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Spooktober at ROCS

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

Royal Oak Community School

October 2023 Newsletter

We ended October with as much excitement as almost everyday has held. Yesterday, the ROCS community was in full costume, full of excitement, and headed out into the community to “Trick or Eat” and spread joy to our senior neighbours at Chartwells. The last day of the month held the same energy and pace of this wonderful, and incredibly fast paced October!

Each week has held celebrations of sorts, and we look back on the month with a lot of pride and, some tiredness setting in for all…! Fall Clubs are well underway, and students have continued their focus on both Soccer and Cross Country skills in light of our matches and first ever Cross Country Meet this month. As we build more sport opportunities into our extracurricular experiences, we will always in tandem be teaching these skills in Physical Education and also as Club offerings to support the development of our players and their confidence as we step into new spaces. This month, we have had a multitude of community gathering opportunities as well, starting with the amazing Golf Tournament that is our primary fundraiser for the year. The ROCS Golf Tournament is a wonderful way to meet new faces, get out and play and to raise money for the school, financial scholarships and equitable access to our programming for all. A HUGE thank you to the amazing volunteer team responsible for the Golf Tournament’s success: Kim Elltoft, Robin Ridesic, Stephane Aubin, Kendra Finlay, Jen Reimer, Brianne Hawley (as well as Ruby and Diego, our alumni helpers!)

This, along with our Class Breakfasts and Friday Coffee Cafes, have provided wonderful moments for families to come together and socialize around our community school. If you have not yet had the chance to join us for these, please mark your calendars for the Ice Dogs Free Skate and Game, where Royal Oak students will be singing “Oh Canada” on centre ice on November 9 from 5:30-9:00 pm (more information and ticket sign-up below.)

As we can see, Royal Oak is a busy school with many events going on, so please do read the newsletter closely and follow along on Toddle, which has a calendar app that is updated regularly, as well as communication from your child(rens) classroom teacher about curriculum, achievements and upcoming events.

As we look forward into November, our mid-term break is approaching quickly, The break, which gives families some much needed rest and recovery after a busy 8 + weeks, will close the school to regular programming from November 11-15, but our PD Camp will be running for any families requiring childcare. Please see the flyer below and don’t hesitate to sign your child up to take advantage of this opportunity.

We wish you a wonderful month ahead, and look forward to connecting about your child’s first term and progress in Parent Teacher interviews next week.

Have a wonderful Halloween with your families and please, come say hello when you are in regarding your child’s first academic term next week!

Warm Regards,

Julia Murray, Head of School


Every year since the opening of Royal Oak Community School, students have donned their Halloween costumes and gone out into the community for a worthy cause. This year was no exception with the students collecting non-perishable food items from the community for Newark Neighbours, a not-for-profit organization that serves Niagara-on-the-Lake and the surrounding communities with compassion, concern and care through their food bank and thrift store. The organization does not receive any financial government support or funding and relies solely on donations of both monetary and non-perishable food items. ROCS students walked proudly around to local businesses and residential buildings to collect for Newark Neighbours after visiting the Chartwells Retirement Facility across from the school. Students entertained the residents with their costumes, poems and songs before heading out to trick-or-treat for the non-perishable food. Students were able to gather wagons full of food for our annual donations. We are so thankful to the community that donated this year and that we could help such a needed cause. If you wish to still contribute non-perishable food items, please bring them to the school no later than Friday, Nov.3.


On Friday, November 10, Parent Teacher conferences will take place at Royal Oak Community School with homeroom and specialty teachers. Sign up sheets have been shared by teachers for you to indicate your availability.

On this same day at 10:00 -11:00 am, Laureen Dennis and Julia Murray will be meeting with any interested parents of the Upper Middle students to discuss the transition to high school, and the school finding process! Please use the sign up sheet below to RSVP for this morning Coffee event: High School Info Session

ROCS PD Day Camps & Fall Mid-Term Break Camp

Sign up at for Mid-term break childcare and share widely with your Independent School friends!

Clubs Updates

The Fall term for Clubs is almost at an end, and six weeks of fall clubs will end the week of November 20th for the following clubs:

  • Monday- Creative Club and Cross Country Club (ends on November 27 due to a one week delayed start because of Thanksgiving)

  • Wednesday- Outdoor Fun and Games Club

  • Thursday- Soccer Club

  • Friday (lunch)- Volleyball

The Homework Clubs and French after school tutoring will continue year round!

We look forward to introducing our Winter Club Selections to you the second week back in January, for the Winter Club Session that runs January 22- February 26th, 2024.

Homework Club is drop in!

