Excerpt: Over the years parents have told us many remarkable stories of how they arrived at our door. The following story was sent to us by Rob Sockett about how his son ended up at Star Academy. He and his wife Elham now have two children at the school, both in the primary program.
When our son Nathan was finishing up pre-school, he was an explosion of energy and exuberance. His teacher didn't want to deal with it. Intellectually he was hitting his milestones, but like many young boys he simply couldn’t sit still. Most school days ended in tears. At the age of four, he had already decided that he didn't like school.
That summer, with great trepidation, my wife and I headed to the local public school to inquire about kindergarten. They told us that Nathan would be the 33rd kid in the class! Our hearts sank. We knew it wasn't going to work.
A friend of my wife's told us about Star Academy. Her child had gone there years earlier. She explained the primary program – how great it is – and noted that the entire staff at Star works to create an atmosphere where children are valued and supported. So we booked a meeting.
When we arrived the first thing we noticed was the sheer size of the land. Of course that's not why we were there, but it surprised us. We had passed through the area many times and simply never noticed it. Then we met with the principal.
We told Ms. Bernardo about Nathan – his strengths and challenges. We were incredibly stressed and anxious. She was incredibly calm. We explained the things that were keeping us up at night. Again, calm. It was like she had seen it a million times before and knew exactly what to do. Part of us thought it sounded too good.
A few days later we called and asked to meet the kindergarten teacher. Now this may sound crazy, but when we met Ms. Jacobson we really "upped" our son's challenges. Not that we lied, but we skipped past his strengths and put the challenges front-and-centre.
We met inside the kindergarten classroom. We made a point of bringing Nathan along. Ms. Jacobson gave him something to do, then spoke to us as if he was already part of the class. She painted a picture of a typical day at Star, and how Nathan would be engaged and nurtured. She had no apprehension. In fact, she was eager to get started.
A year has now passed. Nathan is reading. His drawings are intricate and imaginative. He prints with great care. Most of all, he's happy. We have never once heard him say: "I don't want to go to school." We have seen him flourish not only academically, but also socially and emotionally.
A few weeks ago I asked Ms. Bernardo about her first impression of Nathan. She said: "Here's a child who loves life! He just needs a little focus and direction." It's incredibly reassuring to know that the principal at your son's school thinks this way.
When I look back at Nathan's pre-school days it makes me frustrated. I think of it like this: We're handing you the most delicate and precious thing in the world. Treat it with care. Polish it gently. Don't drop it. Don't let it slip. Don't ever forget how beautiful it is and how lucky you are to be entrusted with it.
I realize this is a tall order. Yet each day we drop off our children at Star, we do so with this level of confidence.
Visit Star Academy at www.staracademy.ca or call 905-891-1555 for more informaiton.