REVIEW OF Oak Learners BY parent, Asha Rampersad
- Date of Review
October 16, 2018
Preschool - Gr. 1
(5) Student Experience
My 6 year old thrives at Oak Learners. He loves the staff who are attentive, responsive and makes learning fun. Oak Learners approaches learning from a holistic perspective. They realize that children are unique and different and do not adopt a "one-size fits all" approach to learning. Some of the most important lessons my son has learned from Oak is getting involved in the community and helping others, participating in various activities such as community festivals, and hands-on learning. Throughout the school year, my son got to learn about where chickens came from, an incubator was brought into the classroom, they got to name their egg and got to see firsthand a chick hatch! This was a great learning opportunity that was more beneficial than simply reading about this in a book!
(5) School Leadership
The teachers and the Director (Kelly) really care about the children, recognizing they are all different and have different learning styles. They use positive reinforcement with children and understand that not all learning comes from a textbook. We receive regular updates from Oak about our child's progress and when discipline is contemplated, they contact us to keep us in the loop. With children who may have special needs, Oak Learners provides an inclusive environment and works with children and families to tailor individualized plans in small class sizes. A child with special needs will flourish in this environment because they are accepted. You do not have to worry about bullying and large classroom sizes in public schools.
The teachers at Oak are deeply committed to the success of the children. Teacher qualifications and education was very important. They work with children in small classes and create individualized plans for each child. I also receive regular updates about my son's strengths and areas that need to be worked on. My son is exceptionally bright, but has challenges with social skills. While I initially sent my son for enrichment lessons, Oak was upfront with me that my son would benefit from having some additional supports to help with social skills. He was paired with highly skilled teachers, and was given many opportunities to work with other children under the close supervision of staff. The staff genuinely care about the children, and we receive daily feedback.
I am impressed with the academic program offered by Oak, which is tailored individually to each child. My 6 year old son is incredibly bright, but needs improvement in social development. Oak was able to recognize this, provide us with additional support to improve my son's social support and at the same time, offer my son enrichment lessons that could challenge him. The style of learning the school adheres to is the Reggio Emilio style of learning. Children are encouraged to explore and learn not just from textbooks but from exploring their community. The academic lessons my son receives actually exceeds the public school requirements, partly because the class size is small and kids have more opportunities to learn in this type of environment. My child loves coming to school each day!
Oak Learners approach to learning is not just in the classroom. There are many extracurricular opportunities such as participating in community events, feeding the homeless, literacy events, painting days and much more. Having students learn about helping their community at a very early age promotes civic responsibility and to teach kids compassion very early on. Children also have opportunities to play outside daily, play sports and move around.
What stands out for me is the positive and loving vibe when I go into Oak. The environment is carefully designed to inspire young minds, such as the beautiful paintings on the wall of trees and various toy stations, and library. The student body is very small and collegial. What I love is that the teachers are accessible and it feels like a family vibe. We know most of the parents in the school, we frequently go to each of the children's birthday parties (including the teachers) and the children are not siloed into classrooms by age. There are mixed classes where some of the older students can model appropriate behaviours for the younger students. A sense of community is promoted within the school by encouraging all students and parents to take an active role.
(5) School Life
My son begs to go to Oak every day. This is because he loves his teachers and they foster an environment where his love for learning is stimulated. School life is vastly different from public school. Because the class sizes are small, most of the kids play with each other and get to know each other's family. If you are looking for a school that is small, warm and where you can develop close relationships with other families, children and the teachers, this is a great environment for your child. If for some reason, your child does not fit into a traditional public school model, then this program is a good alternative because of the small size of the classroom and direct opportunities to learn from teachers and other students.
There are many opportunities for parents, student and the community to get involved with school life. We regularly receive notifications to participate in community events such as painting for Halloween, events leading up to Christmas, various parenting classes, and participation in festivals for the community. On other occasions, you will find students trying to raise money for worthy causes such as feeding the homeless and learning civic responsibility, whether that is voting for older kids, or helping others. These life lessons are important for children's early development. It is easier for children to learn in this environment because of the small class size and more accessibility to the teachers. Unlike various other Montessori models of schooling, this environment is open, inclusive, and parents have numerous opportunities to participate in various events.
(5) School Location
The school is located near Mimico in Etobicoke. Beside it is the popular San Remo bakery and a meat market. It is a quaint community and one that is under transition and becoming more gentrified. Students regularly go to nearby parks in the area for physical activity, and nearby libraries as well as other field trips which supplements their learning. Love the location!