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives)

Read more about the event here. Katie Hyslop also writes about the forum in Open File.