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DVMS Parent Newsletter
October 2013 - Vol. 6, Iss. 2
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September 2013 was as good a month as any that we have seen in the hallowed halls of DVMS:

Last Thursday there was a Globe and Mail article on Montessori that featured Dundas Valley Montessori School -- amazing for our little country school to be recognized nationally.

We were also visited by 83-year-old Helma Trass, who both studied directly under Maria Montessori and revitalized the Montessori movement in Ontario in 1961. How proud were we when, after observing our classrooms, Ms. Trass told us that DVMS gave her renewed hope for Montessori in Canada. The joy she felt walking our halls was palatable.

Debbie Adams, Montessori Program Facilitator for the Vancouver Board of Education visited with Ms. Trass. She had come to see quality Montessori programs in Ontario. She was so impressed by DVMS that she is flying her best teachers out to Ontario to look at our school and has asked me to be a consultant in Vancouver next summer.

On top of that it has easily been the best September we have ever had at DVMS. The calm joy that pervades has been inspiring. Have their been challenges? - sure - but minor ones that help us grow. The foundation this month has offered the year is extremely encouraging and we all are all looking forward to a fantastic year.

The two most exciting events come from Casa East. Casa East Guide, Holly Schefold, is expecting a new sibling for Beckett and Sawyer in the spring. The moment she surprised her husband Derek with the news is caught here:


Finally, our most inspiring news this month is the birth of Louie Autumn Hudecki (above) to Catherine Warne (Casa East Assistant for the last 3 years) and Jackson Hudecki (Dylan and Skye are aunt and uncle) on September 18. There really is no greater miracle. Congratulations to the whole Warne-Hudecki clan.

Looking forward to seeing all of you at the Parent Dinner on October 4th.

Tony Evans
Dundas Valley Montessori School
Montessori Adolescent School of Hamilton

Important Dates to Plan For

Wednesday, October 2
Elementary Cross-Country

Friday, October 4
DVMS Community Dinner

Wednesday, October 9
Casa Parent Education Evening

Friday, October 11
Morning Field Trips. NO SCHOOL IN AFTERNOON.

Monday, October 14
NO SCHOOL. Thanksgiving Monday

Wednesday, October 16
Elementary Parent education Evening

Friday, October 18
Adolescent-only PD Day

Friday, October 25
Adolescent Harvest Festival

Friday, October 25
Optional Elementary Cross Country at Lee Academy

Tues. Oct. 29
Adolescent Student Conferences

Event and Information Details

Elementary Cross-Country
On Wednesday, Oct. 2, both Lower and Upper Elementary students will be attending a cross country running event at La Salle Park in Burlington.
Please send a packed, litterless lunch, and your child's DVMS t-shirt (New shirts are available - just send $10.00). Also, please ensure they have running shoes and appropriate clothing. This is a rain or shine event.
They will be traveling to and from La Salle by school bus, leaving DVMS at approximately 9:30 and returning to DVMS by about 1:30.

Optional Cross Country at Lee Academy
On Friday, October 25, Upper and Lower Elementary students have the option of attending a cross country running event at Lee Academy. The runs will take place between 1:00 - 2:30, so students attending will eat an early lunch at DVMS before heading to Lee Academy. More details to come.

DVMS Community Dinner
Keep the evening of Friday, October 4, open for the annual DVMS Parent Dinner. This year we are moving off site so we can accommodate more parents. Please join us at Maplewood Hall in Ancaster (at the very end of Artaban Rd.). The dinner will be catered by fabulous DVMS parent Crystal Asher and the fine folks from Detour Cafe & Restaurant. You'll also be able to enjoy some cold, fizzy, barley-pop and sour grape juice, both red and white. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased in the office or at the ticket sales booth set up sporadically at dismissal over the course of the next two weeks. Please purchase your ticket by the end of day on Tuesday, Oct. 1, so we can let Crystal know numbers. Cash bar.
If you are planning to attend, please register here.
(NOTE: this date has changed since the Summer Parent Newsletter). Let us know if you need help finding a sitter.

Wondering what's for dinner?:
  • BBQ chicken and ribs
  • Herbed potato salad
  • Grilled vegetable platter
  • Quinoa Salad
  • Squash Salad
  • Greens Salad
  • Apple and Pumpkin Pie

Elementary Activities
For the month of October, Lower Elementary North (Rob) and Upper Elementary East (Terrence) will be participating in karate, at DVMS, on Thursdays.

Lower Elementary South (Noeleen) and Upper Elementary West (Kathleen) will be attending gymnastics at Hamilton Gymnastics Academy on Fridays. Students will be bused to and from gymnastics.

