Mississauga, ON | Grades JK - 8 | Shortlist
I have 3 children currently at MCA. They enjoy the "family" atmosphere. The small class sizes and teachers who are willing to spend time helping them when needed, for example, the junior high math teacher makes herself available to the students during recess and after school for those who require additional help. At lunch time, the junior high boys at times get to have lunch with the male junior high teachers where they get to relax and speak comfortably about anything and everything they may be interested in. They enjoy the fact that they can participate in extracurricular activities like soccer, basketball and track and field where they get to represent there school. This is something they take pride in doing from grade 4. As early as grade 1, the kids get to experience what it is to speak in public.
The current school leadership continues to grow and improve on the way discipline is carried out at school. From the Principal and teaching staff to the administration staff, I personally feel my concerns have been heard and have been addressed appropriately and in timely fashion as warranted. The school has an open door policy where as a parent I feel I have free access to the staff to discuss any issues that might arise. I like the fact that at the end of the day when I pick up the kids, I can pop my head in to see any of their teachers to see how the day went and not feel as if am Intruding or being a bother.
This year there is a good mix of male and female teachers at MCA, which as a mom with 3 boys I do appreciate. The boys can find it easier to relate to an adult male and can be comfortable to address issues that might arise. The teachers take the time needed to make sure each student understands the lesson being presented. A lot of the time they provide additional assistance to students if and when needed. There is a resource teacher on staff who works one on one with students who required individual attention. Though all the teachers may have different teaching styles, the good thing is, for the majority, are similar and follow the same guidelines. This helps so when the child transitions to a higher grade, the work and the teacher may change but the expectations remain the same. I like the fact that we maintain open communication with all the teachers. If the child did not hand in homework that was due, guaranteed we are going to know ASAP. This might be in the form of an email, phone call or a quick face to face passing meeting. I feel that our boys gets exceptional support from. The teachers, especially the junior high teachers. It is comforting to know that they are working hard to ensure the kids are ready for high school come the end of the year.
I am a #1 supporter of the level of teaching my kids have received thus far at MCA. Upon entering grade 1, my boys were already reading at a grade 3 level and this was after completing nursery to SK at MCA. One year I had a 4th child at MCA who was reading 2 grades below where he should have been. At the end of the school year, I am very happy to say he was up to almost if not on par to where he needed to be. The kids are challenged in their studies and receive teaching a grade higher that in regular schools. For example, a child in grade one learns as if he is in grade 2. One of the things I really like about this system is that the child gets to learn at his or her own pace, meaning if the child is below the rest of the class, they are given extra help to bring them to where they need to be and if they are more advanced than the majority, they are provided instructions keep them progressing. They are not held back or pushed beyond their capabilities.
I think there are enough activities for the kids to participate competitively. The downside to this, as a small school population, you find that the same students are going for all the activities. I do not feel they have or get enough preparation time before all the different activities. For example, if they are playing basketball, they may have 2-4 weeks of practice which may equal 4-8 sessions.
I personally enjoy the small class sizes. To me MCA is like a family. Everyone knows everyone. The expectations are that every is treated with respect. In the mornings when I drop the kids off at school, I like to watch as the students enter the school. Whoever gets to the doors first, holds it open for everyone behind him. I think this is an unspoken rule. This just goes to show how God's love transcend into our actions. For the most part, the kids are kind and respectful to there peers and elders. In the mornings, you can also find the Principal standing at the front doors holding them open for the students. To me, this is showing the kids that to be a good leader, you have to also be a server/follower.
Overall, school life at MCA has been OK. Over the last few years, it has had its ups and downs but like with anything that is worthwhile, you work through the difficult times to get to where you need to be. To date, I have not had an issue that we have not been able to work through. MCA has 0 tolerance when it comes to bullying and I think this is something that is taken very seriously. The kids love going to MCA. Their before and after school care are awesome. They have a lot of different hands on activities to keep the kids busy and my favourite part is that homework needs to be completed before the kids are allowed free play. At times, the boys are never ready to go home. One area MCA can improve on would be more parent involvement. Currently there is working progress in having parents be more involved in school life.
Parent involvement is being welcomed more and more. There are parent ambassadors now, when you speak with them one on on you get a better feel of the community you are a part of. You get good parent support as well from other parents. With one of my kids, we have a parents whatsapp group that we use to communicate with each other and support each other as it is needed. This has let to the class being a very close knit one. We exchange homework help and questions, extend birthday invites, confirm school information we may not be sure of, i.e. when is casual day, when is pizza day etc. I feel the opportunities are there, it is for us the parents to step up.
The school is located in a quiet residential area that is also close to a park. The students do not leave the school grounds without teacher supervision at all. They may take walks to the park on the path, to the nearby library etc on good weather days. I know the kids enjoy outdoor fun time with there class. I know of one occasion where the teacher had her class outside as the days was beautiful and the kids enjoyed it.