Lyonsgate Update Jan. 21, 2022: Back to Class

Hello Lyonsgate Families,

COVID updates to a minimum this week. Instead, we've got messages from your children's Montessori guides about the commencement of the winter term.

Quick COVID update: rapid test kits for home use for symptomatic students have arrived at the Primary campus for Casa and Toddler students. There are not enough for every student but if a child is required to leave school due to symptom development they will be sent home with a kit containing two rapid tests. If a child becomes symptomatic at home and fails screening a rapid test kit can be picked up from the school. "Symptomatic" means one of the symptoms in group one (fever/chills, cough, shortness of breath, or decrease or loss of taste or smell), or two or more symptoms from group two (the list you see on the screening forms). Note: the instructions refer to a "blue cap;" the tests we received have a pink cap.

Rapid test kits for Elementary students have been requested but the Ministry is not guaranteeing delivery based on supply issues.


Toddler

Snow and Maximum Effort.

Welcome to 2022! It is great to be back and to witness the magic that January brings to a Montessori classroom. After the holiday break the children all seemed noticeably taller, more verbal, more focused, rested and ready to get to work. January is often a time of consolidation of all of the efforts made in the fall. Although we all enjoy unstructured time with our families there is a comfort in returning to the familiar classroom and the daily routine where everyone has a productive role.

January is also the month when we can usually count on the real snow to arrive. This week we broke records! What a thrill! Snow is so exciting for toddlers and it is a great opportunity to give young children the chance to explore with their senses and use maximum effort. Toddlers need to move, carry heavy things, coordinate movements with their legs and their hands, climb, and throw and push things. Loads of snow everywhere provides the perfect environment to support this developmental need. Just wearing all that clothing makes it an effort to walk, so simply getting out in the snow is a great start. Then, once you are out there, you can build a snowman, shovel snow, go tobogganing, throw snowballs, climb over a huge pile of snow, etc. These are all simple activities that you can do in your neighbourhood with your toddler. Embrace winter in all its splendor! — Ms. Gervais.


Casa North

Hello Casa North Families,

Welcome to 2022! The second term is always such a treat for us as classroom guides — a lot of the anxieties and introverted tendencies go out the window and our students reveal their truest selves to us. They are cemented in their classroom orientation and routines, have mastered preliminary activities at their various levels, and have established their preferred work styles and social groups. Now, we begin to really sink our teeth into some great exploration and discovery with the Montessori materials.

You will start to hear the names of new materials and presentations, often things they have been observing and admiring the older children working with throughout the first term. You will hear them mimicking letter sounds and counting as high as they can. Their knowledge is growing and they want to share their pride with you! This term, continue to show them that you can share in their joy and celebrate with them. Take the time to ask about their school day, listen to their stories, open their take-home folders and look at their work, etc.

A surge of independence is a second term goal as well that, of course, goes hand-in-hand with their familiarity with routine and building social bonds. They can answers questions or resolve problems they used to ask a teacher for assistance with; they can ask a friend for help where they used to ask us. We hope you are encouraging more independence at home as well (eating, dressing, etc.), as you follow their Seesaw updates, have conversations about their classroom work, and see/hear what they are capable of at school.

We are working towards a second term Parent Education presentation, so stay tuned! We are excited to offer more information about Montessori philosophy and field more of your questions about the program.

All the best,

Ms. O’Sullivan


Casa South

Greetings from Casa South.

It finally feels like a true Canadian winter, which means many layers of insulation are required whenever we venture outdoors. Our cloakroom during transitions, both in and out of school, is busy and rather chaotic. As one child expressed with a heavy sigh, “The struggle is real.” However, the children are becoming more skilled at peeling off the layers, putting them on, and keeping track of all the bits and pieces. It helps everyone when belongings are labeled.

Inside, the work continues at an accelerated pace as the children are achieving rising levels of competence and confidence in their abilities. We’ve had quite a few birthdays this month which has generated discussion about age and the passing of time; it’s such an abstract concept to grasp. The sharing of photos on birthdays is a meaningful illustration of what happens as children grow and change with time. It’s also a lovely way for everyone to connect as we look at the photos and learn more about each other.

Conducting surveys has become a popular activity this month. First, a decision is made regarding the subject of the survey, then a chart is created, data collected, and, finally, tallied. Children appear to be very interested in what flavour of ice cream, donuts, popsicles, and lollipops are most popular. Below is a photo of our growing collection of surveys ...time will tell if the focus shifts to something less sugary.

If you see some of this paperwork in your child’s folder, it may be easier to interpret!

As always, thank you so much for all your support, cheery greetings, and shared insight into how your children feel about their time at school. See you at the gate! -- Ms. Robinson


Elementary

This week, the Elementary students were thrilled to return to a snow-filled campus and the busy social life of the classroom! This is the environment that feeds their need for a community of peers, where each student's individual, essential work of what Montessori called "self-construction" is nurtured through social interaction, negotiation, and consequence. This week, we continued with collaborative work in our literature circles, biology projects, and best of all, time spent together having fun with a snow sculpture challenge!

Wishing you a warmer weekend,

Marissa and Michelle.


Lyonsgate Update Jan. 14 2022: Latest Info and Elementary Return

Hello Lyonsgate Families,

We are continuing to receive updated guidance and information as the Omicron wave continues, and as our Elementary students head back to in-person schooling on Monday. As you know, there have been significant changes to testing and to case and contact management. Lyonsgate will continue to keep you as informed as we can about any cases amongst students and staff. Please know, however, that the information we receive is significantly less than before the winter break.

Please also see information about 2022.2023 registration and payment, as well as a tentative schedule change for next year, below. We end this update on a bright note from the Elementary students' online activity, so be sure to read through to the end.

Screening Forms

The updated screening forms can be found on the Home page of lyonsgate.ca. Each child requires a screening form to be submitted each day before they arrive to be dropped off at school. Please do not use any old bookmarks as these are new screening forms. The screening forms contain the most recent guidance on steps to take if symptomatic, test positive, etc.

