As a new explorer to Canada, our child has gained her first school experience in the Giles School. While the two official languages in Canada are English and French, we'd like to take this opportunity to learn both, which is the first attraction at the Giles School. Without any foundation in French, though, the teaching team was welcoming. They explained us the details and our daughter in a pleasant way. Our child, immediately, wanted to attend this school. French is the teaching language for Grade one. Our child, certainly, could not understand the class. Yet, the class teacher has been giving assignments to her that match her level, so that she can build up her French language skills with confidence. Together with some students in the class who also speak the beginning level of French, the vice principal also arranges special classes to accommodate and support their learning. We find such concern for individual ability true respect for education. At this moment of Covid-19, our child always asks, "When can I go to school to see Madam C.?" She enjoys going to school, seeing the teachers the best.
There is always a weekly school letter, updating the parents about the school, the teaching and learning. We receive speedy notification about what and how things are, which contribute to a trusting relationship between parents and the school administration teams. In view of the current drastic Covid-19 situation, the school quickly arranged zoom classes effectively. The teachers are hardworking and prepared the materials and distribute them to us every Friday. They make videos for teaching the content, helping keep students' learning in progress. Despite all the uncertainties and difficulties, teachers are still showing care, and encouraging students to learn and try during zoom classes. Such teaching enthusiasm is influential for not only for absorbing knowledge, but also for positive character development.
Our child learns joyfully and satisfactorily with her teachers, despite her zero French ability. The teachers are professional and able to break their instructions into simple words and different levels to help students to understand what is taught and asked of them. Our child started with simple French words and sentences, and in three months amid Covid-19, she is still fond of learning French. Our child, certainly, has improved a lot with all the help from the teaching team. While our child has strong Maths skills, we find it amazing that her class teacher has noticed it. She modified the level of the materials and allowed our child to move on with the level she can cope with, thus our child is highly motivated to learn and has felt the affirmation from the teachers.
The academic program is well-organized. The teachers started with basic skills and moved on to knowledge and skills that are more solid. For instance, Grade 1 students learn about coins, telling time, short stories in French, etc. which is appropriate, meaningful, and practical for them. These are applicable in students’ real-life experience and thus they can be easily and regularly connected to. Another strength of the academic program is that it seems to be flexible and adaptive. The teachers and the academic program coordinator seem to have shown a high level of awareness to monitor the students’ learning progress as well as the community updates. Accordingly, new materials such as the science of soap and worldview for different countries are introduced to students to widen their horizons. We find such a strong academic culture and atmosphere enhances our child’s academic development effectively.
The Giles School has co-curricular programming, giving opportunities for students to learn more knowledge and skills such as playing chess, drawing, and languages. In fact, the elements of helping students to develop an all-round character are incorporated already in the curriculum, e.g. Grade 1 students have started to learn about science through observation. We are quite satisfied with that.
Teachers are like the soul of a school. How teachers act and what they say to and share with our children strongly influences them. The teachers in the Giles School, in our impression, are sincere and professional. They are firm but kind to students when giving instructions. They are patient but they help students to set and reach their goals. Teachers use different means and methods to show them new concepts and knowledge, that promote students’ curiosity and motivation to learn. Our child, though, is new to the school, to her class, she felt quickly accepted. She is welcome to honestly share what she knows and doesn’t know. She is allowed the opportunity to learn quickly or to learn slowly. She learns with her peers together but not in a negatively competitive way. Our child is truly contented to go to school every day.
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.
It is convenient to go to the Giles School. We sometimes take a bus to the school. After getting off the bus, our child, holding her school bag, walks from the bus stop at York Mills Road through Scarsdale Road with me back and forth the school. With no complaint and no hesitation, we shared stories and jokes that happened at the school. Several times after school, we enjoyed an ice-cream at a mall at York Mills Road very nearby, so school life can extend a little during the pick-up moments.
The student body size is small, but the spirit is lively and caring. Students, in general, show courtesy. They will help holding the school door open when they see schoolmates are approaching. They greet hello and goodbye when meeting with classmates’ parents. They ask for permission to leave when they need to go to the washroom or go get something. Also, students show great interest in learning. They are enthusiastic in asking questions when they learn new things and in trying to give answers to find out what and why things are the way they are. We appreciate the small class size. The class teacher has more time and space to get to know students’ personalities and abilities as well as to attend to each student’s individual needs. Our child loves very much to have more time with each student as well.