December 2018 Newsletter

Principal’s Message

Mental Wellness

As I get older and have spent more and more years in schools, I recognize the patterns that occur annually. The end of November and December are busy, grey or snowy and often challenging for children and adults alike. We as a school try to our best to wrap around children and families who are struggling. I greatly appreciate when families call and problem solve with the school. When school and home work together, we can achieve great things. One area, we as schools have improved and I believe society has as well, is in recognizing signs and symptoms for children suffering from Mental Illness. Supporting Minds: An Educator’s Guide to Promoting Students’ Mental Health and Wellbeing defines Mental Health problems as emotional, behavioural and brain-related difficulties that may have a negative impact on students’ well-being and interfere with their functioning at school, at home, in the community and in social settings. It is estimated by the Canadian Mental Health association that almost one in five children suffers from a mental health problem.

Just as with academic learning issues, when mental health concerns are identified early, the easier it is to help. Educators are not mental health professionals. Simply by the nature of our work we see many children over many years. We have a sense of what typical behaviours look like. Educators do not “diagnose mental health concerns” we simply share observations of what we see and hear with parents. For example, it is normal for children to have temper tantrums when they are very young. When we see atypical outbursts of anger last into junior and intermediate students we often alert parents. At the school level, with parents’ consent we can make referrals to the Mental Health and Addictions Nurse who is in our building one day per week to meet with students. The following blurb is taken directly from the Canadian Mental Health Association Website. It is a great resource for parents.

What parents can do

Listen to your instincts if you are worried about your child. Collect as much information as you can. You are probably in the best position to know if your child’s behavior requires further attention. Arrange to meet with a well-trained and trusted professional.

It can be confusing trying to tell the difference between symptoms of mental illness and normal challenges that all kids experience from time to time. As parents, you can use observable behaviours to help decide what action you need to take by:

Circling the behaviours from the list that concern you (especially those lasting a few weeks or more).  See the Canadian Mental Health Association Website for the list.

Speak to your child regarding your main concerns (no more than 3 and keep it brief).

Listen to their response for an uninterrupted 3 minutes if you can.

Let your child know you will help work out difficult issues together.

Arrange to meet with a trusted and trained professional to discuss your concerns and how to access help. You don’t have to do this alone. Help is available.

School Council Report

On behalf of myself and all the members of Sprucedale’s school council, we wish all our families all the best of the holiday season and the new year ahead! I hope everyone gets the opportunity over the holiday break to relax, spend time with family and friends, reflect on the past year and come back refreshed and hopeful for what 2019 has to offer!

Our next meeting will be held on December 11 at 7:00 p.m. in our school library. Everyone is welcome!

Heather Johnston

Kindergarten Registration for September 2019

If you missed our Kindergarten Registration Day in November, please call the school and we can get you a registration package. Please tell any neighbours or friends that have a child who will be attending Kindergarten next September. Registration is available online from our School Website.

Grade 8 Secondary School Transition Presentations and Tours

Representatives from both Stratford Central and Northwestern Student Services will be at Sprucedale on January 25th to speak to the students about grade 9 transitions and distribute registration information and Open House details.

French Immersion Information Night & Registration 2018-2019

Registration forms for Grade 1 French Immersion are now available in Stratford and area elementary school offices. Parents interested in obtaining information regarding French Immersion may attend an information session.

Tuesday, December 4th at 6 p.m. Bedford Public School, 59 Bedford Drive, Stratford.

Parents interested in obtaining information regarding the Grade 1 French Immersion program for September 2019 at either Bedford or Anne Hathaway Public Schools are welcome to attend the information session.

Registration forms are available at schools in the Stratford area during school hours or from the Bedford/Anne Hathaway School offices. Registration forms are due to the Bedford or Anne Hathaway office by January 31st, 2019.

Grade 1 is the only entry point for French immersion unless you have attended a French immersion program elsewhere.

For more information call Bedford PS at 519-273-1190 Anne Hathaway PS at 519-271-8576 or visit the Avon Maitland District Board website.

Shakespeare Men’s Club

A heartfelt thank you goes out to the Shakespeare Men’s Club who kindly donate groceries and a cheque to our Nutrition Program, on November 2nd.

We are so blessed to have such kind neighbours in our community.


