REVIEW OF Guiding Light Academy BY parent, Candice Carneiro
- Date of Review
November 30, 2022
- Child 1
Preschool - Gr. 5 (Female, Current Day Student)
- Child 2
Preschool - Gr. 2 (Male, Current Day Student)
(5) Student Experience
As a first-time parent, entrusting your child to the care of others is a pivotal moment in your life. The teachers, administrators and staff at Guiding Light Academy made the transition such a smooth and easy one. The school is very family-oriented and from the moment our children stepped through their doors, they were welcomed as members of the GLA family. 7 years and 2 children later, this holds true even today. As parents we have the peace of mind of knowing that our children are being educated in a safe, trusting, familial, spiritual and caring environment. Both my children view GLA as an extension of their own family. Together, the parents, children, teachers and administrators have carefully cultivated an environment that will have a profound impact on the lives of our young ones.
(5) School Leadership
The leadership at GLA is a powerful engine that sets the academic program, drives the operations and fosters the unique culture of the school. They are patient, they take the time to listen to the individual needs of each child. They don't just listen, they act on it. When my son first started at GLA, he struggled with emotional self-regulation. It was a very stressful period in our lives because we didn't know if he would be able to integrate, nor did we have a plan as to how to help him navigate this transition. The leadership team at the school listened to our concerns and built a customized plan to help my son acclimatize and integrate into the school. In a matter of weeks, he was a changed kid. They worked with him 1:1 to help ease him into the classroom and helped him build strong trusting relationships with his teachers and the staff to enable him to self-regulate across numerous situations. Once they were able to manage his behaviour, they began focusing on his academics. Fast forward a few years, my son loves going to school, loves his teachers, has made many friends and is making great progress academically. I will be forever grateful to the teachers and administrators who took genuine care and exhibited great compassion to get my little boy to where he is today. The team at GLA works with parents to ensure their child's individual needs are met. They are readily available to talk things through, develop a plan and more importantly execute on that plan. Parents can rest assured and have peace of mind knowing their children are in the best hands possible, no matter the circumstances.
The teachers at GLA are not only academic experts in their respective fields, but they offer students an engaging learning environment. They often go beyond the classroom to provide real-world experiences for our children. Both my children have received a strong academic foundation to set them up for future learning success. The teachers are always prepared for their classes and make themselves available to discuss any problem areas. They work 1:1 with students and parents to ensure children are on a level playing field in class. If my child is behind on a certain topic, I often work with teachers to help get them up to speed. If my child is ahead, I work with their teacher to ensure they remain stimulated. Teachers are always open to feedback and act on feedback right away. The lines of communication between teachers, students, parents and administrators are always open. Beyond academics, the teachers at GLA are caring, compassionate and kind and inspire our children to want to learn and be more.
The academic program at GLA is the school's biggest strength. It is a challenging program that's going to set them up for life - academically and spiritually! From Religion to math, to French, to social studies, to English and science, the program is wholesome and advanced. Children are often taken on excursions to learn about specific subjects, and are required to work on and present projects as individuals or as a group, thereby making learning fun. Throughout the year, children are subject to quizzes and exams to reinforce the concepts taught in class. This helps identify any potential problem areas early on, enabling teachers to assist a child who's struggling with a particular subject. Teachers at GLA are specialists in their respective fields, making the academic programs rich and engaging. The program while challenging, teaches children the importance of discipline and hard work.
Academics, spirituality and extracurricular activities are the core tenets of Guiding Light Academy. As such, extracurricular activities are a key focus for the school. Children are given the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities from spelling bees, ballet, singing, soccer, coding, nature walks, and history walks to public speaking. Parents are often invited to key celebrations (Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparents day, Annual Gala, etc.) to watch their children perform. The programs instill confidence in the children, builds a sense of community and camaraderie and enable natural talent to shine through and be discovered.
GLA's intimate structure enables a strong sense of community among the school's educators, administrators, parents and students. With under 90 students, the school has developed a caring, respectful, trusting and inclusive environment. I consider the school an extension of my own family. We are a close-knit group committed to the well-being of our community. Older students recognize the importance of setting a good example for the younger ones and uphold this responsibility with great pride. The parent community supports each other and is always willing to lend a helping hand when someone is in need often encouraging their own children to help the child in need - be it academic help after school or social support. Since the student body is small, they have many opportunities to interact with children in all grades, not just their class. This has many benefits - it teaches the older kids to act as role models for their younger students and it fosters higher academic motivation and achievement in the younger ones.
(5) School Life
Children look forward to going to school every day. They are highly engaged in the classroom, they love their teachers and seeing their friends, the co-curricular activities are challenging and fun and the spiritual guidance offered by the school helps them develop a love for the Catholic faith. Children feel a real sense of belonging at the school because everyone knows each other well, and the teachers and administrators take special care when a child has specific needs. The relationships developed at school often extend beyond the school walls with parent meet-ups and group play dates organized on weekends and during the summer. The quality of life of the students is continuously refined as parents, students and teachers are encouraged to offer feedback on school policies and practices. We always feel heard and are encouraged by the fact that the school continues to evolve as the needs of the community and the world around us changes.
Guiding Light Academy is grounded in creating an inclusive environment for both students and parents. Students are encouraged to communicate openly with teachers and administrative staff about challenges as well as to offer feedback on what is working well. The parent community is a tight-knit group that communicates regularly amongst ourselves with collective feedback brought to the attention of the administrative team. Feedback is always actioned promptly. If a solution cannot be found, parents are always informed about the reasons why and are offered alternative solutions. Parents always feel heard and appreciate how responsive the school is. This enables us to truly feel part of the school and allows us to play a critical role in helping shape the culture and community of the school.
(5) School Location
The school is conveniently located in charming Streetsville, beside the Streetsville Go Station. It is also near several major highways (401, 407 and 403) making it easily accessible for students and parents. The Streetsville Main Street is a 3-minute walk from the school, home to several local shops and restaurants, many situated in charming historic buildings. We often take our children for ice cream at the local ice creamery after school on hot summer days. The school is also near beautiful nature trails alongside the credit river. Children are often taken on nature walks, history walks and trips to the local library - all within walking distance from the school.