Oakville, ON | Grades PS - 8 | Shortlist
My children have, and still do appreciate everything that Oakville Christian School offers them on a daily basis. The school is of a size both physically and numerically that allows them to know where everything is and recognize and know most, if not all, the teaching staff and administration. This creates a happy and safe environment for them to feel comfortable and happy to learn. They enjoy as they get older, and progress through the school, the timetable allowing them to have more rotary teaching staff. Although even at a young age being able to have a specialist in French, Gym and Music is greatly appreciated. My boys so enjoy having the space that the school provides both for outdoor recess and in the new gym. Having the new gym and stage has meant that theatrical productions have been able to be put on for the school and parents enjoyment. With the space of the gym and the atrium, sporting tournaments can now be hosted and the children are very proud to show off their school. My eldest son at Oakville Christian School in particular, loves the opportunities to take part in the school teams in such a wide variety of sports, something that could not be achieved outside of school.
The school is easy accessible from the QEW and from Lakeshore. Located conveniently between Oakville and Burlington. There are bus routes that leave from just outside the school allowing older children to be more independent with their arrival and departure. The school grounds are very secure with cameras in the front and back covering the school buildings and the expansive play area. The school is very fortunate to have access to a town park behind the grounds which children use with staff supervision for recess and gym classes. There is good parking for staff and parents when needed but with the school being in a predominantly residential area there are opportunities if needed to park on side streets. During special "clusters" week at school the children often go into the neighborhood to help tidy, garden or visit seniors at the Sir John Colbourne Recreation Centre.
Oakville Christian School has an outstanding parent community. The school welcomes parental involvement in all aspects of the school life. As a new parent to the school it is very easy to connect with other parents and the administration. Oakville Christian School welcomes parents to volunteer in the classroom and at recess duties if they wish. Using the school weekly newsletter all opportunities for volunteering are brought forward to the parent community. Parents are always encouraged to attend and support all the team sports and tournaments. There are several class trips that parents are invited on both day, and overnight trips for the older grades. There is a great sense of shared community between the staff, administration and parents. Once a week there is a chapel where all the school and sometimes separate elementary or middle school years come together in Christian worship. Parents are always invited to attend. The Parent Teacher Association is very active and runs events throughout the year that rely on parental involvement. Most of these events are for the children - Christmas, Spring Fair etc. There are also day time and evening events for parents and staff to attend, hosted by the Parent Teacher Association. These speakers and activities allow parents to socialize with each other whilst listening to interesting and engaging seminars.
The student body at Oakville Christian School is approximately 250. The school is of a size where students in all grades are known by all staff. The students are placed into "Houses" when they join and this encourages a healthy competition between the students. Each house has children from every grade and there are activities and events throughout the year which strengthen this link between all the ages. For example, a Mini Olympics held in the summer, run by the Grade 6's for the Kindergarten to Grade 5's to participate in as well as holding fundraising activities for the charity of their choice. There are also weekly intramural events where all children in their houses are encouraged to come out and take part or cheer on their team. It is not just sport where the student body interacts. The younger years have reading buddies who come in once a week to read with them. This interaction during the school day is evident in the playground and in the halls, where children will say hello and open doors for fellow students and adults. There is a strong respect for each other and this can be seen in the thoughtfulness that the children show to each other, during classes, school trips and weekly chapels. When children graduate they are welcomed back do school to help with sports and events, the younger children enjoy seeing them return to school and I think it says a lot about a school if your graduates like to come back and help out where they can.
There are many opportunities for children of all ages to take part in extracurricular activities, both competitive and just for fun. The students take part in intramural activities weekly, led by the older students. Students of all ages are encouraged to take part or to attend and cheer on their team. There are many athletic tournaments throughout the year that students from Grade 4 upwards can try out for. Soccer, floor hockey, basketball, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, badminton, softball and track and field are all arranged through three different athletic associations. It is of course not just sporting activities that are encouraged and well attended. There are different clubs run after school; lego, computer coding, Mad Science and French. In the Fall term the children have an opportunity to try out an activity that interests them. This group, or cluster, is made up of students from all ages and run by either a parent volunteer or a staff member. This last year there was cooking, sock puppet making, gardening to name but a few.
My children thoroughly enjoy attending Oakville Christian School. The student life at Oakville Christian School is like being in a family environment, safe and happy, aspects that promote successful learning. The children are cared for and encouraged in all aspects of their school life; academic, spiritual and social, as if they are one big family. The children and parents are fully supported in their journey through Kindergarten to Grade 8 by the administration, teachers and governing body of the school. The students are encouraged and nurtured, instilling in them a sense of confidence in all that they can do and hope to achieve. For my son that has moved on to public high school, he now truly appreciates the opportunities that were offered to him and the high standard of care and education provided by the staff at Oakville Christian School.
The teaching staff at Oakville Christian School are of a very high caliber. Their on- going professional development is evident in their current teaching methods. All the teaching staff from PK to Grade 8 are passionate about their job and the children and that they have the opportunity to teach in this Christian school environment. The homeroom teachers are caring souls who not only teach the children but also look after them, investing many hours into helping the individual flourish socially and academically in their class. Teachers ensure that parents are kept informed of the curriculum not only in a curriculum evening at the start of the year where guidelines for the year are given, but also in a weekly newsletter where the parent can see what their child will be working on in the week ahead. Any issues in my children's learning have been dealt with in a caring and supportive manner. Where extra support has been needed it has been implemented quickly and where extension work has been required the teacher and support staff have initiated specific learning plans efficiently. We have also found the emotional support of the teaching staff to all children to be strong. There is a high level of mutual respect between the teachers and children.
From your first visit to Oakville Christian School the leadership and administration do everything they can to make you and your family feel welcome and valued. They go out of their way to help you settle into school life and life in Oakville if it is new to you, as it was to us when we first moved to Canada. I am amazed at how quickly the administration learn about your family and remember the children's names. This in itself helps children and their parents transition to a new school, where you immediately feel like you have joined a big family. The administration and principle are always available by phone, email and in person and respond quickly to all queries. All matters whether of a serious or trivial nature are dealt with efficiently and with respect to all involved. Discipline issues are dealt with sensitively making sure all parties are kept informed and that children are aware of the consequences of their actions. The communication between the administration and parents is very good. There is a a weekly newsletter that contains details of the previous week in school and what to expect in the week ahead. Polite reminders for volunteer opportunities, topics of chapels and charity events are posted allowing all families to see what is going on in daily school life. Homeroom teachers also send out a weekly update with more pertinent details to their specific class.
The academic program at Oakville Christian School is excellent. The children throughout the school have the opportunity to learn with a curriculum that far exceeds the public school curriculum. This is achieved with specialized teachers in French, Music, Arts and Gym, and in the older grades rotary staff for all subjects. Right from the start teachers take into consideration the different learning styles, abilities and interests of the students in their class, something that is possible because of the smaller class sizes. Children are encouraged to be independent in their learning and to show this in many creative ways throughout the year. They are taught how to research topics and present to their class and teachers in a positive way. As the children move through the school these presentations go from small dioramas, speeches and on to major science experiments taking the older students on to provincial wide competitions showcasing their learning and their enjoyment in their subject matter. Homework is carefully monitored and workloads are never too much. Differentiation is evident in the class. For the child that excels there are unit pre tests to see their level of understanding and from that a child can be given work that extends their learning and allows them to learn deeper, with out the risk of boredom or lack of enjoyment in being held back. My son who is now in high school came away from OCS with great study skills and a love of learning that is allowing him to flourish and excel in high school.