Wednesday, 17 December 2014

News from the Office - December 2014

We have had an action-packed few months with our sports teams, our lunch and afterschool clubs, excursions, presentations, concerts, and assemblies here at Brown P.S. Our World Changers, with the help of our student and parent communities, have helped make a difference during our We Scare Hunger campaign. Our World Changers recently extended their help to other children in our Family of Schools who were in need of warm clothing and just finished raising money through the Red Nose Campaign for the Toronto Foundation for Student Success. We thank everyone who was able to help contribute to these causes. Our school is very generous helping those who are less fortunate.

It was great seeing many of the parents/caregivers during the parent-teacher interview evenings. Parents/caregivers that were unable to meet with teachers to discuss the progress of their child may contact the teacher at any time to set up an appointment.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Judy-Ann Bunn for all of her fine efforts in facilitating and helping organize our After 4 Programs here at Brown P.S. for the past couple of years. The Bunn family will be leaving our school and moving to another community during the holidays. We wish them all the best on their new journey and truly appreciate their contributions to our school.

Winter Fest
Winter Fest/Ival D’hiver was held on two separate afternoons this year. Our Primary students and Junior Choir performed on December 9 and our Kindergartens performed on December 10. While we recognize that not all of our parents are able to come out to our daytime concerts, we hope that many of our parents will be able to make it to at least one daytime event during the year. Our students and teachers prepared wonderful afternoons of holiday cheer for our Primary and Kindergarten families.  We thank Ms. Turner and our staff for organizing this concert event for our students and families.

Drama Performance
Ms. Holland and her students performed a drama presentation for the school on December 10. Many of our classes were able to admire the work of their peers.

123 Yoga  
As part of our Mental Health and Well-being initiative this year, we were able to introduce many of our students to yoga movement and mindfulness with 123 Yoga for Kids on November 28. 123 kids yoga classes incorporate mindfulness movement and deep breathing techniques, which can lead to self-awareness, self-control, and making good choices. Partner yoga is always a favourite and enhances social and cooperation skills with others. We look forward to many more sessions throughout the year as we continue to give our children the gift of movement, peace and calming.

Emergency Drills
We had two fire drill exercises and a practice lockdown drill this term. Students and staff did a great job exiting the school in an orderly and safe manner and they have learned the routine for a lockdown. Staff and students will continue to practise these important safety measures throughout the year. These routines are part of our School’s Safety Plan and the TDSB protocol and procedures.

Inclement Weather
Inclement weather routines have been established at our school over the years. We continue to show movies and allow students to play games during lunch hour in the gym for the Grade 3-6 students and in the library for the Grade 1 and 2 students when it is too cold or wet to go outdoors. When children arrive to school a few minutes earlier on cold days, we welcome them to wait inside the school until the bell rings.

Roots of Empathy
Ms. Padassery’s Rm. 22 class has been invited to participate in the Roots of Empathy Program this year. This program teaches children about feelings, their own feelings, and the feelings of others.  Once every three weeks, a baby and his/her parents will visit the classroom as a trained Instructor gathers the children in the classroom around a green blanket and together watch the baby grow.

January Events

Extended French Immersion Applications
Junior Extended French Applications Process (JEF)
All Grade 3 students will be receiving application packages for the Junior Extended French program (JEF) Grade 4 entry before the holidays. The application process for JEF is completely “online,” opening on January 5, 2015 and closing on January 29, 2015. All on-time applicants will be offered placement in the program. Please note while admission to a TDSB French Immersion/Extended French program is guaranteed to on-time applicants, admission to a specific school is not guaranteed if the school reaches capacity. Further information is available at:

Groove EDGEucation
"Groove EDGEucation" previously known as "Groove to Dance" is coming back to provide all the Grade 1 to 6 staff and students a fun, interactive Dance workshop.
They will be coming back to Brown P.S on January 12, 2015 to get everyone in the groove again with dance and fitness moves in the gym. Our students continue to enjoy this repeat performance.  We look forward to everyone “groovin” in the gym.

One Person Can Make a Difference, Together We Can Change the World! 
Music Movement and Motivation Presentation: This presentation is coming to our school in January.  Children in Grade 1-3 will learn about how they can make a difference by caring, sharing and giving.

Safe and Caring School Committee  
Each school must have a Safe and Caring Schools Committee with teacher and parent representation.  This committee meets once a month to discuss safety and supervision issues. The committee will meet in the New Year to review our Fire Drill and Evacuation Plans, supervision in the yards and our new Mental Health and Well-being Initiatives.

Reporting Periods for First Term
Elementary Provincial Report Card 1: September – February Reporting Schedule
  • January 22, 2015: The cut-off date for September to February reporting. 
  • January 23, 2015: Assessment and Reporting PA Day 
  • February 11 and 12, 2015: Elementary Provincial Report Card 1 to be sent home 
  • February 13, 2015: Parent/Guardian-Teacher conferences 
Parents and guardians are invited for parent/guardian-teacher conference this term in the following circumstances:
  • Students who are or may be at risk for promotion to the next grade 
  • Students whose placement in an alternative (e.g., French Immersion) or special education program is being considered 
  • Students whose achievement has declined significantly 
In addition to the above, parents and guardians are to be granted interviews upon their request.

Tips for Dealing with Holiday Stress
(From the Mental Health and Well-Being Belongs to All of Us, Issue #4)

Although the coming break is supposed to be about rest and fun, the reality is that it will also probably bring you and your family some stress. Part of that comes simply with the change it will bring to your family’s routine: your children will be home all day, and you will probably spend more time at home, as well. You may have more social events to attend than usual and dealing with family and friends can be complicated—and therefore stressful. If your winter holidays include hosting celebrations, you’ll have more cooking and cleaning to do. And if your traditions involve gift giving, you will have lots of shopping to do, which takes time, decision making, and money. How to cope?

