The image below was created by the kids, so there are a few spelling mistakes. But, as said by one of our amazing teachers, spelling, like life, isn't always perfect. But it can still be honest, heartfelt, and beautiful. So, with that, we hope you enjoy this beautiful piece written in combination by our students and our fantastic Ms. Tori. A wonderful way to start Spring! Thank you VVA!
“Can you name 10 things that make Via Vita unique, that you love and appreciate about your school?”
It’s a question I’m sure most of the kids have thought of from time to time but one that I was curious to see be put into words. As I stare at the wonderful 60 faces in front of me, eager to participate, I can not help but have a sense of immense pride. Pride in my kids, in my work team, and in the environment in which I have been honoured to become a part of.
As I stand at the front of the room in Buddies with my fellow teachers in tow, I am amazed at the level of critical thinking these kids bring to class every day. Without hesitation they create groups that involve all ages and designate a writer and “techy” who copies down the information and then prepares it for our Menti project. Menti (as the lovely Ms. Rhiannon taught me) is a brainstorming website that allows multiple people to add words to a central idea or question. The best part is the ideas that come forward more often are the ones that grow in size. It is reflective of that age old classroom question “so what’s our big picture, what is our major focus”, without standing at the front of the room in a lecture-style lesson. As we rotate around the room, it is clear that the kids mirror many of their fellow teachers’ style of classroom management. They prompt their friends for answers to our question, and are patient for the ideas to come out rather than move on to the next student. Some of our older students engage with focus activities or adapted questions to help our Pre-Kindergarten kids feel acknowledged and involved.
All in all the lesson goes according to plan, and as we come back together to share our answers with the Menti Cloud projected on to the wall, I cannot help but feel that twinge of excitement to see what the kids really believe sets our school apart.
Their excitement grows with each word that is typed and submitted, and while they smile, laugh, and point I cannot help but feel that sense of pride again. It wells up in my throat as I observe the things that I know in my heart are important to their learning, but that you sometimes wonder if they are picking up on. Music, daily physical activity and kitchen are the first to be thrown up on the board, and it is amazing to see how they value the impact that daily life skills have on their growth. Values like kindness, buddies, and helping others are quickly added; compassion training that is close to all of our collective hearts. After school is added by another student and I feel Ms. Hilary grab my arm, and with a giant smile she goes, “Look, I’m up there!”
“Of course you are Hilary”, I think... we couldn’t do this without you.
As the word 'kind' builds it’s way up to the centre (being the most common word they think of), I stare at these beautiful future adults. If the one thing we could bring to them every day is how to be kind to each other, I know I would never have another moment where I question myself, “did I make an impact today?”
Buddies lesson for the day: never underestimate the value of kindness in a child’s education. It will truly inspire everyone around you. It is something I have seen every day since I joined Via Vita Academy, and I cannot express how thankful I am to work in an environment that values this quality.
And knowing that our kids believe it sets us apart too?
Well, there’s something kind of magical about that, isn’t there?
From the very appreciative,
Please welcome our Grey Fox Class with today's Blog Post in honour of 'Random Acts of Kindness Day', which is coming up on February 17th! Our Grey Foxes are in grade 3 and 4 and wrote this together with the help of their teacher, Ms. Zoe. Way to go, Foxes! What do you think - can you help add to their list?
February is a time to celebrate love, friendship, and family. It is a time to give thanks for the wonderful people in our lives, and to think about how we might share love with others. With ‘National Random Acts of Kindness Day’ soon approaching on February 17th, the Grey Fox class has been looking into ways to spread kindness all around. After all, kindness is infectious! Let the kindness challenge begin! Here is the list that we came up with; let’s see how many of these you can practice this month!
-Offer to help someone
-Hold the door for someone
-Listen to others
-Show respect for others
-Practice GRATITUDE! (give thanks for the people in your life and show your appreciation)
- If someone drops their things, help them to pick them up!
-Help to cheer someone up if they are sad
-Hugs!! (with permission)
-Buying a meal for a stranger
-Babysitting for adults so they can have a night out
-Offering to take a photo for someone
-Giving to charity
-Manners…”Please” and “Thank-you”
-Cleaning up the house (before being asked!)
-Helping a sibling with something
-Helping to cook dinner
-Giving someone a bus ticket or paying their bus fare
-“Comfortation” (term coined by the Grey Foxes that’s means: to have a comforting conversation or moment with someone) :)
Can YOU think of any others?
No holding back here! Our Bobcats (grade 5/6 class) were eager to share the straight up truth of what a student at Via Vita is all about. As they put it, #nofilterneeded. Here you go - right from the mouths of our most candid ones in the bunch, here is an honest recap of what they’re loving (and what they’re not lovin’) at Via Vita.
LOVE/NOT LOVE @ VIA VITA
By The Bobcats
LOVE: It’s like a TV show, you go to school, learn a lesson, come home, and it’s a happy ending at the end of the day.
LOVE: We all feel like a family because it’s like a home here... Except there’s no beds and stuff to lay down and sleep, but there is a couch.
NOT LOVE: We get a lot of homework. There’s so much I feel like can’t do it but when you get it done, you feel so good. Then your parents are like, “See, doesn’t it feel good?” And you really look at them like, “uuuuuuh!”.
LOVE: Everybody’s friends and everybody just hangs out, different grades and all. No pressure to be anybody you’re not. Just be.
LOVE: It’s so easy to be friends in a smaller school than a big school because in a big school you don’t know everyone, but here you know everyone.
NOT LOVE: Teachers are always around you. They notice everything!
LOVE: The classes are smaller and you get a better chance to get help when you’re stuck. I used to think Math was so hard. I, like, really know what I'm doing here.
LOVE: Gym is everyday. It’s awesome because you get to run around. And be loud!
NOT LOVE: They really push you to do the work yourself. It’s hard!
LOVE: You have a lot of say in how you do your projects and what you do them on. You have so much control over your learning.
LOVE: You can get here early and play in the gym or you can just sleep in and be late. It’s cool. But seriously, you still gotta get your work done on time. Trust me.
NOT LOVE: They always find a way to talk to your parents. Like everyday. They know everything.
LOVE: You can play together and not yell and punch, you can actually help each other be the best of yourself.
LOVE: You get to play outside a lot. You gotta wear a coat though. It’s freezing out.
NOT LOVE: No excuses on late work. You just have to do it. Like, if you don't do it, you're gonna have to eventually.
LOVE: You don’t have to wear shoes inside.
LOVE: At my old school I didn’t really do any fun activities, It was like math, math, math.
Here we do fun stuff like hikes, go to the park, play mantracker inside the building on the last day, and create plays and stuff.
NOT LOVE: They really force you to speak up. Once you do, it all makes sense and stuff, but oh man, it's like, I just don't know what to say! But then you do know.
Welcome to Our Blog
Each post is written by a supportive member of Via Vita Academy, be it a teacher, parent, student, community member, who is invested in the topic of education. Take a read and comment below!