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Grades JK TO 8 — Toronto, ON (Map)

Northmount School:

Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Northmount School (2021)

Northmount School alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Rowana, Jamie Lynn, Brittany had to say about the school.

Video Contents

Highlights from the Q&A discussion

Rowana — current parent

Rowana has one daughter and one son that currently attend CEFA Early Learning. She originally chose the school because she felt it was a safe facility, that offered a structured learning environment for her kids to learn and grow in. She appreciates the large indoor and outdoor play areas, and the broad variety of activities that the kids engage in, for a well-rounded and active daily experience.

  • “The first point of why we chose [CEFA Early Learning], was because it was safe, it was licensed, and it was also a larger facility. So it wasn't as if our children were going to be with one adult locked away in a basement suite; we knew there was backup if a teacher was sick or something. We knew that we were doing the best thing possible for our children in terms of those options.”
  • “We actually toured three different [CEFA Early Learning] locations, and we went for the Canada Way [location], which is 25 minutes from our house. So it's a big commitment for us. It is closest to my husband's work. … So by no means was the location the number one reason. The reason we chose [CEFA Early Learning] Canada Way was it had a fantastic outdoor space. It also had a fantastic gymnasium as well. Our children are both very active, so we knew that this would be very important. When they're in a classroom, they're learning, they're studying, and they would get the best, and be able to have some big space, to be able to go run.”
  • “The other part [of why we chose CEFA Early Learning] is the emphasis on education and arts, and the wide variety of activities.”
  • “I would say [CEFA Early Learning] has exceeded our expectations in terms of what it can offer our children. … We haven't been let down with anything. 100%.”
  • “I think the biggest [development in my son] is communication skills. Our little guy’s been more interested in running in circles, rather than talking, communicating, or developing relationships. [CEFA Early Learning] has taught him to slow down, and to be able to process that.”
  • “In terms of our little girl, she thinks she's the bees knees. I think [CEFA Early Learning] has given her the confidence and the ability to go out and sort of control the world, which is amazing and great to see. I just think the kids are just more well-rounded. They're more confident. I don't know what they would be like without [CEFA Early Learning].”
  • “[If I had to describe CEFA Early Learning in three words, I would choose] caring, fun and creative.”
  • “[CEFA Early Learning has] got a really diverse program. … [CEFA Early Learning] seems to come up with new ideas [for meals], and new ways to make learning a new letter of the day different and fun. The things that we see at home are just incredible. The Father's Day and Mother's Day gifts are just like, ‘Whoa. I would have never thought of doing that with the kids.’ We just love that. The kids love it as well, on the learning and the education side. They're also having fun. They obviously don't feel trapped in the classroom, because our kids would tell us if they were climbing up the walls.”
  • “All the [CEFA Early Learning] parents say the exact same thing [about the school], and we are all happy with it. The values are just phenomenal, and what it instills in our children is amazing.”
  • “Seeing [my son’s] growth and development, and just the variety of activities at [CEFA Early Learning], to us expresses that he has become more well-rounded.”
  • “For us, [CEFA Early Learning] is about education, and [giving our children] exposure to things that we can't do. They go swimming, they go to playgrounds, they get all of that. [Because of] my background in New Zealand… As well as my husbands, we saw how [structured playgroups] set us up really well in the world, and that's what we wanted for our children as well.”

Jamie Lynn — current parent

Jamie Lynn has one daughter that attends CEFA Early Learning. She chose the school because she feels it allows children to explore a variety of activities, which helps them discover their interests and goals. She also feels that the school has taught her daughter respect for herself, and well as her friends and teachers. Jamie Lynn’s daughter has shown improvement in her independence and confidence, which she attributes to the curriculum at CEFA Early Learning.

