Walnut Grove PS
February 2018 Newsletter
Walnut Grove’s Daily Schedule
Entry Bell 9:15
Period 1 9:15 - 9:55
Period 2 9:55 - 10:35
Period 3 10:35 - 11:15
Nutrition Break A 11:15 - 11:35
Nutrition Break B 11:35 - 11:55
Period 4 11:55 - 12:35
Period 5 12:35 - 1:15
D.P.A. 1:15 - 1:35
Nutrition Break C 1:35 - 1:55
Nutrition Break D 1:55 - 2:15
Period 6 2:15 - 2:55
Period 7 2:55 - 3:35
All parents and visitors entering the school during school hours must be buzzed in through the front doors and sign in and out at the office.
You are also reminded to wear a visitor’s badge while you are in the school. For safety reasons, it is important that we know who is in the school at all times.
Your child’s safety is very important to us, for this reason please make sure to call the automated attendance line at 1-855-209-6155 for each day that your child is going to be absent from school or will be coming in late.
An attendance call can be made at anytime however you need to call before 9 a.m. for the current school day. Safe arrival calls will be made each day for students that have an unexplained absence.
If a student arrives late to school, after the 9:15 a.m. entry bell, they must report to the office to sign in and receive a late slip before going to their class. Please help your child arrive to school on time up establishing and encouraging morning routines
If your child will require to take or have any medication (eg. Epi-pens, inhalers) while at school due to asthma, allergies or other medical conditions please inform the office. You will be given a medical form that will need to be completed by your family doctor and returned to school with the medication. No medication can be administered at the school without having a current medical form completed and on file at the school.
There are several students and staff who have severe food allergies in our school. For that reason, we ask to you please do not send any food items as a treat for a birthday or special celebration. If you wish to celebrate, sending materials to support learning in our school such as pencils, crayons, books, etc. would be appropriate. Thank you for your understanding.
Kiss and Ride
We understand that there are a lot of cars in the morning and after school using the Drop Off lane. We are asking for your patience and understanding and to follow the guidance of the teachers on duty.
Please note that children should never exit from the driver's side and even if they are seated behind the driver they should exit from the curbside.
Thank you for helping us in making Walnut Grove a safe school for all of our students
Nutrition Break Routines
We encourage all students to remain at school during both Nutrition Breaks, to participate in the variety of extra-curricular activities offered. However, we recognize that some families want their children to come home for lunch. In order to ensure student safety at all times, we have established some expectations for Nutrition Break Routines:
· parents/guardians will be asked to complete a form indicating their wishes for daily routines for lunch for their children – these will be kept on file to ensure that routines are being followed
·anytime that those routines are changed, parents/guardians will be required to contact the school (by phone or in writing) indicating the change in routine
· if students go home for lunch, they are expected to remain home for the entire break (40 minutes)
· students are expected to return ON TIME for next period
STUDENTS WILLL NOT BE PERMITTED TO LEAVE SCHOOL PROPERTY AT NUTRITION BREAKS EXCEPT TO GO HOME FOR LUNCH WITH PARENT PERMISSION. Students will not be allowed to go to the plaza across the street, nor are they allowed to go to a friend’s house for lunch.
Help protect students with severe allergies by keeping lunches, snacks
Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that affects some children. We ask that you help us take care of these students by sending lunches and snacks for your child that are free from peanuts or nuts, because these foods are the leading cause of anaphylaxis.
Please read the label of any food you plan to send to school with your child. If the label says, "May contain nuts or peanuts," please do not send it to school.
You can get a complete copy of the Peel board's anaphylaxis guideline from the school office.
Supervision in Yard
Yard supervision for students begins at 9:00 a.m. Students should not be dropped off, or be arriving on school property, prior to 9:00 a.m. When outside, students need to play in their designated area and remain visible to the supervisor in the schoolyard.
Parents play an important role in the development and education of their children and in the success of the school community. At Walnut Grove, we welcome and encourage the participation of parents and community members, and are grateful for the countless hours our volunteers contribute throughout the school year.
To volunteer at our school, you must complete a short interview and a criminal record check. This Criminal Record Check must have been completed within the last 6 months, must include a Vulnerable Sector Screening (VSS) and must be an original copy. A police background check is required for all school volunteers in Ontario. Even if you want to accompany your child on a field trip, you need this background check.
