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An Exciting New School Year at ROCS !

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Royal Oak Community School

September 2023 Newsletter

Welcome back Royal Oak Families!

It has been such a wonderful first four weeks at Royal Oak. It feels like we’ve blinked, and September is behind us!

Our first full school gathering occurred the second week of school for Curriculum Night, a deeply important night for families to hear collectively in the first days of school about our approach, beliefs and programming, as well as the rationale behind it all. It was a wonderful turnout with over 50 parents attending, and we thank you for prioritizing this evening of information that sets both families and the school on a shared path for the academic year.

By the time you are reading this, our first competitive sporting event of the year will be behind us, along with The Terry Fox Run, and our first field trip today to the Landscape of Nations Peace Monument at Queenston Heights. This trip commemorates Truth and Reconciliation Day and allows us as educators to bring the learning of the classroom to life. Jamie-Lynn Gillingham, cultural advisor and member of the First Nations of the Mississauga of the Credit, led the school in a workshop about the Seven Grandfather Teachings, which was then followed by the exploration of the beautiful monument that commemorates First Nations contributions to Canada and the War of 1812 right here in Niagara. On this day, we also pay tribute to the lost children and the Survivors of residential schools, along with their families and communities. Publicly acknowledging this tragic and painful history, as well as recognizing its ongoing impacts, plays a crucial role in the process of reconciliation.

We encourage parents to explore the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action, which have been adapted into child-friendly language by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. This can be a valuable conversation to have with your child or children. Here at school in our Orange Shirt Day assembly this morning, students discussed the important contributions of Indigenous people to our standard of living in Canada, and our goal as a school to ensure that Indigenous history and perspectives our infused in our curriculum, not just on TRC day, but in every subject across the school year.

Within the school walls, the important work of getting to know our students is well underway, and assessments on their current academic understandings, as well as who they are as the whole child, are first and foremost. As you will have heard from your children, new friends have been made, and close relationships with teachers are forming - these foundations help to set the landscape for a joyful and challenging school year ahead. October is a busy month, just as September has been, and we look forward to Clubs starting on Monday, the long weekend for Thanksgiving, as well as a full school Cross Country meet, a local soccer game at Memorial Park with Wheatley School, our first Caribou International Math Contest… and more!

Please enjoy the beautiful photos of your children here at school and the updates from across the grades.

Warmest Regards,

Julia Murray, Head of School


Since 2017, Royal Oak Community School, NOTL, has participated in their own Terry Fox Run to raise money for Cancer research and the Terry Fox Foundation. Every year, staff, students and our family community come together at Memorial Park to run, walk and challenge themselves to raise money for this very worthy cause. This year our small, but mighty school raised $1000 for the Terry Fox Foundation through fundraising donations from friends and family members. The students participated in a multi-school meet and greet with Fred Fox, Terry's brother, in the Spring and a kick off assembly at the beginning of September to jumpstart our fundraising efforts. Middle School students were able to rally the rest of the students through a group presentation about Terry Fox and his legacy at the beginning of our run last Friday, September 22nd and we ended our run with a well deserved popsicle and play in the park. Donations are still being accepted at our online fundraising page - .

Click on the links below to see the full article of our small but mighty school participating in the Terry Fox Run to raise money.

Link to the pdf version, you can find the article on page 13.

ROCS Interschool Sports

As part of our growing initiative to offer more competitive sport opportunities for Royal Oak students, we have many games and meets over the course of the fall term for students to participate in.

Most recently, students in Grades 5-8 travelled to Wheatley School in St. Catharine’s to compete in soccer matches that built on skills taught this month in Physical Education and intramural sports at recess. Our next game is a home game (cue cheering from adoring ROCS parents and friends!) at Memorial Park in NOTL on October 12 at 4pm. On October 18, a Grade 1-8 Cross Country Meet will take place at Wheatley School. This meet will allow students to compete with Wheatley, Beacon Christian College, and Niagara Christian College amongst others to gain experience in Cross Country. Like most other Royal Oak field trips due to busing conflicts with school pick ups across Niagara, parents will need to pick up their children from Wheatley or arrange a carpool and notify the office of arrangements. Please mark your calendars and come cheer for our ROCS athletes!


Our first whole-school field trip this year was to the Landscape of Nations tribute monument at Queenston Heights. The classes learned about our Indigenous from our guest presenter, Jamie-Lyn Gillingham, (Indigenous name is Diindiisii Kwe). She is First Nations of Mississaugas of the Credit. She is a cultural advisor, and her grandmother is a residential school survivor. She spoke to the whole group for about 45 minutes about the 7 Grandfather teachings, before exploring with the groups and answering questions in small class cohorts. The visit was chronicled by Mike Balsom from the LOCAL NOTL news while the classes completed planned activities centred around the monument. Please look this weekend for the article about ROCS’ trip to the Landscape of Nations.

