Welcome to your first Events and Information post for the 2017.2018 school year. Every Friday, at dvms.ca, we post any upcoming events and important information you need to know for the coming week(s). There will always be a link to the most recent “Events and Info” on the home page of the school website, and you can find all “Events and Info” posts under the “Parents” tab. We also send you the contents of the post via email (likely how you are reading this right now). The email does not contain all of the features and updates of the web post, so be sure to check the website.
All of the events are also posted on the calendar at dvms.ca. You will have already received some automated notification emails from the calendar regarding upcoming events. The calendar is set to send reminders 3 days and 1 day before each event on the school calendar. If you are good to keep track of school events and would like to minimize inbox traffic, just let Jason know at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the email address(es) you would like removed, and we can take you off the auto-notification list.
On to what’s happening:
Important Events to Start the Year
- Tuesday, September 5, 8:30 a.m.: First day of school!
- Wednesday, Sept. 13, 4:00 p.m.: Lower Elementary Parent Orientation
- This orientation session is open to all Lower Elementary parents. You are strongly encouraged to attend to chat with the guides and go over some of the routines and expectations for the year.
- September 13, 14, and 15, 3:30 – 6:00 p.m.: New Casa Children Parent-Teacher Interviews. Please sign up for your 15 minute time slot on the appropriate day.
- Casa North: September 13
- Casa South: September 14
- Casa East: September 15
Parents of children that are new to the DVMS Casa program, either as first-year students or as new-to-DVMS second- or third-year Casa students, are asked to sign up for a brief introductory meeting with your child’s Montessori guides. Class lists were emailed on August 16 if you are unsure of which Montessori environment your child is in.
- Saturday, September 16, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Welcome Back to School Picnic at DVMS
This event has been rained out for the last 3 or 4 years, but we’re trying again. This is a fun picnic day on the playground to welcome everyone back to school and give you time to renew old acquaintances and meet some of the other wonderful families who have chosen an authentic Montessori education for their children. Bring a picnic lunch, chairs and/or blankets, and post up under the trees for food, fun, and friends.
- Monday, September 25, and Tuesday, September 26: School Photo Days. More details will come regarding which day to polish them up. Photos will once again be taken by the wonderful Lindsay Palmer , one of your fellow Montessori Moms.
- Tuesday, September 26, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.: Lower Elementary South New Student Parent-Teacher Interviews. Please sign up for your 10 minute time slot online.
Parents of new Lower Elementary South (Noeleen and Christine) students (both new, first-year Lower Elementary children and new-to-DVMS Lower Elementary children) are asked to attend a 10-minute introductory meeting with their Montessori guides on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Class lists were emailed on August 16 if you are unsure of which Montessori environment your child is in.
- Wednesday, September 27, and Thursday, September 28: Toddler Community New Student Parent-Teacher Interviews. Please sign up online.
Parents of new Toddler Community children are asked to attend a 20-minute introductory meeting with their Montessori guides in the late-afternoon/early-evening on either Wednesday, Sept. 27, or Thursday, Sept. 28.
- Thursday, September 28, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.: Lower Elementary North New Student Parent-Teacher Interviews. Please sign up for your 10 minute time slot online.
Parents of new Lower Elementary North (Jodi and Kathleen) students (both new, first-year Lower Elementary children and new-to-DVMS Lower Elementary children) are asked to attend a 10-minute introductory meeting with their Montessori guides on Thursday, Sept. 28. Class lists were emailed on August 16 if you are unsure of which Montessori environment your child is in.
Both Lower and Upper Elementary level students participate in a variety of physical activities and outings throughout the year in addition to regular physical education classes. These activities generally take place on Friday afternoons, although outside facilities and organizations sometimes necessitate different times and days (such as the Lower Elementary swimming to start the year; see below). In this section, we will let you know what they’re up to, where they’re going, and if they’ll need to bring anything. To start the year:
- Swimming: Lower Elementary students will be walking to and from the Dundas Community Pool where they will participate in weekly swimming lessons until the end of October. They will return to DVMS in time for 3:45 dismissal. Each class is divided into two groups based on swimming ability and are guided in swimming instruction by the pool staff. Please ensure that children bring a swimsuit that they can put on and take off themselves, a towel, and goggles and/or nose plugs as they desire and/or require. Please make sure goggles are adjusted to fit. The swimming activity is also more enjoyable for children if they are wearing clothing they can change in and out of without assistance, and if their swim gear is carried in a bag they able to easily and securely carry themselves.
