REVIEW OF Revel Academy BY parent, Adrienne Charlton
- Date of Review
August 05, 2022
- Child 1
Gr. 1 - 2 (Female, Current Day Student)
- Child 2
Gr. 3 - 4 (Male, Current Day Student)
(5) Student Experience
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 willingness to experiment, explore and seek new challenges. Given the opportunity to miss class, my child surprised me with a request to return to school because he was close to meeting a milestone and did not want to miss out. After one year at Revel, we cannot imagine a better environment for our children. Both of my children have appreciated the opportunity to make choices at school. For example, like many children, my son is not sporty in the traditional sense. At Revel, he always has a choice of activities during PE, whether it is going for a hike or playing in the snow or practicing his floor hockey skills; he gets exercise without dreading another lesson in a sport he doesn’t enjoy.
(5) School Leadership
Our relationship with the school leadership has exceeded our expectations. Communication has been frequent and available through multiple avenues. As parents, we know that any questions we or our children may have will be answered asap and with kindness. We were on both sides of unacceptable behaviour this year and were deeply impressed with the empathy shown both when our child was a victim and a rule-breaker. One incident that stands out in my mind happened very early in the school year. My child was injured at school by another student who was having difficulty adjusting to the school environment. The administration told me directly and in person about the incident, assuring me that it would not happen again as the offending child was asked to leave the school. Two things impressed me in this interaction: 1) My child’s safety was paramount. If a student is creating an unsafe environment, Revel Academy is willing to refund tuition rather than put others at risk. 2) My child’s previous experience at a neighbourhood school had led her to believe that violence was a normal part of the school experience. Revel Academy has helped her understand that she has the right to establish boundaries and self-advocate.
Before joining the Revel Academy community, I, like many parents, believed that the key to effective teaching was a low student-to-teacher ratio. Revel Academy changed my mind. As a micro school, Revel naturally has a relatively small student-to-teacher ratio; but, ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to learn rather than the teacher’s duty to impart knowledge. At Revel Academy, teachers are called guides and help students ask probing questions and seek answers. Revel employs a Socratic method that creates critical thinkers rather than warehouses of trivia. This is truly a revolutionary process that sets the school apart. While it is true that students are expected to take responsibility for their studies, the teaching staff at Revel Academy is top rate. Each member of staff is committed to their students, is kind and creates a supportive and inclusive environment.
Revel Academy is academic freedom at its best. Each child is empowered to set goals and learn at their own pace, provided it is at or above grade level. This flexibility enables students to work at divergent levels by subject or grade within the same classroom. Moreover, by encouraging students to request help from their peers, students solidify their knowledge through teaching and sharing. Perhaps most importantly, this model limits classroom boredom; students can always find a new challenge. The academic schedule at Revel Academy is broken into units of self-directed learning, group discussions, active time and daily group projects and deep dives into specialist subjects. Through these activities, students learn much more than the traditional three Rs; they are developing a portfolio of academic, social and career-focused skills. Even the youngest children are exposed to principles of entrepreneurship, personal responsibility, community development, public speaking, collaboration and providing effective feedback. I am confident that Revel Academy is providing unparalleled education.
Revel Academy provides affordable after-school care with enrichment activities that vary according to the community’s wishes. This year, my children participated in activities ranging from computer programming to cooking and from chess club to dance. They are already looking forward to music lessons next year and hope to explore many other extracurricular activities. Sports have increased at Revel this year and the school has joined with other institutions to increase competition.
As a small school, Revel Academy is a tight-knit community. Students come from a variety of cultural backgrounds and, despite being a private school, the atmosphere is unpretentious and informal. Every day can be a pyjama day at Revel. Many students find their tribe at Revel, even if they have struggled with previous social interaction. Revel is an extremely inclusive and actively safe space. Whether your child is neurodivergent, LGBTQ+ or just struggling to find their place; they will be met with love and support. Parents of younger students meet at the school door and make fast friends. We all share a need to make school a positive experience for our children. Laughter comes easily at Revel and students can be overheard encouraging each other and collaborating enthusiastically. My only wish was that our school community was geographically closer. Many families travel to Revel from all corners of the city because THIS is the place where their child feels at home. The kids and their families are so kind, I only wish more of them lived closer; then again, we make the effort to meet and socialize outside of class.
(5) School Life
Both of my children love Revel Academy. Both children proudly wear their school spirit wear at home and on weekends and light up whenever people ask about their school. Before coming to Revel, my children often asked to stay at home or feigned illness to avoid class. My son had even begun to experience panic attacks due to his perfectionism and school anxiety. Changing to Revel Academy has ended these issues. Perfectionism can still be a factor, but both kids genuinely want to go to school every morning and are happy at the end of the school day. My son has learned about managing his expectations and setting appropriate goals that are both challenging and achievable. Most of all, my children feel supported and appreciated by their teachers, peers and the wider community.
The school community at Revel Academy is active and welcoming. Parents communicate frequently both in person and via an online app. We openly share information, make play dates, help each other and even share vacation ideas. About every six weeks, families are invited to participate in an exhibition of the student’s work. This is an excellent opportunity to socialize and solidify the community bonds. Through these exhibitions, we have come to know and appreciate the students on a deeper level and shared many laughs with our fellow parents. Other social activities have included book clubs, holiday socials, a business fair and graduation ceremonies. Next year, if COVID allows, we hope to have more extracurricular community involvement. A parent enrichment activity has already been arranged for the early fall.
(4) School Location
Revel Academy is located in an industrial area near Carling and Kirkwood. It is quite central and easy to access from the 417. The school building is large for the student population and offers flexibility in its learning spaces. My children appreciate the availability of quiet spaces. The school building backs onto a large green space with nearby sports fields, a playground and sledding in wintertime.