[Tip: if you have questions about what to do in a specific circumstance, complete the screening form to match the situation and you will be directed to the most recent guidance. Adults can use the "Staff and Visitor" form. Please try to remember to not hit submit if you are using the forms for this purpose.]

COVID Advisory Page

At the beginning of the pandemic, we were required to add a "COVID Advisory Page" to the school website to report any confirmed cases. We very fortunately did not have to use that page until this recent wave. You can find the COVID Advisory Page on the Home page at lyonsgate.ca with the rest of the COVID info links. Presently, we are only receiving notifications of positive test results from those voluntarily disclosing test results to us.

Voluntary Positive Test Reporting

If you have access to either Rapid Antigen Tests or PCR testing, and are willing to do so, please report any positive test results to admin@lyonsgate.ca. Reporting your test results is not (and cannot be) mandatory. Presently, due to testing not being widely available and changes to protocols, we will not be informed of confirmed COVID-19 cases by Hamilton Public Health (they will not know unless it is a lab-confirmed PCR test, and are not notifying schools or child care centres at this time).

Close Contacts

We received an update this afternoon from the City of Hamilton's Children's Services and Neighbourhood Development Division, Healthy & Safe Communities Department, "that addresses some inconsistencies." Specifically, they state, "Child Care/school cohorts will generally be NOT considered high risk contacts, though the case may identify specific persons who are considered close contacts based on their interactions." We know that this is an inconsistency a number of you have also noted. At this time, there is no case management taking place in child care centres or schools by Hamilton Public Health. If we are informed of a positive test result in your child's cohort (see above) we will let you know. Currently, the guidance is for the rest of the cohort to self-monitor for symptoms; they do not need to isolate and the cohort will not be automatically closed.

Rapid Tests for Home Use

The Primary campus (Casa and Toddler), as a licensed child care centre, will be receiving two rapid tests for most students and staff members for "symptomatic use" on Monday morning. At this time, we are not sure if we are to send those tests home with students and staff members when we receive them or if we are only to send them home when an individual becomes symptomatic at school. We also do not know if more rapid tests will be provided once the original shipment has been used.

On Friday morning, Jan. 14, we received communication from the Ministry of Education that they "will be communicating shortly with private schools regarding the provisions of tests." These would be rapid tests for Lyonsgate Elementary students.

UPDATE: after we published and emailed this update we received further communication stating that rapid tests for students are not guaranteed:

"The Ministry of Education is considering providing rapid antigen screening kits for all onsite private school staff and students, regardless of vaccination status, dependent on available supply. ...At this time, rapid antigen tests are being considered first for onsite school staff. The survey link will also ask you to include the number of students enrolled at your onsite school should an opportunity for students to participate be made available."

Cohort or School Closures

Cohort or school closures are no longer being ordered by Hamilton Public Health. If a cohort or full school closure occurs the decision to do so will be made by the school.

"Absenteeism" Reporting

If the rate of absence reaches 30% among both staff and students, you will be notified by the school via a template letter from Hamilton Public Health. The process for us to report the absence rate to Public Health, and the template letter, have not yet been made available to us. It is also unclear at this time if we are to distinguish between COVID-related absences (confirmed cases and symptomatic individuals) and non-COVID absences when determining the absence rate.

Masks: N95 and High-Quality 3-ply Cloth

The Primary campus will be receiving 3-ply cloth masks for students to use, if parents wish to have their child wear them. We submitted our request on Thursday when the form was made available and requested a substantial quantity to hopefully be able to make them available to all Lyonsgate students. We do not know how many we will receive, however.

Staff have been provided with an initial supply of N95 masks. Based on guidance from the Ministry, it would seem that more will be delivered, but at this time we do not know for sure.

Vaccination

Vaccination continues to be the most effective strategy to protect against COVID-19, and children's vaccinations, as well as booster shots for adults, including education workers, are heavily recommended.

On the Home page at lyonsgate.ca you can links to: Book Your Child's COVID Vaccination; Information About Children's COVID Vaccines; and a Vaccine Tips for Parents video from McMaster Children's Hospital.

The Ontario Ministry of Health also has a COVID-19 Vaccine Information Sheet: For Children
(age 5-11)
and a "COVID-19 vaccines for children and youth" page that also includes a booking link.

Ventilation and Filtration

Lyonsgate has HEPA filter units in every classroom at both the Primary and Elementary campuses and all units had new filters installed last week (the old filters were still well within their effective range but we want to provide the best mitigation we can). We will also continue to keep windows open for constant air exchange. Classrooms may be cool so a sweater and/or layers are recommended.


2022.2023 Registration and Payment

Thank you for your submission of registration forms for the 2022.2023 school year. We will be contacting a few families on our wait lists soon to fill the remaining few spots for next year. The initial payment for the 2022.2023 school year is due today, Friday, Jan. 14. Also, please remember to submit the signed, signature page of your registration form with payment (if you do not have print capabilities at home, please let us know and we will print one for you). Thank you.


Schedule Change for Next Year

While we hope things are more back to normal by September, we are planning for next year under the current requirements. One change we are planning to make for next year is to the schedule for the Casa classes: both classes will have the same drop-off and pick-up times — 8:00-8:30 drop-off and 3:30-4:00 pick-up. If current restrictions are still in place, the playground will be divided to keep the cohorts two metres apart. This schedule change will align better for families that also have sibling children in either the Toddler or Elementary programs.

At this point in the pandemic, we honestly can't even guess at what September may bring, but this schedule change will likely be in effect.


Ending on a Positive Note from Elementary

While our Elementary students will return to in-person schooling on Monday, they have been up to great things online:

While learning from home this week, the Elementary students enjoyed a short film introducing Vincent Van Gogh and examining his Sunflowers series.  We explored composition and colour while using oil pastels to draw our own sunflowers.  In our culture lessons, students explored how people have met their fundamental needs for food. While our younger students heard the story of the First Farmers in the fertile crescent, our older students welcomed a virtual visitor from Nunavik, who shared stories of his Inuit culture and the traditional hunting practices that continue to be used today.  We look forward to seeing the students back on campus next week!

