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Teacher Tuesday: Balsam Class

Ms. Karen Brown, Ms. Jennifer Blazek and Ms. Isabel Galvez wearing masks
The three musketeers of Balsam Class

For this week’s Teacher Tuesday, we will taking you into one of our Primary 1 classes, the always high energy and vibrant Balsam Class located at our Midtown Junior Campus. Our Balsam Class is home to a trio of incredible educators. These three musketeers are Ms. Karen Brown, Ms. Jennifer Blazek and Ms. Isabel Galvez.

Ms. Karen Brown is the head teacher in Balsam Class. Ms. Brown has been with The Clover School for three school years and has taught with us at both the Pre-Primary and Primary levels. Ms. Brown has a wealth of knowledge in child development and the Montessori method. She has a diploma in Early Childhood Education from George Brown College, a diploma in Assistants to Infancy (0 to 3 years old) from the Association Montessori Internationale and a diploma from the Toronto Montessori Institute to teach children from 2 1/2 to 6 years of age.

Ms. Brown is extremely family-oriented and grew up in a home full of lots of love, laughter, and big hugs – which is evident in her warm demeanour towards her students. When she isn’t at school working with her beloved Balsam children, she loves to read historical fiction and listen to ska music. A few fun facts about Ms. Brown are that her favourite ice cream flavour is praline and cream, her favourite animal is a whale, she loves margherita pizza, and her favourite time of year is the summer months as she loves the hot temperatures and beautiful sunshine.

Photo of Ms. Karen Brown
The fabulous Ms. Karen Brown

Ms. Jennifer Blazek has been with The Clover School for four years. She loves the community feel of our school, the positive energy and enthusiasm from our whole team and she is passionate about the Montessori philosophy. She obtained her Early Childhood Education diploma from Humber College in 2000 and has twenty years experience working in the education and childcare industry. Before joining our team, she ran an Ontario Early Years Centre part-time while raising her children. Additionally, Ms. Blazek is currently a part-time student who is working towards completing an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University.

Ms. Blazek has three children who all play competitive hockey. When she isn’t doting on her Balsam students, she is shuttling her children around to hockey games, practices and tournaments. A passion for hockey definitely runs in their family as Ms. Blazek herself was both an ice and ball hockey player up until last year! When her family isn’t at the arena, they love to spend time together hiking, biking, skiing, and camping. A few interesting facts about Ms. Blazek are that her favourite pizza toppings are pineapple and olives, and that her favourite flavour of ice cream is mint chocolate chip. She is an animal lover who grew up always having had a pet cat and a pet dog in her home. Currently, she is a proud dog mama to a 7 year old labradoodle named Finley.

Photo of Ms. Jennifer Blazek
The amazing Ms. Jennifer Blazek

Ms. Isabel Galvez has been with The Clover School for three years and has worked with students at the Pre-Primary and Primary level. Ms. Isabel, as her students affectionately call her, is an Early Childhood Assistant. She is a proud member of our Clover family and loves that she is able to support and guide her students on their educational journey.

Ms. Isabel is very close to her family, has one sibling, and grew up with many different pets. In her free time, she loves to listen to music (especially soft rock from the 1970s and 1980s), do jigsaw puzzles, and watch nature documentaries – she is a passionate environmentalist. Ms. Isabel’s favourite animal is a white tiger, her favourite ice cream flavour is maple walnut and she loves artichokes on her pizza. We are currently entering Ms. Isabel’s favourite time of the year – the holiday season! We will soon hear her humming festive tunes in the hallway. A fun fact about Ms. Isabel is that she loves to collect different types of currency from all over the world.

Photo of Ms. Isabel Galvez
The magnificent Ms. Isabel Galvez

There is always something fun and exciting happening in the Balsam Classroom. The teachers encourage the students to pursue and follow their own passions. There are a variety of books in the classroom to spark and fuel each child’s interests.

The students love circle time where they can have group discussions and listen to their teachers read them stories. They also look forward to their weekly dance party each Friday. Another favourite activity is their long walks around the community. The fresh air, exercise and exploration of the neighbourhood is something that is looked forward to each day by both the students and teachers.

The Balsam students love working with the Montessori materials and thrive during Ms. Brown’s one-on-one lessons. The students particularly love the practical life materials, and are especially excited that they have been able to resume flower arranging in their classroom.

Celebration of diversity is an integral part of the Balsam classroom. There are many classroom discussions about different cultures and religions, and their customs, practices and traditions. Last week, our students learned about Diwali and even had a presentation in the room about the significance of the festival. In the coming weeks, they will be discussing the upcoming winter holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah and will be celebrating with lots of crafts, music and festivities.

Don’t forget to check back next week to learn all about one of our Primary 2 classrooms, the wonderful Willow Class which is located at our Midtown Elementary Campus!