Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Sept. 28, 2018

Hello Lyonsgate Montessori Families,

Next Wednesday, Oct. 3, is your first Parent Education Evening at Lyonsgate. These evening events are very important and we strongly encourage you to attend. At Parent Education Evenings, you will learn a little more about Montessori education and what goes on in the classroom, and why. Childcare is available during the event. Please scroll down to the “Next Week” section for event details and to register for childcare.

This Week:

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Now that your children are out in the larger world of school, we’d like to let you know you that illness and injuries are going to become a regular part of their lives. Accidents resulting in minor injuries are a normal part of growth and exploration. If your child is injured at school during the day (bumps and scrapes and such) you will receive a report at the end of the day with details pertaining to the accident. For any (very rare) more significant injuries we will contact you during the day if medical attention is required. We will also call you if your child becomes ill while at school. Hamilton Public Health sets the rules for which illnesses require children to be absent from school, and for how long. For your convenience, we have made their “Illness Exclusion Table” available here (it’s a good one to bookmark).

A few other reminders from the Toddler guides:

  • Please remember to check the weather forecast each morning and ensure children have appropriate clothing for the weather — boots for rainy days, jacket for cooler days, hats and mitts for cold days — and, as always, please do your best to provide them with clothing they can put on and take off themselves to help encourage and develop independence.
  • Speaking of independence, it might not look perfect, but please join us in celebrating their successes throughout the process; clothes might be inside out and shoes might be on the wrong feet, but the children got them there themselves!

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Casa South has seen a lot of yoga and meditation activity over the past week. These are excellent activities for children still learning to refine the mind-body connection — being able to control our bodies so they do the things our brain wants them to do. Geography work with the Montessori Puzzle Map materials has also been popular. This material not only helps children learn basic geography, but also complements their sensori-motor skills as they develop the coordination and hand strength required when they start to write. Phonogram work with consonant blends — things like sh, th — is well underway in Casa South.

We are also excited to welcome you all to our first Parent Education Evening on Wednesday. Remember, childcare is available, and we hope all of our families are able to attend.

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Casa North:The early months of school tend to have many changes-of-clothes as children adjust to new washrooms, being extremely engaged with their work and forgetting to use to toilet, and so many water activities in the classroom. Please make sure that everything you send with your child is labelled so that in case of a mix-up (a child mistakenly taking someone else’s clothing home) we can easily return items back to their rightful owners. Thank you!

In terms of what has been happening this week, we have noticed a surge in independence in Casa North as the children are cleaning up their environment after lunch. We have been observing them with pride as they take ownership of their classroom and make sure their plates are scraped, their placemats are cleaned and returned to their designated spots, and their tables are wiped and the floor swept. We are thrilled to see their adjustment to this busy transition so early in the school year.

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The Elementary class dove into the past this week, examining the history of life on Earth from the Paleozoic Era and exploring different impressions of the enormity of time with classic Montessori materials such as The Black Strip and The Clock of Eras. Students engaged in discussions of how geologic changes and events have affected the diversity of life seen today. The group also participated in their first outreach outing this year, delighting the residents of Aberdeen Gardens with a variety of Show and Tell items, including ballet demonstrations, a chess set, a storm lamp, as well as a variety of trophies, medals, and art pieces!  A few elementary notes:

  • Lyonsgate Elementary students will once again be participating in a fun run with students from other Montessori schools on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at LaSalle Park in Burlington. More details to come soon, but for now:
    • This year, the host school, Fairview Glen Montessori, is asking that each student make a $10.00 donation to their charitable support of SOS Children’s Villages-Uganda.
    • Parents are unfortunately not able to attend; the permit required to use the park has capacity limits. Thank you for understanding.

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Next Week:

As noted above, Wednesday, Oct. 3, is your first Parent Education Evening of the 2018.2019 school year. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Toddler, 3:30-4:00: Ms. Dee will be covering the Montessori approach to toileting.
  • Casa, 4:00-4:45: Ms. Boyle and Ms. Moffat will be discussing critical thinking and problem solving relative to the Casa child, and why making mistakes is a good thing.
  • Elementary, 5:00-5:45, at the Elementary campus on Locke St.: Parents are invited to take the stroll to our Locke St. Elementary campus where Ms. Achong will show you the Montessori history curriculum.
  • Childcare:
    • Children registered for childcare will have pizza available. If you already take advantage of after school care and/or extended care, and will be attending the Parent Education Evening, please also register for childcare for this event so that we know how many children to expect.
    • Please click here to register for Parent Education Evening childcare.
  • All parents are welcome and invited to attend all of the Parent Education sessions at each level.