We are pleased to now offer Homework Club, every week on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:40 to 4:30pm. Students who need to complete assignments or homework can be referred by parents or teachers to the homework club. Only those students that need to catch-up on missed work or that need a little support for homework completion can attend and they must be signed up by 8:30 am on Wednesday morning. Please reach out to Ms. Robin (Grade 1 to 4 Homework Club) or Ms. Dennis (Grade 5 to 8 Homework Club) if you have any questions about this program.

Brock University Teacher Candidates in the Classrooms

​Starting on Monday, November 6th, Royal Oak teachers will once again welcome a new cohort of second year Brock University teacher candidates into the classrooms. Brock TC’s are placed with teachers with at least three years of teaching experience to teach and learn alongside our wonderful ROCS educators. This is a great opportunity for us as educational professionals to pass on our knowledge of the unique outdoor, child-centered Inquiry teaching practices that make our school so special. Please say hello to the following teacher candidates in each of our classrooms: Ms. McMackin ( Early Years/Kindergarten) will host Rachel Taylor (starting Dec.8th) Ms. Robin (Grade 1/2) will host Kennedy MacKinnon (starting Dec.8th) Ms. Nyenhuis (Grade 5/6)will host Grace Dow (Starting Nov. 6th) The Brock teacher candidates will be at our school until either December 22nd this year or February 2nd. We look forward to working with these great individuals over the coming weeks.

All Weather Play

Children play outside in all-weather at ROCS (including light rain, snowy days, and cold conditions). Please send your child with outdoor clothing appropriate to weather conditions. As we enter into a rainy season, please provide indoor shoes so that we are not tracking mud into the classroom spaces and the carpets they lay on. For children in Grade 4 and under, please send a spare set of uniform clothes with socks, underwear and a shirt and pants- wet clothes do not make for optimal learning conditions!

Royal Oak Soccer and Cross Country Meet

2023/2024 will go down in Royal Oak history as our first and most robust sports year yet! Though this means new challenging experiences and for some, stepping outside of comfort zones, we are so proud of the effort of our entire school community in Grades 1-8 who participated in the Independent Schools Niagara Cross Country Meet, and our 5/6/7/8’s for their efforts in Soccer matches VS Wheatley. Some wonderful photos below! Cross Country and Track and Field will commence again in the spring and like the fall, be offered in tandem to training and units in Phys. Ed classes as well as extracurricular Track and Field Clubs to practice and train!

Health Reminders

With this unseasonable warm fall that has changed and dropped quite quickly, we have a few reminders around health to share.

The first is that as of last week, a tick was found on a student after running in the grass at school. This is so unusual at this time of year, but please be vigilant in checking your children if they have been outside and running in the fields, as the warm fall has meant ticks lasting longer than usual!

With the dropping temperatures, cold and flu season is also here and many regular cold and flu viruses are circulating along with a new COVID variant. Though the COVID protocols have been lessened, we do still need to be vigilant with screening our children for symptoms and ensuring sick children stay home to get the rest and care needed to recover quickly and rejoin us at school!

Locally, Simpson’s Pharmasave has both flu shots and COVID boosters on site if you are looking to increase your immunity against these seasonal illnesses.

ROCS set to sing O’Canada at the Ice Dogs Game

On Thursday, November 9th, a wonderful school social event is happening with the St. Catharine’s Ice Dogs Ontario Hockey League team. Royal Oak will once again have the opportunity and privilege to sing O’Canada on centre ice at the Meridian Centre and all children from every grade level are welcome to participate in this very special event! A Free skate will start at 5:30pm with the game beginning right after at 7pm. Tickets are $18 and can be ordered through the use of the google document here: Ice Dogs Tickets ROCS 2023 To attend, you will need to indiate your attendance and the number of tickets your family requires to this wonderful event. Please pay through etransfer to or by school credit by Nov. 5th at the latest. We look forward to a big turn out this year and to sharing the Royal Oak spirit with the community at large!

Royal Oak Character Award Winners for October

Again this year, Royal Oak- Monthly Character Assemblies have begun. Every month, Royal Oak students and staff will be focusing on certain character traits. This month, students focused on Thankfulness and Gratfulness. The Early Years class presented an assembly all about these character traits this past Friday, October 27th. We also presented certificates and a pair of Ice Dogs Hockey tickets to one student in every class who was nominated by their teacher for showing exemplary character to others.

Congratulations to this month's winners:

Early Years: Cain M.

Primary : Jack F.

Primary Junior: Liam G.

Junior Middle: Jack M.

Upper Middle: Silas A.

