Lyonsgate Weekly Update | May 16, 2019

Hello Lyonsgate Montessori Families,

Happy Birthday Queen Victoria! Lyonsgate staff are observing at other Montessori schools today or are spending the day at the Primary campus developing the Montessori environments (we’re never done). We’ll see you all on Tuesday.

Parent Observations are continuing in the Casa and Elementary Montessori environments until June 4. Observations in your child’s classroom are 20 minutes in duration and occur during the morning work cycle. Before your observation, please review the Observation Guidelines for Casa, and/or for the Elementary program.

Please click the relevant link(s) below to schedule your observation:

Apologies, I was sick this week, so not many photos.

img 7258

This Week:


The prepared environment is a concept central to authentic Montessori education; it facilitates independent learning and discovery. The classroom is filled with a variety of carefully selected materials and activities — everything has a purpose and a clearly defined home.

This week, it became evident that the children have also acquired a sense of the prepared environment and demonstrate it beautifully. They have been prompt at putting their work away, tucking in their chair and taking the initiative in helping their peers clean up after themselves. We heard, “I’ll clean it up!” at the sight or sound of any spillage, or “I’ll take care of it,” when a material was placed on the inexact shelf. We observed a second-year student proceed to bring the trays containing the materials to the front of the shelves and even knelt to ensure that they were aligned accordingly. A first-year student spent the entire work cycle with a mop in hand and immediately cleaned up when necessary. Following their hard work, we heard delightful expressions of satisfaction and pride. We also could not help but beam with pride — the children have taken initiative in ensuring that their classroom community is well-maintained.

Order and predictability play a critical role in the child’s early life. A prepared environment that provides these attributes furnishes physical and psychological benefits that produce a happier, calmer, and independent child.

“The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult” — Dr. Maria Montessori.

Have a great long weekend everyone! — Ms. Dee

img 7274


img 7309cap

Casa South: This week, I wanted to talk about Montessori and sustainability. Sustainability is a hot news topic, as it should be; we all need to do our small part to create a better world for our children.

So, I have taken a moment to think about how choosing a Montessori education for your children is a sustainable choice.

The Montessori classroom indirectly promotes responsible consumption. Starting with the materials, wherein which there is one of everything. If one of those materials breaks, no one can use it until it is fixed, which means the children must be careful when they work. Paper activities have a limited supply each day. For example, 6 watercolour papers are put out every morning. If a child decides to use all of the papers but someone else wants to do watercolours we will not give them one. We want the children to discuss and realize that their over-consumption affects their friends, and the classroom.

It should be very hard to spot plastic in a Montessori Environment. Let’s face it, plastic is terrible, not only for the environment but also in relation to all sensory experiences. We use as much wood, cloth, paper, glass, and metal as possible. With the exception of glass, natural materials are fixable (and more aesthetically pleasing). Having objects made of natural materials also prompts dialogue about where those materials came from.

Now, it goes without saying that we promote recycling and composting in our classroom. Sometimes the children come up and ask, “Miss Moffatt, which bin does this go into?” Bringing that idea into their consciousness feels like there is a bright future ahead already!

In a Montessori classroom, we think about the big picture. In the second semester of their first year (when they are 3-years-old!) they are introduced to the planet Earth, our world. Understanding that you are a part of the world makes you feel responsible for your actions. It is pretty amazing to hear the children in the washroom say, “Turn the sink off! That’s from our oceans!” — Ms. Moffatt

img 7275

img 7294

img 7280

Casa North: Thank you all for attending our Show and Share — it was yet another huge hit! The children take such pride in welcoming you into their classroom (even if it may seem a bit overwhelming to have so many extra loving faces in the environment) and it’s a very prideful moment for me to get to see them showcase their work with such independence.

I am regularly reminded of their independence and perseverance. As we enter the middle of our final term, I’m particularly noticing the changes in the first-year children. Some of these children arrived under the age of three, tearful, and nervous to leave mom and dad. This week, I looked around the classroom and saw them as creative, strong, and compassionate people. It’s astounding that humanity starts off this way, and when provided with a nurturing environment, they can truly thrive.

From ages 0-3, children are unconscious learners — absorbing knowledge from their environments and experiences. Your Casa children are now demonstrating their conscious awareness of their classroom community and of their own learning. The first-year students are offering to help each other and the older children; one first-year child took out work well beyond his level and performed doing the work based on what he has observed (including “hmmm”s and erasing and serious looks and eventually a group of interested observers). They are now consciously striving for learning challenges, often beyond what adults might consider too hard.

This activity from the first-year students gives me confidence that they are ready for a seamless transition to their second year of Casa. They are ready to be leaders, mentors, helpers, and friends to the younger children to come, and to guide and nurture them into their own conscious learning stages. They are going to be good hands to be in. — Ms. Boyle

img 7307

img 7267


img 7245

Our hearts are full at Elementary this week, and we cannot thank you enough for your tremendous support of our community outreach projects. Our little school gathered 124 lbs. of food for the Kirkendall Food Drive, and the Elementary Jump Rope for Heart event raised $2,950 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation!

The children are so proud of what they accomplished: helping local families get enough to eat, learning about the heart, challenging themselves physically in a social but non-competitive atmosphere, and raising nearly three times their goal in donations. Everyone had a wonderful time celebrating the success of the jump-a-thon with a fun afternoon of bowling at University Lanes.

The collaborative nature of the Elementary environment encourages students to build their knowledge and skills so they can be proud of their contributions to the group, rather than compete with others for recognition of superiority. The third and final term of each school year reveals the tremendous social development the children have undergone since September. It is the season of greatest creativity as they each bring what they have learned this year together into what Montessori called “great work” — those big endeavours that so capture a child that they become a memorable part of their experiences, a part of their identity. We see great work in the pair striving to teach themselves to read music, learn finger techniques, and play Beatles tunes by ear, and in the team preparing weekly riddles and biographies for younger students to enjoy. We see it in the whole class working together to stage a play, all under the direction of a 5th year student. Each of our students is constructing themselves, and that is the greatest work of all. — Marissa

20190515 110840

img 7229

20190515 092334

Coming Up:

Once we’re through this long weekend we’re in the home stretch to the end of the school year. The next date to plan for is Friday, June 14, when Lyonsgate is closed for Parent-Teacher Conferences. There will be a few opportunities for after-school conferences the week leading up to June 14, but the majority of year-end conferences about your child’s school year will take place throughout the day on the Friday. We’ll have sign-ups for you next week.

img 7239