For this week’s Teacher Tuesday, we will be giving you a glimpse into one of our Pre-Primary 2 classes, the always bustling and busy Birch Class, located at our Midtown Junior Campus. Our Birch Class is home to the amazing team that is Ms. Perera and Ms. Newton.
The head teacher in our Birch Class is Ms. Sherine Perera. Ms. Perera first completed her Montessori teacher training in Sri Lanka and she also has a diploma in Early Childhood Education from the Open University of Sri Lanka. When she moved to Canada, she obtained her second diploma in Montessori Education at the Canadian Montessori Teacher Education Institute. She has been a Montessori teacher for fifteen years. Ms. Perera has been with The Clover School for three of those years teaching at the Pre-Primary level. She loves the warm and welcoming atmosphere at our school as well as all the team spirit amongst our staff. She is grateful to work with co-workers who are so supportive, helpful and collaborative. During her time working at The Clover School, she has found great joy in getting to know and connecting with all of our students, families and staff.
Ms. Perera is an only child but grew up amongst her extended family surrounded by lots of cousins. A fun fact about Ms. Perera is that she inherited her name, Sherine, from her great grandmother and in Portugal, that name means “gift of God”. She is an animal lover who has fond memories of her beloved miniature schnauzer, Rocco. One of her biggest passions is baking. She is inspired by so many bakers around the globe but loves adding creative twists to her own recipes. Her favourite colour is green and she is afraid of snakes and insects. During her free time, Ms. Perera loves watching comedy shows such as Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond and watching late night talk shows especially James Corden and Trevor Noah. She also loves country music, in particular artists such Brooks and Dunn, Tim McGraw and Garth Brooks.
Ms. Perera is an avid traveller and especially loves exploring the continent of Europe for its rich cultural history and its delicious food. England is her favourite country to visit and it has inspired her two favourite meals which are bangers and mash and Sunday roast…two classic British delicacies!
The other half of this incredible partnership is Ms. Heidi Newton. This is Ms. Newton’s first year working at The Clover School and she is loving her new position as a Teaching Assistant in the Birch Classroom. She has transitioned into her new role seamlessly and the start of this school year has been an extremely positive experience for her. She has found all of our staff to be so welcoming and helpful, all of our families to be incredibly kind and supportive and her new students to be so sweet and a joy to work with each day in the classroom.
Ms. Newton originally received her diploma in Tourism Industry Administration Diploma from Seneca College and worked in that industry for several years. After having her own children, her focus shifted and her career path pivoted and she begun working in the childcare sector. Ms. Newton became a Kindermusik educator, and then obtained her Montessori Assistant Certificate in 2011. Her previous work experience have been as a Teaching Assistant at other schools in their Casa level classes.
Ms. Newton and her husband have lived in Keswick, Ontario for 24 years and they have two lovely daughters; Stefanie who is 21 years old and Sofie who is turning 18 this Friday. Happy early birthday to Sofie! They are a very close knit family who love to spend time together, especially spending weekends together at the cottage and enjoying cozy evenings at home as a family.
When Ms. Newton isn’t at school doting on her beloved Birch students, she loves to read, bake, do yoga and tend to the gardens around her home. She is of Eastern European descent, specifically an Austrian background. She loves to embrace her heritage by whipping up delicious German and Austrian dishes for her family in her kitchen. Her favourite meal is Goulash with Knoedeln and a Sachertorte for dessert!
Some fun facts that you may not know about Ms. Newton is that her favourite colour is blue and she has a fear of spiders and snakes. Her favourite movie is Under the Tuscan Sun and from the moment she first watched it, she dreamed of exploring the Tuscan countryside. This longtime dream came true for her last summer when she travelled to Italy with her family and was able to marvel in awe of its beauty, history, culture and food. They were also able to hop over to Austria during that trip to visit with her overseas relatives. Ms. Newton was bitten by the travel bug long ago and is eager for when she can plan her next adventure!
Ms. Perera and Ms. Newton have been so impressed and proud of how quickly their students have settled in their new routines and environment and how smoothly the transition was back into in-person learning. Their Birch student always work so hard and are so engaged during their work cycle time. Ms. Perera has been able to introduce and teach them a variety of new lessons and the students are eager to learn to use different materials and master new skills.
A fundamental aspect of the Montessori curriculum is Grace and Courtesy and it has been a large focus in our Birch Class during these first few months of school. They have been encouraging the students to offer a helping hand to a friend in need! The Birch students are quick to offer their assistance to help a classmate. If there is a spill to clean up, or if a friend needs assistance zipping up their jacket, there is always someone offering help!
Birch Class has a love for the outdoors and Ms. Perera, Ms. Newton and their students have so much fun playing together at recess and taking walks around the neighbourhood. They use all their different senses while on these neighbourhood walks by stopping to observe the changes of seasons and listening to all of the different sounds that they hear along their way.
November will be busy in Birch Class and the class will be honouring and commemorating Remembrance Day this month. Dr. Maria Montessori believed that children are the peacemakers of the future and that we must educate them regarding a world vision of peace and harmony among all living beings. Ms. Perera and Ms. Newton will be leading their Birch students in discussions about how peace comes from within and how we can spread peace through our words and our actions.
Thank you for joining us as we explored the wonderful world of Birch Class. Coming up next week – the fantastic Primary 1 Balsam Class!