Who Are We?

Meryl Macleod

Meryl MacLeod | Junior School

What do you teach?
Science and Technology Grades 3, 4 and 5
Tell us About Yourself
I am a native Montrealer who loves to give back to my community, devoting time to a number of worthy causes such as the St-Mary’s Young Professional Group and the Marie-Vincent Foundation. This school has been a part of my life since a very young age. My mom has been the teacher-librarian here for almost 25 years and it has been a very special experience working alongside her these last few years. I feel very lucky.
Please describe what makes the ECS community so special
ECS is like no other school community I have ever been a part of; the teachers and students are incredibly dedicated to what they do and go above and beyond each and every day. As a community, we take risks, we make mistakes and we are always better because of it.
Why did you choose to become an educator?
During my university studies, I worked at ECS for a couple of years as the Extended Day Program Coordinator. It was here that I fell in love with being in a school environment. The energy was contagious and working with the students was incredibly rewarding. No two days were ever the same and that’s what I loved! Each day presented itself with new challenges and opportunities. It was then that I decided to become an educator. I applied and was accepted to several B.Ed programmes in Ontario and chose to complete my studies at York University. I have been a teacher for over 5 years now, and have a B.A. in both Psychology and Education. I taught French in Ontario for 2 years before coming back to ECS and teaching in the Junior school.
Do you have a philosophy that guides your work in the classroom? 
Our classroom motto is “Dare to Err.” The girls know that when they come to the Exploratorium, they are going to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. That’s the ultimate goal. Take risks, ask questions and learn something new each and every day.  
Any special hobbies, talents, interests?
I grew up playing a lot of sports and continue to do so in my spare time. I love skiing in the winter and cycling and playing tennis in the summer. I also love to sing, although this is more of a hidden hobby ;) I think it’s extremely important for the girls to see their teachers involved in the school community through coaching, running clubs, etc. I ran a skating club in the Junior School for a couple of years and I found it created a different relationship between myself and the girls involved. It allowed us to be in an environment other than the classroom and to bond in a different way.
Tell us about a project that your students have worked on that you feel best represents the values of ECS
Last year, we started coding at the elementary level (Grades 3, 4 and 5). In Grade 3, the girls used the Scratch platform and in Grades 4 and 5 they learned the Swift programming language in Swift Playground. To quote Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code: “Coding is the language of the future, and every girl should learn it. As I've learned from watching girls grow and learn in our classrooms, coding is fun, collaborative and creative.” In my own classroom, I have observed just that; girls encountering problems, collaborating to find solutions and, for some, overcoming their fear of failure.