September Newsletter

School Council Meeting

The first School Council meeting of the year will take place on Wednesday, October 5th, 7–9pm. Parent representatives from each class are asked to attend, as well as any other parents/caregivers who are interested in what’s going on at Withrow. This meeting is targeted at people new to the school; we will discuss what the School Council does as well as discuss some of the fundraising we do through our Home and School arm. One topic we would like to broach is what people think about how we do our fundraising. And for those of you who are old hands at the school, we are looking to fill a co-chair position for the 2016–17 school year, so if you’re interested, let us know! We are always looking for volunteers who want to get involved and make our kids’ experiences at Withrow the best they can be! Childcare will be provided.

Lunchtime and After-school Programs

We have just opened another lunch time chess program for Juniors (Grades 4-6).  Registration opens on Thursday (tomorrow, September 29) at 8:30 am in the office.  There are also 2 spots left for lunch time drawing on Thursdays (grade 2-3) and a few spots for Raising Readers (Grades 1-2).

Registration for all after-school programs continues.  We have added Chess (Mondays after school), Lego (Quantum Kidz on Tuesdays) and Lego Programming (Bricks4Kidz on Wednesdays).  Programs will be cancelled if there is insufficient enrollment.  Information for all programs can be found on the after-school blog – http://withrowafterschool.blogspot.ca/.

Withrow Silent Auction

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Silent Auction Preparations are starting!

There is nothing silent about this Auction (despite its name). In fact, this is the most coveted event in the Withrow parents’ calendar each year. To keep it that way, we require fresh blood for our committee. Everyone can help.

Do you want to be our:

  • Advertising and Social Media Guru
  • Volunteer Monitor
  • Food and Drink Manager
  • Class Art Director
  • Donation Hustler …?

For all this hard work you will dive deep into the Withrow community, spend fun evenings with like-minded parents, get to check out amazing cocktails before the auction and generally feel good about yourselves for knowing that you have contributed to an event that brought in $31,000 for the school last year alone. If you are interested, just email us at withrowauction@gmail.com.

Fundraising With Everyday Purchases

For a limited time only, we’ll be selling COBS Bread cards* – good for 12 loaves of bread  for only $30! That’s half price off fresh bread!

Our neighbourhood COBS Bread (on Danforth at Broadview) has generously donated these cards to Withrow, with 100% of proceeds going to our Home and School Association. If you love fresh bread (we know you do!), this is a great way to get a fabulous deal and support our school at the same time!

To purchase, fill out the sign-up form and we’ll email you with payment details. Cards are available until October 6th, so get yours soon!

*Maximum of two cards per family, please.

To view all of the “everyday products” we fundraise with, check out the fundraising section of our website.

Lost and Found

Can you believe there’s already a ton of items in our Lost and Found? The first clean out will take place on October 7th, so please ensure you check the Lost and Found by that date to retrieve any missing items. 

Greening Committee

Parent Gardeners!  Withrow School needs your help, and would welcome your assistance with the weeding, pruning and general taming of the Withrow Native Garden (located just beyond The Friendship playground structure).

Created in 2009 from grant monies secured by parents, the Native Garden was originally an outdoor classroom and educational resource for teachers, showcasing a stunning variety of plants native to Southern Ontario. But over the years, this space has grown wild!

While parents are welcome to hop the fence and weed anytime (e.g. after school, weekends), please ALSO mark your calendars for a special WEED-FEST on Friday October 14th from 3:30 to 5:30pm. Gardeners with knowledge, skills and tools are especially welcome.

Please indicate your interest to paulinestanley@rogers.com.

Withrow School Food Garden Update

We’ve had another productive spring and summer in the Withrow School Food Garden. It’s hard to believe this is already my 7th growing season working as the School Garden Educator at Withrow! In the past few months, I have done a few presentations about my work in school food gardens, which has given me a chance to look through pictures from the past few years. I’m constantly amazed by how much the garden has changed and how much I have learned from working in the garden with students and collaborating with teachers.

Despite the dry spring and summer, we’ve been able to explore and taste a number of things from the garden. Every spring, we have plenty of “volunteer” plants sprouting from last fall’s seeds, and even this fall, we have salad greens and herbs popping up from plants that went to seed over the hot dry summer. And new lemon balm plants seem to be finding their way to all corners of the garden, which always makes the kids happy.

Mme Boujos’ class has already had a chance to do a bit of harvesting to make some kale and herb pesto, which they really enjoyed (even those who were adamant they did not like kale nor garlic)! One of my favourite cooking lessons last spring was with Mme Johnna’s SK class. There wasn’t yet enough to harvest in the garden, so we used some Ontario storage crops from the farmers’ market, such as beets, radishes, carrots and cabbages, as well as some chives from the school garden. Students peeled, grated and cut the veggies and we added a simple dressing. The only complaint I heard was “We were only allowed 4 servings!” Seems it was quite a hit!

One of the new lessons I’ve started with over the past year is Garden Mapping and Planning. During the first lesson, we map and measure the garden, and learn why farmers or gardeners need to know how big their fields or gardens are. During the second lesson, students have the chance to plan what they would like to grow in the garden. They take into consideration what grows in Ontario, what can grow in the shade or needs a lot of sunlight, and how much space different plants need. I was definitely inspired by the students’ plans when planning this year’s garden!

Garden Club has started again for the fall season and we have already started doing some garden maintenance. We have students from a range of grades, which is really nice. A couple of the older students have been in Garden Club since they were in grade 1 and are now able to take on more of a mentorship role in the club. I know that they can work independently on certain tasks while I work with the younger ones, or that the older students can lead a small group of younger students with tasks they have become familiar with. I really enjoy working with this group of young gardeners. Garden Club is open to new members in grades 1-6 in September and in April.

If you would like to read more about my work at Withrow and in other neighbourhood school gardens, check out my blog or follow me on twitter.  ~ Elin