Last year’s Vancouver Island Parent Conference drew participants from around the Island to Royal Bay secondary. This year’s conference

Last year’s Vancouver Island Parent Conference drew participants from around the Island to Royal Bay secondary. This year’s conference

Kids, their brains key topics at weekend seminar

This edition of the Vancouver Island Parent Conference could be the last

The human brain is a complex organ, and its complicated nature is magnified through childhood and adolescence.

Parents, teachers or anyone who deals with children on a regular basis can get some insight into the childhood brain through this year’s Vancouver Island Parent Conference, happening tomorrow (Feb. 25) at Royal Bay secondary.

This year’s event will cover a variety of different aspects, in contrast with previous events that have had a narrower focus.

In addition to the brain, the minefield of puberty, anxiety, sexual education and how technology can be used to benefit children are other themes for the event.

The all-day workshop will feature presentations by communication teacher and writer Brad Buie, Island Sexual Health co-ordinator of community education services Jennifer Gibson, and renowned brain-based learning facilitator Gary Anaka.

Stephanie Longstaff, chair of the conference’s planning committee, says Anaka’s presentations have a way of staying with his audiences.

“He’s known as the brain coach,” she said. “He’s a high-energy, exciting presenter and you will remember his presentations for years to come. Informative, interesting and entertaining at the same time.”

The morning will be more of a “listen and learn” session, while the afternoon will be a hands-on experience, with participants engaging with workshop leaders to enhance their learning and ask more specific questions.

The conference has been an annual event in the region for the past decade and was held at Royal Bay for the first time in 2016, but this year’s event could be the last according to Longstaff.

“(For) many of us, our kids have graduated the system and it’s a lot of work,” she said, adding that new parent volunteers are needed if the conference is to continue. Funding cuts to the Greater Victoria School District’s Parent Advisory Council has also hurt the conference’s viability, Longstaff said.

In contrast, she credited the Sooke School District for its support of the conference.

“(District superintendent) Jim Cambridge has just gone out of his way to help us,” she noted.

The $140 registration fee includes lunch and refreshments and keen participants can sign up online at vipc.ca or in person on Saturday.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com