Oakville, ON | Grades PS - 8 | Shortlist
My daughters are currently in grades one and two and are both thriving at Oakville Christian School. Both girls started in JK. Some classes have been quite below the maximum capacity and others have been at the max. Regardless of class size, my girls have adjusted well and have had no problems keeping pace with the class. I think the part my girls like the best are the teachers. They are kind, caring and compassionate. They take the time to understand each child and help them in the best way possible. As a parent, I appreciate the smaller size of the school. It creates a warm and inviting community for both students and parents. I don't feel as though my children will get lost in the shuffle or become a "number". It's not so intimidating for younger children. My children are still young so they haven't expressed any disappointment yet with their school. They have made friends and enjoy going to school every day.
OCS is a strong proponent of building good character in all students and in our experience, all staff support this and lead by example. They truly have a passion for education in a Christ-like environment. We have not had any serious problems but certainly any issues we've had have been dealt with promptly and discreetly. They encourage parents to be involved and take action. Fortunately, my children have not had discipline issues so I cannot comment further on that. OCS has both a school newsletter that is emailed weekly to all parents along with a classroom-specific Week-At-At-Glance from teachers. Any upcoming events are communicated mainly with these two tools and we find it very effective to keep us in the loop. The teachers also encourage parents to email teachers directly and I have found this very useful. They respond within 24 hours. I am involved with the PTA so I am often at the school and will use that time to ask questions directly to the teachers.
My daughters have loved every teacher they've had thus far. The teachers are definitely passionate about what they do and it shows. I always feel well-informed about weekly curriculum and progress with my daughters. The teachers are very receptive to meeting with parents (outside of parent teacher interviews) and discussing any issues or questions I've had. The teachers we have had have great methods of teaching and have helped me with my daughters as they each learn differently. So what worked for one, hasn't always worked for the other. They have given me feedback regularly about what we should work on and ideas of how to go about it. My daughters receive extra challenges in subjects where they excel. If they need to work on something, the teachers will advise throughout the term and not waiting to discuss at report card time. I value this timely feedback and often let the teachers know.
I am very happy with the academic program at OCS. They meet and often exceed the public school system curriculum. They have an enrichment program for any child who requires to be challenged at a higher level. Just through word-of-mouth, I have heard that high schools love to have OCS students come through their doors as they are typically well-prepared for high school. There is homework but so far, very manageable. From my experience, the school is very strong academically. Some children who come from the public school system have to catch up. I have not seen any academic weaknesses in my experience at the school. The culture is faith-based, specifically Christian. Some of the learning is done with a strong Biblical influence - memorizing scripture, using Bible stories to learn about character building, etc.
I would love to see more extra-curriculars offered at OCS for the younger grades. Sports are well-covered in the older grades but not enough in the primary grades. This year I feel more after-school programs have been added such as French classes, Mad Science and Bricks4Kids (STEM program) which is very handy to have right at the school. As my children are in the primary grades still, there aren't a lot of extracurriculars I can comment on at this time. I see Science Fair is a big thing at OCS which many students going on to a higher competitive level with their projects and often doing quite well. There are also public speaking opportunities (reciting scripture or speeches) at a fun and a competitive level. Perhaps it would be nice to see some art and music classes offered as extracurriculars for all grades.
There are approximately 250 students which is small enough to feel like a close community. There are programs that combine older students with younger students (reading buddies, cluster work, etc.) which is a great opportunity for all ages to work together towards a common goal. For the past two years, the school has been split into 4 houses with older students as captains. This has encouraged friendly competitions and I see students of all ages really working together. All students are strongly encouraged to use the teachings of the Bible to guide their behaviour. The general atmosphere is fun, lively and loving. My experience with the students has been very positive. As a volunteer with the PTA, I have been able to witness many events with all students and they have been a lot of fun to be with - it what makes my volunteer time so worth it.
From my experience, the quality of student life at Oakville Christian School is top notch. The school is a wonderful community of teachers, students, parents and administrative staff. My girls really enjoy going to OCS. They have made lovely friends and adore their teachers. The teachers really are a big asset at OCS. They have many opportunities to learn new things given the great curriculum. French, music, art are all offered in the primary levels. The quality of life could be improved with smaller class sizes. More individual attention is always a good thing. OCS is not a boarding school and does not have a busing system therefore parents are always seen around. I think this is a very good thing. Parental involvement in a child's education enhances the child's experience.
I am involved with the parent teacher association and I love being a part of the school community. There are many opportunities for parents to be involved from helpers in the primary classrooms to small volunteer spots at events to board positions on the PTA. It is such a wonderful opportunity to be involved with a great school. Parents are certainly welcomed to be involved in the life of the school. They are often asked to help chaperone field trips or help out at events held at the school. Parents can help in small and big ways, whatever fits in their schedules. The children love to see their parents involved in their school life. I wish more parents could be involved but many parents work full-time so it's not always possible. Parents need to know that even a little bit helps. Many hands make light work!
The school location of Oakville Christian School is very good. It is located beside a town park which the older students are allowed to use on breaks. Recesses are restricted to the school grounds for the younger students. The school yard is fenced and gated. Students who have joined the school choir walk to the local seniors activity centre to bless them with their music at Christmas. The school is easy to get to and is in a good location in Oakville, specifically Bronte area. The surrounding neighbourhood and community are quiet and safe and I have no concerns with my children being there on a daily basis. Most field trips are further away and therefore busing is required. OCS has a brand new gym which is large enough to host tournaments and events which has made our school a fun place to visit!