Fall Term Underway

Dear Parents,

Dearcroft Montessori Directors, Gordon Phippen, Lynda Phippen, Director's Letter
Directors: Gordon Phippen, B.Sc., AMS and Lynda Phippen, B.A., AMI, AMS

With the Fall Term now well underway, and many exciting initiatives keeping us very busy at school, the weeks are dropping off the calendar as quickly as the leaves off the trees!

Last week we were thrilled by a fantastic turnout at our annual Fall Festival.

Thanks to those of you able to attend.  A highlight for many was enjoying the ‘delicious deliberations’ of the Jr. High chili cook-off contest!  It was also great watching the younger kids burn off some serious energy in the bouncy castle and have their faces painted while they waited for their clown crafted balloon creations!  Set amidst a lovely autumn backdrop beneath the canopy of fall leaves in our back playground, the Fall Festival was a great chance to visit… re-connecting or meeting new friends.  Special thanks also to former Dearcroft dad, Don Allen (owner of Jubilee Fruit Market) for the generous donation of the beautiful box of harvest fresh apples.  All in all, Fall Festival was a great way to enjoy the fleeting days of the season.  Thanks to our staff and senior students for their assistance in preparing for the event and to all of you for making it such a great success.

Speaking of seasonal celebrations, we’re now planning our next party…

A Magical Christmas… our seasonal holiday gathering, coming your way in December.

This year we’re incorporating some fresh ideas and a new format, so please circle the date on your calendar … Friday, December 5th.  Please plan to join us and invite friends & family!

At our first planning meeting, several parent volunteers and many of our staff worked on establishing some committees and we look forward to unveiling the details of this event soon!  The proceeds from this year’s A Magical Christmas will be donated to the United Way and the numerous worthwhile charities under its community umbrella.

In addition to the many in-class lessons and learning opportunities the children have participated in, our elementary students have enjoyed field trips to the African Lion Safari and Crawford Lake on the Niagara Escarpment to study fresh water resources/ecology and First Nation history at the Iroquois village and longhouse.  Next week, our senior students will experience Group Of Seven art and the works of Tom Thomson as well as the extensive Inuit/First Nation collection at the beautiful McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg.  Truly one of our country’s greatest cultural destinations, the McMichael Gallery is a Canadian treasure.  If you are interested in joining us for this trip (Wed. Oct 29th), you’d be most welcome to come along.  The McMichael collection is world class and if you haven’t seen it… please consider joining our group!  Pls. call the office if interested.

This year we have initiated a highly focused and ambitious art study component throughout the school.  Led by Mrs. Shipton, we are expanding our art program by developing new opportunities and innovative extensions to our curriculum.

Some activities will include gallery visits, guest speakers and exhibitions of student art both on and off our campus.  You may recall our ‘Celebration Of Art & Biodiversity’ evening held at Dearcoft last May.  This event featured catered food and drink, music and beautiful works of art inspired by nature and the biodiversity on our campus.  Assisting us last year was Dearcroft dad and local artist, Bert Jackson.  Actively involved in Oakville’s art community, Bert is a painter, sculptor, tattoo artist and graphic designer.  During a number of workshops over the course of the year, he helped our senior students create wonderful 3-D models and sculptures that drew rave reviews.  Totally engaging the enthusiasm and creativity of our students, Bert has become an… ‘artist in residence’, of sorts here at Dearcroft!

His art lessons are greatly anticipated by Dearcroft students of all ages as he is working this year with a range of classes from Pre-school to Jr. High. Watch for more of Bert’s art and creative additions to our campus in future weeks.

Before entirely leaving the topic of art, there will be an interesting musical, Colours In The Storm coming to the Oakville Centre, (Nov 6-8 and Nov. 12-15), based on the life and vision of one of Canada’s most iconic figures, legendary artist Tom Thomson.  In addition to featuring Dearcroft mom, Jane Pokou, performing in the chorus, Colours in The Storm profiles Thomson’s short but prolific career painting the Canadian wilderness prior to his mysterious drowning in Algonquin Park’s Canoe Lake in July of 1917.  The enigmatic mystery of Thomson’s tragically premature death and his legacy of hauntingly beautiful landscapes (many hanging in the McMichael Gallery) has inspired many books, films and art exhibitions.  In an effort to honour his memory, the subsequent formation of The Group Of Seven by his grief stricken painting colleagues led to a monumental body of combined works, revolutionizing Canadian art.  Widely considered Thomson’s most important work, The West Wind (AGO collection in Toronto) actually inspired the name of our Jr. High program and logo!

For more information on ordering tickets for Colours In The Storm, the award winning musical by Jim Betts, please contact the Oakville Centre box office: oakvillecentre.ca

(905) 489-7784

In closing, as you may know, on Saturday, October 25th we will be hosting an OIS (Oakville Independent Schools) Open House from 10 a.m. -2:00 p.m.

If you know any families you feel would be interested in Dearcroft, please encourage them to attend.  We always appreciate referrals from you, our parents, as word of mouth is a very significant factor in how we meet new families.  Last week we attended the Our Kids School Expo at the Oakville Conference Centre, where we met many new potential families.

In fact we may have first met you through this annual marketing event that we attend every October!  We are of course also more than happy to also arrange for visits and schedule tours for those interested, outside of Open House dates.  We encourage you to let other people know this and are always grateful for such introductions!

In this regard, as an introduction/overview of our school community… we are sending you an email link to a Dearcroft school video produced over the past year.  It was produced by Dearcroft graduate, Laura Bowker, (Bowker Resolutions) an accomplished photographer and filmmaker who attended film school in NYC and works locally.  Laura also does film workshops with our Jr. High students and is a great advocate for the development of creativity in youth through film and multi-media study.  If you have a chance to view Laura’s video, we hope you’ll find it helpful.  Let us know what you think?!  Increasingly, in addition to an improved website, we plan to document what makes Dearcroft/West Wind the special community it is, so we can all share links to it through networks of technology and social media.  In short, our greatest asset has always been the people and combined strengths within our entire school family.  By working together enthusiastically, great initiatives can and have been accomplished!

After a week like we’ve just had, highlighted by the tragically disturbing events in Ottawa, it’s important for us all to be thankful.  We are very lucky.  We live in a great place and share a great school community with nearly half a century of wonderful traditions.  We have our families, each other and a remarkable degree of freedom.  So much so that we so often take it for granted.  I look forward to seeing you at upcoming school events and on behalf of our entire staff, thank you for your dedication and commitment to our combined efforts.  We truly appreciate your support and the privilege of working with your children.


Gord Phippen, Director

Gord Phippen

About Gord Phippen

Gord and his wife Lynda are the Owners and Directors of Dearcroft/West Wind Montessori School. Gord holds a B.Sc. from Dalhousie University in Halifax and an A.M.S Elementary Teaching Degree from CMTE, NY. From 1992-95 he served as Chairman of CCMA (Canadian Council Of Montessori Administrators) and he is a CCMA trained Montessori Consultant.