Jan 15
Kindergarten Skills

Dear Parents & Guardians,

As I’m starting to write this WAG, the wind is howling outside and debris is flying around like crazy. What unusual January weather we have had so far!

On Wednesday, I spoke with the owner of the pre-school. She called to ask what skills we would like our kindergarten students to have by the time they arrive at CWS. It made me smile. Preschool as well as kindergarten really is a time of socialization: to learn how to share toys, how to take turns, how to follow instructions. It’s also a time to grow more independent: How to put things away yourself, how to dress yourself, how to self-regulate when you fall and mom is not there.

Here are some other things I shared with her that students need to practice:

  • Balancing on logs (or benches)
  • Throwing a ball, catching a ball
  • Standing on one leg
  • Jumping on the spot
  • All other things gross motor
  • Cutting with scissors
  • Holding a pencil correctly
  • Painting with brushes (fine motor skills)
  • Crossing your middle (left hand touches right knee, right hand touches left knee)
  • Parents/preschool support language acquisition by reading to their child/ren every single night, by singing with them and by practicing rhyming words


If you wonder how important reading to your child is, I would like to share a personal story. My little granddaughter is 16 months old now and her dad, my son, has been reading to her at night as part of her bedtime routine since she was 6 months old. At this point, she is picking her favourite books! She also has her favourite songs.


Jan 08
Thank You for Supporting Your Students At Home

Thank you for supporting your student(s) at home this past week. We know that this has been very difficult as most of you are also trying to work from home at the same time. Joining each class most days for a period of time was my highlight of the day, as it was so good to ‘see’ everyone. I was especially impressed with how well the kindergarten students were doing (with lots of help from parents, I’m sure. Thank you!), as this was truly their first time of online learning. Attendance was also excellent, as Ms. Tammy was following up with families who struggled signing in initially. Thank you, Ms. Tammy! Ms. Tammy, in collaboration with the teachers, has also purchased games for each classroom, using the $10.00 incidental fee. These games will be available for students during indoor lunches/recesses.

We are looking forward to welcoming all our students back on Monday, January 11, 2021. Please make sure that your child is arriving wearing a mask. Thank you.


Jan 04
First Week Back

Dear Parents & Guardians,

During the last week before the winter break, after months of waiting, Mr. Kearney’s classroom, our Grade 4, finally received their brand-new Smartboard and a new document camera. The students were as excited as Mr. Kearney about their new tech equipment. This week, we are expecting the delivery of the three “Front Row” Sound systems. All items were funded through school council. Thank you!

I hope that you have enjoyed the past two weeks. I also hope that you are all well and are healthy.

As you know, this week, the students are staying home and learning through Google Classrooms. Your teacher will take attendance in the morning and for the afternoon after the lunch break. I would like to take a moment to express my sincere appreciation to all of you for supporting learning at home. I know that many of you are working from home full-time, so having your child/ren at home and also supporting them with tech problems is … challenging to say the least. Fingers crossed, the students will be back at school on January 11th! It sure is lonely here without them!


Dec 18
Merry Christmas

Dear Parents & Guardians,

Thank you for the lovely gift card each staff member received from school council. I know that I’ll be treating my family to the flourless chocolate cake from Gravity!

This year, 2020, has be a year extraordinaire. None of us have seen Alberta schools close for months. No parent ever had to support student learning at home. Most of us have never worked at home 100% of the time nor lost their work due to a pandemic. While I reflect on this year, while unprecedented, I also see how it has brought good things to us:

  • I, as well as many, many other Calgarians/Albertans, have gardened like never before
  • I have met people from my neighborhood while outside gardening whom I would have never met otherwise
  • Less planes flew through the world, resulting in better air for humans and animals
  • More Albertans enjoyed the mountains in peace and quiet as the millions of visitors didn’t come
  • Delayed home projects got done like never before, so that it actually became difficult to purchase wood for fences
  • Everyone seemed to be purchasing bikes this summer too! As Calgarians started to bike to work in order to avoid public transportation, their fitness increased
  • Many parents spent all day with their child/ren at home, supporting them in their learning, realizing for the first time how difficult it is to teach and what the learning needs of their child may be
  • Spouses who would go to work stayed home, suddenly realizing for the first time how exhausting it is to be a stay-at-home parent & caregiver. I’m sure their appreciation increased tremendously

Where there huge struggles & disadvantages? Of course! I wanted to focus on the positive things though.

