My son's experience at the school has been nothing but positive. Due to the size of his classroom, the kids are able to foster close relationships in addition to learning to work with kids that may be very different from themselves. He truly appreciates the amount of one-on-one attention he gets from his teachers and the fact that he knows they care about how he does in his classes. Overall, my son feels as if he is a member of a community within his school and not just another student. He likes seeing different parents volunteering at the school, which adds to the sense of community. One of the greatest things about the Giles school is that, due to its size, all the staff and teachers know all the kids, even if they have never taught them. I'm sure that this makes my son feel safe and cared for.
The school leadership and administration at the Giles School have such a deep commitment to the school that is felt by everyone. The principal and vice principal are always open and available to hear any concerns that I may have. I have always felt heard and acknowledged, no matter what the outcome has been. Everyone involved in administration makes a sincere effort to connect to all the families in the school and make everyone feel included and involved. There is constant communication with families, which adds to the feeling of inclusion and community.
By far, the biggest asset of the Giles School is its incredibly dedicated teachers. In addition to being very knowledgable and well trained, they care deeply for their students and this is evident by the quality of their teaching as well as their commitment to help their students succeed. They communicate with parents if there are any struggles that need to be addressed so as a parent, I never have to wonder if my son is meeting expectations. They are also able to increase the level of challenge for students who are in need of more. Most importantly, the teachers are always available to discuss with parents and questions or concerns that we have. They are accommodating, understanding and compassionate. My personal experience with the teachers at the Giles School has left me feeling like each of them is personally invested in my son's success.
The Giles School provides a very well-rounded academic program. In the first few years, the kids are fully immersed in French, which allows them to become fluent extremely quickly. I was initially concerned about my son falling behind in English because of the strong emphasis on French, but with the introduction of English class in grade 2, there were no issues at all. The academic program has a strong emphasis on subjects like Math and Science but does not neglect Music and Arts. The Giles School has a great Music program with a very passionate Music teacher. One of the things I value the most about the Giles School is the fact that, while they provide all the support and care a student could need, they also place a great deal of responsibility on the children. Children learn early on to stay organized, prioritize their work, to figure out how to get the help they need. I find this an invaluable aspect of the program that is sure to help the students later on in life.
The topic of extracurriculars at the Giles School is a tricky one. There are no sports teams that go and compete with other schools on a regular basis but there are yearly competitions and tournaments. I do wish the school had things like a basketball team that would practice regularly and compete with other schools. With that being said, the school does offer a number of extracurriculars that kids can participate in during lunch time and after school. Things like chess, reading club, music club, spanish club, etc. In addition, I know that there are plans for even more extracurricular opportunities for the next school year.
One of the most unique things about the Giles School is the type of student/family that it attracts. One of my concerns when taking the private school route was that my children would only be exposed to one type of student and that they would turn into "private school kids". On the contrary, the kids at Giles are kind, well rounded and down to earth. Because the student body is relatively small (less than 130), the kids all know each other and interact regularly with one another. In addition, the school does a great job on emphasizing the important things in school as well as in life. The focus of the school is on education, acceptance, kindness, inclusion, being good global citizens, all of which teaches the children to look beyond themselves and see themselves as part of a larger community.
My son loves The Giles School. He is extremely happy there and always has been. He's never expressed not wanting to go school. In addition to my son, my daughter, who is extremely shy and reserved, came out of her shell when she started attending Giles. If there is ever a day that she has to miss school, she gets very upset. This, I believe, is a result of two things: 1) the small class sizes allows for great relationships to be formed among the students. The kids become like a small family and really grow to care for each other. 2) the teachers do such an amazing job of making the kids feel valued and cared for that the kids can't help but reciprocate those feelings. I feel very secure and comfortable sending my kids to the Giles School everyday, knowing they will receive the highest quality of care.
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.
The Giles School is located in a great suburban area, on a small side street off of a major street. It is close to the 401 as well as the DVP which makes is quite easy to access no matter where you are coming from. The street is full of private schools so there are always kids and families around. Due to the fact that the school is a primary school, kids do not leave the school property.