Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, March 6, 2020

Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, March 6, 2020

Hello Lyonsgate Montessori Families,

We hope everyone made it to and from school and work safely in today’s surprise snow storm. Let’s hope that’s the last blast this winter — we do spring ahead one hour on Sunday so that means it’s nothing but warm, sunny days from now on…

This is your last update before the March Break. We have a short week next week. March Break begins on Friday, March 13 — there is no school next Friday — and we return to school on Tuesday, March 24.

Your children’s Montessori guides have summaries of the winter term for you this week — the work that has been fascinating the children lately, developments in classroom culture,  the abundance of project work, and things to look forward to in the spring term.

You will also find a letter from Hamilton Public Health regarding the latest COVID-19 update.

Have a restful and restorative break everyone; we’ve made it through another winter! …maybe


This term introduced many changes as a new child joined our community; leaders emerged in the midst of it all, challenging materials pushed for concentration and critical thinking. The transition from diapers to underpants was the trend; the washroom suddenly became much more interesting than ever before. Witnessing the children’s resilience during these changes is truly inspiring.

We observed positive socialization -– the children move from the natural state of egocentrism to an altruistic state. Empathy is displayed every day — they make it their duty to ask a sensitive child if they are okay, reassure them that they will be, and proceed to bring their concern to an adult’s attention. Some of the works in the classroom have fortuitously been transformed to duo or group work in order to fulfill that need for socialization.

An explosion of language occurred amongst the younger children — they are now forming four to five word sentences and are able to actively participate in conversations with their older peers.

The children have expressed their excitement about March Break. These extra days will give you the opportunity to be spectators to their developmental milestones and adjust the home environment to fulfill those needs.

The third term will bring additional materials that mimic the Casa environment, challenging presentations, and the continuation with toilet learning.

I am excited to see what it will bring because the children never cease to amaze me. I will be thinking of them and I look forward to hearing highlights from their break.

Thank you all for an astounding second term, and cheers to an adventurous March Break!

Ms. Dee

Casa South

In the blink of an eye term 2 is over! What a term!

It may be the shortest semester but we accomplished so much. Our classroom graciously embraced a new member in January, supportively guiding our new friend through the ropes!

We have gotten to know a wonderful new teacher, Ms. Folland, whom we all adore! She is such a great help and loves to both read stories and be read to by our older students.

Our classroom has been thoroughly enjoying Making Bread, we are practically a bakery! Not only do the children make the bread but they hand it out at lunch. It is a practice in Grace and Courtesy, making sure that they hear please and thank you. Just this week one of our bread makers went to each table asking them to please sit patiently and quietly, and then they will hand out the bread (and the student becomes the teacher!).

Geography has been very popular, lots of introductions to the Puzzle Map of the World for the first years, and many mastered Continent Puzzles by the second years. I am always in awe of the second year that takes the whole morning to master the Puzzle Map of Africa or the USA (trust me they’re tricky!).

Lots of children have crossed the bridge from learning sounds to stringing them together to create and read words! Such an exciting moment to be apart of.

Some of the older children are whizzing through mathematics learning about addition, subtraction, and multiplication (that’s right 5-year-olds doing multiplication!).

We are all so excited for the semester to come. We are so excited to learn more and enjoy each others company!

Miss Moffatt

Casa North

Hello Casa North Families,

I hope you’re all feeling healthy, rested, and dry! The children in Casa North have been working through their second term with determination. We have seen them treating one another with compassion, kindness, and mentorship. As of late, the children have enjoyed a rotation of books each week that come from the public library. There’s nothing like some research on animal facts to encourage reading to one another and themselves!

At this point in the year, the children are well accustomed to one another and are settled into their roles as a first, second, or third year Montessori studentsd. Friendships have formed and the children are eager to greet one another each morning after a long evening apart. Many small group presentations are occurring, along with many requests for older children to present to younger children. The community is strong, and the children are quick to correct one another when something goes awry. This is a great stage for us adults to observe as it lets us know that we are increasingly less needed in the environment.

It’s hard to believe that we have just one more (short) week before March Break begins. We are hoping for some spring weather for all of your adventures! When we return, we will be coming right into our third and final term of the year. I look forward to much academic, social, and emotional growth from all of your beautiful children.

Thank you again for being an extension of our small community, and for your continued support of what we do here at Lyonsgate.


Miss Boyle


Visit any elementary Montessori environment and you will undoubtedly witness children working on or discussing “a project. Whenever a new word is introduced to the students, or highlighted for a specific use, the origins and etymology of that word are also offered to the children to deeper their understanding. The word “project” originates from two Latin terms pro and jacere, and means “something thrown forth.” Children between the ages of 6-12 are very inquisitive, can think rationally, and are extremely social, leading them to use their developing skills in reading and writing to acquire information, synthesize it, and communicate it outward. A project is their opportunity to throw forth their knowledge about a topic of particular interest to them.

In the first year of Elementary, young students are guided through the work of preparing their first “projects” with a common topic (e.g. our solar system), an oral reading of information to the group, the recall of information in verbal sentences, and finally, a written model of a paragraph to record and illustrate. As the children grow older and further develop their ability to read and write, they move away from the guides and seek the support of older students with whom they can collaborate, and soon are filling endless pages with facts and drawings. The incredible volume and depth of research undertaken by the children was what Dr. Montessori referred to as their “great work,” where the child’s intense curiosity and changing passions motivates them to dive deep into first one interest before abandoning it for another. Through formal language lessons and work with materials such as the grammar box series, their writing style improves with the integration of punctuation and the creation of more complex sentences. At this stage, students are shown how to edit their work after it has been reviewed by a peer or classroom guide. They are invited to further organize their information into sub-topics, calling upon their reasoning minds to sort and classify what they have learned and integrate information from multiple sources. They learn to pull information not only from the written word, but diagrams, documentaries, and experiences.

As students gain greater skill and confidence in reading and writing, they may begin to explore different mediums for communicating what they have learned, from oral presentations and dioramas to poster boards and stop-motion films. In the upper elementary years, projects tend to shift away from research into animals and the natural world and instead focus on the contributions and history of humans through biographies and investigation of major events. More often, projects become individual efforts rather than a shared activity among friends, and students find they need to go beyond books and the internet to satisfy their curiosity. They must now seek out specialists and experts to answer their questions, plan their own going-out activity to complete their research, or use what they have learned to solve a problem. As the elementary child transitions toward adolescence, the thing that is thrown forth is themselves, as they make their plans, learn what is needed, and use that knowledge effectively. The work of creating and completing their own projects is the work of forming and developing themselves.

It has been a wonderful second term, with just a few more days together before Spring Break. We look forward to sharing a wide variety of projects with you during the third term at our “Great Work” show in May.

Have a wonderful (and hopefully less snowy) weekend!


COVID-19 Update:

If you have questions regarding COVID-19, Hamilton Public Health asks that staff or parents contact Public Health Services by calling (905) 546-2424 ext. 7970.

From Hamilton Public Health:

March 2020 Hamilton Public Health COVID-19 Update

Coming Up:

You will find up to date details about all Lyonsgate events on your online school calendar.

  • March Break: March Break this year runs from March 13-23, inclusive. The first day back to school after March Break is Tuesday, March 24.


Sorry, no photo gallery this week.

Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, Feb. 28, 2020

Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, Feb. 28, 2020

Hello Lyonsgate Montessori Families,

Happy Friday! Welcome back to winter. Let’s pretend this was the last blast of cold before it warms up for a wonderful and well deserved March Break for all of your hard working Montessori children.

This week, your children’s classroom assistants have each focused on a specific material that is meaningful to them. Whether it’s a favourite material to work with, a material that encompasses what Montessori offers to children, or a material that we may not always consider a part of standard classroom learning (see the Toddler update), Montessori materials are big part of all of our days.


Hello to all of our families in the Toddler program! I have been back with the Toddler class for almost a month now, and I have been enjoying the opportunity to get to know you and your children. As it turns out, I happened to have returned in the middle of a big developmental period for the class. A significant number of our students are making the exciting (and sometimes eventful) transition from diapers to underwear. I wanted to give you some insight on what that looks like for us.

At its bare bones, our typical chain of events is to start off by inviting the children to sit on the potty throughout the day, move on to having them wear underwear in the mornings, then through the afternoon when they are awake, then all day. However, there is no set timeframe for this. The agency of the child is just as important here as it is in other aspects of the Montessori classroom. It is usually the case that the children themselves will tell us when they are ready to move to the next stage through actions such as coming to the bathroom unprompted or telling us that they want to leave their underwear on for a little longer. We prepare for ‘accidents’ from children that are still learning their bodies (pack extra clothes!) and let them try. Following the children’s lead in these cases is crucial in building their confidence and encouraging their development. That sense of agency can be fostered both in the classroom and at home by allowing children to be an active part of the process. They are more excited and eager to wear underwear that they get to choose for themselves. They should dress and undress themselves as much as possible to build up that feeling of ‘I can do it by myself’ that encourages them to keep going (which is why your child coming home with their pants on backwards is actually a good sign).