As the holidays are approaching, I enjoy pulling out old cookie recipes; recipes I learned to bake with my mom so many years ago. Listening to Christmas music, the house smelling heavenly, it is the one and only time of the year when I still, even after 30 years, suffer from a pang of homesickness. Christmas was a very special time for me while growing up.

Let me share my memories with you:

At the end of November, cookies would be baked. Lebkuchen need to ‘sit’ for over a month to the get soft and chewy. The last 2 weekends prior to the 24th, we would sell Christmas trees (no cutting off trees in the forest like you can do it here!). Families would come, choose and cut down their own tree. My sister and I would measure the trees and multiply it by 10 or 12 German Marks per meter, depending on whether it was a cheap or a more expensive tree. My sister and I would get $1 for each tree we sold. My mom would sell Gluehwein and make waffles. We’d have oodles of fun, connect with neighbors we hadn’t seen in a while and fall into bed tired but happy.

We’d go out to cut our own tree down the Saturday prior to December 24. Yup …. No tree up for 4-6 weeks! Decorating the tree was the job of my sister and myself. In Germany, you are even allowed real candles on trees. Yes, each year, a couple of houses catch fire. We always had a water bucket close by and it was always someone’s job to ‘watch the candles’.

On December 24th, we had to help my mom setting the dining room table with the good china, help in the kitchen and, after a light lunch, it was time to have a nap. Then, off to church we went, barely able to sit still because we couldn’t wait to get home again! When we arrived home, my mom and dad would go into the living room, light the candles, start the Christmas music and… finally open the door to allow us in!

Each year, we had to recite a poem and play on our instrument before we ever opened any presents. We’d always sing Christmas songs as a family, too. Opening presents was also done in a particular fashion: one person would pick up a gift (which couldn’t be your own) and hand it over to the right person. Each year, my parents would give us a book that had a lovely dedication written inside. I still have most of those – despite my rather far moves! We would receive a piece of clothing we needed. Most years, we would receive a third gift, too, which might be a fun one.

This was followed by the most amazing meal of the year: meat fondue accompanied by a curry mandarin almond sauce & remoulade sauce (both home made), pickled veggies and salad. 

When we think about what defines our culture, food, music and clothing play a huge part. It is therefore no surprise, that, when I think about Christmas, I remember the smell of baking & candles, the food, the music and the clothing we wore.

Wishing you and your loved ones a peaceful, joyful, playful winter holiday. While we can’t meet up with large groups of people, it is my hope that you will enjoy the next two weeks.

From my family to yours, I wish you:
Frohe Weihnachten!
Joyeux Noël !
Merry Christmas!

Ms. Thomsen
Principal, Colonel Walker School

​ 


Dec 11
Math Education

Dear Parents & Guardians,

One of the reasons why I love CWS is the active parent community. During the last school council meeting, I was asked which subject area I would like to see supported by parents. Of course, I choose math! Seven parents came together to brainstorm ways in which math can be further supported throughout the school and at home. Some ideas on how parents could support excitement around math and applying their math knowledge involves estimation activities from our Inglewood environment (my personal favourite!). On Tuesday, December 8, 2020, our learning leader Ms. Lemke, two parents and myself discussed the many ideas brought forward by the parent math committee. The discussion was rich in ideas, and the parent committee will now discuss how to move forward and what to try to implement this year and next school year. If your professional work involves math, hopefully, you are not too shy to speak about it for 2 minutes (and be caught on camera!) Stay tuned for more exciting updates!

Our parents are

Committed  to CWS
Attentive to math instruction
Rock finding math in our everyday environment and know that math
Education is essential for doing well in life


Dec 04
CWS is a Hidden Gem


Dear Parents & Guardians, 

As this is my second year at CWS, it seems that some parents are worried about me leaving at the end of June 2021. I will not. I love it here. I think CWS is a hidden gem. In times when schools only get bigger, we are small - truly are a community school. 

Each week that we spend in school and “don’t get the COVID-19 call”, I am grateful and relieved. By now, we are two weeks away from winter break. Hopefully, everyone is more and more careful. Personally, I only run into the Farmers Market for 15 minutes to pick up veggies, fruit and some meat. Otherwise, I stay at home and go for walks with family members and friends. Nobody is entering my house any longer. I would like to be able to say: “CWS made it to the end!” My sister (and her hubby) are teachers in Germany. There, they have to open windows every 20 minutes for 5 minutes. It’s the LAW! They know that the virus is mainly spread through the air (and a little through contact) and the more classrooms get aired, the more refreshed/changed/diluted the air will be. So, if your child mentions that it’s a little fresh in class, it is probably true – despite the warm weather outside! 

