the value of a girl

Last night I registered my 5 yr old girl for soccer. I registered her brother too, but for now let's just think about her. She started Kindergarten this past September. Five days a week, for half a day, she is at school, learning, playing, having a healthy snack,and doing a whole lot of other things with a classroom of other girls and boys.  Where we live, school is not a get to do thing, it is a must do thing for all children, whether you do so in the public school system, at a private school or through homeschooling or another alternative learning program. School for our kids, for our girls, is simply a given in our lives.

This is not the case in a lot of other parts of our world. I know that you know this, but think for a minute about your own daughter at 5 or 6 years old and then, instead of sending her to school, think about sending her out to walk MILES every day to get clean water for your family. Think about arranging a marriage for your 11 or 13 year old daughter. Think about there being no time for school in your daughter's day because she is a bonded servant (fancy name for slave) for your rich neighbours. It's all rather unthinkable right?

And yet for many, MANY girls in our world, this is their reality. For millions of girls the world over, education is a privilege - often a hard fought one (think Malala) - not a right. Girls around the world face barriers to education that boys do not. Barriers such as early marriage, gender-based violence, domestic slavery and sex-trafficking. Removing these barriers not only means a better life for these girls, it means a safer and more prosperous world for all. And the solution to removing them is simple: educate girls.

Educated girls stand up for their rights, marry and have children later, educate their own children, and their families and communities thrive. Educating girls can break cycles of poverty in just one generation.

GirlRising is a global campaign for girls education. It is a documentary film, it's a movement, it's a powerful teaching tool and it's a call to action for policy makers and educators and change-makers and regular everyday people the world over. GirlRising's mission is to change the way the world values a girl. ALL girls.

The powerful Girl Rising documentary is a feature film about nine girls across the world demonstrating inspiring strength and spirit and who are all fighting in various ways for their voices to be heard, for their education and for a better life for all girls.



Join me and Girl Rising Edmonton on International Women's Day, Saturday, March 8th, 2014 for a special screening of this powerful documentary. Details and tickets can be found here. 

For two of you, I have a t-shirt and 2 ticket combo prize to give away! Comment below and let me know what Girl Rising and educating girls means to you! Winners will be chosen at random on March 5th, 2014.




Rise up les filles!






I think I may be up for the revolution!!

So, as some of you know, I am kind of contemplating the whole homeschooling angle with the kids.  To be perfectly honest, the school system these days scares me.  Most of my immediate family have been teachers and support staff within the school systems for more years than I can count and I have seen and heard a LOT over these years, some good, some bad, some downright frightening!

I also have a growing community of friends and colleagues that are homeschooling and I am starting to see that there are many, many benefits to this way of learning.  Now, all you teachers out there, just hold on and keep reading (and watching).  And please don't hit me with the whole socialization argument either, because there are plenty of ways to socialize your kids that have nothing to do with being crammed in a room with 30 other 6 year olds and one stressed out adult.

I did not enjoy school.  Well, that is not true.  I loved it until Grade 3.  And then we moved from our tiny town (and tiny schoolhouse) to the big city.  AND my mom decided that I should be enrolled in a french immersion program, even though we had not spoken a word of french at home up until then.

Grade 3. Me-fourth from the left.

So picture me, a sensitive kid whose parents had just split up, entering Grade 3 half way through the year and not being able to speak the language that most subjects are being taught in.  I cried almost every day and because of that and my newness and God knows what else, I was easy pickin' for the bullies, cool kids and in-crowd (and yes, these do exist, even in Grade 3).  That kind of stigma unfortunately does not leave you and I never quite felt like I fit in in Elementary or Junior High.  (And then there was that whole inappropriate touching and kissing incident with my Grade 6 teacher-who claims he was just consoling me after another boy punched me in the gut.  BTW-no one knows about that!!)

Now before you think this is just another post about someones bullying experience, let me assure you it is not.  I just wanted you to know that school was not fun for me.  I did have two amazing teachers who inspired me throughout high school and perhaps it is because they saw my passion and potential (thank you Mrs. Lees and M. Lizaire), but otherwise, it was not really that great of an experience for me.

And so now I am in a position in the next year and half to make a decision for my child and his formal entry into the education system.  But what kind of system am I sending him into?  Did you know that the Edmonton school boards have two rules:  NO fail (ever) and NO late (as long as you hand in your assignments by June you are good and don't worry, cause it's not like you can FAIL or anything!!).  What kind of life skills (um, hello?? responsibility, personal accountability-just to name a few) are being taught to our kids people??  Really??

Today I stumbled upon two TED Talks by Sir Ken Robinson.  PLEASE watch both of them (if you have not seen them already-they get posted and shared A LOT). Yes, it will be 40 minutes of your day, but trust me it will be worth it!  They are amazingly compelling and full of insight that I lack the eloquence to communicate when people ask me why I hesitate about putting my kids into our current education system.

This is the first TED talk that he gave in 2006. "Do schools kill creativity?"


And the follow-up in May of 2010. " Bring on the learning revolution."


I would love to hear your thoughts on this and for those of you with kids in the school system already - is it what it should be?  Or should we as parents be asking, lobbying, and/or creating something better for our kids!

Thank you for reading and watching. Natasha~