The OWL Package

Orchard With Love – OWL Packages

The Montessori Casa – “the Children’s House” – is a unique and beautiful place, custom-made for young children to explore and experience through their hands, fueling their absorbent minds and hearts. Maria Montessori always said if there could be only one area in the Casa, it must be Practical Life.

Practical Life exercises are distillations of the real activities of everyday life. While children are immersed in real life, seldom do these activities land in their own small, eager hands. The exercises of practical life establish, maintain, and embellish the environment. They are active expressions of awareness and care for people and for our community. They feed a child’s innate drive to become a caring, loving, honourable person of their time and place.

While the Children’s House cannot exist virtually, it can live in your house, your backyard, your neighbourhood. That is why, in this “hands-free” time and place, we created Orchard With Love Packages – OWL Packages – that we would like to share from our House to yours, with love.

OWL Packages contain a compilation of practical life exercises, pre-recorded sessions of Limon-inspired creative movement, yoga, music, and chapter book “conferences”. They have been designed for you to use in any combination that feels good in your day. The Practical Life exercises are not “one-shot activities”. They are, as in the Casa, meant to accumulate, grow, and extend. You and your child will receive two OWL Packages per month to build a repertoire of choices to be practiced repeatedly, happily, and with satisfying purpose. Your child will also have a chance to facetime conference with Melody each time they receive a package!

Our hope is that these exercises will be both an inspiration and a template for you and your child to create your own Practical Life exercises in your own family and community.

We hope you will join us,

Melody and Holly

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Whole School Group Sing Monday March 30th at 7pm!!

Nick is going to lead the whole school community in a distance-sing from his kitchen at 7pm. We will post the link here and on instagram. Meanwhile, get out your instruments or found objects, warm up your pipes and get ready to sing your heart out. Below you can find the lyrics and tab.

Here is the link to join in:


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Elementary Reopens Virtually this Week!

The Lyceum reopened last Monday and we are happy to announce our Virtual Elementary program kicks off this week. We will deliver content via email, some livestream content and facetime check-ins with teachers. We plan to cover it all virtually: math, spelling, novel study, music theory, Pine Project, novel study, geography and science fairs. This is an opt-in program. Please get in touch with Holly right away if you’d like to join us. We kick things off with a group choir on Monday at 7pm on youtube and classes begin Tuesday morning.

Casa remains closed but stay tuned for an exciting announcement about a package we are developing to support families with Practical Life, Literacy, Music and Movement.

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Orchard Montessori closed until further notice

Dear Parents,

Orchard Montessori and the Orchard Lyceum will remain closed until April 5th in accordance with recommendations from the Ministries of Health and Education and the TDSB. While it is not expressly mandated at this time that programmes operating in leased premises or private schools close, caretaking is not available during this period. Lunch service, which is a licensing requirement for children under six, is also not available due to the closure of WEPDC.

Moreover, while this was not an easy decision to make, we strongly feel that we must do our part to keep our staff and students safe and to aid in city-wide efforts to control the outbreak of COVID-19 in our community.

Further, we encourage you to keep your children home and isolated from others at this time in order to control the spread of contagion and resulting demand on healthcare services.

Please also be advised that if anyone in your household is travelling outside the country, your family are required to self-isolate for a period of 14 days upon re-entry to Canada before your child can return to school by order of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. This same requirement will be imposed on staff.

I deeply grateful for the messages of support we have received and sincerely wish everyone good health during this difficult time.

With best regards,


Holly Venable

Head of School/Director

The Orchard Montessori School/The Orchard Lyceum

T 416 540 8495



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Goodbye Maria!

We are very sad to say goodbye to Maria in Melody’s casa. Maria has only been with us since September but she won us all over with her kind heart and her gracious spirit. We wish her well in her new life with her husband in Montreal.

On Monday, we look forward to welcoming Shaunessy Niven who comes to The Orchard with a Bachelor of Education with a focus on French as a second language. Shaughnessy has a particular interest in collaborating with children on experiences in nature.

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Holiday Celebration

Please join us for a celebration with the children on December 17th beginning at 3pm. Casa parents will be treated to open casa, a hotly-anticipated event with the under six set. Your child will be your teacher for an hour. Elementary parents will be treated to a tea using the gathering knowledge the students have learned in their High Park programme. Please meet at the top of the stairs a few minutes before 3pm to be welcomed into the classrooms.

After the classroom events, parents will adjourn to the gymnasium for a music and limon spectacular led by Nick Arseneau and Emily Saunders. Events should wrap up before 5pm. There is no aftercare that day.

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December 17th 3pm Celebrate With Us!

Join your child in their classroom at 3pm for Open Casa or Wild Tea with Elementary then in meet us in the gym for a music and limon performance by all students of the school.
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Warm and Cozy Workshops You Don’t Want to Miss!

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Warm Woolens and a Tidy Home to Come Back To

Casa West…The “brrrrr” months have settled in like the snow has. The casa is humming with wooly industry…bobbins and needles are turning and clicking with festive visions of gifts, teddy bear scarves, doll blankets, cat mats, epic garlands, fuzzy necklaces and bracelets…even a belt or two. Lots of love is spinning around the casa and the yarn is too…as the casa table legs will attest.

Casa East…Sweeping, dusting and washing-oh my! More like “oh yes!” in Casa East! Our small community has thrown themselves with unbridled enthusiasm into care of the environment. Dusting for days, washing tables for weeks, and we don’t have enough brooms to satisfy the avid sweepers. In our class, children make messes for the joy of cleaning them up and making the space ready for the next person. From washing cups to folding cloths our class is joyfully seeing and feeling that what they do matters and ultimately that they matter.

Elementary…Our Elementary students are experiencing, exploring and enjoying many aspects of the natural world, both inside and outside their classroom.  Whether it be making and sampling teas from the leaves of trees from the black oak savannah in High Park, uncovering and discovering the mysteries of the universe or building the biggest snowball ever…the elementary students faces and spirits are a-glow with the light of new discovery.

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Real Characters

A small group of five students worked with visual artist Thessa van der Kuyp to develop fantasy character sketches the first week of July. Each day, they spent three hours drawing with the help of a very accommodating live model called Glen, who braved the velvet cloak in the sweltering heat. Along the way, Thessa helped them with practical skills like gestural drawing, fabric drapes, perspective and capturing light on different surfaces. Special thanks to guests Leslie Norgate for showing them her work in theatrical costume design and Joan Moriarty for helping them with role playing. Here are some of the results.

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