June 2021

Continent studies end in May, and a different type of theme is selected every June.  This year it was Outer Space.  We discussed planets and their locations, how big they were in relation to our home planet of Earth, and what life might be like if anyone could live there.  We also discussed life for astronauts on the ISS.  Through pictures we saw residents of the space station eat, wash their hair, walk around and sleep.  Interesting, but certainly not easy.  We always try to make a ‘Small World’ whenever it is possible.  This year we had a space themed small world with astronauts, moon rovers, and satellites. All in miniature on a tray big enough to have two friends at a time working with the pieces.  This was a very popular activity.  For a special project, the children all pitched in to peel the papers off crayons which were melted and poured into molds.  Planet, astronaut and rocket ship crayons went home last week.  Very cute.  Warm weather brings plenty of outdoor activities.  Table cleaning was set aside for outdoor chair, tray and window washing, garden watering, and splash fights at the water table.  We used balance stones inside on cloudy days and the children now know enough yoga, to start their own drop-in yoga groups.

This years’ Father’s Day project was a different type of ‘Small World’, as it was also a living world.  The children seeded, misted and watered until a beautiful green lawn sprung up.  Clouds were sponge painted on paper and then glued to the inside of a clamshell box.  The grass was topped off with a miniature beach recliner chair.  Opening the box results in entering a place of peace and tranquility.  Whenever a stressful day occurs, simply gaze upon your small world and let your imagination transport you to that happy place.  Instructions were included to place this world in a leak-proof container as the clamshell is compostable, and dampness will come through.  No lawn mower required.  Mist occasionally and cut back with scissors.  This has been a very stressful year, and a personal place of tranquility is definitely useful.  Happy Father’s Day.

It has been two years since we had our year end family picnic and sports day, which is always a great way to end the school year.  Group size restrictions still prevent the family picnic, so we decided to host a Teddy Bears’ Picnic for the children.  Bear headbands were constructed and worn with great pride.  Little baskets were made to carry home decorated cupcakes.  We had a special menu of heart shaped sandwiches and watermelon slices, strawberries and blueberries, popcorn cups, and pink lemonade.  Gingham cloths on the tables and bee hives hanging from ceiling completed the decorations.  Traditional picnic.  Everyone brought their favourite teddy bear (or stuffie), and we invited our dear friend Paddington to the party.  Paddington came to our school with a book of his adventures in 2019 as gifts from Miss Jade.  Miss Jade lives in England, and Paddington and his book were actually purchased at Paddington Station.  A truly authentic Paddington.  Miss Jade would like to return as soon as travel bans and time permits.  Perhaps next year.  The Teddy Bears’ Picnic was a very last minute idea which was well received by all of the picnic guests.  It was a smashing success, and we plan on one again next year in May.  The year-end picnic will return for June 2022.  Yay!

Thank you to Jennilee (Walter), who came in to take photos of the afternoon children before they launch off to Kindergarten.  Beautiful.  Thank you to Layla (Henry), who offered to take all of our extra dry goods to the local food bank.  A very kind and thoughtful deed.  Thank you to Miss Maria, our amazing and very helpful afternoon volunteer. Miss Maria’s warmth, affection and sense of humour are contagious, and the children absolutely adore her.  See you in September, Miss Maria.  We appreciate and thank you for all the lovely cards and gifts and handmade lovelies.  Everyone plays a big part in the success of a school year and we thank each and every parent and family member for their strength and support.

We are now at the end of the 2020-2021 school year.  While this certainly has not been anyone’s favourite year, this may be the perfect time to look at the silver lining.  Parents and teachers have been understandably worried about the losses children may have been experiencing.  But what about the things children have learned this year?  Resiliency is learned by finding a way through new challenges and new norms.  Children had to learn about social distancing and personal space.  Birthday parties and play dates had to be cancelled, and not visiting loved family members was keeping them out of harms’ way.  A very difficult concept.  A lot of adults couldn’t wrap their heads around it.  We witnessed so much kindness and empathy.  The children made Valentine cards for isolated seniors, and not one child asked to keep the beautiful card they made.  Not one child!  We were astounded.  Children told us of hugs and kisses sent on Zoom to grandparents they missed, but had to stay away from.  There were discussions at Circle of appreciation, and thanking essential workers and health care workers, understanding the sacrifices they were making.  Parents had to stay home, and this meant more family together time.  Strength and bravery was learned in the face of loss.  We have watched your amazing children learn and grow over the past year and show great empathy for others.  Their creativity in expressing love, and their excitement over small things like drive-by birthdays are one of the many things that give us hope.  This has been a very different year, and we thank you for trusting us with the care of your children, and their physical and emotional well-being.  They have grown before our eyes.  Last year during the lock down, we learned of the kindness shown by the children in Italy and started our own challenge.  We asked all of our students to draw or paint a rainbow and display it to the world with the message from Italy, “tutta andra bene” (everything will be all right).  Rainbows started popping up in windows and on sidewalks all over the city.  Parents took photos and emailed them to us, which we shared with every other student.  It was an amazing moment in time.  This has been a very strange and frightening moment, and the children brought us hope with their courage.  Just thinking about it brings tears to our eyes.  Absolutely remarkable.  Tutta andra bene (everything will be all right).  Grazie a tutti (thank you all).

Our pre-K children are embarking on a new and exciting journey.  We will think of you often, knowing that you are ready for Kindergarten.  We say goodbye to families who have had two, three and four children come through our doors.  And goodbye to families who are moving on to other adventures.  You will all be missed.  For those friends who are returning in September, we will send an email out in early August about the August drop-in day.  We look forward to hearing your stories of summer adventures.

Reflecting on this past year, we can now appreciate how well we have all managed.  Often overwhelmed with information and updates, we still made strong decisions and continued to keep our small orbit safely functioning.  Without a road map or history to follow, we made it through.  It hasn’t been easy for anyone.  Sadly some of us have had great losses and sorrows.  Still through all of this, we have shared stories and fond memories, laughter, tears and joys.  We all look forward to the year ahead of us knowing that we are stronger because of what we have all been through.  We wish you all the very best with heartfelt gratitude.  Your patience, kindness and understanding has helped us get through with smiles on our faces.  We truly wished we could have spent more time with you, and thank all of you for your focus on safety and testing when health was in question.  It takes a village.  Thank you for being such a truly wonderful village.

Wishing you a fun, safe and incredible summer.  Happy travels.

Miss Lori and Miss Stacy, Miss Maria and Mrs.B (Cynthia)