Retired teachers Bev DeMonyé (left) and Gloria Gustafson.

Retired teachers Bev DeMonyé (left) and Gloria Gustafson.

Focusing on parent partnerships

Retired teachers create program to build stronger bond for learning

Two retired teachers aim to improve the learning experience for children with a comprehensive program they’ve designed for parents.

Crescent Beach resident Gloria Gustafson and fellow retired teacher Bev DeMonyé created Partners in Learning to be used collaboratively between parents, teachers and children. Through a series of handouts, the longtime teachers aim to form a stronger bond between parents and their children’s learning experience.

“What Gloria and I have found in all our years of experience is that if parents have a little bit of information, if they know they should be involved and if they know how to do it, it makes the world of difference,” DeMonyé said. “Parents are the untapped potential of support.”

In the handouts, topics range from reading to children at an early stage to preventing “the summer slide” by continuing to learn over the school break.

“The literature is full of advice, like how to read to your kids. And that’s a given, of course. But one of the things the literature focuses on are the three things you should know about reading to kids,” DeMonyé said. “We call it the talk that surrounds the text, so you talk to the kids while reading, before reading and after they read.

“Tell them why you picked the book.”

Each handout includes simple steps that can be integrated into everyday life, Gustafson said, noting that, so far, district subscriptions have been sold to Vernon, New Westminster and a small group of schools in Vancouver and the Okanagan.

“It would be wonderful to be able to sell Surrey a district subscription,” she said.

The duo aims to expand through social media and garner more awareness on their program with the final goal to have it implemented throughout the province.

“This little tiny bit of help can make all the difference,” Gustafson said. “If they don’t get on the right track in Kindergarten and Grade 1, then it’s a downward spiral, academically and socially.”

By encouraging more parent involvement throughout the child’s early years, the number of students who require extra help will reduce, allowing resources to be allocated to the individuals who need it the most, DeMonyé added.

“There are so many kids with diverse needs and it’s difficult for a classroom teacher. Any help is always welcome.”

For more information on the handouts, visit


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