Let the children be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and when the grass of the meadows is wet with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath its shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning. – Maria Montessori
What a full and fulfilling year it’s been! As part of our regular, rigorous Montessori program, students, especially those in elementary, participated in a variety of field trips near and far including our biennial participation at the Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) conference in New York City and hosted a slew of community visitors for in-class presentations.
In New York, students enjoyed exploring Times Square and visiting the Metropolitan Museum, Statue of LIberty (and Ellis Island), the Hayden Planetarium, and American Museum of Natural History where they participated in a workshop at the Sackler Educational Laboratory on DNA.
As part of our “Beyond the Four Walls” philosophy, students regularly spend time exploring the outdoors at our local parks and beaches. This year, they also embarked on visits to the Port of Vancouver, Art Gallery (Picasso Exhibit), Vancouver Symphony, Science World, the HR MacMillan Space Centre as well as UBC’s Museum of Anthropology and TRIUMF facility and participated in BC Court, Reel2Reel Film and Mini Police Academy workshops.
In addition to participating in annual Thanksgiving and Winter festivities, students reached out to raise funds and collected donations for our Terry Fox Run, WeDay charities, and Covenant House, a shelter for our city’s homeless youth. In-class highlights included presentations on off-the-grid living, metallurgy and blacksmithing, medical health, biomedical engineering and the plight of refugees.
– Riza Weinstein
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” – Aristotle (384-322, BC)
We enjoyed another school year filled with projects and activities! This year, we stayed close to home and focused on the exploration of local sites with visits to City Hall, Main Library, Vancouver Art Gallery, Contemporary Art Gallery, the symphony, CBC studio, Burnaby Village, and the UBC Botanical Gardens, while working on in-school projects (Artist-in-Residence workshop, Canada: From A to Z and BC history books, Painted Ladies Butterflies, Ruth Stout permaculture).
We kicked off the year with students enjoying festivities hosted by WeDay. All students enjoyed an aspect of the WeDay experience! Younger students attended a concert by the Kenyan Boys Choir the day before the big event while Upper Elementary students participated in full-day celebration – some were even guests at the pre-WeDay cocktail party held the night before. Our students were inspired by all the wonderful, charitable works done the presenters, and came away with even more ideas on how to contribute to making our world a better place!
The federal election this past school term opened the doors for more in-depth study of civics, government, and politics. They enjoyed visits with the police with an emphasis on local issues and participated in a seminar on international affairs with Brazilian Deputy Consul, Gustavo Barbosa,
We wrapped up our first term with another success Winter Performance and Craft Fair. The students outdid themselves once again with their adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!
Upon our return back from Winter Break, elementary students embarked on their first self-publishing endeavour – the creation of our school’s very first book based on artwork inspired by words relevant to our Canadian heritage: Canada from A To Z. The whole project was made possible by a generous and much-appreciated grant from ArtStarts, which enabled us to hold a week-long painting workshop with Aboriginal artist Kim Soo Goodtrack. Students were paired up to conceive and paint an image of their chosen word for each letter of the alphabet. The beautiful book came together with special thanks to Katie Reynolds (mom to Mina) for her graphic and layout work as well as Tony Pantages (dad to Tallulah and Spiro) for photography. Senior students also completed a book on The Beginning of British Columbia. Each student took home their own printed copy and gifted the original a hand-bound version as a legacy for their younger peers at Anchor Point.
On behalf of all our staff, I’d like to extend warm thanks to all families for entrusting your children to our care and sharing their journey with us. Heartfelt thanks as well to our Parent Support Group executives as well as our many other parent volunteers. Your steadfast dedication to the school, its vision and mission have been invaluable!
A joyful summer filled with delight to all,
2014 – 2015
“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
What a year this had been! Amidst the many transitions affecting all our facilities, we managed to miraculously sail through the end of the school year with joyful discoveries. This could only have happened with the wonderful support of our whole community. I’d like to express warm thanks to all our parent volunteers, with special, heartfelt thanks to the Parent Support Group Executive led by President Katherine McCoy, Vice-President Jennifer Trushel-Thomson, Treasurer Miranda Wong, Secretary Sandra Yee, Past-President Marijke Wortman and Members-at-Large Katie Reynolds, Helen Ghabel and Linh Quinn. With their steadfast support and commitment, we have been able to provide not only enrichment activities and childcare services for our own students and families but also to extend aid to those in need near (Covenant House, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation) and far (Nepal Earthquake victims).
In addition to their annual visits to the pumpkin patch, Vancouver Symphony and neighbourhood art galleries, our students were able to participate in another year of educational adventures filled with visits out and visits in (see Speakers in the House! blog post.) The cost for most of these events was supplemented by the students’ own enrichment funds (monies raised from bake sales, Winter Craft Fair, Art Auction, etc.). This, as well as support from the PSG, greatly reduced fees paid by students and their families to attend the outings.
