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Variety, care, and self-directed learning


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Review of: Sidney Ledson Institute

Maria Assif - Parent    (Mar 26, 2018)

Student Experience

Both my daughters go to SLI, and they could not be happier. They appreciate the variety of subjects offered as well as the methodologies followed in both classes. Learning and teaching are thorough, personalized to the students' needs and levels of progress. My daughters also love their teachers, as they bring enthusiasm to the materials they share with students and they also demonstrated a high sense of care and commitments to each student . In addition to these characteristics, as a parent, I can see the impact of the self-directed learning that takes place in the classroom, so students take the initiative in their learning journey and own their progress. Neither of them mentioned anything negative about their student experience. They do see it as a second home, and they are happy to go to school every morning.


School Leadership

The school leadership is exemplary. It is a balanced approach of a nurturing and warm environment while dealing with any disciplinary issues promptly and pedagogically.


Teaching

The teachers at SLI are passionate about their subjects, committed to students and their learning journeys, and most of them have been there for a long time and are quite seasoned in teaching the levels they are responsible for. Most of them are charismatic and confident as well. A couple of grades have witnessed changes, due to retirement. The new teachers seem to have a positive energy and are trying hard to find their own voices and methodologies in the classroom. I imagine in a couple of years, if they decide to stay, the transition will be smooth. I also commend Ms. Shivji, the principal, for the kind rapport she seems to have with the teachers.


Academics

I am very satisfied with the tailored programs Sidney Ledson Institute offers to students. Each student studies at his/her own pace, and most lessons are self-guided. This teaches students a high sense of independence. Their curriculum also offers soft skills and academic subjects that are rarely accounted for in the public system, such as critical thinking, leadership, problem solving, and current events. Students also start learning French in pre-school. Although the French level of instruction is not advanced, even in higher levels, exposure to the language is key in developing these basic skills. Students are also encouraged to participate in writing and math competitions, and many SLI students succeed in these endeavours.


Extracurriculars

The school is located in an office space, so there is no "official" playground. There is a play area where students can run, though it is not safe for younger kids if they fall. There is a ravine closeby that students walk to when the weather is nice. That said, students enjoy playtime and some indoor sports (soccer, basketball, badminton, and others) in an inclusive and fun environment. Students are also encouraged to participate in field trips, with clear pedagogical goals and in a safe environment. I wish the school encouraged students to participate in sports meetings and competitions around the GTA.


Students

There are two levels per classroom (grade 3 and 4, for instance, in one classroom). Students come from different backgrounds and get along well overall. As a parent, I like to see how more senior students mentor younger ones, especially through "house events." Also, due to the small size of the school, there is a sense of close-knit community among students and parents alike.


School Life

My daughters love going to school everyday and seem happy when being picked up. The academics are strong, and the extra-curricular activities are quite diverse (considering the limited infra-structure the school has and its affordable tuition). If parents are looking for extensive extra-curricular activities and sports, this is not the school for their families.


Community

This is a small school, where parents tend to greet each other and exchange some casual conversations. It is clearly friendly and cordial environment. There is no board of trustees or parents' council. It does not bother me personally, as I feel that I can share any suggestions I have, as a parent, and the principal respects my comments accordingly.


School Location

As previously stated, the school is located in an office building. There is no direct access to a green space or a kid-friendly playground. The location is across from Bayview Glen, so traffic can be an issue. That said, for the quality of education students get and the tuition they pay, something has to give.


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