My daughter has been attending the kindergarten program at Little Owl. I can say confidently that my daughter is a happy kid at the school and she is growing academically as well as emotionally. The teachers are very attentive and patient with the children and know how to teach young children in a fun environment. For the busy parents, there are many after-school classes such as science club, math club, arts club, chess club (for older kids), French club, Mandarin club, etc. The facility is always kept at a tidy and colourful manner. In addition, I appreciate that the school can respond very fast to parents' special requests even with a short notice. Location wise, the school is nestled in a safe neighbourhood of North York and is transit-friendly. I should also mention that the tuition at the kindergarten includes one organic lunch and snack daily. We are glad to have chosen Little Owl for our daughter!
The school issues regular newsletters to keep the parents informed of important updates. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I'm impressed by how Little Owl was able to switch to online learning very quickly for a short duration. I personally think it's a daunting task to teach a group of young children online and my thumbs-up for how the teacher handled the online learning. It was interesting to see how the students adapted the online learning daily. I personally have not run into issues that need to be addressed with the school but I can see the school would take any feedback from the parents seriously.
I'm satisfied with the teaching at Little Owl in general. The class is kept at about 10 children and you can tell the teachers truly care about the students. Over the past few months, I have noticed my daughter has learnt phonics and can read simple words by herself now. Her math has improved as well and she can do simple addition and subtractions. They also explore interesting topics like the pyramids, solar system, pirates, density, etc. The music and arts classes are good as well. My daughter would sing new songs at home and show us her arts work which has always surprised us. There were many good ideas and thoughts put into the academic and arts activities. The genuine interest in ECE from the staff is evident.
I am satisfied with the academic program that Little Owl offers at the kindergarten level where my daughter is enrolled in. As mentioned previously, I noticed my daughter has made improvement in English, mathematics, arts, music and general knowledge (such as the origin of statutory holidays, etc.). As an example, my daughter has learnt phonics and is able to read simple 3-letter words. As for math, she can do single digit addition and subtraction. Little Owl is able to teach children and still keep elements of fun which is so important to children. There is the discipline side such as homework twice a week (even at kindergarten level!). The smaller class is obviously a pro and I've noticed during online learning at home that the teacher was able to help individual kid who has not grasped a new topic.
I am surprised by how many clubs there are at the school even at the kindergarten level. The after-school clubs include science club, math club, arts club, French club, Mandarin club and individual piano lessons. I'm pretty sure there are other clubs that I missed. There would be a dance class offered on Fridays but it is cancelled because of the pandemic. I should also mention that the school is putting an emphasis on teaching the children soft skills such as manners and being respectful to others in addition to the academics. I'm not aware of any competitive sports at the kindergarten level but I am sure the kids are already experiencing competition from learning so many things together daily, and constantly adjusting internally on how to manage their emotions towards winning and losing.
My personal observation is that Little Owl is doing a good job on balancing the student body gender, race and size at their Kindergarten program. There is one JK and one SK class at the school and each class size is about 10 students in general. I noticed the school would combine both JK and SK kids in some activities throughout the day so that kids can learn from interacting each other. Aside from academic classes, there are many group activities like daily outdoor play time, group meal time, music and arts classes. My daughter does not share with me every single detail at the school, but I can sense that the school is teaching the kids to thrive not only academically but also be responsible for their own behaviour.
The school is nestled in a safe neighbourhood of North York. It's on Sheppard Avenue beside a bus stop, which is convenient for people prefer taking the transit. The drawback is that it may not be the safest for the students as Sheppard is a busy road - however I have never observed the students would venture beyond the school grounds unattended. The staff is always paying attention to the students and smaller class sizes certainly help the staff to keep a watchful eye on the kids.
We joined Little Owl during the pandemic, and as such cannot comment on how the parental involvement would be like in a normal school year where there's no restrictions on social activities. Having said that, I am not an outgoing parent with many commitments throughout the day. I am satisfied and appreciate Little Owl's current approach on parental engagement during the pandemic - keep the parents informed via electronic updates and assign regular homework (twice a week) which would prompt the parents to work with their children. For me, this is a realistic level of parental involvement that is achievable and meaningful. I'm sure with the pandemic re-opening rollout, there will be more opportunities for the parent community at the school and outside the school hours.
My daughter is a happy kid at Little Owl! Children at the kindergarten age do not lie and my daughter has told me on several occasions that she likes the school and the teachers. It's not an easy task to keep a group of children from all kinds of background interacting together for many hours daily - and still keep them happy. This speaks volumes about staff's genuine interest in ECE as well as a good curriculum. In addition, there's the aspect of positive discipline which I think is important for children to understand at a young age. My daughter would share with me occasionally that who sat on the "trouble chair" on that day and why. I appreciate the school's effort in teaching young children on what behaviour is not acceptable and more importantly the reasons.