The Grade 5-8 students from Granite Ridge Education Centre visited Prince Charles Public School in Verona Tuesday where Teilhard Frost performed a concert in the morning.

Frost also did a body percussion workshop in the afternoon for the PCPS Grade K-4 students.

During the day, the Grade 5-8 students from both schools rotated through music workshops including The History of Instruments, Bucket Drumming and Vocal Harmonies.

PCPS Grade 5-8 students will be visiting GREC in a few weeks for more workshops including using their wood shops.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019 12:50

CF receives smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

The Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education has donated 50 carbon monoxide and 20 smoke alarms to the Central Frontenac Fire & Rescue to assist with the department’s ongoing public safety and awareness campaigns. Alarms will be distributed by fire crews to local individuals identified as requiring the safety devices, on an as-needed basis.

“I’m very pleased to provide these life-saving alarms to Central Frontenac Fire & Rescue and to support its department’s community safety programs,” said John Gignac, a veteran firefighter and Executive Director of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education. “I applaud the department’s efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of fire and carbon monoxide (CO), and to highlight the preventative measures local residents can take to enhance their own safety.”

“When we find a home that requires a carbon monoxide alarm and it doesn’t have one, we make sure one is installed before we leave. This means we need a supply on hand at all times, and that is costly for small rural municipalities,” said Fire Chief, Greg Robinson. “We are very appreciative for this donation and recognition of our home safety initiative.”

Mr. Gignac founded the charitable foundation after his niece, Laurie Hawkins, an OPP officer from Woodstock, her husband, Richard, and their two children, Cassandra and Jordan, all died from carbon monoxide poisoning in 2008. A blocked chimney vent from their gas fireplace forced the deadly gas back into their home. The family did not have a carbon monoxide alarm.

“It’s been 10 years since the accident. We can’t change the past and bring them back, but we can make sure that this never happens to another family,” Mr. Gignac said. “Please protect yourself and your family today. Have a licensed technician inspect your fuel-burning appliances annually, and install at least one CO alarm in your residence. Don’t wait for tragedy to strike.”

Carbon monoxide is called the “Silent Killer” because it is colourless, odorless and tasteless. The only safe way to detect the poisonous gas is with a working carbon monoxide alarm. Ontario law requires that at least one working carbon monoxide alarm be installed outside all sleeping areas in every home that has an attached garage, wood or gas fireplace, or any other gas or fuel-burning appliances. The law also calls for CO alarms to be replaced within the timeframe indicated by manufacturers (7 to 10 years).

For further information, contact: Central Frontenac Fire & Rescue (613-279-2935, )


Canadians for Women in Afghanistan will be hosting its annual fundraising gala at the Italo-Canadian Club in Kingston on Friday, April 26th, from 5:30 – 9:30pm. The event will feature a sit-down dinner, a guest speaker, a silent auction, and the sale of books and Afghan goods.

The featured guest speaker is Dr. Lauryn Oates, the Executive Director of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, as well as university lecturer, activist, and author. She is a much sought-after speaker from Vancouver who has done extensive work in Afghanistan.

The C4WAfghan fund-raising gala supports education programs for Afghan women and girls. This currently includes full funding of a school for 400 underprivileged girls (including daily hot lunches), extensive literacy programs for young women in many provinces, and an expansive on-line library, among other initiatives. The organization has, in the past, educated 50,000 girls.

The program will also feature a tribute to Rona Mohammad and the Shafia sisters Zainab, Sahar and Geeti, to mark the 10th year following the tragedy. The Kingston and area community has so far generously supported legacy grants, in their names, to 41 Afghan girls and women over the years. “We need to remember these women and celebrate their positive legacy which has greatly improved the educational opportunities of many Afghan girls and women,” says Shafia Fund organizer Susanne Schurman.

Canadians for Women in Afghanistan is a member-based, not-for-profit organization founded in 1998 with 7 chapters across the country. C4WAfghan is one chapter of the umbrella organization Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. CW4WAfghan is a non-religious, non-political, federally registered Canadian charity. Volunteers work together to advance Afghan women and their families, and to educate Canadians about human rights in Afghanistan. The local Chapter, founded in 2003, has raised over $300,00 to date.