Parent Rep-Class Breakfasts

What a wonderful way to start a new year than to come together as a class community for some treats and play in our beautiful courtyard. We have started something new this year with the implementation of the class parent rep. Class parent reps will be the point people for class social events, volunteering if needed and answering any questions about school events in general. Class parent reps will be in touch for things like our class breakfast get-togethers that will be happening this fall term and in the spring term. Our class parents reps are: Early Years- Lynn D. Primary- Kendra F./ Brigitte E. Primary Junior- Lindsey T. Junior Middle- Erin H. Upper Middle- Silk C.

Fall Clubs Session

Another great session of clubs is starting the week of October 10th, from 3:40 to 4:40pm. We have many different clubs offered for all grade levels from academic and social, to creative and athletic based that students will find interesting.

  • Cross Country Club

  • Soccer Club

  • Fun & Games Club

  • Creative Club

  • Volleyball Club

  • Drop-in French Club

  • Homework Club

Please see the link here to review and sign up for our Fall clubs by Thursday, October 5th.

Homework club has already begun for our Primary/Junior students and the Middle School Homework club begins Wednesday, October 4th. Please email Ms. Robin (Primary/Junior Homework Club) and Ms. Dennis (Middle School Homework Club) if your child will be joining that week. Homework Club runs both Wednesday and Thursday this year from 3:40 to 4:30pm and students must bring their homework or school work that they need to finish.

If students come and they do not have any homework to do, they will be asked to go to the Aftercare program instead.


Last February, ROCS introduced our Friday morning Coffee Cafe fundraiser to raise money for our annual trip to overnight camp with our Junior and Middle school grade, as well as Week Without Walls activities for the primary grade. This school year, we are starting the Coffee Cafe mornings earlier in hopes that it will raise even more money for our trips.

Our first Coffee Cafe will be Friday, October 13th from 8:15 to 8:45 am in front of the Main Doors off Wellington Street

Thank you to the Aubin-Clemmer family for the wonderful donations of our cups, bakery bags and coffee.

Royal Oak PD Camps and November Break Camp

Royal Oak will be offering PD camps, as well as November Break and March Break camps this

year. This is dependent on enrollment for the day and will only run if there are 6 or more children. If you are interested in having your child stay for any of our camps, please email to add your child’s name to the roster. The camps will be $40 per day and include fun academic, creative and sports related activities based on our inquiry and outdoor education philosophy.

Again this year we will provide PD camps for the public and catholic board PD days. Please see the flyer below and let your friends and family know that we are open for camp on those days for children ages 4 to 12.

Grade 9 High School Talk- Pizza Night

On November, 2, our Grade 8 Graduates will return to Royal Oak to share their experiences in Secondary School. This evening is designed to help prepare our Grade 7 and 8 students for the transition to high school by learning from their peers about their schools, the process and how it feels to be a highschooler! Pizza will be provided by the school for this reunion and education event from 4:30- 6:00 pm. Please email if your child CANNOT attend.

Golf day in support of Royal Oak School!

Niagara Friends - Just a friendly reminder that our 8th annual golf tournament is next week Wednesday, October 4th. There’s still time to sign up to play golf or just come for our dinner - kids and grandparents too! Looking to support us further? Please consider a Donation or Sponsoring a Hole as a way to promote your business and support Royal Oak. FYI – a tax receipt can be issued for charitable donations, including hole sponsorship. Hope to see you next Wednesday, October 4th for a fun day in support of our Community School.


Early Years

September in Early Years has been very busy with a lot of learning, exploring, and playing happening! The kids have all quickly picked up on routines and expectations and are doing extremely well! We started the year off with important topics like getting to know each other, building a classroom community, and reminding ourselves of the importance of sharing and working together. In Literacy, we’ve been learning about our special names and have started focussing on identifying and printing our letters, as well as learning the different sounds letters make.

In Math, we’ve been learning all about different numbers from 0-20, including number recognition and learning how to write them. In Inquiry, the kids became immersed in learning about different community helpers and talking about what they want to be when they grow up. The kids are all loving their different specialty subjects and teachers. It is so lovely seeing them come in everyday excited to hear what they are going to learn about and what fun things we will be doing as a class! I cannot wait to see what this school year will bring us!

Grade 1/2


September is quickly coming to an end. One whole month of the school year has gone by. What an incredible first month of school! The Primary Class at Royal Oak School has been extremely busy. The first week of school was busy with Back to School activities and tasks. One of the highlights of the first week was reading the story, The Gingerbread Man Loose in School to the children. In this rendition of the Gingerbread Man, the gingerbread man was running to the students and became a part of their class. As a follow-up to the story, the girls and boys were active participants in making their own playdough. The students were engaged in the measuring, mixing and colouring of the playdough. What a mess….but so much fun! The students use the playdough during Morning Bin time, constructing structures or exploring freely. The month of September is a time of establishing classroom rules and routines. Daily 5 and Guided math groups are the focus of the Literacy and Math programs in the Primary Classroom. One aspect of the math program is our weekly outdoor math lesson. Students have been engaged in hands-on activities outside of the classroom. We have been exploring numbers to 100 and beyond and learning how to represent numbers in various ways using nature that they collect. Social Emotional Learning has been important in our classroom. Each morning the girls and boys are engaged in a morning meeting consisting of a unique greeting, a sharing questions, an engaging, community-building activity and an informative message. Daily movement breaks and yoga have helped the students stay focused and on-task. The month has ended with the students participating in the Terry Fox Walk/Run. The Primary Class were fabulous and persevered to complete as many laps as they could. I was extremely proud of their fundraising and running efforts! Way to go, Primary!!! We will end the month with our unit on Indigenous People and Culture and our yearly trip to the Landscape of Nations to memorialize the contributions of these incredible people to our country.

