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New Ontario “Support for Learners” Financial Assistance Program

On November 30, the Ontario government launched the Support for Learners program.

Through this program, the government is providing financial support to help parents and guardians with additional costs during the 2020-2021 school year, during the second wave of COVID-19.

Eligible parents or guardians will receive a one-time payment of:

  • $200 for each child up to age 12
  • $250 for each child or youth up to age 21 years with special need

This is a new program, and all parents or guardians who are residents of Ontario with eligible children will need to submit a new application for each child.

This is a new program, and all parents or guardians who are residents of Ontario with eligible children will need to submit a new application for each child.

As of today, eligible parents or guardians can go to https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-support-learners  for more information and to apply for the one-time financial support. The deadline to apply is January 15, 2021.

Support for Learners funding is intended to directly support parents to provide children and youth with key educational resources like workbooks, school supplies, technology and developmental resources during these unprecedented times.

Main Entrance Closure: Remainder of Week

Good Morning Saints!

Please Note: Due to the weather, construction had to reschedule their work on the school’s main entrance. Our main entrance is closed again starting today, all day from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, until Monday December 7. All visitors, staff and students will be asked to avoid using the main entrance of the school today and for the rest of the week. If you are picking up your child or dropping something off, please use our alternative entrance at the right side of the school by the elevator entrance. Please buzz the office at that door and provide your name.

It will not affect extended day between 3:45-6:00PM – parents will be given access to buzz extended day and enter and exit the building at the main entrance.
Thank you for your cooperation!

December Umbrella Project

December – Self-compassion

POST 1

Welcome to December at the Umbrella Project!  Last month we focused our attention on building Grit and this month we are adding the skill that will help your child to be kinder to themselves in the face of failure and difficulties, Self-compassion.

What will self-compassion do for my child?

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that 75% of people treat others more kindly than they treat themselves.

Self-compassion means offering ourselves compassion when we fail, make mistakes or are at fault. Self-compassion is the opposite of self-criticism and will help your child treat themselves like they would a good friend instead of continuously judging themselves harshly.  Like a bully that is with your child all the time, self-criticism actually reduces  self-confidence (just like an external bully would), making it hard for them to succeed.

Self-compassion helps to reduce children’s feelings of isolation and instead recognize that struggle is a normal part of being human that everyone experiences. There is a  100% chance of rain at some point in every life so it’s important that we learn to weather these storms with compassion.

Do you often catch your child saying harsh things about themselves and their abilities ?

It’s vital that we help our children avoid getting caught up in the dramatic storyline of their struggle and instead recognize this normal part of life. Imperfections, rough days, mistakes, being at fault and failures are a part of being human and the better we are at accepting this, the easier it is to preserve our wellbeing through these challenges.

Listen as Dr. Jen’s introduces this important Umbrella Skill of Self-compassion

Chat soon,

Dr. Jen, The Umbrella Project

POST 2

Stop judging yourself as a parent so harshly!

Parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world. Children don’t come with step-by-step instructions and there is a reason that millions of parenting books exist, all with different solutions to the same problems. Just like snowflakes, each child is completely unique and therefore responds differently to the world and our attempts to guide them.  How many times has an idea worked brilliantly for one of your children and not at all for the next? Every feel like one day you have this parenting thing nailed and the next day want to give up completely? Such is the nature of raising another human with their own agenda and parents deserve to treat themselves with a high level of compassion on the tough days.

Unfortunately, research and experience show us that this is not the case. As parents, we are terrible critics of our own best efforts to raise our children and we now know that the more we judge our own parenting, the more likely it is that our child will develop symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The solution – Less self-blame and more non-judgemental acceptance of our own parenting skills. In other words, show our children what self-compassion looks like in action. None of us are perfect parents, you will make mistakes and that’s OK!

It sounds simple but remember that most of us have a very vocal inner critic, evaluating our every move. Start by noticing your own self-judgement and then try to think of what you might say to a good friend who was in the same situation. Say these words to yourself and remember, beating yourself up in effort to be a better parent is having the opposite effect on your child’s wellbeing. Instead take ownership of your feelings and choices, recognize when you make mistakes, apologize, keep learning and move on.

You’ve got this!

Dr. Jen, The Umbrella Project

POST 3

Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend. 

Children who are low in self-compassion are often very hard on themselves. They can feel isolated and alone in their struggles and have a hard time moving on from failures. From a parenting perspective, it can be very difficult to convince children with low self-compassion that people aren’t judging them as harshly as they are judging themselves.

One of the easiest ways to help your child practice their self-compassion is to start one step outside themselves. Ask them to think about how they would treat a good friend who is struggling and then reflect on whether they treat themselves with the same care.

