Our travels across North America finished up in the last week of November. We will continue with Europe in January, and then to Asia later in the school year. If anyone would like to share some special cultural items or help with a special Circle or snack, please let us know. We welcome the vast knowledge and experience that our parents can bring. We are always learning … teachers too!
December started with holiday preparations and continued through until the last day of classes. Christmas is a large part of our ‘Celebrations of Light’ and has been a topic of discussion throughout December. Materials have been changed on the shelves to reflect the upcoming holiday season. The children are welcome to decorate the tree daily, work on seasonal materials such as search for the bells in the snow, Christmas math counters, Christmas buttons on Christmas fabric, and of course patterned beading in red, green and white crystal seed beads. The children are also adding little bells to their rings. Our main Christmas art project was a painted wooden star, with a choice of three colours and three glitters. We use glitter in a shallow tray in order to be able to pour the excess back into the bottle, avoiding the shake off from going down the drain. Even though everyone loves the pretty glitter, we must also think about being kind to our planet. Every year the children make beeswax candles in the final days of school. The wax sheet is warmed for easy rolling and the whole classroom smells of honey. Another project involved pine cones, again. In the spring a big pine tree at the back of our playground starts to shed its pine cones. The children collect them and the teachers save them for winter crafts. This year the children helped brush and clean the pine cones, counted them, placed them in a big bag, and then sprayed them with a mixture of water and cinnamon bark essential oil. The classroom smelled amazing. Cinnamon everywhere. Our final project gave us the best classroom aroma, with the annual gingerbread baking project. This year we made two kinds of gingerbread, standard recipe and vegan. The vegan had coconut oil instead of eggs which had an amazingly smooth texture. Gingerbread is so good no matter which way you make it. Mr. B (Mrs.B’s husband) discovered a box of fiber optic wands leftover from a party where he was working, and everyone got a wand as well. Very festive for a festive season. To finish off the holiday season, we wrapped gift books and popped them into every child’s home file. You all know by now that we LOVE books and we hope you do as well. Reading to your child every night will give you the memories to cherish for you and your child.
We had two guest stars come in on the last Monday of classes for an early Hanukkah celebration. Thank you Amy (Aiden’s mum) for the fun story, lighting the menorah, and singing a beautiful blessing. Aiden and Amy finished the morning with latkes for snack and chocolate gelt. The afternoon Kindergarten Prep class also had a special Hanukkah Circle. Thank you Carla (Rye and Indigo’s mum) for bringing different styles of menorahs in. All so beautiful and so different. After a story and lighting the menorah, all of the children played the dreidel game in small groups. It was a math frenzy, and so much fun. It was a wonderful day.
Celebrations of Light are a way to show that no matter where we come from, what we look like, and how we dress, we all have many things in common. For every big holiday or observance, we gather together to send out hopes and wishes and prayers at a temple, a church, a synagogue, a mosque, or simply at home. We display lights or candles during the darkest of days. We join together with friends and family. We give gifts. We share meals. We share our time with those we love and care about. We think about loved ones who cannot be with us. We give to those less fortunate. We think about how much we have to be grateful for, which is a lot. These simple lessons about kindness and acceptance have been an experience that we hope the children will remember and expand upon throughout their lives. We will finish our Celebrations of Light next year with Chinese New Year.
School re-opens on Monday, January 6th at 8:45am, and emails will be checked occasionally during the break. Registration packages for returning children for September (2020-2021 school year), will be going out the first week of January. Please ask us for a package for any siblings starting in September. Progress reports will also be going out in January. Please take a look, and then return them to the teachers for our continued use until the end of the school year. They will be returned to you in June for your keeping.
Our last time together for 2019 was at the concert on Thursday, December 19th, and what a wonderful day it was. Your children gave us an amazing performance. Miss Lori and Miss Stacy (our fabulous choir directors), with a good sense of humour and patience, practiced with the children in preparation of the concert day. We have heard back from many parents how much they were enjoying the songs at home, over and over (and sometimes even more). Not an easy task for three and four year olds. The children all worked very hard and we are very proud of each and every one of them. Thank you to all the parents, family members and friends who participated and joined in. It is your participation that really makes the difference in the day. The children were beaming brilliant smiles as they left the stage. Thank you for all the tasty potluck contributions. If we didn’t have the opportunity to say it in person, thank you for all the very kind and thoughtful gifts, and the beautiful handmade cards and crafts from the children. We truly appreciate all that you do. It’s been said a million times and more, but it really does take a village. Thank you Sharla (Gage’s mum) for all her hard work in making our concert garbage free. It took a lot of effort, planning and muscle power to load up enough re-usable plates, cups, cutlery and compost bags for 150 people. We checked the garbage bins as we left and we really were garbage free. Fantastic! Thank you to Jennilee (Walter’s mum) who set up her photo equipment and took photos to share with all of you. Another wonderful gift. We will cherish these moments and the photos that bring us back to the memory of that day. We had many families away on our concert day, and you were all very much missed. We wish all of you, your families and loved ones, a safe and Happy Holiday. We look forward to seeing everyone in the New Year.
May peace and joy be yours, in this season of hope