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.