- Lower Elementary South (Noeleen/Christine) will swim on Mondays: Lower South children will swim on Monday, Sept. 11, 18, and 25, and Oct. 2, 16, and 23. (Monday, Oct. 9, is Thanksgiving).
- Lower Elementary North (Jodi/Kathleen) will swim on Fridays: Lower North students will swim on Friday, Sept. 15, 22, and 29, and Oct. 13, 20, and 27. (Friday, Oct. 6, is Elementary Field trip day).
To start the school year, Upper Elementary students will be participating in a variety of activities in the Hamilton area:
- Friday, Sept. 8: W.J. McCallion Planetarium at McMaster University and trail hike. Please drop your Upper Elementary students off at the McMaster GO Transit loop by 9:00 a.m. on this day; your child’s guides will be there to meet the children at 8:45 a.m. Upper Elementary students will enjoy “Life in the Universe: Setting the Stage, the First 10 Billion Years.” Following the planetarium presentation, we will hike the trails from McMaster back into Dundas and return to DVMS for dismissal. All students will need a packed picnic litterless lunch and weather appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear.
- Friday, Sept. 15: Dundas Conservation Area: “Story of Life.” Your Upper Elementary student will be spending the full day in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area. Please drop students off at Strata Montessori Adolescent School by 9:00 a.m. Pick up will be from 3:00 p.m., also at Strata. The day will include activities at Strata and throughout the conservation area. All students will require a packed picnic litterless lunch and weather appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear.
- Friday, Sept. 22: Observing Humans in a Human Environment and Hamilton Walking Tour. Upper Elementary students will travel by city bus to downtown Hamilton where they will begin their adventures at the Hamilton Public Library. The day will consist of observations that will lead into a “This is Hamilton” project. Students will also have photography lessons and embark on a walking tour including the Art Gallery of Hamilton, James Street North, and Bayfront Park, among other interesting aspects of Hamilton they may not be aware of; the walking tour will also involve map reading skills. Students will return to DVMS, by city bus, in time for regular dismissal. All students will require a packed picnic litterless lunch and weather appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear.
Information and Reminders
Anything that is not a specific event will be here — general reminders, updates, special requests, and the like. Such as:
- Boomerang Lunch: This year, for those who bring a packed lunch to school, we are implementing a “boomerang lunch” policy. This means everything that comes in the lunchbag goes home in the lunchbag. It is a way to significantly reduce the amount of waste generated at the school and, most importantly, for you to see what is being eaten and what is not being eaten. (Things like apple cores will go into the compost at school, but a one-bite-out-of-it apple will go home). At a practical level, this is best accomplished by buying items like yogurt, crackers, and cheese, for example, in large containers and doling out the required amount into reusable containers that go into the lunch bag. Please also send any required cutlery (and if you notice some strange new cutlery coming home, please send it back). There are also lunchbags that have built-in separated compartments. Families with younger children, please have them practice opening/closing and packing/unpacking their lunchbags and containers to ensure they can do so independently at school.Lunch waste is a significant issue in terms of cross-contaminated recycling — yogurt containers end up in the compost, juice boxes in the paper recycling, etc. — and often results in everything ending up in the landfill rather than being properly recycled. We’d like to avoid that.
At DVMS, we encourage healthy eating because, well, it’s good for you, and because a well-fed mind is a good learning mind. We ask that, as much as possible, you try to avoid processed, sugary foods, and do not include sweet treats in children’s lunches. Thank you.
Elementary-level families, please send a labelled water bottle that will remain at DVMS for the school year and that can be regularly sanitized in our very high heat dishwasher. Lower Elementary children are also asked to include a cloth napkin in their lunch each day (hot lunch kids too).
