The most beneficial aspect of therapy isn’t a thing, but a relationship

For Athletix and Beauchamp Fitness “People are always asking how it is different from a TENS machine,” says Michael Montoya. As a professional who works daily with neuromuscular stimulation, that can admittedly be a bit frustrating. Certainly Dr. Michael Ho—who markets a device known generically Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)—commands a disproportionate amount of attentionContinue reading “The most beneficial aspect of therapy isn’t a thing, but a relationship”

Gee’s Bend Quilters, “Boykin, Alabama: Sacred Spirituals of Gee’s Bend”

For Penguin Eggs Everything about this album is an absolute, unqualified, unbridled delight. It’s four women who live in Boykin, Alabama, and take part in a quilting tradition that began in the 19th century. They sing while they quilt, and the music is polished by all the needles and the threads and the stories andContinue reading “Gee’s Bend Quilters, “Boykin, Alabama: Sacred Spirituals of Gee’s Bend””

Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, “If You Can’t Stand the Heat”

For Penguin Eggs Frank Solivan spent much of his youth in Alaska, which perhaps accounts for his range of talents. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a poet. He plays guitar, violin, and mandolin. He writes songs, sings, and is the leader of Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, the IBMA band of the year inContinue reading “Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, “If You Can’t Stand the Heat””

Why do we go to school?

The best reasons aren’t always the ones you think of first by Glen Herbert “It’s very Harry Potter,” says Michael Simmonds, chuckling a bit as he does. I was speaking to him about what Havergal College does best, a school in Toronto where he is vice principal. Havergal is one of the foremost girls’ schoolsContinue reading “Why do we go to school?”

What makes a great teacher great?

What should parents be looking for in educators? by Glen Herbert Beth Alexander, a primary and elementary instructor at The Linden School, is a teacher that a lot of people think is great, including the prime minister. In 2017, she received the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence, and this year she was the first Canadian educator to earnContinue reading “What makes a great teacher great?”

Missy Raines, “Royal Traveller”

Women in bluegrass—unfortunately, sadly—get short shrift. Ask about the greats, and you’ll open the floodgates for a lot of testosterone. That said, women have long been doing great work and, while often enough, have actually been acclaimed for it. Much of what we think of as bluegrass guitar—a rhythm with a melody picked within it—isContinue reading “Missy Raines, “Royal Traveller””

Profile: Carmette Gooding

By Glen Herbert, for The Grenadines Initiative “We call it the Big Rock,” says Carmette Gooding, “but it’s the only rock.” She recalls jumping off of it into the surf when she was growing up on Bequia. “We’d wait for the biggest wave to come, then we’d jump in it. When the wave was breaking.Continue reading “Profile: Carmette Gooding”

Do island students need STEM?

STEM is about engaging collaboratively, thinking creatively, across disciplines. And, in education and business, its fast becoming the way of the world. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. And, at its simplest, that’s what STEM programs provide: an intensive focus on the hard sciences. In practice, however, it’s much more thanContinue reading “Do island students need STEM?”

Profile: Sister Cherrylyn Glynn

For nearly three decades, Sister Glynn has been providing essential services to the youth of Bequia By Glen Herbert “I love my work because I get to meet people directly,” says Sister Cherrylyn Glynn. “It’s one-to-one. I do counselling, I get to meet the families.” For the bulk of her career Glynn’s been in theContinue reading “Profile: Sister Cherrylyn Glynn”

Growing up in a changing world

Now more than ever, kids need camp by Glen Herbert for Our Kids    Up until the mid-1960s, a typical day at Camp Wanakita began as it always had: with a compulsory, camp-wide skinny dip. The camp was still all-boys, and modesty clearly wasn’t at a premium: the campers needed to be clean and, withoutContinue reading “Growing up in a changing world”

What does it mean to be a global learner?

Schools like Pickering College are redefining international education by Glen Herbert for Our Kids   There was a time when the concept of international education and global learning was principally about experience: getting students out into the world, travelling, first to Europe and then further afield. The world was posited as a rich museum ofContinue reading “What does it mean to be a global learner?”

