Richland Academy

Mon - Fri 08.00 am - 04.00 pm

11570 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill ON, Canada L4E 3N7

Author: Richland

Richland Academy / Articles posted by Richland

Managing Screen Time for Children

Today’s children are born into a world of touchscreens and are immersed in technology from a young age. Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had previously determined that children over the age of 2 should spend no more than two hours in front of the TV. Today however, defining ‘screen time’ is difficult since we are perpetually in contact with one screen or another, from our TVs to computers to mobile devices, and from school to work to play.


According to Dr. Yolanda Reid Chassiakos, lead author of the ‘Children and Adolescents and Digital Media Technical Report’,
“For some children, two hours may be too much.”


New guidelines have been set out by the AAP in addressing the issue of screen time and children. They have identified screen time as time spent using digital media/devices specifically for entertainment. Using media for purposes such as online homework, don’t count as screen time. Parents of children older than 5 years of age, can manage their children’s screen time by setting a time limit, as well as monitor the types of digital media their children have access to. Determining the appropriate amount of daily screen time depends on the family and the child, but productive time ought to have the priority over entertainment time. In a press release from the AAP, Dr. Jenny Radesky said “What’s most important is that parents be their child’s ‘media mentor.’ That means teaching them how to use it as a tool to create, connect and learn.” This is especially significant considering the innumerable, video games, apps, social media, and film streaming sites that kids have access to, on multiple devices, from personal smartphones to school-issued tablets.


“The environment of media has changed today,” Chassiakos said. Digital media undeniably has several significant benefits to children. It exposes them to new ideas and information, facilitates communication, promotes early learning, allows them to create, and among other things, has the potential to increase awareness and understanding of persons who differ from themselves. Chassiakos stated in the academy’s press release, “even though the media landscape is constantly changing, some of the same parenting rules apply. Parents play an important role in helping children and teens navigate the media environment, just as they help them learn how to behave offline.”

The AAP outlines several useful and easy and useful tips for parents

As children’s primary role models it is important for moms and dads to have healthy digital media habits themselves. They ought to be conscious of setting down cellphones, turning off the TV and shutting laptops at night.

“Young children can tell when their parents’ heads are always in their cells,” Chassiakos said. Setting the devices down and paying more attention to children can reduce incidents of them engaging in “irritable behavior.”

The academy advocates families designating “media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms,” according to the release. Getting phones off the dinner table allows families to have in-person conversations, which are very important for children’s development. Parents will also benefit from these media-free practices, as face-to-face interactions with family creates more intimate bonds. Having screen-free bedrooms can lead to longer undisturbed sleep for kids and parents, thus leading to better focus during the day.

Keeping tech devices out of bedrooms allows parents to better monitor the children’s digital media activity. Chassiakos suggests having children use computers in a common areas like the living room, for example, to ensure they finish any online homework assignments before using entertainment media or to keep an eye on the content of their entertainment choices.

Keeping a record of the number of hours children spend in front of the screen and matching it with time spent being physically active can help kids stay healthy. Parents can take kids outside for a game of catch or even a simple walk in the park, impacting weight management heart and muscle health, and increasing the opportunities to engage with their children.


“This doesn’t mean you can’t play video games with your kids,” Chassiakos said. “What’s most important is that families have media-free time, and when digital media is used, it’s used mainly for communication rather than entertainment.”


There are many benefits to be had from the proper management to screen time and mobile apps such as ‘ScreenTime’ are available to parents to help regulate their children’s device usage. Limiting the time children spend on digital media devices and increasing face-to-face play, and parent child interactions, ensures development of skills necessary for ‘school success’. Skills such as task persistence, impulse control, emotion regulation and creative flexible thinking.
The AAA has designed a Family Media Plan tool, for help with constructing a digital media plan for the whole family, and it’s available on


Enriching our Understanding of Science

Enriching our Understanding of Science

​Our visit to the Ontario Science Centre was an important learning moment for our Grade One students. The field study was a shared social experience that provided them the opportunity to encounter and explore novel things in an authentic setting.
​The field study supported our students’ inquiry about energy: “Where it comes from? Where does it go? Can it be stored? How it is transformed and how it can be saved?” The learning engagement included experiments with light, heat, sound, electric and moving energy. The children witnessed energy transformation in an exciting and real way.
​The students’ interest in our solar system as well as daily and seasonal changes led us to the ‘Night Sky’ exhibit. In the Centre’s planetarium we travelled from the Toronto night sky where stars are almost invisible due to light pollution, to the dark countryside where we were surrounded with stars. We located the ‘Big Dipper’ and the ‘Milky Way’ and visited the Moon, Saturn, Venus and beyond!
Our students’ reflections illustrate the new knowledge that transpired from their visit to the Science Centre. Such reflections assert our understanding of the importance of field trips in deepening and enhancing students’ classroom studies.

