REVIEW OF Sunnybrook School BY parent, Laura Waters
- Date of Review
June 02, 2020
Gr. SK - 1
(5) Student Experience
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 specialist teachers take an interest in her. The SK teachers are incredibly warm and sensitive to each child's needs. They really get to know each child. While it may seem trivial, my daughter also loves the food at SBS and as a parent, I love that she is getting home-cooked, healthy, hot meals every day. My daughter loves the small classes and the individual attention she gets from both her SK teachers and the French, Music, library, and Gym teachers. She also adores the field trips and projects that are assigned - they are engaging and make learning fun.
(5) School Leadership
I firmly believe the administration at SBS creates a strong school community. From our first interview up to the current day, I feel like the school leaders take a true interest in my child. They often stop by the classroom to participate in activities and spend time with the students. The communication from SBS is out of this world. Weekly emails from the principal and prompt responses from everyone else allows parents to feel connected and well informed. The focus on student well-being from the top down is part of what makes this school different.
This school is spectacular and the teachers are the main reason for this. As a teacher myself, I know what above and beyond teaching looks like. SBS is that and more. The warmth and energy these teachers bring to the classroom every day is incredible. The lengths they go to in order to engage their students amazes me. The interdisciplinary approach and the IB program are wonderful. My daughter comes home linking information from science, to her library classes, to a field trip that the class has taken. SBS demonstrates what teaching should be but often isn't. I was hesitant as to how much of a difference I would see (having my daughter do JK at a public school, moving her to private for SK). It is night and day. We have frequent positive communication from her teachers, and even receive pictures of special moments (the first tooth coming out). My daughter is being taught challenging material, but the support the teachers provide allows her to rise to those challenges.
The IB program is fantastic. It truly is an international program. The primary program incorporates a wonderful character education component and I can already see lessons about citizenship making an impact. I am very impressed by the scaffolding that takes place in the classroom - how lessons are built to work together and previous learning supports future lessons. SBS certainly has high academic standards, but the students are supported to reach their highest potential. Strengths come from it being a smaller school - all specialist teachers are in frequent communication with classroom teachers to address any issues the children may have. I know this school is preparing my daughter every day for the next steps in her academic journey. I especially love how the IB principles about curiosity and global citizenship are present in each unit.
The school offers a variety of extracurricular programs which I don't feel I can speak to extensively since many of them start in grade one. The house system they have in place definitely encouraged the kids to participate in activities and makes them feel they are part of a whole school environment. We are looking forward to being part of some of the other programs as my daughter gets older.
The student body at SBS is small, and this is one of the major factors that initially drew me to the school. With grades from JK to grade 6 represented, and a maximum of 20 students in grades one through six (16 in both JK and SK), the sense of community is wonderful. It is such a welcoming and warm environment, which is especially nice for smaller children. Students at the school are respectful and polite. Older children get to know the younger kids through programs such as learning buddies, which have benefits to both sides. Children often make friends with students in other grades. They get to know other students through house games and activities. I can't imagine my daughter having a better school environment - it is simply wonderful.
(5) School Life
The quality of student life, along with the quality of teaching, is what differentiates SBS from other schools. It is a small school, only going up to grade 6. I absolutely love that. Smaller kids don't get overwhelmed by big groups of older kids, and the grade 5 and 6 students have the opportunity to mentor younger children, for example with learning buddies. My daughter feels welcomed everyday, from the time she walks in the door, to the time she leaves in the afternoon. All of the teachers know the name of each student. Little things like that mean a lot to kids, especially younger ones. Everyone really gets to know each other. My daughter has felt welcomed and supported by the entire school from her very first day.
The parent community at SBS is small, but very enthusiastic and engaged. You really get to know the other parents, seeing them at pickups and drop offs. SBS also hosts events for the parents to socialize, which is great. Parents are invited to participate as volunteers on class field trips, which are so much fun. Grandparents are invited into the school to contribute. Parents contribute to various class parties and celebrations. I especially enjoyed the days set aside for parents to come into the classroom to see demonstrations of student learning. These were eye opening and really showed what wonderful work is being done in the classroom. Class parents are also a great way of staying connected. I really feel that the administration welcomes parent involvement, which is much different than our public school experience.
(5) School Location
SBS sits in the middle of a Davisville neighbourhood. They have easy access to nearby parks which they often make use of. I was initially worried about the pick up and drop off situation on such a busy street but SBS really has an amazing process to make it as easy as possible. For an urban location, their playground behind the school is surprisingly fantastic.