Once you have completed the process, you are on file with the Peel District School Board as being a school volunteer. All returning volunteers will be mailed an Offence Declaration Form that must be filled out and returned to the board office each year. You will not be able to volunteer with the Peel board until you have returned this form.
If you have any questions about criminal record checks or the offence declaration form, please call the board office at 905-890-1010 ext. 2832.
Bring Your Own Device (B.Y.O.D.)
Walnut Grove students are welcome, with the permission of their parent/guardian, to bring a device from home to use at school for educational related purposes only. Students are expected to demonstrate good digital citizenship through the appropriate, responsible, legal and ethical use of technology. Parents are asked to sign a BYOD contract around the safe use of technology at school as outlined in the school’s code of conduct. Parents please look for this contract in your child’s agenda within the first few weeks of September.
If a student does not have access to a personal device, a school device (e.g., Net book, Chrome book, I Pad), may be made available for their use while on school property.
Where did January go? Here we are already into February, moving full steam ahead! I'd like to welcome Ms. Stephanie Parker to the staff of Walnut Grove. She is teaching the French component to the Grade 6 French Immersion classes, and we are very excited to have her here with us.
French Carnival is once again being celebrated at Walnut Grove! During the week of February 5-8, all students will have an opportunity to rotate through some activities planed by our amazing French Department!
Term 1 Report Cards will be sent home on February 8, 2018. There are no scheduled parent-teacher interviews, however, teachers may request a meeting with parents, or parents may request a meeting with a teacher to discuss student progress.
February is Black History Month, and we have several different activities underway to celebrate this month. We have scheduled different presentations based on grade levels for students (K-2, 3-5, and 6-8), paid for from our fundraising. These are live and interactive presentations that students will engage in as they learn more about, honour and celebrate the significant contributions made both in the past and the present.
As we continue to focus on Equity and Inclusion, we have scheduled presentations for all students called, "Turtle Island." These presentations focus on Indigenous people, their land and issues related to how they have been treated, so that the truth continues to be shared about their past. "The Heard" will also be here, giving presentations for all students as we continue to dig deeper into Equity and anti-black racism.
Just a reminder that Friday, February 9 is a Professional Learning Day for staff, and there is no school for students.
Finally, Monday February is Family Day, and there is no school for students. I hope that all of our Walnut Grove families are able to stop, and take time to enjoy this special day together. Our families are the most important people in our lives. I wish you all a wonderful time together!
Our next School Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 21, 2018, from 6:30-7:30 pm, in the Staff Room. All parents are welcome to attend.
Traffic Safety at Walnut Grove
Each day we are amazed at the number of personal safety risks we see people take in order to "save time." Walnut Grove has approximately 1035 students, and it DOES take time at entry and dismissal times for all students to enter and exit SAFELY. We ask that you review our safety protocols and be a role model for safety for our students.
Kiss and Ride
- always pull your car up as far as possible to allow more cars in the K&R lane
- Never let your children out of the car in the middle lane; students can only exit a vehicle from the K&R lane closest to the school
- Drivers must remain in their cars - this is not a parking area- pull up, students get out of the car, car leaves
- SLOW DOWN
- Enter to the right, NOT the left - please follow the arrows
- Always follow the directions of the staff who are on duty - they are there to help keep your children safe
- Be patient- if everyone follows the same rules, the K&R runs quickly and efficiently
Bus Lanes at the Front of the School
- this is NOT a pick up or drop off area for cars
- DO NOT enter this driveway while the buses are loading or unloading at the beginning and at the end of each day
- DO NOT run through the bus lanes to and from the street - this VERY DANGEROUS - use the sidewalks, as it only takes an extra minute or two
Traffic on Pinestaff and Tappett
- be considerate of the Buses - do not block their entry into the front driveway, and allow them out of the driveway and back on to the road
- Please model for children how to cross the street safely - darting in between moving cars on the roads is not only dangerous, it teaches kids to ignore safety
- Cross with crossing guards, and at the lights
- Do not block entrances and exits
- Slow down
Parking Cars on the Street
- obey the signs - many parents have received tickets for parking in areas that they shouldn't
- Do not block entrances/exits
- Use sidewalks to bring children to and from the school - never dart between buses
Overall, we have staff who are out on supervision duty in the morning and after school, to ensure student safety. We are asking for your help too. Please follow the directions of the staff on duty; they are thee to help keep you and your children safe.
