learn to love to learn

I Don’t Know

  • September 27, 2016

Why is it that a Grade 4 student feels embarrassed when they are unable to answer a question?

Michael Fullan, Canadian Education Consultant, has found that by Grade 4 students are no longer asking “Why?” or “How come?” they are asking teachers, “How do I get better marks?”; a sad commentary that we have squashed the natural curiosity in students.

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Why?

  • July 15, 2016

We have all heard a child ask, ‘But why?’ as we get caught into a circular conversation with a toddler. It can seem tiring, and today some parents even resort to handing over their Smartphone to the child to ‘Ask Siri’. Is it a time thing or a loss of our own curiosity?

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Changemakers

  • April 29, 2016

A conversation began, “Why do we have to be in school?” and then continued with input from others. When they turned to me I said, “To provide you with the skills and knowledge to become the Changemakers of your world.” A little philosophical and perhaps lofty but the students pondered my statement and agreed.

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The Way We Communicate

  • March 20, 2016

Communication:the science and practice of conveying messages by exchanging thoughts or information via speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behaviour.

The way we have communicated through the ages has been varied, but regardless of how we communicate there is a message to be heard and an idea to be shared.

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An Adventure Rather Than a Journey

  • March 13, 2016

One of the best things in life is that we constantly learn. Whether formally in school or not, our interactions with others broadens our perspectives, provides another point of view and allows us to discover.

When I have attended international conferences in the past, conversations have indicated we are all very similar in what we strive for, both for ourselves and our children, professionally and personally. But sometimes someone else can provide clarity to my thoughts. This was true this weekend when I was reading some international educational papers. In reading Martin Robinson’s article, ‘Where did Education, Education, Education, Go Wrong?‘ I had several ‘aha’ moments. Although referring to the British education system, many concerns are the same as we see here.

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Well done. I mean it.

  • January 17, 2016

I recently read an article in the New York magazine that struck a cord with me. I’m sure many of us fall into this – our overuse of ‘Well done” and “Good job” praising to our children. We have lost authenticity in providing feedback to our children in doing this. We overpraise them to the point that they seek instant gratification for almost everything they do.

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Imagine a country, just like ours…

  • December 5, 2015

Imagine a country, just like ours. Imagine a family, just like yours. Imagine a house, like that in which you live. Imagine children, just like those at the park. Now, imagine a war, in this country like ours. They grieve for the dead, this family like yours. There’s no longer a house, like that in which you live. And the children can’t go to the park, due to fear. And so this family flees, from their country of birth. Behind them they leave devastation and grief. They leave much behind, they have near-nothing left. They want a new life, away from the death. But they can’t do it without you, they just can’t.

The Lakeshore Syrian Connection is a group of Toronto moms trying to raise the $30 000 needed to bring a Syrian refugee family to Canada. Through selling merchandise and fundraising, they have already raised more than half the required amount. Many will never even consider giving to such a cause. Giving money to a family that you have never met, and may never meet. It does seems bit odd at first. But this is a family, just like yours. The parents had jobs, the children went to school. They have dreams and aspirations. They have left so much behind. Today, I ask you to help fix what is wrong with the world. I ask you to give to those who have nothing. Your donation gives hope to those who live in fear.

Thomas

Gender – Equity – Merit

  • November 15, 2015

There has been a lot of discussion in the media about the new Liberal cabinet and whether people received positions based on merit or gender or both. But to quote our new leader – “it is 2015”.

Gender balance is a common thread in school systems. The advantages and disadvantages of an all boys or all girls school; a classroom that has more males than females or vice versa; a student that has only had female teachers in their entire academic journey. The combination and permutations of gender in academics is always in a state of flux. (Gender balance is hard to have even in families!)

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Time to Vote

  • October 18, 2015

While we may have found it to have been a long campaign, it did provide a perfect opportunity for learning about government, history, marketing, communicating and so much more. Our senior students were empowered to vote in the StudentVote on Friday and now here is their message to you. 

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Rules of Engagement

  • October 12, 2015

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

Engagement is a popular term used in the education profession. Engagement is also one of those lovely English words that has multiple meanings based on the content it is used in.  For Star Academy engagement is embedded in our philosophy and physical setting.

Engagement refers to the level of involvement the student exhibits – their curiosity about topics, their questioning to deepen their understanding, and their taking ownership over their learning. Research recognizes the combined value of developing non-cognitive skills (executive functions) and cognitive learning to enhance engagement. Addressing both these areas at Star Academy is a part of our Five Pillar philosophy.

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The Great Outdoors

  • September 13, 2015

What image comes to mind when you think of the outdoors?

Wandering the yard at recesses I recognize how fortunate we are to have such amazing green space at the school. It is a setting that allows for creativity, cooperation, reflection and curiosity to grow naturally. Not bound by rules (other than for safety) the children are free to invent games, participate in ‘archeological’ digs, read a book, investigate insects and enjoy the companionship of a friend. And that is just the first week of school!

