Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Things to do over the Holidays

As the holidays approach, parents often wonder what to do. How do they occupy their children on holiday? How do they keep their children strong academically without losing the momentum of the first half of the year? Here is some advice for literacy and writing:

Those movies they LOVE? Those movies all have books with MORE details, all the missing secrets that the movie-makers could not squeeze in. Can your child FIND those hidden moments? Read with them to do so.

If they like the computer, look for forums or writing groups. There are many places where they can post things they write and get quick feedback, interest, and comments. Let them write in their fandom, explore things they would never get to in class.

You could also easily have them start their own blog. Blogs are a great outlet for so many things, and they can write whatever they please on their own blog. ( or though this one you must monitor or help them set up)

Check out your local library. They often have age-appropriate programs.

Or volunteer at either an seniors' residence or the children's hospital where your child can read out loud to a patient or several. This form of practice is also a way to build both community and character.

Have a wonderful and happy holidays.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Importance of Reading with Children, and What to do if they Struggle

When most of us parents think about reading with our child, we generally think it is an activity reserved for their younger years. Over time, we give them more and more autonomy to read, or not, as they prefer, and to do so alone. The difficulty with this mentality is that leaving it up to them can sometimes mean that it doesn’t happen at all, even for the purposes of doing homework.

Continuing to read with your child has many proven benefits, among them: an improved imagination, a stronger vocabulary, and better writing skills as they get ideas for stories of their own. By taking turns reading with your child you also improve their reading comprehension, and can pause to discuss difficult or more mature topics that come up. These discussions, and reflecting on the choices that the characters in the stories make also aid in developing a child’s critical thinking skills (would they have chosen differently? What would happen if they did X instead of Y?).  Finally, continuing to read with your child deepens the bond between you, and gives you special time daily to check in with one another and connect. 

But what happens when an older child struggles with reading? Their grades will suffer, they will lose their self-confidence, and they will often also distance themselves from those who are best suited to help them: their parents. Children with reading problems will instead develop counterproductive coping strategies, such as relying on the context of what they can hear friends and classmates discussing, and drawing their conclusions from that, rather than being able to do the work on their own.

Correcting the issue takes a great deal of patience, and time, from both parent and child. Rather than losing tempers, parents need to show over and over, that they are still on their child’s side, like a coach cheering on their successes, no matter how small. At the same time, parents need to be careful about patronizing the child, and not giving them reading material that is too simple or babyish. A great solution we’ve found is to introduce them to graphic novels. There is a visual element they can follow, but the words are just as important, and the excitement will keep them interested in reading more. Another great trick is to pick books on topics that already interest them. Think of what hobbies or sports they might already really like, and ask a librarian for a suggestion based on that. 

Here are a few other great ideas of how to encourage a child with developing their reading skills:
  • Limit reading time to 15 minutes.
  • If reading together is chaotic in your house, do it in a cafĂ©, or in a park. If that doesn’t help, try reading just before bed.
  • When preparing to read aloud, talk about the book beforehand to get your child interested in it.
  • Try ‘echo reading': read a sentence, paragraph or page aloud, and then get your child to read it.
  • Praise the reading, not the reader. ("I liked how you read on to find more information." Or “I like how you expressed that character’s emotions with your tone of voice.”)
  • Take opportunities to let your child order from menus, read recipe books or select from the TV guide.
  • Take time to play word games such as Scrabble or Pictionary.
  • No matter their age, read to them regularly.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Ready to Meet Parents and Children!

We are ready for the new classes to begin!

This coming Saturday, October 15th at 2pm, the Young Writers Program is OPEN!
Register earlier (anytime beforehand by contacting us, or in person Saturday between 11am and 2pm.

Novel Writing & English Improvement all rolled into one fun program that will also build life skill and result in a published anthology
Starts: Saturday, November 5th, 2016
Time: 2-5pm (every Saturday)
Ends: Book Launch June 2017
(Mornings are reserved for tutoring in Math or French, homework assistance, and exam evaluations)

Cost: $1000 payable in 2 installments ($500 in October and $500 in February)
Other payment options: $900 if paid in full in advance, or $150/month, or $45/day
Participating Adults: 50% discount

What the class looks like:

And the office is ready to greet parents with a comfortable sofa for waiting:

Thursday, October 6, 2016

"Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play."

Pullman Philip 2

Wise words from Philip Pullman, who received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2005:

Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play. If you don’t give a child food, the damage quickly becomes visible. If you don’t let a child have fresh air and play, the damage is also visible, but not so quickly. If you don’t give a child love, the damage might not be seen for some years, but it’s permanent.