Warmly,

Marissa and Michelle

Lyonsgate Update Jan. 7 2022: COVID and Other Info

Hello Lyonsgate Families,

Well, that was an eventful first week back!

Thank you all for all of your patience and cooperation as we returned, or did not return, to school amid a myriad of changing protocols, requirements, and closure.

There's been a lot lately so I'll try to keep this brief:

Screening Forms

The updated screening forms were released Thursday evening. You will find the updated Lyonsgate screening forms on the Home page at lyonsgate.ca . Every student and staff member must submit a screening form each day before arriving at school and your screening form submission must be verified by a Lyonsgate staff member.

Symptoms such as runny nose, headache, and sore throat have been placed back on the screening forms. There are two groups of symptoms. If a student or staff has one of fever, cough, shortness of breath, or loss of taste or smell they must isolate for 5 days, as well as all household members. If a student or staff has ONE of the symptoms in group 2 they must stay home until improving for 24 hours; if they have TWO or more group 2 symptoms they must isolate for 5 days, as well as all household members.

You can run through the screening forms and try the different scenarios to see what the full guidance/requirements are (try to remember not to hit "Submit" if just testing/viewing).

N95 Masks

N95 masks for staff arrived on Thursday and are being worn by staff members while indoors. Staff are wearing surgical/procedure masks outdoors as they need to be disposed of afterwards. We have heard nothing further about the 3-ply cloth masks for students.

Ventilation and Filtering

Each classroom has a HEPA filter unit and the filters have been cleaned (and new filters are on the way even though they are currently well within the valid range). Every classroom also has open windows with fans to maintain constant air exchange. Consequently, it is cooler in the classrooms so a warm sweater and/or layers are required.

More to Come

Communication we have received indicates that more information and details are coming about things such as case and contact management, and probably a few other surprises, why not.


Please Try Not to be Late

Staggered drop offs and pick ups remain very important to keep the cohorts separate, and to maintain the integrity of the Montessori work cycles for both your own child and the rest of the class.

Toddler students can be dropped off between 8:00-9:00 and continue to use the parking lot door. Their pick-up period is 3:00-3:30.

Casa North students must be dropped off between 8:00-8:30 and picked up between 3:30-4:00.

Casa South students must be dropped off between 8:30-9:00 and picked up between 4:00-4:30.

If you are going to be late, please contact us at 905-525-4283 or at admin@lyonsgate.ca.

Thank you.


Elementary

Our Elementary students began their online learning this week. We are prepared if the closure goes beyond Jan. 17. Thank you to all of our Elementary families for your great transition to the online environment.

Also, thank you from Marissa and Michelle:

Happy New Year!

We are excited to be back together again, even if it is for a period of learning from home. We hope everyone was able to get set up online and at-home this week, and enjoyed their culture lessons on aquatic reptiles, like the mosasaurs, or the complex systems that coordinate the human body.

We are also thrilled to report, with gratitude for the hard work and enthusiasm of our students, families, and local businesses, that the Elementary students were able to assemble twenty-six complete shoebox gift packages for women in Hamilton this holiday season! Thanks to the tremendous generosity of our community, additional donations were also made to The Salvation Army, Community Fridge, and the neighbourhood Period Pop-Up Pantry.

Overall, The Shoebox Project - Hamilton was able to distribute 292 shoebox packages, as well an additional 363 gift cards through seven local agencies. That's 655 gifts! What a wonderful way to wrap up 2021.

Here's to a happy and healthy 2022!

- Marissa and Michelle


Registration and Payment Period

Thank you to all of our families that are returning to Lyonsgate next year for submitting registration forms. We will have unfortunate news for most people on our wait lists as we are almost completely full for next year.

The initial payment for the 2022.2023 school year is due Friday, January 14. You can find the 2022.2023 tuition fees and schedule here: https://lyonsgate.ca/tuition-fees-and-schedule/


Have a safe but wonderful weekend everyone.


January 2022 Return to School Information

Hello Lyonsgate Community,

Following yesterday's provincial announcement about the return to school next week we have been receiving further details and are expecting more soon. Here is everything we know so far:
Primary Campus Return: Primary (Casa and Toddler) will open to students on Monday, January 3.
Elementary Campus Return: Elementary will open to students on Wednesday, January 5.
Required Daily Screening: Validation of screening is in effect until further notice. The list of exclusionary symptoms will be updated but the revised screening forms have not yet been released. From the Ministry of Education:
"Anyone who has symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 or is a confirmed positive case must self-isolate, regardless of vaccination status ... [and] household members, including siblings, stay home until the household member experiencing symptom(s) is cleared from their isolation."
You must complete and submit the relevant, updated screening form each morning before arriving to drop off students, and that screening form submission must be verified by Lyonsgate staff when students are dropped off at school.  Once released, updated screening forms can be found on the Home page at lyonsgate.ca
Plan for Increased Absences: All of the Ministry communications are asking us to tell you to prepare for increased absences over the next little while as symptom and isolation requirements are tightened. This will impact both students and staff.
Isolation Periods: The isolation period for children under 12 years of age (Lyonsgate students) has been reduced to 5 days from the onset of symptoms. Students may return to school after 5 days "if their symptoms are improved for at least 24 hours." An updated Return Attestation form is likely coming from Hamilton Public Health along with updated decision charts for when children are sick.
Masking: The Ministry of Education will be providing N95 masks for staff and, for students, 3-ply cloth masks upon request. This provision is only for the licensed child care (Primary campus; Casa and Toddler). Ordering information for these masks is forthcoming from the Ministry and as yet we do not know when they will be available.
Case, Contact, and Outbreak Management: Details are still being updated but communication regarding cases and outbreaks will be limited. From the Ministry: "As a result, cohort-based dismissals may not occur in schools and child care settings."
Vaccinations: Vaccination continues to be the most effective factor in limiting the spread and severity of COVID-19. You can find information about and a link to book children's vaccinations on the Home page at lyonsgate.ca.
Testing: At this time, PCR (the nasal swab) tests are not available to confirm COVID status.
Happy New Year!!

