REBECCA VAN DYK (KONYNENBELT) CLASS OF 2010
Please tell us a little bit about where you grew up and what going to school at Immanuel Christian Schools was like for you as a student.
I grew up in Lethbridge and attended Immanuel from K-12. I have so many fond memories of my years there. At Immanuel I received a quality, Christ centered education that formed my worldview and helped to shape me into the person I am today. I enjoyed all facets of life at ICS and appreciated the many opportunities that were available for me to develop intellectually, spiritually, athletically and creatively.
When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
I have always loved writing, but for a long time my poems and stories stayed hidden in my notebooks. Encouragement from my poetry professor and inspiration from my children’s literature classes gave me confidence to pursue publication. After a lifetime of reading many picture books and spending countless hours in the children's section of bookstores, I am thrilled to be publishing my own stories.
What inspired you to write your book “Something More”?
As a teacher and a parent, I have seen the importance of fostering imaginative, resourceful, self-directed play in children during the foundational years of their development. The flexible structure of pretend play allows children to flourish in essential areas such as problem solving, communication, self-expression, confidence, inquiry and motivation. I wrote this book as an aid to further encourage natural creativity and curiosity after seeing the world through the imaginative eyes of my students and daughters.
Tell us a little bit about your family life and how you balance teaching, writing, parenting etc.
I taught Grade 2 for five years until my first daughter was born. Now my most important role is being a mom. When I only had one baby at home it was easier to find pockets of time to write during the day. Now that I have 2 kids, most writing happens at night when the girls are in bed. The process of publishing Something More took longer than I expected, and I learned so much. After my maternity leave was over I also began teaching English online to students around the world. Doing this in the early mornings and evenings allowed me to continue to use my teaching skills while also staying at home with my girls and spending more time on my writing.
Why do you think reading is so important?
Teaching kids to read is important, but teaching them to LOVE reading is invaluable! Reading opens the world to children, provides the foundation for future academic success, expands their vocabulary and, of course, enhances their imagination!
Are there activities children and students can do after reading “Something More”?
Yes! Be sure to check out the resources page on my website where you can download free colouring pages and follow-up activities! More importantly, my hope is that reading Something More will inspire kids to engage in imaginative play and for adults to encourage and join them in this. Kids don’t need the newest, fanciest toys to have fun. With a spark of creativity, everyday objects such as laundry baskets and trash cans become vessels of discovery and exploration.
Is there something you would like to tell our students in terms of following your dreams?
Don’t only focus on your end goal but enjoy the process of learning, creating and imagining!
Will there be more books in your future?
I hope so! I have many stories on the go. Some never leave the idea stage. Some are outlines. Some are half finished. Some are finished and waiting to be edited. Now that Something More is out in the world, I can take steps towards publishing my next book!
Where and how can readers follow your career, and purchase “Something More”?
Find me on Instagram @rebeccavandykauthor or check out my website www.rebeccavandyk.com to follow along or to purchase a copy of Something More.