REVIEW OF Lee Academy BY parent, Jessica Law
- Date of Review
January 25, 2024
- Child 1
JK (Male, Current Day Student)
(5) Student Experience
Our son just loves his school! All of his teachers are just wonderful and beyond kind. Each and every morning the classroom is set up with soothing music to transition the kids into a calm learning environment. They have a "star" day in which each student gets to be the big helper for the day. Along with that, they also hold a sharing day each week where the students are able to bring in a themed item (for example "something that starts with an R", or "something soft and cozy") and share why they love it or what makes it so special. They all sit in a circle and listen to what the other student has to say and talk about it after. Additionally, they read, learn and play outside as much as they can! Especially when the weather is beautiful. My son personally loves this part-- reading under the shade of a maple tree on the most beautiful day and listening to the wildlife all at the same time! Our son also loves the smaller class numbers. He is a child that thrives on smaller more intimate relationships/spaces. He absolutely loves his friends and laughing/playing with them. The class is a true "family" dynamic and a loving, nurturing, and inclusive environment.
(5) School Leadership
The teachers/staff are all well trained and full of experience. They are also emotionally intelligent and practice giving each student the time and space they need when emotions may arise, while also providing guidance as they need to properly develop appropriate coping skills. This is also done during yoga time as well, both in the class and gym. They continuously follow up at the end of each day or each week and share how our son's day went-- whether there was a new learning skill developed funny moments, or any concerns to discuss. Communication with parents is done through many avenues-- email, phone, school app, or in person. They are there at all times to answer any questions you have!
I can't speak highly enough about the quality of the education here. As mentioned above, the teachers have years of experience and many methods of teaching the various subjects! The schedule rotates by days 1-4 where the children will learn different subjects on each day. For example, on days one and two they will have French. On days 3 and 4 they will have music/drama etc. Monday might be day 4, Tuesday 1, Wednesday 2, Thursday 3, and Friday 4. If your child is advancing quickly through the curriculum or subject they will provide material at a higher level and have a discussion with you about their progress as time goes on. If your child is struggling in any area, they will also discuss the options available as well and how you can work with your child at home if necessary. Lastly, they celebrate the various holidays with assemblies, and sing O'Canada each morning during flag-- this is a time they walk outside, raise the flag, discuss the land, talk about what will be happening for the day, and recite the school motto. They have a great emphasis on never giving up, putting in the best effort, and being rewarded with great results, both in school and out of school. We are confident this school is the best choice we could have made for our son.
The program is well structured-- in line with the Ontario curriculum, however they begin French right off the start, along with other areas of interest as the grades progress. They cater to each child and ensure they are meeting the requirements for development. With the classes having smaller numbers, we find our son can advance much quicker and receive the help he needs or questions to be answered during his learning time. The teachers encourage the kids to ask questions, think about various possibilities, respect each other and the different ways of thinking, and work together on solving problems. They also provide time for quiet and independent learning as well. At the end of each day, the kids are sent home with their book bags which may hold important notices for the parents or the kids' schoolwork/art projects. The book bag must be returned each morning. At the end of each week a red folder is sent home which includes reading material and word/letter practice.
Lee is involved in many extracurricular activities. They have had other schools come to campus to compete in Track and Field, while also visiting other schools as well. This also includes volleyball, basketball, soccer, and cross-country. They have reading buddy programs, community field trips to the local fire station, post office, apple orchards and more. Although my son is not quite old enough, I do know they have a choir, chess club, math teams, drama/music clubs and more!
The environment is much like a family environment. All the kids get along quite well, and despite their differences they all know how and when to give each other some space. They are still learning to communicate effectively with each other but that will progress as their brains grow and develop. They are encouraged to share their feelings and what made them feel upset- and are then guided by the staff to resolve their problems together via effective communication. The spirit of the students is definitely gentle and nurturing-- however, they certainly have their funny and silly moments, acts of kindness, and plenty of love to share. This is always encouraged and the students get rewarded for it. Whenever a student helps another, or shares kindness/love they get to put a ribbon on their kindness counter. Then as a class, they get to see how often they have shared their kindness towards each other.
(5) School Life
Our son LOVES school. He looks forward to going each day and recites what will be happening that day or who the star of the day is-- they especially look forward to their own star day! Each month the school holds a special day like funny sock day, or special hoodie day along with a special treat or lunch. All the kids just loves these days and showing off their personal clothing/items. I honestly have no complaints about the quality of life at the school. Everything is clean, calm, inclusive, and developmentally appropriate for the kids. The JK and SK classrooms also have their own bathrooms as well so the kids can practice their independence while being in a safe environment-- asking for help if necessary.
The broader community is great. The parents are involved in many ways--some come in to talk about their careers and how they help strengthen the community, some come in to volunteer, some parents tag along on field trips, invite other students to birthday parties, or create arts and crafts with the kids. The parent community is highly encouraged to be involved, and the kids just love it! All parents/volunteers are required to obtain a police check beforehand as well if they choose to volunteer with the school. In addition, the parents genuinely care about each student and are always willing to help in the ways they know how- whether it might be offering knowledge or resources to other parents, cheering a student up if they're experiencing big emotions (like offering a different perspective or coping tactic), etc.
(5) School Location
The school is located in a safe neighbourhood and is quite rural. The kids often watch large farm equipment drive by or work in the fields. They are able to experience the large plot of land the school resides on, along with the surrounding fields around them. They definitely have plenty of space to move about! Additionally, there is not a ton of traffic to worry about locally! Although this school is rural, it is also close to Cambridge within a 5-10min drive.
During the application process, our first step was calling the school and speaking to the director (which was seamless!). We then took a tour and asked all of our questions. We as a family really wanted to get an intuitive feel for the building, staff, and students. We thought it was important for our kids to come along so we could read how they were experiencing the environment and see what their thoughts were post-tour. After our tour, we spoke with the director some more, discussed our options, and then made our decision. We have not looked back since! Definitely worth the investment!