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MAY 4, 2023

Dear Royal Oak Families,

Spring is always a time of reflection for us, as we cherish our last six weeks together as a school, but look firmly ahead in our planning for a new academic year. Our youngest (and smallest) Early Years students have grown and matured so much, whilst very tall Grade 8 students don their “Grad Hoodies” with pride (and I hold back tears…!)

Change is in the air.

The month of May is that time of year where students are demonstrating their incredible new knowledge in everything they do, as eight months of classroom learning is behind us and final projects, performances and essays are being produced. For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, Royal Oak is also re-engaging with achievement testing. This testing is to ensure student understanding of taught material is where it should be, and that we have a tool to assess the effectiveness of our teaching and programming. CAT5 is a Canada wide online curriculum based assessment of grade level learning. These assessments have given us the opportunity in Grades 1-8 to talk about the importance of practicing the skill of test taking, and to teach these as well. We have learned test-taking strategies, managing feelings of anxiety around test taking and how important it is to have practice experiences in a supportive and low-risk environment, like our classrooms. It has been wonderful to see students rise to this challenge, and we thank you for your help in framing positive discussions around this at home as well.

This month has seen students out and about in our community and abroad learning from the environment and from local experts, such as in our Junior grade trip to the Welland Canals Museum and the Butterfly Conservatory. There are so many more wonderful out of the “school walls' experiences ahead, Camp Wahonowin and Week without Walls to name a few! Emails have been sent out by the school with detailed trip information about these special experiences but please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about these exciting opportunities or the fundraising that is ongoing through our weekly “Coffee Cafe” and upcoming Bake Sale.

Enrollment for the 2023/2024 school year is looking very positive, and almost every day we have new families touring and trialing Royal Oak School. At the moment, we have no class size under ten students, and expect more wonderful growth throughout these last months of the school year and into the summer. It is our plan to share staffing news by the end of the school year for fall, as well as to give families a preliminary idea of your class sizes. As always, we remain “intentionally small”, knowing our reduced teacher to student ratios, close knit and caring community and knowledge of each and every child is one of the things that makes Royal Oak such a special place to grow and learn.

I look forward to seeing you all at performances and social events ahead, and wish you a wonderful May full of the sunshine we all deserve! Warmly,

Julia Murray, Head of School

Alice in Wonderland

The students have been hard at work rehearsing for our Annual Drama production of Alice in Wonderland. May 25 is fast approaching - don’t be late for this very important date! :)

This performance will take place at the NOTL Community Centre and doors will open at 5:45pm for early seating. Students are to be at the NOTL Community Centre by 5:30pm to get ready for the production and our schedule on May 25 will be a little different from the norm so please take note! There will be a full school dress rehearsal at the NOTL Community Centre from noon to 3:30pm and pick up that afternoon will be at the Community Centre. There will not be a local lunch that day and a bagged lunch will be needed for each student. Please forward any questions to admin or to Ms. N.

Tickets are $10 and grandparents, family and friends are welcome. As sent via email last week, Ms. Nyenhuis is looking for costume donations. Please consult the list of wish list items below and email Ms. N at if you can help!

Alice In Wonderland Costumes - Class Divisions.pdf

Alice In Wonderland Costumes - Characters .pdf


The Grade 7/8 students have been hard at work hosting the Friday morning Coffee Cafe fundraiser.

Each Friday morning, they have been diligently making and selling fresh brewed coffee, delectable baked goods and stirring up creamy hot chocolate all to raise money for our trip to Camp Wahanowin and the Week Without Walls trips. To date we have raised over $950 for these events and we expect to raise even more with the next Friday morning, Coffee Cafe and the big community bake sale on Saturday, May 13th from 8:30am to 4:30pm. A note will be going home this week outlining the whole school event and the items needed for it. We are looking for volunteers to help out bake baked goods, make drinks, and donate items for the raffle. The Google Form is here. The money raised will help lower the cost of the final camp and week without walls pricing for those who have volunteered for the events. We are estimating that the price of the camp and week without walls will drastically be lowered with these fundraisers. If you have any questions or can donate items for the bake sale or the raffle, please email .


