Welcome 2021: Stop, Start, Continue

By Heather Watts, Shamim Ahmed, and Kaitlyn Corlett

Midnight has struck, the ball has dropped, and we are well into a new year, and a new decade. While 2020 certainly challenged us (to put it lightly), we have learned a lot about ourselves and our world. The rhetoric around welcoming a new year usually surrounds what we need to improve upon; what we need to start doing more of in our lives to grow our success.  It is important not only to think through habits and practices we want to shed as we step into the new year, habits and practices we want to take up or start, but also honour what has sustained us and what has served us well. We, at the Redefining Traditional Team invite you to re-think your approach to a New Year’s Resolution, and reflect on what you want to stop, what you want to start, and what you want to continue. 

Beyond Thanksgiving

How educators can authentically honor and engage with Indigenous heritage and perspectives — all year long.

By Heather Watts

At Redefining Traditional we aim to share resources, stories, and experiences from a scope of virtual communities and educational spaces for student parents and supporters. This week, we’re excited to share a post by Heather Watts from Harvard’s ‘Usable Knowledge: Relevant Research for Today’s Educators’ blog series with the Graduate School of Education. We welcome you to take a look at many of the other important pieces they post at: https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/20/11/beyond-thanksgiving

Journey of an International Student (Part Three): “Unless We Remember We Cannot Understand”

by Shamim Ahmed 

In our ‘Journey of an International Student’ series, Shamim shares his experiences and journey as an international student parent at the University of Toronto. This thoughtful monthly series aims to highlight experiences of international student parents, find connections in our community, and uplift voices of others. If you have story or idea for our Redefining Traditional community, you can submit it here! 

On December 2nd 2019, we were traveling to Bangladesh after almost 3 years of being in Canada! Everyone was so excited for this vacation. We saved money for several years to buy tickets and see our families again. December is a good time to visit Bangladesh. It is winter there and green landscapes, fresh vegetables, seasonal cakes, and warmth of your dear ones are waiting! Bangladesh is a tropical country and we have six seasons throughout the year. I know you might be surprised, and I will share all about these seasons in one of my blogs in the future. But today when I refer to winter, do not get confused, it is not like the winter we observe here in Canada. We have a lot of rainfall in Bangladesh, but apart from that, the temperature is high throughout the year. The average temperature during summer is around 39-degree Celsius. Therefore, when I talk about winter in Bangladesh, it is 15-20 degree Celsius, pretty much the summer in Canada!

It Takes a Village

By Heather Watts

Heather standing in front of a colourful background wearing a teal long sleeve shirt, smiling to the camera.

Throughout my childhood, I lived in a number of different communities and homes. Burlington, Ottawa, and Cambridge, Massachusetts are just a few placed I have called ‘home’ over the years. Our moves across Turtle Island were a result of different career opportunities my father pursuing. I remember the networks of friends and family that supported me as a young child: Anna in Burlington, Tara in Ottawa, and Robin and Charmaine in Cambridge. I’m sure there are many others, but these are folks I have vivid memories of riding bicycles in the driveway, taking long walks down our residential street, and playing hours of Monopoly with (you know you’re making an investment of time when you sit down to play Monopoly!) To these people, I thank you. You weren’t merely babysitters, or but people who I looked up to, confided in, and leaned on during my younger years. 

A Fall Like Never Before: Academic Success Can Still Be Colorful!

Written by Shamim Ahmed – Design Researcher at the Innovation Hub

Academic success is so important for students, and we know it well. We often think academic success is all about studying, but if we reflect on lifestyles where academic progress seems to flourish for folks, studying is not necessarily the only thing that has helped them succeed. A little bit of planning and giving importance to the smaller but important things in life supported them to be successful in their academic journey. However, this summer was difficult for most of us. Due to COVID-19, students might have to make up for classes, continue home schooling or face financial uncertainties. Due to the pandemic, many students might not have been able to engage in summer activities, visit family, or have a summer vacation that helps us return to the Fall semester energized. It is well known how overwhelming it can be returning to school – especially now, no matter your degree or grade. It is not just applicable to new students, but also for the returning students after an uncertain summer of 2020.    

Maintaining Social Connections During COVID-19

Authored by University of Guelph student Megan Coghill

Clusters of icons for email, conversations, online connections, and individuals interacting.

Covid-19 has impacted many aspects of daily living, especially how we interact with family and friends. With the added stress the pandemic can bring it is especially important to maintain a strong social network. “Social distancing” is in some ways a misnomer. There are many ways to connect with others while maintaining appropriate physical distance. Now more than ever, there are multiple ways to socialize virtually as services are constantly adapting in response to Covid-19. Below is a list of options to maintain social connections with others for both you and your family, online and in-person. 

Balancing Parenting and Working from Home by Fostering Self-Help Skills in Children

Authored by University of Guelph student Megan Coghill

Words making up a light bulb that include aspects of self-help, such as "balance", "care" "active" and more.

With many parents working or completing school from home due to Covid-19 it can be challenging to avoid distractions. Fostering self-help skills in your children is especially useful while trying to balance parenting and other commitments. Furthermore, increasing independence allows your children to feel an improved sense of autonomy.

Maintain Physical Distancing, But Enjoy A Healthy, Balanced Life

Written by Shamim Ahmed The last pandemic we faced took place almost a century ago. COVID-19, a deadly disease caused by coronavirus, has emerged as a catastrophe and completely shifted our world in every way possible. It has infected millions of people and…

Developing healthy screen habits with your child

Tablet screen and phone

By Emily Pritchard
Originally published on the University of Toronto’s Family Care Office Blog, Intersections.

Digital screens have gained popularity in recent years and have become a fundamental part of our lives. Today’s children are one of the first generations to be raised in this new digital age, presenting parents with new issues to navigate.