Branksome Hall logo
Branksome Hall:
The Our Kids Report > Reviews
Grades JK TO Gr. 12 — Toronto, ON (Map)


Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Branksome Hall (2020)

Branksome Hall alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Devon Domelle Parsons, Chilly, Nina Piatek had to say about the school.

Video Contents

Highlights from the Q&A discussion

Devon Domelle Parsons — current parent

Devon Domelle Parsons is the parent of a Branksome Hall student, and an alumna herself. The school, she says, ‘feels like a warm hug’ or ‘like a cozy sweatshirt’—and she has the survey to back it up. Her daughter loves attending an all-girls school, especially having grown up with three brothers. Devon has been a member of the board at Branksome Hall, and values the leadership she sees there. As well, she values the mentorship her daughter gets from strong women at the school.

  • The one thing that I recognized, that I came away with from Branksome, was a real sense of confidence. When I arrived at university, I was in a program that was quite male-dominated, and I remember being in lecture theaters with 500 people, and I had the confidence to put up my hand if I didn’t understand what was being discussed by the professor, in front of all those people. I remember sitting there thinking ‘I never would have had the confidence to speak up—and to question things, and to ask questions—if I had not had that experience at Branksome’, building up my confidence.

  • I think that the IB program is a massive differentiator for the school. I think it gives the girls a really well-rounded education that offers them a ton of opportunities over the long-term, at university and beyond. I think it gives the schools that the girls are applying to a really confident sense of how well-educated the girls have been, because their marks are universally accepted, thanks to the IB.

  • Asking others, one of the concepts that kept coming up was that ‘Branksome feels like a warm hug’ or that ‘Branksome feels like a cozy sweatshirt’. And when you walk in the door, you really feel that sense of community. You really feel that sense of warmth. So I think for me, Branksome is really warm. It’s kind, caring. But I also think that Branksome has a real spirit about it and has a real spunk to it as well. So if you can think about one of your kind, warm friends that has a real sense of sparkle and spirit to them, then I think that’s a great way to describe the school as a person.

  • The opportunities to meet other girls in different grade levels are phenomenal. I still have great friendships with girls that were many years ahead of me. I have friendships with girls that were behind me. I made the decision to study at Branksome very young, and my parents certainly had some input on it. But for me, I think when considering the school, if you do end up choosing Branksome and you do end up joining the Branksome community, I would say as advice to a new student to just jump in with two feet and to not wonder, ‘Oh, should I join that arts club or should I join that environmental club?’ I would say to really get involved and to join as many of the things that you can handle in your own bandwidth of being a student. 

  • My daughter loves the all-girls environment. She has three brothers, and she loves being with other girls. She loves being with other strong women. She loves being motivated and mentored by strong women. She loves the challenges that she receives in class. So I think that’s had a great impact on her, just being in an all-female environment and also just receiving great challenges through her education.

  • I think that Branksome has a really collaborative sense of community, a collaborative sense of education. I think collaboration is a huge value at the school.  The other thing I would say from a values perspective is being well-rounded. I think that we try to encourage our kids to be really well-rounded and to not just focus on one sport and to not just focus on one activity. And I think Branksome does a really good job of having an athletic pillar to the community and encouraging the girls on ‘Fit Fridays’ to wear different attire and to have a sense of fitness on Fridays.

Chilly — current parent

Chilly’s daughter is in Grade 1 at Branksome Hall, and has been there for three years, since kindergarten. After touring several schools, her daughter felt an immediate connection to Branksome. She has felt a strong bond to the community ever since. Chilly says she feels inspired by the community, and how it embraced them. Now, as a class parent, Chilly says she sees how intentionally the school makes new families feel included and welcome.

