REVIEW OF Braemar House School BY student, Michael Stradiotto
- Date of Review
March 20, 2023
Gr. 6 - Gr. 8 (current)
(5) Student Experience
The inclusive and supportive atmosphere at Braemar House School is just one of the many amazing things about this school that I love. Success at Braemar isn’t all about grades, it’s about learning different skills ranging from studying to leadership and centered around building a strong character. When I joined Braemar I was fortunate to know many of my classmates beforehand which helped me settle into class a lot easier. One of the main reasons for my joining Braemar House School was the people I had already known, and from them, I learned about the amount of homework, the interesting subjects, as well as the projects that will be done during the year. As you get older, there is more self-direction and flexibility. Now that I am in Grade 8, I can bring my own tech devices into class, and have more choices in the extracurriculars I want to do. Other than that, if I could change one thing about Braemar it would be the frequency of Student Parliament meetings where different events are planned. If we had more meetings we could plan more fun events for casual days.
(5) School Leadership
The leadership at Braemar House School is amazing with the whole staff team focused on running the entire school with determination. Tiny details that make a huge difference are the smiles and greetings in the hall and at the door, and the opportunity to build a personal connection with different staff members. Excellence is one of Braemar’s core values, and teachers set out clear, measurable, and challenging goals intended for students to use in the future. In Grade 8, students write a 10-page thesis. Teachers at Braemar are simply the best!
One of the greatest things about the teachers at Braemar is their understanding of your capabilities as a student. At the beginning of each school year, all students will complete a standardized test called the Canadian Achievement Test (CAT) which primarily covers the subjects of English and Math. The purpose of this test is to gauge where a student is in knowledge compared to the grade level on the curriculum and where the student stands relative to their classmates. This is a very helpful tool for teachers to understand students’ strengths and weaknesses. Success is very different depending on the student, and I’ve seen the teachers adjust their instruction depending on the student. When it comes to me, success is about understanding what is being taught and enjoying learning.
The work at Braemar is meant to be challenging but rewarding, and after you have completed each task it feels satisfying. I feel like I am learning many valuable skills beyond the core subjects of math, English, history, science, geography, and French. Some of the skills I have acquired here are note-taking during my teacher’s lectures and presentations and planning multiple assignments from different subjects. Other skills include budgeting certain amounts of time for each task, collaborating with peers, and participating in class conversations. At Braemar House School, I feel very fortunate to have the chance to improve my learning skills. Overall, the work is just right for me and I believe it will help me as I go to high school and eventually university.
Braemar offers clubs and sports teams for students in different grades. Some of the clubs created this year were the dance club and chess club where students can have an opportunity to enjoy their recess doing their favorite activity with other students. For sports teams, students in Grades 7-8 will compete for Braemar against other private schools in the area at different tournaments. This includes the annual soccer tournament and ball hockey tournament. Students below those grades can still participate in school-wide competitions for various different sports. The fall cross country meet was a fun experience where all grades, even the youngest, could compete at their level. Earlier this year, I got the opportunity to be chosen for the Braemar soccer team and volleyball team which were both incredibly fun experiences and supported my growth as a team player.
Braemar offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience where students get the opportunity to grow and develop. I love being able to have one-on-one conversations with my teacher covering a wide range of topics from school work to geopolitics. To do well in Braemar, you have to be open to the concept of risk-taking and pushing yourself in a number of ways. For me, this was overcoming shyness. When I first joined Braemar in Grade 6, I was fortunate to know at least half of my classmates in a class of 10. I was shy, and only around the middle of grade 6 did I start opening up more. By grades 7 and 8, I completely opened up and got to know my classmates. So if I were to describe Braemar to a new student, I would tell them it feels like a town. I would also say, the students who do best are those who branch out and make an effort to build relationships with their peers. If you do this, you WILL feel included.
(5) School Life
If I was going to take a visiting student on a tour of Braemar, I would first take them to the gymnasium. Braemar offers a full-sized gym ready for many sports including equipment for sports such as volleyball and basketball. Students also participate in weekly yoga classes done by Mrs. Sheryl. There is also a stage that is used for the Christmas concert and spring play. Monthly school assemblies are held in the gym where the whole school will meet up. Secondly, I would go to my classroom which features plenty of spaces to work on projects. Currently, we are creating boats as a part of our science project. Finally, I would go outside where Braemar offers multiple different areas in our schoolyard. This includes the all-purpose-pad where many different sports can be played, the playground, the double soccer field which is used for practices and tournaments; and the Montessori playpen which is a zoned-off area where the youngest can run around and have fun.
Braemar has always felt like a home from day one when I first joined in September 2020. Kind and respectful classmates and supportive teachers all make this experience so incredibly special. At Braemar, students are taught to respect each other and be kind and attentive listeners. Each morning, during the morning announcements everyone will say the affirmation of excellence aloud: “I am striving for excellence, I give my best to the work I do, I give my best to others, I dare to set noble goals, I choose excellence in all things.” Having teachers that are always there to talk to you whenever you need anything is something that Braemar House School excels in. Teachers will always put in lots of effort to make sure you remain on track when it comes to assignment due dates and projects. I think everyone that joins Braemar will be appreciated by everyone for who they are.
(5) School Location
Students only leave school property for field trips and sports events. For example, earlier this year we took a field trip to London, Ontario to visit the Museum of Ontario Archeology. For students to be given the opportunity to leave school property, permission forms will be given out beforehand and signed by a legal guardian. Most trips will only be day trips between the hours of 9:00 am to 3:30 pm.
During the process of joining Braemar, my mom submitted report cards from previous grades. Since I was joining during the middle of COVID, my mom and I met the principal, Mrs. Krason virtually. We discussed what being a student at Braemar is like, as well as the code of conduct and behaviour, and policies regarding how to use the internet appropriately. Braemar also contacted the principal of my old school for a reference. The admission process has likely changed a bit since 2020, but I would still recommend that you ask questions. It is always better to know more beforehand than to be unsure when you arrive on the first day of school. A good question to ask could be, “how many kids will be in my class?” Overall, the admissions process was fun and full of information.