  • “I love the whole programming structure at [CEFA Early Learning]. I love the exposure to all the different elements of science, math, language, and more. … That gives [children] the opportunity to explore every avenue of what their interests and loves are for life. I love that part of it. I definitely feel like [CEFA Early Learning] is giving [my daughter] advanced opportunities to grow and discover herself.”
  • “I love the curriculum, that [CEFA Early Learning] puts emphasis on respect for [themselves] and others, and the self-awareness which [my daughter] takes away every day. Her level of independence and confidence is through the roof because of the curriculum there.” 
  • “I love the diversity at [CEFA Early Learning]. I really appreciate it, and I appreciate the teachings that come with it. They actually talk about race, colour, and disabilities. … I think that is beautiful.”
  • “The meals were not a huge decision-maker, but oh, my goodness, what a benefit. As a full-time working mom … I'm forever grateful for the meals at [CEFA Early Learning], and the confidence that [my daughter is] going to school, [the students are] eating together, and exploring new textures and tastes.”
  • “Because of [my daughter’s] social intelligence and confidence that [CEFA Early Learning] is giving her, I do feel like she skipped over a large chunk of her childhood, and she's a mini teenager. But otherwise, it's been fabulous. She's just this amazing little person. She's not a child to me. [My daughter is] a little person with these needs and wants and expressions. [CEFA Early Learning] has given her all of that.”
  • “[Staff at CEFA Early Learning] are very particular about encouraging the individual needs of each child. … I really appreciate them, their patience, and them encouraging all those strong abilities. … As a whole, they're just shaping our little humans.”
  • “[My daughter] every day is overly expressive and very heartfelt about her fondness towards teachers and all of her friends at [CEFA Early Learning]. No one's a student, no one's a classmate. Everyone is friends.”
  • “[My daughter] tells ongoing stories about her love for the people [at CEFA Early Learning], and for me, that speaks volumes. … She loves her teachers. … She tells stories about each individual teacher. So it's the people for her, and for us, that really are amazing to watch her be expressive about.”
  • “[If CEFA Early Learning were to be represented in three words, I would choose the words] charismatic, respectful, persistent, and patient. … We’re investing into [CEFA Early Learning], but as a whole, it's the people that really are the framework, and make it what it is. … [CEFA Early Learning] is made up of all these individuals who are caring and so kind towards our children, and it does kind of shock me. I'm forever grateful for how invested the teachers are. They take a personal interest in every single child. I love how respectful they are.”
  • “[CEFA Early Learning] is not like a daycare. They treat them like little humans, and that's what I love because that's how we treat [our daughter]. I talk to her as I would talk to [anyone], I don't give her any ‘babyness,’ and I feel like they don't either. I just love that about them. … I think [my daughter] can give them a little bit of a run for their money sometimes, and I appreciate that they're consistent and patient with her, and constantly trying to work on some of the things that are the areas in which she struggles with. [CEFA Early Learning] is supportive. They're a role model.”
  • “In terms of [CEFA Early Learning’s] values, I just really love what they teach in terms of individuality, uniqueness, and nurturing [the children’s] freedom to choose. I think it's amazing that they are encouraging them to make mistakes, and learn from them. Then they learn to work at their own pace, so that I just love, and those are the values that we carry in our home.”
  • “We simply wanted to give our child the best opportunities in life, and get a really good head start. … Because there's that sense of family at [CEFA Early Learning] specifically. …  I do still feel like even though they are going to [CEFA Early Learning], to a school which is so fabulous, you still have to do work with them at home. Giving that up a little bit to [CEFA Early Learning] has actually made a world of difference, probably taking a little bit of pressure off myself and my husband.”
  • “The proof is in the pudding: [my daughter’s] speech is exceptional. She speaks better than her six-year-old cousin. She could speak to you as an adult. It's quite crazy to me, and I'm forever grateful for all those values that she is learning so clearly at [CEFA Early Learning]. The early education is really rubbing off on [her], and I couldn't be more proud of her, and I'm forever grateful. I know she doesn't have to be like me in Grade 4, struggling with reading.”
  • “What's unexpected about [CEFA Early Learning] is that because you're giving over all that education. … You can spend more time loving them, playing with them, and having those relationships.”
  • “I think the one thing that you read all about [CEFA Early Learning] online, is that it’s great for kids, but it's even greater for the families and parents. It's greater for the whole family.”