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Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Sept. 21, 2018

Hello Lyonsgate Montessori Families,

We want to thank everyone for accommodating to the alternative pick-up and drop-off schedules we needed this week for the field trips. We know it can be difficult to change daily routines and we very much appreciate everyone’s efforts. Thank you.

The children all had fun and valuable experiences on their trips. Field trips are not just a fun day out, they also become touchstones for future presentations and learning. Montessori guides will ask questions such as, “Do you remember when we went to the farm and learned about/saw/smelled/watched/felt/tasted…” when presenting material that can be related to the various field trip experiences.

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This Week:

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Your wonderful toddlers are starting to adjust to their new school routine. To help make the transition to school happen more smoothly, please know that a quick drop-off, between 8:25-8:45, is the best thing you can do for your child. Consistency is key; a pre-arranged “one-hug, one-kiss, one ‘I love you,'” or similar routine, that your toddler is a part of developing with you (giving them some freedom, within set limits), is best. Then stick to it consistently, every day. Before you know it, the tears and calls for “one more hug” will dissipate and your toddler will begin to enter the classroom willfully.

A few notes and reminders from the Toddler guides:

  • If you are latedropping off your toddler — after 8:45 — please remember to help your toddler change their shoes and then guide them to the classroom door to be greeted by one of the Toddler guides.
  • The “Flower Arranging” sign-up sheet is posted. Flower arranging is a Montessori job for the children and each child is invited to bring in fresh-cut flowers each Monday (carnations, daisies, tulips, mixed bouquets). Please sign up for your family’s flower Monday.
  • We have also posted a “Protein Provision” sign-up sheet posted. Like the flowers, each child is invited to provide a protein element for the children’s snack each week — cheese, hummus, yoghurt, etc.
  • Toddler students also require two pairs of shoes that they can put on independently. Thank you.

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Casa South celebrated Ms. Moffat’s birthday this past week. Birthdays in the Montessori environment are celebrated in a very specific way. Children (and their guides) are invited to “walk around the sun” to represent the number of years they have been alive. Besides being a fun way to celebrate, this activity also complements their understanding of number sense, the passage of time, and annual and seasonal cycles — relevant this past week as we move into fall.

Casa South would also like to remind families to please do your best to avoid sending children to school with pop culture branded items of clothing or accessories (such as backpacks and lunch bags). These items can be a distraction in the classroom, and we also want their time in Montessori to be a breath of fresh air from commercial media. There is a noticeably different calmness in the classroom without branded items present, and more organic, individual imaginative play. Thank you.

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Casa North would also like to thank all their moms and dads for helping to make this past week’s early-year field trip a success. In talking with the children afterwards, many different “favourite parts” of the trip were revealed, showing us that the children were engaged throughout the whole trip, and  that a variety of interests were touched on, and some new interests sparked.

  • Casa North would like to remind everyone to check the Lost and Found regularly, especially as we enter the fall months and the weather becomes more variable throughout the day — sweaters, coats, and hats are sometimes abandoned.

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This week in Elementary, students began work with the Montessori Timeline of Life, beginning their studies of human history all the way back to the Paleozoic era, and the first year students started learning about place value with some new Montessori materials they would not have seen during their Casa days. A few elementary notes:

  • The Donkey Sanctuary trip helped set off the Elementary students’ year-long study of equines.
  • We are suddenly very short of forks at the Elementary campus. Sometimes, forks borrowed at lunch end up in lunch bags and make their way home. If you have some strange new forks in the drawer, please help them find their way back to school. Thank you.

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We also had a surprise visitor knock on the door this week — Mr. Haas and his wife. Mr. Haas’s grandfather trained with Maria Montessori in Amsterdam in 1924. Mr. Haas was a Montessori student himself, in the same classroom that Anne Frank went to Montesori in, and teared up a little looking at our Montessori materials.

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Next Week:

  • For families of students who require Epi-Pens for anaphylactic allergies, you can register for email notification of your child’s upcoming Epi-Pen expiry using the Anaphylaxis Policy EpiPen® Expiration Reminder Service.
  • For our whole school community, please be aware of our current anaphylactic allergy items; we have children with anaphylactic allergies to:
    • Nuts and tree nuts
    • Fish
  • It’s a quiet week next week — no field trips or PD Days. Please save the date for your first Parent Education event of the school year coming up on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

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Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Sept. 14, 2018

Hello Lyonsgate Montessori Families,

Some of your children have just completed their first week of school (ever! for some), and others have two weeks under their belts. It’s been a smooth and comfortable start to the school year. Thank you for helping to make the return to school a great experience for your children.

The Past Week:

Hello Lyonsgate Montessori Families,

Some of your children have just completed their first week of school (ever! for some), and others have two weeks under their belts. It’s been a smooth and comfortable start to the school year. Thank you for helping to make the return to school a great experience for your children.