Lyonsgate Update Dec. 17 2021: Winter Break!

Happy Winter Break Lyonsgate Families,

Enjoy the next two weeks of holiday celebrating, and hopefully some resting and relaxing. We are back to school on Monday, January 3.


<Sigh...> Here's the latest COVID info:

  • It is not noted on the City's site, but a recent CBC news article reports a shorter interval for children's second vaccinations:  "Hamilton Public Health Services says that while it recommends the eight-week interval supported by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) for children between the ages of 5 and 11, it will permit bookings for a second dose any time after 21 days." Please read the linked article for more information if you are considering the shorter interval for your child.
  • Rapid Antigen Tests were not provided for Lyonsgate Elementary students. As you all know from the news the last couple of days, free rapid tests are being made available over the holiday period. "Throughout December to mid-January, two million rapid tests will be provided free of charge at pop-up testing sites in high-traffic settings such as malls, retail settings, holiday markets, public libraries and transit hubs, as well as providing vaccine education...[and] at LCBO stores across Ontario." Please click the following link for the pop-up location schedule: https://www.ontario.ca/page/pop-up-holiday-schedule-rapid-antigen-tests
  • Public Health has informed us that the screening validation will continue for longer than the first two weeks of our January return. Updated screening forms will be on the Home page of lyonsgate.ca for our return to school on Jan. 3. Please remember to complete screening each day before arrival. Thank you.

Stay safe and stay healthy over the holidays everyone.


Reminder: please submit your registration form for the 2022.2023 school year if you haven't had a chance to do so yet. We will be putting together tentative class lists in January and will begin contacting families on our wait list in February. Please see the Dec. 3 email from registration@lyonsgate.ca titled "Registration for 2022.2023 School Year" for registration information and a link to the registration form. Initial payment is not due until January 14, 2022.

Please read on for first term wrap up messages from your children's Montessori guides.


Toddler

Our Toddler Montessori classroom is a wonderful place for the very young to discover who they are, gain confidence and independence skills, but most importantly it is a place for children to go every day where each person is an important member of the community, a place where they can do important work, a place where they belong.

Wednesday at circle time we took a moment to notice who out of our class was absent since some have been away with colds and coughs. They could name the missing friends because the classroom environment is different when friends are away. We miss them. In the Toddler classroom we have been witnessing a beautiful community forming over the past four months. They are very aware of one another and they are keen to help take care of each other and the classroom environment. They will often clean up after each other, bring someone their shoes in the hallway, offer a glass of water to a friend, and share a laugh together. There is cooperation and camaraderie.

These are the most valuable lessons. The spontaneous lessons of compassion, care for oneself and for others, and joy! Sharing joy!

As we close out the year 2021 in the Lyonsgate Toddler community, I am filled with gratitude and optimism. I am grateful to spend each busy day living in the present moment observing children making discoveries, gaining confidence, navigating friendships, and growing into interesting and caring people.

Have a joyful and peaceful holiday! We will miss you! — Ms. Gervais


Casa North

It's been a great semester and has certainly flown by! Many fantastic discoveries have been made, bonds created, and we are beginning to see a sense of calm and purpose emerging. The students feel comfortable here, and they are beginning to show their truest, most authentic selves to us — we are excited to share in their growth.

We hope you enjoyed the Winter Concert extravaganza! Posting daily videos was a treat, and helped us to get into the holiday spirit!

Please check your child's backpack. We have sent home clothing for washing.

Wishing you all a safe, relaxing holiday!

All the best,

Ms. O'Sullivan


Casa South

Season’s Greetings from Casa South,

Although the weather hasn’t been very wintery thus far, inside the classroom we’ve been busy getting into the happy spirit of the season. You may find some glittery trees, stars, and some fluffy pom pom Rudolph noses in your child’s folder this week.

2021 was another year for the books with the continuation of the pandemic and all the associated health precautions in place. We’re all sure to be wishing for a return to pre-pandemic state in

In the meantime, we will continue to focus on and celebrate all the positive things happening in our classroom community. The children have had a good first term and are now well settled into the routine. This has led to some wonderful work and learning in all areas. We have a particularly social group who enjoy working with a partner or in small groups. These interactions provide opportunities for learning how to co-operate and collaborate with each other. It’s been lovely to observe the children become capable problem-solvers.

We’ll be adding some sewing work to the Practical Life shelves and science experiments to the Cultural area in the new year. It will be interesting to observe which activities appeal to each child and how creative they be with the work. Children never cease to surprise us with their different ways of
manipulating and creating with the materials; letting us know what’s happening in their thoughts and imaginations. Life is never dull in Casa South!

We hope you enjoy the holidays, and all the children return healthy, rested and ready for more exploration and discovery with us in January. See you then! — Ms. Robinson


Have a great break everyone!


Lyonsgate Update Dec. 10 2021: Holiday COVID Info, and More

Hello Lyonsgate Families,

Registration for current students and their siblings opened last Friday. Please check your inbox for an email from Dec. 3 with registration information and the link to the 2022.2023 registration form. Please submit registration forms by December 15. Payment is not due until January 14, 2022. Thank you.

Also THANK YOU for all of your donations to the Elementary students’ Shoebox Project initiative and the Primary campus Toy Drive for the Salvation Army. Your response has been phenomenal! Toys can still be donated up to Dec. 15, and last minute Shoebox Project donations can be accepted on Monday, Dec. 13.

