Supporting Newcomer Families at Thornwood Public School a snapshot

EMPOWERING MODERN LEARNERS - PDSB VISION FOR 21ST CENTURY TEACHING AND LEARNING

THE ELEMENT OF LEARNING CULTURES

Learning Cultures should foster curiosity, establish empathy amongst learners, and encourage lifelong learning. They promote a growth mindset, create safe spaces, and facilitate co-learning. These dynamic cultures encourage and facilitate opportunities for purposeful risk-taking and agency in the learning process, while fostering a questioning disposition. The creation of a sustainable learning culture requires a unified commitment from classroom, schools and the system as a whole.

WELCOME TO THORNWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOL

In 2016, Thornwood Public School began welcoming Syrian newcomer families to our school community after their long and arduous journey to reach stability in Canada. In an effort to find a new place to call home, they had to overcome significant hardship. Acclimatizing to the Canadian school culture seemingly would be met with challenges for these newcomer families and their children; speaking languages other than English, having interrupted school experiences and a preliminary understanding of the Canadian culture.

ESTABLISHING LEARNING CULTURES FOR ALL AT THORNWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOL

In 2016, Thornwood Public School began welcoming Syrian newcomer families. Since then, more than 115 new students have enrolled. Our collective responsibility has always been to maintain high expectations for teaching and learning. While our moral imperative is to purposefully establish learning cultures that embrace multilingualism and multi-cultures through an asset lens approach. Collectively, we understand that ALL children come into our building capable and competent of learning and that they bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience. At Thornwood P.S. our goal is to utilize these strengths, to create safe, respectful spaces for learning and to establish empathy amongst learners so that ALL of our students achieve academic success.

There are many ways to approach multilingualism through an asset approach
Close to 30% of our students speak Arabic as their first language

LEARNING CULTURES- GROWING AND LEARNING TOGETHER

A brainstorming session with staff on how we are creating Learning Cultures that establish empathy amongst learners, create safe spaces for learning, and facilitate co-learning. The creation of a sustainable learning culture requires a unified commitment from our community, teachers, students and parents.

THE RECEPTION

From the moment our new families walk through the front door of Thornwood Public School, they are greeted with a dual language virtual tour of our school and multilingual support. Our ESL team, along with volunteer interpreters and our student language ambassadors provide assistance to register, followed by an orientation to the school and their homeroom classroom.

New Registration and Reception Process Flow Chart created by our ESL team of educators
Translation support within the main lobby and front office help to create a safe place for learning
Thornwood Public School Language Ambassadors

SUPPORTING OUR LEARNING CULTURE THROUGH COMMUNITY and Parent PARTNERSHIPS

Our school council participated in our Community Connection evening in April. Families enjoyed sampling healthy lunch snacks for students and meeting many community partners. Families spent time speaking with representatives from the Newcomer Centre of Peel, Peel Regional Police, Mississauga Valley Community Centre, Mississauga Library and YMCA. Families also received a hands-on gardening demonstration with Sheridan Nurseries and a multilingual presentation on Positive Discipline by Mississauga Children’s Aid.

Our Arabic speaking interpreters work daily with our students in the classroom and out on the playground. They support students with academics and social skill building, communicating with parents and translating written communication between home and school.

Our Arabic translator working with our ESL teacher and a small group of Arabic speaking students on a video about the season of spring.
A parent volunteer reads a picture book with our kindergarten students in her first language.
Interpreter's were used to support newcomer families with reading and understanding their child's report card.
Supporting our grade three families with information on the upcoming EQAO assessment

SUPPORTING OUR LEARNING CULTURE THROUGH DIVERSE TEACHING AND LEARNING EXPERIENCES

Inclusive and purposeful classroom practices, that honor multilingualism and multi-culture, support the language and literacy needs of immigrant children while encouraging and facilitating opportunities for student risk-taking in a safe and respectful environment.

Identity Texts
HOW DO YOU SAY TRACHEA IN ARABIC? USING OUR SCHEMA AND VISUAL MODELS TO LEARN ABOUT THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM

SUPPORTING OUR LEARNING CULTURE THROUGH A UNIFIED COMMITMENT BY all school team members

Our ESL teaching team support classroom teachers to co-create sustainable learning cultures for our newcomer families and Thornwood students.
One of our ESL teacher co-teaches a lesson on writing identity texts on each students' family migration to Canada. Students were learning to frame their own narratives about migrating to Canada by asking critical questions.
Students present in their own language at the grade three assembly on kindness.

The creation of a sustainable learning culture requires a unified commitment from our staff and students. Our teachers work together to teach self regulation and to create a safe learning space for ALL students to work and play. Through co-learning and co-teaching we have successfully launched the Zones of Regulation as a whole school focus and modified our school's lunchroom behavior to support all students in learning to self-regulate and make better choices.

Thornwood's Library Learning Commons

GREEN SCREENS, DASH 'N' DOT ROBOTS AND LOOSE PARTS
A SPACE FOR ALL STUDENTS TO COME TOGETHER, TO EXPLORE CURIOSITIES, TO ASK QUESTIONS. A SPACE THAT FOSTERS AND ENCOURAGES LIFELONG LEARNING. A SPACE THAT PROMOTES A GROWTH MINDSET. A SPACE THAT IS DYNAMIC IN THAT IT ENCOURAGES AND FACILITATES OPPORTUNITIES FOR PURPOSEFUL RISK-TAKING AND AGENCY IN THE LEARNING PROCESS, WHILE FOSTERING A QUESTIONING DISPOSITION.
CODING, ROBOTICS, RESEARCH AND DESIGN
The Journey Continues....

Our journey to develop effective Learning Cultures continues to evolve. We celebrate the work we have already done and what lies ahead!

Credits:

Created with images by Trocaire - "DSC_0871" • grongar - "Maple Leaf" • freestock.ca ♡ dare to share beauty - "Hopewell Scenery - HDR"

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