“Parachutes use wind energy. We get energy from light, food and water.” A.K.

“I learned that the moon does not make its own light.” L.V.

 “I learned that the bright star is called the North Star, and that some planets are made of rock and gas.” J.L.

“Wind energy moves windmills and sometimes makes electricity.” R.Z.

“A quality science curriculum is one that extends beyond the walls of the classroom.” National Research Council (1996)

Reminders for the week of April 18th-April 21st:

  • Easter Monday is on April 18th. Happy Easter!
  • Current Event presented by S.K  is on Friday, April 21st.
  • Earth month is April and as a school our Eco-Team would like to take part in a Canada wide initiative called Earth Play for Earth Day. On Friday, April 21st, our students will start the day with a Morning Gathering with Eco-Friends who will share about Earth Play.  After the morning gathering the children will be engaged in outdoor activities.  Please send extra clothes with your daughter/son for the day. We will be going out rain or shine so they need to dress for the weather. For this event we would like to share this link with you:
Wishing you all a joyful long weekend,

Mrs. Zahr


Building Positive Attitudes 

Building Positive Attitudes 

“The IB-PYP Attitudes are a vital focus in the development of positive attitudes towards people, the environment, and learning. These are the day to day attitudes we use: appreciation, commitment, confidence, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect, and tolerance.”

These positive attitudes are becoming an explicit part of our Grade One students’ daily learning. They are woven into their daily school life and are highlighted and reinforced at every learning opportunity.

During our read alouds our Grade One students are closely observing the characters’ behaviours and as such are forming opinions about the attitudes these characters display. Our Blue Spruce readers for this year are forming a solid platform for such character observations.

The children are given opportunities to examine their own actions. They are realizing that the attitudes they show towards other people, the environment and learning are reflected through their behaviours. For example:

“I show empathy towards others by bringing my friends closer when they are sad.” M. B.

“I show confidence by relying on me and believing in myself.” S.R.

“I show appreciation by loving my pals.” P.C.

“I show independence when I read peacefully and alone.” R.Z.

“I show respect towards books by not ripping them.” N.K.

“I am curious when I wonder where rubber comes from.” K.K.


It’s Time for Fun!!

It’s Time for Fun!

Our Grade One students have been deepening their understanding of Time as part of our ‘Measurement’ strand in math. They have been learning about the importance of this concept and how much it relates to our daily life.

“Time is important. It tells you if you need to rush or not.” S.R.
“Time is very important because when you are late to school you can hurry.” K.K.
“Time tells you whether you are late or early.” I.L.
“It tells me when to go to hockey and school.” P.

​Our Grade one curriculum indicates that students should be able to “Read time using analogue clocks, to the quarter hour using demonstration digital and analogue clocks. For example, “My clock shows the time recess will start [10:00], and my friend’s clock shows the time recess will end [10:15].”

​Telling time is a very important concept that our students need to learn at an early age. Knowing about the exact time and elapsed time helps them attach more meaning to their daily routines. 
u​Telling time also involves many skills that are put into practise once our students start learning about clocks, hours, minutes and seconds. Such skills include a deeper understanding and recognition of timelines, calendars, and patterns in their daily behaviours. They also enhance our students’ mathematical abilities to skip count and calculate elapsed time by figuring out the difference between a beginning time and an ending time.

“The concept of telling time can actually be seen as an umbrella topic that encapsulates an assortment of cognitive skills that should be developed in the early years.”
-Fletcher, 2009
​Reminders for the Week of April 10th-April 13th:

  • Current Events presented by S.K. is on Tuesday, April 11th.
  • Our field trip to the Ontario Science Centre is on Wednesday, April 12th. Our students have to bring their own lunch from home. Please cancel hot lunch.
  • On Friday, April 14th and Monday, April 17th there will be no school due to Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Our Fascinating Journey Through the ‘Forest of Reading’

Our Fascinating Journey Through the ‘Forest of Reading’

“Reading fiction is important. It is a vital means of imagining a life other than our own, which in turn make us empathetic beings.”
– Ann Patchett
“I feel happy when I read new books.” M.B.

