REVIEW OF Academie Providence BY parent, Maher Mamhikoff
- Date of Review
May 27, 2021
JK - K
(4.5) Student Experience
From the point of view of my daughter. She loves the teachers, she is joyful when she hears from them. Kids routinely tell their teacher "Madam je t'aime". During the distance learning she misses her school and being in class with her friends. She likes the challenging curriculum at their age as she doesn't get bored. She likes the multi-cultural environment and the sense of community the school engenders. Although she prefers instructions in class. She likes that during online learning the teachers often take the time to engage with the student like getting them to dance or such. Her dislikes are few, she doesn't like the official costume at times and sometimes she doesn't like the Arabic classes we have her signed up for (despite the fact she is good at it).
(4) School Leadership
The school administration functions more or less like a family. At first I didn't know who to go to for particular things but the administration is well-integrated and the teachers and administrators share knowledge quite well. Many times I found that the teachers and administrators shared knowledge of day-to-day happenings within a very short period of time. For example, I could ask almost anyone in administration where my daughter is and they instantly had a response. Discipline is highlighted and rules around conduct and objectives of the school are clear and make sense in what the Academie is trying to achieve: a modern take on traditional school system values.
The teachers are well-accredited and I was happy to see they spoke both Parisian French as well as the Quebecois. They instruct in Parisian which fits my preference since kids will learn Quebecois during their social interactions either way. The teachers are patient yet clear about discipline. They communicate effectively and their pacing is just right. The quality of teaching overall is good and follows the French standard curriculum. They use a variety of tools to train kids on the various subjects and the lessons build well from one another. The teachers are also very approachable, responding to messages in a timely and constructive manner. The feedback on the child's learning is constructive and shows a deeper understand of our daughters particular style of learning.
The school academic underpinning is built upon 4 axis (paraphrased): a charter of rights; enabling academic excellence; upholding the highest educational standards; producing productive and respectful students. The 4 axis work well together and complement each other to produce a strong learning environment. The Academie's application of the 4 axis is good and only misses on one element (reflecting my rating) on being recognized as an official purveyor of the French baccalaureate standard. The academic culture as a result of the school's approach is similar to that of the Lycee Francais but with a stronger sense of traditional values and community. The material itself is up to par with the Lycee Francais with the teachers doing their best to ensure students perform at the level necessary. The school needs to expand before kids can stay past the 9th grade which would then better fulfill the French Bacc standard.
The school has about a dozen extracurricular activities a child can sign up for that span the spectrum from arts to technology (robotics) and is age dependent. The fee for each activity is still reasonable and the great thing is they are done within or just outside of school time. That avoids the runaround of taking kids home then driving them back for their activities. My daughter is signed up for piano and ballet. Both are run well. The piano is distilled to its basic elements and kids learn the sounds before applying them. Unfortunately we didn't get to experience a recital because of covid-19. The ballet is also well organized, a recital was organized online and it showed students are learning well the staple ballet movements.
From the get go, all students are called "les amis" (or friends). Students are taught as early as kindergarten to refer to their schoolmates as friends. This further instills that send of camaraderie with other students. The school has an official uniform that puts all kids at the same platform and teaches kids to 'dress for the occasion' so to speak. Students are encouraged (almost every day) to display their individuality and their creativity in a multitude of ways. Teachers are very accommodating of that and therefore students learn tolerance, acceptance and diversity through it. The school seems to attract parents who want a strong learning environment and value system. So it naturally creates and atmosphere where kids have more or less similar upbringing and that creates stronger bonds between them.
(4.5) School Life
School life relates to a strong sense of community with quality learning. Parents are encouraged to create communities and the school has several celebrations during the year to assemble both kids and parents together. The events feel like family get togethers and the environment is welcoming of all backgrounds. Children enjoy going to school thanks to a welcoming atmosphere. Teachers are very friendly and accessible. They also offer trilingual learning opportunity where the 3rd language is a choice for parents to make and ideally stick with (ex, Arabic, Mandarin..etc). Arabic as a 3rd language is the best choice given the background of instructors. Faith based instruction is optional but this is a Christian school for those looking for a faith inspired (while not mandated) approach to schooling while maintaining a very open environment to all faiths and backgrounds. All in all, this is a school for those parents looking to reinforce traditional values such as respect, productivity, community.
The school's environment is somewhat modelled on what the kids environment is. The sense of community is very strong and we felt right at home making new friends among parents. This aspect was key in our choice of sending our daughter to Academie Providence. School events are joyful and you can see that the administration is treating it like a family get together. Parents are invited to participate in school social group or the council. The council is held at regular intervals with a fairly serious agenda. The council members are encourage to work in cohorts with parents outside the council so each becomes a representative of a wider cohort and the council becomes more representative while remaining small in number and efficient in going through the agenda. Decisions or opinions at the council are taken seriously and acted upon.
(4.5) School Location
The school is ideally located in the heart of Ottawa center. The neighborhood is thankfully quest surrounded by a residential neighborhood and the Church of the Antonines. The school was expanded circa 2008 and has renovated parts of the kindergarten in 2019. The renovation looks great. The school also has the necessary computer and science labs to cater for those courses as well as the robotics extracurricular. The location also limits the expansion plans for the school but the administration as well as resourceful parents are continuously seeking ways to buy the necessary land or secure the licenses for expansion.