REVIEW OF Sunnybrook School BY parent, Olivia Kao
- Date of Review
November 19, 2019
Gr. 3 - 3
(5) Student Experience
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 events, the extracurricular activities, and constantly chats at home about what he learned. He is motivated by his peers, and is learning to become more independent with respect to managing his homework, and balancing his schedule. The uniform requirement is also a welcome addition. It has taught my son to be responsible in ensuring he has the correct uniform for the specific week day and event. The use of an agenda book has also taught him to ensure that he keeps track of his work, upcoming events, and overall organization and tasks.
(5) School Leadership
Sunnybrook staff has been fantastic! They are always accessible, and have been very good at transitioning new families into the Sunnybrook environment. My son's teacher has been great at providing positive feedback and discipline when needed, and the school leadership and administration have been very helpful in answering any questions I may have. The Friday emails are very very helpful in ensuring that I am on top of upcoming events as a parents. The parent portal is also key so that I am on top of the school calendar and lunch menu.
My son is keenly interested in what he is learning in the classroom, and that translates into the questions and discussions we have at home. His teacher has been very supportive and encouraging. In my son's words, his teacher is very "nice" and "funny", and he is very comfortable to approach him with any questions or concerns he may have. There was one incident where my son was acting out a bit in class. The teacher was quick to correct the behaviour, and notify myself in order that I can further enforce the teachings. He is also very fair in his distribution of homework. He assigns a reasonable amount, and also breaks down the work load to help encourage students to effectively time manage and prioritize.
Although it has only been a month, the curriculum seems to have a balance of all the important academic aspects required. Along with interesting units of inquiry, the school also focuses on academic fundamentals. The use of technology, and the addition of coding, helps to prepare the students for a tech heavy world. Along with a focus on academics, the priority placed on physical education and eating healthily is key and appreciated to ensure that the students are well-rounded. The IB structure is also ideal in creating a positive and dynamic learning environment and will prepare my son for the "real world" when he grows older. The priority placed on music and the arts is fantastic as well, and I look forward to the end of year concert and production!
Good balance of athletic, creative, and leadership focused extracurricular activities. It would be great if private piano lessons could also be provided at an additional cost and upon request, and conducted during recesses etc. The scheduling of the activities is also well thought out, as it does not disrupt the pick up/drop off schedules. I also like the teacher involvement with these activities as well. It gives my son a chance of interacting with other members of the school.
The addition of "houses" creates a great sense of team spirit and accountability for my child. It also allows the students to interact with kids outside of his grade. My son has already made a number of good friends within a short period of time. One of the motivators to move my son from his previous Montessori school to Sunnybrook is the class size. I wanted my son to experience a more "real world" class experience, without having to be in a very large class where his needs could be forgotten. With only fifteen kids in his class, he has a good balance in learning how to work with other kids, "sharing" the space, and being able to learn from others. The overall size of the entire school is not too big or small, and creates a great sense of community.
(5) School Life
My child loves going to school, and the involvement of parents is great! He is a fan of his teachers, both his core Grade 3 teacher, as well as all of the other specialists (French, physical education, music, library etc). He also likes the assignment of weekly responsibilities, and it gives him a sense of pride in being able to contribute. He has been more helpful at home as well with chores as a result of this! Great bonus! The house environment gives my son a sense of belonging and friendly competition. Events like the Terry Fox run gives him a great opportunity to meet other kids in the same house, and exhibit leadership skills to those younger than him, and learn from those older and potentially wiser!
Parents are certainly encouraged to be part of the Sunnybrook community, and given many opportunities to participate. They are also respectful of your time. There are opportunities to help out during field trips, participate in community events, work in the library, or bring treats in for holiday parties (amongst many other things!). Despite being there for only a month, I feel warmly welcomed into the Sunnybrook community. The leadership and administrative staff are very warm and friendly. During the morning drop off rush, I appreciate the opportunity to meet the various members of Sunnybrook staff and share a quick second of chat. I hope to be able to participate in more Sunnybrook Parent Association meetings, but of course this can be a challenge given time and distance contraints.
(5) School Location
Great neighborhood. Despite being located on a very busy street in the middle of Toronto, the staff has made the pick up and drop offs as seamless as possible. Kids have an opportunity to explore the neighborhood as well in their extracurricular and physical education activities. I love the fact that the kids take advantage of the beautiful environment around them, like the Mount Pleasant cemetery, for their runs and group activities.