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Cool January at Royal Oak School

Updated: Feb 7

Royal Oak School


JANUARY 31, 2023

Dear Royal Oak Families,

Although January is a short month here at school, it has been full of rich learning as students head into new topics, units and projects in the classroom. A picture is worth a thousand words, so please read the classroom updates in detail to see the engagement, joy and challenge that is so clearly being presented to our students each day!

As a staff, we have some wonderful Professional Development coming up, including our February 16 trip to the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education’s Labratory School, Jackman ICS. On this visit, we will meet with the faculty at OISE who do research in education, tour their brand new facility to see their innovative classroom and design spaces and also observe in Master teachers’ classrooms to further our own learning. Closer to home, our regular Tuesday evening staff meeting will go into an evening “Dine and Learn”, and Dr. Susan Elliot will be leading us on an exploration of our community partnerships, and how to continue to grow these as engaging, memorable and deep learning experiences for our students. We so regularly connect with our neighbours like The Shaw Club, Chartwell’s Senior Residences and Niagara Parks, but a community connection we also hope to grow, is with YOU! So many of our parents are experts in their field of work, and have incredible knowledge to share, so please reach out to your child’s classroom teacher if our new study units shared below in the newsletter line up with wonderful knowledge you can help us deepen through your experiences.

It is hard to believe it is February this week (!!!) but as we have settled into the new term, clubs and new weather, there are a few important updates to share:

  1. Winter weather is officially here! With temperatures going down to -16 celsius by the end of the week, it is essential that students are dressed and have their proper winter gear for recess and lunch play. This includes snow pants, hats, and a back up pair of gloves and socks for any children JK-Grade 4. Students are not allowed to sled on Simcoe Park days without snow pants because it leaves them wet and cold for the rest of the afternoon (not ideal learning conditions!)

  2. We are well into week 3 of clubs, and request that parents email the school if their child will not be attending a confirmed club they’ve signed up for. Quite often at the end of the day, children are opting out or sharing changed plans that have not been confirmed by a parent or through the office. Children will be encouraged to attend clubs they have signed up for as there is a critical number that is necessary for programming to be engaging and fun!

  3. The update above also applies to playdates or changes in the arranged person picking up your child. These requests need to go through the office and in advance. Please email to share changes to your child’s regular pick up schedule.

Included in the January newsletter was a link to an anonymous survey that we encourage parents to fill out to share any suggestions or feedback. With a new year ahead of us, we are already looking ahead and hoping that we are meeting the needs of our families in all we do. As a school, we believe deeply in the learning process, which includes reflection and refining for us as a faculty, so please don’t hesitate to drop us a line here: Help us Improve!

Have a wonderful month ahead, and be in touch!

Julia Murray, Head of School

Pumphouse Trip

On Thursday, January 12th, students from Grades K to 8 were treated with a visit to the Pumphouse Art Centre to view their school’s art display. The students discussed their thoughts about the pieces displayed from Royal Oak School, St. Michael’s Catholic School and Crossroads School in Virgil.

Alice in Wonderland

Royal Oak School is proud to present this year’s production of Alice in Wonderland. Students were able to audition for various parts in the play that will be performed on Thursday, May 25th at the NOTL Community Centre. The cast of characters is posted on our information board in the front foyer of the school and rehearsals will be Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunch recess. A full list of rehearsal dates and times is posted as well. Please contact Ms. Nyenhuis for more information.

We are also looking for donations for our Drama classes of costumes or various dress-up items for our Lower School students. If you have any items that we could use, please drop them off at the school. We thank you in advance for all the support and participation of our ROCS community.

Open House- Friday, February 3rd

Royal Oak will be hosting an Open House on Friday, February 3rd from 9:30 to 11 am. Please let friends and family know that we are opening our doors, having an information session and touring prospective students and families during this time. Students and staff will be participating in this event by being student tour ambassadors and presenting special lessons that highlight our school’s vision and education philosophy.

Please let everyone know to RSVP to admin@royaloakschool,ca .

January Character Award Winners

January’s character traits are integrity and optimism. The Grade 3/4 class beautifully demonstrated these in a wonderful way during our character assembly this past Friday. Our January character award winners are:

Kindergarten- Hannah R.

