Model UN in New York

Live from the UN General Assembly from 9-12 Saturday morning:

To watch, go to and look for “Montessori Model United Nations Live Stream” in the schedule on the right-hand side.

WEDNESDAY Our Model UN contingent of five delegates plus one observer arrived in New York today. Tonight was the opening ceremony and our two flag bearers for Congo Brazzaville did a marvelous job.

UPDATE THURSDAY: This morning, the children went into their committee sessions at 9am to deliver their opening speeches on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Disposal of Nuclear Waste and Climate Change. The five are divided onto three committees which means that one of them is on her own and they have six papers among them to present over two days. They were all nervous but the speeches went flawlessly. When we broke for lunch, they briefed me on what had happened and it looks like at least one of our groups has a solution that will get sponsored and drafted into the final resolution to be read aloud in the UN General Assembly on Saturday morning.Two of them managed to get into the scrum to get line items onto draft statements on Disposal of Nuclear Waste and Disarmament. Not a bad showing for first timers!

UPDATE FRIDAY: Today was a brilliant day at Model UN. One of our teams led a discussion on the drafting of a resolution on Decolonialization while the others contributed line items on the topics of Biological Diversity and Disarmament. The two speeches given by our group today were bold ideas delivered with confidence. Tomorrow morning we attend the closing ceremony where the final drafts are officially recognized. It’s broadcast live on the UN’s website tomorrow.

UPDATE SATURDAY: The last day was a day of big emotions. The final statements were read in the UN’s General Assembly and either resolved by consensus or vote (roughly 85% were by consensus which mirrors the UN’s usual rate). The children were congratulated by the Secretary General, two ambassadors and the Director of Unicef. After, we went for lunch and the children were at turns triumphant, disappointed it was all over and angered by an injustice they felt they had suffered in one of the committee sessions earlier in the week. My admiration for the their work on researching their country and their topics, preparing themselves for their position papers and speeches, their forays into solving difficult situations with diplomacy and the way they conducted themselves in general is profound. They are already planning to return next year.

To watch, go to and look for “Montessori Model United Nations Live Stream” in the schedule on the right-hand side.

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Hot off the Press

This month, Orchard students were invited to contribute stories, photos and drawings of animals that fit loosely into the category of “pets”. The feature mirrors a regular monthly column that runs in The Phoenix called Pet of the Month. In keeping with the editorial mandate of the paper, most of our contributions were decidedly unconventional and unusual. To get the scoop, pick up a copy of The West End Phoenix. Thanks to Dave, Melanie and the makers of our amazing local paper for giving space and fostering young journalists! Students are welcome to send in photos of themselves…reading all about it…for the blog.

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Sound Bath with Kiko

The Upper Elementary years are a very collaborative time. It’s wonderful to watch the social being emerge from the soul of the child. Sometimes, like in all planes of development, these new-found roles and scripts require some refinement. We spend a lot of time talking about governance, motivation, different ways of communicating and self-reflection in Upper Elementary. Today, on our last day of school before March Break, we took the afternoon off to attend a sound bath with Kiko Sounds. She did a beautiful job of introducing the children to the experience of a sound bath meditation and letting them hear an array of chimes, crystal bowls, shells and the magical shruti box which she said contains “all the sounds of the universe”. That certainly got their attention and afterward, they were thrilled that they got to handle some of her instruments as well. Here’s an outtake from our little free-form jam:


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High Park Dates (Changed)

Please note the following changes to the dates for High Park Forest Fridays.

March 1

April 5

April 12

April 26

May 10

May 17

May 24

June 7 * meet at 440 Parkside location!

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Colourful Science

We have been studying colour in Lower Elementary science all week. Today, we mixed watercolours to create Ph Scale reader card. Afterward, we tested the acidity/alkalinity of different liquids and matched them to the scales. Those that were more acid tended toward the red end of the spectrum and those that were more alkaline tended toward purple. The children were sent home with an assignment to measure four different liquids at home and bring their findings back in to share with the group.

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Orchard Is Open Today

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Snow Day

We have no TDSB maintenance to the building so we have to close. Enjoy the snow.

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Model UN Position Papers

The children have submitted their position papers and are waiting now to see if they will be accepted. Our six delegates are sitting on the following committees: SPECPOL (Special Political), ECOFIN (Economic Finacial), and DISEC (Disarmament and International Security). They are preparing topics on decolonization, the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, nuclear waste, climate change, peaceful uses for outer space and the protection of biological diversity. Their papers set them up for understanding their topic generally and prepare them for a specific “ask” for their country, Congo Brazzaville. From that position, they will seek alliances with other nations and hopefully operationalize UN assets to achieve these goals. With seven weeks to go before we leave for New York, we are conducting mock debates and studying the structure, customs and functioning of the UN. We are learning the language and protocols and reviewing the relevant charters, declarations and conventions. One of the biggest challenges is that the group will be split up into working groups. They are a small class who are used to working very closely together. They are worried that I can’t go in with them. They are both excited and intimidated by the idea of going to New York to sit in the General Assembly. They are nervous but they will be ready.

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West End Phoenix Assignment

Update January 4th. This is a reminder. All students are invited (but not required) to submit a story next week for The West End Phoenix. Submissions are due January 9th at 9am. I am re-posting the assignment here.

Our assignment from the Editor is in! All Elementary students are invited to create a story submission of maximum 100 words for The West End Phoenix. We will be doing a pastiche piece that mirrors their regular feature Pet of the Month. The concept of a “pet” can be loosely adapted to fit. For example, they have profiled deceased hamsters, sports mascots, a feral Parkdale alleycat and Tickles the creepy crawlie as seen above. Children can also submit photos or illustrations if they wish. There is no brief beyond that. In fact the whole point is to write freely and no, you do not have to “own” this creature.

Space is limited obviously but everyone is invited to go through the process of preparing a submission for publication in the next issue of The West End Phoenix. We will be sure to publish all submissions here on the blog. Dave Bidini, Editor in Chief, has requested all material to be turned in the first week of school so I am setting a deadline of Wednesday, January 9th at 9am for all submissions to be handed in to our Deputy Editors who will spend the morning preparing it for delivery. So start up your typewriters and get after that story! Holly

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Model UN Working Group December 30 2-4pm

Model UN delegates are asked to attend a Working Group to prepare position papers which are to be submitted by January 23, 2019. Our country is Congo Brazzaville. When preparing your research, please do not confuse this with Democratic Republic of Congo. Here is the complete list of committee topics:

DISEC G-102 The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East

DISEC G-99.E Prohibition of the dumping of radioactive wastes

ECOFIN ENV 19.D Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind

ECONFIN ENV 19.F Convention on biological diversity

SPECPOL 52.A International co-operation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

SPECPOL BG-62 Implementation of Declaration on Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples

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