“Every time we read a new book I am excited to know what it is about.” S.R.

“I am learning about how sometime authors use their senses when they are writing stories.” J.L.

“Actually when you read more books we learn new words.” N.K.

“When we read books we learn creative language.” E.K.

“When I read books I feel excited and confident.” R.Z.

During the last two weeks, our Grades One students have been profoundly immersed in the fine literature provided by this year’s Forest of Reading. The latter is an initiative of the Ontario Library Association. It is Canada’s largest reading program. It comprises of eight reading sequences that have been developed to encourage a love of reading amongst people of all age groups, as well as, celebrate Canadian books, publishers, authors and illustrators.

The ten new fiction picture books our Grades One and Two students are introduced to fall under the Blue Spruce award program. The texts are written and illustrated by nominated authors and illustrators for the award.

​​During our Read-Aloud sessions, the children are given multiple opportunities to examine each cover page carefully. Prior to reading, they inquire what adventure each book they are about to read will lead them to, by using the ‘I see’, ‘I think’, ‘I wonder’ protocol. During our reading, the children discuss these picture books in an authentic way, by constantly making connections to themselves, the world around them, as well as other texts they have previously read. After the reading, the children reflect on the author’s main purpose for writing, thus understanding that purpose and audience are at the very heart of the writing process.
In some books, our students have realized that a well-presented illustration is sometimes more powerful than words, as it allows their imagination to take over. The students are guided to notice the beautiful imagery and vocabulary authors use to depict their character’s feelings, or create an entertaining element.

“Illustrations can act as  symbols.” L.V.

The language curriculum specifies some of the many characteristics of ‘successful language learners’ as the ability to, “think critically, and to make meaningful connections between themselves, what they encounter in texts, and the world around them.” Our goal as educators is to empower our students with the knowledge and skills they need to be able to make meaning, and to analyze any text with a critical eye.


Science and Technology

Science and Technology

“A scientifically and technologically literate person is one who can read and understand common media reports about science and technology, critically evaluate the information presented, and confidently engage in discussions and decision-making activities that involve science and technology.”
(Ontario Science and Technology curriculum)
The above quote is taken from the Ontario Science and Technology curriculum. It is our goal for all of our students to become “scientifically and technologically literate” by creating a climate of curiosity and innovation in Project Work.
​The Science and Technology curriculum has three main objectives:
1. To relate science and technology to society and the environment.

2. To develop the skills, strategies, and habits of mind required for scientific inquiry and technological problem solving.

3. To understand the basic concepts of science and technology.
We are excited about our upcoming science units. Our Grade One students are beginning a unit on Energy in Our Lives. We will be working alongside our Grade Two’s and integrating the IB PYP theme of ‘How the World Works.’
The following lines of inquiry will be covered through interactive activities, experiments and demonstrations:

  • What is a source of energy?
  • How do you/your family use energy?
  • What is the difference between efficient and wasteful?
  • How can you reduce your use of energy?
  • How would your life be different without energy?

 This week, we sent home an ‘Energy at Home’ booklet in our Agendas. As part of our Project Work, please work with your child over the weekend to fill it out and discuss your family’s use of energy. This will support our learning about efficient energy use.

Please return it to school by Tuesday, April 4th.

​Thank you for your continued engagement and support.

Reminders for the Week of April 3rd-April 7th:

  • Co-curricular programs begin on Monday, April 3rd.
  • Current Event presented by L. V. is on Tuesday, April 4th.
  • Current Event presented by J.L. is on Friday, April 7th.


Forming Reading Buddies with Our Senior Kindergarten Students

Forming Reading Buddies with
Our Senior Kindergarten Students

​Our Grade One students are provided with multiple opportunities to practise their reading skills in order to develop the required reading fluency. To compliment reading to self, reading to a peer or to a teacher, they continue to practise their role as reading buddies to our SK students.
​Our students look forward to hosting their reading buddies. Their main goal is to exhibit an increasing love of reading, as well as a pride in their constantly developing reading skills.
​As our Grade One students read and listen to their younger readers, they model good reading and listening practices. In addition, their self-esteem increases, as they continue to feel more positive about their ability to read and guide their reading buddies.
Our buddy visits will be ongoing with the hope that our older and younger students form deeper connections with one another and continue to nurture a mutual interest in reading.

