December Newsletter

Withrow afterschool programming info and reminder

We are fast approaching the registration deadline of Tuesday, December 16th for in-school afterschool programming. As of this Tuesday past, most in-school programs are facing cancellation due to low enrolment. If you are thinking about registering, do not delay and head to the after school blog!

We would welcome feedback on the in-school and off-site afterschool programming in preparation for spring programming. This is your opportunity to influence the afterschool programming for the spring and 2015/16 term! Please follow the survey link to participate.

Annual Giving Campaign

The Annual Giving Campaign is going strong and we’ve had many generous donations, for which thank you very much. We are happy to see that people are recognizing this is an important year in Withrow history with the revitalization of the schoolyard. If you haven’t donated yet, please consider heading to Ways to Support for an on-line donation or drop off a cheque in the lockbox at the office.

You will also be able to make donations with a credit card at the Winter Concert on Wednesday the 17th.

Winter Concert

The Winter Concert is Wednesday, December 17th, 1:15pm and 7pm. Insider tip: if you are able to catch the afternoon performance, it is much less hot and crowded. Performances will be given by the following classes and groups: M. Steve, Mme Lambert-Denis, Ms. Rashid, Mme Boujos, Mlle Wong, Mme Claire, Mme Brigitte, Mlle McAllister, Mlle Nickels, Mlle Sebestyen, Mme Beaugrand, Ms Noiles, Advanced Ukulele (year 2 and 3, Thursday lunch class), and Junior Choir.

For last-minute gifts, Withrow Spirit Wear will be selling their wares at both concerts.

Withrow Cares

Deadline to donate to Daily Bread Food Bank (Grades 1–6) and Interval House (JK/SK) is today, Friday, December 12th. You can drop off donations until the end of school. Click here for more detailed info.

Silent Auction

If you like a sweet deal, love to chat with other parents, and know a good party when you see it, then mark your calendar for the annual Withrow Silent Auction. This year’s event takes place on Friday, March 27, 2015 and is one of the school’s largest annual fundraising events.  Money raised at the soirée will fund initiatives of the Home & School Association like new equipment, classroom technology, arts and science programs, and – of course – our school yard improvements.

Can you donate something from your company? Bake a cake? Offer sewing classes?  We need your help to make this a great event.  If you have something to donate, or would like to volunteer, please contact withrowauction@gmail.com.

Home and School Meeting

We had a great meeting last Wednesday (Dec 3rd) where we learned about a day in the life of a Kindergartner, changing traffic in Riverdale (click here for more info), the proposed new laptops for the junior grades and much more. The meeting minutes are here. The next Home & School meeting is Thursday, February 5th.

French Language Resources

The TDSB has a French as a Secondary Language Advisory Committee who offer up many resources for parents helping their children in French. They have published a recent newsletter that include a new parent guide, registration deadlines and French activities at libraries over the holidays.

Withrow Food Garden Fall Wrap-up

The Withrow Food Garden is sleeping for the winter, after another wonderful garden season! The fall was busy and it was great to get to work with a big range of grades and classes. We did a lot of cooking activities, like making kale chips, scissor salsa, kale and herb pesto and Stone Soup – the delicious foods got munched up quickly! Many classes had a chance to sample different types of Ontario apples, and to describe the apples using all five senses. Students have also had a chance to taste some new things straight from the garden. Their favourite kale tends to be “dinosaur” kale, and some Kindergarten kids even said they thought parsley tasted like cookies. It’s always fun getting kids to taste new healthy foods! In the garden, we’ve explored the changing seasons, gone on seed scavenger hunts and saved seeds for planting next year. We’ve learned what should and shouldn’t go in the compost, and about worms and the other little critters that turn our food scraps into beautiful compost for our garden. We even wrote menus for “Worm Restaurants,” with delicious menu items like “apple core crumble” and “banana peel split”.

The Garden Club does a lot of work in the garden, including planting, weeding, watering, sifting compost, cleaning, harvesting, etc. This year, they also got to cook with some of the produce from the garden. We roasted potatoes and sunchokes, made some kale and herb pesto, and picked some herbs for tea. The students really enjoyed sharing this little meal at the end of a good Garden Club season.

Feel free to enjoy the garden throughout the year. Please just remember to follow the garden rules which the students have learned:

1) Walk when you’re in the garden
2) Walk on the paths (not in the garden beds, on the wooden garden edges, nor on the rocks)
3) Only pick and eat things in the garden when it is part of an organized garden activity

Also, let’s remember that the garden is a food garden and that pets should be kept out.

Thanks to the school and parent council for your continued support of the food garden programme! I can’t believe I’ve already been working as Withrow’s School Garden Educator for five garden seasons!

If you’re longing for the garden over the coming months, please check out my blog about gardening and exploring nature with kids: seedlingstories.wordpress.com

Have a wonderful winter and see you in the spring!

Elin Marley, School Garden Educator