Category Archives: Back to School

Best practices for our School Parking Lot

Before and after school are always busy times of the day at schools. We anticipate that our school parking lot will also be quite busy. As we begin our work together, safety for everyone is very important. For your convenience, we have set up a map of our grounds to help you and your family plan accordingly:


We encourage all of our families to walk to our school. We are fortunate to have a beautiful town with many great walkways and trails for families to use. Walking to school also promotes healthy living for our students.

To help us establish best practices at our opening, here are some guidelines for our parking lot if you do plan to drive to our school:


  • Parents and guardians may park in the parking lot located on the east side of our school.
  • Our School has a Kiss and Ride lane available that is marked.
  • The Kiss and Ride allows you to drop your child off in the morning and then drive away.
  • Please drive slowly and safely through the Kiss and Ride areas.
  • There are two lanes beside the Kiss and Ride that are for traffic to flow through to the parking lot itself. Please do not let your child exit your vehicle in these lanes.

noparkingYou will notice that the Kiss and Ride area is signed “No Parking”. In consultation with our fire department, this has been designated as a fire zone. Therefore, there cannot be any parking in our Kiss and Ride, or car loop, at any time. Our community bylaw officers will also enforce these no parking zones as per the municipality’s bylaw policies.

If you want to walk your child to the entry areas you must park your car in the parking lot spots.

It is also very important that you do not park, or stop for extended amounts of time, in the kiss and ride area as this will cause a backlog of vehicles.

accessibleShould you require a wheelchair accessible spot, you may use one of the two spaces nearest our main entry door.

busloopOur school also has a designated bus loop at the front of our school.

  • No cars may enter the bus loop area.
  • We are expected to have a large number of buses and so it is important that the entry and exit to the loop is not blocked at any time.

Some other general reminders:

  • If you are using the kiss and ride area please pull up slowly, allow your child to exit your car and then drive away slowly.
  • Supervision begins at 7:55 a.m. at our school in the Kindergarten areas, bus loop and main yard. We strongly recommend dropping your child off ahead of the 8:05 a.m. entry bell between 7:55 a.m. and 8:05 a.m. This also helps balance the amount of traffic in our parking lot.
  • Allow yourself adequate time in the morning and afternoon to drop off and pick up your child.

We appreciate everyone’s support in keeping our streets, walkways and school ground safe.

Mr. Collins

Back to school transitions

Kids_CircleThis week I overheard a parent in the office say “my kids can’t wait to get back to school”. Another parent later commented “I can’t wait for my kids to get back to school”.

Yes, there is excitement in both camps isn’t there?

We understand.

We also understand that for some children, this is a time when they may be feeling a range of emotions including nervousness. Please know that nervousness is normal. As a parent or guardian you are not alone if your child is expressing apprehension about the start of the school year. Knowing they have you in their lives to help them with the transition will go a long way in the long run. If you are looking for some tips for transitioning your child back to school, you may find these helpful:

  • Listen and acknowledge your child’s concerns. Just know that you don’t have to have all the answers.  As parents and guardians, we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves when we see that our child isn’t happy. Sometimes, all a child needs is to know they can talk and that you will hear them.
  • When a child expresses a concern we want to acknowledge it but we also want to try to support children in finding possible strategies to approach the problem. For example, if a child says “what if I can’t find my new classroom after lunch?”, we could ask them “that may happen, but who could you go to for help if it does?” At our school, we want children to feel they can go to any staff member and ask for help if needed. Supporting children in finding their voice in working through their concerns can help ease their minds while also empowering them.
  • Routines go a long way. Now is a good time to establish bedtime routines, morning routines and begin talking about what a school day may look like.
  • Visit the school yard and take a picture if you like. Talk to your child about the new school year.
  • Practice goodbyes. For example, if grandma is looking after your child, let him/her visit and stay while you leave just like you would for work.
  • Highlight the positives as much as you can.
  • A trip to the local library may help. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg; The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing; The Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing; I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas; Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate; The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn are great books to support children who are nervous. (Referenced from Dr. Michele Borba and Sasha Emmons)
  • We often think children need lots of friends to feel safe and included. In fact, children often need just one good friend. If you can connect with someone in the community who also has a child attending our school this may help. Even if they are not in the same class, they will see each other in the school.
  • We are fortunate to have many of staff returning for our second year of school who can help out and reassure. Yes, your child’s homeroom teacher is their main point of contact. However, I have many examples that I have witnessed of our staff supporting children they do not directly teach…it is a great team!
  • If it helps, you can feel free to let them know that even Mr. Collins the principal is nervous. 🙂 It is important for children to see that nervousness is a human emotion that we can all experience and that is OK to feel this.