Unfortunately, it is quite common for children to initially do very well while wearing underwear and then lose some of their ambition once the novelty has worn off or some change has occurred in their lives. This can be discouraging, but it is very important to stay consistent. Sliding back into diapers can be tempting, but might undo a lot of progress. Don’t worry — they’ll get the hang of it eventually.

Have a good weekend,

Miss Colbert

Casa South

As many of you know, I began working at Lyonsgate and have been assisting in Casa South with Miss Moffatt and Mlle Paul since January. Of all the compelling materials I could write about, it is the simple floor mat that has struck me the most and seems to really symbolize so much of the Montessori method. The floor mats are rolled up and sit in a hamper and are not necessarily a material but are used with many of the materials in the classroom. I watch the children eagerly scan the classroom, searching for what work they will choose with such thought before they approach the mats.

It is not the floor mat itself that has wowed me but how the children use them. After seeing Miss Moffatt or Mlle Paul slowly and purposely make use of a mat, the children follow suit. First, they approach the hamper, select their mat, hold the mat with one hand clasping the top to pull it out of the bin, then with one hand also clasping the bottom they hold it close to their body, then carefully carry it over to an area on the floor. Although they could simply throw the mat on the floor, they don’t, because there is a process and it is respected. They carefully and evenly unroll their mat, then quietly and with purpose walk around the mat to ensure they aren’t impeding anyone else’s work and that there is a proper amount of space for their work. The floor mat provides a definitive area for them to do their work, which sits on the mat and never on the floor. I have seen children find some fluff on their mat, then promptly clean it with the correct materials. When they take care of their mat, they are also respecting the other materials they’re placing on it. When they are done, they carefully roll the mat, taking time to make sure it is even, then carry it back following the same expectations and carefully place it in the hamper. Respecting the materials is seen in every step of the process.

A few times, I’ve seen the younger ones quickly unroll their mat abruptly, but that has been followed by an older child quietly showing them the proper way. The simple mat even incites leadership, role modelling, and collaboration. Montessori is a beautiful, layered method that encompasses so much in even the small moments, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch your children continuously discover more of those layers.

Miss Folland

Casa North

Hello Casa North families,

Part of my role as the English Assistant in Casa North is to help engage children with the materials we have on the shelves in our Casa classroom. As more time passes in the classroom, I’ve had the opportunity to interact more and more with the materials. All of the materials are beautiful and logical. Not only that, but the work in the classroom is truly a joy to participate in. When the children see their teachers engaged with the work and learning new things, it ignites a desire to experience the same materials.

As someone with a background in mathematics education, some of my favourite materials are number and math based. One of these is the Montessori Stamp Game. This is one that I choose to work with when I do work in the classroom, but it’s also one that I work with the children on when they need guidance. It is a math manipulative that makes the learning of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division a tactile and real experience. I think it’s absolutely beautiful to watch the children work with this material and come to understand the functions on a very comprehensive level.

Materials in the sensory area are also a favourite of mine as they are not only aesthetically pleasing but help children make sense of the world that they experience. These materials give children the language and comprehension to understand what their senses are revealing to them.

Even as an adult in this space, I find the materials give me a deeper understanding of the things that I know about the world. It is wonderful to watch your children experience this in their interactions with the materials in the classroom.

Ms. Sullivan


Most of you are familiar with the Primary Phonics readers — the colour-coded set of readers children use when they are starting to develop their reading skills. While not the most riveting stories, they are widely used because they help children to move beyond single letter sounds and begin to learn how words are made from different combinations of letters.

In my work as a literacy development specialist I always present language as something we build with, as something we make things with, as something we construct with, and I do so for two primary purposes. First of all to guide children to understand that language, whether written, read, or spoken, works by combining ever-larger elements — from single letters, to combinations of letters to form different sounds, to syllables, to words, to phrases and clauses, to sentences, to paragraphs, and beyond. Second, to have children start to understand language as a human invention that they have control over. Language instruction can feel oppressive to children with all of its rules and spellings and capitalization and punctuation and exceptions to the rules, so working to have children view it as something to play with, as something to manipulate and make do whatever they want it to do, can make children more open and willing to engage with language. Language is something they can control.

The Primary Phonics readers are a solid step in this process. Each reader introduces or reviews a specific concept — short or long vowel sounds, vowel digraphs (combinations of vowels that work together to make a single sound, such as ie, oe, ee, oa, ea, etc.), consonant blends and digraphs (such as br, cl, sc, ft, mp, nd, ch, th, ph, etc.), and other constructions such as dge, igh, and soft and hard g and c sounds.

Each reader’s specific concept is highlighted on the inside cover along with the words containing the concept within the story. There is also a set of “sight words” in each book. These are words that break a rule somehow — a letter makes the wrong sound, for example — so they are words we have to learn to recognize by sight, as sounding them out won’t work. Sometimes, just reading the set of focus concept words or the set of sight words, or just reviewing the focus concept itself might be the best work for an individual child. Writing out the sets of words helps children learn them both visually and in a tactile way. Reading the same book more than once in one sitting can help children develop reading fluency and experience the joys of progress as they hear and feel their reading improve. Reading comprehension can also be assessed and developed in young readers by talking about the story once it has been read, and the experience of building and constructing with language can be offered by having children add to the story they have just read, either orally or in written form.

They may at first glance seem like simple little story books, but they are a learning tool we use in many ways to help children develop a sound relationship with language.

Thank you to all of our Elementary parents that were able to attend the French concert. We know that taking time off work to attend these short afternoon events can be tricky. Please know that all of us at Lyonsgate Elementary — both staff and students — greatly appreciate all of the efforts you can make to support not just your own children but all of our young learners.

Coming Up:

You will find up to date details about all Lyonsgate events on your online school calendar.

  • One of your fellow Montessori parents submitted this free event at the Central branch of the Hamilton Public Library:

Sara Pipher Gilliam: Ophelia in 2020: Raising Strong Girls in Disruptive Times
Sunday, March 8th, 2:00 p.m.

Join us at Central Library for a 30 minute presentation, Q&A period, and book signing. Books will be available for purchase from Epic Books.
Twenty-five years after the release of this culture-changing title, Hamilton-based writer Sara Pipher Gilliam has co-authored a revised edition of the book. While the cultural landscape for girls has changed in many positive ways, today’s girls grapple with a new set of challenges. Sara will explore what parents and educators can do to mitigate these challenges and share strategies for raising confident, competent young women.

  • March Break: March Break this year runs from March 13-23, inclusive. The first day back to school after March Break is Tuesday, March 24.


Remember to let us know if you ever want the full size image of a photo of your child, and that you can click on any image to view them all in a slideshow format.

Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, Feb. 21, 2020

Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, Feb. 21, 2020

Hello Lyonsgate Montessori Families,

Of central importance to all Montessori prepared environments are the Montessori materials. This week, your children’s guides have taken the time to explain the purpose of one of the materials in their classroom. Our hope is that these explanations, coupled with our regular Parent Education events, give you a better understanding of the Montessori method and how it works to help your children grow and learn. Read them all to get an idea of how Montessori education progresses through the years.


The Montessori classroom provides a prepared, language-enriched environment where the children are able to practice exploration of the world around them, care of self, care of the environment, as well as gross and fine motor development.

Dr. Montessori firmly believed that the child’s cognitive processes are assisted by combining movement with an organized task. One activity that facilitates those needs is Arranging Flowers, which satisfies the child’s innate desire to imitate the skills that they see adults perform around them. The activity follows a prescribed sequence which requires a great deal of attention and mental concentration. It also allows the child to exercise discrimination and judgment and development of their aesthetic sense.

The children often choose to bring their arrangements outside of the classroom. They always look proud of their work and are happy to be able to share it with others.

We thank you all for your weekly contribution of fresh cut flowers; they add beautiful colours to our classroom.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend,

Ms. Dee

Casa South


Maria Montessori brought carefully selected materials into her classroom. She developed these materials to support complex learning outcomes. The most widely recognized Montessori material is arguably the Pink Tower. At first glance the Pink Tower looks like a set of simple blocks, however, Montessori had many goals in mind when she constructed and developed this material. Through hands-on manipulation, children are introduced to a number of concepts.

The Pink Tower offers the child an opportunity to visually and muscularly explore dimension and understand size. It leads to observation of size within the environment (items that are small and large). It requires coordination and perfection of movement as the child carefully places the cubes one after the other. Most interestingly, the Pink Tower prepares the child for mathematics. The Pink Tower consists of 10 cubes as 10 is the basis of the decimal system.

The Pink Tower, as well as all the other materials in the classroom, is treated with the highest respect. You may be surprised but it is never knocked over. When the child wants to put the Pink Tower away they carefully disassemble the tower and return the cubes one at a time.