Front Row: Juno 



Nov 27
School Reports


Dear Parents & Guardians,

Thank you to the many parents who joined the school council meeting on Tuesday night to hear information about the Annual School Results Report. This report in its entirety is posted on our school website.  This was the last school council meeting of 2020.

I'm sure you have heard that students will be participating in online learning for the week of January 4-8, 2021. All students have been practicing to log into their Google classroom. I suggest you try it from home prior to the winter break. Doing it now and overcoming any tech challenges that may surface will be easier resolved now than on January 4th, 2021. ​


Nov 20
Bullying Awareness Week

Dear Parents & Guardians,

As of yesterday, CWS still has not had a positive COVID-19 case. Hallelujah!

Students tell me that they are only inviting two of their best friends to their birthday party in order to 'be safe'. I think that is responsible. Big birthday parties should be on hold until we are 'back to normal'. Inviting a whole class, at this point in time, could potentially infect everyone in that class. Avoiding big spreader events like that will help CWS to make it through the year. Thank you for your support in this. 

The week of November 16-20 has been the Bullying Awareness Week. How is bullying different from a single conflict? Bulling is defined as a form or repeated, persistent and aggressive behaviour directed at an individual or individuals that is intended to cause fear and distress and/or harm to another person's body, feelings, self-esteem or reputation. Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance. At CWS, every adult works diligently at establishing healthy relationships and welcoming classrooms for all students. In case of conflict arising during recess, adults deal with them immediately. I mentioned last week, the number of incidents have been drastically reduced this year because each child is able to play with recess equipment. In case your child does come home and shares with you that s/he is being bullied at school, please ask them to describe specific situations and – reach out to myself. I can only support your child, when I'm aware of what is happening. In case of emergencies, the Bullying Helpline (1-888-456-2323) is available 24/7 and offers help in more than 170 languages. Online chats and calls to the helpline are anonymous.

​ 


Nov 13
Recess Bucket
​Dear Parents & Guardians, 

On Tuesday, CWS students, jointly with PFS students, attended the virtual Remembrance Day assembly. Thank you to Ms. Lemke, our liaison, who helped organize and plan this virtual assembly with PFS. Students of both schools had created artwork that is displayed in the gym – students from both schools can see and admire it during gym time. 

In June 2020, we bought each class a ‘recess bucket’. Each bucket is filled with jumping ropes, basketballs, soccer balls, soft balls, hula-hoops and Frisbees. Each class has a different colour for their equipment. Students sign out the equipment and are responsible for its return. Since September, I’ve been watching students use all of this equipment extensively. The balls, hula-hoops and Frisbees are favourites. It has been delightful to watch some of the kids play Frisbee at recess and lunch and to watch them improve their skills over the past 10 weeks. Early in September, they could barely throw/catch the Frisbee. Now, their skills are much improved. It is noteworthy that incidents at recess and lunch have declined dramatically as they are all playing with equipment they like! Excellent news! 

Thank you for all the donations for the Alexander Centre Society Christmas Hamper that have been dropped off already. 


Nov 06
Remembrance Day

Dear Parents & Guardians,

The month of November is always a time to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in a free country. A country where men and women can vote, drive cars, go to school, go to university, enjoy health care, practice their own individual faith and simply “be who they are”.

This year marks the 102nd anniversary of the armistice of WW 1, the war to end all wars. As we know, it was not the war to end all wars; only 22 years later, WW2 started. Mothers, who lost husbands in the first war, often lost sons in the second war. Let us take a moment to discuss with our children the reasons why a nation, a country, needs an army and why a country decides to go to war or to support another nation during war times.

G.K. Chesterton once said: “There never was a good war, or a bad peace. The tragedy of war is that it uses man's best to do man's worst. The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him. The act of war is the last option of a democracy.”

As a mother of two sons, I pray that I will never have to see them dressed in battle gear ready to go to war. The thought alone brings tears to my eyes. I would like to thank all of our parents, grandparents and CWS friends who work or have worked to serve and protect our country.


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