International Day of Peace

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Welcome back!

Welcome back!

We hope you had a wonderful, adventure-filled summer and are looking forward to hearing all the stories from our returning students next Tuesday. We also wish to extend a very warm welcome to families joining us this year. We understand that starting your child in school is mostly exciting but also a little bit scary and we’re here to support your transition.

There is an Upper Elementary parent meeting on Thursday, September 6th from 5-5.30. Holly will review with you initiatives, both planned and proposed, for this program during the year. Model United Nations commitments are due September 9th so if you cannot attend Thursday’s meeting, please contact Holly.

We are pleased to welcome two new staff members this year. Aine is the new assistant in elementary. She has an undergrad degree in Education and a Masters in Music Therapy. Aine recently immigrated from Ireland and some of the children have already asked if she can teach them Gaelic. Jennifer will be joining us as Melody’s assistant in Casa East. Jennifer has her AMI primary diploma and a BA in Music Education. We are looking forward to her musical influence in the casas. She is also a certified yoga teacher and will be offering an after school course to be announced soon.

We hope you can join us for Meet the Teacher Night on Thursday, September 13th from 6-7pm. Please note this is a parent-only event. All staff will be present so you have a chance to meet the people your children spend their day with. Melody, Holly and a panel of parent veterans will try to answer any questions you may have about Orchard or the Montessori experience.

Please note there are no after school programs running on Tuesday. For those joining us from Ossington Old Orchard Public School on Wednesday, please send in your class assignments so Maude and Frank will know where to pick up your children.

The classrooms are all prepped and waiting. Have a peaceful long weekend. We look forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday!

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Last fall, Professor Sylvia Morrison, Director of Links Across Borders invited us to travel with her to Ghana to train teachers and consult on curriculum in the first school she founded a library in. Orchard families have raised funds and sent books in support of the incredible work Sylvia does to promote literacy in past years. Last year, our elementary class also started a penpal program with the grade 5 students there.

In July, I had the immense pleasure to go to Kpedze Todze to work with the teachers in the local school. The school has 200 students aged 2 – 12 years. Sylvia has worked extensively with this community and, as their patron, is addressed simply as Mamma wherever she goes. The headmaster of the school identified a need for materials and training in math and literacy but also conveyed a desire on the part of his teachers to learn to teach in a way that energized and engaged students. Orchard families raised enough money to purchase an elementary math setup which we shipped with our book donations in the spring. I arrived in July to teach elementary math. The 18 teachers were keen and eager learners but the most amazing thing to me was that while their teachers spent most of the day learning on the materials, the children looked after each other. I had the chance to observe in the classrooms and led art workshops for the kids. We also conducted a roundtable discussion with the headmaster and staff on improving literacy outcomes. Just before I left, Sylvia took me on a tour of the beautiful junior school built by Ryerson Architecture students and we began discussions about the possibility of converting their program into a Montessori casa program.

In the end, I learned so much more than I taught and was overwhelmed by the welcome I received. The children I saw and worked with there were healthy, confident, beautiful people and they, along with their devoted teachers, caused me to reflect deeply on the nature of gratitude, the meaning of community, and how teachers can foster children to become peaceful, capable global citizens.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with Links Across Borders and the students of Kpedze Todze Basic School. I am happy to say I brought back a fresh batch of penpal letters that I will share with the lower and upper elementary classes in September.


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Montessori Model United Nations

Katherine and Holly just completed Montessori Model UN training (representing Nepal) in preparation to take a delegation of Upper Elementary students to New York next year. The children will choose a country to represent on an issue of global importance then present with 2000 colleagues from all over the world in the UN General Assembly in New York next March. The significant difference in the Montessori approach is that it uses a consensus rather than a traditional debating format. This more closely reflects the diplomatic approach used by the UN, in which 85% of its outcomes are determined by consensus. We will spend the whole year looking at the confluence of events in twentieth century history that led to the development of the United Nations and follow it into the 21st century. We will critically analyse its role in the world today and our country’s contributions to the 17 Sustainable Goals for 2030. We hope this will inspire some of our students to take an active interest in world affairs in the future.

Montessori Model UN

UN Sustainable Development Goals

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World Peace Game

It was an honour to observe a five day world peace game under the guidance of Jon Hunter. One of the most inspired educators, Jon has created a political simulation game with the very modest goal of saving the world…for children in fourth grade! As I listened to Jon speak and watched him interact (or actively not interact more importantly), I was reminded of all the reasons Montessori works…when it is allowed to. Unfortunately, the resolution to the game was pre-empted by school closures following severe floods in the area but the children were on track to solving 26 of the world crises they were presented with. Their diplomatic capabilities were outstanding, their solutions were incredibly creative and they were able to solve problems that adults have been struggling with for years because they were able to put their egos and self-interests aside. We are so excited to bring the world peace game into the classroom next winter at Orchard!

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The Year is Dismissed

Have a safe and happy summer. We look forward to hearing of your adventures in September.

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All Set


Tomorrow we honour our 18 graduating children and dismiss the wonderful year that it was. Bring your voices and guitars to join us in a group sing of Imagine. See you at 10am.



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We hope you will join us….

Please bring your guitars and your voices to honour our graduates, dismiss the year and join in a group sing of Imagine led by Nick Arseneau. This Friday in the gym at 10 am.



invite you to join us for an end of year celebration and group sing of Imagine

06 15 2018

at 10 o’clock in the morning

in the school gym





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Art Happening and Ghana Fundraiser

Last night The Orchard community gathered in the gym to see the results of the childrens’ hard work and inspiration in the arts. We saw three French drama plays, two limon dances (including one improv which was outstanding), musical demonstrations in ukulele, rhythm and voice, botany and anatomy portfolios and portraiture collage. We also raised a tonne of money for Montessori materials to send to Ghana this summer. Big love to the artists, the bakers and the audience.







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Arthur Guilty!

The children held a mock trial this morning under the guidance of Defence Lawyer Chris Murphy. The case against Arthur of Logres hinged on the ideas of ownership and intent. Five witnesses were called but much of the weight of the testimony hung on the reputation of the Archbishop, who claimed that the sword appeared in the stone in the churchyard as a divine miracle and hence was property of the church. The defence rebutted that the sword was Arthur’s birthright. Arthur maintained that he intended to return the sword, he’d just borrowed it to help out his brother who’d lost his. The Judge felt there was enough evidence to pronounce Arthur’s guilt but when he consulted community members on an appropriate sentence, the sentence was discharged and Arthur was freed.

Chris then led the children in a rousing discussion about the nature of intent. They learned a lot and had even more fun!

Top left: Chris Murphy stands in for a witness who is late for school.

Top right: The witnesses wait to be called.

Bottom left: The Defence and the Crown prepare to do battle.

Bottom right: The judge confers with community stakeholders on the sentence.

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