REVIEW OF Leonardo Da Vinci Academy of Arts & Sciences BY Alum, Rosamaria Pagani
- Date of Review
November 27, 2023
- Grades (year)
Preschool - Gr. 8
- University (major)
University of Toronto (Undergrad: Book & Media Studies and Italian Studies. Master: Master of Teaching)
(5) Overall Experience
My time at Leonardo Da Vinci Academy was truly memorable. From the moment I began in the Scuola Materna Italian program at age 3 and a half, until the time I graduated in 2009 Leonardo was a home away from home. Caring and passionate educators, small class sizes, enriched learning material, unique extracurricular activities and a welcoming environment are only some of the many reasons LDVA holds a special place in my heart and shaped me into the lifelong learner I am today. I have also carried my knowledge and love of the Italian language and culture with me today, making friendships and connections all over the world! I would highly recommend Leonardo Da Vinci Academy to any prospective students who are eager to learn and grow in a nurturing, explorative, and supportive academic environment.
(5) School Leadership
Reflecting back on my time at Leonardo Da Vinci Academy what truly stands out about the school leadership and administration is that they were constantly involved in the day-to-day life of the students at the school. Rather than being just a figure in an office, at LDVA administration were personable, taking the time to get to know their students as well as their interests and concerns within the school, while always holding a high standard of professionalism. I always felt respected as a student and as an individual person as the administration led with compassion and understanding for all students' personal backgrounds. This instilled confidence and a positive school environment. School communication was always effectively shared with all parents/guardians in regard to events, fundraisers and other important school news.
At Leonardo Da Vinci Academy I received a level of instruction that came second to none. Small class sizes and dedicated teachers made my learning journey exciting, interactive, positively challenging and positive. As learners, our teachers inspired us to ask big questions and work together to explore answers through hands-on activities, research and working together with our peers. Teachers were passionate and knowledgeable about what they taught and went above and beyond to provide students with engaging lessons and material to ensure student engagement. I always remember how dedicated and patient my teachers were, holding "study hall" periods and after-school help to ensure students understood the material and were able to continue their learning with confidence. Feedback was always constructive and this made problem-solving fun! At Leonardo Da Vinci Academy, all of my teachers in each stage of my learning journey had a unique and positive impact on me both in my academic and personal development.
The academic program at Leonardo Da Vinci Academy was inspiring, challenging and well-rounded. This helped me achieve the good working habits I carry with me today. Academically, our teachers provided us with material that went above and beyond curriculum expectations, allowing us to explore topics more in-depth. LDVA cultivated a supportive and stimulating academic culture where students were always actively engaged in learning and helping one another understand the material. In Scuola Materna days, I was always encouraged to explore learning materials at the Kindergarten level and learn the Italian language through songs, activities and play. From grades 1 to 8, I continued this learning and explored more rigorous topics, always encouraged to expand my thinking. I will never forget Mr. Jewell's grade 7/8 morning challenges that had us thinking creatively and logically at the start of the day! In each grade, our teachers took us on field trips that were educational and relevant to what we were learning and that allowed us to experience these learnings firsthand. At all levels, cooperative learning opportunities were always encouraged and promoted. I always felt challenged but extremely supported by both my teachers and classmates as there were many collaborative projects that prepared me for further projects later in my academic career.
Extracurriculars at Leonardo Da Vinci Academy were always something I looked forward to and enjoyed. There were a variety of activities to choose from and something for everybody's interests. The atmosphere surrounding extracurriculars at LDVA was that of collaborative relationships and teamwork, where students gathered with friends, peers and staff (sometimes guest staff as well!) to take part in a fun and engaging activity. From intramural sports to drama club, LDVA had something for everyone and really encouraged me to explore my passions and hobbies. I loved trying out many different sports at the intramural level and participating in friendly competitions with peers. I also remember practicing my lines for the school play or helping make homemade pizza in the Italian Club. These meaningful experiences helped develop well-rounded students and improved school life/community.
Students at Leonardo Da Vinci Academy were my second family. Because of the small class sizes, I really got to know each of my classmates and what made them unique. Classrooms felt welcoming and peers were encouraging as well as understanding. A typical student at LDVA is kind, respectful, hardworking and reliable. A feeling of community and positive interaction among students was always present in my classrooms. It was a wonderful experience to have students get to know me better but to also understand more about them as many students came from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences. A feeling of acceptance and inclusivity is always something you could and can feel throughout the school community. At Leonardo Da Vinci I developed lifelong friendships that I cherish to this day.
(5) School Life
I definitely loved going to school at Leonardo Da Vinci Academy. Academics, friends and great teachers contributed overall to my happiness and well-being at the school. I was motivated by my mentors and students around me to try my best and persevere in anything I may do and through this, I developed a passionate approach to school. I remember always being involved and happily contributing to my classmates' and friends' well-being and learning the skills to support one another and work together to improve school life. Through academics, extracurriculars, field trips and positive relationships, parents can expect a balanced and positive school life at Leonardo Da Vinci and can expect to take many aspects of learning onto secondary and post-secondary journeys of life.
When I think back to the community at Leonardo Da Vinci, I can always remember it as tight-knit and collaborative. I have fond memories of bake sales, book sales, fundraisers and activities planned by LAPA (Leonardo's parent association) at the school. Parents were always welcome and encouraged to be a part of the life of the school which also added to the collaborative and creative aspects of events, as new ideas were promoted and received with open arms. Since leaving the school, I have kept in touch with various other alumni and have had the pleasure of seeing their unique journeys throughout life as well, each of us having gone on to a variety of career paths. Whenever I have seen and spoken to LDVA alumni they are always grateful and eager to talk about their positive experiences and reminisce about our time at the school.
(5) School Location
I attended Leonardo Da Vinci at the Etobicoke campus on Allanhurst Drive. This community and surrounding neighbourhood were peaceful, safe and friendly with plenty of outdoor space and amenities. Within this neighbourhood, we had access to a community skating rink, park and James Gardens, which we attended many times to explore habitats and walk. There were other neighbourhood shops and spots to explore when needed. Although I did not attend LDVA's new campus, I am very familiar with The Columbus Centre as I spent many weekends and Summers at this location to participate in Summer Camps and extracurriculars of my own! Columbus Centre is another location I would consider a home away from home and enjoyed every Summer and activity I took part in there. From the swimming pool, dance studio, large outdoor area and cafeteria, the amenities at Columbus Centre are excellent and the possibilities are endless for students who attend the new school campus. It is an excellent and accessible location within the city.