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Hillfield Strathallan College:
The Our Kids Report > Reviews
Grades Nursery/Toddler TO Gr. 12 — Hamilton, ON (Map)


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Hillfield Strathallan College:
THE OUR KIDS REPORT
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REVIEW OF Hillfield Strathallan College BY parent, Rebecca Punthakee

  • Date of Review
    April 29, 2024
  • Child 1
    JK - K (Male, Current Day Student)
  • Child 2
    JK (Male, Current Day Student)

(5) Student Experience

From our first visit, we could feel the warm professionalism from all the staff at HSC. My 3 and 4 year old boys were greeted by 'grown-ups' squatting to give either a handshake or a high five, followed by a conversation to get to know them and their interests. Since then, my boys have loved the social aspect of school. They have many friends with wonderful families (often met through weekend birthday parties) and the teachers are kind people and exceptional educators. We find Hillfields' learning environment a great fit for our kids because of its child-centered atmosphere and engaging materials. And after class visits, I feel reassured having seen firsthand that my children are in the care of dedicated educators who foster a love for learning. The way their Montessori curriculum is set up, they essentially have multiple times per day that they are receiving one-on-one teaching. Most often this is done with fun manipulatives so they actually see and play with their learning materials. This satisfies me as a parent because I know the boys are engaged in sensory and tactile experiences. Another aspect of the school that makes it extra special is the fact that they celebrate so many different holidays, spirit days and events. My boys love the Turkey Trot and chasing the Turkey (gym teacher) in the fall. They are often teaching me about celebrations that I didn't grow up with- proudly explaining the meaning of the beautiful tea lights they made for Diwali, or impressing me with facts about the Giant sun and tiny dwarf planet, Pluto. As a parent, I see the joy on their faces everyday when they teach me new things, and I know we have made the right choice.

(5) School Leadership

Every morning we are greeted with a smile by the Montessori principal, and the kids settle into their classroom. The teachers and principals are quick to communicate any issues that arise in person, with a phone call, or an email. When necessary, they offer their guidance or 'pearls of wisdom" to deal with anything that arises. They also hold orientation nights for parents several times a year. These sessions tell us what is currently happening in our children's grade, what to expect, what is expected of us, and how things will transition in the next year, and answer any outstanding questions.

(5) Teaching

We feel that the Montessori program at Hillfield has been a great choice for our sons. Our first son is a January baby. He loves the be challenged and learn about new things. His teachers have kept the curriculum interesting and constantly provide new and engaging activities that reinforce and build his knowledge. I have been genuinely shocked when my 5 year old teaches me things- such as pressure in a Roman arch, or how an ovoid is different from an oval. My 4-year-old son is one of the youngest in his year and needs some gentle nudging. How surprised was I when, on a class visit, he built the number 4,744 in thousands, hundreds, tens, and units by himself - and wrote "i luv you mom". The teachers have been able to cater to my son's different needs in a way that has ensured they are learning at an appropriate level for them, while still having fun.

(5) Academics

HSC has a supportive learning environment. My children's Montessori education is tailored differently to each of my children and their different interests. They are learning in a fun, academic environment- that's not to say it's sterile. Their outdoor clothes are often soaked and filthy, as they spend time on nature walks or helping their teacher tend their vegetable garden. They do amazing group projects and make beautiful art. They are the most beautiful little singers, and they performed in the winter school play. For children who need a little extra, there are private literacy tutors and SLPs. And as a parent, I'm comforted knowing, as they age, the Student Success Center and TAs with various educational backgrounds are available to offer support in subjects, as needed.

(5) Extracurriculars

There are endless opportunities after school for kids starting at age 6, and always an aftercare option if they are not busy. With two school bus departures after school, one at 3:30 and one at 5:00 students can keep busy as they choose activities three times a year, in the fall, winter and spring. My children love their Music, French and Gym classes, and weekly winter skating trips. They enjoy private piano lessons, among the private instrument lessons offered. Having busy boys, they are already begging to participate in as many sports offerings as they can sign up for. I'm happy knowing as the children age, there are multiple sports, art, science, and social programs to keep them busy.

