REVIEW OF Braemar House School BY parent, Rebecca Rooney
- Date of Review
November 06, 2018
Gr. 1 - Gr. 8
(5) Student Experience
We have been lucky enough to have two children at BHS. Each value different aspects of the school. Our daughter appreciated the small class size and the one-on-one attention. Teachers are able, on a daily basis, to spend personal time with each student- helping, encouraging, correcting and directing them to help make their academic experience unique and personalized. The small class size also made it possible to conduct interesting chemistry experiments, cooking lessons, complete amazing geography projects and explore many forms of fine art. Field trips are plentiful and interesting and end-of-year class trips are well organized and executed- all due to the ability of the teachers and school to focus on the wants and needs of the small class that they have! Enrichment opportunities abound due to this aspect of the school as well. Our daughter had many opportunities to deepen her understanding and appreciation of academic, social, political and cultural issues that arose during her time at BHS because of the extra effort and time that teachers spend with their classes. Our son appreciated the varied teams/clubs/sports as well as the opportunities for social interaction that BHS offers. All varsity sports are offered and coached enthusiastically. Coaches from outside the school are brought in to assist and encourage, and teachers/coaches travel to away games/meets to supervise and cheer! The 'clan' system at the school combines students of all ages in groups to participate in varied activities and our son enjoyed mentoring younger students as he progressed through the programs. There are NO aspects of BHS that our children find disappointing- our daughter was sad to leave in grade 8!
(5) School Leadership
School leadership at BHS is strong, consistent, sensitive and considerate. Leadership communicates effectively with teachers on a daily basis and, in this way, are made aware of potential problems in the classrooms. Mrs. Krason manages discipline in her classrooms with a firm hand and is visible in all classrooms daily. She handles problems between younger students (behaviour/routines) as effectively as she does between older students (social issues/social media). She handles communication with parents, students and teachers exceptionally well. Mrs. Pass and Mrs. Krason are a great team and their leadership style and great teamwork set a positive tone through the school and within the greater Braemar community. They are always available for question or concerns that parents may have and respond quickly to any needs that the community has. Mrs. Pass is always pushing BHS forward- looking for opportunities to improve the experience her students have.
Teachers at Braemar are incredible. Each is selected for his/her strengths and each provides a unique experience for their students. Our children, for example had grade 1/2/3 teachers that focused on developing strong reading/writing/math skills while introduced the ideas of homework time management and testing. They taught them to work in groups and communicate effectively with other students. They provided them with opportunities to be mentored by older students (reading mornings, math afternoons etc.). Behaviour and virtues are focused on in these early grades and patience, kindness and perseverance are taught about daily. Once our children reached grades 4/5/6, the teachers we had provided them with more homework, more responsibility and allowed them to have consequences for not getting work done! They pushed them to think 'outside' the box and ask questions about what they were curious about. Grade 7/8 were the best years! Teachers taught them to be tech-savy and they learned great time management skills (multiple projects on the go at a time). They read and wrote and had tests and homework. Our daughter was WELL prepared for high school. During this incredible academic journey, all BHS teachers touch base with ex-students and in this way, help their growth continue over the years. BHS teachers will not be forgotten in our household!
BHS academic program is strong from start to finish. Reading/Math basics are focused on in the earlier grades and this is built upon by great English/Math/Science/History/Geography curriculum in the older ones. Testing is frequent and feedback is clear- BHS focuses on academic strength. Because of the small class sizes, they are able to augment this base education with enrichment opportunities. Experiments, art, cooking, trips, projects, speech contests, plays, music nights... the list goes on..... these extra opportunities have rounded out and enhanced our kids experience. Public speaking and speech writing encourages confidence but also requires English/research/writing skills. Experiments require an understanding of scientific inquiry but also the ability to work in groups and communicate. Music night require practice and (often) dealing with performance 'nerves' but also an understanding of sheet music and composition. BHS is a place that teaches children all that they need to know.... and then pushes them further.
BHS has endless opportunities for extracurricular activities. They have clubs for recycling and compost, yoga, school garden and first lego league, and student council! They also have varsity sports- soccer, basketball, volleyball, cross country, indoor track, outdoor track, badminton.... it goes on. There are opportunities for children to participate in competitive sports (no previous experience required!) as well as in non competitive clubs. Each is led by a teacher with special interests in the subject and are either run during lunch/recess or immediately after school. Convenient and fun!
The BHS community is small (<150 students) and it has a wonderful tone. BHS hallways are filled with laughter and it is common to see an older student helping a younger one with laces or mittens or snow suits (without being prompted!). Doors are held open for others and polite, kind behaviours are encouraged and rewarded. BHS has a strong school spirit and children are proud of their community. They focus on the 'virtue of the month' and teachers and students strive to embrace virtues of 'patience', 'perseverance', 'honesty', 'kindness'. The atmosphere of BHS is warm and loving and tolerant. Children learn to be the change they wish to see in their community. It is remarkable to see BHS work it's magic and create wonderful citizens. As a parent with two children who have gone through BHS, I must insist that the school has played a huge role in helping us raise them as honest, kind, thoughtful, curious learners.
(5) School Life
Our children love BHS. The supportive, loving environment that is created there has helped them LOVE to learn. This has been a priceless gift. Each year has brought small new challenges for each of them- whether academic, social or behavioral- and BHS has provided them with support and encouragement. They have been able to grow up to KNOW that they are capable, smart, interesting and VALUED members of the BHS community and that they are capable of anything. BHS certainly provides children with an amazing education and they are solidly prepared for high school. They have had countless opportunities for academic enrichment. It also provides them with confidence, a sense of how to be a great citizen, and how they can contribute to their community to make it a better place. BHS was the best investment we could have made for our children.
BHS parents come from varied academic, social and cultural backgrounds. The common thread that links them is the commitment to providing their children with a superior, enriched education in a warm, supportive environment. This provides a strong bond between families and it can be felt throughout the hallways of the school. Parents are encouraged to be involved with school life if they wish and there are many ways to get involved! Parents can be guest readers, guest cooks, speakers or even assist with the First Lego League team. Parents can coach sports or help serve amazing Thanksgiving lunch! They can make costumes for the school play or help at the multicultural day. Opportunities are endless. Each family that we have at BHS brings their unique history, culture and passion to the school and helps enrich the experience of many others.
(5) School Location
Students play in the beautiful park behind the school on a daily basis. They play baseball on the field, run around the park, play basketball in the court and run cross country around the neighbourhood. The community pool is less than 1km away and students participate in swim lessons there. Another small school that we compete with in sports is around the corner and students walk there for basketball and volleyball games. The school is well situated in our community and on beautiful grounds within a quiet, residential neighbourhood. It's perfect!