  • I brought my daughter twice to open house events and it’s the only school she liked. She felt like she belonged from day one. We were received warmly by all the staff and I applied because the school appealed to me as a parent, and because it was pretty close to our house. And every time I went by Branksome, I might take these walks and it was just so serene. The grounds of Branksome Hall—I love the facilities. And during our time, the AWC, which is the athletics centre, was pretty new, so I was really excited about that, and she was going to have that on the grounds. So from a mother’s perspective, I just love the health and wellbeing approach of Branksome Hall. It is the focus of the school. And we haven’t been let down a single day. She’s super happy. And every day we’re there, we feel like it’s such a blessing to be there.

  • My daughter is now quite the communicator. I thank Branksome everyday for that, because I’m becoming a much better communicator myself as a result. She wants me to name my feelings. Also, she’s an introvert, so I found that over the years, she’s found her confidence, she’s found her voice, and that’s all Branksome. That’s not me.

  • Community, community, community. It’s all about our community. She carries the Branksome flag. She can’t be sick and home from school because she needs to be with her community—they need her, so many people are expecting her to be at school. So I have to say, her sense of community is very inspiring for me. She picked her school since she was two years old, and she has always stood by Branksome, and they’ve never let her down. She’s been a part of that community even before she got her acceptance letter.

  • I happen to be classparent this year for Grade 1. I’m very proud to do it, but I didn’t realise the length that the school goes to in order to make sure everyone feels included and that we’re part of the community. So I had the job of welcoming new parents and getting them involved. And as tired as I was, I loved every minute of it—to give back, because we were so well received and every day we were encouraged to participate, to be a part of the Branksome community. And I was really worried about that at the beginning of applying at Branksome—will we fit in, what would it be like—and from day one to today, it’s always been very inclusive.

Nina Piatek — current parent

Nina Piatek has two daughters at Branksome Hall, both now in high school. They started there when the youngest was in Grade 7, and the eldest was in Grade 9. Nina says the school’s values reflect those of her own family: making a difference, taking initiative, and making the world a better place. Among the pleasant surprises she had as a parent were the many remarkable friends her girls made, and the many options they had for Arts programs.

  • It was a beautiful school, a beautiful campus, but what drove it home for me was that first moment when you walk on campus you feel the hug, you feel welcome. It just felt like the right, nurturing environment for us. Both my girls would say their reasons for choosing Branksome were really that they looked at what all the schools had to offer, and what they found at Branksome was the warm environment, the academic program they were looking for, the arts program they were looking for, and in addition to that, just the athletics piece. I loved the school based on all the tours we had done and the schools we had looked at, but ultimately the decision for what school the girls wanted to go to, I left it in their hands—and I was really happy when they chose Branksome.

  • I was expecting a warm school. I was expecting the school to work collaboratively with me, if there were any issues with the kids. I expected the teachers to be engaged. And hands down, all of those pieces were met.

  • The one piece I wasn’t expecting—and it really left me pleasantly surprised—was particularly around my older daughter, who found such an amazing group of friends. I would say that the ladies that she is friends with are really genuine, beautiful young ladies who are really determined to change different parts of the world. She started in Grade 9. There were only 15 or 18 girls starting at the school in her year, so I was a little concerned at first.

  • I would say the biggest impact the school has had is in terms of their confidence in themselves, their leadership, and their desire to present, and make change happen. An example is  Branksome has a wonderful Noodle program, and both of my girls were really excited to apply into it.  So I would say those are the three big things that I’ve seen in my girls—they want to make change, they want to lead. They’re very comfortable presenting, working collaboratively with others, all those life skills that you see in a corporate world, in any type of environment.

  • With regards to the values, really, the ones that I would say my girls and my family can most relate to is making a difference and being inclusive and having a sense of community. All of those really aligned with our family values, which is probably why the school feels like home. When we talk to our kids, we talk about making a difference. If there’s anything they’re ever unhappy about, it’s like, ‘Well, what can you do differently?’ or ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’, which very much aligns with the values at Branksome—‘How can you make a difference?’ 