For the full article, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Classroom Warming Party / Open House / YWP Registration

We have a new location that is so beautiful with its energy and size and space. The almost medieval cottage belongs to St-Thomas Anglican Church and had served as Rectory (home) for itd ministers until just a few years ago. They are now renting out the rooms. We have rented the West Side GROUND floor large room for our classroom, along with the back smaller room as a secure office. We share a huge kitchen/dining area and bathroom with the rest of the renters.

Many thanks to the volunteers who have helped with cleaning, driving over supplies and furniture, moving and installing everything, and donating of other missing items. This is a beautiful place we look forward to sharing, teaching in, learning in... just BEING in.

SO, come see it!


Register at this event
Novel Writing & English Improvement all rolled into one fun program that will also build life skill and result in a published anthology
Starts: Saturday, October 8th, 2016
Time: 2-5pm (every Saturday)
Ends: Book Launch June 2017
(Mornings are reserved for tutoring in Math or French, homework assistance, and exam evaluations)

Cost: $1000 payable in 2 installments ($500 in October and $500 in February)
Other payment options: $900 if paid in full in advance, or $150/month, or $45/day
Participating Adults: 50% discount

Thursday, September 15, 2016

How to Help Your Child Deal with Entrance Exam Stress

This time of year, as high school entrance exams are about to begin, stress levels in many families will be higher than usual. There are several key points to remember, so that both you and your children can pull through this rough patch with a little more grace.
Your child’s performance on these entrance exams is not in any way a reflection of your performance as a parent, nor is it a reflection of your child’s worth as a person. These are key factors to remember as we discuss how to deal with your child’s state in this article. We will move on to discussing your own stress as a parent in the next.

It may seem redundant to say it, but never forget that this is far more stressful for your child than it is for you.

Managing your child’s stress

Beyond learning to appropriately manage your own stress about the process, just be there for your child. You know your child better than anyone else, after all. Genuinely analyze whether she needs a lot of guidance through the examination process, or whether this is the time to let her start forging her own path. (Of course allowing your child to take the reins does not mean okaying every idea they pass by you!)

A good way to begin is to sit down as a family and talk about school options, expectations, financial limitations, and so on, before applying anywhere. Make sure that your child understands what the different processes might be to go through to get into each of her choices (exams, interviews and essays being the most common).

When it comes to discussing your own concerns, pick wise times to discuss them with your child. For example, don't start venting your anxieties right after your child vents their own. This only piles on the stress. Rather, at these times provide them the assurance and support they are needing from you. At these times especially, remind your child often that you are proud, no matter the outcome, and mean it.

Remember that some anxieties might be best kept to yourself, like your worry that a child isn't smart enough to be accepted to a particular school. Some of your concerns, on the other hand, are very important to talk about with your child, such as how your child's education will be financed. Your prospective student needs to have a relative idea of how willing and able you are, as their parent, to provide money to pay for their school experience.

Don’t forget that if parents get hysterical or overwrought then kids will respond in kind. While some stress may peek its ugly head out at times, your child should not be witnessing you experiencing a daily meltdown. Learn to walk away when you need a minute to breathe and clear your head.

Listen to your child and only offer advice when asked for it, while keeping the lines of communication open. Make sure that your child knows she can come and talk to you any time. When she does, watch your tone and body language. Think before you speak. Give your child the confidence to make the best decisions for themselves. Double the number of times you say “I love you”. Remember to give unconditional love, especially when things aren’t going as expected. Ask them if anything you are doing is adding stress, and if you cannot change what you are doing, you can at least explain why you are doing it. Having a greater understanding of your behavior may be helpful for them. Offer love and support, and respect their ability to handle the process in a way that is right for them, even at this tender age.

Reinforce that there is not "just one school" that will make them happy or provide them with the keys to success. We can hurt our kids deeply if we let them think that whichever school accepts them makes a difference in how we feel about them. Advise your child that this is not necessarily a lifetime decision; they can always transfer to another school after first year if they want to.

There are also a number of other things you can do to help reduce your child’s stress around the house: Don’t make this period of time all about applying to schools! Make an extra effort to engage in other activities, especially fun outings. Give grace to your children: they may need to have less household responsibilities, and they may need to take some breaks to play with friends, watch a movie or exercise. 

