News and Events

Acorn Children Raise $3,200 for Haiti and Glebe Avenue Fire Fund

One of the goals for children attending Acorn Early Learning Centre is to give them opportunities and experiences that will help them to understand our responsibilities to humanity outside of the school, specifically those in need.
Lately and sadly, two such groups have been in the headlines that needed our help:
– the earthquake in Haiti which has left that country in such devastation;
– those who have been left homeless due to the fire on Glebe Avenue.
When the children wondered what they could do to help, we decided to have a “Lap-a-thon” in the preschool. All of the children would be involved. Lapping, otherwise known as running the squasre in the large hallways at Acorn, is part of the noraml day for the children.
January 25-29, lappig became part of a fundraiser in which the children got sponsors for the number of laps they could do in one half hour. The response was overwhleming. They raised over $3,200 which will be split between the Red Cross for Haiti and the Glebe Avenue Fire Fund. The laps run by all of the children (some as young as 14 months old) totalled 961 which equates to 72 km. To put that into perspective, they would have made it just past Brokville in a relay race. We are so proud of them for the achievements, and they are so proud to help.
Acorn Early Learning Centre woud like to extend its gratitute to all of the familes and friends who sponsored the children for this “Lap-a-thon.” It is truly a “moment of magic” that only happens when everyone becomes part of a larger family. Thank you and many hugs to all. Acorn Early Learning Centre.

Saving Ella, The Neighborhood Turtle

It is with great anticipation every spring that everyone, young and old, watches and waits for the water to come back into the canal, the ponds adn the creeks. The children are anxious to spot the fish and the turtles who live in the ponds and to feed the ducks. So, it comes as no surprise that the children from Acorn Early Learning Centre everyday check out Paterson’s Creek on their way to and from First Avenue School.
At first, she just looked like a large rock in the mud in the bottom of Patterson’s Creek. Upon closer examination, there were legs, tail and a head. At first, the turtle seemed to be quite peaceful and happy to us and we always looked forward to seeing her day after day. After a couple of weeks though, we noticed that she had not moved for many days and began to worry about her. So we made a plan to help the turlte because we suspected that she would not survive the filling of the canal with no place to crawl up onto to breathe. Patterson’s Creek is so beautiful with its new stone walls, but not a place for a turtle who wasn’t moving. The plan required a ladder, a milk crate and our wagon to move the turtle to a muddy bank not far away.
The other detail had to deal with the legality of being in the creek and also taking the turtle to a new home. I contacted the City of Ottawa and then, a group called “Turtle S.H.E.L.L. Tortue”. Michelle from Turtleshell quickly made it clear that leaving the turtle one more night might be devastating and even too late. She convinced me to take action quickly, that very night as this turtle probably hadn’t eatin since last October, was awakened early by the warm weather, was now cold and had no food available for many weeks. In short, she was probably starving. That was also when we identified her as a “Snapping Turtle” due to her size, about 14-years-old. (Snapers can live to be 75 years old).
With a borrowed ladder, Eva’s grandmother’s fishing net, Miss Jen’s rubber boots, the oven mitts from the kitchen, a wet towel in a large container and the support from Cameron, Owen and Mom O’Grady, I proceeded into the pond to save the turlte. She was so weak that she only moved her toe when I picked her up. Before I even left the pond, I was on the phone with Michelle who told me what to do. I shopped for food and syringes and quickly drove home. I also wrapped her in blankets to warm her up. Throughout the night and the next morning, I fed her using a syringe. (You can imagine the difficulty of trying to open the moutn of a snapping turtle when it doesn’t want to). Although she was very weak, she was finally swallowing on her own by the morning, opening her eyes, and looking a me.
I brought her to Acorn that morning so that the children would know her story and begin to understand their role in our envionment. Soon, she was named “Ella, The Turtle” by the children.
By that morning, the canal was already filling. Ella was picked up by a volunteer from Turtle S.H.E.L.L. Tortue and taken to the turtle hospital where she had a little swim, had a little drink and was slowly progressing by the end of that day. After being fully assessed that night, she was listed in “serious condition.”
It has been a week and a day now since she has been under the great care of Michelle and Suzanne at Turtle Re-Hab. Although not yet eating on her own and having to be tube fed, she is becoming stronger and stronger. She has had her first “poop” since her rescue, and it is especially good news that everything is starting to work now. She will remain in Turtle Rehab for at least a month as she continues to heal. Suzanne has sent us a picture of Ella in her new surroundings being warmed in blankets. I would like to thank both Michele and Suzanne for keeping us up-to-date on her progress, and parents and many community members for their support.
Since she is ia “snapping turtle” and now an endangered species (December 2009), there are many strick rules as to where she will be put back. She is also very territorial by nature. Because of the rules, she will probably be placed back at Patterson’s Creek or in a nearby and suitable spot given her size. You can only imagine the crowd who will come to see her off as she is now part of the Acrorn Family. GO ELLA GO!!!!!
Thought for the Day
We have a chance to help the “snapping turtle species” who may become extinct by the time our children grow into adulthood. Thank goodness we had his opportunity to address this issue through education of ourselves and our children, care of our environment and Turtle S.H.E.L.L Tortue, a registered Canadian Charitable Organization dedicated to turtles. Their website is
Miss Joanne is director of Acorn Early Learning Centre

