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Reviews of The Claremont School

Toronto, ON  |  Grades JK - 8  |  Shortlist

 

Review by: Robin Wight - Parent (Aug 30, 2021)

"The lessons are presented in a fun, thoughtful and creative way that have made a big impact on his early literacy."


Student Experience

My children attended both the Junior Kindergarten program as well as Grade 4. Every day they were excited to attend school, knowing the teachers had fun and engaging activities planned for them. Student input is valued and encouraged when planning some of the wonderful activities. My oldest particularly enjoyed when the class would create stories together. They would write a script to turn it into a play, create puppets and act it out. The kindergarten program has made a big impact on our son in only a few months. According to him, he only plays all day and it's sometimes hard to get him to leave at the end of the day because he loves it so much. The lessons are presented in a fun, thoughtful and creative way that have made a big impact on his early literacy.


Teaching

We definitely feel like our children are given both the challenges and the support they require. Modifications are made to the workload and grade level based on each child. Children are assessed monthly and changes are made as needed. The thoughtful techniques and manner that the work is presented made a world of difference to how my children absorbed and retained the lessons. The Orton Gillingham method has proven very effective for both my children. Even though my youngest is only in Junior Kindergarten, his ability to identify letters and their associated sound has been amazing to watch. This program is definitely setting him up for success in future grades. All of the teachers we have interacted with are very passionate about teaching and guiding the children.


School Leadership

You can tell from the first encounter that the principal and staff really care about the students and setting them up for success. Even though the students may be in the same grade, they recognize that each student is unique and their learning needs are different. Modifications are made to accommodate everyone and care is taken so that the children never feel like they are behind another student or are singled out. They are given the appropriate work that will challenge them but not so difficult that it will be unachievable for the student. The monthly evaluations helps parents see the progress of their child. Any issue, no matter how small was handled quickly.


School Location

The school is in a beautiful setting in the Beaches area of Toronto. Daily walks to local parks and visits to the beach are a highlight for the children. Having these mini excursions gives my children great joy and the break from sitting in a desk is a huge benefit. All winter long, they walk to a local skating rink to spend Friday afternoons.


Community

With Claremont being a small school, we find that parents are very involved with the school. The Terry Fox run at the school had many parents volunteering to help out or just cheer and walk with the children. The online auction held by the Parent Council was a great success, they worked hard to source wonderful items for the auction. The principal holds several town hall meetings throughout the year to ask for parent input or suggestions for improvement for the school. In past years, I know there was more opportunity for parent involvement but there was some limit this year due to the pandemic. Looking forward to future years where we can be involved in the many wonderful school events and programs.


School Life

Both of my children adore attending The Claremont School. It was the first year for both of them and they made fast friends with their classmates as well as other students at the school. They were made to feel very welcomed and the effort that the older kids put in to learning the names of all the new students is both thoughtful and very impressive. The principal and all staff/teachers as well from day 1 knew my children's names and took time to get to know them. Children are definitely encouraged to express their interests and their uniqueness which we really appreciated. It made the transition to a new school very smooth. We look forward to a day that the pandemic measures can be lifted to further improve student life.


Extracurriculars

The Claremont School has a wonderful program called clubs. Different days different clubs/activities are offered to the students. Pre-pandemic they was quite a variety of clubs as different teachers would focus on different activities, i.e. engineering, makers (craft), choir. They also used to have quite a music program. Even though the types of clubs were limited this year, our children really enjoyed all the activities the teachers arranged for them at lunch.


Academics

The Claremont School is based on the Orton Gillingham method of instruction. As first year students, math, spelling and reading was broken down to the very basics for my children. Slowly they would build as lessons were presented in a multi-sensory way. They didn't move on to the next until the students were confident with the material. Worksheets, stories, games were all used to reinforce spelling rules and math. It was amazing to see the improvement each week as my children's confidence and knowledge grew. The mornings are devoted to Math and Language with a break for gym. The afternoons are spent on social studies, novel studies, science, drama and arts. The children definitely work hard in the morning and the afternoon is a bit slower paced. This schedule really works for our children.


Students

The class size at The Claremont School is small, around 6 students per class. It really gives the students a lot of opportunity to work with the teacher through any difficulties. What really stands out about the students is how they all interact between the different grade levels. The older students definitely seem to look out for the younger ones. Everyone in my children's cohort got along really well and shared a lot of the same interests. When participating the Terry Fox run, it would wonderful to see how all the students were really encouraging and cheering each other on. When the students arrive at school they all seem excited and socialize with everyone, no one is left standing alone. The school has a real community feel.




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