Toronto, ON | Grades PS - 2 | Shortlist
Our older child started in the preschool class at Children's Garden Nursery School and completed the two year Kindergarten program. What an incredibly rich experience it has been. We are so happy that we are still at Children's Garden Nursery School for a few more years as our younger child started in the 2-morning toddler program and is now in the 3 Morning preschool class and we plan to enroll him in kindergarten program next year. It is truly a special place and it is a privilege to have our children walk through these doors every morning. Children's Garden Nursery School punches way above its weight class in terms of quality and variety of programs that it offers. It is small but mighty because of the care that the administrators, teachers and parents all put into it.
The admin team lead by Pauline consistently goes above and beyond to enrich the student experience. When I proposed a non-traditional pairing of academic programs (the morning kindergarten class with the afternoon french immersion class), Pauline was not just open to the possibility but went above and beyond to make it come together. This pairing has now been adopted as a formal part of the curriculum, which shows Pauline's openness to adapt and continue improving. Kyra is attentive, extremely organized and communicative, which is important to me as a working parent who doesn't get to walk the hallways on a daily basis
Every teacher has nurtured our children's curiosity and built their confidence through a fun and rigorous academic curriculum. Seeing how the teachers welcome the kids to school everyday and how the kids bound into the classrooms with smiles is a testament to the teachers' creating a healthy learning environment. The small class sizes are so valuable to us because it really allows the teachers to provide a individualized experience so that they are well prepared for grade school. It also allows teachers to provide enhancement where a student needs additional support to make everything "click" or to provide enrichment for students who are ready for more. The "special subject" teachers (gym, music, drama) are incredibly integrated. With the small staff, changes to staff can feel disproportionately impactful, but by an large there have been few changes.
Whether it’s the level of French proficiency that our child has gleaned from the afternoon immersion program, the regular incorporation of the most current educational tools and approaches, I continue to be pleasantly surprised and impressed with Children's Garden Nursery School. The curriculum is very organized and robust- this is not daycare- but my kids go through their days thinking that school is fun, which is our primary goal. They get to participate in different activities which provides a very holistic experience. Our older one started grade 1 with a great deal of confidence and was ready for parts of the curriculum that were not being covered until the second half of the academic year. I've heard from other parent alumni that their children find grade school to easy after graduating from Children's Garden Nursery School, which is a relatively good problem to have.
The unbearably cute plays/concerts that the students put on is one of my favourite things. There are additional modules like Handwriting without tears that provide further opportunities for enrichment. We have not participated in these modular afternoon programs because of scheduling conflicts with naps, but I love the idea of them. There are a couple field trips for the older kids.
The commonality amongst the families who are committed to a positive and comprehensive learning environment has provided the seeds for great young friendships. It is a home away from home for little ones.The school punches above its weight class using an app to share classroom pictures and organize events. Communication is always prompt and very regular. Teachers are responsive to email inquiries so we always feel like we know what is happening with the school. Our kids love going to school at Children's Garden Nursery School- we have never heard them say that they didn't want to go to school. Our older one is still friends with kids that he went to kindergarten with after building strong bonds with his friends at Children's Garden Nursery School!
The parent association is active and school wide participation in events, including the highlight, Halloween Happening Party , provides opportunities to socialize but also raise funds for extra classroom experiences, such as Zoo to You and field trips. The parent community is friendly and in my experience are all looking for a similar experience for their young child in terms of a nurturing environment that offers a high quality academic program. The students come from relatively diverse backgrounds, culturally and from a home-life perspective with parents who have a stay-at-home parent or two working parents. There are opportunities for parents to volunteer at different events, which is a great way to get involved. There are a lot of kids who live locally which is great for arranging playdates.
The small class sizes are the perfect transition into a formal classroom environment, ensuring that each child feels safe as they take their first steps towards independence. The class size also guarantees that each child will receive personalized attention in these critical foundational early years. There are many siblings that attend together so there is a nice family feel. The kindergarten kids get to feel like the "big kids" in the school, which is a nice way for them to feel some sense of responsibility and leadership. The students come from relatively diverse backgrounds, culturally and from a home-life perspective with parents who have a stay-at-home parent or two working parents. There are a lot of kids who live locally which is great for arranging playdates.
The school is located in a church and is small, which is fine for small people. There aren't shiny bells and whistles, but the school's big heart makes up for that in leaps and bounds. Current traffic around Bayview/Eglinton for commuters can be challenging. There is only a little outdoor space, which was a concern but we would find outdoor time after school.