The Caribou Mathematics Competition or Caribou Cup is an international online math contest held six times over the school year, typically over 2 days in October, November, January, February, April, and May. Each contest offers several subjects such as basic grade level mathematics, coding and physics problems and games that extend and challenge the individual.

Our Grade level leaders for October are:

Primary: Isabelle D.

Primary Junior: Liam G.

Junior Middle: Jack M.

Upper Middle: Lev P.

Looking Ahead- Save the Date!

Thursday, November 2nd : Alumni Pizza night got Upper Middle students and Grade 9 former ROCS students

Monday, November 6th to 10th: ROCS Scholastic Book Fair opens in the front greeting room at 3:40pm

Thursday, November 9th: ROCS sings O’Canada at the Ice Dogs Game! Free skate at 5pm.

Friday, November 10th: Parent/Teacher Conferences, High School Transition meeting and last day for Scholastic Book Fair (open 10 to 3:30pm.

Monday, November 13th to Friday, November 17th: Fall Mid-Term Break

Thursday, November 23rd: Royal Oak Volleyball Game VS Wheatley School at Wheatley

Friday, November 24th: First Term Progress Reports Home Electronically


Early Years

October in Early Years was a busy month! On top of all of the important learning, we were able to celebrate 4 birthdays, go on a class trip to the Pumpkin Patch, and celebrate Halloween together! In Literacy, we’ve continued learning about our letters, working through Literacy centres, and starting to read. In Math, we’ve continued to learn about numbers from 0-20, including adding and subtracting.

In Inquiry, the kids learned about Living and Nonliving Things, as well as talking about different fall fruits. We've also been excited to start using tablets in class for RazKids for reading, IXL for math, and Kahoot in Inquiry. The students look forward to their specialty subjects each day and are doing wonderfully so far this year!

Grade 1/2


It seems like only yesterday that the school year began and we are already at the end of the second month of the academic year! Where has the time gone? October has been an incredible month in Primary. The month began with the Primary class recognizing, celebrating and learning about the Canadian Thanksgiving. The students explored the early Thanksgivings in Canada, painted and constructed a Thankful Turkey and created a Happy Thanksgiving sign through a guided drawing. As a special treat before the Thanksgiving break, the students of Early Years, Primary, and Primary/Junior walked to Craig’s Cookies to enjoy a delicious cookie, compliments of the Van Veighel Wood’s.Yum!! The math focus in Primary has been Number Sense and Patterning. Students have not only learned about these concepts in the classroom, we have also taken our learning outdoors and used the beautiful nature around Royal Oak to help practice and solidify these concepts. Students collected pieces of nature to construct patterns. Once their patterns were complete, the students needed to circle the core and name their patterns. The students also used nature to represent addition sentences to 20. We are looking forward to more outdoor activities as the year progresses. Inquiry this month has focused on living and non-living things. To help with our understanding of this concept, Early Years, Primary, and Primary/Junior classes travelled by bus to The Great Pumpkin Patch in Fenwick for a morning of excitement. Students experienced an informative show by a “live” scarecrow and Farmer Ann, a corn and hay maze, a wagon ride to the pumpkin patch, where students were able to pick a pumpkin, and a fresh, crunchy apple as a snack. Students then completed a chart, sorting items that they saw at the farm as living and non-living. This trip was also included in Literacy, as students completed a reflective guided writing task. One of the highlights of this month was our participation in our very first Cross Country Meet with other independent schools. All the primary students did their best running and enjoyed a day of friendly competition. What an amazing experience for the students! The month ended with a visit from Ms. Kelly and Baby Chloe. Ms. Kelly and Chloe will be visiting once a month for the students to watch Chloe grow and develop. Thank you Ms. Kelly for this wonderful opportunity. We are excited to watch Chloe grow and change during this special year.

Grade 3/4

Primary Junior

Here's a quick update on our Primary Junior class for October:

Mathematics - Number Sense: We're rounding numbers to the nearest ten, hundred and thousand, in addition to number operations. Our favourite game is SPLAT.

Literacy - Vocabulary and Grammar: Our focus is on vocabulary and grammar to help your children become confident communicators. Our favourite game in literacy is Categories.

​Inquiry - Variables and Controls: The students are exploring variables and controls through hands-on experiments. We are having lots of fun watching Pumpkin PJ decompose.

Art - Indigenous and Halloween Art: We're embracing Indigenous culture and celebrating Halloween with creative art projects. We are finishing up our school wide Project Of Hearts Witness Blanket.

Thank You and Happy October: I want to thank all the parents for your continued support and for raising such wonderful children who are amazing role models for the rest of the school. We look forward to a promising November filled with new challenges and achievements.

