REVIEW OF Guiding Light Academy BY parent, Felix Wong
- Date of Review
May 08, 2018
Gr. Preschool - 3
(5) Student Experience
My children love their experience at Guiding Light. The school provides a warm, welcoming, and safe environment for them. They enjoy interacting with their peers and teachers. They have never complained about any negative interactions such as bullying or teasing by other students. The teachers also treat them with respect and in turn, they are well liked by my children. My children simply enjoys going to school, seeing their friends, learning new things, going on field trips, and interacting with their teachers. There is really nothing that they find disappointing. The school provides a challenging experience for them, but yet, is not too challenging that they are discouraged. With a very good teacher-to-student ratio, the teachers are able to spend the time needed for each student.
(5) School Leadership
The school leadership is very responsive to feedback and often will take action to either improve on suggested areas or correct any infrequent issues that come up. The leadership tries to keep in touch with us on a regular basis and are very open to our suggestions. They have improved over the years on communications and we are often notified in advance of trips, school events, etc. Discipline issues rarely arise, because of a combination of good student community and the teaching by the school administration. The school has a very strong religious program run by the Heralds of the Gospel. They instill true Christian values in the children. The children are very well disciplined and when they are not, the teachers will correct them effectively. Inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated and is quickly dealt with.
The quality of instruction is superb at Guiding Light. The teachers are all highly qualified and have great attitude. One can tell that they enjoy their job and really do care about the well being of their students. They are knowledgeable on their subject matter and my children learn very effectively. The teachers communicate effectively in the report cards and subsequent teacher-student meetings. The feedback we receive is constructive and we work effectively with the teachers to address any issues that we see. I feel that my children are challenged to the right amount and are provided support that they need to do well. My children do very well and the teachers will not hold back and continue to teach new material even if the rest of the class have not reached that point yet.
Guiding Light places high importance on academics. The school consistently does very well in the provincial assessment (EQAO). Both of my older children learned to read very proficiently in Senior Kindergarten, and have continued to progress very consistently through the early grades. The school fosters a good academic culture and every student is expected to do well. Thus, the teachers puts forward a lot of effort in ensuring students learn the curriculum well and even go beyond if the student's pace allows. I believe my children will be adequately prepared for their next steps in high school and beyond. Their time at Guiding Light will lay a good foundation in study habits that will allow them to succeed in school and also life in general.
Guiding Light attempts to provide extracurricular and co-curricular activities for the students. For example, students of grade 3 and up have an opportunity to participate in a co-curricular bi-weekly indoor soccer program. Other extracurricular programs include Spelling Bee and bridge design competitions. There are also monthly field trips that expose the students to the many interesting places and things in the city and surrounding area. The field trips are often my children's favourite activities in school. Due to the size of the school, there are less opportunities for the children to participate in organized team sports that are typically present in the public school systems. This is one downside of being in a small, intimate school. We actively augment that with extracurricular activities that we organize for the kids outside of school.
The school has between 50-60 students from junior kindergarten to grade 8. The typical class is a split class and consists of 10 to 15 students. Due to the high importance of the Catholic faith in the school, the student body that the school attracts are from families that are devout Catholic and share similar values. As a result, the student body is one of the best I've seen at a school. They interact very well together and bullying is pretty much non-existent. They are taught by the school to be kind and loving and that shows in the behaviour of the students. Any parent can feel relieved to know that their children are among a very well behaved student body that will help their own develop as well.
(5) School Life
The quality of life for my children at Guiding Light is excellent. They love going to school because of the teachers, their friends/peers, and the fun and exciting things that they learn and experience at the school. The school day begins at mass at St. Joseph, a parish near the school. The children and bused back to the school for morning prayer. The school day then progresses with classes in the various subjects. The one huge thing that I love is the religious program at the school. The Heralds of the Gospel head the religion program and it is very, very strong. It is one of the main reasons why we put the kids at Guiding Light. The school will also hold events like Mother's Day celebration, a sports day called GLA Games, etc. Parents are involved and get to see their kids perform, etc.
The school community is one made up of devout Catholic families that share many of our values. We have met other like-minded parents and enjoy interacting with them at school or other school events. We parents are actually invited to participate in the life of the school. There are many opportunities throughout the year that allow us to see our kids in action, through performances, parents' days, etc. The school also works with parents to develop the children from an academic standpoint and also a spiritual standpoint. The school will also hold parent retreats to discuss how we can raise our kids up to share in our values and just be good citizens. I appreciate that the focus of the school is not simply in academics but also helping develop the children into good people.
(5) School Location
The school location is excellent, in the heart of Streetsville. The location is central and anywhere you live in Mississauga will be within a 20 minute drive from the school. There are many different things in the school area such as a library, a community centre and public swimming pool and skating rink, and a church. Moreover, Streetsville is a very dynamic place with many shops. In the summer time, the school will take the children to the local library for visits. In the winter time, they also go to the skating rink to skate. There are also other activities that the school will have that involves walking around this interesting neighborhood. This is all done with teacher supervision and we feel it adds a good dimension to the student experience.