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Sunnybrook School:
The Our Kids Report > Reviews
Grades JK TO Gr. 6 — Toronto, ON (Map)

Sunnybrook School:

Interview with Sunnybrook School PARENT, Katie Azuma

Katie Azuma is the parent of a son and daughter who both attended Sunnybrook School. They went there from kindergarten through to Grade 6, several years apart. Both Katie’s kids are very different. Sunnybrook’s approach of child-centric, hands-on learning brought great value to them both. She valued how Sunnybrook’s staff knew her kids and tailored solutions to her family. She liked how the school acted on feedback, through investments in its programs. Katie is a working parent. She loved Sunnybrook’s high-quality after-school program. She also loved dropping her kids off at school, knowing they would have a great day.

Video Contents

Highlights from the interview

  • I’ve sent two kids to Sunnybrook. For our first child, we did a much broader search. For our second child, we had already seen ‘the product’ of Sunnybrook School — what it can deliver from an experience perspective, from an academic development perspective — and so it was almost a ‘no-brainer’ at that point. Our kids are very different, but it was the right school for both of them, and for different reasons.

  • The experiences of our kids were similar, but different, and the outcomes were the same. By the time they graduated, we had two children who could advocate for themselves, who were totally independent, and very good problem solvers. What I loved about Sunnybrook was that it gave them the power to go access help, to access resources, and teachers. That was something that we didn’t see happening at another school. One of the reasons why we sent them there was so that they could develop that skill, which is such an important life skill.

  • I think what my kids love most about Sunnybrook is the ability to connect with their friends in a really dynamic learning environment — lots of group work, lots of fun, and learning. The common thread running through what my kids loved is the fact that Sunnybrook is a child-centric school where they’re allowed to be themselves, and they’re allowed to have fun, and they’re allowed to engage with each other, and they’re encouraged to do so.

  • Definitely what I appreciate about Sunnybrook is that sense of confidence and that sense of belonging that it gave our kids. It really is a community that is invested in the growth and development of its students. The teachers are very invested. So what I appreciated most is that centering of the child. They know who the kids are, what their strengths are. That confidence and that independence is something that I think, if you invest in it early, just reaps rewards over time.

  • The enriched academic program was certainly something we were really happy about. Each child really got to get their hands dirty, so to speak. Their learning and their education is very hands-on, especially with the primary years program for the IB program. It’s all inquiry-based.

  • My kids developed these incredible presentation skills. The ability to just talk about their work with their peers, with evaluators is just something that they’re used to, and they don’t think anything of it. They don’t get super stressed. They will stress over grades, but they don’t get super stressed over something that is, for even a lot of adults, really intimidating.

  • When you choose a small school, there are trade-offs that you make in facilities, in the size of the student population. You get all kinds of things with a small school — the child-centered learning, the individualistic focus on the child, and this team mentality that everybody’s there to support your child and their development. Those are the things that you go ‘all in’ on, and it means deprioritizing things like a big, giant campus, or a big sports field.

  • By the end of Grade 6, everybody knew it was time to move on to a larger environment, but if you had asked my kids a few years earlier, they would have said, ‘We’re going to stay here forever. This is our home’.

  • There are always parents available and willing to help, and in a really constructive way. Not in a way that is like ‘We need to take over’, but in a school-led manner. The parents association is a really constructive force within the school. I think that was one of the really nice surprises that we got at Sunnybrook: this really engaged parent community, people who we are still friends with today.

  • From a values perspective, Sunnybrook is really true to who they say they are. It’s a community of learners who care — about each other, about their environment, about the world, about their immediate community and the global community.

  • Sunnybrook’s teachers are fully invested in the growth and the development of their children. They’re true professionals. Sunnybrook really invests in the professional development of their educators. They spend a lot of time in the IB ecosystem, creating new skills, getting new perspectives. You always feel like you’re on the cutting edge of education philosophy, as well as the use of technologies.

  • A big change that Sunnybrook has made over the years has been with their investment in their French program. When our son went to his next school after Sunnybrook, he struggled a bit with French in the transition. He really felt like he wasn’t ready. We gave that feedback to Sunnybrook, and later, with our daughter, we could see how they had incorporated it. By the time our daughter graduated, eight years later, she was well prepared to go into French at her next school. She felt very comfortable, and quite confident in her ability to compete academically.

  • With that focus on academic enrichment, Sunnybrook places a big value on the notion that they teach the kids to think. I’d say they teach them to think differently. They really teach them to think from all sides of a story, so they can really incorporate multiple different viewpoints. You can see it in the way that kids process information and solve problems.

  • It’s a diverse community at Sunnybrook. You have all sorts of different families that choose to send their kids. A common value of families is that they really believe in the mission of Sunnybrook. They believe in having a small, inquiry-based environment, steeped in the IB curriculum — that that is the right place for children to really develop a love of learning and an appreciation for the world and people around them

  • One of the things that we really appreciated about Sunnybrook was the accessibility to the administration and to the teachers. I always felt like they were there to listen to us and would hear us. They really knew our kids  — their strengths, their challenges, their sort of unique, quirky personality traits. They knew their senses of humor. And so they could really sit and listen with full understanding. They could help us if we had an issue, really carving a solution that made the most sense for our family and for our kids. I have nothing but good things to say about the teachers.

  • You feel good when you drop your child off at Sunnybrook. You know they’re going to have a great day. You know they’re going to expend energy in a really productive and constructive way. They’re going to learn something amazing. They’re going to do something with their hands. They’re going to have a terrific lunch. As working parents, there’s a phenomenal aftercare, before and after school care program that we always felt really good about leaving our kids with. The vibe is just so comfortable.


More about Sunnybrook School

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Key insights on Sunnybrook School

Each school is different. Sunnybrook School's Feature Review excerpts disclose its unique character. Based on discussions with the school's alumni, parents, students, and administrators, they reveal the school’s distinctive culture, community, and identity.

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Our Kids Feature Review

The 50-page review of Sunnybrook School is part of our series of in-depth accounts of Canada's leading private schools. It provides a unique and objective perspective on the school's academics, programs, culture, and community.

  • Academically, Sunnybrook students share a capacity for accelerated learning.
  • The school has a personal, involved feel.
  • School leadership has been remarkably consistent since the founding.
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Our Kids Feature Review video

Learn about Sunnybrook School's unique and defining characteristics through this informative video.

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Roundtable Q&A (2020)

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Watch our Sunnybrook School Q&A discussion with Lori Levitt (Parent) to gain fresh insight into the school’s culture, values, and strengths.

Parent, Nina and Mark Angelo (2023)

Gr. 1 to Gr. 3 (current), Gr. 1 (current) — Watch our parent interview with Nina and Mark Angelo to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to have a child attend Sunnybrook School.
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More written reviews


Parent, Laura Waters (2020)

Our daughter started at Sunnybrook for SK. She immediately felt welcomed into the entire school community. At Sunnybrook, every staff member greets each child and knows them by name. She loves how her...


Parent, Olivia Kao (2019)

My child recently switched from a Montessori environment to Sunnybrook School this year. Although it has only been a month, he is excited to go to school everyday. He loves his teachers, the team ev...


Parent, Reza Asadikia (2018)

The size of this school is in a way that is not intimidating for younger students, but at the same time encourages interaction with older student to help them grow. With one JK and one SK classroom cl...

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