Focus on Black History Month
February is Black History Month
February’s focus is on Self Esteem and Black History Month
Self-esteem is a way of thinking and feeling about yourself. Kids with high self-esteem:
· feel good about themselves
· feel proud of what they can do
· believe in themselves, even when they don't succeed at first
· see their own good qualities, such as being kind or capable
· feel liked, loved, and respected, accept themselves, even when they make mistakes
Black History Month is an opportunity for our school community to recognize the past and present contributions that African Canadians make to the life of others in such areas as education, medicine, art, culture, public service, economic development, politics and human rights. This month, at Walnut Grove, our students will have various opportunities to expand their learning and celebrate black culture. On Thursday, February 22nd we invite parents, guardians, and the community to our Black Heritage Month assembly where our students will continue celebrating Black History and heritage through the Arts.
Character Trait Monthly Winners
Kindergarten: Japreet S., Parmesh J., Harsika T., Priya B., Aggum M., Dilan J., Mehak L., Ajay S., Hukam B., Arjan D., Baani S., Ishmeet P.,
Jobind S., Gurnoor T., Yuvraj B., Luxshan G., Saanvi R., Gurman S., Panshul B., Anjali R., Aneesa P., Aarohi S.,
Vaishui S., Tishana J., Rhea M., Ekroop B., Zurie M., Jugaad S., Roshan A., Amber D., Angel K., Joshua A.,
Ikam S., Swaraj S., Yuvraj G., Amrin S., Nyziah P., Malina W., Abigail G., Aaditya P., Gina C., Noah R.,
Simrit J., Shaanvir S., Talon G., Tarjni B., Pranavi K., Johnjeet H., Ashaun B., Tanush M., Luvneet M., Nikhil T.,
Julie T., Brandon R., Harmanpreet P., Zaina P., Saanvi G., Parth P., Rithikha K., Athavi J., Ashley G.,
Krish, Tanpreet, Jasraj S., Jasmine C., David B., Leon N., Attiya Z., Daniyal W.,
Akshotam D., Mnroop H.,
Tegbir D., Jishika T., Khoshi J., Kelvin D., Vidhi P., Sarah P., Ishva S., Mohammad A., Arujaa S., Mathuraan G., Rajesh H., Harneer K.,
Jasmine V., Kavi P., Arjun S., Anoop G.J., Shiven R., Hammad S., Brayden B., Adin M.
Growth Mind Set Winners:
Sarai T., Arvin S., Harish Q., Elijah K., Rehana G., Rana G.D., Aman N., Kabishan S., Amrit S., James E., Zoiya R., Ekam B., Niko K., Angelle H., Kapiison, Matthew S., Arviljot M., Chamkaur G., Sahib S., Ravi K., Arshaan B., Anaya Parmar, Zohra S., Harleen K., Makai S.V., Krish G., Japjit S., Arnav M., Saham N., Shaleeza B., Hursh, Rumman H., Khushpreet, Nidhi S., Jashandeep M., Nitish J., Sagana Y., Kavisai, Vasharna T., Sameem S., Loveleen S., Farah A., Diya, Deepika H.,
News from the Music Department - February 2018
Extra-curricular Activities –
Mlle Li and Ms. Leaton’s Grade 2 and 3 Primary Choir will continue to meet weekly during NB1. We are having so much fun singing together! As well, our music council, the Music Alphas will continue to meet regularly to promote the music program and foster musicianship at Walnut Grove.
Ms. Fouracre, Ms. Jackson, Ms Kieltyka, and Mlle Li’s Grade 5 and 6 Drama Club will begin meeting on Day 1’s and 3’s at first NB!
Mrs. Locke will be continuing with the Guitar Ensemble, the Strings Ensemble, Pop Band and beginning rehearsals for this year’s Shakespeare play to take place in May.
Mrs. Locke’s grades 4-5 continue to learn the ukulele. Grades 6-8 continue playing the guitar.
Mlle Li’s Grade 1-8 students have been writing compositions featuring a variety of percussion instruments (e.g., boomwhackers, and rhythm sticks). For the month of February, we will explore the lives and music of various Black musicians. The intermediate students have also been exploring playing music in multiple parts.
Ms. Leaton’s grade 1-2 students will be learning about different rhythms and how to write simple rhythms by themselves. The grade 3-4 students will continue to play various songs on the recorder.