As we round the corner to the new year and planning for spring field trips, we’d like to remind parents, guardians, grandparents to consider getting a Volunteer Police Check completed so you can volunteer and attend some of these wonderful events with your students. If you would like to get this done, please request a letter from the office to take to the OPP Office. Once you have one completed, we are required to have you sign an annual declaration. If you are due to sign your declaration, please notify the office of this as well.

Schedule Changes

The school has a 24/7 answering machine. If you know in advance that your child’s schedule will change, please call: 519-625-8722 in advance.

Knowing ahead of time allows us to ensure your requests are noted and prevents disruptions to class time throughout the day.

If you prefer to email in advance, you can email:

Thank you!

Holiday Concert

We look forward to getting everyone into the Christmas Spirit on Wednesday December 19th as our primary students perform some holiday numbers to get us moving and ready for the festive season. Our afternoon performance will begin at 12 p.m. and our evening performance will begin at 6:00 p.m. Please have students arrive by 5:45 p.m. We hope to see everyone there.

Message from the YMCA Before and After School Program

There are still spaces for the Christmas program. Contact Angela at 519-271-0480. We are open the 24 and 31 630 am-2 pm. The youth department is putting on a stocking decorating contest December 11 and 12 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Cost is $10 for members and $12 for non-member and family (2 Adults and 2 Children) $30.

Happy holidays!

Events, Clubs and Activities

  • We are reaching out to our Sprucedale Families to donate NEW, unwrapped / gently used Toys/Books to school. They will be delivered to Sick Kids Hospital to families who are staying there. The approximate end date for collection is Dec. 6th. Please put into the wrapped collecting box in the front hallway. Please share with other community members. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
  • Students in Mrs. Antonios class have organized a food drive. They will be dropping by each classroom to collect your kind donations. They have chosen the House of Blessing in Stratford to receive the donations.
  • Mrs. Green is organizing a LEGO club. If you have any LEGO you would like to donate to the school for this fun, recess activity, please send into the office. The school has also purchased lego to support this club and to support building in classrooms.

Hour of CODE – December 5th

We live in a world surrounded by technology. We know that whatever field our students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly depend on understanding how technology works.

Only a tiny fraction of us are learning how technology works. Only 35% of all high schools teach computer science.

That’s why Grades 7/8 and 5/6 are joining in on the largest learning event in history: The Hour of Code, during Computer Science Education Week (December 3-9). More than 100 million students worldwide have already tried an Hour of Code. Mrs. Green will be sharing the Hour of Code during Music class and creating music videos with the students. This is a chance to change the future of education at Sprucedale P.S. and our student’s futures! See the Hour of Code website.

New Stop Signs

Thank you to Cailin Vince, Gary West, members of school council and Members of the Optimist Club for their work in advocating for some new safety measures on the roads surrounding Sprucedale Public School. Now as a school community we have to find a way to relearn how to stop at the intersection before driving through it. Thanks to everyone for being patient and kind with each other as we unlearn driving through that intersection.

Dates to Remember

December 3-7 – Online Identity Survey
December 4th – French Immersion Information Session – Bedford PS 6 p.m.
December 5th – Pathways Night at Rotary Complex 3 – 7 p.m.
December 10th – Dental Screening for all JK/SK’s and grade 2’s (Grade 4 recalls)
December 11th – School Council Meeting 7 p.m.
December 14th – Paper January and February Milk and Food Orders are due
December 16th – Online January and February Milk and Food Orders are due
December 19th – Holiday Concert – 12:00 p.m.  and  6:00 p.m.
December 21st – Last Day of School until January 7, 2019

2018-2019 School Calendars are now available

2018/19 PA Days

December 7/18
December 24-January 4/19 (Winter Break)
February 1/19
March 11-15/19 (March Break)
April 5/19
June 7/19
June 28/19

Milk and Food Order – Due Dates 2018/2019

January/February due by Decenmber 16th

March/April due by February 21st

May/June due by April 1st.

Please note: all online orders were available at the beginning of September for the entire year. Each month has a due date and closing date (listed above). After this date you will not be able to order for that particular month. You can however order each month as early as you like.

Please be aware of pricing this year:
Hot Food Items: $1.75
White or Chocolate Milk: $0.75

At this time, parents who have asked for paper copies have received complete packages for the entire school year. Please send them all back in as a package with post dated payments or hold onto them and return them one at a time. Please pay close attention to the due dates.

Thank you to the Milk Board for supplying us with prizes. We will draw one lucky winner for a Milk prize each week!