As we head into the winter break you will continue receiving updates from the Casa and Toddler Montessori guides and assistants about how the first term has progressed, as well as updates on the Elementary students’ work and community involvement. This week, the English language assistants have beautiful reflections on the term for you. Please see the classroom sections below.


Rapid Tests vs. PCR Tests: a few families have asked and if a student is absent with COVID-screening symptoms they must get a PCR test at one of the testing clinics to return to school. Rapid tests cannot be used at home instead of the PCR/clinic test.

We have been receiving information from Hamilton Public Health and the provincial government about COVID-19 protocols related to the holiday period:

  • Screening Validation: When we return on January 3, 2022, we will once again be required to validate daily screening. You will receive a reminder email the day before and will find the Primary and Elementary campus screening forms on the Home page at lyonsgate.ca. You must submit the screening form each day before students arrive to school. So far, the screening validation is only for the first two weeks after we return, but Hamilton Public Health may extend that as they did in the fall.
  • International Travel Required Quarantine: All individuals are required to follow federal testing and quarantine requirements if travelling outside of Canada, and may not attend school for 14 days if advised to quarantine. **NEW**: While unvaccinated children under the age of 12 who travelled outside of Canada with a fully vaccinated companion are exempt from federal quarantine, they are not permitted to attend school or child care for 14 days following their return.
  • Omicron Variant Updates: Precautions to mitigate the spread of the Omicron variant affect some quarantine requirements:
    • Any positive COVID-19 cases where the individual travelled outside of Canada within 14 days, or had a high-risk exposure to an individual who travelled outside of Canada within 14 days of their onset, will be treated as potential Omicron cases.
    • Close contacts of confirmed and/or potential Omicron cases will be required to isolate for 10 days regardless of vaccination status, or until Omicron is ruled out.
    • Close contacts require a COVID test on day 7 or later to be released from isolation. If they choose not to complete the clearance test, they will be required to isolate for an additional 10 days regardless of their vaccination status.
  • At-Home Rapid Tests: You may have heard that public school students will be receiving rapid test kits to use over the break to provide an additional layer of screening for a safer return to school in January. Initially, private schools (ie. the Lyonsgate Elementary program) were not included in the rapid test distribution. While still not guaranteed, private schools were surveyed by the Ministry of Education this week to see if they wanted to participate. Lyonsgate said “Yes, we do.” We will let you know as soon as we hear anything further. If kits are provided to us, they will be for Elementary students only.

Gloves and Mittens: it’s a good idea to have an extra pair of gloves or mittens that can be kept at school. Once the snow is on the ground it becomes the main outdoor activity, and gloves and mittens will get wet. The backup gloves and mitts can be the fabric or knit kind, but water resistant material is best for student’s main mitts; the fabric gloves and mittens are soaking wet with molten snow within minutes of being on the playground. Thank you. (ps. remember to label everything!).


Toddler

It seems like only yesterday when we were meeting many of the children for the first time, but here we are at the end of the first term! I am so proud of how much they have accomplished in such little time. Our classroom is filled with bright and unique personalities and one of the greatest things has been watching them connect with one another and seeing their friendships continue to blossom.

Our work cycle is a buzz of activity with water-based activities like washing a table, watering plants, and polishing a mirror taking centre stage. Painting and music have also been go-to activities in the Toddler Community. It is pretty common for an impromptu jam session to take place with all the percussion instruments, and I am always happy to join in on ukulele.

Winter presents a new set of work in the form of snow pants, mittens, boots, and all of the other things we put on in Canada to have fun outside. This provides extra opportunities for the children to practice many of the skills we began working on in warmer months as they continue on their path toward independence.

I can’t wait to see where the 2nd term takes us! — Mr. Davis.

Reminder from Lyonsgate administration: please remember that children who are unwell are not permitted to attend school, even if their symptoms are not COVID-exclusionary symptoms. Hamilton Public Health has provided updated charts that explain for what symptoms and for how long children must remain absent from school. We want to make sure everyone stays healthy throughout the school year, and especially as we head into the winter break so that everyone feels comfortable and safe visiting family.


Casa North

Good Afternoon Casa North Families,

It feels like autumn has flown by in Casa North this year. Such a short time ago I was listening to stories from summer vacation and getting to know our new and returning students in my new role. This year we have a somewhat unusual class, with half of our four-year-old students (typically second years) experiencing Montessori education for the first time, in addition to our first years. It has been so rewarding to watch our students acclimate to the classroom and overcome new challenges.

We also have five sets of siblings learning alongside one another in Casa North. In September, these pairs were in near-constant proximity, younger siblings dependent on their doting elders for everything from zipping zippers to conflict resolution. While we encourage older students to help guide and mentor anyone less experienced, the freedom of choice is one of the foundations in Montessori philosophy. I’ve personally witnessed each of our older siblings kindly, but firmly, assert themselves with their younger counterparts to prioritize their learning goals.

Whether part of a sibling pair or not, each of our new students has formed friendships and gained many skills that go along with being part of a community. I’m always so impressed by the social problem solving, negotiation, and cooperation that children begin to navigate with very little adult intervention.

With one week left at school we’re all getting rather antsy. I hope you all have a safe, restful holiday, and look forward to seeing everyone in the new year! — Ms. Dewey.


Casa South

It is so hard to believe that we’re already nearing the end of our first term! It always seems like December is so far off when we start in September, but then the time just flies by! This year so far has been one of growth, new learnings, and budding friendships.

We started off the year with some returning faces and quite a few new friends as well. Over the past few months, the class has become a community which embraces each child’s strengths and helps when there is a challenge. It is always beautiful to get to watch this transition as bonds are created among the children in the class. Some of our new students have learned how to adapt to the Casa environment and are consistently gaining confidence in this space. Our returning students love sharing what they know and have already learned about their environment and welcome new friends with ease.

