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Revel Academy:
The Our Kids Report > Reviews
Grades JK TO Gr. 12 — Ottawa, ON (Map)

Revel Academy:

REVIEW OF Revel Academy BY parent, Amy R

  • Date of Review
    August 05, 2022
  • Child 1
    SK - K (Male, Current Day Student)

(5) Student Experience

Our child seems to have really enjoyed the autonomy to choose what they want to work focus on, the goals they want to work towards, and topics they are interested in learning about. It has been extremely beneficial for them to be able to get up and move when they feel the need. Being able to let a guide know they need to move their body gives them the ability to dispel the energy and come back ready to focus. Learning with real-world projects has given them many tools, such as a good foundational knowledge of money and what it takes to create a small business (learned via a unit where the studio developed a small business from conception through creating items, selling them, and then deciding what to do with the profits), and how to have conversations with a variety of people of all ages. The time spent outdoors, especially with the other studios has provided a wonderful stretch environment. Playing with and learning from the older students has provided positive risk-taking and growth opportunities. The opportunities to work with the older students for reading time and other school-wide activities are always a highlight.

(5) School Leadership

We have been very happy with the community environment of the school. The presence of COVID has presented a few challenges especially early on, due to limiting the number of people entering the building which did make some communications about daily activities or issues a bit more challenging; however, guides were always available and responsive in person, via the online community site and email. The guides have been helpful with navigating any issue that came up and working with us on a unified response and language so our child got consistent messaging about appropriate behaviour and consequences. The guides are always gentle and kind when working with our child to create solutions to any issues. The weekly newsletters provide a wonderful insight into school activities as well as a lovely retrospective to look back on. The school is always open to new ideas and feedback, through surveys and an "open door" attitude. The only times communication felt mildly lacking was around any students/staff departing the school. Knowing that a classmate was leaving would have helped us discuss this at home ahead of any imagined reasons coming up; however, we also understand that this may not have been communicated for privacy reasons.

(5) Teaching

Our child doesn't talk about their day very often upon coming home; however, we often hear all about things that they've learned when the topic comes up organically in a book, a show, or a conversation. We love that our child is encouraged to first ask other students for help when they meet a challenge or something they don't know/understand. The atmosphere of teamwork - that we are all learning together and supporting each other vs we are all competing to be the best - is a big reason that we chose this type of school. We love receiving and going through our child's portfolio of work. Seeing the growth and changes through their work shows us that they are learning and having fun while doing so. Our child's main goal they set for themselves this year was to learn to read. Not only did they complete both reading systems used in the classroom but they were also encouraged to read books to their classmates during circle time, and we were given the role of narrator for a class play. We haven't yet experienced any tears around school or learning being "too hard" so we are confident that their curiosity and desire to learn are also growing. Our child often pulls out workbooks and activities off our resource shelf to complete for their own learning and enjoyment - so they must be doing something right :)

(5) Academics

We are very happy with the autonomy that is provided within the academics at Revel. Allowing the students to have a say in the topics and types of learning activities helps to grow curiosity and the desire to learn. We aren't interested in rote learning or "learning to the test". We love that students are encouraged to set their own goals and that they learn how to break down the goals into achievable steps as well as learning how to track and assess their own progress. These are things that aren't taught in the public system but that we believe will be keys to future success in whatever it is our child chooses to do in their life. We also chose this environment for its focus on cooperative learning vs competition. We've seen our child grow so much, learning how to help others and teach them (we see this almost daily in their interactions with their younger sibling - taking time to help them out by guiding them and helping them problem solve). The world is changing, and who knows what types of jobs will exist when our child is ready to join the working world? Our goal is to set them up as best we can for success by helping them learn what their passions are, how to set and archive goals, how to self-assess and be self-aware and keeping them curious. We are very confident that Revel will help them learn how to learn because they WANT to, not because they HAVE to for a grade. The absence of grading and homework are other big pluses for our family. There is no worry of "not measuring up" to a made-up standard. There is lots of time in the evenings and on weekends for time with friends and family building relationships - something that is so important for mental health and happiness.

