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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, Katherine Corden

  • Date of Review
    May 03, 2021
  • Grades
    Gr. 3 - 6

(5) Student Experience

We always go back to our son's feedback after his first few weeks at Pear Tree Elementary - 'This school is definitely my kind of place". This sentiment hasn't changed in the two years that he has attended the school. We feel that our son is able to allow his curiosity to lead his learning whilst being encouraged, challenged and supported not only by his teachers but also by his peers. The diversity in daily activities doesn't leave room for boredom which is definitely suitable for an energetic child like ours. For a pre-teen, one of the current and most favoured activities would be the use of technology in the everyday learning environment. Whether it's coding or using a tablet to create a presentation, or an app to learn a new math concept, Pear Tree has very purposefully integrated technology in a way that is beneficial for all students. It would be unfair for us to not share that one of our son's best parts of his school day is the snack and lunchtimes!

(5) School Leadership

One thing that was apparent from day one at Pear Tree Elementary is that communication is key. Time and time again, Pear Tree has provided an environment that allows for open and transparent communication at all times. The principal and owner of the school are always accessible, responsive and truly listen to your thoughts, suggestions or any concerns you may have. As with all children, they go through their ups and downs. Some situations are more challenging that others and when these situations arise, we have been able to approach Pear Tree knowing that we will be met with a positive and solution-oriented response.

(5) Teaching

Our son has had the privilege of being two by 2 'lead' teachers and many other supporting teachers so far. We cannot speak highly enough of the calibre and quality of the teaching that our son receives. It has more to do with the care, attention and understanding that is consistent regardless of what teacher you have for a particular year. Each of the teachers at Pear Tree leads the classes with a growth mindset. They support, encourage, challenge and inspire the children to know and reach their full potential. We are in constant awe at the patience and passion that our son has experienced with all of his teachers. There is something quite calming when you drop your child off at school for the day knowing that they are walking into an environment lead by a person who truly cares about them not just as a student, but as a person. It makes a difference.

(5) Academics

Pear Tree Elementary's approach to learning and academics is second to none. The theme-based, whole-child approach to teaching and learning is what sets Pear Tree apart from any other school. They have found a way to teach a curriculum in a way that allows for real-world understanding and application of what has been learnt. Gone are the days of rote learning and endless worksheets. Each lesson integrates a combination of many subjects into one theme to create a holistic approach to understanding a particular concept. Their academic approach focuses on the 'why' not just the 'how' or 'what'. By understanding the 'why' the students are able to apply that concept to any situation. The numeracy and literacy programs and woven into all aspects of learning. We really can't see the benefit of children learning any other way.

(5) Extracurriculars

Pear Tree Elementary offers a variety of activities that fall within the school day. Since our son joined, the school has offered Ukulele, Guitar, Dance, Rock Climbing, Ice Skating, Martial Arts and a full Physical Education program. The PE program allows each child to learn an array of sports such as Soccer, Tennis, Track and many others. All of these offerings speak to the 'whole-child' approach to learning and developing well-rounded people.

(5) Students

The student body is smaller compared to a 'traditional' school. Each community offers a maximum class size of 16. Pear Tree has a really great approach to integrating each of the communities to interact and truly be a community within the school. They offer a buddy program where the older students spend time with younger students to provide mentorship (and fun!). Pear Tree has and continues to instil an environment of respect, fun, support and kindness that radiates throughout the student body. Our son is able to interact, socialize and play comfortably with other students of all ages and grades. With Pear Tree undergoing its expansion into middle and high school, the student body will continue to evolve and create opportunities to support the positive environment currently experienced at the school.

(5) School Life

Most children don't 'love' school, but, if there was a place where our child could really enjoy learning, we've found it at Pear Tree. His school life is a combination of hard work, fun, diversity in his learning and a place where he can truly be himself, feel supported and learn. For us, the most ideal student life would be a place where our son feels empowered to use his abilities to learn and grow. Not all days are great days, but what we've found, is that out of every day that he goes to school he is still able to answer our daily question which is: what was the most fun thing about school today? This is a pretty good gauge for us knowing that he has a thriving school life environment.

(5) Community

The parent community is an extension of the school community. We have a very diverse parent community at Pear Tree. Wherever possible, the parent community is engaged and always willing to be a part of the school. Parent participation comes in the form of class representatives, being a guest speaking to a community on a specific topic and volunteering for school events or activities. There are opportunities for families to get together throughout the year, whether that be at the pot-luck end-of-term events or the end-of-year music concert. Pear Tree is constantly evolving and looking for opportunities to further enrich and connect with all the families that are part of the school community. With Pear Tree expanding to more grades in the next few years, we have no doubt that our community of parents and students will continue to engage and support each other.

(5) School Location

The physical location of Pear Tree is the hub or home base. The children venture out very often and sometimes multiple times a day. The amenities near the school offer an abundance of opportunities to enrich their learning. Whether it be the local park, dance studio, martial arts studio, library or recreation centre, all of the students benefit from engaging with the local community.

 

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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.
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  • Its administration is adept and agile, as exemplified recently through its layered, detailed response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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More written reviews

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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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THE OUR KIDS REPORT: The York School

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