The Pink Tower is one of many tactile materials that allow the child to explore dimension, space, and coordination in a sensorial way. The Montessori classroom is a fascinating space where everything has purpose!

Miss Moffatt

Casa North

Hello Casa North Families!

This week I’d like to discuss a material from the Sensorial area called the Red Rods. This is a mathematically graded material of a set of 10 wooden rods, all red, varying in length from 10 centimeters to 1 meter. This material is shown on a mat on the floor — the children are shown to carry the rods one at a time, placing them carefully on the mat. This is beautiful gross motor movement, and also really draws the child’s attention to their body while navigating their peers, the shelves, and the surrounding activities — that 1 meter long rod takes substantial concentration to maneuver!

Once the rods are on the mat, I show the child to grade them (without using language quite yet) from longest to shortest, aligning them on the left hand side. Once I’ve built the red rods “just like they looked on the shelf,” the child is then invited to have a turn. At this point, I become a quiet observer. The child will reveal to me how they are visually discriminating for length, whether or not they build the rods haphazardly, out of order, or perfectly on the first try. One of the key components of the Sensorial materials is to allow the child to explore and deduce patterns and information that the material can give without adult direction.

After the child has worked with the Red Rods and has demonstrated the ability to build them with care, there are subsequent presentations to come. Exploring the Unit of Difference (that the 10 centimeter rod is the difference between each of the individual rods), building the Red Rods at a distance (using two mats, strategically placed across the room from one another) and providing the language of “long and short” or “long, longer, longest!” are extensions of the original presentation. As with everything in the Montessori environment, the Red Rods provide scaffolding for presentations that are to come.

Following the Red Rods, the child will be shown the Number Rods (that are the same in every capacity, other than that they have both blue and red segments that introduce counting and the physical difference between the quantity of 1 and each number leading up to 10). I love showing this material (and all of the Sensorial materials) as they truly provide an insight into each child’s varying process of thinking through the beginning, middle, and end of a task.

Thank you for taking the time to read about one of our beautiful materials. If you have any questions about a material that your child is talking about and you’d like to try to translate their explanation of it, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know! Have a safe, healthy, happy weekend.

With warmth,

Miss Boyle


Montessori environments are often energized by the hum of children’s chatter as the students share observations, discuss new information, and socialize with their peers. Because learning is an inherently social process where interaction with others helps to construct our understanding of the world, language is the connective tissue between all other subjects. Both the English and French languages are explored and studied extensively to aid students in building a rich and precise vocabulary, an understanding of the different role words can play to create meaning, and how to use language to learn and communicate effectively.

My favourite language materials to share with students are the activities of Sentence Analysis, using a series of wooden arrow and circle manipulatives and charts to parse the structure and meaning of sentences. These activities may begin in Casa with simple sentences and continue throughout the Elementary years with compound and complex sentences. Students are invited to compose their own sentences for the activity or pull lines from literary sources, and they collaborate to break it apart and identify how its meaning is constructed. The sentence is written on a long strip of paper so that words, phrases, and clauses can be physically cut apart and manipulated to answer a series of questions. While students of all ages in the Elementary class can work with the Sentence Analysis materials, this week the upper level students were hotly debating objects and modifiers. Here is one of the sentences they analyzed this week. Give it a try! (The answer is in the photo at the end).

Chloe leapt into the water and swam furiously to the end of the pool to win the race.

We look forward to sharing more of the children’s language work with you at our French Concert next week!

Have a wonderful weekend,


Coming Up:

All of the events listed here can also be found on your Lyonsgate calendar.

  • Elementary French Concert: On Thursday, Feb. 27, from 3:30-4:15 at the Primary (Aberdeen) campus, Lyonsgate Elementary students will perform their annual French concert. All Lyonsgate parents are invited to attend. Please remember — there is no food or drink permitted in the Sanctuary at the synagogue.
  • March Break: March Break this year runs from March 13-23, inclusive. The first day back to school after March Break is Tuesday, March 24.
  • Summer Camp: We will be offering a summer camp for Lyonsgate students going into their third year of Casa or whom are in Elementary. Please click here for more details and to register.



Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020

Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020

Hello Lyonsgate Montessori Families,

We’re giving you all a day off tomorrow — Friday, Feb. 14 — to celebrate Valentine’s Day! It’s actually a PD day that takes us into the Family Day statutory holiday on Monday, Feb. 17. Lyonsgate is closed both days and we will see everyone back at school on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Have a great long weekend whether you’re travelling or staying cozy.


Grace and courtesy in the environment provide the Toddlers with the vocabulary, actions, and steps that are needed to develop interpersonal skills and respond to their environment. We often role play different social situations that allow the Toddlers to greet one another, politely interrupt a person engaged in activity, consenting, and saying “please” and “thank you.” Sharing the learning materials, patiently waiting for their turn, and helping each other are all within the realm of grace and courtesy that allow the Toddlers to understand and value community.

“A child who becomes a master of his acts through repeated exercises of grace and courtesy, and who has been encouraged by the pleasant and interesting activities in which he has been engaged, is a child filled with health and joy and remarkable for his calmness and discipline.” – Maria Montessori

Wishing you all a great family-centered weekend,

Ms. Dee

Casa South

For the last month and a half, since starting at Lyonsgate, I have been made to feel welcome and have been treated so well by every staff member, child, and the children’s loved ones. The tone in Lyonsgate, upon entry, is one of grace and courtesy, from the way in which both adults and children are greeted to the way the children greet each other, and patiently wait for each other to complete work rather than interrupting. Seeing a child arrive for the day and be approached by another child who earnestly asks how they are, or if they’re excited about the work they’re going to do, is something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed observing.

For those who haven’t met me yet, my name is Shannon Folland and I am a mom of two wonderful children. I am also a Behavioural Specialist with extensive experience working with children, often to help them meet goals of increased self-esteem/self-empowerment (the springboard for so many other wonderful experiences), and the art of self-regulation. I see each of these things naturally happening within the Montessori classrooms here at Lyonsgate, as modelled by the staff through the theme of grace and courtesy.

Coming to work at Lyonsgate has felt like coming home. I’ve had the opportunity to take part in the Toddler room and am now thoroughly enjoying assisting in Casa South, with some support to Casa North as well. I’ve also had the pleasure of observing in Elementary. The theme of grace and courtesy runs strong in each.

In only a month and a half I have watched your children grow and learn, but perhaps more importantly, I’ve watched them WANT to grow and learn. I see them quietly observe their teachers, who pay attention to every detail of their own movements and behaviours and their impact on the children; they move slowly, maintain complete focus on the presentations, and role model positive behaviour conducive to a healthy, connected community.

I am so impressed when I see the children gently place their hand on their teacher’s shoulder and wait patiently to speak, or when I see them use self-regulation skills amongst each other using grace and courtesy. When a friend is using a rug on the floor for their work, their friends walk around the rug so they don’t disturb their friend’s work. I watch them accept or decline invitations with each other respectfully. They carefully walk from table to table with a small water jug to graciously offer their friends water with their meal. There are so many examples of grace and courtesy within the classrooms here at Lyonsgate that are carefully modeled by every teacher and staff member. The impact these teachers are having on your children is a beautiful thing to watch, but even more enjoyable for me is how the older children continue that role modelling they see, and model it for the younger ones. There is a true community in Montessori. Knowing that grace and courtesy are such key components of being a good human makes me excited not only for these children but for the ripple effect it will have on all the people they encounter throughout their lifetime.

Ms. Folland

Casa North

In our small classroom communities, we have a specific dedication to presentations that fall under the Grace and Courtesy heading. This means that anything we would like to see reflected in a peaceful, considerate world we introduce to the children with a formal presentation.

Things like inviting someone in to be seated, how to sneeze, picking up something that someone dropped, or greeting and introducing oneself are all shown to the children (along with many more!). These presentations can be both individual or small groups, and without fail are always a big hit for them to practise! It’s no surprise that the children love to practise behaviours and interactions that they observe their elders participating in as they navigate life. Maria Montessori’s philosophy was that if the child is capable of something, we should show them how to do it.

On another note, many of the children in Casa North are very interested in mastering all of the sounds in our alphabet. When the children are learning letters, we introduce them phonetically rather than by their letter names (for example, we would say “awe” for O rather than “oh”). This is to help bridge the gap between symbol recognition and actually reading. If your child is practising their sounds (remarking “hey, I hear ‘mmmm’ in mommy!”) or noticing letters on their t-shirt, it’s a wonderful idea to use phonetic sounds to support this process. If you have any questions about language acquisition, please don’t hesitate to reach out! You can reach me by e-mail ( and I am happy to answer any questions or set up a time to chat.

As always, thank you so much for your support and for sharing your children with us. Have a beautiful winter weekend!