The organization has been grateful for the support from individuals and businesses in the readership area who have acted as sponsors or attended the event.

Tickets are $100 each (including a $40 Income Tax Receipt), available at the Limestone District Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, during business hours, or by contacting Madeleine by phone or email (below).


For further information contact:

Madeliene Tarasick,

C4WAfghan President


613 375-8290

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 12:09

Community Foundation of Kingston and Area grants

Frontenac County did well by the Community Foundation of Kingston and Area this week. 5 of the 15 grants announced at a ceremony at Sydenham Street United Church in Kingston are going to projects that are located in Frontenac County.

They include a $13,104 grant to the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre’s Winter Ecology Education Centre. The grant is intended to provide the opportunity for youth to actively learn and research about winter. The grant will go towards new equipment and a bus subsidy.

“Youth and new Canadians will access and study winter ecology first hand. They will learn what is happening above and below the snow and ice. This will inspire local youth to feel connected with the environment around them and be empowered to become environmental stewards,” said the release accompanying the grant announcement.

Southern Frontenac Community Services is receiving $3,658 for a professional 10 quart mixer to go in the commercial kitchen at the Grace Centre. The mixer will be used for the meals on wheels program that delivers 150 hot meals a week to seniors in the community, as well as to broaden the meal variety for Adult Day Program clients. SFCS is also considering expanding their Meals on Wheels program and the mixer will help them move closer to doing that,.

The group that has been working to develop a community recreation and cultural centre at the former Hinchinbrooke School in Parham, received a grant from the foundation last year to help them fund a feasibility study for the project. This year they are receiving a grant of $2,597 to recruit new partners to develop a multi-stage business plan for the project.

Finally, Rural Frontenac Community Services is receiving $8825 for the popular “Let’s Get Drumming” youth program. The project is active in North, Central and South Frontenac, “addressing the need for free, fun musical activities that encourages rural youth to learn an instrument, be active and connect with a group in their own community in a fun environment that promotes inclusion,” according to the release.

The total dollar value of the 5 grants, $28,184, represents about 20% of the $150,000 that was handed out by the CFGK this week.

Details on the Foundation’s Community Grants program and the projects they have funded can be found on their website at


The Lanark & District Maple Syrup Producers’ Association (LDMSPA) is hosting a Maple Syrup Beginner’s Workshop on Sept. 30, 2017, an all-day event to educate those looking to enter into maple syrup production on a home or commercial scale, as well as veteran producers looking to expand their knowledge base. The course, which runs from 9:15am to 4pm, will be held at the Lanark & District Civitan Hall, at 2144 Pine Grove Rd., Lanark Village.
Participants in the workshop will get the basics on identifying maple trees and tapping, sap handling and storage, equipment and supplies, boiling, density, filtering and bottling, and regulations and grading. A panel discussion and information on maple syrup production resources will also provide valuable information for syrup producers.

“Everyone can learn something from this workshop,” Dwight James, LDMSPA Director said, “Maple syrup production is one of those industries where there’s always more to learn, and for beginners getting started the learning curve can be intimidating.”

LDMSPA’s workshop is intended to reduce or eliminate that steep learning curve for entering maple syrup production, while offering experienced producers access to resources and information for expanding production or keeping up with changing regulations.

LDMSPA is a group of over 90 maple syrup producers located in the Lanark, Frontenac, Leeds and Grenville Counties, as well as the Ottawa-Carleton areas of Eastern Ontario. LDMSPA is one of 11 local organizations that make up the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association (OMSPA), an organization that represents maple syrup producers across the province.
As a membership-based organization LDMSPA supports its members by providing a forum to promote the production of maple syrup products, assisting members to stay current on changing industry regulations, and providing opportunities for networking, and education on the maple syrup industry in Ontario.

Registration for the Maple Syrup Beginner’s Workshop can be completed online at or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. While pre-registration is strongly recommended as space is limited, on-site registration will also be available between 8:15 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. on Sept. 30.