Spirit Week at Richland

Spirit Week at Richland

​Spirit week at Richland is a special time when our students’ high spirits is allowed full expression. It is a show of energy and enthusiastic support for their school. It is an opportunity to wear their school colours with pride. It is providing them with opportunities to be risk-takers, as they demonstrate their multiple talents. It is practicing open-mindedness as they are exposed to multi-culturalism that governs our school population. 
​As Reflections are a part of our everyday lives, this week, we reflect on the benefits of Spirit Week. What has Spirit Week done for our school morale, our school spirit and our overall appreciation for the hard work and dedication we all put forth on a daily basis?
“Spirit Week gives us energy.” S.K

“Spirit Week is fun; we get to exercise. We work better because of the energy and because we are happy.” N.K.

“Dance brings us altogether! It brings out our spirits.” S.R.

“You get to wear what you want and it shows what your country is.” Y.S.

“We come together to celebrate our cultures.” A.H.

“By cheering for everyone we show that we care.” E.K.
“Pyjama Day made me happy.” A.K.

“You get more energy to do more stuff because it is fun. It makes us not want to stop.” K.K.

“Spirit week makes us happy because it shows that we care about each other’s cultures.” R.Z.

“I don’t want to stop wearing different clothes because they are comfortable.” M.B.

“With jump rope we get all our wiggles out.” J.L.

Reminders for the week of March 27th-March 31st:

  • School Resumes on Monday, March 27th. All week dismissal at 4:00 pm.
  • Current Event presented by P.C. is on Tuesday, March 28th.
  • Current Event presented by R.Z. is on Friday, March 31st. 
  • Pizza/Civvies Day is on Friday, March 31st.
  •  Willy Wonka Jr.: The performances for Willy Wonka will be moved to  Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 at 6:30pm and Thursday, June 1st, 2017 at 6:30pm.

Learning about 3-D shapes

Learning about 3-D shapes

​Our Grade One students continue their study of shapes and space. Deepening their prior knowledge of two-dimensional shapes supported their understanding of three- dimensional figures, their properties and function. 
​Individually the students constructed three- dimensional shapes, such as rectangular prisms, cubes, square, and triangular pyramids. They used sticks, straws, pipe cleaners and plasticine in a creative way to build their figures. Many problem- solving moments occurred as the children were figuring out how to connect the edges of their shapes together, in order to maintain solid scaffolds. 
​In their groups our Grade One students explored the function of each 3-D shape. Using a Venn-diagram they sorted their shapes into categories: Does it stack? Does it roll, does it slide? Does it
roll and slide?
​When we combine activities in the classroom that require body movement, talking and listening we are activating multiple areas in the brain. 
“The more parts in the brain you use,
the more likely you are to retain information.”
 -Judy Dodge

Symmetrical vs. Asymmetrical Lines within Geometry

Symmetrical vs. Asymmetrical Lines within Geometry

​Our Grade One students are deeply immersed within our Geometry and Spatial Sense Mathematics unit of study. We have discussed the many patterns within the world. We continue to consolidate our understanding of the properties that define 2D and 3D shapes. Part of the Ontario Mathematics Curriculum also requires students to be able to create and describe symmetrical designs using a variety of tools.
​Although teaching symmetry is a small aspect of the study of Geometry, it forms an integral component connecting Mathematics to the real world. Symmetry in the real world is expressed in nature, art, architecture, etc. Learning about symmetry supports our students’ understanding of classification and ordering; skills used through our many daily tasks. The ability to notice similarities or various patterns will simplify these tasks.
​Our Grade One students’ study of symmetry extended beyond geometric forms to include organic forms, such as, plants, the human body and everyday items. They have learned that finding the line of symmetry is not always an easy task. That one has to look closely to determine that line that divides any figure into two identical parts is a challenge.
Our Grade One students thought it would be a great idea to trace around each other’s figures, draw a line of symmetry and attempt to create a balance between the two sides. Their creative minds played an important role in determining this balance. It was a learning experience we all enjoyed!
Reminders for the week of March 6th-10th:

Spirit Week begins on Monday, March 6th. 

  • Pyjama Day is on Monday.
  • ‘Be Someone Day’ is on Tuesday.
  • Current Event presented by E.K. is on Tuesday.
  • ‘Cultural Day’ is on Wednesday.
  • Open House is on Thursday.
  • Richland House Day is on Thursday.
  • Hawaiian Day is on Friday.
  • Current event presented by S.R. is on Friday, March 10.
  • Co-curricular programmes winter session ends on Friday.

Wishing everyone a very happy weekend,

Mrs. Zahr