Grade 3/4

Primary Junior

It's been an exciting month in Primary Junior and we wanted to keep you informed of all the wonderful things your child has been learning and experiencing. Here are some highlights from each subject:

Math: In math, we have been focusing on building a strong foundation of numerical understanding. We covered prior numeration knowledge and delved into the concepts of place value and expanded forms. Your child has been actively engaged in various activities and exercises to enhance their mathematical skills.

Inquiry: Our science lessons have been centered around the scientific method and how to conduct experiments. Your child has been learning to ask questions, form hypotheses, carry out experiments, and draw conclusions based on their findings. It's been amazing to see their curiosity and critical thinking skills in action!

Literacy: In literacy, we have been working on introducing key literacy skills and building vocabulary. Your child has been exposed to a variety of texts and has been encouraged to actively participate in discussions to develop their reading and comprehension skills. We are thrilled to witness their growing love for reading!

Visual Arts: In our visual arts lessons, we have introduced the elements of art to your child. They have explored various artistic techniques and materials to create their own unique pieces of art. It's been remarkable to witness their creativity and artistic expression flourish!

Grade 5/6

Junior Middle

Welcome back! We have been so happy to be back at Royal Oak in the Junior Middle classroom. In our classroom, to kick off the school year we focused on getting to know one another better with welcome back activities like "This or That" or "Soup, Salad, Sandwich". These games allowed us a fun way to learn and discuss ideas with each other.

The most exciting times in class have been through our Harry Potter Unit! Every other year, the Junior Middle crew experiences the Harry Potter unit that immerses the class into the wonderful wizardry world of Harry Potter. This month we "saved Baby Harry" with an egg drop. They class partnered up and built devices to protect an egg (Baby Harry) from falling. We are proud to say that 50% of our eggs survived! At the end of the month we finally received our letter inviting us to Hogwarts, after purchasing our supplies for the year by converting our "muggle" money to "wizard" money we were ready to board the Hogwarts express! Stay tuned to hear about the Sorting Ceremony.

Not only has the Junior Middle class been active in the classroom, but we have been active outside as well! This month our class participated in our first inter-school sport with a soccer game against Wheatly school. I was so proud to watch the class try their best on the field and work together as a team. I am also proud of how hard the students worked to fundraise and participate in the Terry Fox run this year. As a class, we discussed what it means to be a hero and why it is important to raise money for Cancer research.

It has been a jam packed month to start off our year, I am excited to see what next month brings!

Grade 7/8

Upper Middle

Welcome back! Oh how September has flown by! We kicked off this year with several get to know you activities reflective of different subject areas, the biggest hit was a STEM tower building task. Students got to work together to learn new things about one another then build the tallest tower with everything all the members of their group had in common!

Throughout this month the Upper Middle class has taken on learning about integer operations in math class and the wonderful world of reading through our class read aloud "Posted" by John David Anderson along with various activities to get students thinking about positive reading practices! Students have also been enjoying exploring ecosystems and everything that goes into them, we even traveled into the forest to explore and identify different elements of an ecosystem in action! Stay tuned for the creation of our own ecosystems from around the world!

In addition to our wonderful work academically, the Upper Middle class has been very busy outside of the classroom as well. I am so very proud of the leadership all the Upper Middle class students showed our ROCS community this past week in the Terry Fox Run. Throughout the month of September our class has been working diligently to make this event a hit for the school with an uplifting speech to kick off the run as well stations set up along the course of the run to motivate all of our ROCS staff and students. What an excellent event raising money for Cancer research and remembering the wonderful work of Terry Fox! Our class also participated in inter-school soccer with Wheatley school this past week. I was proud to see the positive sportsmanship and teamwork and we look forward to hosting the next game!

It has been a wonderfully busy first month back to school and I look forward to the exciting things to come in October!


A Look Ahead at ROCS

Upcoming events

  • ROCS Golf Tournament- Wednesday, October 4th

  • Soccer Game vs Wheatley School- Memorial Park- Thursday, October 12th

  • Primary field trip to the pumpkin patch- Monday, October 16th

  • Interschool Cross Country meet- Wednesday, October 18th

  • Halloween Trick or Eat- Tuesday, October 31st

  • Alumni/Upper Middle Pizza Night- Thursday, November 2

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