Brittany — current parent

Brittany has one son who attends CEFA Early Learning. As a single mother, she was looking for a comfortable and safe place where her son would be nurtured and where he could learn and grow. She felt that the people and the environment at CEFA Early Learning embodied the values that she wanted ingrained in her son, such as respect for others, self-awareness, and a love of learning. Since his enrolment at the school, she has seen improvement in his social, intellectual, and emotional growth.

  • “When I first went for the tour [of CEFA Early Learning], it was walking through the door, [I felt] the energy, is was an instantly positive environment with bright colours, children's work all over the walls. … Just seeing the level of love and care that they put into what they're doing for our children instantly struck me.”
  • “I knew at [CEFA Early Learning] that [the students are] going to be engaged and stimulated. [CEFA Early Learning’s] principal welcomed us right in, and had great energy and professionalism, she made me feel comfortable, and she made me feel safe. I knew that the people that I was putting my trust for my childcare into were in it for the right reasons. They were passionate and kind.”
  • “Knowing that [my son is] learning things and key skills for life was one of the big things. I don't want him to just be crammed full of knowledge. I want him to be able to navigate his own world, and develop tools that are going to help him as he grows, and I'm seeing that in him at [CEFA Early Learning]. We're a very active family, and coming into [CEFA Early Learning], so them saying that they take [the students] on nature walks, and they have them exploring their natural environments [was great]. They were not just sticking them in a classroom or in a basement with one person and a bunch of children.”
  • “There is low [student-to-teacher] ratios at [CEFA Early Learning]. There's a lot of one-on-one time, which was really important to me, and then also the core values, and the structure. The structure is going to carry forward in their adult lives.”
  • “Right now, we're molding our children into the adults that they're going to become. With every teacher at [CEFA Early Learning], the communication has been amazing. Anytime there's a slight issue, they go over how they've dealt with things. … It's almost like they're coaches, and they've been trained to do this, and they're helping me bring skills into my own home, and really learn about myself.”
  • “With the support that [CEFA Early Learning] has given me, I just feel so comfortable having [my son] there. I know when he goes into that front door, he runs in, and he's happy, and they're like, ‘Henry, how are you today?’ Everyone's so excited to see him, and he tells me the names of his friends and waves to them. … So I know that he's happy where he's going. I just feel it's a family.”
  • “I've made the right decision. [CEFA Early Learning] is the best thing for my son. I've given him the best starting chance. … These years are just so crucial. … I'm so happy that I made the decision when I did, and it's been life-changing for us.”
  • “[The biggest impact CEFA Early Learning has had on my son] is the socialization and the impact it’s had on his social, emotional, and intellectual growth. It's just crazy. It's been the best thing for him. ... [He has] self-awareness, and he knows in a second if he does something to hurt me or somebody else … He acknowledges, like, ‘oh, this wasn't right’ or ‘sorry, Mama.’ He actually tries to communicate things to me. Growing from the baby room to him now, [he is] able to communicate what he actually does want and need.”
  • “[My son] wasn't picking up speech right away. So [CEFA Early Learning] worked on baby sign language with him, so I could actually understand what he wants. It’s amazing how rapidly his vocabulary has taken off, and his speech is just incredible.”
  • “[My son has] actually got that emotional intelligence to know a person is upset or hurt and wants to go in and comfort them. [These are] the life skills that he's picking up at [CEFA Early Learning]. It's great, and it's molding our kids into the adults they're going to be. I've just seen his personality come out. The socialization, I think, has been the biggest thing, and the ability to problem solve. He's learning how to handle situations in his life.”
  • “[My son is] becoming an independent little person that can do things for himself [because of CEFA Early Learning]. He's going to be self-sufficient, and I'm just there to guide him along the way, and help him be his best self. I think that's a great thing.”
