REVIEW OF Braemar House School BY parent, Christina Parent
- Date of Review
October 27, 2022
- Child 1
JK - Gr. 8 (Female, Current Day Student)
- Child 2
JK - Gr. 6 (Female, Current Day Student)
(5) Student Experience
Our two children are currently in grades 6 and 8 at Braemar House School. They both joined Braemar when they were four years old in the Montessori program. Our children look forward to going to school and are always excited, when they return home, to share about their day’s activities and learning. The school has created a great community that the children love. The staff are very caring, the students are very friendly, and the children feel like they are part of a wonderful community. Our children have great relationships with their teachers and school staff as well as with other students. They are accepted and supported and know they belong there. Our children appreciate that students are always willing to help one another. One aspect of Braemar that stands out for our children is that all the students know each other by name. The students have virtue clans that group students together from different grades during special school events. Our children enjoy working with the younger students and getting to know them. Braemar offers small class sizes, and this is an important aspect for our children. This allows the students to connect more closely with one another and become more comfortable in the classroom. From the time our children were in primary grades they were excited to take part in many well-organized clubs offered by the school. They also look forward to the many school events that are held for students and their families.
(5) School Leadership
We are very pleased with the school leadership at Braemar House School. The executive director, principal and administrative staff make a great team and do an excellent job running the entire school. They communicate effectively with the teachers, students and parents. We feel connected to what is happening within the school daily through text messages, an online school calendar and the broadcast. From the start of the pandemic, school leadership communicated clearly and effectively, and in a timely manner with staff, students, and parents. Safety was their number one priority for staff and students and they went above and beyond to ensure a safe learning environment for our children. We feel the leadership team responds to any problems that arise in an appropriate and fair manner for everyone involved. We believe they are passionate about their positions and have a great influence on setting a positive school environment. The leadership team builds wonderful relationships with the staff and students and sets a positive tone in the halls at Braemar.
The teachers at Braemar truly care about their students and are very passionate about teaching. They have unique and creative ways to make learning fun and it makes the students excited to learn. A nurturing and supportive environment is created, and the students are encouraged to challenge themselves and stretch their thinking. From the early years at Braemar, students are encouraged to be independent and responsible for their own learning. The students learn monthly virtues and the teachers allow the students to practice these virtues in the classroom, as well as to respect one another and to always be kind. In the senior grades, students set goals at the beginning of the school year and work towards these goals throughout the year. Both our children have enjoyed the learning experience from their teachers and the teachers have had a positive impact on their academic achievements. Teachers assign homework regularly in the intermediate and senior grades to provide the students with the opportunity to review lessons learned in class. In addition to regular homework, in the senior grades, there are many assignments, and the students have tests on a regular basis. Students are learning excellent time management skills which is great preparation for high school. There is open communication between the teachers and the parents that allows the parents to stay connected to what is happening in the classroom. Each grade uses Google classroom which allows parents to see daily updates about their child's day. This includes what was taught in specific subjects as well as pictures of the students completing activities. Teachers also connect with parents via email, text or phone as required to discuss any issues that arise with their child, academically or socially.
We are very pleased with the academic program at Braemar. It provides students with a well-rounded experience and prepares them for life's next steps. At the beginning of each school year, Braemar hosts a curriculum night for parents. At this event, teachers present their plans for the school year, outlining homework expectations, classroom routines, and the overall curriculum. This allows parents to know what their child is learning throughout the year. Curriculum night is very helpful for parents to have a clear understanding of the school year ahead. Over the years at Braemar, the students have had many opportunities to complete several projects which are put on display to showcase their in-class learning. Our children enjoy these projects as they are creative ways to learn. Braemar hosts several events throughout the year to present the students' achievements. Some events include a Christmas concert, where each grade performs using a specific instrument, they learned that term. There is also an art show, the students complete many art projects and select their favourite pieces to display in the art show. Each year, Braemar also performs a musical in the spring. Unfortunately, there has not been a musical over the past few years due to the pandemic. Students audition for specific parts and the entire school is a part of the show. The students also take part in a Science Fair where they select a scientific topic they are interested in, present it, and are judged. We are also pleased with the math program. During the intermediate grades, students work on math fluency booklets to help them learn and know important math facts quickly and accurately. We feel this is extremely important and very helpful for future math success. Braemar also focuses on public speaking which begins in the primary grades. Students have many opportunities throughout the school year to present projects independently or within a group. We strongly feel public speaking and oral communication is an important life skill. Braemar ensures that students have adequate practice with public speaking that begins in the primary grades and continues throughout all grades. We believe our children will be well-rounded individuals when they graduate from Braemar.
Braemar offers several extracurricular activities for its students. They offer competitive varsity sports for the senior grades and compete against other independent schools in the area. Varsity sports include soccer, basketball, volleyball, track and field and many more. Braemar also offers many clubs for the students to join including a gardening club, green team and chess club to name a few. They also have a student council where students run for specific positions, present a speech, and the students vote.
Braemar’s student body creates a wonderful atmosphere. When you walk through the doors of Braemar it is warm and inviting. During our first year at Braemar, we noticed almost immediately how students always held the doors open for parents and said hello. The students are courteous, respectful and friendly. They enjoy interacting with students from other grades and are always willing to help one another. Older students are often helping the younger students and offering to help out in the school in any way that they can. The students gather once a month for assemblies and it is lovely to see students enter the gymnasium with smiles on their faces. The students demonstrate strong school spirit on a regular basis and they are happy to be a part of Braemar.
(5) School Life
Our children are happy and eager to attend Braemar House School every day. They look forward to seeing their friends and participating in the activities and events that are happening each week at school. Our children enjoy the many field trips they experience throughout the school year. The trips help them gain a better understanding of the class curriculum in the real world. Braemar provides enriched academic opportunities in a supportive and nurturing environment that helps our children grow and learn. Braemar is a small school with small class sizes. This allows students to really connect and get to know their classmates. They often interact with other grades, and this allows students of different ages to get to know each other well. Students have many opportunities to get involved with the school community through extracurricular activities, clubs, and student council. Our children love Braemar House School.
During our first year at Braemar, we felt very welcomed by the leadership team and parents in the halls during morning drop-off and at end-of-day pick-up. Throughout the school year, Braemar hosts many social events that allow current families to connect with one another and new families to get to know other families and the Braemar community. Some of the social events include a back-to-school social, a family bowling night in the fall and a family fun fest in the spring. Our children look forward to all of these events to see their friends and families outside of the classroom. There are many opportunities for parents to be involved with school life and all parents are welcome. Parents are invited to join many different school committees and/or volunteer at specific events. The students enjoy having their parents in the school and it gives parents the opportunity to get to know the students and staff.
(5) School Location
Braemar is located in a quiet and safe residential neighbourhood in Brantford. Beside the school is a public park that the students are able to use. The students enjoy using the recently added public playground during recess. There is also a basketball court, a baseball diamond and a soccer field. There is a large grass area that is used for primary-grade track and field events. Braemar also maintains a food garden and the primary grades are responsible for planting and harvesting the vegetables. The students also have the opportunity to prepare the vegetables they have grown. In addition, Braemar has a creative outdoor classroom built from tree stumps during the pandemic. Teachers use this space for some of their lessons and the students enjoy the outdoor learning environment. A new enclosed playground was built last year specifically for the Montessori students with play structures and other outdoor toys for the students to enjoy. This is an added safety measure to ensure the younger students stay within the playground. The students also have the opportunity to walk around the neighbourhood during events such as honouring Terry Fox. We are very pleased with the location of the school as we live very close by, and it is very convenient.