Please ensure students wear or bring appropriate clothing on those days.

Starting Thursday, Oct. 31, the Upper Elementary classes will begin rock climbing at Gravity Climbing Gym for four weeks. Upper Elementary West (Kathleen) will climb on Thursday afternoons. Upper Elementary East (Terrence) will climb on Friday afternoons. We will need a few parent drivers for those days. Please let us know if you can help out.

Both Lower Elementary classes will begin swimming on Thurs., Oct. 31. They walk to and from the Dundas pool down the street. Please ensure they bring a swimsuit and towel in an easy to pack and carry bag. (If your child requires goggles while swimming, please ensure they are adjusted to fit before they get to the pool. Thank you.)

Casa Parent Education Evening
On Wednesday, October 9, we will host our first Casa Parent Education event. The event will focus on language education, starting with a broad overview of the theory behind Montessori language learning, followed by introductions to and demonstrations of specific materials that develop verbal, writing, reading, and grammar foundations. As always, there will be opportunities for parents to try out the materials, and time reserved for Q&A and discussion.
The evening begins with a social at 5:30 with the presentations starting promptly at 6:00. we expect the evening to wrap up at about 7:30. Once again, the adolescent school students will be offering childcare services at a rate of $10/child that includes pizza and fun games and activities. Please register for childcare here.

Oct. 11 Morning Field Trips

  • Casa level children will be visiting Lindley's Farm, which is located on Fiddler's Green Rd. in Ancaster, between Garner and Book Roads (click here for map and look for the field with "Lancaster" written on it). Parents are expected to attend as this is a community field trip. Children will enjoy a guided tour of a working farm, learn about the different crops and how they grow, see some animals, and go for a wagon ride.
    The tour starts at 9:20, so please aim to be there for 9:00. Cost is $10/child, payable to Skye in advance no later than Wed. Oct. 9, please. Parents and siblings in strollers or arms are free. We are welcome to stay for a picnic lunch once the tour ends at 11:00. If it's raining the trip is cancelled, but will go ahead if it's a bit overcast and misty.
    This is a working farm, so they ask that everyone please dress appropriately (you might get dirty, and there might be poop).

  • If you can not join us on the trip please contact us ASAP

  • Elementary level kids will be visiting Crawford Lake. They will be participating in the "Life in the Longhouse" program:

    "Students discover Ontario's rich First Nation's heritage as they explore a 15th century reconstructed Iroquoian Village. Hands-on opportunities abound as students engage in games, a village tour and longhouse exploration as they learn about what life was like in a longhouse village over 600 years ago. Activities include: Longhouse exploration, circle gathering and fire starting, multimedia presentation, native games and take home craft activity."

    Students will be traveling to and from Crawford Lake by school bus. Please send a packed, litterless picnic lunch. Cost for this trip is $15, payable to Skye in advance no later than Wed. Oct. 9, please. We will return to DVMS by approximately 1:00 p.m. There is no school in the afternoon.

  • NOTE: Adolescent school kids will attend regular classes in the morning only. There is no school in the afternoon.

Oct. 14 is Thanksgiving: NO SCHOOL
Happy Thanksgiving. Sleep off that turkey/tofurkey.

Elementary Parent Education Evening
On Wednesday, October 16, we will host our first Elementary Parent Education event. The event will focus on language education, starting with an overview of language development, and followed by introductions to and demonstrations of specific materials covering word study, grammar, types of sentences, and literacy projects. As always, there will be opportunities for parents to try out the materials, and time reserved for Q&A and discussion.
The evening begins with a social at 5:30 with the presentations starting promptly at 6:00. we expect the evening to wrap up at about 7:30. Once again, the adolescent school students will be offering childcare services at a rate of $10/child that includes pizza and fun games and activities. Please register for childcare here.

Adolescent Only PD Day
The adolescent school ONLY has a PD Day October 18. DVMS does NOT have a PD Day this day.
Sorry for any inconvenience. This was necessitated by the introduction of the grade 9 level and the need to align with academic calendars.

Bye Mel. Hello Laura.
We are very sad to see Melanie Flynn leave us. Mel has moved to Germany to further her education. Laura Ward will be covering some of Mel's duties, including dismissal/afterschool, and getting to know the school, the kids, and the staff until Jodi goes on maternity leave, at which time Laura will become the Casa North assistant. If you see Laura around, say hello and introduce yourself and your kids. Laura

Harvest Festival
Friday, Oct. 25, from 3:00 - 5:00, is the second annual Harvest Festival, where the adolescent students offer up their wares for purchase. This is a part of their micro-economy program. Pickles, preserved peaches, apple butter, candles, and soap, all made by the adolescents, will be available. There will also be a cafe in full swing for refreshments, as well as games and entertainment for all ages.

