My daughter struggled in the public system with dyslexia and was not receiving enough support. It was a fight to get her to school and to complete homework. Once she started at Wildwood, her anxiety disappeared and she became confident in her ability to succeed at school. We involved her in choosing what school she would attend as we wanted her full 'buy-in' so she would feel good about her new school. She liked the atmosphere of the building as it feels more like a ski chalet than a school. The teachers are all positive and supportive of each child. My daughter saw how kindly each student was treated. Lastly, instead of the standard uniform pants, my daughter was allowed to wear leggings (school colour).
I can not say enough about how impressed we are with the school leadership and all the staff at Wildwood. Each staff member knows every student. They are all positive and supportive to the students and it's clear how comfortable the students are in the school. As a parent, the principal and teachers have always provided me with as much of their time as I have requested, even allowing unscheduled meetings. They are always prompt at responded to calls and email.
In the public system my daughter had an IEP and was not receiving enough support to help her keep up with her class. This caused a child who used to love school to develop anxiety and extreme frustration towards school. It was a fight to get her to school and to have her complete homework each day. Once she started at Wildwood the academic anxiety disappeared and she became confident in her ability to succeed in class. It was a 180 degree shift in her attitude towards school. The teachers are outstanding! The kids break into groups based on their specific ability in each subject. The groups tend to be very small so each child is closely monitored. Since each child is working at their own pace and at their own level, each child is learning and succeeding.
Wildwood caters to students with special learning needs and/or who are performing below their expected grade level. The program they use is tailored to each student so your child is always working on material that they have mastered. Once your child has mastered the material they move up to the next level. There is emphasis on critical skills such as math, reading and writing and all students focus on these classes in the mornings. Major strengths: 1). Very small class sizes and group sizes (as the kids break into learning groups). Wildwood provides the most one to one attention of any private school we researched. 2). The students have 15-20 minutes of physical activity in the morning before learning starts which helps with focus and attention. 3). Positive, friendly & supportive school environment helps reduce/eliminate student anxiety. Anxiety can be a barrier to learning. 4). Your child switches from a school experience where they are failing or way behind their classmates to consistently getting A's & B's. The A's start in September and help rebuild classroom confidence.
For the most part Wildwood doesn't have extracurricular activities, varsity sports or events that require an audition (such as a choir). There's an annual play which all students have the opportunity to be involved in. There is no band or music class at the school. There are clubs on Monday and Friday afternoons, during the school day, that the kids get to choose from, some of which are sports related. Phys-ed is part of the curriculum. The school participates in sport events like the Terry Fox Run in September and in Halton Cross Country races. For the past two years the school has hosted a 'girls night' for the female students to have a fun evening.
The student body is very small with approximately 50-70 students in total. The atmosphere is relaxed and supportive. The children are supportive of one another too. The students from all grades will play together and make friends with each other. Each student that is at Wildwood is there because of an academic challenge so each child knows they are not alone. It's perfectly normal and comfortable for a student in grade 6 to be in a math group with someone from grade 5 and two more kids from grade 8. I also see that they build compassion and empathy for each other. Instead of describing another student in their class as 'stupid' or 'terrible' my daughter and her friends will say things like 'he has trouble controlling how he acts'.
Yes my daughter has really enjoyed attending Wildwood. There are far more male students than female students so the boys have a much easier time finding playmates. Because of the limited number of girl students, my daughter hasn't made any really strong friendships at her grade level and instead has bonded with girls two grades older. The number of girls enrolled at Wildwood is increasing and Wildwood has added a girls club to their club activities and they hold a 'girls night'. My daughter likes that they change classrooms for most subjects as she finds this more interesting than staying in the same room for most subjects. She also loves her teachers. Wildwood is centred around providing an excellent quality of life for its students and being very accommodating of student needs.
Parents are welcome to be involved in the school and there are multiple volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Some parents will use their own business or hobbies to help the school such as holding a sale in the lobby or holding a tea party as part of teacher appreciation. Parents are friendly and tend to be professionals and business owners. The schools helps to facilitate car-pooling which has been of great convenience to us personally. Parents are always welcome to come into the school and wait on the couches when picking up their children. If Wildwood wanted to create more fundraising for the school, I believe the students and parents would be interested in a school movie night or a BBQ. It's really nice to be able to discuss academic challenges with the other parents.
The students stay on the school grounds. The school building is lovely and has a nice one-direction driveway that helps facilitate safe pick-up/drop off. The yard where the children spend their recess is well maintained and has some shaded areas. There is enough parking to accommodate everyone during school events. We come from Burlington so it's very handy for us that we can use the 403 HOV lanes when commuting to the school.
Call and set up a meeting at the school. They will explain their teaching methodology and give you a school tour. You'll immediately get a sense of how comfortable the children are at this school. They may ask you to provide a copy of a report card or IEP to give them an understanding of your child's needs. You can schedule a day for your child to spend at the school to see how they feel about it and ensure it's a good fit. Our daughter fell in love with Wildwood after spending one trial-day there. We were also given a chance to speak with the teachers that taught our daughter during the trail-day to get their feedback and impression of how she fit in. The trial-day allowed our daughter to know for sure that she liked this school and she felt even more confident on her first day in September knowing that she had already attended one day in the Spring.