A Little taste of Cirque for the Children at Westside

When approached by one of our parents and asked if we would be interested in having one of the Cirque du Soleil artists from the Totem show do our own special little performance in the park do you think we said no??? Obviously we jumped at this opportunity and anxiously awaited the phone call. Now having 45 children between the ages of 18 months and 5 years ‘on call’ for the performance was a bit of a challenge but we were definitely up for it! The call came and I ran into the school to let the teachers know that they could head over to the park.
Nakotah Larance was discovered by Cirque du Soleil through a video posted on YouTube by his father. He began hoop dancing at the tender age of four. Now he was giving a special show to the children at Westside, many of them the age he was when he began.
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The Totem show explores the evolution of the human species going back and forth through time and space, exploring the dawn of creation, humanity’s amphibian origins and “its ultimate desire to fly,” unfolding on a stage “evoking a giant turtle” — undoubtedly inspired by the Iroquois creation myth, among several other tales that depict a world propped up by a giant tortoise.

If you did have the chance to catch it you may have heard one of the children from Westside Montessori in the audience shouting “Nakota! Nakota!” Nakota, you were a hit here at Westside and also an inspiration. Thanks for coming to share your talent with us. And Adria, thanks for making it happen!

November 1, 2011. Field Trips. No Comments.

Apple Picking We Go!

We could not have asked for a more perfect day for our apple picking trip! When we set out for a trip like apple picking from downtown Toronto, it means that we are going on a trek! (Cue the big yellow bus and the huge picnic lunch for RFRK because we are going to make a day of it!) Heading out from Richmond and Maud at 9:15am puts us at our destination, Avalon Orchard in Innisfil (yes, Innisfil!) at approximately 10:30. Luckily, we had just enough time for snack.
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With our bellies full and our boots, on we begin our hike. The amazing thing about a day like today is that we take what we do at school each and every day and bring it out into the world. We put into use the skills the skills the children cultivate and develop and enable them to flourish. The children are given the tools they need and then off they go! In the orchard all you need are your walking feet…
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a bag…
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and a little bit of independence!
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Needless to say, the children had a fantastic time; with the apple “eye to the sky” and their bags nice and full we all head back to gather together for lunch.
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With the fuel in the tank and the sun shining bright, no day at the orchard is complete without a wagon ride!
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The perfect day at the orchard! (and a quiet bus ride back!)
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- A special thanks to Ewan’s Dad, Dave, for sharing his photos of the day.

October 13, 2011. Uncategorized, Field Trips. No Comments.

Earth Day at Riverdale!

It is a yearly tradition at Westside that the entire school take a trip on the TTC to Riverdale farm to celebrate Earth Day. Our tradition includes inviting the parents to come along and treating everyone to an RFRK picnic!

This year, our excitement included seeing the goat being milked,
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we saw the duck swimming in the pond,
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we checked out (up close) the equipment that the farmers use,
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and gave Bessie the cow a pat on the nose! (she loves it!)
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Riverdale is a pretty magical place and the children look forward to this trip every year!
Thanks RFRK for making our trip more than successful with your yummy nutritious and delicious picnic lunch!

April 22, 2011. Uncategorized, Field Trips. No Comments.

Our Visit to the Sugarbush at The Kortright Centre for Conservation

A recipe that results in complete bliss!

Take a big yellow school bus and fill it with children, teachers and parents.
Drive North on the 400 until you hit Major MacKenzie.
Turn into the Kortright Centre for Conservation.
Have a guided tour of the Sugarbush.
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See ways to collect sap, carry sap, and use sap!
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Then taste it!

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And be sure to get every last drop!
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Then take some syrup home (or back to school in this case!)
Whip up a batch of pancakes and enjoy!
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Sweeet!

April 8, 2011. Uncategorized, Field Trips. No Comments.

March Break Camp - The Bata Shoe Museum

Can you spot your child’s feet?
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Our trip to the Bata Shoe Museum was so much fun. Upon taking a tour around the museum, we spotted shoes as they have developed throughout history and even had a chance to see shoes worn by Elton John and Justin Bieber. Coupled with that, the children were able to dress up as ‘rock stars’ themselves! We think we may have some stars in the making!
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March 18, 2011. Uncategorized, Field Trips. No Comments.

