Ottawa Christian School was a really fantastic atmosphere to grow up in, with caring teachers, wonderful facilities and many opportunities for their students to learn and grow in God. Each student is noticed and supported with what they need, each teacher really does a wonderful job at making sure their students feel loved and are truly passionate about what they do. The office staff are very helpful and welcoming, they work very hard to make sure no one gets lost in the system and integration into the school is easy and seamless by buddying up the new student, checking in with them and being very accessible. The academic quality is high, not just because of the subject matter being taught, but because of the wonderful resource room, accessible teachers and concern for each student as an individual.
The administration is very positively involved with student life, with the office staff being very willing to help and work with students, birthday gifts from the principle and involvement in weekly chapels. The administration does frequent open-houses during the day and evenings to give many opportunities to experience what the school is like and create a welcoming environment for any new family and child. The principle and vice principles are kind and approachable, as well as all the office administrators being invested in each students experience.
The teaching really is phenomenal, and teachers offer a variety of experiences for different learning types with hands-on in-class experiences, like the kindergarten class raising baby chicks every spring or a market completely driven by students to teach kids business skills in a fun and realistic way. They continue to push students to grow even further right until the very end of their time at OCS, showing the teacher's dedication to each of their students and their individual skill sets. Despite the small nature of the school, the teachers create opportunities for students with all skill sets with creative art classes, gym and sports activities and science fairs. No kid is lost in the system, but they still experience the benefits of a variety of opportunities you get in a larger school.
In my personal experience, the academics are very good not due to competition or pressure, but because of the large network of support students have. The resource room and staff in particular are immaculate, being able to take the time with individual students who may need more one-on-one time to find their learning strengths and work with those instead of against them. Students will excel here because of the high quality of teaching, support offered and in-class experiences that give kids the opportunity to really understand by being active and engrossed in the material given to them. OCS has an excellent balance of work and play, which really shows in each students experience and ability to take information in and process it in a practical way instead of just sitting in a classroom all day.
There is a large variety of extracurriculars despite the small school size, with activities that cater to students who like arts, sports, academia or many other things. With various sports teams, master-track, a worship team, musicals, Christmas performances, math competitions, intramurals and much more, any child can find something they enjoy to become a part of and make many friends doing it as well as learning life skills along the way.
The school is small compared to a public school, but this number really works in students' favor. Although I graduated a few years ago, my class sizes were around 20-25 students, meaning each child was noticed and had a positive relationship with their teachers. There are still some student-to-student issues, as there is in any school, the staff is very effective in supporting students and addressing any issues like bullying, gossip or leaving people out as soon as they become aware of the issues. The overall atmosphere is very positive, with encouraging friendships across grades like senior students being reading buddies with some of the younger grades. Despite the large age-range, there is also a lot of opportunities for older students to have more responsibilities, like student council, planning spirit days, delivering milk and pizza and many others.
I really enjoyed my time at Ottawa Christian School, I feel that as a student I felt appreciated and understood, something that was very important to me and my learning. The Christian messages portrayed were done so in a way that was practical to my life and the staff were all excellent examples of how to be kind to one another. It set me up very well academically but still allowed me to be a kid and have fun while learning with various mediums. As someone who specifically loves the arts, I felt I had many opportunities to explore various ways to express this, as well as felt welcomed to take part in other activities should I chose. The student life is very positive and nurturing.
The large community associated with Ottawa Christian School was fantastic, with many times where the whole community came to the school for various celebrations and had many ways for families to be involved with student life. With various musical performances put on throughout the year, Christmas festivals, large sporting events that compete with other schools, science fairs that have various parent and community-member judges, talent shows and weekly chapels that are always open for parents to attend. There are so many ways that the community becomes part of your life in an uplifting and encouraging way, it is easy for not only the students to make life-long relationships but families as well. The kind nature and shared faith among families really offer a bonding experience for all.
Located pretty close to central Barrhaven, it is not too far for many to get to. It has two buses that reach much of the Ottawa region, and one that reaches the Christian high school for families with students in both. It also has access to city buses to make it easy for all to access. Students are restricted to the property, but there is a park across the road that is sometimes used for mini-field trips like skating in the winter or pond studies in the spring, and the residential neighborhood it is in, is very friendly and accessible.