This exercise is beneficial for everyone and most people are quite surprised when they take a moment to listen to what they say to themselves. The phrase “we are our own worst enemy” rings true here.

Here are a few simple steps to follow when you notice your child’s self-criticism is becoming detrimental to their wellbeing:

  1. Have them bring to mind a good friend or someone they care about and imagine it is their friend, and not them, experiencing the struggle.  
  2. Ask your child these questions:

What would you say to your friend in this situation?  How would you treat them?

What do you think would happen if you said the same things to your friend that you are saying to yourself?  Would it help them?

  1. Help your child remember that they can be a good friend to themselves. Remind your child they should offer themselves the same amount of love, compassion, forgiveness and respect as they offer everyone else.

Health & Happiness,

Dr. Jen, The Umbrella Project

POST 4

Watch your language

Most of us get so used to the way we criticize ourselves that we don’t even know we are doing it. However, the words we say to ourselves have power and direct our attention. Our inner critic is really a misguided attempt to help motivate and protect ourselves. The research shows that our inner critic is unlikely to have the effect we are hoping for and holds us back from our happiness and success. Our brains like to be correct, so we unconsciously pick out the information from our environments that supports our beliefs. When we tell ourselves we are stupid, for example, we can’t succeed. When we carry broken beliefs, our brains select the information in the environment that matches this belief and so we live into our thoughts.

In addition, when we criticize ourselves in front of our kids they begin to feel we may be secretly judging them as harshly as we are judging ourselves. It’s hard to convince them we think they are beautiful just the way they are if they see us critiquing ourselves harshly in the mirror.

The messages we give our children directly are important too. The language we use around them creates powerful self-talk that can help them or hold them back, make them feel well or hopeless. Try to be specific when you address your children instead of making generalized comments. There is a big difference between saying “you did something bad” versus “you are bad”. The first creates self talk that can help the child take responsibility and move on.  The latter doesn’t leave room for growth or change and can leave our kids feeling powerless.

The same goes with praise.  We want our children to feel responsible for their success so when we generalize and say “you are smart” instead of “you did very well on this specific thing” or “your hard work paid off” we can accidentally make kids feel that everything is evidence that they are either smart or not and create a lot of anxiety around failure. Their self talk becomes about avoiding anything that might risk them being proved unintelligent. Instead, praise the things your child can always control like effort and their umbrella skills.

In this short 3:30min video Dr. Jen talks about this concept of watching your language.

Until next time,

Dr. Jen, The Umbrella Project

Additional Resources

Interested in learning more? Here are a few more short and sweet videos about Self-compassion from Dr. Jen.

Suffering is not failure

Instill the learner in your child

All about our inner commentary

It’s not a weakness

Be incident specific

Tie to intentions (not outcomes)

School Picture Coupon for Families

Hi Saints!

Please see below for an offer from Lifetouch. To order photos, visit mylifetouch.ca and type in this picture ID: QX010230Q0.

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Hello St. Clement Catholic Elementary School,

Thank you for partnering with Lifetouch for your Fall Picture Day.

Just in time for the holidays, we want to make sure every family preserves their child’s annual school picture keepsake—at the best price—and receives their free Shutterfly gift!

That’s why we are asking for your help. Please forward this offer to families.

Thank you in advance for ensuring every family has the opportunity to preserve their child’s school memories and benefit from these valuable offers.

Your partners at Lifetouch

Lifetouch has provided a special offer to ensure each family at our school gets the opportunity to preserve this school years’ memories. To order school pictures and take advantage of this offer, visit mylifetouch.ca.

Limited-time offer! 10% off purchase of $10+ with code 2020HOLIDAY. Expires 12/11/2020

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Weather Impacted Learning Day, All Buses Cancelled, All Schools Closed

Good Snowy Morning, Saints!

  • Due to the current weather conditions ALL SCHOOL BUSES, TAXIS AND SPECIAL EDUCATION ROUTES operated by the Waterloo Catholic District School Board and Waterloo Region District School Board are cancelled.
  • All WCDSB and WRDSB schools and sites are CLOSED and it will be a Remote Learning Day.
  • Students should visit their respective virtual classrooms or WCDSB and WRDSB Learning @ Home for resources.
  • All Extended Day Childcare Programs are CLOSED.
  • All programs and services offered by St. Louis Continuing Education and Adult and Learning Centre are cancelled.

Please help us to ensure that your child logs on to their google classroom site as there either is work or will be by 10:00 am. Students will be provided with asynchronous student work by 10 am, as each classroom teacher has a Google Classroom or D2L site. Normal bell times will be followed to allow students to contact their teacher through the LMS or email.

