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The York School:
THE OUR KIDS REPORT
Grades JK TO 12 — Toronto, ON (MAP)


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REVIEW OF The York School BY parent, Melissa Browning

  • Date of Review
    March 17, 2021
  • Grades
    Gr. 1 - 2

(4.5) Student Experience

At GlenOak, the academic programming can be tailored to the specific needs and abilities of each child. All of the programming follows the Ontario curriculum, in addition to regular community learning activities, outdoor play, hands-on learning, with smaller classroom sizes. Our son started at GlenOak Academy for grade 1 and is very happy to get up and go to school every morning! Which is a significant change in attitude from previous school years. From the moment we met Susan Goode, the school principal, we felt that the environment at GlenOak was going to be a good fit for our son. It has a warm, nurturing and friendly environment that encourages learning, independence and exploration with hands-on learning. Our son was invited to spend a few mornings at GlenOak and he was able to experience first-hand what it would be like to attend the school. He really felt comfortable in the classroom environment, and really connected with the teachers and students. Our son is a very curious and energetic child and he just loves to be able to learn in the school kitchen or outside in the garden, with lots of outdoor time and physical education scheduled daily.

(4.5) School Leadership

At GlenOak, the principal, teachers and support staff have all been very warm, welcoming, caring and helpful. There is a real sense of “community” and “family” at GlenOak and there is always someone available to assist a parent or answer questions. All the teachers and staff know the names of all the children and they all make a real effort to get to know the families. The passion and dedication of the teachers at GlenOak is apparent in how they encourage the children to learn to their full potential. GlenOak has a variety of learning programs that can be tailored to each child’s specific needs. With an intimate learning environment, GlenOak strives to meet their students socially, emotionally, and academically.

(4.5) Teaching

The style of learning at GlenOak has been extraordinary for our son and we have overheard him telling others that he “loves his classroom and how quiet it is, because I can really learn.” With the smaller class sizes, our son is able to get more one-to-one time with his teacher, and as a result his confidence has really thrived in the classroom setting, and he is happy to contribute to daily lessons and voice his opinion with confidence. We love that our son gets to experience lots of outdoor time, field trips within the community, and hands-on learning. GlenOak has provided an environment that has really nurtured and helped our son with his learning style, building both his academic and emotional confidence. The teachers at GlenOak are kind, patient and compassionate, and really look for ways to teach the class using methods beyond the textbook. With hands-on learning from STEM projects, to finding creative ways to instil a new math concept, the teachers are always enthusiastic and motivated to help the children reach their potential. Our son was having difficultly reading prior to attending GlenOak, and with much encouragement and creative tools, such as story retelling and word walls, our son’s reading and writing have really taken off! The teachers really work hard to encourage the children and instil a love of learning. Our son always has something to show or teach us something new at the end of every day.

(4.5) Academics

At GlenOak, the academic programming can be tailored to the specific needs and abilities of each child. All of the programming follows the Ontario curriculum, in addition to the enrichment of regular community learning activities, outdoor play, hands-on learning, and with the added bonus of smaller classroom sizes. Even with the pandemic, the academics have remained strong and there has been a real concentrated effort by the teachers to keep the children engaged with a daily routine, online class meetings and online one-to-one meetings for each child with their teacher. This has made the adjustment to learning-from-home a smooth transition. The relationship that the teachers build with the children to foster emotional and academic strength can be seen in our son and his enthusiasm to learn in person or online, with a more willing and eager attitude to new learning concepts. He enjoys the online sessions and loves to discover what programming surprises his teacher may have for the day.

(4.5) Extracurriculars

At GlenOak, there are several extracurricular activities that include GlenOak’s Annual Fall Fair, Annual Cafe Night, Education Week, Around the World Night, Annual Spring Picnic, student clubs, summer camps, and more. With the pandemic, many of the annual events have been postponed, but the teachers and staff have made an effort to continue some of the student clubs online when possible. My son loves to participate in the online Art Club and LEGO club, of which he is very passionate about. There are also fundraisers throughout the year, for example the Holiday fundraiser included cards and items that were created by the students, which the students enjoyed actively participating in. It would be great to see school enrolment increase to have more opportunities for team sports.

