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,
Many things happen in a day. There’s so much we want to say, but so little time to say it.
The moments that go into the school day - they are more than just time slots, childcare, and subjects of study. They are, honestly, our world.
We reflect on them, we draw meaning out of them, and we strive to constantly build better ones. We continuously replay them in our minds, and use them to fuel us further.
Being right there, on the front lines, while your child overcomes challenges, strives to do better, takes ownership over their choices, discovers something new, or shines in a way that naturally complements their uniqueness and personal qualities - these moments are what we live for, what we work hard for, and what we believe in. They are us.
So, to better get to know ‘us’, your teachers, the team you trust to teach your child, wrote out our thoughts about teaching. First, we wrote them separately, and then brought them together to create this post. Here’s how it turned out.
Your Via Vita Teachers
Adele, Alicia, Meghan, Ryan, Yolanda, & Zoe
I choose to teach your child because I choose to keep learning, and since they want to keep learning too, we make a great team. I want them to realize how fun learning can be. I love to be curious with them, explore with them, investigate with them, and create with them. I choose to teach because I want guide your child in discovering who they are, and to help them to see their worth both as a learner and as people.
The reward I get from my job as your child's teacher is a daily surprise--sometimes the reward is laughter, sometimes it's a shared eureka, sometimes it's a double high-five out in the backyard. It is getting to continue learning right along with them everyday! It is getting to watch as they transform and overcome obstacles that they never thought possible.
When I see your child smile… it warms my heart that they are building a positive relationship with school and learning. When I see your child smile, it sparks an already familiar feeling: being in the right school, for the right reasons. When I see your child smile, it helps to remind me why I chose this profession.
When I see your child struggle, I step into the role of co-pilot; I'm not there to fly them around of their struggle like an avoidable detour, but rather, to help them through their struggle, mostly by reminding them that they're not alone. I work with them to build their own understanding and help them create meaning in the challenges they face. When I see your child struggle I know that I must work extra hard to help them to see their own value and to believe in their ability to overcome any obstacle.
What gives me joy every day is to be part of a school that feels ever more like a big family that's addicted to learning. It is to see students come back each and every day excited to learn and do more than they did yesterday. It is watching students help each other, spread kindness, and form lasting bonds.
What pushes me to keep going when the going gets hard is a penchant for perseverance, which I aim to inspire in my students every day. What keeps me going is knowing that we are teaching students to love learning so that they want to continue it throughout their lives. It is knowing that I have the unique opportunity to influence the life of a child in a positive way, and that in return they may influence others in a positive way.
What I love seeing every day happen at Via Vita is our Morning Meetings: a daily gathering, co-hosted by students, where we table discussions about how we're doing as a community, and how we can do even better. What I love seeing everyday happen at Via Vita is, honestly, the learning! It is fluid, looks different each day, and happens differently for each student. I love seeing the wonderful mentorship fostered between older and younger students and the multi-age bonds that are created. The students really are like one big family.
The difference I already notice in one month is the amount of support I get from our students, regardless of the task at hand. They are ready and willing to help, and I am constantly encouraged by their will to build a culture of cooperation in our school. In just one month, I notice is the significant increase in confidence and leadership skills for so many of the students. I notice how supportive and accepting everyone is of each other. Some of us have only known each other for a short time but it already feels like family.
Please welcome a post from our oldest student, Charlotte Jones. She came to us at the start of grade nine looking for something different, not sure what she had gotten herself into here at Via Vita. It didn't take long for Char to become everyone's big sister. Winning this year's student-choice award for kindness and strong moral character, Char is a true role model for all of our students. She sent us a little note to post on the blog that we hope you'll enjoy reading. A true leader and inspiration for all of our students. We enjoyed every minute of being your teachers, Char. Have a wonderful summer!
My name is Charlotte. I am a grade nine student that loves Via Vita.
Next year, I will be in grade 10.
I don't want to go to public school because you don't form the same relationship that you do with the teachers at Via Vita. They make sure you are caught up and that you understand everything you're doing. I have had more laughs than ever this year. I have developed so many memories and made so many long term friends coming to Via Vita. It makes for an unforgettable childhood. I wouldn't change or trade my grade nine school year for anything.
I have never not wanted to leave school at the end of the year. I love my second family.
Something I will never forget is being called up onto the stage because I won the student choice award and bursting into tears because I realized I was around so many people that I love and so many people that love me.
I never knew what it was like to have a big family. I do now.
(From Left to Right: Helen, Charlotte)
Helen and I, with the help of our classmates, created a list of interesting stuff you might want to know about Via Vita Academy!
1. We are a big family.
2. There are 11 different grades but it feels like one.
3. We learn off of each other.
4. We cook and do physical activity everyday.
5. We have performances and cook for the families at the end of every term.
6. Grade 7 and up get to walk to Tim's or Avery's at lunch.
7. We get a lot of one-on-one learning.
8. We call our teachers by their first names.
9. We laugh a lot.
10. At Via Vita it feels like you leave your home in the morning and to another home.
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!