How to Make Grad Photos Run Smoothly

High school graduations may not begin for a few months, but grad photo season is already upon us! It’s one of our favourite times of the year, but we know some school staff can find it a bit stressful.

Luckily, we just so happen to consider ourselves experts at graduation photography. We want to make grad photo days feel like a breeze for our school partners, so we reached out to our professional graduation photographers to find out their best tips for running a smooth grad photo day.

Keep Reminding Students About Photo Day

This is one tip all our photographers agreed upon: Repeatedly remind students when and where grad photos are being taken and how they can sign up for their session. 

“I get a lot of students saying ‘I didn’t know grad photos were happening’, especially toward the end of the week after their friends had them done,” says one of our photographers. “Run announcements, make use of the flyers we provide, and ask teachers to talk about it in homeroom classes.”

Senior year is busy for graduates – they’re focusing on postsecondary applications and keeping their grades up. It’s easy for details to slip their mind. By talking about grad pictures frequently, hanging up posters, and handing out hard copy reminder notices, students are more likely to sign up for their photo sessions early and avoid any last-minute chaos.

Encourage Students to Come Ready 

Encourage your students to come to school ready for pictures – maybe this means they’re already wearing their favourite tie or they’ve already made sure their makeup is on point. This way, only touch-ups are required before they sit for their photo session.

When students are ready to go as soon as they get to the camera, it keeps the day running on time for everyone. 

However, sometimes students aren’t certain what “ready” means when it comes to grad photos. We’ve put together a video for your grads with answers to every question they might have around photo day.

Stay Informed

Just as it’s important to ensure students stay informed, make sure your admin team is up-to-date as well.

Stay in touch with your photographers and your school representative from your photography company. Make sure you know what the students’ options for posing are, as well as where the photographers are set up so you can easily answer any questions from your students.

Your photographer will also email you a schedule of all the appointments for each day so you’re always in the loop.

Looking for a new grad photography provider? It’s not too late to switch to Edge. Contact us today!

Hosting grad picture day at your school can be a daunting task, but it's much easier to stay organized with tips from professional photographers.
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3 Ways to Raise School Spirit

Who doesn’t want their hallways bursting with school spirit? You want everyone to be proud of where they spend most of their time during the school year. In fact, a high level of school spirit has been shown to help students perform well academically and makes them happier in general.

Unfortunately, a lot of students may have a hard time feeling particularly excited about coming to school every day. 

Luckily, raising school spirit may be easier than you think. With just a bit of planning, your school can have a stronger sense of community in almost no time. Here are some of our favourite ideas:

Hold a Pep Rally or Spirit Day

You know this from movies and TV shows: pep rallies never fail at getting staff and students together to cheer on the school’s sports teams before a big game. Pep rallies aren’t just for high school students, either, and cheerleaders or football teams aren’t necessary ingredients.

A spirit day may be better geared toward elementary and middle schoolers. Encourage students to wear school colours, organize some intramural sports games that everyone can take part in, and offer a pizza lunch. Go big and rent bouncy castles or just pick an easy theme for dressing up. Have you ever met a kid who didn’t love a PJ day?

Pep rallies and spirit days are great ways to raise school spirit. The students get a break from classes for the afternoon, have a chance to socialize with their classmates and cheer each other on while having fun. Including a unifying activity is always a win; you could make it a day of service in the community or host your own colour run. The options are neverending.

Start a Yearbook

Document how fun this year was with a school yearbook. Help your students remember their classmates and teachers, their teams and clubs, and even incorporate candid shots from school events.

Creating a fun yearbook promotes your school to your students similar to the way marketing and branding promote a corporate company.

Encouraging students to join the yearbook committee and be a part of the production process can even help them prepare for their future schooling and/or careers.

Create More Extracurricular Activities

If you have staff members that are willing to supervise, start new clubs and teams to encourage students to get more involved with the school!

Have teachers survey their classes to find out what the most in-demand activities are and look into implementing one or two of the most popular ideas. Maybe it’s a lunchtime intramural basketball “league” or an after school language club.

Check out this list of school club ideas if you’re in need of a little inspiration!

Raise school spirit with 3 of our fave ideas - no cheerleaders necessary :)
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3 Tips for Keeping Your Kids’ Information Safe Online

In 2013, global businesses recorded nearly 30 million significant security breaches, and that number has grown 33% on average each year since.

Hearing a stat like this, it’s easy to assume that all victims would be adults. But that’s not the case.

One of the worst cyberattacks of 2015 was on toy firm VTech. Personal information like IP addresses, names, birthdates, and gender was stolen from over 11 million accounts, most of which belonged to children. 

