After a two-year hiatus, it was a pleasure to see so many families and students gathered at last night’s Welcome Back BBQ! Your presence and participation are vital to the success of our year together. I am always thankful for the number of parents that make our Matthews Hall events so successful, especially considering the busy lives everyone is leading. When you take the time to join your children together with their school “family”, you send a strong message of connection and support, which is very much appreciated by your children’s teachers. It’s a harbinger of good things to come as we return to normal in Ontario.
In schools, there is a natural rhythm to the year and one which has punctuated most of my life. The time leading up to Canadian Thanksgiving is a distinct phase of getting organized in port for all. As we launch the barque out into the bay, we have our eyes fixed 10 degrees above the horizon watching for the best and clearest routes that will lead our students safely to shore in June. If the school is a ship and the students are the important cargo, then the teachers and parents are the crew that will make the voyage a success. For us, it’s about beginning with the end in mind.
What do we envision for a year of learning? We are not only focused on the traditional core curriculum and its outcomes, but also on the implicit or hidden curriculum that infuses student life at Matthews Hall – the lessons that are caught, not taught. After our children forget everything they ever learned in the classroom, what remains? We hope that, after a year at Matthews Hall, the residue of formal learning will reflect the values of best effort, personal growth, mutual respect, inclusion, perseverance, and responsibility to the community. In short, good citizenship. If our students “catch” these lessons, supported by the example of their teachers and parents, they will continue to build upon the scaffold begun with you at home.
Next Thursday (September 22, 2022) at 7:00 PM, parents are invited “Back to School” for an evening of orientation to the coming year. Our teachers, new and veteran, will be sharing their plans and vision for a year of successful learning with our students. We hope you will be able to make it. We will begin with a large group session in the school gym and then move to classrooms and throughout the school. Please take the time to visit our beautiful new learning spaces and see the improvements we continue to prioritize to ensure a warm, welcoming, and positive learning environment for your children.
As we sail on together through the fall, let’s all be watchful for shoals and shallows, as we work to keep the student experience (and ours!) focused, fun-filled, and safe. Life in schools, as in families, is seldom a straight line without any “navigational” hiccups. Share your concerns, ask questions if you are unsure, and help us understand your child better as a learner – and as a person!
By “coiling the falls” together, we will be able to keep the deck clear and get underway with confidence – and sail on together with a heart of oak!
Debeo Possum Volo!
Ric Anderson, Head of School