REVIEW OF Lakefield College School BY parent, Stacey Ambler
- Date of Review
June 01, 2023
- Child 1
Gr. 10 (Female, Current Boarding Student)
- School alumni
Yes (1992 - 1993)
- University (major)
Dalhousie and Trent (Environmental Resource Management)
Co-owner Landscape Design/Build
(5) Student Experience
Our daughter has wanted to attend LCS since she was a little girl. She saw her two nieces graduate from LCS and knew that I (mom) attended and loved it. She boards at LCS which has been an adjustment for her, but she has made many good friends and felt right at home from the beginning. She always looks forward to getting back to school after a break and is not wanting the school year to end! Fortunately, she will return next year! Our daughter spent her 9th-grade year at our local high school so the academics at LCS have given her a great challenge which she has risen to! There is always someone to help her if she needs it and all of the kids want to be successful so there is an overall positive attitude towards learning. She has loved the Outdoor Education course as well as all of the extra outdoor activities at the Northcote farm, and at nearby Outdoor centers. They seem to work hard and play hard and she is tired at the end of each day! She has loved all of her seasonal sports and was able to compete in OFSAA for Nordic skiing - a real highlight! She has grown immensely both academically, athletically, and socially. In one short year, she has become independent, determined, and mature. This has been a truly well-rounded education. The staff at LCS are a cohesive, supportive, caring team. The real bonus is the campus! She has loved enjoying Lake Katchewanooka sunsets and bonfires at the waterfront. LCS offers everything you'd get at a high-quality camp, combined with a rigorous academic curriculum. We couldn't be happier with the education our daughter is receiving at Lakefield College School!
(4.5) School Leadership
From what I can see the leadership and administration at LCS strive to be transparent. They work hard to address issues within the school community and share this with the parents as well as the students. When an incident arises, we hear about it promptly and if and when there is a mistake or an oversight, we quickly address it. Whenever I have a question for one of the staff, they respond right away and always ask if there is anything else they can do to clarify or to help. Our daughter's houseparent is great at providing newsletters with photos and updates of what they do in their house as a group. She and the Don have been very supportive, especially when our daughter was injured and needed extra attention. I also enjoy the monthly Zoom calls with the head of school and love the topics that she chooses to focus on, which are all relevant and helpful.
Our daughter came from a public high school and entered LCS in her 10th-grade year. She was not used to having an abundance of homework or nightly study time. She had not even had any exams until she came to LCS! It has been a learning curve for her, but her teachers have been incredibly supportive and helpful. They give her help when needed and give her feedback. She has struggled with French the most and sadly, will not be continuing next year. It has been very challenging for her and though she did improve quite a bit, she does not want to continue. Her strengths are writing and fine arts and she has excelled in both. She struggles with Math and still was able to do well. Her teachers have been helpful and kind which has made all the difference. We are hopeful that there will be more opportunities for her to really dive into the fine arts.
LCS most definitely prepares students for university. They develop strong study habits and they learn to ask for help when they need it. The teachers are always ready to help. The school seems to be quite strong in most subjects; however, our daughter has struggled with French this year. We are not sure exactly why and tried to find a way for her to improve. Her class seems to have all levels of French ability which seems to make it very difficult for the teacher. I wonder if there is a need for three different levels of French classes at the 10th-grade level. Our daughter has enjoyed the fine art class as it is one of her favorite classes, but we are hopeful that there will be more opportunities in 11th grade for students who want to pursue a career in the arts. There seemed to be a great deal of writing as part of the art class, though I'm not sure that there was much art history being taught.