1. Avoid over-commercialization. If you have a tradition of giving presents at this time of year, remember and remind your children that the holiday isn’t only—or even mostly—about expensive gifts. Although there is a real joy in seeing your children’s faces light up as they open your gifts and love them, taking on extra debt can ruin your enjoyment of the holidays.

Research shows that children often worry about money more than their parents think. Remind your children, and yourself, that this can be mostly a time to celebrate relationships between family and friends. It can also be about giving to strangers—donating gifts, money, or time to people less fortunate than you. Research shows that people who help others feel more contentment and satisfaction with their lives. Families who volunteer their time to support the needy can put their own difficulties in perspective and strengthen family relationships.

2. Look after yourself. Try to eat and sleep well, and take time to do some things you really enjoy, like a hobby. Although nutritious eating is, of course, good for you in many ways, overdoing holiday eating can add stress to your life, especially if you are trying to stick to a healthful lifestyle. Active fun, like tobogganing or skating, actually gives you more energy and clears your mind, and activities that aren’t too demanding on your body, like walking in a park, can also allow you to reflect on your life, especially on the things you’re thankful for.

3. Have realistic expectations…and seek help if you need it. Realize that there will always be stress in your life, but you can learn to deal with it better. Something as simple as “stepping back” from a stressful situation, breathing slowly and deeply, and counting to ten can be hugely helpful when stresses start to mount. Talking about holiday-related stress with friends and family is a healthful way to cope. If that doesn’t help enough, however, consider talking with a mental health professional in psychology or social work. Many well-researched techniques have proven effective in managing stress and increasing coping skills. A professional will tailor the help to your individual situation.

(By: Paul O’Connell, Chief of Psychological Services Area A and Paul Legzdins, Chief of Psychological Services Area C)

Hallway Safety
We kindly ask that parents and caregivers drop off their children in the school yard as a best practice and allow the students to go to their classrooms on their own upon the entry bell. Our hallways are narrow and when too many people congregate in the hallways, it creates a great deal of congestion. To ensure the safety of our students, please help us make this a best practice also.

Reminder - Oh the weather outside is…Cold!
BRRR! It's COLD outside!  With the arrival of cold weather, we are requesting that parents ensure that children are dressed properly for the weather, which means wearing hats, mittens or gloves, scarves, snow pants and boots. Please take a few moments to review the reasons for wearing (not just bringing to school!) warm clothing in winter. A great idea is to label clothing and belongings with your child's name, as this allows us to identify clothing that has made its way to the Lost and Found.  During wet and slushy days please ensure your child has a pair of shoes that can be worn inside (but that are not worn outside) while boots are left outside the classroom to dry. This ensures that carpets in classrooms stay dry, and helps to eliminate slippery floors.

Lost & Found
Parents, please check our lost and found collection. There are many items currently in the Lost and Found area that need to be recovered before the holidays. Remember to label items (esp. lunch bags) with a permanent marker.
December’s Character Trait is Kindness and Caring
Our Brown students display acts of kindness and caring on a daily basis. What is kindness and caring?

  • Showing understanding of others by treating them with compassion, generosity, and a forgiving spirit
  • Being gentle, willing to help, friendly, and considerate
  • Showing concern or sympathy for others
  • Being sensitive to the needs of others
  • Offering support
  • Giving your time, talents, and resources to help others
  • Talking positively about others
  • Considering the needs of others, not just your own

“Give to another human being without the expectation of a return.” (Bill Bradley)
“Don’t wait for people to be kind, show them how.” (Unknown)
“Kindness in words creates confidence, kindness in thinking creates profoundness, and kindness in feeling creates love.” (Lao-Tzu)
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” (Albert Schweitzer)

What does kindness/caring look like and sound like?
  • Smiling at those you know and those you don’t know
  • Saying “Good Morning”
  • Reminding someone who is feeling down about how special he or she is
  • Saving to buy something nice for someone
  • Donating to a charity
  • Volunteering time to help others in need
  • Cooking a meal for someone
  • Giving friends and family members encouragement and sharing kind words
  • Asking, “How can I help?” or “How are you?”
  • Doing something nice for somebody––a random act of kindness
  • Cleaning up a space that is shared with others
  • Helping to keep the environment clean
  • Taking care of someone who is sick, or wishing them a quick recovery with a visit or a card

The holidays are always a special time of year. On behalf of the Brown Public School staff, we wish you all a safe, restful and joyous holiday season with your family and friends.

Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to all of our families celebrating these holidays.

All the best for a Healthy and Happy New Year!!!

Gina Christakis   and  Christine Pouliot
Principal                       Vice-Principal

The holidays begin on December 22.  School resumes after the holidays on January 5, 2015 at 8:40 AM.

2014-2015 School Year Calendar
TDSB's school year calendars are on Google Calendar (add to yours!). Elementary:

Christmas Break                        December 22, 2014 to January 2, 2015 (inclusive)
Last day of school                     December 19, 2014
School resumes                         January 5, 2015
Elementary PA Day                   January 23, 2015
Board-wide PA Day                   February 13, 2015
Family Day                                February 16, 2015
March Break                             March 16 to 20, 2015
Good Friday                              April 3, 2015
Easter Monday                          April 6, 2015
Victoria Day                              May 18, 2015
Elementary School PA Day       June 5, 2015
Board-wide PA Day                  June 26, 2015