Montessori Buzz – Nov. 16, 2021
Dear MA Families & Friends,
Piccadilly Park – Community Use of the Space
We are aware that some families have been wondering about the increase, at times, of homeless people walking through or spending time in Piccadilly Park while our students are also accessing the space. With the housing crisis that is happening in London, we have noticed more people wandering through the park, but it tends to be 2 or 3 of the same people we see regularly; they are regulars whom Rob, our Librarian and Yard Supervisor, has gotten to know, and they keep to themselves. As well, the yard staff and teaching staff are mindful of people unknown to the school in the park during playtime.
There are processes and protocols we have in place for playtime in the park: The yard staff sweep the park before playtime and if there is anything concerning, we do call police and have anything dealt with before the students head to the park; but this doesn’t happen very often. All the staff have walkie talkies and cell phones to keep in communication with each other and the school throughout playtime. But to be honest, the homeless people are rarely a concern to our staff (our teaching staff are also out at playtime along with the yard staff) as far as the safety of our students is concerned. As well, our students do not travel alone when moving between the park and the school, and if there is an individual in a certain area of the park, a staff member is stationed nearby.
Because it is a public park, there is not a lot we can do about who gathers in it, other than request an increase in visibility from the local police who patrol the area on a given day. We have also contacted a local outreach group to support relocation opportunities for those who would benefit from this service. As the colder weather arrives though, we often don’t see homeless people for months on end.
We completely understand where parents have concerns, however, we have used Piccadilly Park for over 40 years, and are committed to continuing to find ways for our students to enjoy the community use of the space while keeping everyone safe.
We’re sure many parents are aware that with the high employee retention we have at the school, it also means we have staff who have been with us for a significant amount of time and are starting to reach the end of their careers. Part of Tina’s responsibilities is ensuring we have succession planning in place for multiple roles within the school. At the end of this school year, Gregory Nowak will retire. He has been taking care of our buildings (and us!) for over 25 years and is ready to wrap up his career with MA. We will celebrate Gregory for reaching this milestone in June, when we typically acknowledge and celebrate our MA-zing staff milestones.
With that in mind, we’re very happy to introduce Shawn Post, who started on our maintenance crew this week. In such a role, there is so much to learn about the nuances of our multiple locations, and an extra set of hands over the winter is something the school could use. This will give Shawn time to work alongside Bill and Gregory before Gregory is finished at the end of June. We wanted to introduce you to Shawn as you may start to see him around our buildings starting this week.
Shawn has an extensive skill set that will be an asset to our school and a warm, inviting personality. He is very excited to start his new role with us.
COVID considerations and holiday travel
Our two-week Winter Break is just around the corner. If you are planning to travel with family members, we would like to remind you of the following information from the Government of Canada, Ontario Ministry of Health, and the Middlesex-London Health Unit.
TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF CANADA
COVID-19 Fully Vaccinated Students
Students who are fully vaccinated and travel outside of Canada may return to school immediately upon their return if they do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 and pass the daily COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening.
COVID-19 Unvaccinated Students
Unvaccinated students who travel with a fully vaccinated parent, guardian or caregiver outside of Canada must not attend school, daycare or before and after school care for 14 days after their arrival home.
After the 14-day period, your child can attend school if they pass the daily COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/
Parents can reach out to teachers for ways to support their child(ren) while at home, however, the school will not be providing online learning for such absences.
TRAVEL WITHIN CANADA
There are currently no restrictions regarding travel within Canada. Students must complete the daily COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening and be symptom-free before returning to in-person learning.
Please see the Government of Canada’s COVID-19: Requirements for fully vaccinated travellers and unvaccinated children less than 12 years of age for more detailed information.
PJ Day & CHF giving update
By Gabrielle, Emilie, Elyse and Maitlyn
Junior High CHF is a committee of dedicated students, whose connection to the Children’s Health Foundation(CHF) is long-standing. Providing children with the care they deserve through rehabilitation and research programs is CHF’s mission and ours, too. At school, we separate our team into four committees: Communications, Promotions, Advertising, and Accounting. Each contributes to making special events, such as pyjama day, possible.
Every year the Junior High CHF Committee organizes a school-wide Pyjama Day and the proceeds go towards programs that will support youth. Last year with the monies raised, thanks to generous donors, sponsored Ollie the Therapeutic Clown and the Child Life Program!
On Friday, November 19, let’s spread hope by donating loose change for the Child Life program, which is aiming to install eight gaming consoles around the hospital, and Opportunities to Participate, which allows children with disabilities to play sports! Remember to dress in your finest PJs!
Why Islamic Heritage Matters in Junior High
By Tessa and Jasmine
On Friday, October 29, Junior High students participated in a student-led afternoon workshop on Islamic Heritage organized by a committee of eager individuals. The two main students, Layan and Sophia, who were leading this workshop, are Muslim.
To start off the workshop we watched the trailer of 14 and Muslim, a film about Muslim students, and their journey through middle school and how they were transitioning to high school and having to choose between the familiar Catholic or public high school options and the journey they were embarking on. The video also touched up on the discrimination and how our nation is handling Islamophobia. We wrote how we felt during the video on a piece of paper and after, held them up to show to the rest of the class. Some of the papers read “frustrated” and “sad.”