Miss Boyle


An essential part of Montessori education at any level is the curation of an environment that nurtures the child’s development. The student’s physical classroom must be designed with care to create warm and inviting spaces that encourage concentration and work, integrating a variety of lighting and seating options, as well as an array of beautiful materials to connect students to each subject. Authentic Montessori environments around the world are instantly recognizable because of the visible harmonization of the learning materials and classroom. However, an essential part of the Montessori environment cannot be captured in a photograph, but only through observation. The intangible environment of a Montessori classroom, the development of a social space in which children develop soft skills such as emotional regulation and behavioural norms, must be carefully crafted as well. Lessons in grace and courtesy (a.k.a. manners) help children adapt to the cultural norms of their social world, from home, to school, and to the community beyond. Three key aspects of grace and courtesy emphasized in our Elementary program are punctuality, table etiquette, and sharing public spaces.

Elementary children work as a collaborative social group; they are no longer engrossed in individual tasks while sitting beside a friend but are dependent on one another for discussion and interaction. This means that attendance and punctuality are critical in showing respect and courtesy for the time, needs, and efforts of others. When a student arrives late to school or dawdles while getting dressed for recess, their lack of punctuality produces a social consequence of frustrating or disappointing their friends. Learning proper table etiquette creates more welcoming dining environments where food can be enjoyed and in preparation for dining in situations outside the family home. Students must wait for everyone to arrive at the table before they begin eating, and stay seated at the table until everyone is finished. They are shown how to make a place setting with utensils and dinnerware laid out in a specific order, how to politely express food preferences, and how to clear and compost effectively. Community outings are an opportunity to learn how to respect others in public spaces, such as moving to the right of the sidewalk to let others pass, exchanging pleasantries with crossing guards, or offering a seat to someone on the bus.

These social norms and cultural adaptations may be automatic to adults, but to our children these are new concepts that must be explored, practiced, and passed on to others. These lessons in grace and courtesy are woven into the social expectations of the classroom community, and also directly taught through entertaining role plays followed by group discussions. This week, the class erupted in laughter as they observed Michelle playing the role of an impolite tablemate at lunch and the effects of her behaviour on her dining companion. Because the role play was conducted with humour, did not address a specific child or incident, but rather a general way to comport themselves, the students loved identifying her missteps and offering suggestions for what she could do differently. Elementary children love to try on new roles, to make use of their burgeoning imagination, and present caricatures of archetypes and behaviours.


Coming Up:

Your Lyonsgate calendar can be added to your own Google/Gmail calendar; just click “+ Google Calendar” in the bottom right corner.

Once this long weekend is behind us it’s a straight shot through to March Break.

  • Elementary families, don’t forget your children will be performing their French concert on Thursday, February 27, from 3:30-4:15 at the Primary (Aberdeen) campus.
  • March Break this year runs from March 13-23, inclusive. The first day back to school after March Break is Tuesday, March 24.


Photos are back! Enjoy, and if you ever want the full version of a photo of your child, please let us know.

Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, Feb. 7, 2020

Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, Feb. 7, 2020

Hello Lyonsgate Community,

We are halfway through this short winter term and this week we have updates from some of your children’s classroom assistants. Enjoy!

We also have some info about school and illness for you. T’is the season and germs are being shared; we’ve had an upswing in the number of children and staff coming down with colds recently. You will also find a letter from Hamilton Public Health regarding coronavirus.

Reminder: Next Friday, Feb. 14 (happy Valentine’s!), is a PD Day and the following Monday, Feb. 17, is the Family Day statutory holiday. Both Lyonsgate campuses are closed on both days.


I would like to start off by thanking everyone who was able to join us and make last week’s Show and Share such a success. It is always wonderful to see new aspects of the children’s personalities emerge when they are with their families, as well as the pride they feel when welcoming you into their Montessori environment to observe their work. As a teacher, it is a real joy to see the children taking ownership over the classroom.

As you may have noticed during Show and Share, a lot of the toddlers are currently drawn to water-based activities such as pouring, watering plants, mopping, not to mention the return of shoveling snow during recess. Don’t be alarmed if more wet clothing comes home than usual! On the subject of clothing, it is always good to keep things labelled so we can assure that the items find their way back the the rightful owners. This is especially important during the cold months as gloves, mittens, and scarves have a way of getting misplaced.

The class has become a true community with each member bringing their unique (and ever-developing) voice to the conversation. Perhaps the greatest tribute to this was one of our students referring the the class as their “school family.” It is truly an honour to be part of that family.

Mr. Davis

Casa South

A person’s life — success, health, and emotional wellbeing — is deeply connected to their experiences in their childhood. Knowing this, how does the Casa classroom support the adult within our children?

The environment is crucial. It must have developmentally appropriate exercises and be a nurturing and supportive space. The Montessori environment offers both an academically stimulating curriculum and one in which the child grows holistically.

Montessori education is scientifically based on the key developmental stages that all children move through on their way to adulthood. In the Montessori world we refer to these stages as “sensitive periods” — periods in which the children’s interests are focused on developing a particular skill or knowledge area.

The Montessori classroom facilitates these sensitive periods by providing children with a prepared environment that is designed to optimize their learning. The prepared environment provides order, hands-on self-paced learning, collaborative social interactions, children of mixed ages, movement, guidance, freedom of choice, and a full selection of self-correcting Montessori materials available on low open shelves.

The prepared environment is designed to stimulate children’s minds, encourage collaboration and independence, and provide them with the time and space to achieve the outcome of their work. In this way, Montessori inspires children to become independent, self-motivated learners with strong academic foundations.

Within this environment, children participate in the full three-hour work cycle and take part in the Montessori daily routine. This sequence of daily activities provides children with an understanding of order, time management, and how to behave within their environment at different times. It also provides children with important preparation for school skills, such as concentration, sitting quietly, lining up, collaborating with others, and the ability to follow instructions.

Casa North

Hello Casa North Families,

I’d just like to start off with an enormous thank you to all that were able to make it out to last week’s Show and Share. The children were so excited to share all of the things they have been working on in the classroom. It is so wonderful to see them showing their favourite work to their most favourite people. It is such a beautiful experience for all of us as they master new and exciting skills within the classroom. We’re so grateful that you invest your time and energy to come and share in your children’s love of the classroom materials.

As we continue moving forward the children are exposed to more and more enriching experiences both in the classroom and on the playground. We’ve seen them pursue their interests wholeheartedly, surprise us with their knowledge and talent, and make new social connections. It is a joy for me to get to share in their exploration of these facets of Lyonsgate life.

In the classroom, we’ve had many new presentations happening and I’ve had the opportunity to observe and work with the children as they practice their new skills after a presentation. One of my favourites is the Montessori Stamp Game, which has children engaging in various mathematical operations with tactile pieces. We’ve also had lots of exploration with the Montessori Bells recently, with some students creating their own music or practicing memorised pieces. Nothing compares to when a child is finally able to master something they’ve been working towards for weeks or months.

We appreciate your continued support. Have a beautiful weekend!

Ms. Sullivan


Maria Montessori observed that children in the second plane of development (age 6–12 years) have a hunger for knowledge about the world around them. While the first plane of development is the period for absorption of their environment, the second plane is the period for the acquisition of culture. The reasoning mind of the Elementary child wants to understand why and their quest to understand the world around them is aided by their vivid imaginations. Montessori tells us “to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination.”

Through Cosmic Education, we offer Elementary children the seeds to help them to understand not only the world around them but the wider universe. Many of our lessons include the tradition of oral storytelling, encouraging the children’s imagination to help them understand big concepts such as the creation of the universe, the formation of the sun and our solar system, and the beginnings of life on earth.

Recently, we have been exploring our solar system. We began with an exploration of the forces of magnetism and gravity. We then considered how these forces are at work in the universe. Our younger students are working on a guided project studying the planets of our solar system. They are learning to read to find specific information, such as how long it takes Saturn to orbit the sun or what it is like on Jupiter. Our older students are engaged in understanding the movement of the earth and its moon. Some students are in the midst of learning about the use of the compass in early exploration, as well as the affect of the rotation, revolution, and tilt of the earth.

Elementary students enjoy working together to create big works. The lower Elementary students collaborated to create a large piece of art depicting our solar system. Each student painted a celestial body and contributed it to the group. Students were able to arrange (and re-arrange!) their paintings of planets around the sun, adding in moons and comets as well.

We hope these seeds we sow about how our solar system works will germinate in each child according to their unique interests. Perhaps they will seek out a better understanding of the mathematics of orbits, investigate the natural laws which govern the universe, or dream of engineering a spaceship capable of travelling to another planet. Perhaps their imagination will inspire them to write science fiction stories, to compose music, or to create works of art. Or perhaps they will simply turn their gaze to the night sky and appreciate the wonder of our universe, and their part in it.