UKnowKids, a software that’s meant to allow parents to monitor their children’s communication and whereabouts, was also targeted by a cyberattack just a few years ago. Over 1700 accounts were compromised, exposing children’s full names, birthdates, GPS coordinates, text messages, and images. 

The internet can be a scary place if you’re ill-equipped, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead, learn how to keep their information safe online, and make sure they understand how important it is to be careful.

Use a VPN to keep location information hidden

A virtual private network (or VPN) uses an encrypted connection to keep your data safe by connecting to an offsite, secure server. This offers two complementary benefits for protecting your family.

First, by encrypting your connection, the VPN ensures that you’re protected from having your information intercepted on any dodgy public networks. Secondly, it prevents your location from being tracked by masking your IP address.

Along with this, of course, make sure your kids know not to tag their location in any Facebook or Instagram posts.

Educate your kids about online safety

If your kids are using a computer, they should understand the basics of staying safe, no matter how old they are. Teach them to never give away their personal information, and show them any security programs that you run on the computer. Make sure they understand how important it is to let you know if something strange happens online, and that you won’t be angry.

Our friends over at TELUSWise offer detailed, age-specific educational content about staying safe online, as well as resources on cyberbullying, and all for free! From elementary school to high school grad, there’s content to suit every stage. 

Find out which companies handle your children’s personal information

Take a moment to think about any companies that can access your kid’s data without you giving it directly to them. Does your school partner with any vendors that require personal information? Who does your school partner with for picture day?

Unfortunately, there has been a rise in North American schools being targeted in cyberattacks due to the government funding that exists. Make sure your school knows how important it is that they partner with vendors that help them mitigate their risk of an attack.

Here at Edge Imaging, we prioritize the data security of the students we photograph and have made a significant investment in this ongoing commitment.

Ask your school to switch to Canada’s most secure school photography company!
Keep your kids' information safe from online cyberattacks with these 3 easy tips

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Let’s Bring Intentional Kindness into 2020!

Did you know the term “bullying” is 123 years old? Bullying continues to be an issue among students, with many short-term, long-term, and other horrifying side effects.

When we see how bullying affects everyone involved, it’s no wonder schools have been campaigning against bullying for decades. While, in Ontario for example, incidents of bullying seem to have dropped recently, it’s far from eradicated. 

Maybe there’s a better approach to the situation. Maybe, instead of trying to stop the bad, we should be putting more effort into encouraging the good. 

Intentional kindness vs. anti-bullying

It’s been documented that the words we choose and the way we think shapes our reality

People often speak about promoting “bullying prevention” or the “anti-bullying” movement. Of course, this comes from a good place, but it also makes it seem like bullying is inevitable. 

When we decide to foster “intentional kindness”, we aim to lift everyone up. Rather than focusing on the negative acts of bullying, we make the shift to encourage students to be good to each other.

The end goal is the same, but we can choose to focus on either the positive or the negative aspects depending on which phrases we use. 

Three tips for fostering intentional kindness in your school

Lead by example

Whether you’re working with teenagers or preschoolers, kindness is contagious. Go out of your way to be kind to a neighbour or a coworker and tell your students about it. Share what the other person’s reaction was, and how it made you feel.

This shows your students that you practice what you preach, but it also shows them how simple it can be to do something nice, and how good it makes you feel afterward.

Make kindness fun

Keep the momentum going by showing your students how fun it is to be kind to the people in their life! Maybe you can create an afternoon kindness club, kick off a week-long kindness challenge, or start a good-deeds-a-thon where students pledge acts of kindness. 

Feel free to add in some positive reinforcement by sharing some of the most outstanding deeds with the classroom or the entire school.

Try a kindness experiment

Chip and Joanna Gaines (yes, the stars of Fixer Upper) are issuing a challenge to make kindness loud. They’ve created flyers, available for download on their website, that are perfect for printing and hanging around the halls of your school.

Each flyer has a number of tags on it, each with a different good deed. Students can tear off a tag and make their chosen kind deed their mission for the week. 

Alternatively, try out this version which focuses on inward acts of kindness.

Let's change our language and encourage good behaviour by changing "anti-bullying" into "intentional kindness".
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What to Expect on Junior Milestone Photo Day

Whether you’re transitioning from elementary to middle school, or from middle to high school, it’s an exciting time. Your junior milestone photo shoot should be fun and celebratory, but we know that it might feel a bit intimidating if you don’t have all the information.

Do you have to sign up to get your picture taken? What should you wear? Will it be all cap-and-gown serious, or will it be a bit more relaxed?

We often receive questions from students who aren’t sure what to expect from their Junior Milestone photo session, so we compiled some answers to our most frequently asked questions. The more prepared you are for your shoot, the more fun you’ll have, and the more awesome your pictures will turn out. 