A lesson of stereotypes followed where we all answered different questions on poster boards around the classroom where we then stuck our answers to. They are still up for us to read on a daily basis! It is a reminder that racial inequality will continue to be confronted and discussed in Junior High.
While watching the full film, we wrote down quotes that stood out to us for a discussion the following week and will be used in a future journal activity. For example: “We are all bricks, we are all useless on our own. But if we start building each other up, instead of breaking each other down, we are literally indestructible, and nothing can hold us back. Nothing can stop us.”
The coordinators of the workshop continued to moderate our daily classroom morning meetings each day the following week keeping the same theme in mind, Islamic Heritage and Awareness. They acknowledged Muslim inventions and inventors, played songs by Muslim artists as well as informing the students about important elements of the Islamic culture.
We are so grateful to the committee and students participating in the workshop in the activities given and we are thankful to our community who helped us share valuable and insightful information. We hope to make this a yearly tradition in our community because Islamic heritage matters to us because at our school we like to be involved in the world around us and we care about our communities. (We are all connected).
Thank you for this opportunity!
This link leads to a picture slideshow of the workshop:
Salthaven donations arrived
Last week, Kristen, Shawna and Lindsey dropped off the generous Lower Elementary donations in support of Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Thank you again for the support throughout this year’s 1000 Acts of Kindness Month.
Photos from the week
Toddler 2’s very busy week
It has been a busy week in Toddler 2! We made peaceful poppies using balloon prints. The children painted green grass. Then we had fun at circle time playing parachute games. And because Toddler 2 loves squirrels, we created pretty sponge paintings of furry friends!
The Poppy Project continued last week…
JH teacher Megan Cedrone spoke with ‘Dans la Mosaique’ on Radio-Canada on Remembrance Day about our participation in Fanshawe College’s Poppy Project. https://ici.radio-canada.ca/ohdio/premiere/emissions/dans-la-mosaique/segments/entrevue/378603/projet-coquelicots-london
Shawn put together a beautiful short video about the Junior High’s experience with the Poppy Project. Take a look: https://vimeo.com/644530365/2ea3b43064
Poppy paper making in Casa classrooms
After patiently waiting on their supplies, Casa 4, Westmount Casa and Waterloo Casa joined in the fun project from Fanshawe College’s School of Design.
Find more photos of the children working on their poppy paper in this week’s Buzz Photo Album: https://montessori.myschoolapp.com/app/detail/album/photo/1514310
A peek inside Casa 3
Emma in Casa 3 demonstrated great focus and attention to detail in completing the decanomial square! This is not only a beautiful piece of Montessori material, but an important one that carries the student further into Montessori math at the Elementary level. It is a hands-on representation of the math tables from 1 to 10. The colours of the decanomial material correspond with the Montessori bead sets! The decanomial is introduced in Casa and returns in early Elementary to help teach multiplication before moving into greater understanding of squaring and binomials. Well done, Emma!
The Toddler children in Westmount honoured Remembrance Day with poppy art.
Westmount Casa’s first gym class
We can’t believe that this day finally arrived! What a long wait it has been to board the bus and venture over to the big gym downtown and to meet Dave, our super fun gym teacher! We had a blast! Thanks, Dave, for making our very first visit to the trip a memorable one!
Lower El music
Watch some of our Lower El students as they learn the importance of keeping the beat: https://www.instagram.com/p/CWI-SNEj6Kd/
Lower El art
The Year 1 students are super-proud of their colour monsters!
Upper El 1 teamwork = dream work
When a fraction box is dropped, the kids work together to solve the problem – and have fun doing it!
UE Remembrance Day Artwork
The year 4 students created loose drawings of poppies in ink over watercolour (pictured). The Year 6 students used a wet on wet watercolour technique to create a field of poppies which can be seen in this week’s photo album.
Junior High phys ed heads to Spikes!
Yesterday, as part of their gym class, the Junior high students went on our annual trip to Spikes to play volleyball. The students were so excited to play with their friends and even challenge the teachers team. Ann added on social media: “Teachers are champions 😉 … not competitive at all.” Riiiight. LOL
Senior Boys Volleyball
Here’s a short clip of the senior boys playing against St. Michael’s. It’s so great to see the kids get back into sports! https://www.instagram.com/stories/montessoriacademyoflondon/2708257836748406691/
From the Community
FYI: Academy Circus ‘Parent & Tot’ classes
Our parent & tot (1 to 3 years of age) classes are a blend of ground and aerial work. We focus on building our little ones motor skills, listening skills and creativity all in one class! The parent will join in on the fun and can get a nice work out at the same time! This class will cover the following disciplines: Tumbling, Acrobatic Arts Pre School syllabus, Tight rope walking, Weggsphere, Aerial Hammock, Juggling, Character play and dance. Tots can range from age 1 to 2.9. Learn more and register online through this link: Parent & Tot | The Academy Circus