Living in the moment with Adolphous Greely

  Twenty-five men, 350 pounds of supplies, and a chance to change the world. by Glen Herbert “This was not simply some new Arctic expedition,” says historian Michael Robinson, “this was really an attempt at a new science of the world.” It was the international polar year, and fourteen expeditions set off to collect dataContinue reading “Living in the moment with Adolphous Greely”

Learning to lead

Quebec’s Camp Nominingue leadership program offers transformative and important experiences for youth by Glen Herbert   “It’s something big for me,” says Olivier Girard when speaking about last summer, the one he spent as a Leader in Training (LIT) at Camp Nominingue. “I’ve never had a month like that in my life.” Certainly, he hasn’t, and heContinue reading “Learning to lead”

Camping differently

While not all children love all camps, there’s a camp for every child to love. by Glen Herbert   Despite increasing enrollments at technology camps—in some cases reaching into the thousands—there are those who will question the place of technology within camp programming. As founder of Brick Works, a tech camp based in Waterloo, Ontario, that’s a concern DavidContinue reading “Camping differently”

Reimagining girls’ education

The Linden School’s ongoing impact on how we think about how girls learn. By Glen Herbert All private schools defy the stereotypes that the general population might have about private education, though the Linden School is a particularly stark example of that. Founded by Diane Goudie and Eleanor Moore in 1993, the school was intendedContinue reading “Reimagining girls’ education”

Off to school

by Glen Herbert Lauriel Stowe wants to be a volcanologist. “We had a geography class,” she says, recalling some years ago, “and [the teacher] was talking about plate tectonics, and I really found the topic interesting.” She did some of her own research and, among other things, learned that there is only one working volcanologistContinue reading “Off to school”

Night owls by nature

Some schools, such as Toronto Prep School, are adapting their schedules to their students’ sleep cycles. The question is, why aren’t they all?  by Glen Herbert   “The optimal time for teenagers to learn is late in the morning through to late afternoon,” says Fouli Tsimikalis, vice principal of Toronto Prep School (TPS), a school sheContinue reading “Night owls by nature”

Do all students need tutors?

Cutting edge academic programs, such as Focus Learning, suggest that, yes, they do. by Glen Herbert for Our Kids   When we think of after-school academic programs, thoughts first turn to remediation: extra classes to help struggling students raise course marks. For some, that’s certainly the impetus, though ‘tutorial,’ more properly understood, refers to a styleContinue reading “Do all students need tutors?”

A Brief History of Boarding Schools

The British Tradition British boarding schools have historically provided the model for boarding schools in Canada. Prime among the antecedents is the King’s School in Canterbury, England. It was founded in the year 597 and, until the dissolution of the monasteries act nearly a century later, it remained a cloistered religious institution. At King’s, studentsContinue reading “A Brief History of Boarding Schools”

Gabby’s story

For the Grenadines Initiative Gabby Ollivierre’s first real experience of snow came with a freak storm that hit Calgary on October 2. It was notable by anyone’s standards–the storm made national news in Canada–though especially for someone from the islands who had yet to get a proper pair of boots. When I met her atContinue reading “Gabby’s story”

David Benedict’s “The Golden Angle”

There is no piece of music, and for that matter no musician, that exists alone. Music, by its very nature, is call and response, each person adding their voice to an ongoing conversation. Some people can see a bit further down the road, or skip a couple rhetorical steps, and those are the people weContinue reading “David Benedict’s “The Golden Angle””

Balsam Range, “Mountain Overture”

It’s easy to wonder about the attraction bluegrass bands have to working with orchestras, but it’s a trend that doesn’t seem to be dying anytime soon. Cherryholmes, Daily and Vincent, Michael Cleveland—the cynic might feel that it’s a desire to grant respectability, and what better way to do it than to sit in front ofContinue reading “Balsam Range, “Mountain Overture””

Chris Coole, “The Road to the River”

In the world of magic there are the big stage illusions—cutting a person in half, making an elephant disappear—and there is table magic—cards, coins, cups and balls. The two are both thought of equally as magic, but they are of such different orders as to be different undertakings entirely. But to the connoisseur, the closeContinue reading “Chris Coole, “The Road to the River””

Kadeen’s story

For the David and Christine Anderson Family Foundation “On Bequia, if you tell someone that you are going to be a pilot, they don’t believe,” says Kadeen Hazell. “They think it’s just talk.” He feels that’s true for most people on the island: they don’t have a sense of real possibility. Kadeen, from early days,Continue reading “Kadeen’s story”