Make sure to find some time to get outside and enjoy the snow!  Happy December 1, Saints!

Inclement Weather Days and Bus Cancellations

With winter closely upon us and the potential bus cancellations, we would like to remind you that student safety and well-being is always a priority. As previously communicated, there are important changes to the WCDSB processes when student transportation has been cancelled due to the unique and additional challenges that Covid19 presents (such as cohorting).

For the 2020/2021 school year in the circumstance when bus transportation is cancelled due to weather and road conditions, all schools will be closed to both students and staff. This includes both wakers and bus students.

Each classroom teacher has established a Google Classroom or D2L Brightspace web site in which they will be posting work for your child to complete by the end of the school day (3:20 PM). Asynchronous student work, including Planning Time/French, will be posted by 10AM on the closure day. Teachers will be available to assist students via email or Google classroom/D2L Brightspace from 8:50 AM- 3:20 PM.

Saints…The Season of Advent is here!

Hello Saints!

To celebrate the Advent season we would typically gather together in the gym. Although we could not gather physically, we did gather as a community engaged in a school-wide celebration to light the first candle – the candle of HOPE. We are so hope-filled this season as we prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. We were reminded this morning to “enter into this Advent season with the grace of joy and laughter. Let this gift come from deep within” and that we need to get beyond the shopping and anxiety of our current situation. Truly inspirational words to center our thoughts as we begin this season of Advent.

A big Thank YOU to Mrs. Hehn, Mrs. Kittel and their classes for preparing such a reflective celebration!

Reminders for the Week:

This week has been a simply incredible week at our school – One SAINTS Family. We continue to be stronger together. Across the Board, our COVID-19 protocols are working, and while there have been cases in schools, there are no cases of school transmission. Our school remains a wonderful, vibrant place to be! Please find some updates below.

Feast of St. Clement

The Feast of St. Clement was on Monday, November 23rd. Since this was a PD Day, our school community celebrated the feast day on the following day, Tuesday, November 24th. Students celebrated by participating in a school wide virtual liturgy. Please see our Twitter feed for this and many more happenings around the school. @stclementsaints

We have a Christmas Nutcracker Loose at St. Clement School and he is up to SNOW good!

A Nutcracker has been hiding at St. Clement school and the students need to find him! Each day, leading up to Christmas, students will be given picture clues on the Brightlinks to figure out where the Nutcracker was hiding. On Monday, the picture of where the Nutcracker was hiding will have a small clue, and then each day after, there will be more clues in the picture to show where he is hiding leading up to the reveal on Friday. Each week he hides in a new place and each week students will have opportunities to guess where he is hiding based on the picture clues!

Some virtual fun leading up to Christmas for students!

 

12 Days of Christmas is Back!

Back by popular demand, we will be celebrating the spirit of Christmas for the 12 days leading up to Christmas break. Each day will begin with some Christmas music over our PA system to welcome the students into the building. A group of intermediate students helped plan the theme days which are posted on our school calendar on our website. I am also providing them below so that you can plan ahead!

Thurs. Dec.3 – Door Decorating Day (each classroom is going to decorate their door)

Fri. Dec. 4 – Pajama Day – wear your pajamas to school (this is a favourite among students and staff)

Mon. Dec. 7 – Red and Green Day – wear red and green and bring some cheer!

Tues. Dec. 8 – Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

Wed. Dec. 9 – Pajama Day #2 – of course we would have this popular choice twice!

Thurs. Dec. 10 – Funky Footwear Day – wear funky socks or slippers

Fri. Dec. 11 – Christmas Movie Day – classrooms will have a showing of a Christmas Classic

Mon. Dec. 14 – Christmas head accessories – wear a Santa hat, or maybe some antlers

Tues. Dec. 15- Christmas stuffy day – students can bring their own stuffy for the day

Wed. Dec. 16 – Favourite Character Day – come dressed as a favourite Christmas character

Thurs. Dec. 17 – Christmas Movie Day #2 – yes, students begged and it was the least we could do for this great group of students!

Fri. Dec. 18 – Crazy Christmas Day! – that’s right, wear all the Christmas gear you can today!

Construction Update

Construction has informed me that they will be working on the completion of the main entrance on Monday, November 30th and Tuesday December 1st. Therefore, the main entrance to the school building will not be accessible from 8:30 – 3:20. Extended Day will have access before 8:30 and after 3:20. If you do need to pick your child up mid-day kindly use the ‘elevator entrance’ by the blacktop area. There is a buzzer and a camera to contact the main office. Many thanks for your continued patience while renovations are being completed.

