Welcome (back) to DVMS!
Each Friday during the school year, we publish this “Events and Info” post on our website to let you know what’s going on and what’s coming up at DVMS. Most of the post will also be copied into an email that you will receive at the end of each week. All of the “Events and Info” posts can be found under the “Parents” tab at the top of dvms.ca; they are also directly linked to on the “Home” page and are shared on our Facebook and Twitter accounts (feel free to give us a follow).
For now, here are the important dates outlined in the “Welcome Back to School” email you received last weekend:
- Tuesday September 6, 8:30 a.m. First day of school.
- Wednesday, Sept. 14, 3:00-4:00 p.m.: Elementary Parent Orientation .
- Saturday September 17, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: Welcome Back to School Community Picnic at DVMS.
- Thursday Sept. 22- Friday, Sept. 23: Parent/Teacher interviews .
Our initial set of Parent-Teacher Interviews for the 2016-2017 school year will take place on Thursday, Sept. 22, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. (2:30 start for Lower Elementary), and from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23. There is no school on Friday, Sept. 23.
We switched to holding interviews at the beginning of each term last year to allow a more proactive approach to your child’s development and learning.
Our Montessori environments and materials are ready and waiting:
Our Lower and Upper Elementary students participate in a variety of physical education activities each year that allow them to experience a range of activities they might not otherwise have the chance to participate in. These activities often take them out of the school and into the community, so there are occasions when they need to be dropped off and/or picked up at area parks or athletic facilities.
We will keep you updated in this space as to what they’re doing, where they need to be, and what they need to bring and/or wear, as well as anything else pertaining to the Elementary program, including:
- Elementary Orientation: This orientation session is for all parents of children in both levels of the DVMS Elementary program. The Elementary Montessori guides will discuss what children need to succeed in the Elementary program as part of a general orientation to the program at each level, as well as Montessori and homework, and the weekly schedule including planned and spontaneous outings. Please go directly to your child’s Montessori environment on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 3:00; the session is expected to go until no later than 4:00.
- Lower Elementary Outdoor Adventures: To begin the year, the Lower Elementary students will be participating in an outdoor adventure program based out of DVMS (no need to pick up or drop off anywhere different) on Friday Sept. 9, 16, and 30 (DVMS is closed on Friday, Sept. 23, for Parent-Teacher Interviews). Please ensure they wear or bring clothing appropriate for the outdoor weather each Friday — layers are good, as well as sturdy outdoor running shoes. Lower Elementary children do not need to bring a water bottle for activities as each child is given one for at school use.
- Upper Elementary at Dundas Conservation Area: Upper Elementary students will be spending their first few Fridays in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area. Please drop your Upper Elementary child off at the Trail Centre (entrance is next to the toboganning hill on Governor’s Rd.) by 9:00 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, 16, and 30 (DVMS is closed on Friday, Sept. 23, for Parent-Teacher Interviews). Upper children can be picked up at the Trail Centre by 3:00; as always, if you are unable to pick up at 3:00, let us know and we will carpool those children back to DVMS for regular dismissal.
But wait, there’s more:
- Welcome Back to School Picnic: Our annual Welcome Back community picnic has been rained out for three years in a row! Undaunted, we shall try again this year. Join us on the DVMS playground on Saturday, September 17, at 11:00 a.m., with a picnic basket, blanket, chairs, and anything else you would like to bring for picnicin’ fun. This is a casual event that gives us all a chance to put names to faces, catch up after the summer, and spend a lovely, sunny afternoon together. See you there.
- School Photo Days: School photos will be taken over the course of two days this year — Monday, September 26, and Tuesday, September 27. Children will have individual photos taken outside on our playground, which provides a wonderful natural backdrop, as well as a class photo. Children with siblings at DVMS will also have photos taken with their siblings. We start with the Toddler and Casa children (so we can hopefully catch them while their photo-best outfits are still clean) and move up through the levels, so some Elementary children with a sibling may have their photo taken both days. As always, DVMS Montessori Mom Lindsay Palmer will be taking the photos. Packages will be available to purchase (we aim to have the prints to you in time for the holiday break in December).
- Personal Info Change Form: If anything has changed over the summer — landlines scrapped, you moved, new email address, new job and work contact number, etc. — please let us know using our Personal Information Change Form. Thank you.
