Head Lines: Winter 2021

To Our York House Community,

Just recently, while chatting with a teacher about the upcoming holidays, she shared with me her teenagers’ disappointment when she suggested that maybe they might not engage as a family in their annual “hide the elf” tradition. She shared how surprised she was that her daughters expressed disappointment and insisted on the tradition even though they have grown up. Of course, she conceded, much to their delight as they continued to find unique places for the little elf to show up on a daily basis. This led me to reflect on the importance of traditions. 

The holiday season brings with it a variety of cultural and familial traditions. The lead-up to important celebrations is filled with traditions that help build excitement and joyful connections. Without a doubt, with our fast-paced lives and with the number of challenges and ongoing turmoil the world is facing, traditions are more important than ever. Traditions offer a sense of familiarity, a semblance of order and predictability to our lives. I invite you to consider what are the traditions you hold dear to your heart?

As for myself, I have such fond memories of the beautiful holiday dinners and gatherings I had as a child. I have vivid memories of the extravagant decorations in our home, the delicious scent of my mother’s famous apple pie, the laughter of my siblings as we played board games in our pyjamas, and the great anticipation of my many cousins visiting during the holidays. 

I also find myself truly attached to the traditions I have created with my very own children, who as grown adults still seek to dissuade me when I propose a new dish or suggest doing things differently (…likely because I’m hoping they will cook instead of me!). But really, I can’t help but feel blessed and grateful when they ask for the same traditions. 

Oh, there were some mess ups along the way and these little anecdotes typically make their way to a dinner conversation filled with laughter and chuckles. Maybe it’s about the time when someone used salt instead of sugar when baking a cake (not me!) or when the dog ate the entire charcuterie board (minus the olives) before the guests arrived. Somehow the stories seem to get embellished over the years, but the memories remain and they keep us grounded and grateful for each other and for the bonds we hold as a family. 

And that’s what is great about traditions. They comfort us, give us a sense of belonging and make us feel safe and secure. Traditions are intertwined with emotions and memories, which is why we treasure them so much. Have you ever noticed how people enjoy sharing their traditions with each other? When we do this, we really are sharing the story of who we are, where we come from and what has shaped our lives. 

As we head off into our winter holidays, It is my sincere hope that you are able to spend special moments with your family and friends and that you are able to create long-lasting memories that will be retold for years to come. 

I want to take this opportunity to thank our faculty and staff at York House School for a tremendous first term and to our Yorkies for all of their hard work and dedication towards their learning. Have a great holiday everyone. May the new year ahead be filled with love, light and laughter. 

With care,


Head Lines: Fall 2021

This Tuesday we celebrated World Teachers Day; a day to acknowledge the importance of educators worldwide. Never before have teachers been more needed than at this time. The educational disruptions and school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the past 19 months have demonstrated the crucial role teachers play not only in maintaining learning continuity but also in sustaining the dynamics of families and communities worldwide. The past year and a half has been disruptive, to say the least. Educators have taken on incredible challenges to meet the needs of students remotely, in person, and concurrently. During the pandemic we have seen how teachers are at the heart of educational responses: moving to emergency remote learning, personalizing and adapting their teaching methods, and addressing the social and emotional needs of students while managing their own personal challenges. With Thanksgiving this weekend, my heart is filled with admiration and gratitude for our teachers at York House School. 

We’ve had such a wonderful start to the school year. Interestingly, if it wasn’t for everyone wearing masks and practicing hand and respiratory etiquette every day, a visitor walking the hallways at York House School might think that all is back to normal. Yes, our health and safety protocols remain in place but there is something to be said for the return of regular activities and normal school routines. There is such a positive feeling on campus!

We have seen great enthusiasm in terms of student participation in our co-curricular programs. These are such an integral part of our student’s social, physical, and emotional development.  Following 18 months of COVID restrictions, it has been remarkable to see the positive impact these programs have on our Yorkies. Co-curriculars promote connection with peers, the development of social skills and an opportunity to develop long-lasting friendships with students in different grades. Our Yorkies also learn to develop important time management skills. They learn to manage their time effectively, prioritize among different competing commitments, and become proactive problem solvers. As well, experiencing success outside of academics can greatly improve a student’s self-esteem and that in turn can have a positive impact on performance in the classroom.  It certainly is our goal to provide a variety of opportunities that challenge and appeal to all our students. 

As the year unfolds, our approach to resuming activities at school will continue to be gradual and prudent as we keep a close eye on COVID exposures in our community. I want to thank you all for your continued vigilance and wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Let us take time to be grateful for our health and for the people in our lives who bring us happiness.


Julie Rousseau
Head of School