Since September, we’ve seen a lot of progress with the way the children interact kindly with each other. They are learning how to communicate their feelings effectively to their peers. We have watched them take responsibility for their role in conflict and are learning how to resolve challenges that arise amongst themselves. They are gaining more and more independence with each passing day. This social and emotional learning is an important part of what the children are learning daily in the classroom, and it goes hand in hand with their academic progress.

Academically, the start of the year feels like a world away. The children have been exposed to new skills, have repeated these skills, and mastered things they did not know at the beginning of the year. We’ve watched some learning how to read, others growing artistically with constant practice painting, others working with numbers up to the thousands. Across the board, the children are met where they are and they have grown tremendously.

I wish you a happy and relaxing weekend before the holiday season! — Ms.Sullivan.


Elementary

Over the years I have been at Lyonsgate, I have seen the Elementary students take on charitable pursuits such as the Shoebox Project with an energy and passion that could change the world. At their stage of development, they understand injustice and recognize the unfair nature of our society, and they don’t hesitate in their conviction that something must be done to make life better for everyone. It is inspiring to see in action.

These are big projects for the students involving planning, communicating with the school community, getting out in the wider community and approaching businesses for support, putting up posters, tracking responses, organizing donations, communicating with charitable organizations, developing timetables, and getting everything ready and done by a deadline, while continuing to engage with their academic endeavours. I have seen students ask to stay out in cold, wet weather so they can get to a few more stores to solicit donations; I have seen shy children find the courage to enter a business and talk to the staff about what they are doing; and I’ve seen them work as a group to accomplish their goals, with all of the friction and tension and compromise that group-work can involve, because they recognize the greater purpose of the work they are doing.

Thank you, Elementary students, for always showing us adults we have as much to learn from you as you do from us. — Jason.


Lyonsgate Update Dec. 3 2021: French, Charity, and Registration

Happy Friday Lyonsgate Families,

Lyonsgate Charitable Actions

Lyonsgate is undertaking a few charitable drives for the holiday season, one at the Primary campus and two at the Elementary campus by the students there:

  • Primary Toy Drive: We are accepting donations of new and unwrapped toys suitable for children up to age 14 for the Salvation Army to distribute. They have let us know that they are quite low on toys for children this year. We can accept donations up to December 15. Thank you.

  • Elementary Shoebox Project: The Elementary students are participating in The Shoebox Project. The Shoebox Project helps unhoused women by sending them shoeboxes full of essential and pleasure items (think makeup and toothbrushes). We would appreciate any donations you can give (along the lines of gift cards, a reusable mug, drink packets, a journal, etc.) by December 10. Donations can be dropped off at either Lyonsgate campus.

  • Elementary Digital Recipe Book: the Elementary students are putting together a digital recipe book with proceeds going to The Shoebox Project. They are accepting minimum donations of $5.00 up to Dec. 10, and you will receive your recipe book via email. If you would like one, donations can be dropped off at either Lyonsgate campus and you can let the Elementary students know you would like one by emailing elementary@lyonsgate.ca with the email address the recipe book should be sent to.

Thank you for all of your help and cooperation when it comes to keeping students home when they are ill, even if they do not have the COVID-specific symptoms that require testing. There has been a cold bug spreading that has impacted both students and staff, and your help in keeping students at home until they are well is very much appreciated.


Registration for the 2022.2023 school year for current Lyonsgate students and their siblings went out this morning. Please look for that email. Submission of registration forms is due Dec. 15 and initial payment is due Jan. 14, 2022. We have made a few changes this year that are outlined in the registration email.


This week, the Casa and Toddler French assistants have a updates for you about the French programs through the first term and the Elementary Montessori guides have an update on the students end of term activities.

Toddler

Wow! What a fulfilling few months we have had together; time is flying by. Since our last French update I can confidently say I have noticed many of our students are really grasping the French language and I am hearing many children repeating words and even taking out French activities from the shelves. As many of you know, we have been practicing our French song “Vive le Vent” daily and it warms my heart hearing the children coming to school ready to sing. Thank you to those who may have been practicing at home as well. I look forward to the new year with your beautiful children and my hope is that we continue on our French speaking journeys together to help encourage these bright young souls to absorb all that they are hearing. Happy holidays and a wonderful new year ahead.

Mme. Craigie

Reminder: please label everything.


Casa North

Bonjour, comment ça-va? Each day in Casa North students are asked how they are feeling to begin their exposure to conversational French throughout the day. Common answers are "Ça va bien."; "Ça va mal."; or "Ça va super bien!"

This has also allowed us to explore emotions in French this term, learning vocabulary for happy, sad, tired, sick, mad, etc., through lots of different books, and, of course, "If you're happy and you know it" in French.

More French vocabulary has been introduced through the Montessori materials this term, including fruits and vegetables, farm animals, family members, and colours. We also have a little Christmas tree in the classroom that has a little star, a little present, lights, and ornaments. We are practicing some vocabulary with the tree each day in our circle, including "on" and "under" for example, to give us a bit of the spirit of the season.

Mme. Murati

Reminder: please label everything.


Casa South

Bonjour! Quelle belle saison!

Chantez avec nous!

C’est l’automne
(Frère Jacques)

Les feuilles tombent 🍁
Les feuilles tombent 🍁

C’est l’automne!
C’est l’automne!

Rouge, orange et jaune
Rouge, orange et jaune

C’est l’automne!
C’est l’automne!

We enjoyed looking at the different kinds of leaves and picked out the red maple ones to practice our national anthem.

We worked on the different seasons and weather.

Also, we started practicing some new songs for the upcoming season.

Here’s another must share moment!

While the children were playing outside, a child brought me 3 leaves and said « Look madame! Gros, moyen, petit! »
It was music to my ears! 💕

Mme Perazzo

Reminder: please label everything.


Elementary

The Elementary campus is buzzing with activity as students work to complete our ongoing projects. Recipe books are in hot demand as students create their entries for our Cookie Book release. In preparation for our Winter Concert, the students have been writing plays, constructing props, and practicing their performances. The lower cohort is enthusiastically practicing the Trilobite Song and Doh a Deer, and some of you at home may have the opportunity to sing along as well!