Handbook Highlight

With cold and flu season in full swing, we wanted to remind you about Lyonsgate’s policies regarding sick children. There are two places you can look for info:

  • Your Lyonsgate Parent Handbook has a section covering “Disease and Illness” starting on page 97 in the viewer.
  • You will find an “Illness Exclusion Table” from Hamilton Public Health under the “Parents” tab at, titled “Sick Children Info.” This table lists which illnesses require children to be absent from school, and for how long.

We greatly appreciate everyone’s cooperation in helping to reduce the spread of illness amongst your children, and remember to wash wash wash wash wash those hands.

Coronavirus: please read the letter below from Hamilton Public Health regarding coronavirus.

Message to Parents _novel Coronavirus

Coming Up

Remember to keep an eye on your Lyonsgate calendar for up to date information.

  • Friday, Feb. 14: PD Day. No School.
  • Monday, Feb. 17: Family Day statutory holiday. No School.
  • Summer Camp: We will be offering a summer camp for Lyonsgate students going into their third year of Casa or whom are in Elementary. Please click here for more details and to register.


No photos this week — sorry — but we should be back to regularly scheduled programming next week.

Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, Jan. 24, 2020

Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, Jan. 24, 2020

Happy Friday Lyonsgate Families,

Thank you to those of you who made it to the Parent Education event this week. We host Parent Education events so you can learn a little more about the Montessori education you have chosen for your children, and this one gave you a chance to ask questions of kids who have made their way through full Montessori programs or joined Montessori after some experience in public or other educational systems.

Lyonsgate Elementary guide Marissa has put together a summary of both the presentation and the answers to your posed questions — be sure to take a look.

Just a reminder that the deadline for registering siblings of current Lyonsgate students is today. If you would like to register a sibling, please click here to access the online registration form. Next week, we will begin offering remaining spaces to families on our wait lists. Thank you for continuing to choose Montessori education for your children; we think it’s a great choice.

Casa and Toddler Show and Share is next week on Thursday, Jan. 30.

  • Toddler: the Toddler Show and Share will take place from 3:30-4:00.
  • Casa: the Casa Show and Share will take place from 3:30-4:30.

For both Show and Shares, please go directly to your child’s classroom so they can show and share some of their favourite work and activities with you.

Parent Education Summary

Here is your summary of last night’s Parent Education event courtesy of Lyonsgate Elementary guide Marissa:

Parent Education Evening – January 2020
Looking Ahead:  A Panel Discussion with the Students of S.i.T.E.
A Montessori-Inspired High School for Grades 10 – 12
  • Situated in Transformative Environments (S.i.T.E.) is a community-based high school with no single physical location and is part of a family of Montessori schools including Dundas Valley (18 mths – Gr. 6) and Strata (Gr. 7 – 9).
  • A small cohort of 12 students in grades 10, 11, and 12 work toward the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (O.S.S.D.) under the supervision of a curator, Eric Daigle.
  • Future expansion will follow the needs of the students to preserve the program and is currently estimated to be capped at 30 students in a group, with the hope of creating groups in different areas of the city.
  • The school day is scheduled with consideration of the developmental needs of teenagers, beginning at 10:00 a.m. and ending at 4:30 p.m.
  • Students earn credits on two courses at a time, with subjects thoughtfully paired (e.g. English and History studies are easily connected).
  • Students can select from the broad range of secondary school credits available at traditional schools and can meet the content requirements in a variety of ways.
  • Students have partnered with professors and researchers from McMaster University, the Dundas Historical Museum and Archives, the Dundas Valley School of Art, and more.
  • Students gain practical life and business experience in hosting a monthly market the second Thursday of each month at the SHED Brewing Company in Dundas.
  • Achievement of the O.S.S.D enables students to choose to apply to college, university, or other post-secondary opportunities the same as a graduate of a traditional high school.
  • Students have varied educational backgrounds, including traditional pubic/separate schools, traditional private schools, Waldorf, and Montessori.
  • Students are aware of their socio-economic privilege and the impact this has on the diversity of their cohort but think that the benefits of the program outweigh this concern.
  • Students who attended a year or more of traditional high school referred to feeling “like a zombie” or “hiding” from mean kids, teachers, questions, work, and mistakes.. Enjoy the
  • The small cohort does change their experience of traditional high school experiences such as team sports or prom, but students also have rich extra-curricular lives that provide these types of experiences.
  • The most important aspects to students of this approach to high school:
    • Multi-age grouping with ability to learn from other students
    • Learning how to use technology for a productive purpose rather than to play or disengage
    • Practical life experiences such as learning how to get insurance
    • Great deal of respect between students
    • Relationship between students and their “teachers” is more like friendship

The Montessori Assistant

We managed to capture this great sequence of Casa North Montessori assistant Ms. Sullivan in action this week. Observe how she takes out a Montessori material, sets it up, and begins working with it. The two children that approach are attracted to the material by her precise, patient work:

Coming Up

  • Valentine’s PD Day: Friday, Feb. 14, is both Valentine’s Day, and a PD Day. It leads into the statutory Family Day holiday on Monday, Feb. 17. Enjoy the 4-day log weekend everyone.
  • Summer Camp: We will be offering a summer camp for Lyonsgate students going into their third year of Casa or whom are in Elementary. Please click here for more details and to register.


Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, Jan. 17, 2019

Parent Education:

Montessori Outcomes: Looking Ahead (The Days are Long but the Years are Short)

Many people associate Montessori pedagogy with early years education and are most familiar with Montessori environments at the Toddler and Casa levels.  Montessori is an evidence-based, whole-child education theory that applies to all four planes of development, from infancy through age 24.

Please join us for a parent education evening with the students of S.i.T.E., the first Montessori high school program in Hamilton.   Co-founder and head curator Eric Daigle will speak about guiding adolescents to thrive rather than just survive their high school experience.  You will hear directly from high school students who have grown up in Montessori environments as well as the story of those who began their education in traditional schools.  The evening will conclude with a student panel open for questions.  Parents registered for the event will receive a link to submit questions for the student panel in advance.

This Parent education event is on Thursday, Jan. 23, from 4:00-5:00 at the Primary (Aberdeen) campus.  The event is for all Lyonsgate parents with children at all Montessori levels.

Please click here to register for the event, or to let us know you can’t make it, and to register for childcare if needed.

Summer Camp: We will be offering a summer camp for Lyonsgate students going into their third year of Casa or whom are in Elementary. Please click here for more details and to register.

Primary (Aberdeen) Campus Door: In this cold weather, the main door at the Primary campus gets sticky and does not always fully close and latch. When leaving the Primary campus, please check to make sure the door closes latches properly behind you. Thank you.

This week, you have updates from your children’s French assistants about plans for this term and how you can support French learning at home.


What a busy week. The children are starting to settle back into the routine after the break. It’s exciting to see all the things the children are able to accomplish. I am so proud of their ability to understand when I speak with them in French. Such a far cry from September where everything and everyone was scary and new. The children are comfortable in the classroom and with the teachers. We get to hear so much about their time spent at home, their interests, and their friends.

As we continue onwards I hope to have more presentations in French with the children. I hope to have more conversations with the children using new words and phrases. There will be introduction to different books and songs in French as well.

A great way to use the French language at home, even if you don’t speak French, is to read books (there are lots of resources at the public library in French that you can read), as well as listening to songs in French. This way, the children are able to hear French and feel more comfortable with the language as they hear it at school as well as at home. Keep up the great work with having conversations with me in French as well! I appreciate all the effort you put into speaking with me and trying your best!

Mlle. Noordam


Our Casa classrooms use these yogurt jars as child-sized water glasses. Montessori environments use glass and ceramic to teach children to be attentive and careful — if you’re not and you drop it, it will break. There has been much learning, and we are in need of more. If your family buys this type of yogurt we would love if you could save a few from the blue bin and donate them to the school. Thank you.

Casa South

Dear Casa South families,

As we transition into our second term, the children are demonstrating just how much they’ve learned from the first. We’ve been working a lot on asking for help in French and more and more they are coming up to me saying “Peux-tu m’aider s’il vous plaît?” without any prompting. I’ve even heard them ask each other in French! It constantly amazes me how quickly the children pick up a new language simply by being exposed to this rich environment. A child will ask for help to tie their apron and I’ll respond “Oh attacher ton tablier, oui bien sûr!” Simply repeating what they say back to them, only in French, confirms I know what they’re asking for and I offer the language while I help them. It is always in a positive way and not to correct them.

In the classroom this week there’s been a large focus on geography and writing. It’s beautiful to see how much the older children are looked up to. Here they are, working on challenging puzzle maps such as United States (most difficult one) or writing booklets and labels, and when the younger ones see this it encourages them to practice more because they see what they can work up to. Ms. Moffatt first introduces the puzzle map of the world, where they are introduced to all the continents, then they move on to Canada and North America, etc. The puzzle maps have always been popular and, aside from being a fun puzzle, the children also learn the names of each place. This week I’ve worked with many of them on those first three, learning the names in French and having conversations about places they’ve traveled to. This is the kind of thing I’ll practice with them more than once because there are so many new names to learn, and I look forward to working with them on the more difficult puzzle maps the more we practice.