Cost for the event is $20 for OMSPA members, and $30 for non-members. Registrants who join OMSPA will receive the discounted price of $20. Registration fees include lunch during the event. For more information visit

Wednesday, 06 September 2017 13:53

Of Higher Hair and Education

September; the beginning of a new school year. It brings back memories. There were eighteen of us living in Gordon House that long-ago first year of Queen’s. Most of us were ‘freshettes’, the female equivalent of freshmen.
I was enrolled in four introductory courses and ‘Poets of the English Renaissance.’ This last was a fourth-year course where three of us freshettes had been tossed to fatten up the size of a class being offered by a “Recognized Canadian Poet”, the treasure of the English Department. He didn’t deign to acknowledge or learn the names of any of our little coven, sitting boldly together in the third row (though he did occasionally speak to the two first-year males).
The Feminine Mystique would not be published for two more years, so we three had no firm support for our puzzled indignation at being ignored. Fortunately the class material was fascinating, though the atmosphere was neither collegial nor welcoming. Eventually we squeaked through that course like most of our first-year courses; at the “B” level.

In any case, our heads were occupied with three other more obsessive “B’s” — Beehives, Bouffants and Backcombing. The latter being one of the mechanics by which the former two were accomplished. For someone like myself with fine straight hair, born seven or eight years too soon to be easily fashionable, this called for an array of backup paraphernalia and the ability to sleep on a head full of brush rollers.

Marilyn who lived on the third floor of Gordon House owned a rare portable hairdryer with a long hose which attached to a huge (to accommodate the rollers) crackly plastic hood. That hairdryer was heavily booked, usually for days ahead. And it was slow: Marilyn sometimes skipped first class, needing more time to dry her hair. I soon figured out that carbon-copied notes of those classes made good barter material for the hair dryer.

Like a troop of grooming simians, we Gordonites became skilled at backcombing each others hair; increasing its volume by tangling the under layers, then smoothing the top hair over the underlying scramble.
But the final step, the sine qua non of this carefully washed, curled, dried, bulked-up headpiece, was hairspray. It took a thick mosquito-clearing cloud of lacquer to cement such a confection in place. One would sit gasping for breath until the alcohol and other solvents had evaporated, indicating that the helmet was firmly set. A successful hairdo could last for several days, maybe a week, only slightly flattened here and there by sleeping.

I had grown up on a farm, almost an only child, and had spent thirteen years in Sydenham schools. It was Gordon House that marked the beginning of my initiation into the intricacies of the larger world.

Wednesday, 06 September 2017 13:43

Why Do Hummingbirds Hum?

What roosts but isn’t a rooster? What, when startled, sounds like a purring lion? What looks like a giant bumble bee when it begins flying five days after birth?

If you guessed ruffed grouse you have probably gone walking in the woods and also done some research about these chicken-sized North American birds. You are part of the adult majority who reads and writes more non-fiction than fiction. Our use of the internet alone suggests that we seek vast amounts of factual information. If we, as adults, are persistent in our search for work-related information, entertainment, recipes, vacation destinations, news and weather, road conditions, and the scoop on ruffed grouse who drum their wings in a flurry of emotion only to disappear like Houdini into the trees, it stands to reason that children also want to know more about the world around them.
Informational text is factual writing about our nature and society. In primary classrooms and at home we have typically shied away from using a lot of informational text with very young children. Fearing children will find the words boring, we have relied on fictional stories with strong characters and plot to hook children into reading. Research by Ruth Yopp and Hallie Yopp published in 2006 showed that almost half of the children in their home study had two or fewer informational books read to them by their families over a 7 month time span. Similarly, teachers overwhelming preferred fictional stories. Their research with children in preschool to grade three classrooms showed that only 8% of the read-alouds shared by teachers were informational texts with an additional 1% of the read-alouds being mixed texts such as “The Magic School Bus” series in which storytelling is woven into factual information. (Source

Though publication of research may lag behind changing practices, their research draws our attention to the ways in which we support children’s literacy and learning needs. In the early years children have insatiable curiousity about their world. Their curiousity propels them to ask questions, explore ideas and seek answers. Non-fiction books and print materials are laid out differently from storybooks. Through exposure to informational text, children develop different strategies for interacting with the text to learn new things. They discover how to zero in on specific information using photo and text boxes, table of contents, page numbers, section headings and more.
Popular thinking has suggested that girls prefer storybooks and boys prefer factual books. We are discovering, however, that if given the choice, both boys and girls will pick informational text over narrative stories almost half the time (Kletzien & Szabo 1998).