Save the dates:
Character Assemblies Link to the Assembly Schedule for the year
Thursday, February 22
9:30 - Grades 2,4,6,8, FDK
10:20 - Grades 1,3.5,7, Splits
News from the Wolf Den
We have officially finished up our first month in the year 2018. It was a blast with all the new activities that popped up and we are excited to share them with you.
In The Gym
The basketball unit as we know, has come to a close with the intramurals finally deciding a winner: Cincinnati Royals. The teams were amazing and played all out with their heart and soul. The boys won their exhibition game and girls were amazing. They had a close game but were unable to get some of the key shots. They were amazing in moving the ball and controlling the game with their pace.
We have officially finished up badminton, and the students loved the unit. The senior students have shown excellent sportsmanship and teamwork throughout the duration of their Badminton play and practices for the tournament team that took place on January 30th. The entire team which consisted of 6 boys and 6 girls playing in doubles and singles matches made our school and coaches very proud. Shivani Lysetti placed second place in the entire division, bringing home a Silver Medal to represent our school with pride and class. Congratulations to Shivani, and the whole team!
In the month of February, classes will start to learn about personal fitness. Students are going to learn why personal fitness is important as it helps to maintain a healthy life and keeps your body working full pace and how they can exercise at home to help them live a healthier, happier life. The P.E. teachers will also educate the students on tips for them to exercise daily. Fitness is fun and we hope to inspire everyone in our school community to enjoy being active for their personal wellness. Floor Hockey is the next unit in the gym and we can’t wait to see what it has in store. Students will learn basic skills and drills. The teachers are starting a Floor Hockey Intramural for the senior students (Grades 7 and 8).
Grade 7-8 basketball intramural has come to an end
5-6 Basketball league is underway (games happen on Day 1)
The Grade 3-4 sports club is finally coming to an end
There is an upcoming floor hockey club for students in grade 7-8.. sign ups soon!
Grade 1-2 Sports Club will begin in the Spring
Junior (grade 6) Basketball (try-outs in February)
Senior (grade 7-8) Floor Hockey (try-outs in March)
All Stars in the Gym for January
The following students have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship, athleticism and perseverance units and intramurals happening in the gym:
FAMILY FITNESS NIGHT IS COMING!!!!
Walnut Grove is so excited to announce we will be hosting our 3rd annual Family Fitness Night here at school on Thursday, March 1st, 2018. We will be sending home a flyer with an RSVP card in a few weeks so that we know how many families will be attending. We look forward to seeing so many families here again, sweating it out, playing active games, learning about nutrition and tasting delicious smoothies, and practicing mindfulness. Stay tuned for the FFN Flyers soon!
Keep up the great work, Wolves, and continue to smile in the gym and elsewhere.
(Courtesy of: Jay (7C), Aryan (7C) and Karanvir (7B))
Empowering Modern Learners - 2018 Parent Conference
Conference helps parents empower modern learners
The Peel District School Board is hosting its annual parent conference, co-presented by the Peel Elementary Teachers’ Local, on Saturday, March 24, 2018, at Mississauga Secondary School in Mississauga. The conference will focus on Empowering Modern Learners. Parents will have the opportunity to attend workshops on topics, including numeracy, literacy, special education, technology and science.
This free learning event is open to Peel parents of students at all grade levels.
Our keynote presentation will be delivered by Dwayne Matthews, a life and education strategist, who converges and shares knowledge on modern learning, disruptive technology, and the evolution of work. Dwayne will present Learning in the 21st century: Why it's different, why it matters and how to help children thrive in a rapidly evolving digital world.
Registration opens Feb. 5, 2018
For more information, visit www.peelschools.org/parents/conference.
Bus cancellation and closing schools due to bad weather
During the winter months, we may need to cancel buses or close schools because of inclement weather.
Information regarding details of cancellations or closures will be announced on radio and television stations listed below and will also be available on Twitter @Peelschools, Facebook at www.facebook.com/peelschools, www.peelschools.org and www.stopr.ca or by calling
905-890-1010 or 1-800-668-1146.
VIRGIN RADIOFM99.9 BREAKFAST TELEVISION NEWS AM680
CFNY FM102.1/AM640 CJCL AM590 CHFI FM98.1
NEWSTALK1010 AM EZ ROCK FM97.3 CJBC (FR) AM860
FM Z103.5 FM93.1 FM Q107
CHIN FM100.7/AM1540 CBC99.1 CITYPULSE
GLOBAL NEWS CITY NEWS CTV
CFRB – (Bell Media)
One of the following messages will be announced (highlighted text only):
Peel District School Board buses are cancelled
This means that schools remain open for students and staff, but buses are cancelled. Bus cancellations could occur in all or parts of municipalities. Buses will remain cancelled all day. All activities that require busing will also be cancelled. Permits, night school classes, child care and other activities in schools will operate as usual.