Grade 1/2 - Jack F.

Grade 3/4 - Riley M.

Grade 5/6- Masha Y.

Grade 7/8 - Sienna R.

Camp Wahonowin and Week Without Walls Update

We are excited to again announce our plans for our yearly overnight camp trip and local Week Without Walls experience. From Monday, May 29th to Thursday, June 1st, ROCS students will participate in leadership and academic building activities tailored to each grade level. Grades JK to 2 will be enjoying local field trips within the community and activities with in-school presenters, like Mad Science and Crockadoodle. The cost for this will be confirmed by the end of March. The Grade 3 to 8 students will be travelling by coach bus to Camp Wahanowin in Orillia for 4 days and 3 nights of camp activities. Students will stay in cabins with all meals provided. The cost for this will be between $350 and $450, depending on the number of students attending. More information about all the activities will be given towards the end of February with a deposit of $100 due by March 3rd. An information session about Camp Wahanowin will occur on March 2nd online for all our Grade 3 to 8 families who are interested in going. Our annual bake sale fundraiser will be held at the beginning of May to help with the cost.

Clubs and Aftercare

Clubs are running successfully into their second week of programming. We wanted to clarify some expectations around clubs to ensure fairness as well as consistency:

  1. Club pick up is from either the ramp exit of the school or the front entrance as indicated by the club email you would have received. Pick-up needs to be at 4: 30 pm sharp. Any children who are not picked up at this time will be placed in aftercare and parents will be charged for the 30 minutes of supervision, $5. You will be emailed to let you know that this charge is being applied to your account.

  2. We encourage parents to please pack a snack for your child if they are staying for aftercare. It is a long day and children are often very hungry after school. If you would like to pay $2, you can access school snacks that include goldfish, welch’s fruit snacks, fruit cups or granola bars.

  3. If a child has signed up for a club, we expect their attendance and participation on club day. If you or your child has alternate arrangement such as an appointment, please email to let us know

Grade 7/8 Local Trip

As part of the Grade 7/8 personal fitness unit, students will participate in an afternoon of mental and physical health. Students will travel into Virgil to visit the NOTL Youth Collective, where an ambassador with the program will share more information with the students and tour the space where their drop in program is for teens in grades 7 to 12. Students will then cross the street to the F45 Gym and Fitness centre to participate in their Prodigy youth program. F45 Prodigy is a scientifically-based workout system designed specifically for 11 to 17 year olds! It is the first of its kind in Canada and kids & teens around the globe have been participating in F45 Prodigy since 2018. F45 is thrilled to be able to offer it to our students in their studio and help improve the health and wellbeing of our school community!

F45 Prodigy Program



Early Years Happy New Year from Early Years! We came back from the break ready to continue growing and learning at tremendous rates. It was so nice getting to see all of the students again after a restful break. We were also extremely lucky to welcome two new friends into our classroom community. In Literacy, we’ve started learning about Letter Blends and Digraphs. The students are putting their knowledge of letter sounds to use to help them decode the different blends. The Secret Stories book and posters in our class are also helping to teach us some of the trickier letter sounds that we can’t decode. We’ve also continued our daily Heggerty lessons, where we are learning to listen to words and identify if they rhyme, what sound they hear at the beginning, middle, and end of words, breaking words into syllables, and much more. In Math, we’ve been working hard to sort objects in various ways, including by size, shape, colour, and more. We started off the New Year with a Health unit on Germs and Hygiene, as we know this is a tricky time of year to stay healthy. Next, we’ll be jumping into learning about different states of matter, which will allow us to do some very fun experimentation. We look forward to next month and all of the fun things we will get to do.

