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Agate Private School:
The Our Kids Report > Reviews
Grades Nursery/Toddler TO Gr. 12 — St. Catharines, ON (Map)

Agate Private School:

REVIEW OF Agate Private School BY parent, Tess Fairbridge

  • Date of Review
    April 29, 2024
  • Child 1
    Gr. 2 - Gr. 5 (Male, Current eSchool Student)
  • Child 2
    Gr. 2 - Gr. 5 (Male, Current eSchool Student)

(5) Student Experience

My children love the freedom to follow the topics and interests that currently have their natural focus; they have the support to learn what they want to and aren't forced to memorize anything they're not authentically interested in. I wish I were closer to Agate to visit but truthfully I have little physical experience to go on. Gayle has an amazing wealth of resources both online and in real life and I would be welcome there as often as I could go. When we did visit, there was one other child and parent and I believe they were there a few times a week at the time and few other families visited regularly. Basically, Agate has a large and supportive online community and a small and supportive IRL community if you can get there!

(4.5) School Leadership

The principal, Gayle Hanlon, is the best part of Agate Private School. She is a wealth of information and has never not been able to answer a question thoroughly and compassionately, even if it's only tangentially related to children's learning. She is an expert principal, wise, homeschooling parent, expert on how humans learn, and childhood education, as well as the legal system and she has the communication skills to her knowledge. She is also generous with her time and support, especially for the cost. Administration hasn't always been simple but I don't have any true complaints. It's not the smoothest system in the world, but it works!

(4.5) Teaching

I am my children's primary teacher at Agate because I choose to homeschool for the most part and they haven't wanted to do many of the online class offerings at Agate. What Gayle offers is classes, access to homeschooling materials, and one-on-ones with parents and students - actually, she offers more than I have personally utilized - but I would describe what I do as homeschooling my children with the support of the entire Agate community and a self-directed education specialist who has had great success in the realm of child education. I am now considering if my children could experience more challenge and support and they probably could. What I like about Agate is that we just keep learning about learning and growing our skills and tools according to our natural needs.

(4.5) Academics

Agate is based on understanding the neuroscience of humans and how we best learn. I'll give an example. My children and I, along with my parents, host "day-school dogs" who are in training to become various types of support dogs. In short, the dogs stay with us overnight and on weekends, and we drive them to and from school 4-5 times a week. The reason for this program is that some dogs are stressed sleeping in the kennels at the school and if they are stressed, they cannot effectively learn. This is the foundational knowledge Agate is built on: the importance of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual security of the children themselves. Because of this, I do experience that the Agate community, both online and in real life, is a safe and welcoming and supportive atmosphere. I have to work to find community in real life because that is something I cannot receive from Agate (through no fault of the school's - I'm just too far for my own current capacity to travel).

(5) School Life

My children are very happy to be allowed to choose their own interests to follow. They learn from real-life situations relating to their authentic interests. The only thing I wish I had more of from Agate is community in real life. You are free to create your own projects and curriculum at Agate, and your own methods for discerning your children's state and how well they're going to be able to learn the things they want to. Agate also gets you access to online education resources like Minecraft for educators and subscriptions to learning libraries. You can also always ask Gayle to see if she can get access to the support you need. Because I live in the same Ontario province as she does, she has been really helpful with knowing local resources as well as the laws and rights of homeschoolers.

(4.5) Admissions

Admissions was very easy for me but I would say if you don't hear back quickly from Gayle, try different methods of communication. She will NOT pester you and she does most of everything herself so if you miss an email from her, she will not continue to reach out to you. You must keep trying her. I did not have an issue as I messaged Agate Private School over Facebook Messenger and then moved to email communication with Gayle Hanlon, the principal. This has been an issue for a couple of friends of mine whom I have referred there.


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More written reviews


Parent, Tracy Stirling (2024)

Gr. 4 to Gr. 7 (current),K to Gr. 12,Gr. 11 — My grandchild truly enjoys the freedom to follow her own curiosities and be able to dig deep as her curiosity dictates. She enjoys the interactions she has online with other pupils as well as the prin...


Student, Kathy Parris (2024)

Gr. 3 to Gr. 4 — I love Agate Private School. My son is learning at a faster rate with far more retention. I am able to accommodate his needs. He loves school, loves learning, and asks intelligent questions. I wis...


Parent, Celene Dobson (2024)

JK to SK (current),JK to Gr. 2 (current) — At Agate Private School, my child's homeschooling experience has been nothing short of exceptional. The flexibility to tailor the curriculum to my child's unique learning style and interests has been ...
See all written reviews (4 total)

THE OUR KIDS REPORT: Agate Private School

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