Interview with Kingsway College School PARENT, Sarah Renaud
Sarah shares her appreciation for how the Kingsway College School has nurtured the development of her two sons. She talks about the school's extensive athletic and artistic opportunities, the rich academic program, and the tailored teaching approach that focuses on each student’s unique talents and interests. She sees the small class sizes as a key strength in providing the tailored education, and she likes how her sons have learned to take responsible risks. Finally, Sarah says she enjoys being a part of the school community.
Highlights from the interview
Kingsway College School (KCS) is the school that I wish every child could attend. We were looking for an environment that celebrates the unique strengths and challenges of our children. If I were to draw an image in my mind of what an ideal environment would look like, from the neighbourhood and the tree-lined setting, to the caring and nurturing faculty and staff, and to the ongoing commitment to challenging my child to be the very best version of themselves, it would be KCS.
They really have this mindset of celebrating the unique gifts of every child, allowing them to explore that gift and learn it about themselves, whether that's something entrepreneurial or something related to the arts. If you have a passion for something and it doesn't exist at the school, then they'll work with you.
We were also really drawn to their low student-to-teacher ratio that ensures a tailored and challenging learning environment.
I know that the faculty at the school are very strong, and they all continue to research and learn the latest pedagogy and how that can be applied within the classroom. We love the fact that KCS puts into practice what they teach. Their commitment to lifelong learning.
I would recommend seeing the school before enrolment. I think that having an opportunity to step inside the doors of the school and feel the energy of it firsthand, you can begin to see what makes it special.
I really liked the idea of my son taking responsible risks and learning more about himself. And that's something that is really threaded into the philosophy of the school, being able to try new things that you might otherwise feel uncomfortable doing. At KCS, you're really celebrated for taking those responsible risks, venturing into something new, and knowing that whatever the outcome is, you'll be supported and you'll learn from that. That was really important to us. And it's been exciting to see how he's grown from a student in JK to where he is now in Grade 8.
My son has loved being a student at KCS. He's really enjoyed every facet of his time so far. He's really blossomed and taken on new opportunities. I think the biggest thing that he's enjoyed is the lifelong friendships, but also a different approach to learning, and taking on different projects and different opportunities.
The school is really dedicated to providing a tailored learning approach and supporting students one-on-one. They have a great student-to-teacher ratio. The average class size is 16 to 21 students. So it really presents an opportunity to collaborate with the teachers, both with the home form teacher and the subject-based teachers. It gives an opportunity for each student to participate actively in class, and to create student-led learning.
KCS has over 40 extracurricular and athletic clubs. They're part of the private school athletic association and CISSA. And so, there's ample opportunity, whether you're doing formal basketball or track and field. Then there's also a lot of clubs like taekwondo, the chess club, and Art In Action. And so, regardless of your passions, and whether they’re known or unknown, there are lots of opportunities to explore them at KCS.
One thing that my son really enjoyed, and was proud of himself for, was public speaking. At KCS, you have a formal introduction to public speaking in Grade 5, and just seeing the quick growth in him from Grade 5 to the end of Grade 7, where they had another opportunity to do a formal public speaking assignment, I think that would be a piece that Jake would say he was really proud of. It developed his confidence through preparing various iterations of the presentation, getting feedback from his teacher, acting on that feedback, and then taking the content and presenting it, and being convincing in his arguments.
A lot of who my son has grown to be, as a person, is attributed to the nurturing and care that he's received at KCS. One of the big things that the school focuses on is respect, manners, and trying your best. That's the foundation that they impart in every child. And it's been really exciting to see how he has grown over the years, both in self-confidence and in his contributions, in school and in the greater community.
My son is extremely well-prepared, and it's great to see how he's grown over the years. And I have every confidence that he is armed with everything he needs to have success in high school and beyond.
The students have a special bond with one another. There is a lot of opportunity for collaboration, because of the classroom sizes. There's typically two classes per grade with up to about 20 students per class. And there's a lot of opportunities for these students to connect in the classroom and outside the classroom through extracurriculars.
The smaller size would be the only thing that I would cite is that, I guess, perhaps a weakness, but also it's also a good thing, because of the population of the students. It's a 400 student body, and the campus reflects that, that it's a smaller sized campus. The smaller size hasn’t really held back the school, in terms of the opportunity to partake and enjoy a number of different areas of a traditional grade school experience.
I would absolutely recommend KCS for a number of different reasons, but fundamentally, the enriched academics, the opportunity for extensive athletic and artistic options, the focus on being on social responsibility and being a good citizen really drew us to the school, and those are the reasons why I would highly recommend the school to other parents.
KCS continues to explore and to look at what is going to be the best setup and environment for students, whether it's virtual, whether it's on premise, on campus, or a combination of the two. Also knowing that children today are exposed to so much more information and they know so much more at a younger age, they really have a strong focus academically to share that new knowledge with their students and to embed it in part of their curriculum.
There's a really strong communication between faculty and parents, and also even with staff, in terms of making sure that students are supported. There's a lot of informal dialogue that happens, even if it's just a phone call or an email. During evaluation periods, and progress and report cards, there's always an opportunity to connect and to address concerns, to celebrate successes, and to be able to share what's going on at home, and what's going on in the classroom, to make sure that the child is positioned most for success.
The community, both within the school and the larger parent community, is something that has been really phenomenal for us as a family. The school has been an incredible anchor both for our children, who've developed lifelong friendships, and for our family, now having a whole network of fantastic people that we've gotten to know over the years, including the children, the parents, as well as the faculty. That's something that's been really wonderful for our family.
There's this shared community, among parents, based on how we're all on this journey together, and we're all supporting each other and our children, nurturing them into the human beings that we want them to become. There's a wealth of opportunity for a parent, whether they want to contribute just a few hours of volunteer time to dedicating a number of hours over the course of a month. Last year, our parent network contributed over 4,500 hours to the school. That's everything from being a volunteer at the annual Terry Fox run, to sewing costumes for the school musical, to more formal involvement with our parent network and with our school board.