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3 Tips for Greener School Lunches in 2020

New year, new resolutions.

We all know that the most common New Year’s resolutions are about improving ourselves, often revolving around diet or exercise. Around the Edge office, we’re big fans of being eco-champions, and we love the idea of making resolutions to help the environment.

It’s estimated that schools in Canada can generate up to 80,000 tonnes of garbage each week! By resolving to pack greener lunches for your kids, parents can help their schools to reduce this number.

This might sound like a big job, but don’t worry: packing green lunches is simpler than you think. We’ve pulled together a list of our top tips for packing eco-friendlier school lunches for your kids in 2020.

Ditch the plastics

Coverage on the effects of single-use plastics has been widespread; we all know it takes forever to break down, pollutes our oceans, and harms turtles, dolphins, and other sea creatures. So what can you do to help reduce waste?

Pack your kids’ lunches in reusable containers instead of plastic bags or cling wrap, use eco-friendly or cloth napkins, and opt for reusable or bamboo utensils.

You can even take a step further and consider eliminating all single-use plastics from your family’s daily life. 

Use less meat

The UN recently stated that a global shift toward a plant-based diet is necessary to combat some of the effects of climate change. Completely changing your family’s dietary habits is a big step, and one best taken gradually.

Instead of quitting animal products cold turkey (pun intended), set small goals, like packing your kids a meatless school lunch once or twice a week. Swapping ¼ pound of beef for soy just once per week can save the equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from 10 billion smartphones charging.

Meatless food prep doesn’t have to be difficult, either! Here are a few ideas for kid-friendly, healthy, plant-based school lunches to get you started. 

Buy or make snacks in bulk

Next time you have to stock up on snacks for your kids’ school lunches, consider heading to a bulk store like Bulk Barn. Some of these stores offer discounts to customers who bring their own reusable containers instead of using the provided plastic bags. 

By purchasing a larger quantity of snacks that aren’t individually wrapped, you can easily eliminate tons of plastic packaging, not to mention leverage the budget- and time-saving benefits of meal prepping. 

Simply portion the snacks into reusable containers at home, and you’re ready to go!

Here are our top tips for making eco-friendly school lunches as your "green" new year's resolution.
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How to Help Your Kid Set Up for a Successful New Year

As a parent, few things in life feel more important than making sure your child is set up for a successful life. Often, though, the smaller achievements that come along the way can be overlooked, with a stronger focus on bigger, long term goals like graduation, post-secondary, and careers.

With the new year just around the corner, we want to give you some inspiration to hop on the goal-setting train. We believe in the importance of both setting up for and celebrating the small wins; as these often help lead to the bigger ones. Help your kid get set up for success in 2020 by encouraging some of these new year’s resolutions.

Pursue a passion project outside of school

Working on school projects is important, but it’s still part of the regular, day-to-day responsibilities of being a student. Encouraging your child or teen to spend time after school or on the weekends working on something they care about helps them to get into the habit of staying productive in their personal time.

It could be something like writing, journaling, or drawing a picture each day for younger children, while middle and high school-aged kids could learn an instrument or a new language or even fight for an important cause.

Increase mindfulness through meditation

Practicing meditation will equip your child with the tools to stay grounded even through the most stressful parts of their schooling, part-time jobs, or friendships. No child is too young to meditate; even preschoolers can learn to process their feelings in a healthy way through meditation. 

Meditation is a powerful tool that allows people to learn how to deal with their emotions by controlling their own mind and therefore their own life. After taking up meditation, people often report feeling like they have a longer attention span, more self-awareness, and less anxiety.

It’s so easy to get started and the benefits can be amazing. Smartphone apps like Headspace offer affordable meditation courses for both adults and children, and free meditations of different lengths are available for free on YouTube.

Eat healthier

We know, we know, if it was this simple to get kids to eat healthy, dinnertime fights over broccoli would be no more.

It’s not foolproof, but involving children in the cooking process may make them more likely to want to eat healthier food. By teaching young ones where the ingredients come from, what they do for their bodies, choosing recipes, and cooking together, children can learn a lot about the food they eat, and they’re able to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when the final product is ready.

If that fails, consider whipping up one of these secretly healthy dessert recipes!

Help your kids and teens set goals and new years resolutions that will set them up for a successful year in 2020!
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3 Ways Working on a Yearbook Benefits Students

It’s no secret that we love yearbooks. Who doesn’t? They’re the perfect keepsake of a school year, something you can look back on even decades later for a good laugh or when you’re feeling nostalgic.

We believe these memories in and of themselves are an important gift that every student should have, but what if we told you that yearbooks can bring even more benefits to the students at your school?

When students are involved in building a yearbook, amazing things happen.

They become better students.

They’re better equipped for college and university, and eventually the workforce.

