Since classrooms were often mixed grade, and within grades teaching was customized to individual learning needs, classroom culture was generally not very competitive, though there were exceptions at the class and individual level. Grammar was taught explicitly, a rarity, which I found greatly supported my natural language and writing skills, as did typing classes. Homework was sometimes a bit heavy, limiting leisure time after school, and formal exams began in Grade 5 or 6. Sources had to be cited in essays from this level onward as well. I went from Grade 7 at Olivet to Grade 8 in a public school program for "gifted" students; I was ahead in some subjects, including French, and behind in none, with a broader or more traditional knowledge base in some areas than my peers.
The academic program at Olivet School is above average in my opinion. Students receive personalized lessons that can, in a way, cater to individual needs. For example, if a child is not understanding a concept, the teacher has the time and resources to explain it in another way. They are always adapting the lessons to better suit the needs of the students. There is also the opportunity for more one on one instruction. While other kids are busy at work, a student is able to approach the teacher for additional support. Academic competition at Olivet is healthy. I felt challenged but not pushed. We weren't encouraged to compete against each other but to achieve our personal best. I earned several Academic Achievement Awards for my hard work during the terms.