Reading factual books with young children doesn’t mean we have to give up the beautiful illustrations, large print, and accessible vocabulary we have come to expect from high quality storybooks.
“Bugs” written by Sarah Goodman is a Fandex Field Guide with 48 individually die-cut images of the world’s most fascinating creepy crawlies. The guide is perfect for young hands to hold and includes their habitat, scientific name, life cycle, fascinating facts and more. Similar field guides have been published about “Wildflowers” by Ruth Rogers Clausen, “Birds” by Michael Robbins, and “Trees” by Steven Aronson.
“What Do You Do With a Tail Like This” by Steve Jenkins explores the amazing things that different species of animals do with their noses, eyes, ears, mouths, feet and tails.
Reading informational texts with your child can boost their literacy skills, satisfy their curiousity, boost their desire to read for pleasure, and strengthen their sense of humour. Jokes are only funny if you know the relevant facts.
So if your five-year asks, “Why do hummingbirds hum?” you may want to act puzzled. And when your child giggles and tells you, “Because they don’t know the words!” you can be assured that sharing informational text with your child has been time well spent.

September 8, 2017 is International Literacy Day

Wednesday, 02 August 2017 13:59

Getting Ready For School

Emma’s mom looked at the calendar. It was still summertime. August stretched before them promising beach days and popsicles. But August would also be the last chance to prepare Emma for the thing that would change her three-year-old’s life forever – school. Would Emma be ready? Would Emma know what her teachers expect her to know? Would Emma be happy in a new building with people she’s never met? Would the bus ride be too much?
For Emma’s mom, and parents of children registered for full day kindergarten everywhere, it’s reassuring to know that educators and child development experts ask us to re-focus our adult lens; to shift from children’s ‘school readiness’ to children’s ‘readiness to learn’. Only then can we recognize that responsibility for children’s comfort and success in the school environment is shared. Long before that first day of school, childcare providers and family members nurture strong readiness to learn skills every time they help children share, take turns, listen to others, and express their feelings and ideas.

The Learning Partnership’s Welcome to KindergartenTM program, offered to families with pre-school children in seven provinces across Canada, suggests ways parents can nurture children’s readiness to learn. They highlight:

Talking and listening: The ability to learn hinges on children’s ability to understand and express themselves. Children need to know what words mean and how to comment and ask questions.

Research shows that conversations motivate children to talk, and are associated with children’s later academic success. (Rodriquez, Tamis-LeMonda, Spellman, Pan, Raikes, Lugo-Gil & Luze, 2009-Journal of Applied Technology; Dickinson, Darrow & Tinubu, 2008; Neuman & Dwyer, 2009-Early Education and Development) Other studies show that the number of words children know at the beginning of Grade 1 is a good predictor of their reading level at the end of Grade 1 and at the end of Grade 3. (Senechal & LeFevre, 1998; Senechal, LeFevre, Thomas & Daley, 1998).

Getting ready for school idea #1: Help your child learn new words every day! If your child knows the word “red” for example, introduce the word “crimson” or “ruby red”. Then use that new word often throughout the day so your child sees how that new word applies to their world in a variety of ways. Action words like race, trudge, and snooze; and emotion words like embarrassed, frustrated, and dazzled are fun words to learn too!
Sharing stories and books in the preschool years predicts kindergarten vocabulary and reading for pleasure by Grade 4! (Monique Senechal, 2006)

Getting ready for school idea #2: Read books together that capture your child’s interest every day. If your child wants the same story read over and over again, it means there is still something about the ideas, pictures, or emotions in the book that your child needs. Books such as “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn, “Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten” by Joseph Slate, “The Night Before Kindergarten” by Natasha Wing, “Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes” by Eric Litwin or “How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?” by Jane Yolen may be helpful in sparking conversations about what to expect during those first few days at school.

Playing with the sounds in words is a first step in discovering how oral sounds and printed letters are connected. Mem Fox, in her book Reading Magic, says that “Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight.” (p. 85) Rhymes help children hear when word endings sound the same. It helps them hear beats and syllables in words too.