The Past Week:

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Your child’s Toddler Montessori guides report a great start to the school year. Starting or returning to school can be tough for toddler children, but they are adjusting to their new routines, in their own unique ways, very well. The Toddler environment also has a new fish named “Iris.”

A few reminders from the Toddler guides:

  • Please remember that drop-off in the morning starts at 8:25, unless you registered your child for before school care, which begins at 8:00.
  • Also, please remember to label all of your children’s clothing (and shoes, and hats, and bags, and …).
  • Finally, we know that starting or returning to school is difficult for toddler parents too; we do ask that, in order to adhere to Lyonsgate’s high standards in Montessori education, parents say goodbye to children outside the Toddler environment. This helps to establish the Montessori environment as the children’s space and place, and also helps the children learn and get used to a consistent parting routine. Thank you.

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Casa South found that children entered the first week(s) of school with a good amount of focus and an eagerness  to return to work. A few start-of-the-year reminders from the Casa South guides:

  • Please avoid sending children to school in garishly branded clothing or items that have representations of movie or cartoon characters. These items are a significant source of distraction in the Montessori environments. Thank you.
  • Also, please remember to check the weather forecast each morning (a great routine children can be included in) and make sure they have weather appropriate clothing for the day, especailly as we move into the autumn months.

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Casa North’s first-year children, both new to Lyonsgate and those who are transitioning to Casa from the Toddler enviroment, are doing very well. The older children are also realizing and are excited about their new roles and positions as elder peers, and are helping the new students learn how Casa works. The Casa North Montessori guides have a couple of requests:

  • The Flower Arranging job sign up sheet is posted in the hallway outside of Casa North. Please select a date when your child can bring fresh flowers for the class to use.
  • Casa North is also putting together a wall of family portrait photographs. Please send along a 4X6 family portrait. Thank you.

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The elementary students have been very happy to return to their familiar Locke St. home, and to see their friends again. The new, first-year elementary students have also found comfort with some familiar friends from their Casa days, and are well on their way to learning how the next stage of their Montessori education works, with even more emphasis on independence and personal responsibility to the community. They’ve had some great community outings already: a neighbourhood scavenger hunt, a bus trip to the library, and an adventure to an organic farm. A few elementary notes:

  • The lovely ferns on the Elementary front porch are going to need a home for the winter (and the fall). They are looking for good, green-thumbed homes for a few months. Please let us know if your family would like to care for one or more of the ferns. Thank you.
  • Curriculum-wise, elementary students are jumping right into geography, the creation of the universe, and volcanos!

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Next Week:

Remember, Wednesday, Sept. 19, is field trip day:

  • Toddler and Casa children will be heading to Brantwood Farm in Brantford (click for map). Their day will begin and end at Dundas Driving Park.
  • Please drop Casa children off at Driving Park no later than 8:50. The school bus is scheduled for 9:00.
    • Toddler children, unfortunately, cannot ride the bus and must be accompanied by a parent throughout the field trip.
    • All children (Casa and Toddler) will require a packed, litterless, nut-free lunch to eat at the farm.
    • The Casa bus will return to Driving Park for an afternoon of fun.
    • We should be back at Driving Park about 1:00 (half day pick up will also be at Driving Park, at 1:00).
    • Pick up will be at 3:30. If you would like to pick your child up from Driving Park earlier, please do not leave without checking out with your child’s Montessori guide.
    • There is no before, after, or extended care available on Wed., Sept. 19.

  • Elementary students will be visiting The Donkey Sanctuary. Please drop Elementary students off at Beulah Park no later than 8:50. The school bus is scheduled for 9:00.
    • Elementary children will require a packed, litterless, nut-free lunch to eat on the outing.
    • Students will be returning to the Elementary campus for the afternoon.
    • Pick up will be at the regular time.
    • There is no before, after, or extended care available on Wed., Sept. 19.

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Casa Update

We have seen a great interest in work with the bead chains among our third year students this week.

Work with the bead chains offers a beautiful progression from counting and number recognition, to skip counting, to multiplication, and finally to an understanding of squares and cubes. It also offers the opportunity for the student to persevere and explore their capability through a seemingly daunting task...especially when they reach the 1000 chain!

In the picture above, these two students worked together to place the tickets that correspond with the thousand chain. This was a two day effort. When asked how they felt about their finished product, one said "This is like a dream!" Dedication, pride and numeral recognition all in one!

Toddler Update

It has been a busy week in the toddler room!

We are actively promoting independence in the classroom and are encouraging parents to do the same at home.
We also encourage parents to have the toddlers use the potty at home, it is a regular routine in the toddler room and the consistency at school and at home will help your toddler to be well on their way to being fully potty trained!
This week, we baked twice and for the first time we baked raisin bread and it was delicious!
We have been practicing for our upcoming winter sing-along/ concert (December 21st) so you might hear jingle bells here and there and of course the classroom favorite 'bonjour mes amis'.