Clay Parker and Jodi James, “The Lonesomest Sound that Can Sound” 

I’m not sure why I love this recording so much. We like to talk in superlatives whenever given a chance, and it’s not the best of anything, or the most skilled, or the most telling. It’s just, well, lovely. The voices are beautiful, the thoughts quietly moving. The playing doesn’t jump out at you, butContinue reading “Clay Parker and Jodi James, “The Lonesomest Sound that Can Sound” “

3 key steps to an allergy-free summer

(For Ourkids.net) As we move into summer, we also move deeper into allergy season. Because both day and overnight camps can include a lot of time communing with the outdoors, parents can expect their children to exhibit a range of reactions. Children suffering from allergies tend to experience higher levels of irritability and sadness thanContinue reading “3 key steps to an allergy-free summer”

The cognitive benefits of Mandarin/English dual-language instruction

(For Ourkids.net) “When you learn a second language,” says Donna Booth, “it lets you know that there’s more than one way to do things.” As principal at Toronto’s Dalton School, an English/Mandarin dual-immersion school in Toronto, Booth sees the benefits of that in her work every day. Less obvious—though becoming more so—is how learning languages can affectContinue reading “The cognitive benefits of Mandarin/English dual-language instruction”

Brunch with the Lonesome Ace Stringband

(For Penguin Eggs magazine) Chris Coole often comments during shows that the Lonesome Ace Stringband—a trio that includes John Showman (fiddle) and Max Heineman (bass)—formed out of a brunch gig. There’s some tongue-in-cheek in that, though there’s some truth in there as well. The three did actually start playing formally together for a brunch gigContinue reading “Brunch with the Lonesome Ace Stringband”

Why do parents consider private school?

The answer is best expressed in a single word: Choice   “The common school ideal is the source of one of the oldest educational debates …  The movement in favour of greater educational choice is the source of one of the most recent” —Rob Reich[1] Education in public schools remains the dominant form of education inContinue reading “Why do parents consider private school?”

The Grascals, “Before Breakfast”

(For HVbluegrass.org) Some songs, like Tom T. Hall’s “I Love,” unintentionally demonstrate that there’s a fine line between sincerity and satire. Some people maybe find the song to be a simple presentation of a complex idea. Others, Bob Dylan among them, think of it derisively as the “little baby duck” song:  I love little babyContinue reading “The Grascals, “Before Breakfast””

The Wailin Jennys, “Fifteen”

The Wailin Jennys is one of those groups that causes lots of people to fall all over themselves with praise. And they’re absolutely right to. Truly, you can’t say enough good things about them. It starts here: “One Voice.” Their latest release will cause lots of praise too, just as it should. When I heardContinue reading “The Wailin Jennys, “Fifteen””

Andy Hall and Roosevelt Collier, “Let the Steel Play”

Remember Josh Graves? How about Tut Taylor? Or Paul Franklin? For anyone other than guitar geeks the names conjure something like memories, if not quite formed enough to warrant the term. They are all steel guitar players, meaning they played guitars with a piece of steel. Slide players. Which means that they were side players,Continue reading “Andy Hall and Roosevelt Collier, “Let the Steel Play””

Bela Fleck, Abigail Washburn, “Echo in the Valley”

One of the delightful moments is this recording is in the 5th track, when both segue into a lovely take on Bela Fleck’s “Big Country.” It’s a tune he’s presented himself a lot, most notably within the “Live from the Quick” release. It’s not as challenging as some of the things he does, which makesContinue reading “Bela Fleck, Abigail Washburn, “Echo in the Valley””

Volume Five, “Milestones”

When people who are really into wine talk about wine they don’t tend to speak in generalities, but rather a whole range of specifics. They talk about the hints of this and that, the various notes of such and such. Seeing people talk about these things on TV, it seems it’s not just descriptors. TheyContinue reading “Volume Five, “Milestones””

Students praise Lakefield College School for Outdoor Ed program

“I thought, ‘this is the place where I could be the best version of myself.’” for Ourkids.net One of Betsy Macdonnell’s first glimpses of life at Lakefield College School was a grade 9 outdoor education class, one of the stops on her first tour of the campus. “I remember seeing how supportive they were withContinue reading “Students praise Lakefield College School for Outdoor Ed program”