Grade 5/6

Junior Middle

It has been a magical month in Junior Middle as we continue our exploration of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Each week, that class has been exploring the world through various STEM projects such as our wand creation and Hogwarts Train marble run. These projects allowed us to combine lessons about descriptive creative writing and engineering skills and apply them to creative problems. We enjoyed learning about symbolism while being sorted into our Hogwarts houses during our own sorting hat ceremony.

In preparation for our Potions class next month, we have continued learning about states of matter with physical and chemical reactions. During these lessons, the class has explored the difference between reversible and irreversible changes. We then applied our knowledge to various experiments such as kitchen experiments! In these experiments, we explored how cooking is actually just food science!

Amidst all of our learning we still managed to have some time for fun! This month we participated in out of school events such as soccer and track and field. I am still so proud of the students' perseverance and determination to complete these events. We ended off the month with a wonderful trip into the community to visit Craig’s cookies and practice our community skills!

It has been another great month of learning! I am excited for all the exciting events of November such as the November break and welcoming our Brock Teacher candidate.

Grade 7/8

Upper Middle

What a wonderful October it has been in the Upper Middle class! We have been working hard in all areas of the classroom this month and it has been so wonderful to see our class continue to blossom. We have been so thankful for the beautiful weather we've had this October which has allowed us to enjoy many outdoor activities including a soccer game with Wheatley school, Royal Oak's first ever cross country meet hosted by Wheatley School as well as a relaxing cloud watching art project where students used their imagination to bring organic cloud shapes to life!

In Mathematics we have wrapped up integers and are moving into representing, ordering and comparing numbers in multiple forms such as fractions, decimals and percentages! Looking ahead in math we will be engaging in some fun activities involving fractions. In Language Arts we are wrapping up our read aloud "Posted" by John David Anderson and are excited to post positivity around the school! We have also spent time exploring argumentative writing and are now working collaboratively in preparation for a debate! Our Inquiry unit on ecosystems is wrapping up in which we are creating our own ecosystems in the form of a diorama or a creative infographic! Moving forward in Inquiry will lead us into a new unit on different perspectives in Canadian history.

Outside of the classroom in addition to all the wonderful sports our class has engaged in, the Upper Middle students continue to be leaders within the school through the return of the Royal Oak Coffee Cafe. Friday mornings while weather permits, our Upper Middle students will be out front of the school during drop-off starting at 8:15am selling coffee and wonderfully donated baked goods to help raise money for our end of the year trip! Don't forget to stop by! We also saw our very first class breakfast! Thank you to our class rep for organizing this event and thank you to all the parents that were able to attend. It was such a lovely social morning within our class. I look forward to the next class breakfast later in the school year!


A Look Ahead at ROCS

Offerings in the Community

Great Lakes Christian High School would like to invite you to or Open House and or Shadow Day experience! Thursday November 16th at 6:30 pm you are invited to attend our Open House featuring our Amazing Race, students explore the school while parents attend an info session! To Register: Click here Friday November 25th 8:00 am-3:15 pm Students are welcome to join our Shadow Day, a day to experience what high school is like as a Great Lakes Laker! (lunch provided) To Register: Click here


In support of YWCA Niagara Region

Letter from Niagara-on-the-Lake Pool Group

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We wanted to bring to your attention a valuable opportunity that can significantly impact our community's well-being, and especially the health and safety of our children.

**The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is seeking your input** to help identify the top three youth and family programs you would like to see implemented in our town. This is your chance to shape the future of community programs, ensuring they cater to your family's interests and needs.

**The Survey**: The Parks and Recreation Youth and Family Program Survey is now open and runs until October 6, 2023. We encourage you to participate and voice your preferences by completing the survey. Your input will help determine the programs our town will offer in the coming years.

**Why Your Participation Matters:**

1. **Advocate for Year-Round Swimming**: The inclusion of year-round swimming options in the survey is a significant opportunity. Year-round swimming programs can promote health, fitness, and safety for children and families.

2. **Swimming Lessons**: Choose swimming lessons as a program option. These lessons provide invaluable life skills and water safety education that can protect our children around water.

3. **Aquatic Events**: Consider selecting aquatic events to introduce competitive event with other school boards.

**How to Participate:**

1. Visit the Town's website: 2. Complete the survey by November 5, 2023.

Your voice matters, and your participation in this survey is crucial to shaping the future of our town's family programs. We encourage you to share this newsletter with other parents to increase the impact of our collective input.

Thank you for your time and commitment to creating a brighter future for our community. If you have any questions or need further information, please feel free to reach out to us at


Niagara-on-the-Lake Indoor Pool Group


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