All Peel District School Board schools and board offices are closed
This means that all schools and Peel board offices are closed to students and staff. All activities in schools and board offices are also cancelled, including child care, night school and permits.
All evening programs and permits at the Peel District School Board are cancelled
This means that all activities in schools and Peel board offices are cancelled, including continuing education courses and events. The buildings will be closed.
All weekend programs and permits at the Peel District School Board are cancelled
This means that all activities in schools and Peel board offices are cancelled, including continuing education courses and events. The buildings will be closed.
Help your family stay warm this winter
Peel Public Health recommends the following cold weather guidelines for preventing cold-weather injuries:
- Reduce amount of time children (grade 8 and under) spend outdoors when the temperature is –20 degrees Celsius or colder, with or without the wind chill.
- Keep children indoors when the temperature is -25 degrees Celsius or colder, with or without wind chill. Some medical conditions may increase sensitivity to cold. Parents should consult their physician (Source: Environment Canada).
- Allow indoor breaks if children say they are feeling cold or during extreme temperatures.
- Ensure children are dressed warmly, covering exposed skin: insulated boots, winter weight coats, mittens, hats, neck warmers.
- Change wet clothing or footwear immediately.
- Although these conditions are unlikely to occur during the school day, ensure that all staff are able to recognize and treat symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia. Given plenty of warm fluids to prevent dehydration.
- When children are outside, be watchful for shivering or signs of numbness in faces, ears, hands or feet.
- Educate children in dealing with cold weather: drinking plenty of fluids, dressing warmly, and recognizing signs of cold injury.
It's time to register children born in 2014 for kindergarten
We inspire success, confidence and hope in each student…and it all starts in kindergarten! If your child was born in 2014, he or she can start kindergarten in September 2018. You can register your child at any time during regular school hours—just visit the school he/she will be attending to register.
Peel schools will also hold a Kindergarten Registration Week with special registration activities during Jan. 29 to Feb. 2, 2018. Visit Walnut Grove from:
Jan. 29 to 31, 2018 – from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Feb. 1, 2018 – from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.
Feb. 2, 2018 – from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What you will need to bring to registration
Proof of child's age (one of the following)
Canadian birth certificate
Permanent Resident Card
confirmation of permanent residence
Proof of address (one of the following)
Ontario driver's license
bank statement/client slip (directly from financial institution)
credit card statement
federal government forms (e.g. Social Insurance Number, Service Canada documents)
Proof of custody – children must live with their parent(s) unless provided documentation supports an alternate living arrangement
Proof of immunization – proof that your child has been immunized/vaccinated
What you need to know about head lice
What is head lice?
Head lice are tiny insects that live on the scalp where they lay their eggs. They have three stages: the egg (nit), the nymph and the adult. Head lice do not spread diseases and cannot be spread between animals or pets and humans, only through direct contact between people.
Head lice spread easily, especially where people are in close contact. They are very common among school-aged children or children attending child care, where they spread through direct hair-to-hair contact or directly by sharing things like hats, combs, hairbrushes or headphones.
One of the first signs of head lice is an itchy scalp. However, children can have head lice for several weeks with no symptoms. If you think your child has head lice, check their hair for nits right away, then again after one week and after two weeks.
What to do if your child has lice
Parents are advised to keep their child at home until they have been treated for lice. Students may only return to school if they are “nit-free.” If your child has live lice, ensure that they avoid head-to-head contact with other children until the lice are gone. Children should not share combs, hairbrushes, caps, hats or hair ornaments. You should also check all family members for head lice. Be sensitive to your child’s feelings and let them know that having head lice does not mean they are not clean.
Head lice can be treated with the following approved insecticides:
- pyrethrin (found in R&C Shampoo + Conditioner)
- permethrin (Nix Creme Rinse or Kwellada-P Creme Rinse)
- lindane (Hexit Shampoo or PMS-Lindane Shampoo).
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
Healthy Body! Healthy Mind!