Have a great weekend,
The Toddler team

Elementary Update

This week's class update is brought to you by Evan Marshall as well as Ms. Achong and Mme. Prat-Kalonji.

The class had a wonderful time working to build a Lego community during a visit to the Locke Street library, with the creation of beautiful homes, cars, farmland, and even a tractor, windmill, and beehive. This was a great activity to bring together our discussions of human needs and architecture. We also loved having the opportunity to work with local pottery artist, Deb Wilkinson, and learn pinch pot and coil techniques for creating our own pieces. Independent project work researching meerkats and sugar gliders, as well as drawing a diagram of a volcano, kept our students busy in class, as well as completing our celery stem observations and continuing work in geometry.

Have a good weekend!

Ms. Achong, Mme. Prat-Kalonji, and Evan Marshall

Casa Update

This term our casa students have been participating in a new physical education program.

Our first unit focused on space, directions, and body awareness. Through games and activities such as red light/green light, tag, and freeze dance, students have learned to identify, maintain, and use space adequately while demonstrating an understanding of paths of motion.

Our second unit focused on locomotor skills. The learning focus of this unit was to develop an understanding of basic concepts of human locomotion. We discussed various ways that our body can move, and practiced these movements with games and activities such as Follow the Leader, Yoga, and Mr. Wolf.

We have now moved into our third unit: rhythmic activities. For the next few weeks, we will be performing locomotor and non-locomotor skills to music, expressing ourselves through creative movement, and creating simple rhythm patterns. This week the students particularly enjoyed using scarves to express themselves in a creative movement activity featuring gentle Classical music. Next week we will expand our creative movement repertoire with more musical variety.

Reminder: if you haven't yet signed up for parent/teacher meetings, please sign up via the sign up sheet posted outside of your child's classroom.

Toddler Community Update

Bread baking is a favourite practical life activity in our Toddler Community.

The Toddlers were engaged in bread baking on Wednesday. They helped with measuring and pouring, then enjoyed spreading butter and raspberry jam on the bread for a tasty snack.

Music and movement was a great success. The children loved the actions to the words of the songs and had so much fun dancing.

We appreciate the outerwear that has been sent for playing outside. We recommend winter boots and neck warmers as sent for your child as well, as we are outside at least 45 minutes before lunch and sometimes 30 minutes at the end of the day. Even before the snow flies, snow pants are also recommended to keep your little one warm during outdoor play.

The children continue to learn and grow in our community with many activities promoting independence and self-awareness. Some of the Toddlers are now helping to prepare snacks, and assist in tidying up at snack and lunch time. We have learned that it has been carried into their home life as well.

Elementary Update

The elementary class has had a wonderful week with major explorations in botany, geometry, and music.

The students have been studying the function of plant stems and observing the water intake of celery stalk specimens, making daily observations and measurements. In geometry, they have been exploring lines and learning terms such as "ray", "segment", and "endpoints". The highlight of the week was our community outing to the Boris Brott Education Concert, where we were introduced to the instruments of the orchestra, and heard popular pieces such as the themes from E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park. Our very musical group has also begun their preparations for our Winter Concert, filling our classroom with joyful singing in both French and English!

Upcoming Dates to Remember:
• Friday, December 2 – PD Day & Parent Teacher Interviews
• Wednesday, December 21 – Holiday concert and social (4:30-7:00pm)
• Friday, December 23 – Last day of school (winter holidays begin)
• Monday, January 9 - First day of winter term

Enjoy your weekend,

Ms. Achong & Mme. Prat-Kalonji

Toddler Community Update

Since forming their community in September, the toddlers have become more comfortable and independent in the classroom. 

They are taking work out independently, completing tasks and returning materials independently, and tucking in their chairs when they finish their work. At snack and lunch time, the children are setting up their own mats and cups at their table.

Some of the older toddlers have been introduced to flower arranging and glass polishing, while others have enjoyed spooning. Some of the younger toddlers have been practicing pouring water, squeezing a sponge, and simple food preparation (for example, cutting bananas). Through this work with practical life activities, the toddlers are learning about logical sequencing and control and coordination of movement.

Outside, the children have been engaging in a lot of gross motor movement; running, jumping, and using their arms and legs to move the trucks and cars. The children enjoy songs and movement games outdoors, as they learn about their environment.

Upcoming Dates to Remember:

  • December 2 - PD Day and Parent/Teacher Interviews
  • December 21 - Winter concert and social
  • December 23 - Last day of school (winter holidays begin)
  • January 9 - First day of second term