Brampton, ON | Grades JK - 8 | Shortlist
My son loves going to school, he enjoys and feels comfortable and at home at Maranatha Christian Academy mostly because of the small class sizes. He has been home-schooling for the past 5 years and so being back in a school probably would have been very intimidating for him, but at Maranatha, the classes are small, so he is given the adequate amount of attention from his teacher. As there are not too many children in the class he is free to be himself. The teachers and staff are very accommodating, understanding. As a result of this, the children are friendly and easy-going. These have all gone a very long way in making it a smoother transition for my son back into the school system.
At Maranatha the leadership and administration are very friendly and accommodating. During meetings they do their best to listen to every concern that parents have, and they provide solutions to their concerns. They deal fairly with any discipline issue that comes up concerning the children. They communicate through phone calls, text messages as well as an app called Blooms which I find quite effective, all that's done in the classroom as well as important dates and messages are posted here.
I am quite happy with the teaching, my son's teacher is very passionate about teaching and quite knowledgeable about the system at this school as well as the subjects. His teacher also has a genuine heart of care and concern for the children's well-being, education and their success. His teacher has made herself available to me, anytime I call or request to discuss my child's progress she is always accommodating. She provides constructive feedback as well as solutions for any issues my son has in any subject. She always has a positive outlook and has promised to work with my child in the subject area he has the most problems with and has kept her promise. My son loves his teacher, I believe children are very discerning and he is always delighted to speak about the interesting and fun projects his teacher has for the class. I trust my son's confidence in his teacher.
The school has a rigorous program- they have a syllabus based on pace books that aid the child's academic level and ability. Children write a test and according to their performance they are evaluated, then given workload to fill gaps in whatever subject they showed difficulty in and then given books according to their ability. They do their best to help children in whatever area they need extra work and give merits and special prizes when they perform well. This helps in motivating the children to want to do well and also this system of working according to your own ability allows the child to be his only competitor. The grading system at the school is very high so I know if my child gets for example 90% pass, I know it was a deserved 90%. Because of this system my son would be prepared for high school.
The children are given various opportunities to partake in competitions with other schools. They have a vibrant music syllabus. They also put on Christmas, Spring concerts every year. Not to mention different sporting clinics done every 6 weeks. They just finished skating and moving on to swimming. They were asked to sing the anthem at a community hockey game, they are also preparing for a special concert to celebrate and close of their Black History month.
The school has small classes, like 8-12 students per class, my son's class has 8 kids which allows him the ability to have sufficient classmates for interacting with and ability to work in groups. This class size also enables each student to get individual attention and the children also feel more comfortable sharing and contributing verbally in class because of the smaller more intimate classes. The entire school does certain sports together, this encourages camaraderie among the students. The students in my son's class support, encourage and help each other. They also work well in groups and provide positive feedback to their classmates after their presentations. My son sometimes talk about reading to the junior and senior kindergarten classes, so I know the children are given an opportunity to practice helping each other.
My son loves going to school, he never wants to stay home. He feels comfortable and at home at school, this is the environment the school has managed to create for it's students. The children wear uniform and have to follow certain rules as well as look neat for school. This promotes a sense of pride and excellence in the school's body. The children are treated fairly and the school provides a lot of other activities that add life and excitement to the student body. This makes school fun and enjoyable for the students. Hot lunches, prepared by a chef are provided by the school for a very small price, one day on a weekly basis, my son enjoys it and it helps me.
Every two months there is a Parent Teacher Association (PTA ) meeting, these meetings are geared towards keeping parents updated with the school's present and future projects. The teachers and principals are always present as well as the PTA members. They are always careful to involve the parents in everything that happens at the school as well as encourage parents to get involved in the school's parent council or volunteer at the school for any event they may have. They would often say "This is your school", I feel as though I am part of a community, as the parents are the ones that are asked to volunteer at every event the school has. We have an opportunity to be a part of the planning process or volunteering on the day of the event. This goes a long way in encouraging a closer community at the school.
The school is in a very good residential area, as well close to recreational centres where the children usually have skating as well as swimming. So they do venture out of the school in a safe and orderly well supervised fashion. There is also a bus stop and crossing close to the school, they do have a lot of events and the surrounding community is always invited and welcomed at the school.
I would say my experience was a very smooth and easy one. I went in to the school very late, like a week before school started, but the school's supervisor was great. She made it a comfortable and easy one. She even provided transport for my son, that would have been my one reason for not sending him to the school. However the supervisor said she would do her best to get me the transport. She did provide me with great, safe transport for my son. They were quite friendly and understanding. I would however advise to go into the school early and have your child assessed early, so you would know what grade level your child is at. The teachers as well as the administration team at the school have been helpful, understanding and accommodating to my family.