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The Country Day School:
The Our Kids Report > Reviews
Grades JK TO Gr. 12 — King, ON (Map)


Interview with The Country Day School Alum, Ali Dashti

Ali graduated from Country Day School in 2019. He credits CDS with helping him overcome shyness. He feels that Country Day set him up well for life after high school and even after university. He feels that CDS excels at recognizing what students need in order to succeed. He left CDS with a strong sense of focus and balance and is now always ready to step out of his comfort zone.

Video Contents

Highlights from the interview

  • I was really shy as a kid, to the point where it was bad. CDS really gave me a lot of opportunities to grow out of that shell and get more comfortable speaking. My Grade 9 elective was drama. So that was a great opportunity to get more comfortable in my own skin. After that, I took on a lot of leadership opportunities within the school. I was one of the student council co-presidents. Now I'm more comfortable speaking in public and just generally the confidence I have now with approaching new situations, even if I don't know what's going to happen or what's going to come of them, and not shying away from new challenges. And I think that's a part of me and a part of my identity that I really attribute to my time at CDS.

  • The size of the community is a really nice size where it's not too big and it's not too small. Obviously, the main focus in a school is academics in the classroom environment. The teachers can work one-on-one with their students, making sure none of their students are behind, making sure everyone understands the material in one topic before moving on to the next one. But it extends outside of the classroom, too. The coaches on a sports team can spend more one-on-one time with their athletes. The theatre directors for the plays, they can spend more one-on-one time with their actors. Conductors can spend more time with their band, with their musicians.

  • Country Day helps you to be focused. And when I say focused, I mean the ability to balance different things going on, whether it be the clubs you're in or your academics or whatever you're working on outside of the classroom in the school. Balancing your leisure time and your homework and getting ready for university applications and everything you're balancing. And that takes focus. You can't just go about it willy-nilly, but they really prepare you for that.

  • The school has a sense of community that is really nice and really unique. For example, between the student leadership and the way that the faculty and schoolwide assemblies bring everyone together to keep everyone in the loop. Also, the relationships that exist between the students and the faculty and the way the whole community works together. I think it works really nicely and it makes you want to get involved in everything because the community is such a part of us.

  • I think the students at the school are connected by a lot of unique opportunities that maybe not all other schools have. A lot of the schools have their clubs and their athletics, but I think there are definitely some unique opportunities at CDS that not all other places have. In their senior year, the Grade 12s go on a trip to different Canadian universities to look at what they're interested in. There are a lot of different trips throughout the year for learning outside of the classroom. There are coffee houses for students to share their poetry and their singing, and unique opportunities in student leadership to have a leadership role in the community.

  • The school is really committed to teaching students how to live a balanced life. And we're always talking about adulthood. I was talking about work-life balance and that starts when you're younger and you're in school, being able to balance your schoolwork and your friendships and your personal relationships and your extracurriculars. It is the best time to find yourself and to discover and explore new things. Practising balance in that safe environment where you're not really in the real world yet, you're not really on your own yet. You get a taste of the real world and that ability to balance that's really valuable.

  • The school is super focused and committed to helping students find themselves. A lot of young people don't really know who they are yet and don't really know what they like. And that's totally okay. You're not supposed to when you're at this point. And even some older people still have no idea what they're doing. And that's okay. But the journey for that starts at school, and at CDS there is a lot of opportunity to discover what you're interested in.

  • The teachers are someone fun. They're people who are exciting and fun and really knowledgeable about what they teach. It extends beyond their role as your teachers and your coaches to this sense of mentorship where they want to see you succeed and they want to help you out beyond whether you can solve this system of linear equations in algebra. It's so much deeper than that. They're really there to support you and you can tell that that's what they want to do.

  • You're going to be faced with so many challenges in life and so many new things and new opportunities where you're not going to know what to do. I think CDS really helped shape that sense of not being as afraid of those things and realising that, yeah, maybe things might go wrong or maybe you might not be good at everything you try, or maybe you might not like everything you try. But there's nothing wrong with trying something new and not liking it or trying something new and being really terrible at it. The only mistake when it comes to that is not trying at all, because then you deny yourself the potential of what could come out of that situation.