  • “[My son] sees me, and he's excited to come to me. So he's comfortable [at CEFA Early Learning], and he's comfortable leaving there. There's never any tension or stress in the transitions, which to me, is a great sign. He's obviously in a good environment … . It goes back to that I'm comfortable leaving [my son] in [CEFA Early Learning’s] care, which is, to me, massive. It is huge, especially when it's so much of his life. … It's a huge chunk of his life that he's been spending there, and to know that it's such a positive experience is so crucial. It's amazing.”
  • “In three words, I [would describe CEFA Early Learning as] professional, caring, and creative. They have a [high] level of professionalism. It's structured. Everyone there is great at what they do. … You can tell they're trained professionals, but they still have that passion for what they're doing.”
  • “[CEFA Early Learning] knows my child, they know his personality, and they truly care about him as a human and as a little person. He's not just a number walking through the door and they care about his development, and they care about his behaviour, and how he's going to go moving forward. It's great and the level of care that these people put into their job blows my mind.”
  • “So these professionals that we're working with at [CEFA Early Learning] are able to tailor to the needs of each individual's family, and each child. It's like they say, ‘when you have multiple children, no two children are the same’, right? Every child is different. [CEFA Early Learning is] able to cater to the needs of all these different children and families, and are creative on the level where they're making learning fun for our kids.”
  • “[CEFA Early Learning students are] contributing to a positive environment. They want them to be having fun and enjoying themselves, but still learning at the same time. I think that it's really important to stimulate them in different ways, and come up with different ways of teaching them things. [My son] will come home, and he's singing different songs every day. So I know he's going in there, and they're switching everything up. They do different letters of the alphabet every day. He's acquiring different words each day he comes home, which I think is just so important.”
  • “The leading by example [at CEFA Early Learning] hit me pretty close to home, and knowing the [staff] are in it for the right reasons. They want to be role models for our children and help them really have positive experiences that are going to help them grow in a healthy manner. So that was huge for me. And then respect. Respect is such a key in so many aspects of life. Self respect, and respecting others are just huge things that you want to see. I want to see my son respect people growing up.”
  • “I think starting at [CEFA Early Learning] at a young age is going to help [children] be aware of themselves, and that there is always room for improvement. We are constantly growing. We're all on different journeys, but there's always room for improvement. I just think instilling these values at such a young age is just so important to model them into healthy adults.”
  • “I still have to put the after-school time in, where we practice our ABCs, and our 123s, and we read books every night before bed. Knowing that [my son is] getting [important] skills, knowledge, and education at such a young age at [CEFA Early Learning], and really setting himself up for the future, does take a lot of the pressure off for me. I can spend a lot more time enjoying those moments where I just get to take them in bed and snuggle him up, or go out for a hike. I don't feel like I'm that stringent parent that's just constantly drilling the education component down his throat, I can still have that sense of fun and enjoyment with him outside of that. So [CEFA Early Learning] does take a lot of that pressure off.”
  • “I want to give [my son] the tools to do whatever he chooses in life, and be able to grow with that, and have every opportunity at his fingertips. [CEFA Early Learning] has given us that, and they've really helped in so many ways. I'm so grateful for everything that they've given to my family.”
  • “[Everyone at CEFA Early Learning] is working as a family and a support system to really mold these children, this generation into something that's going to be amazing.”
  • “[CEFA Early Learning has improved] my confidence as a parent, and just in my whole situation in general. I questioned myself a lot. … I just feel now like a much more confident parent. [CEFA Early Learning] has really impacted my own views on parenting and myself. I’ve really realized that I'm making the right decisions and I'm doing things right. I have coaches. I have direction. I look at our teachers as our coaches.”

More about Northmount School

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