On Tuesday, May 2nd, students in grades 1 to 8 will participate in the Canadian Achievement Test or the CAT5. This assessment will gauge the levels of the students at the end of this academic year so that the teachers and administration can align teaching practices and programing in order to assure success in our classes. This is part of a national study and schools across the country will be participating. ROCS students will be working on these online assessments that will concentrate on our Math and Literacy programs, between May 2 and May 12th. If you have any questions about the CAT5 you can contact Ms. Julia or if you would like more information, please look at their website:

Parent Teacher Interviews and Term 2/3 Report Cards

On Friday, June 2, Royal Oak students will have a half day of school until 12:30pm, with free afternoon childcare provided by Ms. Karyll and Ms. Tobin at Royal Oak for all students who sign up. The afternoon is set aside for Parent Teacher interviews with your child’s classroom teachers, and teachers will send out a sign up sheet as well as alternate times to meet over the next two weeks. To take advantage of the afternoon childcare, please email to reserve your spot!

Royal Oak sends report cards home two times a year, in December to communicate Term 1 progress and in the end of June to share news of Terms 2 and 3. This year, Report Cards will go home on June 23, 2023, electronically. We ask that families respond via email to confirm receipt of these important documents.

Earth Day Event

This year, ROCS students celebrated Earth Day on Friday, April 21st with a school assembly, crafting pinecone bird feeders and cleaning up Simcoe Park. They had fun with a trash collections challenge and scavenger hunt at the park with their Book Buddies. It is beautiful to see the small things that our students do that impact the community in positive ways. Well Done, ROCS!

GR. 3 to 8 Field trip to St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canal Centre

On Friday, April 28th, the Grade 3-8 students from Royal Oak visited the Welland's Canal Museum. Despite diverse programming in each grade, the topics of Waterways and Water in Grade 7/8, Biodiversity in Grade 5/6 and Gears and Pulleys in Grade 3/4 made this a perfect hands-on learning fit for all! Students even had the chance to converse with Canadian SteamShip workers as a large boat went through the locks as we were visiting!

March and April Character Award Winners and Caribou Contest Leaders

Throughout the months of March and April, our character traits of focus were respect and responsibility. Together, the Grade 7/8 and Early Years classes ran an assembly to teach us about these important characteristics and share the ways we can practice these skills in our life in and outside of school.

Our March and April character award winners are:





Kindergarten- Malcolm

Grade 1/2 - Norah

Grade 3/4 - Riley

Grade 5/6- Masha

Grade 7/8 - Ben and Ruby

Kindergarten- Emma

Grade 1/2 - Frankie

Grade 3/4- River

Grade 5/6 - Josiah

Grade 7/8 - Lou

Caribou Contest Winners:

Grade 2: Henry

Grade 3/4 : Grayson

Grade 5/6 : Wes

Grade 7/8 : Josh

Upcoming FUN for the Last Weeks of School!

May is here and here at ROCS we are busy, busy, busy. We can barely keep track but some of the upcoming events and activities are:

● CAT5 Assessments- May 2- 12

● Last Caribou Contest of the year

● Badminton Tournament at Wheatley School - May 4, 2:30-4:30 pm

● Track and Field at Wheatley School

● Our community bake sale fundraiser- May 13, 8:30-4:30 pm

● Alice in Wonderland production-May 25th at 6pm at the Community Centre

● Victoria Day long weekend - May 19-22, school resumes on May 23.

● Camp Wahanowin and Week Without Walls - May 29 - June 1, 2023

● Parent/Teacher Conferences - 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, June 2nd. Half day of school for all students.

● Cabaret and Graduation - June 15th, 2:30- 4:00 pm, with outdoor reception from 4:00-4:45 pm

Royal Oak Summer Camps & Tutoring!

ROCS will host its very first Royal Oak Summer Academy for children 4 to 8 years old. This academic/ creative camp will give your little ones a chance to boost their confidence in literacy and math all while having a fun day camp experience. Tutoring is also available for students, Grade JK to 8 during camp hours (9am to 3:30pm). Please see Ms. Dennis for more information and register here: ROCS Summer Camp Registration



Early Years

Happy April, everyone! I truly hope you’re enjoying spring as much as we are in Early Years! As I’m sure you’ve heard, we are taking in all of the beauty of the season, including hatching our own chicks. There has been a lot happening in our class since the last monthly update. In Literacy, we are continuing talking about word families using the short i and short e sounds. We’ve also continued our daily Heggerty lessons. These have started including words with 4 sounds and encoding words (where the students are given letter sounds and they need to identify which letter makes each sound to spell and sound out words on the board). Finally, we’ve been working on the parts of a sentence and learning how to write them.

