Ottawa, ON | Grades 1 - 12 | Shortlist
Prior to Heritage Academy our son dreaded school. It was a consistent battle to get him going in the morning and to be enthusiast about attending. That all changed. He truly enjoys going and meeting with his friends. He enjoys the teachers and their guidance and feels respected by them. This makes him want to work hard to gain their respect. The school uniform of a T-shirt, or sweater with the logo helps with decisions on wardrobe in the morning, and helps the students identify with each other. I think it is a great compromise to a full uniform and a free from, student selected wardrobe. It speaks to the general feel of the school of respect for oneself and for others while not making the students feel like they stand out too much.
My daughter likes the more intimate setting. She has social anxiety and ADHD and the school setting has helped her tremendously. Admin and teaching staff keep parents up to date so there are no surprises. Communication is easy and fluid. There is a feeling of community. I am very pleased that they have a 'uniform' and by uniform, I mean students have to wear either a t-shirt or hoodie with school name on it. So there is this sense of belonging all while keeping the student sense of self and preference. Plus as a parent it is so much easier sending your child to school with a uniform. The school is a bit older but once you get passed that, you see what's important. There is no question in my mind, caliber of teaching staff far outweighs anything else. And again, the care that the admin staff take to accommodate and meet your child's needs is impressive. Students feel heard and respected.
My child likes it some days, doesn't like it other days, and is indifferent most of the time. School is school. She/he doesn't really remember what it was like in the public system, and sometimes wonders if the pastures would be greener back there. Overall, she/he likes that children are accepted at Heritage, no matter what their backgrounds, abilities, strengths, or weaknesses are. My child appreciates the diversity of students at Heritage, and is learning to be very accepting of those who are quite different from her/himself. This will be a skill that will serve her/him well in life. I would tell prospective families not to judge Heritage by its cover. The building is not as esthetically beautiful as other private schools, but the quality of the teachers and the accepting and welcome nature of the environment makes it worth exploring. My child has been very happy there.
Our daughter loved Heritage - she really enjoyed the teachers and it was a positive experience for her. Having left a negative experience in the public school system we were happy to be able to send her to a place where she got the support she needed. Most importantly she was respected. Some of the public school teachers treated her very badly for not being able to do her work and her emotional wellbeing was suffering a lot. We wanted her to be in a safe space where she would not be penalized for having a learning disability. We had low expectations of academic outcomes and can now say we should not have. Heritage teaches kids to succeed even when others believe they will not.