Thanks,
Michelle

Reminder: please label everything.


Lyonsgate Update Nov. 25, 2021: Parent-Teacher Conferences Tomorrow

Happy Thursday Lyonsgate Families,

Both Lyonsgate campuses are closed tomorrow for parent-teacher conferences. Thank you all for signing up. You should have received an email on Wednesday afternoon with instructions on how to connect with your children's teachers. Please contact us if you did not or if you have any questions.

It is a PA day and children are at home, but please try to plan for 20 minutes where you can speak with your child's teacher, about your child, without children present. Thank you.


We have more information for you this week from two of our Elementary students about their charitable pursuits for the upcoming holiday season. See the Elementary section below.


We also want to remind you about the toy drive taking place at the Primary campus. We are accepting donations of new and unwrapped toys suitable for children up to age 14 for the Salvation Army to distribute. They have let us know that they are quite low on toys for children this year. We can accept donations up to December 15. Thank you.


This Sunday, Nov. 28, is the deadline to order Lyonsgate clothing. Click here or the image below to shop for Lyonsgate clothing.


Toddler

Hello Toddler Parents,

I'm very much looking forward to connecting with you one-on-one tomorrow to share updates and insights into the classroom and your child's progress. I'm also looking forward to collaborating with you on how we can best meet each child's needs as they continue to develop independence and confidence. They are well on their way to growing into the wonderful, creative people that they are each meant to be. — Ms. Gervais


Casa North

I am very much looking forward to connecting with all the Casa North families about my time shared so far with your lovely, capable children. It is an opportunity to exchange stories, observations, goals, successes, and areas of improvement.

Bring your questions & comments because, as always, they are welcome; the Montessori community is about connectedness and working together to help support your children as they grow. I’m excited to cement our teamwork further!

As a gentle reminder, this time is for both parents and teachers to connect, independently. I look forward to seeing and hearing from each of the students on Monday morning.


Casa South

Dear Parents,

I'm looking forward to meeting with you tomorrow to share some of what your child has been busy with at school, what they are currently interested in, and how they relate to their classmates.

This is also a time for you to ask questions or share any information about your child outside of school. Please note that these meetings are a time for conversations between adults. As always, I look forward to seeing your children back at school on Monday.

See you tomorrow,

Ms. Robinson.


Elementary

Hello Parents,

We are making a digital recipe book. You will get them December 6 or 7 by email. We accept a suggested donation of $5 by December 10 that we will use for charity.

Have a good rest of your day.

Rose P.K., Year 6


Hello Elementary Parents,

This season we are fundraising for The Shoebox Project. The Shoebox Project helps unhoused women by sending them shoeboxes full of essential and pleasure items (think makeup and toothbrushes). We would appreciate any donations you can give (along the lines of gift cards, a reusable mug, drink packets, a journal, etc.) by December 10.

Have a good day!

Lyonsgate Elementary

By Evan M., Year 6

Donations for all the Elementary charitable pursuits can be dropped off at either Lyonsgate campus. Thank you, and have a wonderful weekend everyone.


Lyonsgate Update Nov. 19 2021: Lyonsgate Clothing is Back

Hello Lyonsgate Community,

Next Friday, Nov. 26, is a PA day for the first set of parent-teacher conferences of the school year. If you have not had a chance to sign up yet, please do so by clicking here.


We have a number of items for you this week, and will be back to full classroom updates next week (but we do have a gallery of photos for you). Please see below for:


Winter Wear and Weather

With the winter weather definitely on the way, we want to remind everyone to please check the weather forecast each day to make sure students have the outdoor gear they need to stay warm and dry. You can check the forecast from the Home page at lyonsgate.ca; that link has been set for the forecast in the Aberdeen & Locke area.

A few tips for winter wear:

  • Please label everything clearly and conspicuously.
  • Avoid cloth or knit mittens when there’s snow on the ground; they become wet and hands get cold.
  • Seek out boots, coats, snowpants, etc., that students can put on and take off on their own (as much as possible).
  • Plan for extra time in the mornings to encourage independent dressing at home. Practice at home also helps set your child up for confidence and success.
  • Label everything! (Thank you).

Lyonsgate Clothing Now Available

If you need some warm new clothing, we are very happy to announce that Lyonsgate clothing is once again available. Over the last few years we have been seeking a Canadian supplier and are happy to say that we have found a local company. Fresh Image Print will host a webstore for Lyonsgate where you can order Lyonsgate merchandise until Nov. 28. Items are available in toddler to adult sizes and if all goes as planned, will be delivered to Lyonsgate for distribution in time for the holiday season.


Shoeboxes for Elementary

If anyone has any extra shoeboxes taking up space, our Elementary campus is looking for them for their community involvement charitable activity — The Shoebox Project. More details next week from the Elementary students! They can be dropped off at either campus. Thank you.


Lyonsgate Toy Drive

As the holiday season approaches Lyonsgate will once again be holding a toy drive to support the Salvation Army. We are seeking new and unwrapped toys suitable for children up to age 14. The Salvation Army has let us know that they are very low on toys for children this year. Please drop off toys at the Lyonsgate Primary campus up to December 15. Thank you.


Elementary

The Elementary students were thrilled to go out into the community for Physical Education classes this week and find new opportunities to challenge themselves.  Whether they were improving their push-ups, learning to use a high block against an attacker, or climbing all the way to the ceiling, everyone showed tremendous discipline and courage in pursuing their goals.  We are grateful for this wonderful neighbourhood and our community partners, United Family Martial Arts and Gravity Climbing Gym. — Marissa and Michelle


Upcoming COVID-19 Measures

We have received direction from the Ministry of Education regarding COVID measures related to the winter break and information from Hamilton Public Health regarding vaccinations for children:

  • Validation of screening will once again be in effect for at least the first two weeks following the winter break. You will once again find screening forms for Primary, Elementary, and Staff when we return to school on Jan. 3, 2022.
  • International travel: unvaccinated children under the age of 12 who travel internationally with a fully vaccinated companion are exempt from federal quarantine but are not permitted to attend school or child care for 14 days following their return.