​In Math, we started the month learning about comparing numbers, where the students had to determine larger and smaller numbers. Currently, we are learning about the different types of coins we have in Canadian money. Next up, we’ll be diving into 3D shapes! In Inquiry, we’ve been learning about natural versus manmade objects. The students even got to make their own edible bird nests out of pretzel sticks, chocolate, and Easter candies. The end of the month brought lessons about Earth Day and how we can take care of the planet. I’m so proud of all of the students and their hard work this past month. I can’t wait to see what fun we get up to over the last couple months of the school year.

Grade 1/2

What a busy couple of months! I can not believe we are at the end of April already! In seven weeks, we will be enjoying time with our families, relaxing and soaking up the summer heat. The month of April was a productive, creative and fun month in the Grade ½ class of Royal Oak. We began the month with a class writing assignment. The students were learning about the elements of a narrative piece of writing. As a class, we brainstormed ideas for the setting, characters, plot, problem and solution. The boys and girls worked collaboratively to create our story, “Cheeto Robot”, which included all the elements of a narrative. Our inquiry topics have been plentiful. We have learned all about Solids and Liquids, Earth Day, Human Growth and Development and are beginning a unit on Leaves, Trees, and Seasons. To help with our Human Growth and Development unit, the students were asked to complete a Show and Share about their Baby Story and to include a baby picture. Within this unit, our class, along with the Early Years class and the ¾ class are engaged in monthly Roots of Empathy lessons and visits with Baby Axel. This activity has allowed the students to gain an understanding of the importance of the power of a secure attachment relationship between infant and parent – the first and most powerful model of empathy. The students also had some creative fun colouring Easter eggs and decorating an Easter gift bag for their families. To finish our Easter celebration, the children were active participants in the Bunny Hop with their Grade ⅚ reading buddies. The middle of the month saw Royal Oak welcome 25 chicken eggs to our library. The girls and boys in Early Years and Grade ½ have been counting down the days until the eggs hatch. How exciting!! One of the new components of the Grade ½ program is the introduction of our Fresh Air time on Wednesday afternoons. The students have been busy with math, inquiry, STEM and writing challenges, using the beautiful natural surroundings of our school to help them extend their learning experiences. During the month of April, the boys and girls have been busy learning about time, money and various addition and subtraction strategies. Last week, our Inquiry lessons focused on Earth Day. The children drew a special piece of nature, reflected on why this piece of nature was important and contributed to a bulletin board chart about how we can help the earth. Our class was also responsible for the Earth Day assembly. The students of ROCS spent the afternoon with their special friends, making bird feeders out of pine cones, picking up garbage at Simcoe Park, and completing a scavenger hunt. We had an amazing day within the community. Currently, the students are beginning to write mystery stories with a partner which they will illustrate and share with the class. We are looking forward to hearing all of their spooky tales!

Grade 3/4

Thank you, April, for always reminding us that the change of seasons, renewal, and sunshine allow us to flourish and blossom in our learning. Similarly, the Grade 3/4 students have been experiencing their own exponential growth in every aspect of their identities. In our Social-Emotional Learning, we have challenged ourselves to reach the personal goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year, such as drinking more water, becoming better readers and helping others with small acts of kindness. Each new day starts with gratitude and the intrinsic belief that we have the opportunity to become capable and confident learners! In Language, we began writing letters to our "Future

Selves", an activity which served as a reflection of the present, as well as continue to visualize and set goals for our aspirations.Our Pulleys and Gears unit allowed us to examine how simple machines have been used since the beginning of time, from the Ancient Egyptians to modern day advancements in mechanics. We used our critical thinking in a STEM challenge, in order to construct load bearing structures with a pulley. As a wonderful culmination of our learning, we visited the Welland Canal to observe the mechanics of man-made structures in our community, such as vertical lift bridges and locks. We are looking forward to May with a renewed sense of energy, drive and passion!