This camp will change your life

Learning confidence, leadership, and life skills at Quebec’s Camp Nominingue for OurKids.net by Glen Herbert Not every Rhodes Scholar has been to Camp Nominingue, but at least one has. Colin Robertson got the nod last November. One of the first people he called with the news was the director of Nominingue, Grant McKenna. That saysContinue reading “This camp will change your life”

Welcome to Canada, Welcome to camp

(for Our Kids) “They made me do the presentation twice,” says Tanya Springer. “[They were] gasping at each and every picture of a lake or sunset. They each had things they were most excited for. Pottery, swimming, sunrise canoe paddles … even sleeping in bunk beds.” Springer was presenting to two families of new Canadians,Continue reading “Welcome to Canada, Welcome to camp”

Mile Twelve’s “Onwards”

  Sam Bush once said that Bill Monroe was the ultimate feel player. It’s a backhanded compliment in a way, despite Bush’s clear reverence, because what he was saying was that Monroe lacked melodic precision, playing more to rhythm. He was the father of bluegrass, true, but he was no Mike Marshall or Chris Thile.Continue reading “Mile Twelve’s “Onwards””

Navigating the gap year

Neuchâtel Junior College (for OurKids.net) At its simplest, a gap year is a non-academic year between high school graduation and enrollment at university. It’s becoming more common, and more structured, though the vast majority of Canadian parents didn’t take a gap year. Because of that lack of first-person experience, misconceptions abound. The fear is thatContinue reading “Navigating the gap year”

Students praise LCS outdoor education program

By Glen Herbert for OurKids.net One of Betsy Macdonnell’s first glimpses of life at Lakefield College School was a grade 9 outdoor education class, one of the stops on her first tour of the campus. “I remember seeing how supportive they were with each other,” she says of the students, particularly in the case ofContinue reading “Students praise LCS outdoor education program”

Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur, “Penny’s Farm”

You’ll be forgiven if you groan a bit when you see the track listing of this new release from Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur, “Penny’s Farm.” Like right there. Did you breathe out a bit, an almost imperceptible sigh, just then when I typed “Penny’s Farm”? Did you have flashbacks of John Cohen talking aboutContinue reading “Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur, “Penny’s Farm””

Courtney Marie Andrews’ “Honest Life”

This is a brilliant release in all kinds of ways. Musicianship, arrangement, recording. Each one of those is wonderfully on display. It’s there in the details, such as the strings entering on “Only in My Mind,” and then the pizzicato, or the way she sings the word “Barcelona.” There are harmonies added to isolated phrasesContinue reading “Courtney Marie Andrews’ “Honest Life””

Making moonshine with Roger Lee “Buck” Nance

 by Glen Herbert “Listen,” says Nance. “It sounds like rain on a roof.” And it really does. Large vats line the room, each filled with a roiling mixture of grain and yeast. The gas being released as bubbles is responsible for the sound and the smell, which is somewhere between beer and bread and turpentine.Continue reading “Making moonshine with Roger Lee “Buck” Nance”

We’re here. Get used to it.

(for CBC Kids) Steve Colbert once said that stay-at-home dads are “against nature’s laws.” Your grandmother probably thinks that, too. The world that we know today is, of course, different than that of yesteryear. People don’t smoke in hospitals, and the moon is no longer a very interesting destination; it’s illegal to strike a dog,Continue reading “We’re here. Get used to it.”

Sam Bush’s, “Storyman”

(Published by Hudson Valley Bluegrass) Sam Bush is such a perennial of Americana music, from first gaining lots of attention with Newgrass Revival, going on to be the King of Telluride, and he’s just kept on going. Through it all, subtle is not something that anyone might readily claim of him, what with his mulletContinue reading “Sam Bush’s, “Storyman””

Arnie Naiman’s, “My Lucky Stars”

Published in Penguin Eggs, Issue #71, Fall 2016 You’ve got to love this album, and I’ll tell you why. Look at the liner notes. Each song lists the people that join Naiman, adding their stuff to his. Chris Coole’s there pretty much on every one. Love that. Naiman is credited on every track, less becauseContinue reading “Arnie Naiman’s, “My Lucky Stars””