The Regent Park Film Festival

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This year the graduating Casa children attended a screening of The Regent Park Film Festival’s School Program. This festival started in 2003 with the mission of “…showcasing local and international independent works relevant to the residents of the largest and oldest public housing in Canada.” It is the only free community film festival in Toronto and is a great way to engage people in dialogue on social issues and enjoy some great international films. The films reflect key themes such as, immigration, inner city issues, cultural identity and multicultural relationships. These issues are of course not exclusive to Regent Park, but are relevant to all of us, on a community and national level and on a global level.

It was an hour long program of short films from funny little cartoons, and quirky clamations, to an inspiring documentary of a 9 year old girl in Haiti, who volunteers her time to the medical aid mission, in the tent city of Pinchinat. We were encouraged to review and rate the films and then discuss our opinions. Our own Westside critics each had their favs, but gave glowing reviews to all the films. Our culture vultures flew back accross town to share some of their thoughts with their friends. An afternoon well spent.

Cheers!
Nadia

November 19, 2010. Field Trips. No Comments.

Casa North and South at the fire station!

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November 15, 2010. Field Trips. No Comments.

Halloween at Westside

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Have you ever noticed the large cinder block house directly east of the Community Garden on Richmond? Richard and Dianne live and work there. They are active members of the community, administering and caring for the community garden, helping to head up the initiative of the Farmer’s Market while also housing an award winning design firm (http://studioinnova.com/) and Ninutik Maple Sugar (https://ninutik.com), presenting maple syrup with design, art and sugarmaking in their beautiful building.

Richard and Dianne are also dear to the children at Westside. It has officially become a tradition at WMS that every Halloween we take a walk down and across the street to Trick-o-Treat at Richard and Dianne’s. They are very generous to provide each of the children and staff with one of their delicious Maple Sugar lollypops! Thank you Richard and Dianne.

And Halloween would not be complete without a pumpkin carving session with Nadia,

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or just a good book,

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and time together!
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All in all, a wonderful day!

November 2, 2010. Classroom life, Field Trips. No Comments.

Wychwood Green Barn field trip

Last Spring, WMS partnered with White Squirrel Coffee (whitesquirrelcoffee.com) to raise money for The STOP Community Food Centre, a local organization that works to increase access to food in a manner that maintains dignity, builds health and community and challenges inequality. Every Friday, WMS parents purchase White Squirrel coffee and/or baked goods prepared by our students. The parents have a wonderful time chatting and sipping their coffee; it’s a great way to wind down the workweek.

We often discuss with the children the importance of eating healthy foods. They know good food is necessary to be healthy and strong. In learning The STOP’s role in our community, the children were sorry to learn that healthy foods cost a lot of money and not everyone can afford to eat as well as we do. They were pleased to hear that they are helping people to eat healthy by hosting Coffee Fridays and that the baked goods they’ve made for the parents has brought in money that they will give to The STOP so more people can eat healthy food.

Last Friday, Casa South took a field trip to the Wychwood Green Barn. We visited the Greenhouse and had a plant scavenger hunt, learned how to make a worm compost, and played in the playground.
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We also brought our donation of $320. Thanks to all of the parents who participate in Coffee Friday. The children were so happy to know that they are helping people eat healthier foods.

October 24, 2010. Field Trips. No Comments.

A Picnic Under the CN Tower!

I cannot describe in words the excitement that we felt from the children on our walk and streetcar ride to have a picnic under the CN tower. Yes, the children at Westside play on the rooftop playground at Westside on a daily basis. On the rooftop they have a spectacular view of the tower. It is there every day for them and they love it. But to actually be walking down Bremner beside the Rogers Centre seeing and hearing their anticipation was fabulous. “We are getting closer!” one shouts. “I can see it!”, says another. “LOOK THERE IT IS!” a few shout as they look up as high as they can into the sky without falling backwards was absolutely priceless.
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July 29, 2010. Field Trips. No Comments.

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