Farewell to Ella, our Community Turtle

Last month, I wrote a story about saving Ella, a 15-year-old snapping turtle from Patterson Creek. She had woken up early from hibernation because of the warm weather. With no available food, she was on he verge of starvation and dehydration by the time I rescued her. She has been in a rehab centre for turtles since April 6th under the care of loving volunteers from Turtleshelltortue.
I am an educator, but even more, I have a passion for all life. It has been truly exciting to have been part of Ella’s journey back to health. Sharing her journey with the children and families of this community has also been truly rewarding.
It took her one month from the time she was rescued to the time when she willingly took her first bite of food without having to be tube fed. Not only is she eating fish, chicken and worms now, she is eating all of the time. She has become quite mobile, swimming and moving around on land, getting stronger every day. When someone enters the Rehab, she is up and looking around to find out who it is, sometimes even instinctually snapping! Suzanne and Michelle at Turtleshelltortue have surely put their hearts into helping Ella to become a strong and confident turtle again. It is with their love and support, along with our best wishes, that Ella has become part of all our families.
In recognition of their work, on June 5th, the familes at Acorn organized and held a park party at Glebe Memorial Park, with all proceeds going to Turtleshelltortue to help fund the good work that they do. There was a used art sale, food, bake sale, games for the children, bookmarks, cards and turtle pendants designed by a local artiest, just to name a few. More details are on Ella’s Facebook Page as to how you can also help. Although Ella the snaping turtle couldn’t come to visit us during the park party, many of her friends did, with a Ministry of Resources representative.
Hopefully, Ella will have been released back into her environment at Patterson Creek in the fall. We wish her a safe journey and a long life. Although we will miss her, we all understand what it is like to go home and that she still has her own life journey to live. It is much like what we do for our children throughout their lives. Because she came into our lives for this short time, she gave us an opportunity to observe her, to understand her ways and to have respect for her place in our world.
Safe journey Ella!

Ottawa Mission Fundraiser

Children raise $915.00 to help The Ottawa Mission with Christmas meals, Dec. 2010.
It can sometimes be difficult to help children to be empathetic to the needs of others, but with this fundraiser in which children had a bake sale everyday for two weeks in December, where parents and children deposited coins into the large water container positioned at the entrance of Acorn, I think that we can safely say that we have started the process. The Ottawa Mission thanks the generosity and kindness shown to those less fortunate in our community. Thanks Acorn.

Working with the Children on the Portrait Study

Role of the Artist:

We began by focusing on the parts of the eye that we can see on the surface of our faces. We also discussed the rest of the eyeball that is not visible to us but is equally important to understand and include in our drawing. We were able to see how important it is to draw parts of the face that we can’t see in order to create a guideline to assist in the proper placement of the facial features as well as things like eyelids and eyebrows.

When we focused on the nose we discussed the difference between the hard part of the top of the nose, which is bone, and cartilage, which is softer part towards the end of our nose. We started our drawings to create a nose by drawing a circle at the end representing the cartilage to give us a guideline for creating our nostrils. This helped us to properly place the nostrils in relation to the upper narrow part of the nose.

Then moving on to the mouth, another simple circle technique helped to show where to place the small dip in the middle of the top lip. It also provided a guideline to know how far down to create the bottom of the lip in relation to our chin. Once the children had a confident command of drawing the eyes, nose and mouth, we move onto determining where to place those features on an oval that would temporarily represent the face. When the features were added we also discussed the proper placements of the ears in relation to the eyes and mouth.

Then we looked at the shape of our head. We noticed that some were rounder than others while others were oval, and some had more triangular jaws, and some people have a square shape to their face, etc.

Finally, we wanted to make sure our portraits included the neck and shoulders and part of the chest area so that we didn’t have a floating head on our page.

We also focused quite a bit on maintaining and developing the correct proportions, not only for each of the features, but also to utilize the whole page. We did this so that we created interesting positive and negative space, as well as an all-around interesting art piece.

Miss Bonnie, Artist at Acorn Early Learning Centre (June 2011)

Role of the Educators:

Our focus was on the “Image of the Child”. We were very interested in who the children thought they themselves were. While they could now understand the process of drawing their image with the help of an artist and mirrors, we still had many questions to ask the children such as “What do you think you eyes say to others” or”your mouth”? As well, what would your friends say about your eyes or your face? Who did they perceive themselves to be? So we started to ask those questions of each of the children as they looked at themselves in a mirror and after they had done their drawings, recording their answers. This information together with their drawings have helped us to have an insight into each of the children as individuals and also to observe their emotional growth over the school year.

One important observation that we made was that especially the girls added jewellery and flowers to their self-portraits without any provocations on our part.

This has been exciting work and we hope that they will remember this part of their childhood with excitement and happiness.

Miss Joanne and Miss Amanda, Acorn Early Learning Centre (June 2011).

Art Show 2012

This year’s art show was again spectacular featuring creations from the Toddler Program, Preschool Program and Kindergarten Program. While each class worked with our artist Miss Bonnie, the focus was based on the Educator’s learning goals.

The Toddler children loved their study of Dinosaurs, their eggs and their den.

The Preschool children worked on transparency using different mediums such as acrylic paint, oil pastels, paper and glass paint on Plexiglas to make pictures of trees in springtime in full bloom.

The Kindergarten children worked on mountain pictures with learning goals of foreground, background, contrast, the study of horizons and different skies while using plaster for textures. The kindergarten children also created, built and finished Sparkle the Dragon.

Parents enjoyed refreshments while their children acted as their guides.Park Party Success 2012

I would like to take this moment to extend a huge thank you to all who came to The Glebe Memorial Park on such a rainy day. We made $360 for the Lotus Centre for Special Music Education. Erin Parkes gladly accepted this donation on Sunday, June 17th. It will help to purchase musical instruments and sensory items for their children (clients).

We also made new friends, had soaked children who experienced not only the water coming down from the sky, but water coming up from the splash pad (really wet children…) and lots of fun. Many of you have already thanked staff for making this a memorable occasion on their time off. They organized games, did face painting and took care of the food. Now, we at Acorn would like to say “Thanks!” for all your support, not only on Saturday, but throughout the year.

We have a great family here at Acorn!!!

Many thanks,

Miss Jo