When a child is writing, they have many different activities they can choose from; one popular choice is a pink-lined paper with the top half blank for them to draw. Either myself, Ms. Moffatt or another child is available to help them write out sounds (letters) then, the more they practice, move on to words and phrases. This week it’s been fun coming up with French words to write down. They can also make their own classified cards by writing the name of the object and a space to draw it. Since classified cards have both French and English labels on the back, they can choose to write in one or the other, or both if they’re feeling ambitious. Whichever activity they choose, it’s all about practice and repetition. Writing can also be done at home, which is a great way to support their French learning!

If you’re ever looking for ways to encourage their French at home, feel free to write down words and have them trace them. If they’re already writing on their own, no matter if the spelling is wrong, it’s great! Any writing enables them to feel comfortable holding a pencil and work on their pincer grip. To get their interest, try having conversations about things in your home: what kinds of things they see in the kitchen, what food they like/don’t like to eat, their friends’ names (super popular), and then write those down. It’s possible they’re indulged enough just watching you write and the older ones who’ve begun to write in the classroom might want to trace what you write or try on their own. Another thing to do at home is play some French music. In my French group I play many songs from a CD I have called Carmen Campagne: Une voix pour les enfants. It’s a fantastic collection of French children’s songs and your children will definitely recognize some. To name a few: Un bon chocolat chaud, Le petit prince, Feuilles feuilles. You can also look up La laine des moutons, Pirouette Cacahouète, or Un éléphant. Listening to French music is a nice way to appreciate the language without them feeling like it’s work to do. If you’re cooking or baking with them it can definitely set the mood!

Have a great weekend and don’t forget about Parent Ed night on Thursday, Jan. 23

Mlle Paul

Casa North

As you read last week, M. Bouquin and his partner welcomed a baby girl over the holiday and he will be on parental leave this term.

Mlle. Cottone [Cot tone-ee] will be taking over the French assistant role in Casa North during M. Bouquin’s absence. Mlle. Cottone grew up in Hamilton and holds a bilingual high school diploma, is a yoga instructor, and holds a non-violent communication certificate. She has been spending the past week learning all about being the French assistant in Casa North where she has been the French assistant for lunch this year, and she assists with Casa recess, so the children are very comfortable with her.

“I’m very excited to be stepping into the classroom this term,” said Mlle. Cottone. “It has been a pleasure to be in the Lyonsgate community getting to know all the children and parents. I’m looking forward to making new memories (in French) with each child.”


Bonne année tout le monde!

The winter term of the new year is centred around the French plays that we hope to perform for Lyonsgate families in February. We use the AIM (Accelerative Integrated Methodology) language learning program to facilitate our dramatic endeavours. The basic idea behind AIM is that students learn a specific, pared-down language with kinesthetic actions to encourage memorization and use of the spoken word.

Gestures are the individual actions that represent a given work. Past research has shown that the act of gesuring aids thinking memory. Gestures help students to internalize a word’s meaning kinesthetically, auditorially, and visually. Vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure are learned in a fun way through singing, dancing, and acting. Speaking in French is encouraged and easily attained when acting. It is a known fact that developing good oral language skills is essential to the development and improvement of good written language. The improvement of oral language skills transfers consistently to an improvement in written language skills. To find out more about AIM please visit:

This year we are fortunate to have Jason teaching classes in the dramatic arts which should greatly improve our acting on stage. The children love to perform in front of an audience, so please try to save the date of their performance on the afternoon of Thursday, February 27.

We look forward to entertaining you.


Madame Egan (

Reminder: We are starting our week on Monday, January 20, with yoga at the Primary (Aberdeen) campus. Please drop off at Primary, or at Elementary (Locke) no later than 8:45 a.m., with a yoga mat if you have one and clothes to stretch in. Thank you.

Coming Up

Don’t forget to check your Lyonsgate calendar regularly.

  • Sibling Registration

    Friday, January 24, is the deadline for registration of siblings at Lyonsgate for the 2020.2021 school year. If you would like to register the sibling of a current Lyonsgate for next year, please submit your registration form and payment by Friday, January 24. Any spaces left available beyond that date will be offered to families on our wait list. The registration form can be completed at the link below and payment can be submitted via e-transfer or cheque.

    Please click here to submit registration for the 2020/2021 school year.

    If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. We look forward to continuing to share in this journey with your children.

  • Show and Share, Thursday, January 30, 2019:

    • Toddler: the Toddler Show and Share will take place from 3:30-4:00.
    • Casa: the Casa Show and Share will take place from 3:30-4:30.

For both Show and Shares, please go directly to your child’s classroom so they can show and share some of their favourite work and activities with you.


We’ve made some changes to the website and how we publish photos. Your updates should now load much more quickly, and for those of you using data plans to view them on phones the updates will now use significantly less data. Click on any image to open a slideshow gallery of all the images, or just scroll to view them below.

Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, Jan. 10, 2019

Welcome to the winter term Lyonsgate Community,

This is the shortest term of the year as we work through January and February into the March Break, but it remains busy. We have sibling registrations open now and will be finalizing next year’s registrations at the end of the month with offers to families on our wait lists, there is a Parent Education evening on Jan. 23, Elementary students will be rock climbing and learning gymnastics, Toddler and Casa families have Show and Share on Jan. 30, and there is a PD Day on Friday, February 14 (happy Valentine’s Day), that leads into the Family Day long weekend (Monday, Feb. 17, is the statutory holiday and there is no school). It’s winter, so there might be a snow day or two thrown in there too (but we’re hoping to not break last winter’s snow day record!).

Sibling Registration

Thank you for continuing to entrust your child(ren) to us. We have completed registration of returning students for the 2020/2021 school year and are now opening registration to siblings of those returning students. If you would like to register a sibling at Lyonsgate next year, please submit your registration form and payment by Friday, January 24th. Any spaces left available beyond that date will be offered to families on our wait list. The registration form can be completed at the link below and payment can be submitted via e-transfer or cheque.

Please click here to submit registration for the 2020/2021 school year.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. We look forward to continuing to share in this journey with your children.

Staffing Changes

We want to let you know of some staffing changes that have occurred for this term. Monsieur Bouquin from Casa North has welcomed a baby girl into his family and will be off on parental leave for this second term.

In his place, Mlle Cottone will be stepping in to the Casa North French assistant role. The children are already very familiar with Mlle Cottone as she has been the French assistant for lunch in Casa North, assists with Casa recess, and has been filling in for staff absences since the beginning of the school year. This should be as smooth a transition as possible for all involved.

With Mlle Cottone stepping in to that specific role, we have welcomed a new staff member, Ms. Folland. She is joining us with lots of great experience and brings a special joy and positivity that is sure to be infectious. She will be support staff: covering for staff absences, assisting with lunch in Casa North, helping oversee recess, and assisting with after school care, among other responsibilities. We hope you will join us in welcoming her to our ever-broadening Lyonsgate family!

Summer Camp: The Lyonsgate summer camp will take place during the last two weeks of July and is open to Lyonsgate students ages 4-12 who have completed their second year of Casa and are entering 3rd-year Casa or Elementary. Camp will be held at the Elementary Campus on Locke Street.

Camp staff will be from both the Lyonsgate Elementary and Casa programs.

Each week’s themed activities will include science demonstrations, arts and crafts, music, story-telling, drama, outdoor games, yoga, soccer, water play, and trips to the HAAA park:

  • Monday, July 20 – Friday, July 24: Habitat Explorers
  • Monday, July 27 – Friday, July 31: World Travelers

Campers are to bring their own water bottle, nut-free snacks, and a packed litterless lunch. Camp kids will also need closed-toe sandals/shoes, a t-shirt to paint in (and get paint on), a towel and splash pad gear, their own sunscreen as desired, and a sun hat.

Cost is $250 per week and payment to Lyonsgate Montessori School, by e-transfer or cheque, is due with registration.

Daily Schedule

  • 8:30-9:00 Camper Drop-Off
  • 9:00-12:00 Morning Activities and Open Snack
  • 12:00-12:30 Lunch
  • 12:30-3:30 Afternoon Activities and Open Snack
  • 3:30-4:00 Camper Pick-Up

Each week is limited to 20 campers and a minimum registration must be met for each week’s camp to proceed, so register early!



Happy New Year! It is wonderful to have the children back in the classroom. It was especially phenomenal to hear about their winter break and to be reminded how much growth can be experienced in two short weeks.

The return from winter break can feel like September as the children are adjusting to the classroom routine once again. It is amazing to see the empathy displayed by the older Toddlers to the few who are sensitive to the abrupt change –- we see a lot of hugs being shared, and frequent reminders that they will see their parents soon. It is great to see the children’s concern in action; instead of simply telling the adult that a child is crying and returning to their work, we acknowledge what they have observed and ask them ‘What can we do about it?’ prompting them to act on their concerns.