Getting ready for school idea #3: Say or sing nursery rhymes. Read rhyming books. Once your child is familiar with the rhyme, song or book, pause at the end of the rhyming phrase for your child to chime in with the missing word.
School readiness will inspire Emma’s kindergarten teachers to prepare the classroom environment and program well for Emma’s first days at school. Readiness to learn has already inspired Emma’s parents to chat, read, and sing with Emma - at the beach and at home all summer long.

Published in Early Literacy
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 15:49

NeLL culinary skills program

Culinary skills for healthy living was the topic of the day as clients, staff, friends and family gathered at the Harrowsmith Free Methodist Church last week.

Recently, New Leaf Link (NeLL) received a $7,000 grant for a one-year pilot project to help its community build culinary skills and nutritional awareness using locally produced foods from the Community Foundation of Kingston and Area and the Regina Rosen Food First Fund.

NeLL is a not-for-profit charitable organization based in South Frontenac Township that supports continuing education and meaningful occupation of youth and adults with developmental disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, acquired brain injury and other neurological conditions.

Karen Steiner, founding executive director of NeLL said the project is rooted in NeLL’s overall philosophy of ‘eat wisely, move naturally and be socially connected.’

“This program will combine practical skills, such as following a recipe, with broader learning around a theme of introducing plant-based colour into one’s diet throughout the seasons,” Steiner said. “All of our cooking over the year will use this theme to generate recipes and as the basis for decision-making around meals such as grocery shopping or eating in a restaurant.”

The program one of two current NeLL initiatives, the other being an arts program, and is offered in partnership with Community Living Kingston and Extend-a-Family Kingston.

“We are delighted to have the support of these groups in our initiative,” Steiner said. “Community Living residents will take part in our programming and Extend-a-Family has offered access to it community garden for produce used in the cooking classes.”

Steiner is also hoping these partnerships will lead to other joint ventures and programs.

“We’d like to see the building of other partnerships that we can grow in together,” she said. “It’s a chance for NeLL participants to socialize, and grow social networks with common interests.

“For example, if we have outings — like birdwatching or trips to farmers markets — some of the other groups might join in.”


It’s taken about a year and a half, 40 pages of applications and a lot of research and learning, but this fall, the Granite Ridge Education Centre will be offering a unique class to its Grade 11 students — an introduction to GIS, which includes certification in the operation and use of drones.

“We believe we’re the first school in Ontario with this kind of program,” said Wade Leonard, who’s been the driving force behind it and will be the teacher. “There may be another somewhere but we’re the only ones signed up for the software.”

The ‘drone’ in this case is a Phantom 4, which is about the size of a large snare drum, complete with a state-of-the-art camera and software. It has four propellers and it’s no toy — especially not to the federal government.

“The permitting process has taken about 11 months to get this thing off the ground,” Leonard said. “We’re in the final stage now and we’ll be able to fly Class G, which is anywhere outside of restricted airspace (primarily around airports).”

Leonard got the idea after watching some Queen’s personnel flying one around his farm in Hartington. Little did he know what was involved.

“It has taken some time, but we’re taking the Mike Holmes approach,” he said. “Do it right.”

They got a Limestone Learning Foundation grant to get a subscription to software that will aid in GIS mapping, 3D modelling and several other applications including overlays and panoramas.

“We’ll be able to do some very highly detailed maps,” he said. “But there are many applications.

“Real estate, land surveying, construction — you can even count trees, which will be useful to many groups for species identification.”

They’ve already approached a variety of groups and local governments for possible partnerships and literally, the sky’s the limit.

But for Leonard, it seems the biggest attraction is the opportunity to give his students a useful and unique learning opportunity.

“I think it will be highly enjoyable and interesting for students,” he said. “And they’ll be certified going out the door.”

The GREC student body assembled on the soccer pitch for this 150th shot from the school’s drone. The 7 ½ ft. X 12’ Canadian Flag in the background came courtesy of student Claudia Thompson’s grandfather Stephen McCullough. “It’s from the Peace Tower,” she said. “He ordered it 12 years ago and he just got it.” Photo/courtesy of the GREC drone photography program.
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