REVIEW OF Star Academy BY parent, Katharine Najmala
- Date of Review
June 08, 2021
Gr. Preschool - Preschool
(5) Student Experience
He is in Pre-K in the Kindergarten program and this is his first time enrolled in any program outside of our home. I feel that he likes the sense of community the best. This was very important to us also, that he felt comfortable while being there, since he would be spending so much time there at such a young age. His teacher, Ms. Smith, is very aware to treat each child individually while fostering a family environment while they are there and learning. Cole loves superheros and Ms. Smith works them into the day somehow, making Cole feel special and heard. Also, because of the size of the school, older classes/teachers tend to take part in the Kindergarten activities, so he knows other teachers as well. This really helps to create a sense of community and helps him to feel safe while learning. As of now I can't say there is anything that he finds disappointing.
(5) School Leadership
The school leadership and administration is very professional. The office staff, including Principal and Director, can be reached easily and communication is always open and encouraged. Seeing as we started the school part way through the pandemic, they have been nothing but responsive to any government requirements and have adjusted how the school is run safely and accordingly. His teacher is always open to any discussion, concern and answers any and all questions that we have. A school newsletter is sent out once a week at the beginning of each week and a class newsletter is sent out once a week at the end of each week updating parents on what was covered during the week. They also send out surveys to the parents to make decisions about certain things, which I found thoughtful.
We are thrilled with how much he has learned! His teachers are so passionate about teaching and about creating such a positive, happy and healthy class environment for these young students. Ms. Smith is SO passionate about teaching these young minds! The lessons are created and taught in such a way that these little learners can learn about Science and Math and Social Learning in ways that make it relevant and that they can comprehend easily. It really shows because he can explain a lot of it to me when we are at home and he can talk easily about what he learned. The lines of communication are always open with his Homeroom teacher, Ms. Smith. He is very much challenged here. He is in Pre-K, but since the class is blended with JK and SK, he definitely is trying to keep up with them and is given every opportunity to!
I feel the academic program at Star will adequately prepare Cole for life's next steps. They have him printing sentences! He's not even 4 years old yet! He has never been in any other preschool or daycare, so I do not specifically have any other program to compare this to, but as a parent of a child who is in school for the first time all of my academic expectations are met, blown away in fact at what he can do now compared to when he first started. He entered the program a couple months after turning 3 and did not know much and now in May he knows days of the week, months, colours, counting, printing, speaks french.. and alot more!. I can say that being in pre K, I am confident that he is working beyond what a lot of other children are doing in JK, in other programs. Ms. Smith is also teaching them about different races (black history month, AAPI) and global/current events, which I feel is crucial.
Extracurriculars are sadly non existent during these pandemic times, but when we were registering him it was before the pandemic and there were a lot of extracurriculars that were offered. I'm not sure if they all applied to him, at his young age, but from my opinion it appeared that there was a great variety that would intrigue all who were interested.
Cole feels very much a part of the Star family. In his class alone, there are many brothers and sisters which helps to contribute to the closeness of the class. The dynamic between students is great. They all play very well together and get along and the children in SK are often helping out the younger students, whether it be their sibling or one of the pre K's. A few times the class has even gotten together outside of school to skate or attend one of the students house for a get together. It is very hard though because we are often in a stay at home order, but at points in the year when we were not, they were able to interact outside of school. Often times the older classes will join their Zoom call so that is fun for the Kinders to be able to have some older students to look up to.
(5) School Life
He is still very young but he definitely enjoys going to school every day. He loves to see his friends and he loves his teachers. He wants to be the first one at school everyday! I'm confident that if it wasn't a global pandemic that we would already have had many play-dates and meet ups outside of school. From what I have seen and experienced the school life here is complete. Cole is safe and very well taken care of. Not only is he receiving an academic education but also his social and emotional needs are being met and that is very important to us! He knows everybody's name and in turn they all know his name, so he definitely has a great school life! His teacher, Ms. Smith, definitely is very passionate about teaching this class and treats him very much as if he were her own.
This is the part that is the hardest for us. Since now we are in the middle of the pandemic, most of the schools activities and parental involvement has had to be paused. However, when registering him, it was not pandemic yet and I was very excited for this part because from all that I had heard, the parent community was very large and vibrant here! I had heard that parental involvement was a big part of the culture and I wanted to be involved: from coffee mornings during drop off to volunteering for events or around the school and even volunteering during school trips. They have definitely done their best to accommodate through Zoom calls and there is still an absolute sense of community here.
(5) School Location
The school has an amazing, large and well kept outdoor space which is great for recess and also outdoor learning (since we are currently in a pandemic). The neighbourhood has many families and is easily accessible from any direction. The school is in Mississauga and we are in Etobicoke and it only takes us about 5 minutes to get there. It looks like the neighbourhood is developing so there is occasional construction.