Grade 5/6

April showers, bring May flowers! It has been a month of endings and new beginnings in the grade 5/6 classroom. We have had so many wonderful opportunities this month as we have wrapped up previous units and started some new ones. This month the class graduated from the Royal Oak School of Medicine program with flying colours! To complete their research program, this group of residents had to write an essay exploring a body system of choice complete with diagrams and images. This has led them to new schooling opportunities as they have begun the Royal Oak Environmental Science program where we are exploring how to protect and preserve the biodiversity in our community. The classroom has become a group of super sleuths as we begin our Mystery genre unit, complete with case files. The class is tasked with using their inference and deducing skills to solve various mysteries and even write their own. These stories will be placed together in a school-wide book that will be published by the end of May. The biggest change in our classroom has been the departure of our amazing Brock Teacher Candidate, Meagan Dunne. Miss. D has officially ended her placement with us as she heads towards her graduation from Teacher's College this June. While we are sad to see her leave, we had a wonderful time saying goodbye during our Drama showcase on Friday, April 14th. Thank you again to all the parents who came to support our talented actors and puppeteers from JK to grade 8! This month has been jam-packed with exciting learning adventures and celebrations. May will be just as exciting as we count down to Camp Wahanowin at the end of the month!


Every Friday morning we will be selling baked goods, coffee, and tea outside the primary ramp to the community. Our weekly cafe is a fundraiser for our upcoming trip to camp! Each student in our class has signed up to help with this weekly cafe!

I would like to remind everyone that school uniforms must be worn daily, and indoor shoes must be at the school.



Students are continuing working on their new literacy circles for either The Barren Grounds by David A. Robertson or The Hate U Give by Angie Thompson. As well as beginning a new unit on Essay Writing.


Students have completed a dynamic unit on coding and robotics. We will beginning a Financial literacy unit in math, aligning with our ROCS Cafe project for camp budgeting!


Students are well on their way into our Waterways unit. We will be covering some mapping skills and setting out on a field trio for the end of our unit.


Students are continuing figurative drawing unit.


Hello everyone, I am excited to meet you over the upcoming weeks and am very grateful to teach your wonderful children! - Ms. Smith

In continuing with our theme for last month, we are attempting to keep the class organized through the use of their individual agendas. We kindly ask that all student agendas are brough in by students each morning so that they can keep track of important due dates.


A Look Ahead at ROCS

Offerings in the Community

Please read a message below from one of our school parents to support this important fundraiser:

For the second year there is a call for help to raise money for those affected by the war in the Ukraine. The SteppeUp for Ukraine cycling fundraiser will be on Saturday, July 22 this year and the goal is to have 100 cyclists participate across various distances. Last year there was a 20 km route for people who wanted to just get out for a spin and have some fun, and a 120 km route for more experienced cyclists. The organization would absolutely love to see Royal Oak represented at this event. There are many ways to get involved, including:

  • Participating in the ride

  • Making a donation to a cyclist’s fundraising page

  • Volunteering on the event day

  • Corporate Sponsorship (eg: sponsor a water station)

  • Donating goods and services for the event day (refreshments, water bottles, bouncy-castle)

In addition the fundraising goal is to raise over $100,000. Last year the goal was $30,000, and a whopping $100,000 was reached. The two charities that will benefit from the ride this year are Help Us Help and The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Niagara Chapter).

These two charities are very much aligned with our Royal Oak values. Help Us Help provides humanitarian aid and relocation support for the most vulnerable populations inside Ukraine, including children and the elderly. Their other main focus is to provide opportunities for these children to go to summer camps in safe areas and receive scholarships/bursaries so that they can have a higher education (their scholars program). The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Niagara Chapter) has recently gained charitable status and has started a fund for Ukrainian refugees to the Niagara area. There are hundreds of new Ukrainians in Niagara - most of them women and children who are here without the rest of their families. They need support so that they can establish some stability and eventually thrive in their impossible-to-imagine new normal.

For more information, including making a donation or registering for the event, please check out the official campaign page:

Please also follow the group on IG for updates, fun posts (assisted by our own ROCS student-Lev!), and to help expand the organization’s reach: @steppeupforukraine. Please direct any questions to or call Christyna Prokipchuk at 437-223-6268

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