DVMS French Email Contacts
Janice and Sylvia now have their own email accounts. Janice can be reached at Sylvia can be reached at

Adolescent Student Conferences
The first parent-student-teacher conferences in the adolescent program will take place on Tuesday, October 29, starting at 4:00. Each conference will be 20 minutes long. Please sign up here.

Art Dept Needs
Siona is asking if students can bring in the following household items to replenish the supply of popular materials: baby food bottles with covers, egg cartons, newspaper, and magazines (especially wildlife and landscapes). Could each elementary child also bring in an old, oversized t-shirt to keep at the school for art. Thank you.
Also, a reminder that all 3rd year Lower Elementary and 1st year Upper Elementary kids need to bring their recorders to each music class.
Greetings from Casa East,

It's a nice feeling! September is almost under our belt. We started the month with several children crying each morning at arrival and we had a few days where we took a deep breath around 8:25 and waited to hear the shrieks begin. How wonderful that those same children now cheerfully settle into the routines of the classroom.

We have a busy purposeful classroom filled with children performing many lovely jobs both spontaneously and independently. We should also mention that throughout parts of our day we are serenaded by Veronica with her operatic version of "The Phantom of the Opera".

Thank you for your commitment each day in helping your child with reading. For those children bringing home a folder or little booklet, we hope that the routine of reading each day will become an easy part of your daily schedule. Establishing a simple routine each day with your child will certainly help them on the path towards becoming Total Readers. Playing sound games and I Spy games is wonderful for language development with younger children. Our language curriculum Parent Education evening on Oct 9th would be really helpful to you in helping understand the path that we take in Montessori to becoming passionate readers. Books are such a small part of the language curriculum. We would love to show you more!

As the days get colder, it might be a good time to check the contents of your child's cubby. Shorts and t-shirts can be replaced with warmer clothing.

Respecting your commitment to placing your child in a Montessori School, we will close with a beautiful quote from the lady herself:

"The first duty of an education is to stir up life, but leave it free to develop" - Maria Montessori

Happy Autumn!

Holly and Elizabeth
Well it's officially fall, the leaves on the trees are changing and in Casa North we have been having lengthy discussions about geography and time. Everyone is interested in what time snack is ready, when recess begins, and what time we tidy up for the end of the day. As our afternoon began a few days back, three girls were discussing when the third year sleepover was. I told them it was in June to which one replied, "My birthday is in June and both of you can come." The younger of the three replied excitedly, "Great, but where is your house?" She said, "Ancaster, that's in Dundas. Where do you live?"

The little girl replied, "In Canada." The response was, "Ya but where in Canada?" The younger girl looked confused. So I explained that we all live in Canada, but that we live in different spots in Canada. The girl's face lit up. She jumped up and down excitedly saying, "Oh my gosh, we live so close together!" There is never a dull moment in a classroom, that's for sure!

With fall also comes a change in weather, and that means it is usually cold in the mornings and warm by the afternoon, making it that much harder for us as parents to help prepare our children for the day. It means sweaters or coats in the mornings which usually get left behind in the rush to enjoy those fleeting warm afternoons. But not to worry, we will be there at the end of everyday to help remind everyone to take their belongings home. Please be sure to visit their cubbies once in a while and most definitely check out the lost and found every Friday at pick up. A friendly reminder to label everything. Even keep a sharpie by the door or in the car to label those sweaters and coats and ensure they find their rightful owners.

That's all from Casa North. Get out there and enjoy these nice fall days!

Dylan and Jodi
It's only the third week of school and our classroom is already forming into a caring community. New friendships are being made, children console each other if they are missing Mom or Dad, and all are concerned when someone is sad. Everyone is settling in beautifully, learning daily routines and enjoying lots of presentations.

We invite all our parents to join us for our parent education evening when we will explore our beautiful language area. We'll take you on a tour of the materials and discuss how vital this part of the curriculum is, and how you can support language development at home. See you there!

Pat and Serena
Echoing, I'm sure, other's comments -- what a great start to the schoolyear this year! The classroom is working with flow while, at the same time, the students are developing and reinforcing social relationships. There is always a hum in the room, but the conversations are work-based (for the most part) and some great collaboration is taking place.

