Toronto, ON | Grades PS - 2 | Shortlist
I have 3 children, one attended from preschool to SK and the others are currently in JK and started at the preschool level. Not one of them has ever had any disappointments. Children's Garden has always fostered a very warm and caring environment which is ideal for young children. Also, between our children, we've have had almost every teacher at the school at one point or another. Every last one of them is fantastic! The programming is diverse - sport ball, drama, french, music and the quality of instruction is always very high. Children's Garden is a happy, beautiful place to send your children every day. Our kids all absolutely love/loved the school and the great friends they've made there.
Just amazing. I could go on and on, but will just leave it as amazing. The principal and all the teachers are passionate about creating the optimal environment for young children to adapt to school life, learn and grow. There is regular communication with parents regarding events, schedules, etc. There is also plenty of opportunity for informal communication/discussion with everyone there on a daily basis. We have never had a situation where a discipline issue arose, whether with our kids or others.
All of the teachers are the best. They all clearly love teaching and create a safe, inclusive and warm learning environment. My children all learned a lot, and none has ever had any issues. "Passionate and knowledgeable" would be an understatement to describe the teachers at this school. They are all fantastic teachers, and lovely, warm people. There isn't a school day that goes by where our kids don't come home from school and excitedly tell us about something new they learned. It is such a pleasure to see that they not only learn a lot, but that they love doing so. I feel very strongly that Children's Garden does an incredible job of instilling a love for learning and school in the children who go there. My son, who is now in grade 3, has carried that with him as he moved on.
I give "academics" an 8/10 (the only category I grade less than 10/10) because, if you are a tiger parent looking to have your kid reading Shakespeare or doing multivariable math problems in JK, this might not be the right school for you. While the quality of education is absolutely top notch, I feel that the approach to learning is softer at Children's Garden than perhaps at some other private schools, providing a more well rounded experience and ensuring that not only academics are being taught, but also social skills, kindness and other skills that are, frankly, more important that advanced math at this age. My children were ahead of where you would expect them to be at their age in terms of writing, reading, math etc. at all times while at Children's Garden. Small class sizes and amazing teachers go a long way towards the academic success I feel the school consistently achieves.
Tons of great extracurricular options, as well as half-day options at certain levels, french immersion afternoons at certain levels, and more. See my notes in the Academics category regarding development of well-rounded students - I think that is one of the things this school does the best. Regarding competitive extracurriculars, that's one where I'd say I don't recall every seeing something like that. They are too young to be competitive and I suspect that question was more intended for reviews of the grade school level.
Great, sweet kids throughout this school. It is a very happy place. Smiling faces are everywhere, as is the beautiful artwork and other work that the students do in class - covering almost every wall. The school is small, which means small class sizes in terms of numbers. The physical space is more than ample for the number of students. Classes are spacious and well equipped. Our children have all made many great friends at the school. My son graduated from the school 3 years ago and his best friends are all still the classmates he had at Children's Garden. This is not anything like a daycare - the children are being taught and are listening. I'm sure the students are all great, but this is also really a testament to the teachers.
We literally can't keep our kids away from this place. When they ask on a Saturday whether it's a school day and we say no, they are dissapointed. They love their friends. They love the activities they do, both academic and other. I honestly can't think of anything they could do to improve the quality of school life for the kids. It's just that great there. We are fortunate to live only a short walk away from the school, and that walk is also one of the highlights of our kids' school days. Beautiful residential neighbourhood surrounding the school.
Top marks for "community". All of our closest neighbourhood friends are other Children's Garden parents. I don't know why or how, but this school seems to be very good at attracting wonderful people. There is plenty of opportunity for parental involvement at the school. Pick up and drop off serve as social times for parents to connect, but also concerts, Halloween Happening (a wild and wonderful annual party for parents and kids alike) and other special events really foster the community feel. Parents help each other out, look out for one another's kids, etc. Just fantastic all around from a community perspective.
Great residential neighbourhood. Students occasionally go for field trips or walks to nearby neighbourhood places. For example, our JK children recently went for a walk to the nearby grocery store to buy ingredients for a "magical" soup. They had a great time choosing vegetables and other ingredients and then bringing them back to the school to prepare. Teachers helped them peal and cut vegetables and then, they all go to eat the delicious soup they made together as a group.