When we invest in our physical health, will be able to combat stress and anxiety with greater success. This includes being:
Set a Sleep Schedule – Set an alarm to go to bed! Our body likes a regular schedule. Bedtimes and wake times should not vary by more than one hour from one day to the next.
Drink plenty of water - Many of us go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help us make healthier food choices.
More steps – Step side to side. Start by doing it 10 times per foot. Do this while watching TV, working on your computer or brushing your teeth. Do it with your children to make it fun.
Offence Declaration required for returning volunteers
Parents play an important role in the development and education of their children and in the success of the school community. At (insert name of school), we welcome and encourage the participation of parents and community members, and are grateful for the countless hours our volunteers contribute throughout the school year.
To volunteer at our school, you must complete a short interview and a criminal record check. A criminal record check is required for all school volunteers in Ontario. Even if you want to accompany your child on a field trip, you need this record check.
Once you have completed the process, you are on file with the Peel District School Board as being a school volunteer. All returning volunteers will receive an Offence Declaration form that must be filled out and returned to the board office each year. Completing the Offence Declaration will ensure that you can continue volunteering in the next school year. Expect to receive the form in mid-February.
Register today for Adult ESL or LINC classes
Do you know an adult that is interested in improving their English language skills for work, study or daily life?
Through the Continuing & Adult Education department, the Peel District School Board offers a wide variety of English language classes that help parents experience success in Canadian English in both listening/speaking and reading/writing. Courses are designed for a range of basic, intermediate and advanced English (Levels 1 to 7) as well as the more experienced learner needing to prepare for an IELTS exam.
Winter courses begin February 5, 2018.
All learners that complete a session will earn a certificate of learning from the Peel District School Board.
Classes operate from six locations in Brampton and Mississauga with three specially designed adult centres at:
- Bramalea - Adult Education Centre - 25 Kings Cross Road, Unit 3
- Brampton - Adult Education Centre - #300 - 7700 Hurontario Street
- Mississauga - Adult Education Centre - 100 Elm Drive West, Room 117
To learn more or to register, call 905-270-6000. Course registrations are ongoing till the end of the semester.
Also visit www.peelschools.org/adulteducation or follow us on Twitter: @PDSBLearnESL
Celebrating Faith and Culture Backgrounder
The Peel District School Board is a mosaic of many cultures and faiths from all over the world. To commemorate this diversity, the board recognises special faith and culture days of our communities. February 2018 has several special faith and culture days to celebrate and remember:
February - Buxwlaks and Bear Moon in Aboriginal Spirituality
Buxwlaks is celebrated by Nisga'a people of the Nass Valley in Northwest British Columbia. It is the season of blowing needles of the evergreens. The wind shakes loose the foliage from frozen trees and heralds the approach of new growth and the New Year.
The second moon of Creation is called the Bear Moon by the Ojibwe people. This month the stories related to the spirituality and cultures of the Six nations are retold in the communities.
February 1 or 2 - Imbolc in Wicca
Imbolc is the second major Sabbat in Wicca. It celebrates the sun's increasing power that will bring the start of spring. Imbolc is also called Imbolg, Candlemas, Brigantia, the Feast of the Waxing Light, and Oimelc. Originating as one of the Celtic fire festivals, it is celebrated with the lighting of candles. It is a time of reflection about potential and new beginnings.
There are eight Wiccan Sabbats, spaced about 45 days apart during the year. Four of these are minor Sabbats—two equinoxes and two solstices. There are also four major Sabbats, occurring roughly midway between the minor Sabbats.
February 3 - Setsubun-sai in Shinto
This popular family New Year's festival, commonly known as the bean-throwing festival, marks the end of winter and the eve of the first day of spring according to the old lunar calendar. The problems and evils of the winter are chased away as family members participate in a ritual called mame-make—throwing beans into each room of the house, and then through the outer doors with shouts of “Oni wa soto, Fuku wa uchi!” Roughly translated, this means “Go out bad luck, come in good luck.”
On Setsubun, many families hang a hiiragi over their doorway. This is a charm made of a piece of holly and a small dried fish tied together. The celebrants eat toasted soybeans. They eat as many beans as their own age plus one more. The extra bean stands for the start of the New Year.
The next day is considered the first day of spring in Japan.
February 6 to 24 - month of Mulk in Bahá’í
In the Bahá’í calendar, there are 19 months of 19 days each. Each month represents an attribute of God. Mulk, signifying "dominion," is the eighteenth month.
