REVIEW OF Braemar House School BY parent, Joe Restoule General
- Date of Review
February 28, 2019
Preschool - Gr. 8
(5) Student Experience
I believe my child appreciates that the environment at Braemar House School allows her to be herself. She enjoys all the opportunities and activities offered, both within and outside of the school. From the expansive arts experiences (wide range of visual art creation, musical instrument education, dramatic arts musical performance) to the clubs and academic extras (robotics, chess, Me to We) and the greatly supported athletic teams and events. She appreciates the dedication of the staff to support and enhance her educational experience. The school's commitment to virtues and positive citizenship is also high on her list of enjoying her educational environment. She likes that her peers are focused, dedicated learners who value their education and work hard on assignments and tasks. It's a fun, productive place to grow and learn.
(5) School Leadership
The school leadership goes above and beyond any school I've seen or even read about. They take the safety and well-being of the entire community into account at all times. The principal and director are quick to respond to any issues or concerns, and they take them very seriously as well as ensure communication is clear and respects people's privacy. Decisions are made strategically, consulting necessary individuals or parties, and consider various perspectives and implications before rendering. Any discipline is conducted fairly, though the school environment is so well-established and positive, that major disciplinary action is pretty much unheard of. Students and parents are well aware of expectations and maintain proper conduct and appropriate interactions at all times.
The teaching community at Braemar House School is definitely one of its greatest strengths. The teamwork across staff is evident and each teacher brings an area of expertise that benefits all staff and students. Dedicated French, Physical Education, Music and Visual Arts instructors ensure those areas of curriculum are properly taught at a very high calibre. The core subjects are a serious focus, and the staff work as a team to ensure Language Arts and Mathematics are a strong foundation of the students' learning. Academic expectations are high and students are challenged to exceed them, which has resulted in years of student data reflecting above grade level achievement throughout the school. The teachers maintain a joyful, loving relationship with students along with these high standards, so students know they are cared for, supported and valued for the amazing learners that they are.
Braemar House School prides itself in the academic accomplishments and achievements of its alumni. Several students each year go on to receive academic awards in high school and beyond, thanks to the foundational learning that was built at Braemar. A highly valued focus on the core subjects of Mathematics and English Language Arts are the pillars, yet Braemar House School offers exceptional instruction in the Arts, Physical Education, French and Science. The school's ability to infuse global awareness and citizenship values into the academic instruction is quite admirable. Academic learning is contextualized in modern values and connected to aspects of society that will prepare students for a wide range of possibilities in their future. The academic basics are evident, but the importance of being a good person, who has empathy, compassion and who values diversity is not overshadowed or overlooked.
It's rather amazing the amount of extracurricular opportunities there are at Braemar House School, considering the relatively small size of the staff and students. All the major sports are offered, at various levels, as well as some niche sports that are often not found in many public schools (for example, curling and lacrosse clinics, to name a couple). There are competitive teams but also intramurals that encourage a love of play. Arts opportunities are aplenty, both within and outside the school, most notably the choir that performs at important events including those that recognize Remembrance Day. Competitive teams in robotics (First Lego League) are engaged in competitions yet don't lose sight of the importance of developing teamwork skills and perseverance in problem-solving.
The first impactful impression that Braemar House School made on us came from the student body. Polite, friendly, outgoing and positive from the moment we met them. Our daughter was taken care of and appreciated by senior students when she was in preschool, and now performs her own care of duty when it comes to supporting younger students at school events and group activities. The school is small enough that older students know and support younger ones and create a sense of safety and security. A true community is cultivated through the value of caring for others. Students play and interact across grade levels both in school and outside on the playground. They celebrate each other's accomplishments and support one another in good times and bad.
(5) School Life
Every year we give our daughter the option to leave Braemar House School and attend school elsewhere. The incredulous look she gives us when asked if she wants to leave says it all. (Plus, we don't know what we'd do if she ever considered another option--we would want her to stay but respect her own choice and voice.) She absolutely loves Braemar House School. It has given her confidence, experience and a multitude of life long memories. We like how accepting and encouraging the school is, that it is a non-denominational setting, and has a variety of cultures represented in its student body. It could extend this diversity in its staff, which would only improve the quality of life for its students by offering alternate voices and representation.
The parent community at Braemar House School is phenomenal. There are no shortages of volunteers for events throughout the year. Their focus is on the students, the children, and whatever is needed comes through for them. I've had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know a number of parents through parent committees and school events. Each one has been genuinely kind, friendly and a joy to be around. The Board of Directors has constantly been filled with dedicated parents, and guided by some amazing parent chairs who make decisions in the best interests of ALL the children at Braemar House School, not just their own children. It is very easy to get involved and engaged at Braemar House School, as the invitations and call outs are frequent and clear, while the staff has an open door policy that truly allows parents to come into the school at all hours of the day.
(5) School Location
The community surrounding Braemar House School enjoys the presence of the students and parent community and have a great history of being good neighbours. The school is a good partner with the city and shares a beautiful recreational area/park with a ball diamond and basketball court/hockey or tennis pad and soccer pitch all connected and well maintained. Both the school and the neighbourhood respect the property, so it is always looking good and maintains a safe environment. The school setting is quiet enough to be safe and low traffic, yet close enough to city services that trips to the Wayne Gretzky arena, Public library and other educational opportunities are easily within reach without much travel or busing required. It's an ideal location with nice green spaces and adequate parking with easy access for parents to come and go as needed.