(5) Extracurriculars

Having a smaller-sized school has many benefits, but it does somewhat limit extracurriculars if you don't have enough interest from others. We would love to see a bit more active extracurriculars, like sports - but we imagine there will be more access to these as our child ages as the older students have access to intra-school sports activities. Our child did request one extracurricular this year after older students were talking about it. So we requested an exemption to the age limit so they could participate. We were granted the exemption and our child greatly enjoyed participating in the once-a-week, after-school activity. We also limit the number of extracurricular activities our children are participating in at any given time so that they do still have unstructured downtime, so school-offered extracurriculars are a bonus, not an expectation for us.

(5) Students

Revel is a small school with around 50 students. We have always had positive interactions with any students we've chatted with. Due to the multi-age learning environment, our child has learned how to talk with and play with kids of all ages. They have learned they can ask any of them for help as well. The environment is set up to encourage all the students to be respectful of each other and show kindness to everyone. The students all appear to have a genuine interest in their classmates succeeding and often jump in to offer help, even outside of the school environment. Our child has really enjoyed the time with their reading buddy, as well as any time spent playing sports and games with the older students.

(5) School Life

Our child loves going to Revel (we're mid-summer and they still are often talking about things they've learned and what they are looking forward to when they go back). Access to many different learning environments gives everyone the chance to work where it suits them (in quiet rooms, conference rooms, group setups, individual tables, etc.). They also have access to a gym space to work out their energy, stationary bikes, a nap room, and a maker space. The students are always working on something interesting whenever we are in the school for an exhibition or pickup from extracurriculars. They are often working together in teams and helping each other out. There are often discussions occurring between students about their projects or things they are planning to do. Our child enjoys the "character call-outs" where they and other students can highlight awesome things others have done that week.

(5) Community

We've only yet experienced life at the school during COVID, so our experience is slightly skewed by this fact. Despite this, we have enjoyed the community of the school through the online community platform - which allows us to communicate with the other parents, set up play dates, share if we plan to do a specific extracurricular so others may join, etc. We've enjoyed many conversations with other parents after school while the kids play, or over park playdates. The parent book club was wonderful, and we're looking forward to many more of those - hopefully in-person soon. At the end of every session, the students host an exhibition to show off their work. We've greatly enjoyed having our child show us what they have been working on, and the school is always happy to allow extended family to join as well. We are looking forward to many more opportunities to interact with the other parents and students across studios in the coming years.

(4.5) School Location

The school is located in a part residential and part industrial neighbourhood, but there are great parks and community amenities within an easy walk. The students often spend their outdoor time at the local park and playground and run active events in the nearby parks. The older students often venture off-site to get tours of local businesses, etc. However, our child is in the youngest studio and they mainly stick to the school and park/playground unless there is a scheduled field trip. Having a larger play yard attached to the school would allow for a bit more outside learning time; but there are always tradeoffs and for us, this location is within walking distance and we'd hate to see it move further out of the core just for a slightly larger outdoor play yard.


More about Revel Academy

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More written reviews


Parent, Nicole MacDonald (2023)

Gr. 2 to Gr. 4 (current),SK to Gr. 1 (current) — My children love Revel! They play more and learn more, and spend less time standing in line, waiting for teachers to help other students, etc. Instead of needing to advocate for my children and their ...


Parent, Sheri Segal Glick (2023)

Gr. 7 to Gr. 8 (current) — When our son started at Revel Academy, he was disenchanted at the thought of school. He was bored and would find any excuse not to go. He was also shy around other kids his age. Revel ignited somethin...


Parent, Adrienne Charlton (2022)

Gr. 1 to Gr. 2 (current),Gr. 3 to Gr. 4 (current) — Revel Academy has reignited my child’s love of learning. The emphasis on self-direction has enabled my child to reach new levels of personal responsibility and instilled new confidence and a willing...


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