Students were all smiles (okay, a couple of them were a little sad to say bye to mom and dad) to return to the Junior School this week to get back to their friends, teachers and their learning!
School started on Wednesday with our Coffee Party and Student Orientation, where students spend an hour in their new classrooms meeting their new teachers and classmates. The kids had a lot of fun!
The week continued with classes officially getting underway Thursday and Friday. The excitement within our halls this week is such a joy to experience, as the students are clearly enthusiastic about coming back to school.
With the start of this school year comes the completion of our four-year expansion project. In 2012-13, we began the process of adding a new class every year for four years. This week we welcomed our second Grade 3 class through the doors. We now have two classes of students per grade from Kindergarten through to Grade 5.
“The reason we’ve done this is because we had so much interest from students and families in the primary years and we could never accommodate them,” says Ms. Nancy Richards, director of the Junior School. “The other benefit with having two classes is we can reduce our class sizes. It’s been wonderful to see our school grow every year, and to now be in the final year of our expansion.”
Ms. Alison Galloway joins Mr. Brandon Hawes as the second Grade 3 teacher. The Grade 3 classes are in the renovated portable classrooms and are joined by a new Grade 3 teaching assistant, Ms. Elizabeth Middleton-Jones.
We also welcome some more new staff (along with some familiar faces returning) to the Junior School this year: Ms. Natalie Gardner-Hill returns to teach Kindergarten, while Ms. Nicky Newsome returns to teach Grade 4. The Junior School also welcomes back Ms. Emily Deslaurier, who began her stint as the French teacher last spring. Ms. Jennifer Fisher, who has long assisted with the Junior School strings program joins the school as the new Grade 4/5 strings teacher. We welcome Mr. Marcel Kitengie in the phys ed department, and Ms. Orla Glen who will do some coaching at the Junior School. And we welcome Ms. Brooke Kray to the position of Grade 1 teaching assistant.
On the clubs front, Ms. Maureen Hann is launching two new LEGO Mindstorms Robotics clubs for the students to learn and practice their coding skills. Students, depending on grade, will meet once or twice a week to brainstorm solutions to a fun challenge presented by the First Lego League program. The students will learn to design and program a robot to perform a variety of tasks.
There are lots more exciting things happening at SMUS this year – from academics and athletics, to the Grade 5 opera, Die Fledermaus – so keep an eye on the SMUS Review blog to stay up to date with all the latest news coming from the Junior School.
On Wednesday, Grade 5 teacher Mr. Matthew Keil started the year off in a fantastic way, handing out paper bags with a few goodies inside – pencils, erasers and a couple of sweet treats – to his new students. Stapled to each bag was a poem written for his students about their year ahead. While his students were lucky enough to get a goodie bag, too, this poem he wrote is relevant to all of our students:
Welcome to my class!
I’m so glad you’re here!
I’ve made a bag of goodies
to help describe our year.
The eraser is to let you know
it’s okay to make mistakes.
We’ll correct them and learn from them
no matter what it takes.
The Smarties say I know you’re smart, and
really special too.
The Lifesaver is to remind you
that I am here for you.
The pencil represents the learning
that we will do this year.
There’s lots to learn in Grade 5,
but we’ll have fun in here.
The Laffy Taffy means we will laugh a lot
throughout the year, you’ll see.
The Starburst is to let you know
that you’re a STAR to me!
See more photos from the Coffee Meeting and Orientation in the SMUS Photo Gallery.
(photos by Gordon Chan and Kyle Slavin)