- Arrival and Dismissal: We kindly ask all students to arrive at 8:30 a.m. sharp every day. The Montessori day consists of 3-hour work cycles. The purpose in having long, uninterrupted blocks of work time is to allow students to select work freely and become absorbed in work that has a particular fascination for them at each point in their development. Late arrivals disturb the children’s focus, concentration, and intellectual exploration, and make settling in difficult for your child. As much as possible, we ask that you pick up at the appropriate time for your child’s level (3:30 p.m. for Toddler and Casa children; 3:45 p.m. for Elementary students). Parents with children in both Toddler/Casa and Elementary are asked to arrive at 3:45. It is important that we account for each child’s dismissal. Please ensure that your child says goodbye and shakes the hand of the staff member with the clipboard by the main entrance. Thank you.
- Parking: Our parking lot can pose a few challenges at drop-off and pick-up. We ask that all parents of elementary-aged children drop their children off nearby and allow them to walk to the school on their own. This not only leaves parking spaces open for those with young children but also gives your Elementary child the independence they need. With your written permission (email will suffice), Elementary-level children can also dismiss themselves from school and walk home, or meet you at a pre-determined spot nearby. Parking along the walkway fence is not permitted as this is a fire route; it also produces a bottleneck at the bottom of the driveway, which is a hazard. Please be respectful of, and courteous to, your fellow DVMS parents and our neighbours. Thank you.
- Before and Afterschool Care: DVMS offers Before School Care from 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Both Before and After School Care are pay-per-use (no need to sign up or let us know ahead of time). Children who are dropped off prior to 8:30 will be considered to be part of Before School Care. After School Care commences at 4:00 p.m. and runs until 5:00 p.m. Children who are not picked up by 4:00 p.m. will automatically enter the After School Care program (you will be invoiced). The charge for both Before and After School Care is $3.50/half hour and you will be billed at the end of each term.
Fun Family Events
Since the “Events and Info” post is published every Friday, we also like to include any community events that might be going on over the weekend that are suitable for family fun. This weekend you can enjoy:
- Urquhart Butterfly Garden Summer Education Program: Saturday, September 2, 11:00-12:00, at Urquhart Butterfly Garden, Centennial Park, Cootes Drive and East Street North. Click here for more information.
The free Summer series at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden kicks off on Saturday July 15 with Matt Mills leading a Guided Butterfly & Bird Identification Walk. Matt is an experienced naturalist, with a vast store of knowledge and an engaging manner.
The Garden is humming with life, “I am never disappointed by what I see at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden”, Matt said recently. If there are rare butterflies to be seen Matt will find them, as well as locating all the bird life hiding in the bushes or flitting among the trees. You are requested to wear a sun hat and bring a chair. If it rains the walk will be cancelled.
- WEST FEST 2017: Saturday, September 2, 12:00-11:00 p.m., Westdale Village.
Live music, vendors, children’s village, buskers, street festival Westdale Village – trendy, chic, cafes, shopping & dining.
- Sundays at Westfield Heritage Village: Sunday, September 3, 12:30-4:30, at Westfield Heritage Village, Rockton (1049 Kirkwall Rd., Flamborough ON, L0R 1X0). Click for info.
Every Sunday and public holiday from March to the end of October you can immerse yourself in Westfield’s unique historic setting. Authentically costumed volunteers will take you back to earlier times and places through fun and educational demonstrations and activities.
Westfield has more than thirty-five historical buildings to visit, including log homes, a one room schoolhouse, railway station, print shop, inn and cabinetmaker’s shop. Step up to the counter at the General Store for sweet treats and stop by the Gift Shop for unique finds. You can also enjoy Westfield’s trails and natural areas, set on 500 beautiful acres.
Finally, as a reward for reading all the way to the end, every week we will post a gallery of your wonderful children hard at work in their Montessori environments. We know Montessori can be a little mysterious, especially since parents are restricted from the children’s environments (and sometimes children are not the most forthcoming with what they did each day), so we offer these weekly glimpses. If you ever want the full version of any photos of your child, just let us know and we’ll send them to you. Not every child has their picture taken each week, but we try to capture them all a few times over the course of the year.
If you had selected to not have photos of your child published, but change your mind, just let us know. We never publish any identifying information. The images are published to the website and are accessible through the DVMS Facebook page.
This week, our new Casa children and their parents came in to check out their Montessori environments and meet their guides, and make some new friends before the official start of school on Tuesday. See you all then!