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Montessori Buzz – Sept. 14, 2021

Dear MA Families & Friends,

Message from Tina

Screening, restrictions and protocols – oh my! We are very aware the start of the school year has required a lot of reading and understanding what has to happen when and where for the various levels of the school. It is important to know that for our school, there are three voices that can send out three sets of regulations and protocols that we have to follow….I know it’s a lot. Welcome to my ever-spinning world!
There are two divisions of the Ministry of Education that impact our programming during COVID times. For Toddler and Casa, it is the Early Years and Child Care division, and for students in Years 1 to 8, it is the Private School division. However the protocols and regulations set out by BOTH of these divisions can be overridden by the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU). At the end of the day, our local health unit has the final say on any INCREASES in restrictions due to what is happening with local transmission rates. This is what happened just before school started. We received updated guidance with new restrictions from the MLHU and this is how the change in masking for 4- and 5-year-olds (or JK/SK aged students came to be). We have had some parents questioning this change, so we wanted to clarify again.
We have also had numerous questions regarding travel. We understand people have family members literally all over the world who need to be cared for. Below we have tried to capture a few different scenarios.
If the whole family travelled internationally:
  • Whether or not you have to quarantine is information that will be provided to you upon landing and checking in at the Canadian Border Crossing/Customs area.
  • The Customs Officer will review whether or not you have to quarantine. It has been a common experience that if you are fully vaccinated, that you will be exempt from quarantine, however the Customs Officer will be the one to tell you what your status will be. This can change day to day at the airport, depending on what is happening in the country you are arriving from.
  • If parents are told they are exempt from federal quarantine, based on vaccination status, unvaccinated children under the age of 12 are now also exempt from federal quarantine, however they may not attend school or child care for 14 days after their arrival.
  • If the parents and the student are fully vaccinated and are told they are all exempt from federal quarantine, the vaccinated student can come to school.
If the student did not travel, but the parents did:
  • If the parents are exempt from quarantine on arrival because they are vaccinated, as long as the student passes screening, they can come to school.
  • If the parents are NOT exempt from quarantine, students can not come to school, unless the parents are quarantining away from the students.
The recent updates that were made to the provincial screening tool, right before school started, includes steps to follow if you fail the screening for many scenarios. Please read and follow the instructions provided. It includes action steps based on your screening outcome.
We will continue to keep you updated as things change. Thank you for your patience and understanding while we navigate this ever-changing landscape together.
Be well,
Tina Sartori
Executive Director

Save the Date: Outdoor Family Movie Nights

We will be hosting two outdoor family movie nights, one for Elementary students’ families and one for Casa students’ families in our Elementary courtyard in the coming weeks. We just need to wait until it gets darker a bit earlier, so we will be able to see the screen! These events will be limited in capacity and therefore registration will be required. More details will follow shortly, but in the meantime save the date:
  • Thursday, September 30, 2021- Elementary
  • Thursday, October 7, 2021- Casa (We know it will be a later night for them, so this is the night before the P.D Day!)

Investing in our Environments

In Montessori, the environment is seen as the third teacher. We take as much thoughtful consideration into the environments we create for our students and school community, as we do in preparing lesson plans. This summer we completed three projects, through the generosity we received from donations to complete the Elementary Lunch Kitchen project to bring our lunch program to life five days a week, as well as through prudent financial planning as a school.
Our finished kitchen in the main elementary home looks fantastic, as well as the updated cabinetry and storage space at our Westmount location! The beautiful refurbished Oxford Outdoor Learning Environment also received an upgrade (see Casa 1 photo below!).
For those families who have been with us for a while, you will remember we had big dreams of a large renovation project within our Elementary homes. Over the years we have completed renovations in different sections of Upper and Lower Elementary that were part of this plan. The large centre section that was left to complete, we had to put on hold and break into two projects due to various unknowns with the pandemic. The kitchen area and new flooring for the Elementary Music Room we finished this summer, but we still have a large section to finish that includes the main floor Library, the Lower Level French room and cubby area, as well as a small part of Lower El 1. This final section is a priority, and Administration, along with the Board Finance Committee, will be taking the time to look at how we can bring this final section of the project to completion in the future.

Thank you for supporting the Elementary Hot Lunch Kitchen!

We could not be more thrilled with our new kitchen! Thanks to your generous support, we reached our fundraising goal to renovate our Elementary Lunch Kitchen last school year.  Over the summer our Properties department was hard at work making our dream a reality.
Thanks to your donations, we were able to expand our kitchen and hot lunch capacity for our Elementary program! This pristine new kitchen includes two sinks, two dishwashers and ample storage and counter space for lunch service. We are going to test drive the kitchen for the first few weeks of school… and then… as of September 27, Elementary students will have hot lunch 5 days a week!! This is all thanks to the generosity and support of you, our families and donors.  Thank you!
The new kitchen had its maiden voyage last Friday with one of our students’ faves – Pizza Day!

Save the date: What’s for Dinner?!

Save the date! Our first “What’s for Dinner?!” event of the school year is Thursday, October 7.  Growing Chef’s and Montessori Academy of London are partnering again this year to offer frozen, family size entrees of our students’ favourite hot lunch meals. Easy dinners on busy weekdays that your family will love.  Orders start next Tuesday. Keep an eye out in next week’s Buzz for the order link.
Last year, our “What’s for Dinner?!” events raised over $12,000 to support COVID expenses and renovations to our Elementary Hot Lunch kitchen! THIS YEAR we are fundraising to upgrade our Elementary LIBRARY!  The library is a major part of renovations to the centre section of our Elementary building we are hoping to begin in summer 2022. Proceeds from “What’s for Dinner?!” will support this special project!
Order frozen family size meals ahead of time and pick them up from Growing Chefs on October 7.

Stay tuned for an MA social event…

Watch for next week’s Buzz with details of an upcoming event. 🙂
(Please note: the date was incorrect in the original Buzz- the correct date is Thursday, October 28.)

First Week photos!

Toddler 1 lunchtime!

Toddler 1 enjoyed their delicious hot lunch on Friday. Lunch supports Grace and Courtesy lessons, healthy nutrition and more!

Toddler 2 getting into a daily routine

Toddler 2 has had the most wonderful time phasing in, we are all enjoying the new environment, eating snacks and lunch and even sleeping!

Casa 1 enjoying Oxford’s playground!

Casa 1 happily explored the new playground last week. So good to see all these smiling faces!!


First art project in Casa 2

Casa 2 had a nice first week back. We enjoyed our first art project: ripping pieces of paper and arranging them in a beautiful collage – it was tons of fun!

Casa 3 community

When you see a friend that might just like to listen to a story, you grab a book, cozy up and read her one!
Casa 3 is so proud of our students…they are working together, building new friendships, and helping each other in times of need!

Lower El 2’s trip to Piccadilly Park

The Lower El 2 class enjoyed a sunny afternoon in the park on the first day of school!

Introducing: Lower El 3’s new pet!

We have a new pet in Lower El 3! The children spent last week placing names in a “name jar,” and on Friday, we had our judge, Kristen Crouse, go through all the names. She chose FINLEY BLUEBERRY! Welcome, Finley!

Junior High lunch program with Y.O.U.

In collaboration with Y.O.U. Unlimited, Junior High got a taste of what is to come for our hot lunch program!
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