Last but not least: don’t forget to sneak in as much fun for you both as you can. They need it and so do you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Algebra on the Entry Exams!

It is confirmed that there will be some algebra questions on the Entry Exams. By request, we will hold a short 1-hour introduction to basic algebra with practice equations. Please contact us if you wish your child to attend.

* Limited space of 5 students *

Robyn: 514-708-4784 or our email address:

Cost: $45
Saturday, September 17th at 2pm
Concordia Vanier Library (Loyola Campus, 7141 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H4B 1R6).
Meet at the Chapel at 1:45pm

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Young Writers Program Update

Starts Date: Saturday, October 8th, 2016
Time: Every Saturday through to June at 2-5pm
(Mornings are reserved for tutoring in Math or French, homework assistance, and exam evaluations)

LIMITED SPACE: 10 places MAX for children (and 10 max for adults)
* First come first serve, so register early to guarantee your place in the program. *

Cost: $1000 payable in 2 installments ($500 October and $500 February)
Other options: $900 if paid in full in advance, or $150/month, or $45/day
Participating Adults: 50% discount

Cost includes publishing and 2 free copies of an anthology, a workbook, notebook and binder.
To register send your banking etransfer to:
Security Question being: How can my child be an author?
Answer being: YWProgram

If you would prefer to pay by credit card, please call Scarlet at 514-799-9412 to arrange the details.

Friday, September 2, 2016

September Kick-Off & High School Prep

We are on our way to great and successful things! And so are your children!

Etudiants Savoir Faire is in negotiations for a new location for October and will let you know very soon the details and location of the new space. When we secure our new space, we will have a Classroom Warming Party (like a house warming but for the classroom). For now, here is what we have coming for September:

Practice Exams with Evaluations ($150)
Saturday, September 3rd at 12pm
Sunday, September 4th at 10am

Re-take of Practice Exam with Evaluation (usually $150)
*FREE promotion for September
Saturday, September 24th at 12pm
Sunday, September 25th at 10am

Demystifying the High School Process
*hosted by Cathy Kermelly of Stepping Up*
This is one of the most amazingly helpful 2-day workshops for children about to face the Entry Process into High School. Saturday's 3-hr session covers: discussion on what to expect; tips, strategies & coping with test anxiety; mock exam practice. Sunday's 3-hr session covers: interview etiquette & social skills; one-on-one practice interviews & coaching; brief Q&A of essay writing. Space is limited and filling fast, so register through her website by scrolling down and paying via PayPal to reserve your place.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Last Minute Evaluation?

Did you want to evaluate your child before the entry exams begin?
Need to know where your child needs to improve and where they can relax?

We will host exam writing during the Open House (Sunday, August 28th). Arrive between 10am and 1:30pm.
$150 per child (includes the writing of the exam, correcting the exam, evaluation meeting with a parent, and meeting with the child to go over the mistakes and help them understand what they need to work on)

Exams written this day will be corrected and ready for meeting with Parents on Wednesday, August 31st.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Open House / Porte Ouverte

12-5pm FREE to attend

43 Westminster North (3rd floor), Montreal-West

1:00pm - Coping with High School Exam Stress for PARENTS
2:00pm - Introduction to the Young Writers Program (for children & adults)
3:00pm - Introduction to the workshops & services

Young Writers Anthologies will be available for sale. $15 each for 2 for $25.

Come discover our services, workshops, and programs available throughout the 2016/17 year to come. Register your child or yourself!

See our Services at 
See our Courses & Workshops at

STEP 1 Evaluation - $150 - Exam practice + evaluation + one tutoring session
STEP 2 Improvement 

                   - $45/session - Tutoring in English, Math, French
                   - $200/ 6-week Educational Series - English, Math, French
Workshops: $75 each (Open to children, teens, and adults)

  • Coping with Stress
  • Mastering Reading Comprehension
  • Advancing Your Study Skills
  • Note-taking made simple
  • Organizational Skills
  • How to do better Research
  • Superior Projects
  • Writing Essays & Papers
  • Successful Presentations
  • Leadership Life Skills

Services: (prices vary)
tutoring, editing, homework assistance, confidence coaching

Young Writers Program - 25 sessions
(starting October 2nd and running through to June's Book Launch)
Cost: $1000 ($900 if paid in full in advance), $150/month, or $45/day
Cost includes publishing and 2 copies of an anthology, a workbook, notebook and binder

Adults: 50% off to attend and practice, though focus will be on the children, cost includes publishing and 2 copies of the Adult Anthology