(4.5) Students

The students at GlenOak have always been exceptionally kind, friendly, helpful and welcoming to my son from the very first time that he visited GlenOak. You can see that they value each other’s friendships and the students seem to be very supportive of one another, across different grade levels. The smaller class sizes of GlenOak has allowed the students to really get to know each other. And you can see how they interact with each other with respect, patience and understanding. We have enjoyed hearing our son tell us about a school activity or holiday celebration in which the students from all the grade levels participated and helped each other out, whether carving pumpkins together or planning, cooking and eating a Thanksgiving meal together. Our son has become very helpful to his peers and enjoys getting together with students of different ages. There really is a warm and inclusive environment at GlenOak and our son has been able to develop meaningful relationships with his peers.

(4.5) School Life

Our son really enjoys going to school every morning. He is excited and chatty on our drive to school, and is equally chatty on the drive home. The small class sizes have been so beneficial to our son and we have really seen his confidence soar when we hear about his enthusiasm to participate in class discussions with his teachers and peers. He loves the hands-on learning activities and really enjoys spending time learning outdoors. At the end of the day, is it amazing to see at pick-up, the older children playing with the younger children, and prior to the pandemic, the older children would mentor the younger students with activities, such as reading buddies and creating special holiday meals together in the school kitchen. Throughout the pandemic, GlenOak has made an exceptional effort to keep the children safe and socially distanced, with extra deep-cleaning and sanitizing daily, temperature and wellness checks upon morning arrival, masking and vigilant hand washing, and socially distanced desks and classrooms. As an added bonus, the school has been able to provide each student with their own, individual fold-out desk and chair to have outdoor classrooms for much of the mornings (weather dependent), which has been a wonderful way to learn for our son.

(4.5) Community

There is a real sense of “family” at GlenOak, as the teachers and staff really strive to build strong relationships with each student. The smaller class sizes have shown us that our son can share his ideas more readily with his peers, building his emotional stability and his confidence. Our son readily helps others if they are hurt, have lost something or are having difficulty with a classroom activity, and he has learned to demonstrate respect and consideration for individual differences. With the strong relationship our son has with his teachers, his confidence has really grown, and we can see this with his willingness to take more social risks such as meeting someone new, or describing all the details of what he learned about that day. Parents are welcome to be involved in the GlenOak community, such as the Parent Council or as volunteers for field trips or Annual Fall or Spring Fairs. As a parent, if I have a question or want to speak about something, I always feel welcomed and respected by the principal, teachers and staff.

(4.5) School Location

GlenOak Academy is located at Clarkson and the South Sheridan Way, in Mississauga. As a resident of Oakville, we find that this commute is really easy. The school is located on the grounds of a church, so there is a private driveway and lots of parking for parents. There is a large green area for the children to play, equipped with basketball nets and a safe car-free zone. The students have also planted a student-garden on site, which is right next to the school. The safe, family-friendly neighbourhood in which GlenOak is located, provides ample sidewalks, nature trails, quiet streets, libraries, parks and museums for the students to explore on their Community Field Trips. Our son just loves to explore the nature trails and parks with his classmates!

 

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Key insights on The York School

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Our Kids Feature Review

The 50-page review of The York 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.

  • York is the definition of an urban school, one that identifies with, reflects, and makes significant instructional use of the urban context.
  • The school's university counselling is a strength.
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Parent, Heather Faralla (2022)

I have three boys at The York School and started four years ago with my eldest in Grade 9. He is now graduating this year and what a wonderful experience this has been – for our entire family. Aft...

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Parent, Glenn Asano (2021)

Without hesitation, both our children (Gr. 8 and 11) cite their teachers at the school as being the experience they appreciate most at York. Enthusiastic, passionate and encouraging are the words that...

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Alumnus, Lani Stern (2018)

The York School is a community that shaped me into the person that I am today. The list of opportunities is almost comical, to name some: band, choir, basketball, softball, volleyball, ultimate, chess...

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Roundtable Q&A (2020)

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