Research  continues to tout the importance of outdoor play, not just because it gets them away from screens, but because it impacts the whole development of the child. Our Five Pillars align not only with our delivery of curriculum but our use of outdoor time as well.

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HGTV and Education?

  • August 7, 2015

I enjoy watching the occasional HGTV show and dreaming the dream. So the other day I thought August seems like a good time to do some renovations, kids are moving out and I have some ‘free’ time. My husband is in the renovation business so asking to redo a room is usually not a big ask. In my mind all that is needed are a quick clean and a fresh coat of paint. In his mind it is scrapping, caulking, repairing, replacing, patching…and then painting. That’s when it hit me; HGTV is very much like education!

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Excelling in Star’s Pillars

  • July 26, 2015

Excelling in any one of our five pillars requires an established foundation in each pillar. Whether gifted in the academics or an elite athlete, these individuals must balance their lives socially, emotionally and globally as well. We are proud of all of our graduates and to those who have found their passion at a young age, we acknowledge your commitment. 

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Open Doors vs Open Houses

  • July 26, 2015

Many private schools host Open Houses on weekends or evenings, and it is hard to truly appreciate the energy of a school during these times. The tour is usually informative, and your questions can be answered, but how can you tell if the stated philosophy is alive and well throughout each school day?

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The Balancing Act of Education

  • July 12, 2015

It may look like fun and games but there is a whole lot of learning happening in this month of July! Many adults become confused by the education jargon pbl, play-based, hands-on learning etc. And some may look inside our classrooms and see kids having a whole lot of fun and question if learning is occurring. Of course it is, but education is more than just incorporating a trending philosophy.

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“They Said I Could Do It!” – Reflections from a Star Academy Graduate

  • June 8, 2015

Andrew Passarelli graduated from Star Academy in 2014. He currently attends St. Michael’s College School in Toronto. In March 2015, he returned to Star to volunteer. We took the opportunity to catch up with him.  

Star:  Tell us about your time at Star Academy. How did you first arrive here?

Andrew: I came here when I was in grade 7, halfway through the year. I wasn’t doing so well at my other school. The classroom sizes were really big and I was having trouble focusing.

Star: Do you remember your first impression of the school?

Andrew: When we came in the driveway, I thought it was really small. Then my mom and I were walking down the hallways. I looked into the classrooms and I thought: “There aren’t many kids in there!” My mom explained to me afterwards that it was a good thing. It meant more one-on-one time.

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The New Health Curriculum

  • April 28, 2015

Over the past 6 months there has been a growing concern from the public about the new Health Education curriculum that the Ministry of Education has put out, that will take effect as of September 2015.

Listening to the radio this morning we made the decision to publicly state our views on this subject.

As with everything Star Academy does, it is unique but starts from a common sense (which is too rarely common practice) perspective. How will it benefit our students, their families and our staff? 

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Moving Beyond Limits – Interview with a Star Academy Parent

  • March 15, 2015

The following is part of a series of interviews with parents and alumni about their experiences at Star Academy. Kim Bassett and her husband have four children at the school. We sat down with Kim to discover how it all came about.

Star:  You have four children at Star Academy. How did that happen?

Kim:  We started with Jeffrey. He came here two years ago in the last term before summer. We saw changes in him so quickly – the way he was being taught and the way the teachers were interacting with him. You realize that any kid can benefit from the way they teach at Star, whether they have challenges or not. Besides, it’s easier than having four kids at four schools!  

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Family Literacy at Star Academy

  • January 25, 2015

Tuesday January 27th, 2015 is Family Literacy Day, a national awareness initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada in 1999.  The purpose of this initiative is to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in literacy-related activities as a family.

family literacy day 2015 at Star AcademyFamily literacy programs focus on parents enjoying fun literacy activities and modelling life-long literacy skills so that students see the relevance of literacy outside of the classroom. Studies have proven that reading allowed to children assists them in developing their listening skills, vocabulary and language skills, as well as imagination and creativity, which in turn all help support and enhance writing skills.

On January 27th, as on all days, Star Academy teachers are encouraging families to engage in both discussion and creation of literacy-related activities. Below you will find several ideas regarding how to participate and help students to further extend their love of literacy at home and with family.  

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KARS continues to “FLOW” in the Community

  • January 23, 2015

Kids Against Road Salt "FLOW" Mural by Star Academy“FLOW” tells the story of water as it makes its way through our watersheds. From its source, water travels through rural and urban areas before flowing into lakes and oceans around the world. At the start of our mural a young person is depicted reaching out to prevent a piece of garbage entering the water system, signifying that we can all take small steps to keep our water fresh and clean and free of contaminants for the future generations.

This 5-panel mural was painted by member of the Senior Class at Star Academy with guidance from Lori Klan, owner of ARTS JAM, a unique Arts Programme which gives students confidence and experience in a variety of artistic mediums. A plaque has been placed beside the mural as special recognition from the Region of Peel who partnered with us to display our mural on the construction wall for the Hanlan Water Project at South Service Rd and Cormack Cres. This plaque and recognition was unveiled at a special ceremony on January 22nd at Star Academy.   

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