Staffing Update

We welcome back Mrs. Penny Plourde who will be filling in for Mrs. Erika Geis (Planning Time) who is off on a leave. You will remember that Mrs. Plourde filled in for Mrs. Geis when she was off in a previous year.  We are so happy to have you back!

We welcome Mr. Max Robles who will be filling in for Mrs. Andrea Boyce (Lunch Hour Supervisor) while she is off for a leave.

Picture Day was on Friday, November 27th and there were lots of great smiles!

As per the school messenger sent out on Thursday, November 26th letting parents know how to order pictures (which is different than past practice) Ordering pictures is not on School Cash-Online it is through LifeTouch: Order pictures on mylifetouch.ca using this Picture Day ID QX010230Q0.

COVID – 19: What can you do?

We have all heard about the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in our region and the reports of cases in Waterloo region schools. We are really hoping this does not happen in our school, so we are simply reaching out to you to thank you for all you are doing to protect our school community and to ask for your help with the following…

  1. Please continue to be diligent with screening: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/.
  2. Please follow the advice of Waterloo Region Public Health. They are asking us all to do our part by limiting all social interactions to only those we live with. We need to avoid socializing with friends and family outside of our household. We need to stay home and only go out for essential trips only (e.g., grocery store, medical appointments, etc.).
  3. We also ask that you please double-check your child’s masks that they wear to school to make sure that they fit properly – that they cover the nose and mouth, and that they don’t slip down past the nose. We are noticing that some of our students could use some extra practice with masks at home.

Following health and safety protocols can be frustrating and exhausting, but we must stay the course. This is a tough battle, but we all know what we need to do to triumph. We’ve got this, Saints!  Stay the course!

 

Winter Weather Has Arrived

We are beginning to experience our truly winter days and they have been beautiful! Lots of fresh, crisp Canadian air with lots of sunshine, and a wintery white blanket covering the rooftops and trees! Unfortunately, MANY of our students were not dressed appropriately for the weather.

Remember: all students will be going outside for every recess and therefore, need to be dressed appropriately. This includes our Intermediate students. We will follow our Inclement Weather protocol which is linked below, and summarized:

Below is a summary of important points regarding our school board policies related to Inclement Weather. Please reference this policy for detailed information regarding cancellations and early dismissals.

  • We will reference weather.ca for accurate forecasts using PointCast location. You can also check this information from home. Simply type in the postal code for the school (N0B 2M0) and get localized information.
  • When the temperature (including windchill or “feels like”) is –14°C or warmer students will be outside for the entire duration of recess.
  • When the temperature (including windchill or “feels like”) is –15°C to—19°C students will be limited to 20 minutes of outdoor time at a time.
  • When the temperature (including windchill or “feels like”) is –20°C or colder students will be kept indoors.
  • Students cannot arrive on school property prior to 8:35 am as there is no supervision on the yard or in the building prior to this time. Students will not be allowed into the building prior to 8:35 am on extreme cold days.
It is critical that students be dressed appropriately for Canadian winter.
  • Please make sure your child has a hat, mitts/ gloves, snowpants, winter coat, boots. If you need assistance providing this for your child we are happy to help out.

 

Support for our Angel Tree

It’s that time of year again when our thoughts turn to others and we focus on the spirit of giving! St. Clement School has always whole-heartedly participated in the Mary’s Place Angel Tree Fundraiser. In the past, this was done by donating a new, unwrapped gift and placing them under the Christmas tree in our Library. This year, however, due to the COVID restrictions we will be collecting donations exclusively online. Our Christmas tree will still go in our Library, but our gift will be a donation towards helping to pay for meals, rather than purchasing a gift.

There is no limit-high or low- to the number of donations or the amount. Please think about those in our community who might be in need this year as Christmas approaches and make a donation today.

This is such a wonderful cause, we are hopeful that you will consider helping Mary’s Place for Christmas. You can donate here:

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/1019

 

https://ywkw.ca/donate/

 

Important Dates:

Month of November – Saints “Book of Life” continue to send your child’s classroom teacher names of those who have departed so that we may honour the lives and pray for their souls.

Monday, Nov. 30 – Friday, December 4 – Week One of “Christmas Nutcracker Loose at St. Clement School and he is up to SNOW good!”

 

Monday, November 30 – School-wide Virtual Advent Celebration for the first week in advent

Thursday, Dec. 3 – 12 Days of Christmas: Classroom Door Decorating

Friday, Dec. 4 – 12 Days of Christmas: Pyjama Day

 

It’s a big day today!

It ‘s picture day and stuffy day today! Just a reminder to bring your smile AND a stuffy!

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