March Academy is the epitome of what schools should be. My son has flourished since he began attending. My only regret is not having him there sooner! He no longer begs me not to send him to school, not even once this whole year! He is much happier and content with life as a whole. He is always smiling and cheerful when he comes out the door at the end of the day. At his regular school he looked like he had been to war when he got off the bus. It is difficult to leave what is comfortable and go someplace new but the staff and students went out of their way to make him comfortable. The greatest attributes are the quality of teachers, small class sizes, and the focus on the "whole" child (including social skills).
Communications have been very smooth. I always feel informed and up to date. The e-mails are effective and let us know what is coming up in the schedule. All staff are very approachable. Questions are quickly responded to and I have never once been made to feel like I was being a hassle. Problems are immediately addressed at the end of the day, face to face. In fact, I think many problems are never even brought to the parents' attention as they are quickly and kindly dealt with in the moment and they do not become a bigger issue. This being the beauty of small class sizes!
The teaching at March Academy is top notch! I wish every teacher in the various school boards could have the years of experience and the additional training that these ladies have. Specializing in Learning Resources provides an amazing insight in to how a child learns best. The teachers are flexible and adapt to each individual's needs. You simply do not receive that type of time and effort investment, per child, in the regular system. My son has simply flourished. I used to be constantly told how far behind he was in the regular system and under the encouragement and patience at March he is at his grade level in all subjects. How refreshing it was to attend a parent-teacher interview and to hear positive things. I honestly almost broke down in tears right there. All a parent wants is for their child to achieve his/her highest potential, and March Academy is the special place where this happens.
I absolutely believe March Academy is preparing my child for life's next steps. I am so grateful. The academic program is right on point with the priorities, being reading and math. They also keep the kids well-rounded by providing choir, yoga, a focus on the natural world, and Tae Kwon Do. The culture has fostered a passion for learning and especially reading in my son! He is only 9 and reading full-on novels. The culture is one of inclusiveness--everyone has different strengths and abilities and we need to work on improving ourselves and not worry about what others are doing, or not doing, around us. The only weakness is that the school only goes up to Grade 6. I honestly believe that when my son leaves March he is going to be academically stronger than any of his other peers in future grades.
Yes, I definitely feel there are enough extracurricular opportunities offered at March Academy. The kids can choose between soccer and other activities at recess. They keep the kids incredibly active with cross country skiing in the winter and running during the other seasons. Piano is a great addition for the kids and helps with their fine motor skills. They bring in a professional yoga instructor to teach the children once a week as well as a TaeKwon Do black belt to instruct them once a week as well. My son loves the TaeKwon Do so much that he begged us to sign him up for additional classes in the evenings.
Having a small student body grants a sense of community. There is little division as per grade; they are just one unit. The senior students help the junior ones. There is no intimidation or exclusion, everyone is always together. They came together as a team to put on the most amazing production of the musical "Oliver," and it was remarkable. As parents are picking up the children at the end of the day they all cheerfully say goodbye to one another. They are all friends. You will never see a child being excluded--the children are taught to take notice and approach the other child and invite them to play. The student body at March makes me have hope in our future. They are fresh faced children with boundless energy and enthusiasm.
I highly recommend March Academy. I consider it a gift I am giving my child to be able to attend. It is giving him a leg up, I believe. It was difficult for him to leave his regular school but within two days he stopped complaining because March is such a wonderful place. The teachers watched out for him to ensure he always had someone to play with and he transitioned well. That was huge for me. I never worry about him while he is at March, whereas I was stressed every day about what was happening to him or how awful his day was while at his other school. To know someone cares about my son is wonderful. The school is kept nice and clean and I just love the amazing yard and the gardens leading in to the school. My son was disappointed about the lack of a play structure but he got over it.
At first I thought only wealthy people sent their kids to private school. When my child struggled in the regular school system. Despite the Herculean efforts to get him support and extra help, he continued to fall further and further behind. So we started asking around. We were referred to March from a friend of a friend. When I reached out to her she scheduled a special time to speak on the phone so we would have lots of time and not be interrupted. She explained that March had changed her son's life. She had so many positive things to say. Her son heard her on the phone and realized what she was talking about and started cuing her: "Did you tell her about Naturalist Wednesday? Did you tell her about TaeKwon Do? "Did you tell her that we have pizza day?" The community at March is made up of regular folk seeking the best education they can afford for their children. I have never felt out of place. Everyone is friendly and we all chat while we wait for the children at the end of the day.
The school is a bit of an island, and I like it that way. Coming from the country, I was a bit concerned of how my bumpkin would adjust to a school within the city, but it is its own little paradise! The lush, HUGE, yard allows the kids lots of roaming space and a great area for soccer. Beautiful gardens and landscaping make it a bit ivy league looking but it is warm and welcoming.