We are asked to direct all families to the federal testing and quarantine requirements found here: https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid

  • Vaccinations for Children: as you have likely heard, COVID vaccinations for 5-11 year-olds have been approved. There will be two child-friendly clinics in Hamilton, at Limeridge Mall and at Centre on Barton. Hamilton Public Health and McMaster University are developing video resources to show what to expect at the clinics and to address needle anxiety in children. A “Town Hall” is also being planned to share information with and answer questions from parents; in addition, child-specific educational resources will be available, as well as ambassadors to communicate in a wide variety of languages. Info and resources will most likely be posted on this Public Health web page.

Photo Gallery

If you would ever like the digital file of a photo of your child, please email jason@lyonsgate.ca with a brief description of the photo. You can click on any image to open a slideshow, and from the slideshow you can view photos in a fullscreen view.


Lyonsgate Update Nov. 12, 2021: Observation & Conferences

Happy Friday Lyonsgate Families,

Friday, November 26 is a PA day and both Lyonsgate campuses will be closed to accommodate parent-teacher conferences. Parent-teacher conferences are 20 minutes in length and will once again take place via Zoom. Please look for a separate email closer to conference time containing the relevant Montessori guides’ Personal Meeting ID (PMI) and Passcode. At the time of your child’s conference simply open your Zoom app, click on “Join,” and enter the PMI and passcode as prompted.

Please remember to limit your conference to the selected 20 minute time slot so that we can keep everybody on schedule throughout the day. Thank you.

Please click here to select a parent-teacher conference time.

This week, the Toddler and Casa guides are sharing the role and importance of observation in Montessori, and the Elementary guides explain how Remembrance Day is addressed with elementary-aged children.

Please remember to label everything that comes to school with your child. Thank you.


Toddler

Observation is the cornerstone of Montessori. Maria Montessori was a medical doctor and a scientist and she approached her research on child development from this perspective. All of her theories and insights resulted from the many hours and years of observing children.

In the toddler community, there are many kinds of observation happening all at once! The guides are observing the children either formally (with a pen and paper) or informally making mental notes of things they see throughout the day. The children are observing the guides and also their fellow classmates. We are aware that the children are always observing and absorbing everything around them.

“There is in the child a special kind of sensitivity which leads him to absorb everything about him and it is this work of observing and absorbing that alone enables him to adapt himself to life.” Maria Montessori in The Absorbent Mind. [please excuse the dated language]

Virtually everything a child learns in life happens through observation of the world around them and then trying it out through their own experiments. The guides in a Montessori toddler community prepare the environment, but they must also prepare themselves to be excellent role models since everything we do in the environment will be repeated. If we want the children to sit while they are eating we must not walk around while we are eating. Toddlers do not understand double standards.

Observation requires a quiet and open mind, and a scientific approach like that of a naturalist. We are looking for new insights into what the children are trying to accomplish so that we can help them develop themselves into confident, independent people. It requires self-awareness to be objective and non-judgmental, curious without expectations or assumptions, and ready to see what is really happening so that we can be an aid to life. — Ms. Gervais


Casa North

Our Casa North team are big lovers of reading, so it feels appropriate to quote Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle) who said, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.”

Maria Montessori had a background in science and medicine before she found education. She viewed the classroom as “a laboratory for the study of man,” which is why Montessori pedagogy is so heavily focused on observing its students. The belief is that we must observe our students to form an understanding of how to better meet their needs; it is simply not enough to expect children of the same age to know the same things, be interested in the same things, learn the same way, or need the same things. If we want to instill a love of learning we need to provide options and a proper environment, observe, allow each child to reveal themselves, and then follow that child.

I also want to thank our parents for their participation in signing up so swiftly for the Montessori Flower Arranging bouquet contributions; the students are loving the activity and have been deeply engaged with both the before and after care of flowers (check the gallery below for photos). — Ms. O’Sullivan


Casa South

Greetings from Casa South

A former teacher trainee said to me, after spending some time observing in my classroom, “I was always very fond of little children, especially my own, but until now I could never have imagined that they might be interesting.” I realized that this was a feeling I shared early on in my work with children; a feeling that has certainly shifted.

Young children continue to interest me more and more with the passage of time. I have watched them and been with them at many times and places, and I find not just more pleasure but more food for serious thought in what they say and do as they move and grow. I have come to feel and to hope that I will learn many interesting and important things about your children’s learning.

As I observe each child, I get to know what their interests are, what they are capable of, and how to adapt the environment to meet them where they are, as well as where they might be headed. I’m sure the journey will continue to be more than “interesting.”

Reminders:
Please remember to label everything (hats, mittens, etc.). With the approaching colder weather there is sure to be a multitude of belongings to keep track of. Also, sending in an extra pair of socks will be helpful when feet get wet.

Thanks for all your support; I’m looking forward to our parent-teacher conferences in two weeks. — Ms. Robinson


Elementary

This week the Elementary students worked toward a deeper understanding of the history and purpose of Remembrance Day.  They considered how large conflicts may develop and discussed ways in which they, as kids, can work to be peaceful in their community. They discussed truly listening to others, calmly offering their own perspectives, and approaching differences of opinion with respect.  Our Remembrance Day ceremony included a student reading of In Flanders Fields, listening to “The Last Post,” and displaying their handmade wreaths of poppies.
— Marissa and Michelle

HAAA Renewal Design: Over the last year, Lyonsgate Elementary students have been involved in the HAAA renewal process by submitting design and feature ideas. The final preferred concept design is being revealed via virtual Public Information Centre (PIC) presentations on Thursday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m., and on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 10:00 a.m. You can register for either PIC by visiting https://engage.hamilton.ca/haaarenewal