Interview with Kingsway College School PARENT, Aneta Gauthier
Aneta, mother of two students at Kingsway College School (KCS), shares her perspective on what makes KCS special. She particularly likes the individual attention given to each student, the small class sizes, and the caring environment. She appreciates that the teachers addressed the different learning styles and needs of her two sons. Aneta also likes the creative, artistic opportunities at the school, such as the talent shows, as well as the school’s community-oriented mindset. She says that every year at KCS has made a great impact on her sons’ lives, and she wished she had enrolled them earlier.
Highlights from the interview
When we went there to take a tour of the Kingsway College School, we realized we loved the school. We brought the boys for an open house and they loved it, as well.
The class sizes are perfect. There are a maximum of 21 kids per class. There are only two classes per grade, so they had a smaller school environment that allowed teachers to pay attention to the children. We knew that larger class sizes might be difficult for my son, who has ADHD.
The school has a learning strategies program that took the individual needs of both my kids into account and helped them both flourish. One of my kids has been identified as gifted, and the other has been diagnosed with ADHD.
My kids both adjusted to the school immediately. The environment was very warm and welcoming, with tons and tons of activities that they both really enjoyed getting involved in. I found that they were getting up early, happy to go to school, and couldn't be more excited to start their day. The school has lots of great get-to-know-you activities, from a welcome-back barbecue in September, to their special camping trip at the start of Grade 6.
For my 14-year-old son, Adam, I would say that there's a lot of opportunities for him to be himself. He likes to be artistic and creative. He's been in the school musical every year. He loves to sing and perform, so he's been in the school Talent Show every year. He loves to be creative. They have an after-school program, on Thursdays, called Makerspace, where you can develop an idea and roll with it. My son, Adam, never missed Makerspace. He just loves that openness to be able to create on your own terms, in your own time, and just to be himself.
They make sure that the ADHD is not a disability for the kid. If Adam has a harder time focusing, if he's had a tougher day, they communicate openly and honestly, offer help with the learning strategies teacher, and make sure he never feels he's fallen behind.
For Julian, because he was identified as gifted, they've never let him be bored. They've constantly challenged him, given him more, and have never held him back. They continuously challenge him, and he's really enjoyed that.
They allow the kids to be an out-of-the-box thinker. With the small classes, the nurturing environment , the amazing learning opportunities, they don't make your child learn in a square box.
As a parent, what I appreciate the most is that they really do take care of my kids.
Teachers have great, open communication. If there's anything I need to know about, if anything happens during the day at school, I'm always in the know.
Another thing I love, as a parent, at KCS is that they provide a lot of opportunities for you to get involved in the school. There are all kinds of opportunities to participate, in field trips and school days, and to be a part of the parent network. And you really feel like you become part of the KCS family if that's what you feel like you want to do.
If you're searching for a community, and a smaller school environment, that's what you get with KCS. If you're looking for that big school field, where they have the hockey team, the large field, and all the other extras, that's not what they can provide. But that depends on the needs of your kids. This environment happened to cater perfectly to the needs of both my children. I wasn't looking for a bigger school field.
The kids are encouraged to take on community projects. They build something called Wall of Service, where each kid brings in what they call a ‘brick,’ which is a little piece of paper that says what they've done in the community, whether participating at a food bank, donating clothes, having a lemonade stand, or whatever else they've done. And when that Wall of Service is full, they get a free-clothes day, where they don’t have to wear their uniform. And so they really do encourage in the kids this community spirit.
The school really does encourage a community spirit in the kids. They do very much encourage a respectful environment among the children, respect towards their teachers, and toward their own parents.
The common values among the parents are that they are enthusiastic about education, they want a higher level education for their children. They want an environment that caters to the educational needs of their children, and an environment that has that heart feel to it, with teachers who care and spend the extra time, really making sure that your children are in the right place.
Their Talent Show is such an accepting, nurturing environment, because they don't really care what you want to do. At one of the talent shows, my son decided to draw to music. They put up an easel for him, they put a camera on him to show his work on the big screen, so people could see him draw. And he drew to music on stage. It was the coolest thing. Everybody was laughing and excited for him and just totally accepting something out of the box. It's been all great.
My sons have both had the best teachers throughout their entire time at KCS, ones that they will have lasting memories from, ones that have truly cared about them. Sometimes you go through a school and you go, ‘I had a good teacher and a bad teacher.’ I can't say that about any teacher that Adam and Julian have had at KCS. I've had nothing but positive experiences with them. I've been proud to help out and participate in the school and be part of something really special.
I wish I had enrolled them earlier, because every year at KCS has made a difference in my children’s lives. My kids are really part of a special community that celebrates them every day. So I wish I'd started the process much sooner than I did.