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Fern Hill School - Burlington

   
801 North Service Road, Burlington, Ontario, L7P 5B8

ADD TO SHORTLIST   Website
Curriculum:
Traditional
Grades (Gender):
Preschool to 8 (Coed)
Tuition:
$19,332 to $22,028 /year
Main Language:
English
Avg. Class Size:
16 to 19
Enrolment:
Day: 180 (Gr. PS - 8)

School Address
801 North Service Road, Burlington, Ontario, L7P 5B8

Highlights:

highlights

About this school:

highlights

Our mission is to foster the academic development of girls & boys ages 3-14 and equip them with the skills that tomorrow's world will demand in order for them to be successful. We focus on balancing academic rigor with developing intellectual curiosity, creativity and confidence. Languages start in Preschool with French & Mandarin, and the program is enriched with Drama, Band, & Field Studies. Strong character is developed through the many extra curricular clubs & sports that complement our curriculum. — Visit school website




Reviews:

highlights

The Our Kids review of Fern Hill School - Burlington

our takeEach year Fern Hill mounts a theatrical presentation that includes all the students from grade 4 up. No, it's not a theatre school, but the strength of the production, and the enthusiasm with which it's mounted, is as good an introduction to the school as any. Academics are important, just as they should be at any school, but culture is important too, including a desire to capitalize on the individual strengths of the staff. Cross-curricular links are a focus of the field studies program, which also takes advantage of the location of the campus within the Ontario Greenbelt. Field studies are used as an entre to the development of confidence, skill development, and team building. The ideal student is one who can benefit from a bit more support, a bit more encouragement than they might find elsewhere in order to reach their full potential.




School busing:

highlights
school offers bus transferring. Service options offered are regular rider, regular rider AM only, regular rider PM only, door-to-door pickup . The regions it offers busing from are Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Carlisle, Milton.

Principal's Message

principal

Wendy Derrick, Director

My vision for Fern Hill School began long before there was a building, a student body or even a faculty. It began with a wish list: small class sizes, a warm friendly environment, attention to intellectual, social, emotional and physical growth and caring subject-specific teachers.

Today,more than 30 years later, Fern Hill combines the best traditional learning approaches with individualized techniques that have proven to be effective in engaging young minds. Taught by teachers who are as passionate about their students as they are about their subject specialties, our enriched curriculum stimulates and challenges students to give their personal best.  

Our familes choose Fern Hill not only because of its excellence in education, but also because our 22 acre campus is warm and inviting with indoor and outdoor spaces that are rich in purpose. In addition to spacious classrooms, a fully equipped gymnasium provides opportunities to be a part of school teams. A music room where vocal music is supported by Orph instruments and where band starts in Grade 5, offers a wide range of opportunities for performance. And a spacious art centre where students are led on an artistic journey that exposes them to all aspects of form, colour, light, perpective and Art History. 

My honest opinion is that the only way to know what we do, is to come to visit and see for yourself. Ask our teachers why they love to teach here and our children what is it that makes them want to come to school each day. I know you will like what they have to tell you. 


Academics


Curriculum Traditional

Primary Curriculum: Traditional


What school says: Fern Hill takes a traditional approach to learning but an unconventional approach to our timetable. Somewhat like a high school, our teachers move on a rotary timetable that enables them to be subject specialists across a number of grades rather than being generalists in many subjects for one class. We find this results in our staff bringing a superior level of knowledge and passion to their subjects while also facilitating the ability to individualize within each subject. This support enables many of our students to reach ahead and achieve high school credits in their Grade 8 year.

  • Approach:
    Focus
    Academic


  • Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics Traditional Math

      Traditional Math typically teaches a method or algorithm FIRST, and THEN teaches the applications for the method. Traditional algorithms are emphasized and practiced regularly: repetition and drills are frequently used to ensure foundational mastery in the underlying mathematical procedures. The traditional approach to math views math education as akin to building a logical edifice: each brick depends on the support of the previously laid ones, which represent mastery over a particular procedure or method. Traditional Math begins by giving students a tool, and then challenges students to practice using that tool an applied way, with progressively challenging problems. In this sense Traditional Math aims to establish procedural understanding before conceptual and applied understanding.
      Learn about the different mathematics approaches  


    • What school says: This information is not currently available.

    • Textbooks and supplementary materials: This information is not currently available.

    • Calculator policy: This information is not currently available.


    Early Reading Phonics-intensive

      Systematic-phonics programs teach young children to read by helping them to recognize and sound out the letters and syllables of words. Students are then led to blend these sounds together to sound out and recognize the whole word. While other reading programs might touch on phonetics (either incidentally or on a “when needed” basis), systematic phonics teaches phonics in a specific sequence, and uses extensive repetition and direct instruction to help readers associate specific letter patterns with their associated sounds.
      Learn about the different early reading approaches  


    • What school says: This information is not currently available.

    • DIBELS Testing: This school does not use DIBELS testing to assess reading progress.

    • What school says: This information is not currently available.


    Writing Equal balance

      Programs that balance systematic and process approaches equally likely have an emphasis on giving young students ample opportunities to write, while providing supplementary class-wide instruction in grammar, parts of sentences, and various writing strategies.
      Learn about the different writing approaches  


    • What school says: This information is not currently available.


    Science Equal Balance

      Science programs that balance expository and inquiry learning equally will likely have an equal blend of tests and experiments; direct, textbook-based instruction and student-centred projects.
      Learn about the different science approaches  


    • Teaching approach: This information is not currently available.

    • Topics covered in curriculum:

      Subject = offered
      Biology
      Chemistry
      Ecology
      Geology
      Meteorology
      Physics
      Physiology
      Zoology
    • Treatment of evolution:

      Evolution as consensus theory
      Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
      Evolution is not taught

    Literature Traditional

      In traditional literature programs students focus on decoding the mechanics of texts: plot, characterization, and themes. These texts tend to include a balance of contemporary and “classic” literature. When studying a past work, students investigate its historical context -- but only insofar as this adds understanding to the work itself. Past works are therefore studied “on their own terms”, and not merely as historical artifacts to be deconstructed: traditional literature programs are firmly rooted in the humanities, and carry the belief that great literature can reveal fundamental and universal truths about the human condition. These programs emphasize class discussions and critical essay writing, and aim to develop in students critical thinking, communication skills, and a cultivated taste and ethos.
      Learn about the different literature approaches  


    • What school says: This information is not currently available.


    Social Studies Core Knowledge

      Usually focused on teaching history and geography at an early age, the core knowledge approach uses story, drama, reading, and discussion to teach about significant people, places, and events. Breadth of content and knowledge is emphasized. The curriculum is often organized according to the underlying logic of the content: history might be taught sequentially, for example (as students move through the grades).
      Learn about the different social studies approaches  


    • What school says: History, Geography and Science are timetabled as separate subjects and often each have a separate teacher.


    Humanities and Social Sciences Perennialism

      Perennialism in the humanities and social sciences emphasizes the idea of education being a kind of “conversation” between generations, and so frequently turns to “Great Works” and “Big Ideas” for teaching-content. Perennialist programs approach past works on their own terms; as if they might actually help students understand “today” better. Past works are not viewed as mere historical artifacts, but as gateways to a deeper understanding of the human condition. History (and, by extension, the humanities in general) therefore plays a large role in perennialist curriculums, though social sciences like economics, psychology, and sociology can still be taught. There is a strong Liberal Arts bent to perennialist programs. The key goals are to develop critical thinking, a strong foundation of core knowledge (or “cultural literacy”), and persuasion skills through informed debate and extensive practice in essay writing.
      Learn about the different humanities and social sciences approaches  


    • What school says: This information is not currently available.


    Foreign Languages Communicative

      The communicative method of language acquisition emphasizes the use of the target language in authentic contexts. The approach commonly features interactive group work, games, authentic texts, and opportunities to learn about the cultural background of the language. Drills and quizzes may still be used, but less frequently than with the audio-lingual method.
      Learn about the different foreign languages approaches  


    • What school says: This information is not currently available.

    • Languages Offered: • Chinese-Mandarin • French


    Fine Arts Creative

      Creative arts programs are studio-driven. While historical works and movements may still be taught to add context to the program, students mainly engage in making art (visual, musical, theatrical, etc). The goal is use the actual practice of art to help educate students’ emotions, cognition, and ethos.
      Learn about the different fine arts approaches  


    • Program offers:

      Subject = offered
      Acting
      Dance
      Drama/Theatre
      Graphic Design
      Music
      Visual Arts
    • Visual studio philosophy:

      Expressive
      Disciplined
    • What school says: This information is not currently available.


    Computers and Technology Medium integration

      Effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy through the curriculum. However, this is not a dominant focus.
      Learn about the different computers and technology approaches  


    • What school says: This information is not currently available.

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Robotics
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What school says: This information is not currently available.


    Sex and Health Education Doesn’t follow Ontario curriculum
    Topics covered in sex and health education:
    Topics We begin covering this topic at: Begins in Ontario
    Body parts Gr. 1
    Nutrition Gr. 1
    Human development Gr. 5 Gr. 1
    Puberty Gr. 5 Gr. 4
    Sexual health and hygiene Gr. 4
    Reproduction Gr. 5
    Pregnancy Gr. 7
    Sexually transmitted infections Gr. 7
    Sex and decision-making Gr. 7
    Contraception Gr. 8
    Consent Gr. 9
    Sexual orientation Gr. 8
    Gender identity Gr. 8
    Misconceptions relating to sexuality Gr. 10
    Relationships and intimacy Gr. 8
    Bias and stereotyping about sex Gr. 12
    Sexual harassment Gr. 9
    Body image issues Gr. 7
    Mental illness Gr. 11
    Social justice and diversity

    What school says: While we teach puberty in our Grade 5 class, this group of lessons is clearly identified the class\\\'s calendar with communication to parents well in advance. Families who prefer to keep these lessons within the family are welcome to request that their children be involved in other activities during these classes.

    Approach:
    Mostly value-neutral

    By and large, we teach sex education free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. We try not to impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on our students when teaching sex and related issues.


    Fairly value-based

    Sex education is sometimes taught from a particular moral or ethical standpoint. Sometimes particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) are invoked when teaching sex and related issues.

    Traditional

    This includes a range of positions. A traditional approach might, for example, go as far as emphasizing the nuclear family and complete abstinence from sex before marriage. Alternatively, this approach might simply involve placing less emphasis on sex outside of the context of marriage and more emphasis on abstinence. Or finally, it might just involve focusing less on sex outside of the context of marriage.

    Progressive

    This might mean more emphasis is placed on the importance of such things as social equality, diversity, and choice in sex education.


    What school says: This information is not currently available.



    Preschool/K Curriculum Academic

    • Play-based
    • Montessori
    • Waldorf
    • Reggio Emilia
    • Academic

    Academic-based preschools and Kindergartens are the most structured of the different types, and have a strong emphasis on math and reading readiness skills. These programs aim to expose children to what early-elementary school is like. While time is still allotted to free play, much of the day is built around explicit lessons guided by the teacher. Classrooms often resemble play-based ones (with different stations set up around the room), but at an Academic program the teacher leads students through the stations directly, and ties these activities to a whole-class lesson or theme.

    If you want to learn more about preschool education, check out our comprehensive guide. You can also read our in-depth answers to important preschool questions: What is preschool? What are the main preschool programs? What are the main pros and cons of preschool? What do children learn in preschool? How much does preschool cost?  What makes for a great preschool?

    What school says: Our Preschool year is for children who turn 3 before December 31st. Phonics, letters and their sounds are the foundation for the early reading program as are numbers and their values with each child progressing at their own pace. JK builds on this foundation introducing writing and blending sounds so that reading blossoms and number sense becomes second nature. In addition to their homeroom teachers, both of these classes have a number of subject specialists who will teach them Mandarin, French, Drama, Gym, Field Studies and Music.


    Curriculum Pace Student-paced

    • Standard-enriched
    • Accelerated
    • Student-paced

    The main curriculum pace is non-standardized and is HIGHLY responsive to the pacing of individual students, (via differentiated instruction, differentiated assessment, etc). In theory, some students outpace the default/normalized curriculum, while others spend periods "behind schedule" if they need the extra time.

    Flexible pacing:

    Flexible pacing style = offered
    Subject-streaming (tracking)
    Multi-age classrooms as standard
    Ability-grouping (in-class) as common
    Frequent use of cyber-learning (at-their-own-pace)
    Regular guided independent study opportunities
    Differentiated assessment

    What school says about flexible pacing: This information is not currently available.


    Academic Culture Rigorous

    • Rigorous
    • Supportive

    A school with a “rigorous” academic culture places a high value on academic performance, and expects their students to do the same. This does not mean the school is uncaring, unsupportive, or non-responsive -- far from it. A school can have a rigorous academic culture and still provide excellent individual support. It does mean, however, the school places a particular emphasis on performance -- seeking the best students and challenging them to the fullest extent -- relative to a normal baseline. High expectations and standards – and a challenging yet rewarding curriculum – are the common themes here. Keep in mind this classification is more relevant for the older grades: few Kindergarten classrooms, for example, would be called “rigorous”.

    What school says: As our youngest students begin what can be an eleven year journey at Fern Hill, we greet them in an environment where they feel welcome and safe and where they quickly start to learn who they are and that they are capable of trying anything. The confidence that quickly develops in these early years allows them to stretch their own expectations of what they can accomplish. As they grow, so do our expectations for academic performance as do the opportunities we provide for broader learning. Our students confidently write term exams and are prepared for high school.


    Developmental Priorities Intellectual, Emotional

    Primary Developmental Priority: Intellectual
    Academically strong, creative, and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions.

    Secondary Developmental Priority: Emotional
    Emotionally intelligent and confident individuals, capable of leading both themselves and others.

    What school says: Our mission is to foster the academic development of girls and boys and equip them with the skills that tomorrow’s world will demand in order that they be successful. Success in a world that will need young men and women who are developed academically and intellectually; Leaders who possess a balance of spiritual, emotional, and social skills; Adults who are able to evaluate and reason with the demands of the times. A Fern Hill student will be both intellectually adaptable and morally grounded.


    Special Needs Support High

    High

    school provides a high degree of support for special needs students.

    • Academic Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
      Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
    • Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD
      Support Type = offered
      Accommodations
      Modifications
      Extra support
    • Support for moderate-to-severe special needs:
      Special needs
      Learning disabilities
      ADHD (moderate to severe)
      Dyslexia (Language-Based Learning Disability)
      Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
      Dyscalculia
      Dysgraphia
      Language Processing Disorder
      Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)
      Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
      Developmental
      Autism
      Asperger's Syndrome
      Down syndrome
      Intellectual disability
      Behavioral and Emotional
      Troubled behaviour / troubled teens
      Clinical Depression
      Suicidal thoughts
      Drug and alcohol abuse
      Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
      Physical
      Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
      Blindness
      Deafness
      Cystic Fibrosis
      Multiple physical
    • Forms of support delivery:
      Support Type = offered
      A regular class with indirect support
      A regular class with resource assistance
      A regular class with withdrawal assistance
      A special education class with partial integration
      A full-time special education class
    • Additional Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Social skills programs
      Occupational therapy
      Psychotherapy
      Speech-language therapy
    • Summary: Fern Hill has a history of supporting students with hearing impairments who use FM systems etc to facilitate learning. Our school is completely accessible with ramps connecting floors and private accessible washrooms.


    Gifted Learner Support In-class adaptations

    Dedicated gifted programs:

    Program = offered
    Full-time gifted program (parallel to rest of school)
    Part-time gifted program (pull-out; parallel to rest of class)

    Curriculum delivery: Acceleration and enrichment (There is an equal emphasis on acceleration and enrichment.)

    In-class adaptations:
    Practice = offered
    Custom subject enrichment (special arrangement)
    Custom curriculum compacting (special arrangement)
    Guided independent study (custom gifted arrangement)
    Cyber-learning opportunities (custom gifted arrangement)
    Formalized peer coaching opportunities (specifically for gifted learners to coach others)
    Custom subject acceleration (special arrangement)
    Career exploration (custom gifted arrangement)
    Project-based learning (custom gifted arrangement)
    Mentorships (custom gifted arrangement)

    What school says: Gifted students are given opportunities to explore subjects in greater depth or to move ahead in key subjects. Many students work well above grade level in such subjects as mathematics and are encouraged to reach as a far as they are able. When asked if she was ever bored, a recent gifted student replied, "I am never bored - there is always something new to learn, and always someone willing to teach it."

    Gifted education: If you want to learn more about gifted education, check out our comprehensive guide. It’s the first of its kind: it covers different kinds of gifted schools and programs, and a whole host of issues parents face in finding the right option for their gifted child.

    Homework Policy

    In grade 8, Fern Hill School - Burlington students perform an average of 1.5 hours of homework per night.

    Nightly Homework
    PSJKSKK12345678
    school0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins30 mins45 mins45 mins60 mins60 mins90 mins
    Site Average2 mins5 mins7 mins6 mins16 mins18 mins24 mins29 mins34 mins40 mins53 mins58 mins

    Report Card Policy

    How assessments are delivered across the grades:

    Lettered or numbered grades1 to 8
    Prose (narrative)-based feedbackPreschool to 1
    Academic achievement reporting1 to 8
    Habits and behaviour reporting1 to 8
    Parent-teacher meetingsPreschool to 8

    Class Sizes Not available

    This information is not currently available.

    Recess Policy

     GradesPSJKSKK12345678
    Non-lunch recessFrequency 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day
    Location Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside
    Amount 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60
    Lunch recessAmount 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30

    What school says: This information is not currently available.

    Non-lunch recesses: All of this school’s non-lunch recesses take place between classes or academic periods.


    Extracurriculars

    principal
    What school says:

    This information is not currently available.


    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Baseball
      Basketball
      Ice Hockey
      Lacrosse
      Rowing
      Running
      Soccer
      Softball
      Swimming
      Tennis
      Track & Field
      Volleyball
      Badminton
      Downhill skiing
      Golf
      Gymnastics
      Martial Arts
      Snowboarding
    • Clubs Offered
      Band
      Chess Club
      Choir
      Community Service
      Jazz Ensemble
      Math Club
      Musical theatre/Opera
      Outdoor Club
      Outdoor Education
      Robotics club
      Round Square
      Yearbook
      Yoga

    Tuition & Financial Aid

    Tuition

    This information is not currently available.



    Need-based financial aid

    This information is not currently available.



    Merit based Scholarships

    This information is not currently available.


    Enrollment

    Total enrollment 180
    Average enrollment per grade15
    Average class size16 to 19
    Gender (grades)Preschool to 8 (Coed)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution: This information is not currently available.


    Admission

    Application

    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    InterviewPS - 8
    SSAT
    SSAT (out of province)
    Entrance Exam(s)1 - 8
    Entrance Essay
    Application Fee

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:
    Rolling


    What Fern Hill School - Burlington says: This information is not currently available.


    Acceptance

    Acceptance Rate:

    100%

    Type of student Fern Hill School - Burlington is looking for: This information is not currently available.



    Student Entry Points

    Student TypePSJKSKK12345678
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)
    000000000000

    Stories & Testimonials

    News

    CHCH Television provides Fern Hill with Fifteen Minutes of Fame

    http://www.chch.com/fern-hill-an-academic-alternative/
    Students at Fern Hill Burlington enjoyed their fifteen minutes of fame when CHCH television came on campus to broadcast live from the playing fields. The Field Studies program was the focus of the day and the camera crew followed students as they demonstrated bird banding, stream analysis, and the many microcosms on the naure trail. Even the preschoolers had their moments as they showed the mulching and watering they were doing to maintain the new trees they had helped to plant. ...



    Early Morning Bird Counts a Regular Event During the Migration for Fern Hill Field Studies

    In spite of high wind warnings and a 90% chance of rain, thirteen year old Ben was up before dawn to open the bird banding nets at Fern Hill School in Burlington, Ontario. Having been inspired by the Bird Studies Canada Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids), Ben, a savvy birder, bird banding protégé and member of the Hamilton Nauralists' Club, thought it would be fun to modify the traditional Fall Bird Count. Ordinarily, Christmas Bird Counts and Fall Counts are day long outings where different parties cover whole regions counting birds, by species and the individual numbers of each species.
    Working collaboratively with Joanne Fleet, Director of Field Studies at Fern Hill School, Ben designed a dynamic birding agenda focused on turning any kid on to birds. Fifteen Fern Hill students and their families attended a bird banding workshop tailored for kids new to birding. "A bird in the hand has a powerful effect on a child's heart," explained Fleet, a licensed bird bander. "Furthermore, there exists no better way for a child to get to know our birds and their field marks."  Ben paired the banding demonstrations with field guide orientations and lessons on how to use binoculars.
    "Normally, for a traditional Fall Bird Count," explained Fleet, "we would have been out in the field before dawn to count birds”. However, for a kid count, we needed to modify our expectations. The count needed to be a half day, quickly paced, and we needed to include a variety of activities. Most importantly, it needed to be fun. Our goal was to get children and their families excited about birds."
    Ben launched the birding hike with lessons on how to bird by ear, by silhouette, and by behaviour. "I loved when Ben showed us how to 'pish' and how to flush out birds," said Tara Joseph, a grade six student. "We added five Red-winged Blackbirds to our list because we flushed them out of our cattail marsh."
    By mid-morning, the count was complete with thirty-three different species having been spotted. "It was a fantastic morning," exclaimed a Fern Hill parent, "Our whole family fell in love with the birds!"
    The Fall Bird Count for Kids is just one example of how Fern Hill School is attempting to connect kids to nature on their 22 acre North Service Road campus. The school has also planted over 3000 trees and created a tallgrass prairie garden. According to Dr. Giuliana Casimirri, an ecologist and nature connection advocate, it's these kinds of stewardship and nature connection experiences that are required to inspire the next generation of conservationists, "We know kids are playing outside less today and that's not good for their mental or physical health, but importantly from a conservation perspective, if children don't explore and fall in love with nature, chances are they won't be interested in conserving nature."
    A timely statement, as the Ontario Children's Outdoor Charter, an initiative to get children into nature has recently launched with a website that includes a list of activities that every child in Ontario should have the opportunity to do. While learning how to band birds and identify them is not on the list, importantly, as Dr. Casimirri noted, "a Fall Bird Count led by a young naturalist, that's designed specifically to ignite passion for nature in kids, is a great example of how to really do nature connection well." ...



    Early Years Mandarin Curriculum Provides Unique Learning Experience

     

    A Mandarin programme has been developed to teach our Preschool, Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten students.
    This unique offering integrates Mandarin language study into our programme in a seamless way. Ms. Lee participates in the classroom and introduces Mandarin words and concepts throughout the learning day.
    Ms. Lee will also actively participate in a physical education class, so that when the children are playing, she is repeating instructions, directions and colours in Mandarin. She also has dedicated class time throughout the week to teach new words, colours and songs by using flash cards, videos, books, songs and cultural experiences to introduce our youngest students to the language.
    Our children go home able to sing, identify colours, numbers and follow instructions in Mandarin. It has been so successful, that during assembly on Monday mornings, Happy Birthday is now sung in Mandarin.
    As the children absorb this new information and begin using Mandarin words and phrases at home, we now have our parents asking the school for English-Mandarin “cheat sheets” so learning can be further reinforced at home.
    The introduction of Mandarin to our Early Years programme is just another example of how Fern Hill school strives to provide unique and rewarding learning experiences to our students.
     
    ...



    Field Studies Programme Connects Students to their Natural World

     

    Fern Hill School, Burlington Campus is situated on 22 acres of green space, including forest, marsh and meadow. Inspired by this diverse habitat, our Field Studies Programme is designed to connect students to their natural world.
    Based on the European Forest School model, the Primary Programme focuses on nurturing the child’s innate sense of wonder. Using play and exploration, students will learn to identify nature’s patterns, ecological communities, and plant and animal species.
    Older students will develop their field skills by participating in a variety of monitoring and restoration projects including bird banding, engineering habitat, placement and monitoring of Eastern Bluebird nesting boxes, creation of a Monarch butterfly way station and native plant butterfly meadow.  In addition, Citizen Science projects including Fall and Winter birds counts, marsh monitoring, moth, butterfly and dragonfly counts and reptile inventories are part of this exciting programme.
    This engaging and relevant programming fosters in children a sense of passion for their natural world, which in turn encourages enthusiasm for the academic component of the program, designed to develop problem solving, ingenuity and critical thinking.
    Rick Ludkin, a lifelong birder and naturalist, is best known for his work as the founder of the bird banding program at Ruthven Park National Historic Site in Cayuga, Ontario.  This program, now operates a highly respected bird banding laboratory, which has become a research haven for undergraduate and graduate students interested in developing their field skills and pursuing research in migratory songbirds.  Rick’s professionalism and prowess as a bird bander has earned him a number of esteemed professional affiliations.   He has partnered with universities across the country, including McMaster, Western, Windsor, Trent and Sherbrooke.  Rick has agreed to lend his expertise to our Field Studies Programme at Fern Hill Burlington and to assist in developing a fully functional on-site bird banding laboratory.  With his help, we will replicate on our campus some of the infrastructure and biodiversity that has made the Ruthven site such a successful and popular waystation for ornithological research.  Naturally, this is a very exciting partnership for Fern Hill School.
     
    ...



    The Possibilities are Endless at Fern Hill School

    When Lisa and Gene Quondamatteo began looking for a Preschool for their daughter Olivia, they say Fern Hill stood out as the best choice for their child. Long-time Burlington residents and owners of Club 54, Lisa and Gene, wanted a school that would foster a love of learning, encourage excellence and provide opportunities to build confidence and respect. Fern Hill provided all of this and more. "Fern Hill isn't like other schools," says Lisa. "What attracted us to the school then, and is still prevalent today, is the level of respect the children are taught. Respect for their peers, their teachers and for themselves." Now, 10 years later, Olivia is in Grade 7 and her two siblings, J.J (Grade 5) and Julianna (Grade 2) are also Fern Hill students. Lisa says that what happens at Fern Hill is really unparalleled and distinct. Even the very youngest students in preschool are experiencing all the benefits of what Fern Hill has to offer. "Fern Hill deals with all the children on an individual level. They bolster them in areas needing focus and allow them to soar in their strong areas. They find individual strengths and help students realize their potential," says Lisa. "J.J. has been a drummer since he was really little and the school not only gives him the opportunity to showcase his talent, they find ways to. Olivia is a very social, outgoing girl, so they invite her to come and help at open houses. What a confidence builder that is." Fern Hill teachers encourage their students in all their efforts. This support givens them the confidence to work hard, because success doesn't go unnoticed. "Fern Hill instills in the children the desire to be the best they can be. They have high expectations and set high standards for each child, and then they guide them and cheer them on as they watch them reach those levels," says Gene. The Quondamatteo family has loved the small and personal learning environment at Fern Hill. As a student in the intermediate program, Olivia is provided with opportunities to develop leadership skills and confidence. "We don't believe it benefits children to be in a middle school that is attached to a high school," says Lisa. "The intermediate program (Grades 6-8) at Fern Hill is simply amazing and is providing Olivia with experiences and opportunities in a safe and positive environment where she is able to blossom as she enters her teenage years." Lisa and Gene feel it is the extras the school provides that make such a difference. "It includes things such as cultural performances and school trips, to leadership training and the school's involvement in the Young Round Square. But there is even more -- clubs, sports, a school musical, choir and band. They even have rollerblading and ultimate Frisbee." For Olivia, J.J. and Julianna, going to school is "fun, awesome and amazing." Or as J.J. says: "It is the best school in the world, I never want to leave." ...



    Fern Hill offers a World of Opportunity

    The Language programme at Fern Hill offers students a head start in French and a taste of other languages they may want to pursue further in high school or university. Students are first exposed to the French language and culture in Preschool. On Wednesdays, assemblies are conducted in French and primary students learn French songs throughout the year. In Grade 7, students put their skills to use as they travel to Quebec City and meet French students with whom they have corresponded throughout the term. Dependent upon their level of fluency and achievement, students have the opportunity to earn a Grade 9 secondary school credit in French by the end of their Grade 8 year. This requires students to pass both an oral presentation and a written exam in French. In Grades 6 and 7, students take French Geography for half a year, then in Grade 8, they are given the option to take an advanced French Geography course for the full year. They can continue on with French Geography in Grade 8 if they choose. Through numerous community service projects, Young Round Square activities and leadership and mentoring opportunities, our older students put into action what they've been a part of since the early years at Fern Hill. Students are encouraged to be responsible citizens who make a significant impact on the world. Our goal is to graduate students who are confident, aware of their academic and personal strenghts and are positive contributors. Fern Hill is a regional member of Young Round Square of the Americas, a junior level assocation of Round Square International Schools. Through this innovatice programme, students in Grade 7 and 8 are exposed to unique and rewarding opportunities beyond the classroom. This includes attending Young Round Square conferences, participation in international service projects and school exchanges. In the past few years, students have travelled to: India, Costa Rica, Australia, California and Kenya. ...



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