My two kids have attended Academy Providence since junior kindergarten. At first, my husband and I looked for a school that would offer high-quality education, to us that meant a school with a strong academic curriculum. Yet, over the years, we have learned that Academy Providence offers a kind of education that goes beyond academic excellence. My kids, already in Grade 4 and 6, are a real testament that the School has instilled in them the values of respect, discipline, honesty, caring; values that are essential to living a fulfilled and happy life. My kids' experience is very positive; they are happy, having developed strong relationships with their teachers and friends, and every day they long for school. As a parent, I cannot ask for more!
Over the years, I've had the pleasure to meet the teachers of the Academy Providence with whom I have developed a good relationship. The school has a team of professionals who not only are very knowledgeable but also dedicated, hard-working and caring. The teachers believe, rightfully, that every child is able to learn, having as their goal that every student reaches their highest capacity. And they accomplish this by encouraging the student, building a strong student-teacher relationship and setting high and clear expectations. The result is that kids learn at a very early age that to do well, they have to work hard. At Providence, a score of 20/20 is not earned easily. But once achieved, kids feel very proud of their accomplishments which leads to strengthening their confidence.
The school is the leader in fostering the values of respect, empathy, caring, and many others. These values coupled with an enriched curriculum create the perfect positive environment where kids can thrive developing skills such as patience, resilience, goal-oriented that would help them in their lifetime. A key aspect of the School’s philosophy is the personal attention to kids. My kids have recounted many times when teachers approach them to ask about their mental well-being. This is, to learn if kids have worries or are under stress. In the area of Administration, the School has never disappointed when dealing with problems. Any time I've had a concern, the Principal always listened carefully, demonstrating a willingness to address a problem immediately without hesitation. This is definitely based on a good relationship developed between parents and administration.
The School boasts an enriched curriculum. That is it follows the Ontario curriculum plus extra material. For example, kids take Math, French, Social Studies, Arts, Drama, Music, English, Religion, Science, Computer, International Language (Arabic, Spanish, or Mandarin), “Savoir Vivre” and Physical Education. All the subjects are taught in French, except English, Music, Computer and International Languages. At first sight, it may be daunting to see the number of subjects, but the School excels at developing courses that promote "hand-on" experiences rather than the traditional teaching which consists in passively listening to teachers. In courses like Music, Drama, Art, Physical Education, "Savoir Vivre", and Religion kids participate in games, promoting collaboration among peers. They actually learn while having a good time. The school also prioritizes oral communication. Every year all kids attending the School present orally a poem, song, or an essay in front of parents and staff. This kind of activity promotes self-confidence and develops skills that would be necessary for higher education and the workplace.
The school offers a variety of extracurricular activities which mostly take place after the school day ends in the afternoon. Among the most popular are robotics and Spanish which are offered several days a week given the high number of students who attend these classes. Mandarin, piano, violin, dance, karate and art are also offered. To the parents' delight, the kids have the opportunity to showcase their work during the Christmas festivities. It is so rewarding seeing our kids enjoying and learning at the same time!
In the Fall of 2021, the School welcomed more than 140 students with an average of 15 kids per class, from junior kinder to junior high. There is a similar ratio of girls and boys, and presently, there is a rich diversity in terms of ethnic background. It used to be the case, however, that the majority of kids come from Lebanese backgrounds given that the School is run by the Lebanese Catholic Congregation of the Sisters Antonine. Nowadays, though, everyone benefits from the diverse student body. Kids being kids get along pretty well. Everyone knows each other, from junior kinder to Grade 7. There is this sense of familiarity and camaraderie, where the older kids take care of the younger ones, and the youngest look up to the oldest.
The school is conveniently located a few minutes from downtown Ottawa and only 5 minutes from the highway. At the heart of the Vanier area, the school is close to many restaurants, shopping centres, grocery stores, and the beautiful St. Laurent library where the students are invited to attend regularly. There is also a park very close by where kids go while the weather is warm. Kids enjoy very much going outdoors and exercising.
Over the years, the school Academy Providence has become an extension of my family and it is a sentiment shared by many parents at our school. We maintain a close relationship for the well-being of our kids, recognizing that good communication between the school and parents benefits the students tremendously. With this in mind, the school has established a Parents' Committee whose members are dedicated parents who organize throughout the year a series of activities for fundraising purposes and even better, only for fun! More recently, another committee, made up of teachers and parents, has been created with the purpose to exchange ideas and propose new ones to improve the learning process. As a parent, I feel that my voice is heard and I am actively contributing to the betterment of the school.
My kids love going to Academie Providence because they know that at Providence they are in a safe environment that nurtures, challenges and encourages them. As Academy Providence is a religious school, kids are taught to be grateful and the importance of praying. Every morning the kids spend a few minutes singing and praying. In special events, parents, along with the students, are invited to attend mass organized by the School. Another important aspect of the School is the lunch. Kids have the option to bring their homemade lunches or the school provides it. These school lunches are very nutritious (many of Lebanese origin) which may include chickpeas, beans, lentils. Lastly, even though the School promotes physical activity for students, I think the school should expand its gymnasium to accommodate the growing student body. Kids practice soccer, basketball, gymnastics and a large area would allow them to really enjoy these activities even during winter.