REVIEW OF The Giles School BY parent, Nadia King
- Date of Review
September 12, 2019
Gr. JK - 3
(5) Student Experience
Our children have learned the joys of trying something new without fear of failure. From the time they were in the Pre-K program, they would perform on stage with their classmates, learn a new language or skill. This is still prevalent in their personalities to this day. Our children have also made lifelong friends at The Giles School. One of the key pillars of the school is Love, which is apparent through interactions with any faculty or staff member at the school and which is bestowed upon to the students as well. This creates a sense of community for the students of the school. It is not uncommon to see older and younger students interacting in a playful and positive manner (Pre-K up to Grade 8).
(5) School Leadership
I have always been able to reach a teacher or senior member of the faculty if an issue or concern has arisen. The School is proactive in addressing any potential concern and wants to ensure that the students, parents and staff are all happy and working well together as a community. They will proactively let us know if they witness any concerns with our children as well. I have also felt like the lines of communication are open and operate both ways.
Our children attended The Giles School over a 5 year period and I cannot say enough about the incredible education, individualized attention and social skills that they obtained while at the School. We have two children with very different personalities, strengths and interests and the faculty were able to quickly understand their needs and helped them become lifelong learners. As the students are encouraged to try new things, they often operate 2 years above their grade level and can speak 3 different languages (English, French and Mandarin) by the time they are in Grade 1. The small class sizes, individualized attention and positive reinforcement allow for the children to thrive. Any educational concerns or hurdles a child may face are quickly addressed by the staff and escalated to the principal, if required.
Our children attended The Giles School but have subsequently moved to another school. As the students learn and operate 2 years above their grade level and can speak 3 different languages (English, French and Mandarin), my children had no difficulty being accepted and transitioning to their new school. Their new teachers remarked how educationally advanced they were, that they were not afraid to try something new and their work habits were already well-developed for their ages. As the children are exposed to public speaking and performing in front of the school from the beginning, they do not shy away from standing on stage and presenting a poem, a song, dance etc. in front of others. This is a skill that will serve them well as they grow up. Thank you to the Giles’ faculty for providing my children with a solid, superior educational foundation!
The students do participate in intramural activities, including basketball and track & field but the School does not have the same variety of sports teams as others schools. That being said, most children are already enrolled in a number of extracurricular activities outside of the school. Given the community feel amongst the parent group, a number of children participate in sporting activities together outside of the school. My children, who left the school over a year ago still continue to play hockey, baseball and soccer with their friends from the Giles School.
Positive, inviting, small class sizes allow for the children to get to know one another and the teachers to have a key understanding of each child, including their strengths and areas of development. The classroom is a safe area to try new things, they support each student as they learn a new skill and work together to help them become great students and future members of society. I believe cultivating this environment has led to the students being able to learn concepts 2 years above their grade level. Students are also taught empathy and concern for one another directly in the classroom. I can think of countless examples where our children have come home from school and told us about how they as a class cared for either a student in need or someone in their community at large.
(5) School Life
Our children have always been happy to go to school to see their friends and teachers. They learned different subjects in varying ways (hands-on learning, textbook etc), which allows the teachers to teach the material in a fun, but educational way. They are provided with homework packages due one week later that allows them to work through the material at their own pace and accommodate their extracurricular schedules. If there are areas where additional help is required, the student or the parents are able to highlight the challenges to the teacher. The children are encouraged to bring their own concerns to the teacher’s attention as it provides them with the confidence to ask for help and encourages them to do so when any slight concerns are identified.
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.
(4.5) School Location
The School is conveniently located near major highways and transit. The School is tucked away in the middle of a street where other schools, churches and businesses reside. The children primarily remain on school grounds but will participate in activities at a nearby church (e.g. concerts and festivals). Similar to most schools, the children do participate in field trips and activities offsite and are bussed to and from the School.