Hello Lyonsgate Montessori Families,

Last week, Mrs. Lyons attended the “55th Anniversary of Montessori in Mexico” conference at Colegio Montessori de Chihuahua. This is one of the largest Montessori schools and training centres in Mexico and the conference celebrated the achievements of the Montessori community in Mexico and their vision for the future. The conference offered some of the most renowned Montessori experts as presenters, and gave attendees the chance to see one of the biggest and most authentic Montessori schools — multiple buildings encompassing toddler to adolescent Montessori environments, with a full size sports field and farm animals. These conferences are always very inspiring and Rachel came home with lots of ideas for the present, and to work towards in the future. Enjoy a few photos of the campus below, including the Casa bee material — yes, the Casa children work with functioning hives and harvest their own honey, warm, Mexican weather outdoor spaces, and the adolescent program’s dining hall and chickens.

Also, be sure to read the “Next Week” section. There is information about school photos next Tuesday, Oct. 23, and online sign-ups for November parent observations.

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This Week:


Care of the environment continues to be a popular activity in the Toddler room, and we are seeing an increased focus on language. Questions such as “why?” and “what’s this?” are common as toddler children learn to construct their knowledge using language. To support language development at home, encourage children to use full sentences (in both English and French, as well as any other languages spoken in the home), and discourage baby talk. It is also important to use the real words for things, such as “train” instead of “choo choo,” or “cut”/”scratch”/”injury” instead of “boo boo,” for example.

Included in this week’s update is a link to sign up for observations throughout the month of November. Observations do not take place in the Toddler environment. Montessori observations are quiet, 20 minute timeslots after which parents are asked to just quietly leave the room. As you can imagine, toddler-aged children do not take kindly to mom and dad dropping them off, then coming back for a bit, then sneaking off again. Parent-teacher conferences will take place on November 30; please be sure to sign up for a conference time (sign-up will be available mid-November). Thank you for understanding.

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Both Casa environments have noticed a number of children arriving to school in the morning still eating breakfast. Please have children finish food outside of the school so that we can maintain an allergy-safe environment and so that children are ready to begin their Montessori work cycle as soon as they arrive. Snacks are available, but a good breakfast that can carry them to lunch time is a key ingredient to successful learning activity. Thank you.

A note for families placing Scholastic orders online, the account is under the name of Sarah Kennedy. For those new to Lyonsgate, Sarah is our vice-principal/administrator and is currently on maternity leave, so yes, the “Sarah Kennedy” account is our Lyonsgate account.

Ms. Moffat and Ms. Boyle also want to thank their Casa families for the great turnout at our first Show-N-Share this week. The children were so excited to show you their work and how their Montessori environment functions. If you weren’t able to make it, the next one is at the end of January.

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Casa South has a new baby fish! And a new bread machine! This is a solo job that mirrors many Montessori activities in terms of following a specific number of steps in order to achieve a goal, and it is self-correcting because if you don’t do it correctly, the bread does not come out right. Successful work with the bread job means a delicious-smelling and tasing addition to the snack table, so it’s also a great job to perform a service to the classroom community.

We are also seeing lots of work with the Montessori sensorial materials — some quintessential Montessori materials. These materials help to faclitate children’s reception to multi-sensory learning, which is an integral part of Lyonsgate’s focus on holistic learning. Learning involves more than just the brain! For the older Casa students, this means work with the Montessori collective materials (such as Golden Beads) that give children a sensorial awareness (visual and tactile) of mathematical operations such as addition and subtraction, and multiplication and division.

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Casa North is continuing to see a great deal of leadership and peer mentorship, which is great for everyone’s learning. Some of the older Casa students have been giving  the younger students language lessons on the continents. We encourage and celebrate this because the younger students are having a repeat of a lesson they have received from a guide, but from a different, children’s perspective, giving them reinforcement of the initial lesson and forcing some cognitive work as they integrate the two perspectives into one object of knowledge; the older students also benefit by seeing it from a different perspective as they work to explain it to the younger children, cementing their knowledge in the process.

These types of peer relationships are cyclical in Montessori due to the three-year age groupings. Next year, when the third-year Casa students move up to Elementary, the cycle will start over again for them, and those Casa children on the receiving end of their peers’ experience and knowledge this year will take on the leadership and mentorship roles.

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Projects are being presented to the class, lots of new presentations are taking place, we had a community visitor get us started on sewing projects, and you got to come and visit your children’s space to see what they get up to. Every week is a busy week in a Montessori Elementary school.

Thank you to ALL of our elementary families who managed to make it to our Open House this past week. We hope you enjoyed your visit to your children’s little home away from home, and got to see some of the great work they have finished or are working on.

Also this past week, students received the Montessori presentation on the “Great Story of the Alphabet,” followed by explorations of the development of writing throughout history and between cultures. This work also includes learning about the representation of ideas using symbols — a key concept in developing an understanding of language as a human construct that we use to build meaning and understanding for both ourselves and in our communications with others. In the math area of the Elementary Montessori environment, students have been working on multiplication, squares of numbers and exponents, and are beginning to work with measuring surface area.

Elementary families, if you have children in both Elementary and Casa/Toddler, please drop them off at the Primary campus on Aberdeen Ave. on Tuesday, Oct. 23, for their school photo sibling pictures.

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Next Week:

School Photos and Details:

School photos will take place on Tuesday, October 23, at both the Primary and Elementary campuses. Class photos will be taken first at the Primary campus, so please be sure to have children to school no later than 9:00 a.m. We will also be taking sibling photos early on in the day, including siblings that are at both campuses. Elementary families, if you have children in both Elementary and Casa/Toddler, please drop them off at the Primary campus on Aberdeen Ave. on Tuesday, Oct. 23. The Elementary class photo will be taken when all students return to the Elementary campus.

Parent Observations

Observations in your children’s Montessori environments will be taking place throughout November. Observations are 20 minutes in length and take place during the morning Montessori work cycle. Please read and familiarize yourself the Lyonsgate Observation Guidelines prior to your visit:

Thank you for taking the time to observe in our environment. An observation is an opportunity for you to get a glimpse of how a Montessori environment functions. There are a few things to consider when you are observing in the classroom:

  • The observation chair is an adult sized chair, intended for observers only. It is placed in a specific spot in the classroom. The children are aware of this. This is the space where observers can see the classroom from an open perspective, while allowing the environment to operate as usual with as little disruption as possible.
  • The guide will not be available to answer any questions during the observation; please ensure you make note of any questions and feel free to ask after the observation is complete.
  • The children may approach you. The best way to ensure that you are seeing an accurate depiction of the space is to politely say “Hello,” and tell them that you are here to see them do their work. Please refrain from engaging in conversation with them.
  • When your observation is complete, please quietly exit the classroom; do not feel the need to say goodbye to the children or the guides. We thank you for joining us, and hope that you thoroughly enjoy your time in the environment.

When you are observing, you may want to take some of the following questions into consideration:

  1. Are the children choosing work independently?
  2. Is the guide the focal point of the classroom?
  3. How do the older children engage with the younger children (and vice versa)?
  4. Are the children focused on their work?
  5. How do the children solve conflict?
  6. How do children transition from one activity to the next?
  7. Is the environment productive? Respectful? Engaging?

“Wait while observing. That is the motto for the educator. Let us wait, and be always ready to share in both the joys and the difficulties which the child experiences. Let us have endless patience with his slow progress, and show enthusiasm and gladness at his success.” — Maria Montessori

Please click the relevant links below to book your observations. We ask that each family only book one observation slot, and that no more than two people attend each observation (please contact us if exceptional circumstances require multiple bookings):

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