REVIEW OF Oak Learners BY parent, Jennifer Dumas
- Date of Review
May 04, 2022
JK - JK
(5) Student Experience
Our son Gabriel absolutely loves going to school every day. When we drop him off, he gives a huge hug to his teacher Emma who has managed to form a bond with Gabe similar to what he has with family members. Gabriel is autistic and is not open to close relationships with everyone but the affectionate and comfortable relationship he has not only with Emma but with other teachers and staff members is remarkable. His teachers go out of their way to make sure they understand Gabe in order to not only meet his needs but to provide a loving, enriching learning experience for him. Gabe can be himself at school, and his teachers are creative and adaptive to make sure Gabe can get the most out of his day. An example of this is with writing. Gabriel struggles to sit still for a long time and does not enjoy writing on paper, so his teachers set up the ability for him to trace shapes and draw on a chalkboard instead. Another example is the amount of sensory play his teachers build into learning, which very much appeals to Gabe. The bond Gabriel has with the educators at Oak Learners is integral to his positive experience and really is what makes his days at school successful.
(5) School Leadership
I cannot say enough about the fantastic communication we receive from the Director of Oak Learners, Kelly Farrell. The last year has not been easy to navigate given all the changing regulations around COVID yet Kelly has consistently made sure we know and understand the ins and outs of the frequently changing rules. We feel we are in very capable hands. Kelly seems to genuinely enjoy her role as Director of Oak Learners and the positivity of the staff and other parents we see every day is a credit to the way Kelly manages the school.
We feel so comfortable leaving our son in the hands of the capable, passionate teachers at Oak Learners. We often get a written report of how Gabe's day went and if not, we are told of the highlights of his day. Communication with the parents is fantastic. We feel that we can reach out to Gabe's teachers at any time, and have spent plenty of time being able to chat about Gabe's needs and what will make his day successful. The teachers also share with us some of the things that they find work well for Gabe as suggestions for home. Every teacher is very compassionate toward the children and every day at drop off Gabe likes to give a big hug to his teacher which shows how comfortable he feels.
Oak Learners provides exceptional learning catered to where each student is at. The individualized approach is what makes Gabe's day a success. They are very creative in their approach on learning, making sure to make it enjoyable for each child. Our son struggles to stay seated in one spot for a long time, so they find creative ways for him to strengthen his academic skills. For example, he can write standing up rather than sitting down. He can sort colourful items and count them out that way. Gabe loves to move so incorporating learning into movement games makes it fun. Gabe is only in JK and I do not believe the focus should be solely on academics, but rather on gaining independent skills and social skills, and Oak Learners delivers on this every day. They encourage students to help each other and foster an inclusive and loving environment for students to thrive in.
Oak Learners provides a very well rounded day. The students get to spend a lot of time outside, not only learning in an outdoor environment, but fostering a love and respect for nature and interacting with their environment. Gabe has gotten to go on some great field trips, one of which was to see the salmon swimming upstream, and trips to the lake. The school has also partnered with organizations to provide weekend programming (yoga, cooking classes, outdoor hiking) so there is a lot of opportunity to fantastic and unique extracurricular.
One of the reasons we chose Oak Learners was for the student to teacher ratio. Our son gets a lot of individual attention because of the small class size, but this also provides an opportunity for him to form bonds and close relationships with his entire group of peers he sees everyday. The students are genuinely happy to see each other everyday evidenced by the excited morning greetings they give. The teachers strongly encourage positive relationships and cheering each other other on, and being kind to each other is cool at Oak Learners. Our son often receives help and encouragement from his peers during the day, and we can see that he feels comfortable amongst his peers. Him feeling a sense of belonging is so important and he absolutely feels this.
(5) School Life
We feel so lucky to have found a school for our son that he absolutely loves to go to every day. He gives his teachers big hugs, and often asks to see photos of school when he is at home. He is excited every morning to run into school. He gets a very well rounded day at Oak Learners - plenty of time outside, time to play and interact with his peers, and learning in extremely creative ways. School for our son is a place where he can be himself, learn in fun ways, gain independent skills, and build on his social skills. The best way for me to describe school life at Oak Learners is that it is loving, wholesome, and full of such good energy.
We feel we are part of a group of like minded families - all very happy to have found a school for our children that is a comfortable place for them to learn and grow. At drop off and pick up every day, parents are very friendly to each other other and it is evident that every family who has chosen Oak Learners is looking for a well rounded education for their child in a secure environment where they are free to be themselves. Oak Learners has hosted a few parent morning coffee socials which is a great opportunity to meet other parents in an informal setting. Parents are also able to comment on the photos shared of the kids on the Seesaw app, and it is fun to see parents noting the fun activities the kids are doing. This spring, Oak Learners is encouraging parents to be involved in the spring planting project around the school. There is ample opportunity to be involved in the life of the school and get to know the other families that make up the school community.
(5) School Location
Oak Learners does a fantastic job of involving the kids in the community - visits from the local fire department, trips to lots of local parks and the library. The children are often on walking adventures in the community. Oak Learners also has a school van for field trips. The kids get to go on fun and educational adventures. Once this past year to see the salmon swimming upstream, other times down to the lake. The school does a great job of being an active part of the community. The current spring planting project is another way the school is contributing to the neighbourhood by beautifying the area outside the school.