Our students kicked off the year with a Halloween Day trip to the Capilano Salmon Hatchery where they learned about the fascinating life cycle of the salmon, and hiked the park with Outdoor Educational guide, Mr Jay. At the park, our students learned skills that may have been instrumental in helping early settlers survive such as how make fire from moss and dried grass as well as how to fashion strings and bows. Upper Elementary students extended their appreciation for the wilderness and sustainable living while touring the YVR (Vancouver Airport): They were shown general airport operations and were informed about the airport’s Wildlife Management Program.
Prior to going off for March Break, Lower, Upper and Adolescent students ventured off to Victoria where they spent the day exploring exhibits at the Royal BC Museum followed by a tour of our province’s Legislative Assembly Parliament Buildings. With warmest thanks to Cairo’s mom, Katia Oteman, they had the rare opportunity to meet with MLA Rob Fleming who provided them with an introduction of the workings of government at the provincial level as well as the responsibilities of being a member of the Legislative Assembly.
Upon returning from Spring Break, Upper Elementary and Adolescent students once again attended the Montessori Model United Nations Conference in New York City, which included extended travel to Philadelphia and Washington DC. Upon their return, students participated in a variety of outings including the Reel2Real Youth Film Festival, Science World’s Neuro Adventure, Beaty Diversity Museum, the HR MacMillan Space Centre, and the Richmond Oval where they treated to a special skating performance by Olympic Silver Medalist, Patrick Chan (made possible with warm thanks to parent, Linh Quinn). (See Beyond the Four Walls blog post.)
The strength of a community is often tested in times of adversity. When the earthquake in Nepal struck, and nearly destroyed our adopted foster child’s home and school, we rallied to raise over $1,200 at our impromptu bake sale. When leukemia struck one of our young students, our community came together to dedicate our fundraising efforts in her name: Despite our small school size of just over 130 families, we managed to be one of the top fundraising teams, raising over $10,600 at the BC Children’s Hospital Childrun.
As another school year comes to a close, we, inevitably, must bid warm farewells. The staff and I would like to offer all those students and families who are moving on only our best wishes for joy and success in your future endeavours. Several students will be moving on after being with us for many, many years, from pre-school up to grades 7, 8 and 9. It has been a privilege and honor to share their educational journey as well as to see them blossom into young adults. Their maturity was on full display during our MMUN trip, where they took on helping the adults and the younger participants with grace, courtesy, and kindness. We wish them only joy and success in whatever directions they may travel. Nathan, Avery, Emma, Scott, and Ariana – We simply can’t thank your parents enough for the opportunity to be a part of your lives. Always remember that you and your families remain a part of the LGMS community, wherever you may be. We look forward to your returning to regale us with tales of your new adventures and accomplishments!
Thank you, one and all, for supporting, nurturing, and being our community!
2013 – 2014
“The aim [of education] must be the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, see in the service to the community their highest life problem.” —Albert Einstein
It’s been a pleasure sharing our lives as members of our Lions Gate Montessori community. We often use the term “community” to describe our school because the vision Dr Montessori ascribed to education was a holistic one. It is a vision that is directed towards helping children blossom to their fullest potential in all aspects of their lives, not only for their own benefit, but as contributing members of their community.
This past 2013/2014 school year, our adolescent students paved the way, showing us how great things can be accomplished when individuals choose to act on behalf of a greater whole. They did this, literally, from the ground up. Their work on our farm site resulted in the sharing of fruits, vegetables, and honey. With the help and support of all students, the Winter Fair, Pizza Wednesdays, Tasty Tuesdays and Bake Sales led by our adolescents resulted in helping supplement field trip expenses and other events for the entire school community.
Supervised by Ms Christine, the adolescents also took the lead this year in the publishing of our 2013/2014 yearbook. Our school yearbooks began as a little piece of memorabilia. It was presented in a personalized, handmade form to our first set of third-year kindergarten graduates at Mole Hill fourteen years ago. Teachers at both primary facilities continue this tradition to this day! In 2008, to commemorate the completion of her first year as elementary teacher, Ms. Wilson expanded on the personal yearbook idea and made a class yearbook with her students. The next year, the Parent Support Group led by Ms. L. Quinn took over the project, producing the yearbook in the form we know and love today. With heartfelt thanks to Ms. T. Sullivan (yearbook designer for the past three years), the students were handed over a beautiful template to learn and work from. The project has now come full circle back into the hands of the students led by Avery Q. and Nathan W. – this time, no longer working on an individual keepsake, but one that is for the whole community!
Our eight-day trip to Arches, Mesa Verde and Grand Canyon National Parks was an adventure beyond expectations! We whitewater rafted on the Colorado River, explored ancient ruins of the ancestral Pueblos, and peered through nearly two billion years of geological history at the Grand Canyon. Fundraising support from the whole community made this excursion an affordable reality for our students.
According to Dr Montessori, education first and foremost must be experiential: The lessons learned in our daily interactions and exploration beyond the four walls of our classrooms are just as, if not more, important than mere academics. The students’ tenacity and resilience in dealing with challenges never fail to impress and inspire. Their natural ability to live each day beginning with a fresh start and open heart is one of the greatest lessons learned within our Montessori community.
The past year’s experiences continue to enrich the robust activities already in place, and provides inspiration for us to reach even further beyond!
– Riza Weinstein