The second term focuses heavily on care of self –- self dressing using the many layers of winter gear, toilet learning as some of the children transition to underpants, and brushing teeth, the latter being the most popular task in this classroom. As language exploration continues, additional classified cards have been added to the classroom that pertain to things that interest the children. Our Gathering (circle time) has shifted from sing-alongs to conversations varying from what was eaten for breakfast to what they chose to wear to school, and various other topics that will encourage them to think critically beyond the present moment they are experiencing. We have been delving into “This is how we do it,” a book by Matt Lamothe that gives a glimpse of one day in the lives of seven children from around the world. The Toddlers have been prompt at pointing out commonalities such as food consumed, habitats, and modes of transportation. We have instituted a format (a work in progress) that encourages them to practice waiting for their turns and attentively listening to their peers.

We are of course ecstatic about the continuity of sensorial activities, the incorporation of movement and practical life in our day to day routine. Please ensure the consistency is maintained at home as well –- self dressing, self feeding, self-serving. The consistency will certainly help the children feel empowered as they transition through various phases of life.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Ms. Dee

Casa South

Happy 2020 from everyone in Casa South! We hope your holiday season was joyful and triumphant!

We are thrilled to be back into the routine in Casa South. So many happy faces walked through our doors on Monday morning. We have shared lots of stories of what we did when we were apart. When asked what their favourite memories of the break were many of the children shared small moments, going to show that it doesn’t take a grand gesture to make a memory (it could be as small as a tooth falling out!)

As we embark on our second and shortest semester we have much to look forward to and work towards. An ongoing goal in all Montessori Casa environments is to have a normalized classroom, which is term we want to explain today.

In this sense, the term “normal,” with Montessori Normalization, does not refer to what is considered typical or average. It does not refer to a process of conformity. It refers to a unique process Montessori observed in child development.

Normalization is a state in which the child (and classroom) is characterized by calmness, self-confidence, a thirst for knowledge, a warm response towards others, and joy.

In a normalized classroom you see children choosing work over being aimless. When work is chosen, you see the children focus and concentrate at the task at hand; you see children looking out for one another and choosing to help a friend rather than to compete. They find joy in their world and their environment, and they are at peace.

An old proverb says: “Peace: it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hardwork, it is to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

We are so excited to see what the rest of the year has in store for our beautiful children in Casa South. We can hardly wait!

Miss Moffatt

Reminder: Please remember to check the Fresh Cut Flower Sign Up Sheets for the new term. Thank you.

Casa North

Welcome back, Casa North!

Happy 2020 🙂 I hope you all had a restful, safe, fun-filled holiday. We are back and ready to dive into a new year.

One of the primary goals in Montessori is for the environment to reach a point where the children are acting as if we (the adults) do not exist. In preparing an environment that is catered to their developmental, academic, and individual needs we are not only showing them how to become independent in their learning but also in their problem solving, regulation, and socialization. It is an extremely prideful time when I am able to stand back and see the classroom humming and buzzing with purposeful work, leadership, guidance, social interaction, and conversation. As we settle into a new term, I am seeing more and more of these moments (that are increasingly longer in length!). Knowing that a large group of children under the age of 6 is capable of being self-sufficient is remarkable, and never gets old.

We are looking forward to a Show and Share and a Parent Education Evening in the upcoming term. I hope to see you all at both events! They are both favourites for the children and for us.

Thank you for your continued support of the classroom, the school, and the community.

With warmth,

Miss Boyle

Reminder: Please remember to check the Fresh Cut Flower Sign Up Sheets for the new term. Thank you.


Happy New Year! Squeezed between the winter holidays and spring break, the short second term is often a period of consolidation for students as they integrate new language and math skills into their cultural studies. Students at each level are invited back to studies of the solar system to expand their understanding of the universe and how the order of the cosmos affects their lives. Wintry days invite cozy days spent reading in the library by the fire and we draw upon that natural instinct with a quiet, independent reading period, oral reading circles, and the beginning of novel studies. This term will also see extensive work in French and the visual and dramatic arts as students prepare for the French Concert in February. Dr. Montessori often made reference in her writing and lectures to the “normalization” of children, by which she meant that they were developing skills of self-regulation and making a choice to follow the rules of their community, as well as demonstrating an ability to independently initiate work and find joy in their accomplishments. Between their individual pursuits and collaborative goals, we look forward to observing each student learn and grow this term.

Coming Up

Don’t forget to check your Lyonsgate calendar regularly.

  • Parent Education: Our winter term Parent education event is on Thursday, Jan. 23, from 4:00-5:00 at the Primary (Aberdeen) campus.  This event is for all Lyonsgate parents with children at all Montessori levels, and we have a special event planned for you:

A panel of older, high school-aged Montessori students will be discussing their experiences in Montessori and their progression through their  years of schooling. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

Please click here to register for the event, or to let us know you can’t make it, and to register for childcare if needed.


Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, Dec. 13, 2019

Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, Dec. 13, 2019

Next week is the last week of the fall term before we break for the winter holiday. The last day of school is Thursday, December 19. We return to school on Monday, January 6.

The Winter Concert is also on Thursday, Dec. 19, from 2:30-3:30.

Please note: there is no After School or Extended Care after the concert.

See below for more concert details.

Reminder: Registration for returning Lyonsgate Montessori students is now available. Please check your email for the Friday, Dec. 6, email with the subject line “Lyonsgate 2020.2021 Registration” to access the online registration form (we don’t post the link publicly).

Registrations for returning students are due on Wednesday, December 18.

Thank you for continuing to choose authentic Montessori education for your wonderful children. We can’t wait to be a part of their continued growth and development.

Flu prevention: We received some material from Hamilton Public Health encouraging parents to get flu shots for children. Look for them in your photo gallery and have a healthy holiday season. Wash those hands!


It is hard to fathom that we have come to the end of the first term! In those few months, we have watched the Toddlers exercise their constructive power as they are developing their unique potential. We’ve had the wonderful opportunity to be spectators to various transitions — the end of tearful goodbyes, language explosions, the ability to self-dress, and the excitement that accompanies toilet learning. We are grateful for the opportunity to be privy to these milestones; your children never cease to amaze us.

Next term, we welcome our long awaited fifteenth Toddler and our community will be complete. We will be adding some exciting new materials in the classroom that will continue to aid the refinement of motor skills, language, and sensory development. The return in January will most likely feel like the beginning of school all over again, but we are confident that your resilient children will rise above the changes and step right back into routine.

The upcoming winter concert has been our favourite topic this week. The children are excited to perform; some encouragement at home will certainly help ease the nervousness they will feel gazing at the audience. You are all welcome to clap and sing along with us as well!

We hope that the next few weeks will be full of wonderful memories, and we look forward to hearing highlights from their winter break.

Wishing you all a phenomenal holiday season and an inspiring new year!

Ms. Dee.

Casa South

In a blink of an eye we have reached the end of our first semester. It has been a whirlwind of learning, laughter, and fun!

What a change a couple of months can make! From the first day of school to now we have seen such growth in our little community: friendships being fostered, names being written, and shoes being tied. Casa South is full of love. My favourite part of the day is when I see the children helping each other and showing each other how to do something.

“The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.'” — Maria Montessori.

The most important part of my job is that the children enjoy school, each other, and themselves. We are so happy that there is already chatter of missing the classroom over the holidays. We will miss all the smiling faces over the winter break and await their return in 2020!

The classroom is abuzz with the holiday spirit right now; lots of talk of advent calendars and elves! We have been very busy practicing our Winter Concert songs, prepare yourselves… it is ADORABLE. Today we made props for our stage performance. Nothing has been sweeter than hearing the children sing their little tune while working.

We wish everyone a very merry everything and happy always! Can’t wait to see you in January!

Miss Moffatt

Casa North

Hello Casa North families!

It’s hard to believe that we are nearing the end of our first term for the 2019-2020 school year. How far we have come!

You may have heard discussions about classroom birthday celebrations this week. We have had three! In the Montessori environment, we celebrate birthdays by rolling out our birthday mat, placing cards to label the seasons, as well as the months of the year, and lighting a candle in the middle to represent our sun. We sing the months of the year and discuss the cyclical nature of the seasons, the months, and the years. The child with a birthday then walks around the sun holding one of our globes (once per year they have lived!). The children love to sing “The Earth Goes Around the Sun” and discuss the different milestones that are achieved as they get older. We finish by singing “Happy Birthday” and blowing out the candle. The children are overjoyed to celebrate their friends’ birthdays and it is always a special time for them.

As our term wraps up, I wanted to thank you for your continued support of our work with your children. Connecting with you in parent-teacher conferences is always wonderful, and I’m looking forward to all of the continued growth, learning, and experience that each child will accomplish over the next two terms. Please have a safe and happy weekend!

