REVIEW OF Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E. BY parent, Raminder Juneja
- Date of Review
March 22, 2023
- Child 1
Gr. 1 - Gr. 3 ( Current Day Student)
- Child 2
Gr. 1 ( Current Day Student)
(5) Student Experience
Both of our children have had wonderful experiences at PACE. The collaborative, supportive learning environment the teachers provide has helped them both thrive. Our eldest started grade one at the start of the pandemic when there was so much that was unknown. The school provided a steady, calm voice and handled it well. We felt supported as parents as well, navigating uncharted waters. Both our kids thoroughly enjoy every class, in particular music and science. They both appreciate the support and belonging they feel there. They have expressed that they know they can go to their teachers about any issues and they will provide any help that is needed. They have developed a lovely bond with all their teachers, and it's been wonderful to watch!
(5) School Leadership
School leadership and administration teams have always responded promptly to any matters, whether they directly involve our children or the school as a whole. A positive environment is fostered through thoughtful conversation and gentle guidance from the teachers. Communication has always been clear and timely and we've never felt like we were left wondering about how any particular issue was going to be resolved. Any communication in regard to discipline issues has seemed fair and open to further discussion. The team at PACE has always made it clear that the well-being, both mentally and physically, of the students was their top priority.
The quality of teaching at PACE has always surpassed our expectations. We have found the teachers to be great at communicating effectively and providing constructive feedback to the kids, while still being able to keep the kids engaged and encouraged. Both kids have felt challenged throughout their time at PACE and are comfortable going to the teachers and asking for any help or guidance they may require. The teachers have always seemed knowledgeable and are open to answering any specific questions we may have about the curriculum in general or even about their particular style. They are open and honest about their feedback and have also been able to identify particular skill sets in our kids that they see at school, allowing us to then continue to foster and encourage these skills at home.
The academic program at PACE does a great job of balancing the curriculum. From math and science to visual arts and physical education, we feel that the kids are getting a robust education. The culture around academics has always felt supportive and encouraging, never demanding or full of pressure to achieve above all else. The students are guided and encouraged, allowing them to identify on their own any areas where they might need additional support. The staff has always encouraged the kids to ask for help when needed and they have never felt like they couldn't approach a teacher when they were struggling with something. Study skills are intertwined into the curriculum, as well as time management and even what I would refer to in a broader sense as project management skills. They're taught how to break down larger assignments, work toward a deadline and produce a specific set of deliverables. All these things will absolutely prepare them as they progress into later, more challenging, grades and into their higher education.
Our kids are enjoying the extracurriculars offered. This was their first year trying them, and they've enjoyed the many different options. From sports to arts to drama and science, they are looking forward to which ones they'll get to choose from in the upcoming year. I think the variety and range of extracurriculars offered helps round out their education and also give the kids a chance to try something unexpected. Which in turn allows them to explore and discover new things about themselves and what they can accomplish!
The student body is a good size, class sizes are small enough to allow the kids to receive enough individual attention as required. The kids all seem very excited and engaged as a whole and our kids have had many positive interactions with many kids in older grades as well. Some of the students in higher grades act as helpers in the younger grades' extracurricular classes, and our kids have enjoyed having them there, often telling us all about their interactions that day. The Spirit Weeks are a lot of fun for the kids and they enjoy the competitive component of trying to win their houses points. Student council has fundraisers throughout the year that are accessible to even the youngest students, like popsicle sales, etc.
(5) School Life
The overall quality of student life at PACE during the last three years that we've been there has been wonderful. Our kids have both really enjoyed going to school there. They're excited in the mornings and seem to be fully engaged in the range of activities and projects they work on. The field trips have been a lot of fun for both kids. That coupled with the festivals and performances they work on throughout the year gives the kids a good mix of academics and the performance arts. The concerts have allowed them to gain valuable confidence in speaking and performing in front of a large group of people, including the opportunity to perform at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts in front of an audience.
Our experiences with the parent community at PACE have been wonderful so far. We have been a part of the school since 2020. Parents are invited to be involved in the life of the school whether it is through volunteering on field trips, or by volunteering to be judges for some of the older grade's science fairs. We feel like they provide ample opportunity for parental involvement. In our experience, we have also found that there is a very open line of communication between the school and parents about every facet of school life. That being said, due to our own busy work schedules, there may be more opportunities for parental involvement that we haven't been able yet to take part in.
(5) School Location
As our kids are in lower elementary grades, they stay on school grounds. However, the school is nicely situated close to Yonge St and has a variety of amenities nearby. The surrounding neighborhood is a quiet family-friendly area with parks and Lake Wilcox just a short walk away. I believe some of the older grades even venture to Lake Wilcox for various classwork, which is a nice way to incorporate nature into the curriculum work.