  • Both my girls transitioned beautifully. I think a big part of it is just, when they started the school year, they were keen to join clubs. The clubs offered by the school provided them with opportunities to meet other girls. I think the school did a good job as well by matching them up with a ‘buddy’. My daughter when she started at Branksome in Grade 9, she actually did meet and become friends with two girls who are in residence—one is from Germany, the other one is from Alberta. I think the school works with you in order to make sure that you do transition into the school really well.

  • Branksome offers more Arts than what I was expecting. There’s a wide variety. Visual Arts was one of the favourite subjects of my younger daughter when she was going into Grade 7. What I loved was she also had the opportunity to try different kinds of arts programs. In Grade 7 and 8, you do your Visual Arts, you also do drama, but in addition to that, you also have another Arts option in terms of music—whether you do an instrument, Band, or Voice. She opted to do the violin, never having played strings. She had two great years of Violin. She loved the Arts program, the actual Visual Arts, because they did sculptures, they did actual paintings, and they also did a unit on sewing, and they went fairly in depth with these items. And then the other thing is that my older daughter started in Grade 9 and was given an Arts option: she actually opted to do Dance. In Grade 9, you have to commit to two years for your Arts subject. And she said, ‘I picked dance just to be out of my skin and take on a new challenge’.


More about Branksome Hall

Back to Branksome Hall overview

Key insights on Branksome Hall

Each school is different. Branksome Hall's Feature Review excerpts disclose its unique character. Based on discussions with the school's alumni, parents, students, and administrators, they reveal the school’s distinctive culture, community, and identity.

See key insights about Branksome Hall

Our Kids Feature Review

The 50-page review of Branksome Hall is part of our series of in-depth accounts of Canada's leading private schools. It provides a unique and objective perspective on the school's academics, programs, culture, and community.

  • Home to the Chandaria Research Centre (CRC), Branksome Hall became one of the rare few school-based research centres of its kind in North America, something that supports and strengthens the academic offering.
  • Branksome Hall sets high standards, and the ideal student is one who shares its core vision and is able to function in a very diverse, challenging, expansive environment.
Read our in-depth review

Our Kids Feature Review video

Learn about Branksome Hall's unique and defining characteristics through this informative video.

Watch the review

More video reviews

Roundtable Q&A (2021)

Watch our Branksome Hall Q&A discussion with Devin (Parent), Chile (Parent), Nina (Parent) to gain fresh insight into the school’s culture, values, and strengths.

Parent, Clara Mathur (2023)

JK to Gr. 9 (current) — Watch our parent interview with Clara Mathur to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to have a child attend Branksome Hall.

Alum, Nora Hodgson (2021)

Watch our alum interview with Nora Hodgson to learn about the unique experience of attending Branksome Hall.
See all video reviews (4 total)

More written reviews


Alum, Deniz Mutlu (2024)

Gr. 3 to Gr. 12 — I had a wonderful experience at Branksome. I joined Branksome in the 3rd grade and continued until my graduating year. I truly feel like I grew up at Branksome and had the pleasure of being a part of ...


Alum, Sara Akbari (2024)

JK to Gr. 12 — My experience at Branksome Hall overall was wonderful. I had many supportive teachers throughout the 14 years I attended, many of who I model my own current teaching practice after. From my Kindergart...


Parent, Shelly Huang (2023)

Gr. 2 to Gr. 6 (current) — My daughter loves Branksome Hall so much, I remember clearly she told me Branksome Hall and the teachers are the best school in the "universe" at her 1st day of school when she just moved from another...


Next steps to continue your research:

 Add to shortlist

By logging in or creating an account, you agree to Our Kids' Terms and Conditions. Information presented on this page may be paid advertising provided by the advertisers [schools/camps/programs] and is not warranted or guaranteed by or its associated websites. By using this website, creating or logging into an Our Kids account, you agree to Our Kids' Terms and Conditions. Please also see our Privacy Policy. Our Kids ™ © 2023 All right reserved.