- Staffing Changes: Each new school year brings a few changes to staffing at DVMS as some staff members move on, new staff members join us, and as seems to most often be the case lately some staff members take some time off to have some babies, or return from having babies. Here’s some of the new faces you may be seeing around here this year; more full bios (and embarrassing/cute childhood pics) will be coming to dvms.ca soon, but for now…
Kim Fiocca is a very good friend of Casa South’s Serena and will be covering for Serena as she completes her cancer treatments. Kim has trained with Serena all summer and is a dancer and artist who has taught for 30 years, owning her own dance school for over 10 years.
Mary Flewelling-Pinchen started with us last year but is transitioning to being the Casa Directress of our Casa dei Bambini afternoon program that helps 1st year Casa children bridge the gap between their half and full day Casa experience. Mary will run our afterschool program this year. Mary is overqualified for everything, and we are lucky to have her. Learn more about Mary at montessoricasaworks.com.
Lisa Savard-Quong is taking on two part-time roles: Learning Resource Specialist providing one-on-one support for a special-needs child in the mornings, and as the Casa dei Bambini afternoon program assistant. Lisa earned her Diplome d’Etudes Collegiale in theatre from Dawson College in Montreal, is bilingual, and has experience working with special needs children. Lisa will run the afterschool program with Mary.
Lisa Zuraw has joined Casa North as Dylan’s assistant for the year. Lisa’s two children both attended DVMS, and Lisa was so inspired she completed her A.M.I. Montessori Casa training last year. Lisa also holds a B.A. in psychology and a master’s degree in science from Queen’s University.
Selin Baysan has joined us as the Upper Elementary French Specialist. Selin is a French immersion student who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Studies as well as a Bachelor of Education.
- Casa East assistant Stef is pregnant (if you didn’t already know), and will be starting her maternity leave mid-October. In a fortuitous degree of timing, former Casa North assistant Shalyn Baker will be returning from her maternity leave at the same time and will be taking over for Stef in Casa East for the 2016-2017 school year.
- Dawn, who served as the assistant in Casa North last year, and Armando, who finished the year as our Casa South assistant, and both of whom you will know from afterschool, are spending the year in Mexico (where Armando is from) completing their Montessori Casa training.
- Catherine Warne, who left her Lower Elementary South position to go on maternity leave last year, is returning in January to take on an assistant’s role in both the Lower and Upper Elementary programs.
- Your School Website — dvms.ca: Over the course of the school year, the DVMS website is your go-to source for up to date information about what’s going on at DVMS.
- On the “Home” page you will find links to general information about DVMS (CCMA accreditation body, Maria Montessori’s timeline, map, address, and contact info). Current information (such as the most recent “Events and Info” post and Parent-Teacher Interview sign-ups) can be found on the right hand side of the “Home” page.
- Clicking the “Calendar” tab will bring you to — wait for it — our calendar. This calendar is your go-to for the most current, up to date information about events and activities. Over the course of the school year, some event and activity details or timing inevitably change or new events are added. Event and activity details in each “Events and Info” post can also be found in the calendar.
- Under the “Parents” tab, you will find links to all of the “Events and Info” posts, to “Classroom Pages” where you will also find “Events and Info” posts as well as occasional posts specific to individual Montessori environments, and to resources such as the “Parent Handbook,” a list of illnesses that require (or do not) absence from school and for how long, our “Personal Information Change Form,” and our classroom observation guidelines.
- There is also a wealth of information about Montessori on the site, a number of links under the “Fees and Forms” tab, and the always amusing “Staff” bio page with funny kid pics (bio updates coming soon).
- Calendar Event Automatic Emails: Each of your email addresses will be added to a DVMS contact group connected to our calendar. You will receive automatic notification emails 3 days and 1 day before each event on the calendar. If you feel like you’re on top of things, you can unsubscribe from the automatic emails at the bottom of any of the delivered notification emails.
- Seesaw: …is an app our Montessori guides use to share classroom-wide or individual student updates and photos. Your child’s Montessori guide will send you an invite to join their Seesaw group. This is a new initiative we tried out in a number of rooms last year and the reception and response was very positive, so we are going to implement it school-wide this year. Classroom-wide updates sent via seesaw will also be posted on the relevant “Classroom Page” under the “Parents” tab.
Each week, we will also include a number of photos of what went on at DVMS the week prior. In addition to anything you may receive from your child’s Montessori guide using the Seesaw app, we will include pictures from each Montessori environment as well as any other fun and interesting things that go on, from playground adventures to gym to spontaneous hikes to any of the many adorable moments we are lucky enough to experience every day, such as these from this week’s Casa and Toddler Community orientations: