Kells Elementary offers an exciting environment that celebrates the uniqueness of each student. Every student brings his or her own interests, experiences and culture to the learning environment and the school understands that a one-size-fits-all approach to learning just does not work.
The N.D.G. school, with classes from kindergarten to Grade 6, is made up of a diverse population of Canadian and international students, many of whom benefit from the small class sizes and the differentiated approach Kells takes in its teaching.
“This diversity is a good blend,” said Marla Perlman, the principal, “that paves the way for a rich and meaningful education.”
At Kells Elementary, learning happens not only in the classroom, but in the resource room, the library, outdoors and, more recently, online.
A low student/teacher ratio and access to state-of-the-art classrooms and a resource room ensures that each student’s needs are taken care of.
“At Kells Elementary, we understand that the Internet is a big part of today’s reality and we ensure that students benefit by all it has to offer,” Perlman explained. “Technology can be a great equalizer in education in that it enhances learning for students who may struggle with the skills of reading and writing.”
Social media can also be a powerful teaching tool and last year, Kellsstudents were thrilled to be able to communicate with Olympic athletes via Skype during the Olympic games in Sochi.
It is, however, important that students be taught what is acceptable behaviour online and what needs to be avoided. They need to understand the significance of their digital footprint.
“We promote responsible use of social media including Facebook, Twitter and Skype — we call it digital citizenship,” Perlman said. “It’s important that kids be taught what is acceptable and what to avoid.”
Each year at graduation, students become emotional about leaving Kells Elementary as they recount the happy times and activities they shared with their teachers and friends. A highlight of the year is the spring concert at Oscar Peterson Hall, where students get to showcase their talents to a large audience of parents and friends. “They also tell us how much they enjoyed the overnight trips, the sports, the clubs, and the great support they felt during their years at Kells Elementary.
“Many of our students continue on to Kells High School, a few blocks away, where the continuity in academia, the arts and technology eases the transition to the next phase of their education.”
Kells educators have high expectations of students without putting pressure on them to achieve.
“Irene Woods is Kells’s founder and our driving force,” Perlman said. “She is passionate about learning and seeing students reaching their full potential, and her enthusiasm trickles down to both myself and my staff.
“We want every student to succeed; we will find a way and never give up.”