Hello Lyonsgate Montessori Families,

This week, we want to give you a perspective on your children’s Montessori environments from their classroom assistants. Montessori assistants have a vital role in the environment — they help children work to master materials they have been presented, help to manage the room when the guide is engaged in giving presentations, perform a plethora of daily housekeeping duties, help your children learn French, and form part of the team of Montessori educators that are constantly guiding your children’s development through observation, engagement, and collaboration.

Toddler parents, Mlle. Noordham has your update for you this week. Casa North parents will find an update from Mr. Davis, and Casa South’s comes to you from Mlle. Paul. Elementary families have an update from Jason.

Observations Continuing

If you haven’t signed up for an observation time in your child’s Montessori environment, you can still do so. Click here to read the Lyonsgate “Observation Guidelines” and to select a timeslot.

One Way Parking Lot Reminder

We had another close call this past week. Please remember that the synagogue parking lot is one way. Please enter the parking lot off Cottage Ave. and exit through the laneway to Mountain Ave. Thank you.

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This Week:

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C’est incroyable comment les enfants conprennent et repondent en français! Quand les enfants ont commencé en Septembre il etait difficile pour eux de me comprendre. Maintainent, les enfants parlent avec moi et utilisent les mots en français comme, “Bonjour,” “Si vous plait,” “Ça va?”  “Non merci,” “Au revoir,” et “D’accord”. C’est fantastique!

It is very helpful when you, as the parent, speak to me in French even if it is a simple “Bonjour.” It encourages the children to try to speak in French as well.

The children have been enjoying group activities this week, in both French and English. We have also started brushing teeth after lunch, a wonderful care-of-self activity.

A reminder if your child is toilet training to check their backpacks or daily log sheet to see if your child requires more clothing items.

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Some of you received this as an email earlier this week, but just as a reminder to everyone:

Lately there have been a lot of contraband items in students’ backpacks and pockets — toys and snacks.
Unfortunately, we have to ask that all toys stay at home (excluding stuffed animals for nap time). They have become very distracting, even if they are promised to stay in backpacks and bins. Thank you for your understanding.

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Casa South: The role of the French assistant in Casa South involves more than speaking French to the children. It is important to redirect children who may be interrupting another child’s presentation with Ms. Moffatt, or who are disrupting other children trying to work or being unsafe in the classroom.

When redirecting children, they are not getting in trouble. I will walk over to the child, get down to their level and speak softly but firmly, giving an option of work they’ve been shown (and like to work on) and that they can choose from — Montessori freedom within limits. It can be too confusing if you give children too many options, but selection from limited set of options allows them to make their own choices.

Other responsibilities of the Casa South French assistant include measuring children’s height each month, preparing snack in the afternoon (lots of French vocabulary there!), working with classified card groups with the children, and one-on-one work.

With French specifically, I use lots of gestures, repetition, and never dumb anything down, even if they don’t understand a French word yet. I also add French to work they’ve been shown in English (ex.: rough and smooth = rugueux et lisse).

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Casa North: Casa North has been a flurry of activity and discovery over the past couple of weeks; the smell of freshly baked bread seems to always be in the air, towers are being built, buttons are being sewn, spills are being made and they are also diligently tidied up!

As an assistant, I continually marvel at the growth of our returning students and the resilience of our first year children, who are becoming ever more self-sufficient in both the cloakroom, classroom, and playground.

Mademoiselle Peat has been a great addition to the Casa North team and the enthusiastic sing-a-longs during French Gathering are a welcome end to our day in the classroom.

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It has been a busy couple of months for me, as well as your kids, as I have learned to find my way at a new school. I can relate to many of the Elementary students who have started at Lyonsgate this year, or who have moved over to the Locke St. Elementary campus after years of Toddler and Casa at the Primary campus. Together, we are discovering our roles and building relationships, not always an easy, smooth, trouble-free task for any of us.

The elementary years are all about working on things, and working things out, together. Children at this stage of development are continuing to progress academically, but are doing so within an increasingly important social context. Elementary children are taking the knowledge they are acquiring and figuring out how to express it to the world (and, just as importantly but not so obviously, how to express it to themselves). Work is mostly done with partners or in groups, and our regular outings into the broader community are essential for students to experience the influence, significance, and consequences of social relationships.

In Montessori parlance and in some approaches to holistic education, the expression of children’s relationships to the world around them is called “spirit.” Another term that represents this notion is “social”  (the physical, mental, emotional, and social are the four aspects of holistic education and learning). The spirit of the children in the Lyonsgate Elementary program is vibrant, noisy, passionate, caring, at some times tense and at other times joyful, full of fears and apprehensions, and of determination and pride, and is expressed with laughter and tears and smiles and pouting and hugs and selfishness and grace and courtesy, and I wouldn’t want to see it any other way.

A Request Please: If there are changes to your child’s regular dismissal routine, please email jason@lyonsgate.ca to  let us know. Sometimes the kids tell us something different is happening, only to be mistaken. The earlier in the day you can let us know the better. Also, if you are picking up from the Elementary campus please do not come to the gate before 3:30. Thank you.

This week, two of our Elementary students created their own song to help them learn the six-times multiplication table:


Next Week:

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Not next week, but coming up and may require some schedule juggling. Conferences with your child’s Montessori guide will take place on Friday, Nov. 30. There is no school that day. Both Lyonsgate campuses will be closed for the conferences. There are a few after school timeslots available earlier in the week, but the majority will take place on Friday, starting at 8:00 a.m. Childcare will be available during your conference timeslot.

Please click the relevant link to select a conference time in your children’s Montessori environments:

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