The School attracts parents from across the Greater Toronto Area and the families we have interacted are primarily likeminded (i.e. focused on their children receiving a high quality education and exposing them to multiple languages are core areas of focus for these families). There is a Parent Association which promotes activities within the school and welcomes volunteers. As the student body is not large, we have met a number of parents and families through assemblies, at drop-off and the children playing in the park. As a result, we have developed strong relationships with other families and we expect to remain lifelong friends with these families, which never would have occurred if it were not for the Giles School. Thank you to The Giles School for bringing these wonderful families into our circle of friends! The School also celebrates all the children during the year in front of the entire school. Whether it is their birthday, they are the Student of the Month, the Winter and Spring festivals, every child is highlighted and appreciated. This is particularly important to us as it builds confidence in our children that they are valued, appreciated and recognized for being who they are.
The teaching team and the parent community like the sharing and cooperative atmosphere at school. Every morning, we love to see the principal greeting each person at the door of the school. We also appreciate seeing the vice-principal waving behind the office glass door. You just can’t miss the chance to talk to them if you want to. The weekly-letters help parents know where they can participate. The Giles School sends an invitation for parents’ volunteer work when needed, too. For example, there are class outings from time to time. Many parents enjoy accompanying students for those outings. Other than welcoming that assistance, teachers like communicating with parents personally. There are also community sharing moments, where the School takes the initiative to summon the community to increase our awareness and to make donations for the needy. We find in this school environment where the students can learn together about the close connection between oneself and the community is great. By contributing money or food or clothing and by getting back cards or snacks, students gain experience in being a part of the community.
The school community is a formed of a diverse group of families with the common goal of providing their children with the best education possible. The school organizes various events throughout the year to allow families to get to know one another, including annual barbecues, galas, school concerts, camp day, parent social nights, and award ceremonies. Many parents are engaged as volunteers to help improve the school and the students’ experiences. For example, parents volunteer to be classroom representatives, library organizers, spirit day coordinators, pizza day helpers, and field trip supervisors. On assembly day, there are parents pouring coffee and hot chocolate for other parents. It is a small school so it does not take long to get to know the other families and feel included in the community.
Parents are welcomed and ENCOURAGED to participate in the community and life of the Giles School. There are many committees, both for school and community-focused endeavors. They are longtime supporters of community food drives, holiday toy drives, and have done regular annual Fundraising for Second Harvest (even been awarded a fundraiser award). Committees are also involved in school building improvement, library support, gardening, parent events, and fundraising to name a few. In the Giles community, events for parents include Moms' and Dads' night out events, and for Giles families, there are regular school BBQ's, an annual Family Gala (that always sells out), holiday parties, and an end of year Fun Fair event at a local camp, where families can picnic, play games, go canoeing and swimming. Not only have my children made lifelong friends, but we have also made lifelong family friends.
The Giles School thrives on parental involvement. There are constant opportunities for parents to volunteer at the school for things like fundraisers, judging competitions, helping to beautify the school, taking part in field trips, attending monthly assemblies, etc. In addition to the ample opportunities, the parent community is always ready and willing to help. I believe that parents at the Giles School not only value the academic education that the school provides but they also value the importance of family involvement. Aside from being included in the life of the school, there are also opportunities for parents to get to know each other outside of the school through events like 'Mom's Night Out' and 'Dad's Night Out'. This, coupled with the small size of the school, allows families to truly get to know one another and aids in the creation and maintenance of the inclusive school community.
Parent volunteers are a huge part of what makes this school unique. There are always activities happening throughout the year and they really rely on teachers and parents to be active participants. Whether it's Science Fair, track and field or the Second Harvest campaign, these events provide great opportunities for parents to get to know the teachers and the other parents as well. And as my children grow, I have really appreciated the support network over the years. It made the decision to enroll my kids in a private school, I was really concerned about them being educated in an "elitist" environment. However, I can honestly say that the one notable thing at Giles is that for a private school, there is absolutely no air of pretension. It is a very down-to-earth community with very down-to-earth children.