Hello Lyonsgate Families,

With the start of the winter term we’re happy to announce the addition of Ms. Rebecca Bye to the staff at the Lyonsgate Primary campus. Ms. Bye will be filling the support role at Lyonsgate, so all of your Casa and Toddler children will get to know her as she supports all of the classrooms, covers recess and other outdoor periods, and lends her helping hands where needed. Ms. Bye will be in the role while Ms. Duhig is on maternity leave to welcome the third child into their lovely family. Ms. Duhig will begin her leave on Friday, Jan. 27, and we know that you will join us in wishing her, her husband, and her two children (and Lyonsgate students) all the best as their family grows.

Please read below for updates from the past week.




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[Sorry, no toddler photos this week]

Greetings Wonderful Toddler Families,

This week in our community, we are observing toddlers working on their interpersonal skills. Sometimes with education our focus can be weighted very heavily on academics or other aspects of child development that are more concrete and easier to see and talk about, but there is a lot of work that happens inside an individual as they learn to translate the many messages that they receive about themselves from the world. The way in which we are spoken to, listened to, touched and received speaks volumes about our value as a human being, who we are, what special gifts we have been given, and our self worth.

Toddlers are naturally self-centred but they are capable of empathy and respect for one another. Small children are capable of experiencing and understanding many complex emotions.

I had a conversation with a very verbal toddler this morning:

“Good morning, how are you? I am noticing your sad eyes this morning. Are you feeling a little bit sad?” He nodded his head, yes. “I was feeling sort of sad this morning too,” I said.

“Do you have cars at your house?”

“You mean little toy cars?”

“Yeah. Do you not like it when someone takes the car out of your hand?”

“Yes, I think I would not like it if someone took something from me that I was holding in my hand.”

This conversation made me think about empathy. In order to try to imagine how another person feels we have to be able to experience and understand our own feelings. Building a vocabulary and an environment where all emotions are acceptable and talked about is a good first step to understanding each other.

It sounds very sophisticated but many of our practices in the toddler environment help to build an awareness of other people. We are constantly saying, “Watch out for friends,” when children appear to walk right into each other. We show them small ways to reset some of the activities for the next person by replacing the wet hand mit with a clean dry one, or even just putting things back on the shelf. Of course, they are encouraged to do these things many times before it becomes a habit, but once they are doing these things we know that they are growing and maturing because they have begun to think and care for other people as well as themselves.

Ms. Gervais.



Greetings from Casa,

The importance of community has been an essential component of Montessori environments since its earliest days. Dr. Montessori called her early childhood classrooms Children’s Houses where children belonged, felt comfortable, and as a place where they were (and are) responsible for taking care of themselves, each other, and the space itself. The children have freedom within limits which contributes to the creation and preservation of community in two ways.

First, it empowers children to make many of their own decisions, to work at their own skill level, and to personally conquer challenges. The classrooms include a range of materials covering a wide spectrum set at different skill levels. This means that every child can participate and contribute to their classroom in their own way. Everyone can be accommodated; the group is inclusive and gradually becomes more and more integrated.

Second, sociability is encouraged, children explore, experiment, and create with other children of different ages. They learn to respect the work of others, and to communicate their observations with each other. Children are actively encouraged to collaborate and contribute to class life, and every individual is important to the community.

This extends beyond each individual classroom. It is always such a pleasure to see and hear children from both Casa classes greet each other, the toddlers down the hall, and all the adults they interact with, cheerfully. Our school community is thriving!

See you at the gate,

The Casa team.


Children love stories, the magic of a well-paced delivery, dramatic pauses, character dialogue, and the anticipation and excitement shared through the teller’s voice. Story-telling is an important mode of learning in the elementary classroom, using a connection between humans to share real stories of our experiences as well as fantastical stories of invention. Last week, the students were invited to hear the true story of Martin Luther King Jr., in honor of his achievements in promoting peace and celebrating the anniversary of his birth. This story appeals to the elementary child’s search for real examples of heroes in their culture, people who inspire them in new directions or help them realize their own values. People who were once children, just like them, and went on to do something extraordinary.

In contrast, they also heard a legend from ancient China, the story of a great race that determined the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. This story, following The Legend of the Nian, invites students to consider the myths and legends that offer explanations for cultural traditions during the celebration of Lunar New Year. In hearing these types of tales from a variety of cultures, the students discover that all humans, regardless of when or where they live, create stories to explain their world, their choices, and their values.

Academic work in other subjects continued this week with new work in grammar, essay-writing, math operations, and finding the square root of large numbers using the golden beads material!

Wishing you all a peaceful and prosperous Year of the Rabbit,

Marissa and Michelle.

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