  • A lot of those habits and behaviours that my teachers really encouraged, I'm really starting to see pay off now and continue to pay off. Not that they weren't paying off while I was at CDS, but I really see them continuing to help me out. As someone who's planning to pursue education, even after my undergraduate journey, I can see them continuing to help me out as a lifelong thing because learning is a lifelong adventure.

  • One reason I would recommend this school to any family is the school's ability to recognize what your needs will look like after graduation and in the real world. They're really good at knowing what their students need to be equipped with and what your needs look like as a student to make sure you're ready to graduate and go on to university, and then to go out into life so that you're ready for everything that comes after.

  • With the opportunities Country Day presents, there's no better way to learn something new than to step out of your comfort zone to try new things. That is always a challenge. But I think the environment that CDS fosters is fun. If you're always stressed or you're not enjoying yourself, I think that doesn't lead to a positive experience. I think the time you spend at CDS is a really great one. And that really helps with making school everything that it needs to.

  • I'd recommend Country Day School to a family because of the really unique opportunities and the really unique facilities and resources that the school has to offer. I don't know a lot of other schools that have the level of a robotics club that the school has or that have a massive amount of land in the back to really encourage outdoor education and a respectful environment. And the resources surrounding fostering the arts and musical excellence and theatre are all there and all really top-notch stuff and a great reason to look into this school.

  • I don't think you're going to find teachers like this anywhere else who are this passionate about teaching and this passionate about their students and this passionate about the success of their students. It's not as though the bell rings and the teacher is out of there. They'll stick around and help you through that problem you can't understand or give you tips for your audition coming up for the play or anything like that. The teachers are extremely friendly. They really go above and beyond what they're asked to do.

  • There's so much opportunity to get involved because of the way the school year is structured with the terms. There are three terms in each year. There's the fall and then the winter and then the spring. You can choose a different club or a different sport or a different extracurricular for each. There's just so much to do. Don't be afraid of trying something new. You're not meant to like everything that you try. That's not the way that life works. It's not the way school works. It's not the way anything works. You're not going to like everything you do. So there's nothing wrong with trying something and being terrible at it. If you do find your thing, then that's great.


More about The Country Day School

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Key insights on The Country Day School

Each school is different. The Country Day 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 The Country Day 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.

  • The Country Day School sits on 100 acres of protected wetlands, fields, and forests.
  • Relational teaching—a method that prioritizes trust and mutuality between teachers and students—is a core pedagogical approach at The Country Day School.
  • The Country Day School fosters public speaking skills from the early grades, and has brought home the world championship in debating four times.
Read our in-depth review

Our Kids Feature Review video

Learn about The Country Day School's unique and defining characteristics through this informative video.

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Roundtable Q&A (2020)

Watch our The Country Day School Q&A discussion with Corson Panneton (Alum), Paige (Alum), Julie Joffe (Parent), Peter Kerogen (Alum) to gain fresh insight into the school’s culture, values, and strengths.

Roundtable Q&A (2022)

Watch our The Country Day School Q&A discussion to gain fresh insight into the school's culture, values, and strengths.

Parent, Priya Suppal (2023)

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More written reviews


Alum, Vivien Zhang (2022)

Gr. 9 to Gr. 12 — Thanks to The Country Day School I was well-equipped heading into university. The courses I took in high school were stimulating and built a strong learning foundation for me, so I made an easy transi...


Parent, Sarah Hepburn (2022)

I have been a parent at The Country Day School since 2014 when my boys started in grade 5. Throughout their years at the school they have grown as individuals be it through the smaller, more personali...


Parent, susie bousada (2021)

My three children started the same year at the Country Day School when they were in Grades 7, 5, and 3. The school made sure that they knew at least one other student at the school before they starte...
See all written reviews (6 total)

THE OUR KIDS REPORT: The Country Day School

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