(as) Warmly (as possible),

Miss Boyle


During the elementary years, children experience a sensitive period for adapting to the particular culture in which they are immersed and learning about the culture of others. Holidays, celebrations, and days in memoriam are an opportunity to experiment with rituals and traditions, savour stories and foods, and explore values and beliefs. This past week, many of the students were focused on work connected to the holiday season. A key theme in the Montessori Elementary curriculum is the idea that humans have fundamental material and spiritual needs, and the myriad ways humans have used their resources and imagination to meet those needs in different environments through history.

Our community outreach endeavors help each student consider the importance of having their needs met, as well as awareness of the challenges faced by others around them. In their discussions of at-risk people and homelessness, our younger students consider what is it is like to be without shelter and food. They are very focused on the need for tangible comforts, and were quick to rally their families to donate hot drinks and hygiene items. Although concerned about the physical welfare of people, upper level students are very troubled by the social and emotional challenges faced by people without housing, such as loneliness and shame. They were eager to go beyond the families at Lyonsgate, composing letters requesting donations and visiting numerous local businesses in pursuit of something extra to make a great gift for a woman in need.

With the support of family, friends, and community, we gathered enough hot drinks and hygiene items to fill two enormous donation bins for Hamilton Out of the Cold, as well as assembling twelve gift boxes for The Shoebox Project. The students were so successful in their fundraising efforts that they have also been able to send along additional supplies and gift cards to volunteers at The Shoebox Project to continue to make holiday packages. We greatly appreciate the support of the local business community who made contributions to the cause: Earth to Table, Bitten Cupcakes, Dundurn Market, Goodness Me!, Subway, Starbucks, and Fortinos. Your children’s efforts have been enormous, and your generosity extraordinary. Thank you.


Reminder: we’re starting our last week of the term with yoga at the Primary (Aberdeen) campus on Monday, Dec. 16. Please drop-off at Primary by 9:00, or at the Elementary (Locke) campus no later than 8:45. Please send a yoga mat, if you have one, and wear clothes to stretch and move in.

Coming Up

  • Winter Concert:The children have been excitedly practicing for the upcoming Winter Concert on Thursday, December 19th, and are looking forward to seeing your smiling faces in the audience! We hope you have it highlighted on your calendar. The concert begins at 2:30 p.m. and is being held in the synagogue sanctuary. Please enter through the regular glass doors for the school, and go directly down the stairs to the sanctuary. Please note that the concert is set to end at 3:30pm, at which time all children are to be dismissed to their families.  There is no after or extended care that day.  If you are unable to attend, please ensure you have arranged for someone to pick your child up, and have alerted the staff to any alternate dismissal arrangements. The concert is an exciting time not only for the children, but also the families! Please feel free to extend this invitation to your close family/friends. We look forward to sharing this jovial time with you!
  • Winter Holiday: Lyonsgate will be closed for the winter break starting on Friday, December, 20. We return to school for the winter term on Monday, January, 6.


Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, Dec. 6, 2019

Lyonsgate Weekly Update | Friday, Dec. 6, 2019

Happy December Lyonsgate Families,

We’re almost finished the first term and it is time to start preparing for the next school year. Please check your inboxes for an email containing a link to the registration form for the 2020.2021 school year. At this time we are only making registration available to current students returning next year. In January we will open registrations to siblings of current Lyonsgate students, followed by offers of enrolment to families on our wait lists.

Please submit your registration forms by Wednesday, Dec. 18.

As always, space is limited at all levels.

Thank you for continuing to make the outstanding choice of Montessori education for your children.

We are asking Casa families to please send in a labeled, re-usable shopping bag that can be used for sending wet, dirty, and spare clothing items to and from school. We have been using plastic bags but are running low, and would like to be more environmentally conscious. (That said, if anyone would like to relieve their load of plastic shopping bags, we will take them to replenish our supply as they do come in handy for soilings and other such exceptional messes).


It was great speaking to you all during last week’s parent-teacher conferences. One of the most common questions that I received pertained to what songs are being sung in the classroom. I’ve decided to make a compilation of our current playlist; hopefully you can all enjoy some sing-alongs this weekend.

The sweet sound of Jingle Bells has filled our classroom with joy and laughter, “hey” being the Toddlers’ favourite part, which they love exclaiming as loud as possible. We’re hoping to bring the same excitement to our upcoming concert!

Old Macdonald Had a Farm, an oldie but a goodie — it is always exciting to hear the Toddlers’ animated imitation of various animals that can be found at the farm. They are able to sing this song in both English and French!

The Wheels on the Bus remains a classic here, every time it is sung it is as if it is the Toddlers’ first time hearing it! It is quite high on the request list and the bumpy road remains the most consistent novelty.

We’ve become quite the songwriters as well — you might have heard songs about leaves falling down and snowflakes falling from the sky (to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down). The hardest part is remembering the songs that are made up on the spot; thankfully the Toddlers retain everything!

Other honorable mentions are Baby Beluga, Down by the Bay, Shake My Sillies Out, and various French songs: Dans la forêt lointaine, Un éléphant qui se balançait, Ah! Les crocodiles.

The classroom has been buzzing with beautiful sounds; the echo will certainly be present in your homes as well with this list.

Have a melodious weekend everyone,

Ms. Dee


Hello Casa Families!

One of the most unique elements of a Montessori environment is the dedication to having a mixed-age group in each space. In the Casa environment, we have a three-year mix. When you consider the fact that everywhere else, throughout the course of their lives, they will be interacting and collaborating with people older and younger than them, it simply makes sense that this should be reflected on a smaller scale within their school community. This characteristic of the environment continues to serve the children for the better.

In September, the first-year children are able to come into a space where their peers are demonstrating a sense of comfort and happiness that lets them feel safe. They are able to see their older friends working on advanced activities that they can then look forward to. They are able to find mentorship and guidance from children rather than relying exclusively on us, the adults.

The second-year child is able to come into an established space that they’ve already become acclimated to. Rather than starting from scratch, they can re-enter having experience with materials, knowing familiar faces, and beginning to step into a more advanced role (both with their work and their classroom responsibility).

Perhaps most importantly, the third-year child has the opportunity to really shine. They have two years of experience under their belts! The third-year child is able to choose a multitude of materials to work with, is often overheard guiding the younger children in small group activities, and is often seeking bigger work outside of their comfort zone. This child has the opportunity to give presentations to a younger child at times, which fills them with pride and joy. We call the third-year in Casa their capstone year — it truly is a time to bring together everything they have worked so hard to attain their previous two years.

We thank you for spending this first term with us, and for sharing your children with the Casa classrooms. Have a safe and happy weekend!

Miss Boyle and Miss Moffatt


Learning is a social process. Throughout each developmental plane a child experiences sensitive periods in which they learn particular adaptations toward maturity through interactions with both their environment and others. In the elementary years, children desire novelty so they can constantly test the boundaries of what is already known and expand their knowledge a little bit further. They are eager to know why, but true understanding takes both experience and imagination.

Two distinct qualities that set the Montessori pedagogy apart are the importance of multi-age groupings and the development of a child over several years within the same classroom community. This enables a child to experience and perform different roles in a social group, moving from being an observer, to independent worker, to mentor. Without a full cycle at each Montessori stage, a child’s experience is left incomplete, without being able to demonstrate mastery and feel the joy and pride in discovering they know something so well they can now teach it to others.

Rather than using year of birth to separate students into grades with a narrower range of abilities within a group, Montessori students are sorted into the learning environment most beneficial to them based on their unique combination of cognitive, social, and emotional development. The multi-age composition of each group creates opportunities for a variety of social experiences, as well as a natural hierarchy of authority and leadership. By remaining within the environment for a full cycle, children have the opportunity to take on new levels of responsibility.

A full cycle is also essential for a child to experience and review information at one age, grow to apply it, and return at a later age to evaluate and analyze the information, and then teach it to another. They need to re-visit prior experiences and lessons from a new perspective. The work of multiplication is not reduced to memorization of tables and working out long equations on paper. It is learning the concept, experiencing the process, and then learning to apply that knowledge in a thousand and one practical ways, from cooking a meal to making calculations for a wood-working project. These steps consolidate learning with the engagement of social and emotional skills as the child evolves through different roles.

Handbook Highlight

You will find the Lyonsgate “Admissions Policy,” which covers the registration process and policy, in your Parent Handbook (starting on p. 70 in the embedded viewer). This policy covers everything from applications to attend Lyonsgate to new and returning student registrations, how we prioritize registrations, learning differences, and wait lists.

Coming Up

Remember to use your Lyonsgate calendar to stay up to date on the latest Lyonsgate details.

  • December 18: Registration for 2020.2021 school year due for returning Lyonsgate students.
  • December 19: Holiday concert 2:30-3:30. Pick up for ALL students is at 3:30. There is no after or extended care this day.
  • December 20 – January 3: Winter break.
  • January 6, 2020: First day of winter term.