The Bahá’í day starts and ends at sunset. The first day of each month is known as a Feast Day.
February 13 – Mahashivaratri in Hinduism
The festival of Mahashivaratri is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is one of the three most important deities in Hinduism, along with Brahma, the creator, and Vishnu, the preserver. Lord Shiva is the destroyer and reproducer of life.
During Mahashivaratri, adherents fast, chant, meditate, visit the temple and offer group prayers.
February 14 - Ash Wednesday in Christianity
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent in the Western Christian liturgical year. Lent is a season of spiritual discipline, cleansing and fasting which occurs in the 40 days before Good Friday. The name Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient practice of putting ashes on one's head as a symbol of mourning and penitence.
February 15 - National Flag Day in Canada
This day celebrates the anniversary of the first raising of the Flag of Canada in 1965 at Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The national flag was approved by the House of Commons on Dec. 15, 1964, the Senate on Dec. 17, 1964 and was first flown on Parliament Hill on Feb. 15, 1965.
February 16 - Lunar New Year/Maitreya Bodhisattva’s Birthday in Buddhism
Followers of Mahayana Buddhist tradition from Tibet, China, Vietnam, Japan, Korea and other parts of the world celebrate their New Year after the new (dark) moon for the year 4716 - the Year of the Brown Earth Dog. They visit the local temple or monastery in the morning. In the afternoon, they distribute food to the poor. The day will conclude with evening chanting of the Buddha's teachings and meditation.
New Year's celebrations vary throughout East Asia:
New Year is one of the traditional and most important Chinese holidays. It is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar, which is usually the day on which the second new moon after the winter solstice occurs. The Chinese New Year is celebrated over 15 days. The Chinese greeting is "Kung Hei Fat Choi," meaning "Congratulations and be prosperous." Traditionally, red packets ('hong bao' 'lai see' ) are passed out on New Year's Eve, and the New Year is celebrated with firecrackers, as well as dragon and lion dances.
The Vietnamese New Year is celebrated for seven days. The greeting is "Tet Giap Than," meaning "Best Wishes." A special ceremony called Le Tru Tich is held at midnight (Giao Thua) on New Year's Eve. The ritual involves firecrackers and gongs and other festive items that make loud noises to usher out the old and welcome the new. Family members exchange gifts and pay homage to the Kitchen God. They also visit local temples to pray for prosperity and good health.
Vietnamese families plant a New Year's tree called Cay Neu in front of their homes. A bamboo pole is often used as a Cay Neu.
The Korean New Year's greeting is "Say hay boke-mahn he pah du say oh," meaning "Many New Year's blessings to you!"
Tibetan Buddhists celebrate Losar, or New Year's Day for the year 2144 in the Tibetan calendar. The last two days of the old year are called Gutor and are spent preparing for the New Year. The custom that day is to make special noodles called guthuk. Everyone exchanges the traditional greeting, "Tashi delek."
February 19 - Clean Monday (J) in Christianity
Clean Monday also known as the Great Fast or Pure or Ash Monday is the first day of Lent for adherents of the orthodox faith.
February 19 - Family Day in Ontario
The third Monday of February is recognized as Family Day in Ontario. This statutory holiday was established by Premier Dalton McGuinty on October 11, 2007. On this holiday, families are encouraged to spend time together.
February 25 to March 1 - Intercalary Days in Bahá'í
For Bahá'í s, the Intercalary Days are days of feasting, hospitality, rejoicing, charity and giving of presents, as well as ministering to the poor and ill, as they prepare for the annual Fast. The Intercalary Days are also used to complete the 365 days solar year as the 19 month Bahá'í calendar falls short.
Ideas for celebrating special faith and cultural days in your school
If you have a colleague who celebrates one of these days, don't forget to offer them best wishes! If you have students in your school who are followers of any of the listed religions:
- make sure the dates are included on your school calendar
- have your principal announce the day over the PA system
- hold an assembly to talk with students about the importance of these days
- include a mention of these days in your school newsletter
- include information on your school website
- display student artwork announcing these days or depicting their ideas about these days
- invite a member of a local faith group to come in and discuss the significance of this day with students
- have class discussions about these days
- ask some of your students who celebrate certain holidays to write a short essay on how they celebrate this day at home. Have them read it to the class to share this celebration with the other students.
- have parents offer a cultural session
If you would like any more information on how to celebrate these days, please call 905-890-1010, ext. 2809