There are so many opportunities for students to try new sports, new clubs, waterfront activities, and opportunities to complete their community service hours. Our daughter tried basketball for the first time ever, which is kind of amazing to start playing basketball in 10th grade. There are so many trips with sports and with outdoor education. She has gone white water rafting on the Ottawa River and at Burleigh Falls. They went to the Peterborough Art Gallery. They went to an outdoor center up north in Haliburton. She got to attend a Debate in Toronto as well as various shopping trips! She has taken part in various local festivities and worked with local children are charitable organizations. It seems they are doing something really off campus at least every other week if not more. Our daughter has really enjoyed all of these activities since she is not from the area. We would have loved it if there were a trip to the Toronto Art Gallery or the Art Gallery in Ottawa. This would be very helpful and inspiring to her and many others!
The size of the school has grown since I attended in 1993 but they have kept it from getting too large. The day students are really well integrated with the boarding students now and many of my daughter's best friends are day students. This was not the case when I attended LCS so they have done a great job with this! They have many spirit events and they are all part of a house (including day students) and a 'paper house' which is different from their main house. This gives them the opportunity to interact with a whole other group of kids of different age groups. The dynamic of the students seems positive to me. It's always hard for a parent to really know, but our daughter has formed a strong group of friends from on and off campus and she is thriving socially. The school and staff spend time addressing mental health and wellness within their houses and the head of school addresses the whole school about how important it is to be kind and respectful to each other.
(5) School Life
The overall quality of student life at Lakefield College School is top-notch! Our daughter absolutely loves the school, the activities, and all of the friends she has made. It seems that she is engaged in what she is learning and has enjoyed all of her courses. She loves the campus with the waterfront and trail network and the proximity to town that gives the students the freedom to walk to town on their own. She loves adventuring into Peterborough with her friends and always loves going to Toronto for sports events. She has loved her experience on the tennis team and will continue with that next year. They did fairly well this year and it is our hope that the girl's tennis team could be strengthened as there were many players with great potential! Overall, LCS provides an amazing day-to-day experience for the kids and we are grateful for our daughter to be a part of this wonderful school!
We live 7 hours from the school but somehow managed to be there quite often! I was able to connect with many of the day student mothers which was incredibly helpful! I have not been able to meet many other parents but look forward to the closing for that reason. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved if you live in the area or will be in the area for certain events. The school does a great job in the parent announcements to advertise opportunities for parental involvement. We loved attending the student conferences and got to meet some parents during that time. I imagine we will meet more and more parents over the years as well. There is also the opportunity to see some parent faces on the monthly Zoom with the head of school. I wonder if there might be an opportunity for parents to continue the zoom afterward to connect?
(5) School Location
I grew up in Lakefield and my parents still live down the road from LCS. Whenever I am visiting, there are always groups of students walking to and from the village of Lakefield. They enjoy Foodland (the grocery store in town) and come back with bags of snacks to share with their dorm mates. They love going to Tim Hortons and sometimes treat themselves to dinner at one of the local restaurants. I've even seen LCS students at the mall in Peterborough on a Sunday. They do love to get off campus for an adventure! It has been this way since I was a girl growing up in Lakefield. Now the school has about 6-10 bicycles at each house so they can walk or bike to town. I have always loved how integrated LCS students are with the town of Lakefield. Lakefield is a small, safe village on a beautiful river. The kids know the shortcuts and seem to love having the freedom to roam!
My goodness, apply early! There is a big demand for this incredible school! We applied for our daughter in September and I believe she was admitted before Christmas. We thoroughly enjoyed the admissions process. Our admissions officer was so supportive and personable. He took great care to ask very in-depth questions in her interview and made her feel so comfortable. She said it was fun! When we received her acceptance, it made us cry because it was so clear to us that all of the people involved in her admissions process really look at each student carefully and with open hearts. They truly want to make sure that child belongs at LCS and will thrive there. It is a school that offers so many outdoor adventures and challenges and truly wants to offer each child a balanced and well-rounded education. Not all private schools offer a well-rounded education. I feel Lakefield is true to its core. There is nothing they say that they do not mean. They are all about offering an authentic, high-quality experience from start to finish so it all starts with the admissions and they truly demonstrate this! I would change nothing!