They’ll go on to find a cure for cancer and stop global warming!

Okay, we may be exaggerating a bit on that last one, but the rest holds up. Students who work on their school yearbook really do gain skills that can help set them up for a better future. Read on to find out how.

They improve their soft skills

Being part of yearbook production requires skills like organization, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and collaboration. These skills are important as they continue their public school years and work on group projects in the classroom, but they become increasingly more important as students enter post-secondary schools or the “real world”. 

It’s a fun way to develop these skills, too! 

They gain hard skills

Students working on their yearbook will have to learn about things like photography, journalism, graphic design, and working with computers. 

In a world where many teenagers don’t know what kind of career they want, gaining firsthand experience in some potential careers can be vital for helping them decide what to do when they finish high school. It serves as a lower risk experimentation for them versus spending an entire semester doing a co-op, and it’s a ton of fun to boot.

That’s not to mention how great their yearbook experience will look on their college or university applications! Who knows, maybe they will end up curing cancer.

They start to build a portfolio 

Bring on the AP high school classes or journalism school applications; yearbook students are ready for it all.

Finishing in the spring with a tangible output is more than just a source of pride for those who worked on it. It’s proof that they worked hard on a year-long project and likely overcame obstacles to get it done. How many admissions advisors wouldn’t be impressed by that?

Are you a school administrator interested in starting a yearbook for your school? Email us at yearbook@edgeimaging.ca or call (905) 631-3114 ext. 270 to get started!
Are you a student or the parent of a student who wants to develop skills by working on a school yearbook? Send this post to the people at your school office!
Being part of a school yearbook committee can help students build skills to get them ready for the real world!
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5 Treats for Your Child’s Holiday Party

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: school holiday parties, work holiday parties, family holiday parties, your child’s friends’ holiday parties, your friends’ holiday parties…

Phew!

Having to bring a snack to a holiday party can be a bigger job than you might expect, especially when kids or schools are involved. There are food sensitivities and allergies to be mindful of, and you’ll probably want to bring something at least a little healthy. You know, to offset the tables full of treats that are bound to be aplenty. 

We understand the struggle, so we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite holiday recipes that we think are great for kids’ holiday parties, whether at school or at friends’ houses. We’ve made sure to include any potential allergens, so you’ll have an easy time finding the perfect recipe.

Fruit and Vegetable Christmas Trees and Candy Canes

Photo courtesy of Kitchen Stewardship

Katie from Kitchen Stewardship provided us with a list of healthy holiday-themed treats, like Christmas trees made from fruits or vegetables, fruity candy canes, festive ice cubes, and more fun snacks that’ll have the kiddos excited to eat something healthy!

These recipes are free from processed sugars, nuts, gluten, egg, and dairy, and are chock full of natural vitamins and minerals.

Get the recipes here!

Santa Cookies

It’s not the holidays without baking up a batch of festive cookies! These Santa star cookies use a classic shortbread recipe and a fun decorating method that your kids are sure to want to help with. 

This recipe isn’t exactly healthy, but it is nut-free and sure to make an impression on the snack table.

Get the recipe here!

Watermelon Christmas Trees

Not everyone is a fan of winter, so why not incorporate some summer vibes into your holiday treats? These super cute watermelon Christmas trees are gluten-free, nut-free, easy to make, and sure to be a hit with students and adults alike!

Get the recipe here!

Strawberry Muffins

Photo courtesy of The Candida Diet

“Send your kids to school with nutrient-dense sugar-free snacks this holiday season. Your children’s teachers – and their health – will thank you!” says Lisa from The Candida Diet. “My Strawberry Muffins recipe makes a nutritious and healthy snack for your kids and their classmates. A great aspect of this recipe is its gluten-free nature which is helpful with the rise of gluten sensitivities and allergies.”

Get the recipe here!

Mudballs

Photo courtesy of Kitchen Stewardship

This is another way to trick those kids into enjoying some healthy snacks! These sweet, chocolatey treats are packed with nutrition from chia and pumpkin seeds, and they’re free from processed sugar, nuts, eggs, and gluten. 

Get the recipe here!

These 5 kid-friendly treats are sure to be a hit at your next Christmas or holiday party!
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What to Expect on High School Grad Photo Day

There’s a lot riding on your high school grad picture day. You know Mom and Dad will be hanging these photos on the wall until you graduate from uni, and, let’s be real, your grad pic will probably be one of your most-liked Instagram posts of the year.

But how can you properly prepare for grad pictures if you don’t know what to expect when you get to the camera?

We totally understand that feeling, so we put together a video with everything you need to know about your grad photo session. #YoureWelcome

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Not sure what to expect when you have your grad photos taken? We've got you covered.
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