Finally, if after a few days you find your child is still feeling anxious talk to us. Let your child’s teacher know so we can develop some strategies together. We’re here to help.

The good news is, I have many examples of children who were  nervous on Day One but who settled in quickly.

Mr. Collins

It takes a village

aug26Over the past month, I have highlighted the work of the staff in our building who have worked tirelessly to prepare for our opening next week.This week was full of highlights for myself, but the one that stood out was the opportunity to watch our staff envision our learning spaces. Staff talked, dialogued, unpacked, set up, moved, took apart, set up again, offered each other feedback…they envisioned what our learning spaces could be. Like artists, they looked at the canvasses of our spaces and began to develop masterpieces for learning. Our canvasses are always fluid based on the needs of our learners. Part of what will be so exciting is to watch how our spaces evolve over this year. Once again, I extend my appreciation to our team of teachers, Education Assistants, Office staff, caretakers, child care provider staff and Designated Early Childhood Educators who have put so much time and energy into preparing for next week. Please take a look at our twitter feed for just a few examples of that amazing work. I am most grateful for what is a truly wonderful team of people.

I also want to take time to thank those teams who worked hard “behind the scenes”, including:

– Our architectural team IBI group that helped design the school our students are about to enjoy.

– Our board’s Planning Department spent many months working with many stakeholders to plan our school before any shovel broke ground.

– The various contractors and building teams who helped construct our school since July 2013.

– The municipality of East Gwillimbury and the Town of Mount Albert who approved the construction and permits for our school.

– Our Board’s Plant Services department for their countless hours meeting, inspecting, cleaning, moving items in, out and all about.

– Our board’s Purchasing Department for all of their support in purchasing the wide variety of materials that you will soon see in our school.

– Our board’s Human Resource Services Department who support with the hiring of our wonderful team.

– Our board’s Finance Department who oversaw our initial capital start up orders and budget.

– Our Board’s I.T department for their amazing work on our technology infrastructure.

– The team who oversees new school construction in our board.

– Our school trustee Loralea Carruthers for her support over the past several years as we moved from the initial proposal of a new school for Mount Albert to a special visit on site just this past week.

– The work and support of our area superintendent Chris Sarellas and the Senior Team of our board.

All of the teams and individuals mentioned above count for hundreds of people who have worked to help make our school possible. I welcome all of us to take the time to thank those who have helped to make this possible.

Finally, to the town of Mount Albert itself a heartfelt thanks. Your support, enthusiasm, excitement and celebrations of this event mean a lot. Congratulations on this exciting moment.

Indeed, it takes a village to raise a child; ours is a large and dedicated one.

All that is left are our students themselves to join us. To each one: welcome.

When our students join us next Tuesday, September 2, 2014, they will help make all the hard work worthwhile. No longer will it be about dreaming, wondering or imagining.

Next Tuesday, our journey truly begins in full splendor.

What do we want our story to be?

You have a role to play in shaping it and in telling it. We look forward to having you join us and we begin our new school year.

For me personally, this is one of the most exciting moments in my career in education. I know it is also so very exciting for the community of Mount Albert.

Next Tuesday, let’s enjoy the moment together.

And so, now, are we ready?

Oh, yes!


Mr. Collins