Grade 1/2

Happy New Year! 2023 has been off to a great start in the Grade 1/2 classroom. The last three weeks the students have been engaged in many engaging activities. Within inquiry, since a new year began, the students have been busy learning about what resolutions are, how to make resolutions, and why they are important. The students were asked to make a resolution for themselves, and Ms. Robin gave them individual resolutions. As well as learning about our New Year’s traditions, the students were introduced to the Lunar New Year. They wrote about what they found interesting about this holiday, and during Special Friends they were given the opportunity to make a lantern, which are important during the Lantern Festival on Day 15 of the Lunar New Year celebrations. January has also been the month in which the students are being engaged in STEM activities. Last week, they were given the task to design, construct and modify a house for The Three Little Pigs that could withstand the force of a fan (the wolf!) using only 20 index cards and 30 cm of masking tape. This proved to be challenging to the students! At the end of 2022, the students of ROCS, with the help of Mr. W. and Ms. Bigda, submitted art to be put on display at the Pumphouse in Niagara-on-the-Lake. During our first week back to school after the holidays, the students of ROCS walked to this local business to view their artwork framed and on the walls of this museum. The students have enjoyed participating in Show and Share this week. The students were asked to bring in his/her favourite books from home. We have had quite the collection of books presented during this activity and I have had the pleasure of sharing the stories with the class. During our math lesson, the students are learning about different ways to sort, classify and gather data and present their findings using different graphs. They were even participants in a life-size Venn diagram, to help solidify their understanding of the different parts of this graphic organizer and gain the knowledge of what each part represents. And finally, the Grade 1/2 students are learning how to use their tech devices to advance their math and reading skills using the educational software IXL and RAZ kids.

Grade 3/4 Our Grade 3/4 class was booming with excitement for the start of the New Year! To welcome new beginnings and fresh starts, we created a set of personal goals we are striving to achieve in 2023. As we continue to soar to new heights, we collaborated with Miss Robin’s Grade ½ class in order to create and craft paper mache hot air balloons that will display our future aspirations. We particularly enjoyed learning about the Lunar New Year and the various ways other cultures celebrate the arrival of a new calendar year. I could not be more proud of our class’s accomplishments–both as a community of learners, and individual success of each flourishing student I have the pleasure to teach! We are looking forward to continuing more beautiful social-emotional learning as a part of February’s Character Trait, KINDNESS.

Grade 5/6

Happy New Year! The Grade 5/6 class has really hit the ground running as we launched into the New Year. To kick off 2023, the class created their words of the year, these words represent what we want to manifest for the new year. Each student was responsible for picking a word, explaining what it means, and creating a visual representation of the word which hangs in our classroom to remind us of our goals and aspirations for the rest of 2023. The class has also been proudly admitted into the Royal Oak School of Medicine (ROSM) for our new science unit on Human Health and Body Systems. In this unit, the students will be acting as med. school residents who are tasked with diagnosing and prescribing treatment for a patient of the week based on the body system we are currently learning about. The students will be exploring this system through research and hands-on models to help us gain a deeper understanding of how this system works so we can explain how to keep it healthy. This will be a 5-week immersive program that is intertwined with our Language arts and mathematics program. Overall, this has been a wonderful start to the new year! I am looking forward to seeing what February brings next.

Grade 7/8 The Grade seven and eight class has been busy since the holidays! We have made it to the end of a big geometry unit focusing on angle properties- burgeoning engineers! The students are about to apply their understanding in a special art project. In Literacy, we have started an exciting new book for Literature Circles- The Great Bear by David A. Robertson. The book is the second in a series by the Cree Canadian author and the students are enjoying its playful fantasy style. We have also been listening to a variety of Podcasts with the intent of making our own in February. In Science, the students have worked very hard on another round of presentations for their Heat in Environment. They have impressed both Ms. Dennis and myself! In Visual Art, we have been learning about two-point perspective and are nearly ready to start adding colour to our drawings to show atmospheric perspective. Along with all the hard work the students have had a lot of fun together- we even had a guest presenter from Grade Two: the illustrious Mr. F! Well done Grade seven and eight!

Enriched Math

One of the special programs we offer at Royal Oak is a Math Enrichment program where we teach academically ready students in grade 7/8 the grade 9 Math curriculum. Our Enrichment group just finished our Geometry unit, including a fun project. The students had to design, calculate, and build playable mini golf courses. Here are some photos of their wonderful projects. You should all be so proud of your achievement!


A Look Ahead at ROCS

Offerings in the Community

Niagara Pumphouse will be offering a March Break Art Camp

from Mar 13-17

PD Days for NON-Royal Oak Students- Share with your friends!

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