Ever wonder who exactly our "Play Expert" is? I know, she's been posting here on our blog for months with her much read Play Posts and we have been selfishly keeping her under wraps and all to ourselves. So we thought there is no better time than to finally get you to meet her and find out a little more about Andrea's life, work and passions.
We are happy to introduce you to the lovely Andrea, PBPE (Peekaboo Beans Play Expert!)...
Exactly who is our Play Expert? Hi, my name is Andrea and I’m excited to be your PeekabBoo Beans Play Expert. As a mom, child therapist and humanitarian I’m committed to providing opportunities to play for children of all ages and cultures.
What is your official title? I am a Clinical Counsellor (MA, CCC) and I love my job! Through my private practice A Child’s Song I offer Education, Consultation and Therapeutic Services for children and families. I have the opportunity every day to work with parents and children helping them to strengthen their relationships with each other. One of my most effective therapeutic tools is PLAY and I look forward to sharing with you how play can enhance relationships.
What's defines you as our Play Expert? When I’m not working I’m most often referred to as Kerlinda’s mom! My daughter is seven years old and a bundle of energy and joy. She was born in Haiti and came to Canada at twenty months through adoption. I made a choice to adopt as a single parent and it has been the most incredible journey.
As a result of my love for Kerlinda, improving the lives of orphaned Haitian children has become my passion. I’m thrilled to be part of an exciting project this spring to train orphanage nannies in Haiti how to meet the emotional and psychological needs of the children they care for. I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I tell you I intend to accomplish this by teaching the nannies how to PLAY with children.
What does PLAY mean to you? For me it is the essence of the work I do with children and families. Play is the key to my success in helping parents and children connect with each other in a more meaningful way. It is also one of the ways I am able to engage and connect with my own daughter.
What did you have to conquer in order to fulfill a dream you had? My life dream has always been to create change for children who are living in poverty. I knew from the time I was a teenage that working in a third world orphanage was in my future. I think intuitively I knew that I needed to complete my education in order to have the social power required to make the changes I envisioned. Having to stay focused and complete my Master’s was what I had to conquer in order to do what I am passionate about.
Who is one person you look up to or are inspired by and why? I am most inspired by my daughter. She has had to overcome unbelievable challenges just to be where most of her peers are. She spent her first seventeen months living in an orphanage and experienced both physical and emotional deprivation. I watch the way she has had to overcome the emotional scars of her early childhood and I am amazed by her bravery and depth of understanding.
What possession do you cherish the most? This would definitely be my photo albums. They are irreplaceable!
Is there a special tradition you share with your children? Kerlinda and I celebrate‘Family Day’ every year on May 11. This is the date that her adoption was finalized and so we celebrate it as the day we became a family. If it happens to fall on a weekday I take the day off work and Kerlinda is off school. She chooses the activity and we spend the day just being together and doing something we enjoy. We both look forward to it and the day is always planned in detail long before it arrives!
What spot in your neighbourhood if your favourite place to go? There is a little café just a few minutes away that faces the beach. It has outdoor seating that offers a beautiful view of the ocean. The family that owns Watts Cooking makes the most amazing baked goods. My cup of tea, a home baked muffin and a good book is the perfect way to relax.
What kind of house do you live in? And what do you like best about living there? We live in a small rancher home with a big backyard in a quiet neighbourhood. I love that the house is old and has a ton of character. The old wood floors and doorbell chimes give it a homey feeling. I would have to say though that the backyard is the best part. It has a big tree that is home to a squirrel my daughter has named and many beautiful little birds.
Can you share with us your favorite recipe, websites or local shops? I don’t really enjoy cooking but baking is something my daughter and I enjoy doing together regularly. I am a big fan of the http://allrecipes.com/. It is my go to for simple baking recipes. And I love to shop for vintage items. I’m forever collecting old castaway furniture pieces and promising to refinish them. Some of them are lovely additions to our home and others are still in the garage waiting for some attention!
What's one thing you always look forward to? Hugs and kisses in the morning from my daughter. With that and a good cup of tea I’m ready for whatever the day will bring.
What legacy would you like to build for you and your life or family? I want to offer my child the opportunity to see the world beyond our quiet little neighbourhood. I hope that by modelling a lifestyle of humanitarian work she will develop her own ideas of creating change in the world.
Likes: chocolate, wine, hot sunny weather and hugs
Dislikes: housecleaning, paperwork and rain!
Find out more about Andrea, her team, her missions to Haiti and her private services on A Child Song.