Consistent routines are an important tool for developing minds, providing students a sense of security and confidence from which to explore their worlds and offering clear expectations. The classroom environment strives to be a place of consistency, and partnering with home routines helps to reinforce the benefits. All students are asked to get into the habit of reading for at least 5 - 10 minutes every evening and to remember to bring their red folders to and from school each day.

Parents of year 2 and 3 kids will also find some words in their children's agendas each week that they are learning to spell, and with which they challenge each other every Friday. Year one children are beginning to settle into their own routines and are adapting well to the challenges of elementary.

Another reminder: with the weather changing to fall conditions, many kids are coming to school with coats, sweaters, boots and shoes, and hats and gloves will start to show up soon; please remember to label everything. If kids leave items on the playground or in the halls, we will bring it to the lost and found (even labeled items) to instill a sense of responsibility for personal belongings; if items are labeled, they will eventually make their way back to their owners (we donate unlabeled items at the end of each term).

The new space is fabulous. The first years have transitioned better than I've ever seen before. It's been a great start to the new school year in Lower Elementary South.

The new space gives us the ability to spread out more with the materials, and the students can collaborate on projects without disturbing other students (maybe some of you parents have noticed that volume can occasionally be an issue at this age).

And speaking of spreading out the materials, the year 2 and 3 kids are working hard with the timelines right now. The year 2s are engrossed in the Paleozoic era and the 3s in the Mezozoic. Both groups are busy creating their own timelines and recreating images of long lost creatures. The year 1 kids are exploring the fundamental needs of humans using large charts and card sets to learn about food, defense, shelter, clothing, and other needs. Work in all three of these areas involves research that the children are bringing to their work constructing paragraphs.

Activity-wise, adventure running with Janice has been a big hit (if your child(ren) would like to continue adventure running, Janice is a running coach with Adventure Running Kids), and it is great training for the cross country event coming up at LaSalle Park with students from Fairview Glen, Waterdown, and Dearcroft Montessori schools on Oct 2.

I'll end with a reminder: please help your child be responsible for their red folders, which need to come to school with them each day. Having them pack their own bag the night before, or asking "Do you have everything you need for school?" in the morning are some ways to encourage independent responsibility. See you at the Parent Dinner!

Wow, there's a lot going on in Upper West already:

We have delved into the creation of the universe, the coming of humanity, and the origins of math and language. The year sixes are working on assembling paragraphs into essays, ensuring there is consistent flow, topic sentences, and a sound conclusion, as well as learning how to divide with decimals. The fours and fives are working on expanded, standard, and written notation of numbers, and as always there are about 1,624,912 projects underway.

Science experiments are a huge interest right now, with many being wriiten up and executed as we learn to work with the scientific method.

Novel studies also begin this week, so look for books coming home. Children will be undertaking a number activities related to the novel they will read over the next little while, so some craft supplies shopping may be in your future.

Speaking of supplies, we will also need about 125, 2-litre pop bottles for a self-sustaining eco-system each child will be building (if only wine came in plastic bottles...). This was supposed to be an activity for year 5 kids, but great interest and demand means everyone will be building one. Clear plastic is preferred. Thank you.

A quick reminder: please check the weekly schedule you all received at the orientation to make sure things like gym clothes are coming on gym day.

Upper Elementary East has had a fantastic start to the school year. We have had lots of opportunity to settle in, get to work, and really get to know each other. Luna has been a highlight for everyone with some favorite activities such as yoga in the barn, walking & working the organic garden with Sean, and, of course, making the most of free time in the woods.

Some in-class excitement has included the pyrotechnic volcano, the fish dissection (although a few students did choose to abstain), writing and performing "The Tortoise and the Hare" and "Country Mouse & City Mouse," and the Ice Balloon Inquiry project. With lessons, projects, specialists, and photos there has really been a lot going on.


October is shaping up to be an equally busy month. We'll look at the atmosphere and its role in the rains, paragraph writing, the publishing process, and undertake an introduction to solid (Euclidean) Geometry. The lesson plans include math work such as signed numbers, squares of numbers, and the multiplication of polynomials. What are the practical uses of signed numbers anyway? We'll see what the students come up with...

October 11 is a half day for all students school wide. That morning we will have a field trip to Crawford Lake longhouses. Please be sure to dress for the weather. That afternoon, we hope everyone enjoys a slightly extended Thanksgiving Weekend.

Also starting in October, Upper Elementary East's physical activity specialization will be karate, at DVMS, on Thursday afternoons. Please ensure your kids are wearing or bringing appropriate (loose/comfortable) clothing on Thursdays starting October 3.

Enjoy the Autumn weather and I look forward to seeing you at the parent dinner (October 4) and the Elementary Parent Education Evening (October 16).