When my oldest son was five months old he was sitting up and crawling around. At seven months he was walking. At ten months he was running everywhere as fast as his little legs could take him and if you turned your head away from him for one second – he was gone! There was no stopping him. He was on a mission to see the world and, with his carefree attitude, did not seem to concern himself with where “mommy” was and how far away he had strayed. He had boundless energy to burn and I could hardly keep up with him. He was a bright, inquisitive child who simply could not sit still. There was always too much to see and do – a world of adventure at every turn.
When he started Junior Kindergarten at our local inner city public school it had not occurred to me that my spirited son, who had been in daycare since he was nine months old, would have any trouble fitting in or possibly dislike going to school. However, that was exactly the case! Although he made plenty of friends and was well liked by all, I would get calls for interviews by the teacher to sit down and go over my son’s behaviour in class. The teacher would say, “He is a very bright boy, but he has trouble focusing in class. He doesn’t sit still and he is always doing something; fidgeting or distracting the other children.” These comments were repeated throughout his Junior and Senior Kindergarten experience.
It got to the point where both his father and I began to expect to hear these words repeated over and over again. Unfortunately, what was more apparent to both his father and myself was that our son began to complain about school. He didn’t seem excited to go and it started to get harder and harder to convince him that school was fun and that learning was enjoyable. I could see that my once curious, adventurous and spirited boy, was becoming frustrated and withdrawn.
We realized that the structure of the public school system might not be suited for our son but what other options did we have? We began to look into alternative schools.
By chance, we made an appointment to see the Avalon Montessori School, in the beaches area. At that time it was a twenty-five to thirty minute TTC ride from our homes. As soon as we walked into one of the school's classrooms, we were both in awe. There were students reading, calculating math using number rods and other tactile materials, children working on assignments together and individually. I had never seen children so interested in learning and doing all of this on their own with little direction from their teacher. The classroom was quiet as they were all so focused on their own individual work. I was amazed! I knew right away that this was the type of environment that my son would be happy in and could flourish in.
After the tour, the principal, Sherry VanderKooi, took us into her office to discuss our son and the possibility of him attending the school. We happily signed him up. He was going to Avalon!
Now that many years have passed ( 9, in fact) and I’ve seen how well my son has done at Avalon, I can genuinely say that Avalon has been a blessing. I can’t say enough about what Avalon has provided for our son. He continues to impress me with his wit, courteous attitude towards others, broad knowledge and skills, and independent confident spirit. This is honestly the result of the many encouraging years he spent at Avalon.
He is now a very happy and well adjusted grade 9 students and we are so thankful for his Avalon experience.