REVIEW OF Carmel New Church School BY Alum, Ayla Van Der Meulen
- Date of Review
January 24, 2024
- Grades (year)
JK - Gr. 8 (1992 - 2002)
- University (major)
Conestoga College (Police Foundations)
Supervisor for Waterloo Region Housing
(4.5) Overall Experience
My best school experiences were at Carmel New Church School. The maximum class size I was in was ten per classroom and there were 5 people (including myself) in my grade. I’m shy so it was very beneficial for me to be in smaller class sizes. I was very well prepared when I moved from elementary school to high school. Thanks to my education at Carmel New Church School I graduated with honours from high school and received several awards for my high grades throughout my time there. I graduated with honours from Cambrian College and Conestoga College as well. I started off my career working for the City of Kitchener and now I am a supervisor for the Region of Waterloo - Waterloo Region Housing department. I made lifelong friends during my time at Carmel; I met my best friend there as well as my spouse. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the education and experiences I had at Carmel New Church and School. My favourite teacher throughout all my years of schooling was at Carmel; no other teacher had the same impact on me or my life.
(4.5) School Leadership
The school leadership changed several times throughout my time at Carmel New Church School. I don’t remember the leadership from the early years, but the leadership from the end of my time there was good. The leadership team was always respectful and interacted with the students regularly. They had an open-door policy so you could always go speak with them if you wanted to. The atmosphere at Carmel was always a positive one; I never felt out of place or bad while I was there.
I was very happy with the teaching at Carmel New Church School. I remember good things about each teacher I had. My favourite teachers throughout my education were from Carmel. They taught in a way that made it easy to learn and remember. There were so many educational field trips that helped foster my learning. One teacher in particular had a big impact on my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. She helped to set me up for success for the rest of my education and my career. Each teacher I had was knowledgeable about what they were teaching and everyone enjoyed to be there. No teacher was miserable or mean. They were all respectful and made it easy to ask questions and learn. They created a safe and fun space to learn.
The academic program at Carmel was excellent. I learned better in small class sizes where each teacher could spend more 1 on 1 time with us. The teachers made it fun to learn. I remember one teacher in particular created games such as spelling basketball that challenged us but also made it fun to learn spelling. They taught using different methods and spent the time to figure out how each student learned. I felt appropriately challenged and supported, which helped me with my secondary school and post-secondary school education. We did a lot of hands-on learning; it wasn’t just a teacher talking at us. I remember the activities associated with the lessons and those stuck with me throughout my education. My classmates were competitive, in a healthy way. Everyone wanted to get a good grade and do well in school.
When I attended Carmel, there weren’t very many extracurricular programs. The ones they offered at the time, I attended. There was a drama club offered for a short time and I started taking piano lessons there as well. I believe that the school developed well-rounded students. They developed an excellent community within the school so when opportunities were offered, many of the students participated.
When I attended the school, each grade had approximately five students. Pre-K and SK were in one classroom, grades one, two, and three were in one classroom, grades, four, five, and six were in one classroom, and grades seven and eight were in one classroom. To me, those sizes were perfect. It was a great learning environment for me. I liked how they broke down the grades into the classrooms because it gave students in different grades to meet each other and become friends. It was also good for mentor relationships. I think that the people in my grade had great school spirit. we all had similar qualities: smart, friendly, caring, kind, respectful, etc. Many students, regardless of grade, were friends outside of school. I remember after-school games that included many students from the school. Carmel helped teach me how to create and foster positive friendships. The friends I met at school made a huge impact on my life during my time at Carmel up until now. I’m so happy my parents chose that school for my sister and me to go to.
(4.5) School Life
I loved going to school at Carmel New Church School. I remember being sad when summer break came and always looked forward to when school started again in September. The teachers and my friends both contributed to my love of going to school. looked forward to seeing everyone. Carmel created an atmosphere where learning is fun and engaging. I believe that my classmates were happy to be there as well. From what I could tell everyone was engaged in learning whether they enjoyed school or not. I don’t recall seeing anyone stressed from being at school. From what I remember, my classmates enjoyed being at Carmel as much as I did. I believe that the activities and field trips helped my classmates and me get to know each other and build friendships. Hopefully, Carmel will continue offering those experiences.
Many of the school alumni are still associated with the school. Many children of alumni attend the school. I developed lifelong friendships and still speak to many of the students that attended the school. I met my best friend when I was in kindergarten and I’ve been friends with her for the last 30 years. I also met my partner at the school, and I have known him for almost 30 years. When I attended the school, the parents were involved. Parents would volunteer to take us on or attend our field trips. I remember my dad volunteering to drive and supervise my class when we went to the planetarium. I also remember my mom volunteering to drive and supervise my class when we went to a stained glass factory, where we got to create our own stained glass window. I believe they are still on display somewhere in the school.
(5) School Location
The location of the school is great. It is located in a small community. The community is very involved in the school. I remember volunteering and going to read with seniors in the community. I also remember volunteering and raking leaves for those families in the community who signed up for the program. The members of the community would attend school graduations and plays. The area around the school was perfect for playing at recess and after school. During the nice weather, we would have some classes outside. When I attended, most of the students lived in the community where the school is. So we would all walk to and from school together.