(5) Students

The student body at HSC has an amazing energy! The College is made up of four schools, or sections. Early education actually has two schools, Montessori and Junior with about 225 students in each. The Middle School is the next step with about 325 students, and then the Senior School is about 500 students. The fact that my children have the opportunity to be inspired and mentored by older students is amazing. I know when they watch the Senior leaders, the Prefects, run the College-wide assembly they are seeing incredible role models. The Parents Guild, Alumni, Faculty and Staff together make an incredible community where everyone appreciates tradition, celebrates the students at all ages and stages today, and is always forward-thinking about what the school and students will need in the future.

(5) School Life

There are many reasons that make HSC an amazing school experience for my boys. The educators are truly are dedicated. My son's teachers ask me when they feel my children are having an off day. There are multiple outdoor play areas (including climbers, a sensorial garden, and multiple fields), and 3 gymnasiums. The principals and vice-principals are always around and are the most approachable group of people; The Head of College (and coach of the girls' hockey team) has regular meetings with students and participates in weekly chapel (picture a giant, positive, team-building assembly). The staff are the most invested group of educators who really care about the success of their students. As a parent, I am aware of their presence and can feel their positivity and influence on the whole community.

(5) Community

The HSC community is a welcoming one! All parents are included in the Parents Guild and are welcome to participate in as many or as little events as they'd like. They host regular, team building events such as teas and hikes; and fundraise through projects like selling used uniforms. They also put on huge, community-wide events such as the staff appreciation breakfast, where they actually make breakfast for all the staff; and a huge Halloween Party. The Halloween Party is an amazing party with catering, a DJ, a spooky hallway, and even the science teachers do a phenomenal spooky science show. Even if you do not participate directly in the Parents Guild, their work really helps bring the school community together and builds a strong sense of belonging.

(5) School Location

HSC is on a 50-acre property on the Hamilton Mountain. As you can imagine with children as young as 18 months, the College has a very secure process for the kids to enter and exit the property daily. With over 30 HSC school buses, most of the students are brought in and out of campus with drivers who are known to them and the HSC families for years. Only upper year Senior School students have the ability to sign off the campus at lunch, I don't know why they would leave with an award-winning chef preparing a vast array of offerings each day. I love volunteering at the school so I can enjoy the dining hall as well.

(5) Admissions

The admission process for Hillfield was seamless. After completing an application online, the team reached out to us within 2 days! They invited us to come for a tour, and we were able to see the physical spaces our children would learn in. They also encouraged us to visit an open house (they host regular evening open houses). We were able to bring our son as we didn't have a sitter, which ended up being really neat because we were able to see him interacting with the school environment before there was a class in it. The admissions team was very kind and knowledgeable and answered all of our questions.

 

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More written reviews

(4.6)

Student, Lucie Osborne (2024)

Gr. 9 to Gr. 12 — Life at Hillfield Strathallan College (HSC) is busy and exciting. I love it. I joined HSC in Grade 9 after hearing about it from my older sister and I was excited to see a lot of people around me gett...

(4.1)

Parent, Wendy Lam (2024)

Gr. 1 to Gr. 5 (current),Gr. 6 to Gr. 10 (current) — My children like the number of students at the school. It is a good size yet the classroom sizes are not too large. They enjoy Environmental Week (e-week) in the fall where all the kids get to travel ...

(4.8)

Parent, Andrew Liu (2024)

Gr. 4 to Gr. 10 (current),Gr. 6 to Gr. 12 (current) — We have nothing negative to say about HSC. Our family loves the school. We will never be regretful of sending my kids to HSC. The school provides lots of opportunities for kids, such as extracurricula...
See all written reviews (4 total)

More video reviews

Parent, Sarah Coulson (2023)

Gr. 1 to Gr. 9 (current), Gr. 2 to Gr. 4 (current) — Watch our parent interview with Sarah Coulson to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to have a child attend Hillfield Strathallan College.

Alum, Rob Alexander (2023)

Watch our alum interview with Rob Alexander to learn about the unique experience of attending Hillfield Strathallan College.

Alum, Luke and Daniela D'Ambrosi (2021)

Watch our alum interview with Luke and Daniela D'Ambrosi to learn about the unique experience of attending Hillfield Strathallan College.
 

THE OUR KIDS REPORT: Hillfield Strathallan College

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