REVIEW OF Wesley Christian Academy BY parent, Valerie Wong
- Date of Review
September 05, 2018
Preschool - Gr. 7
(5) Student Experience
I have three daughters and a son who attend Wesley Christian Academy. Prior to coming to Wesley two years ago, three of my children were in the public school system. My husband and I were really struggling with the curriculum and quality of teaching (substandard teaching and lacking the cultivation and motivation of their desire for learning) our children were experiencing. With much prayer, our children have been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of the Wesley community. It has been amazing to witness their growth and maturity, but more importantly their desire to learn, and their love for school. This September, my eldest will be entering grade 8 (graduating year) and my youngest into SK. All four of them are super excited to start school. Each of them have had exceptional teachers at Wesley and it is because of this, the loving and nurturing environment, that each of my children look forward to going to school each and every day.
(5) School Leadership
The leadership and administrative staff at Wesley are outstanding. The Principal, Mrs. Serio is an exceptional administrator. It is evident that she and her staff share a common goal - doing what is best for each child so they can reach their potential. Whenever we have had any inquiries or concerns, they have been addressed appropriately and immediately. Parents are kept aware of any behavioral concerns through open dialogue. The staff are caring and friendly and I find that their positive attitude really makes a huge difference in fostering a healthy and positive school environment. Bullying and negativity are not tolerated and students are encouraged to be respectful of one another. We have experienced this form of professionalism with both our first and third born who were caught in the receiving end of a bullying situation. In both situations, the teachers and administration handled the situation professionally and fairly. They communicated with us efficiently and transparently and we felt that the problem was dealt with effectively and wisely. In addition, students that standout and are exemplary of Christian character are recognized at the end of the year at the Wesley Graduation and Awards night. The school is also quite timely on keeping parents informed. For example, a newsletter, “This Week at Wesley” is sent out every Friday highlighting the week’s events/successes with stories and photos, along with updates and what is to come the following week. PersonalIy, I look forward to reading this newsletter every week! This is just one example of the school’s intentionality on building relationships/connections with its families.
I am very happy with the quality of teaching at Wesley Christian Academy. The teachers at Wesley are dedicated, talented, knowledgeable, caring, passionate, empathetic, hardworking, engaging and loving. They are invested in the learning and growth of each child. They are also highly organized and very effective in their communication. Parents are required to initial student's agendas on a nightly basis, thus any communication from teachers can be seen firsthand in their agenda, as well as any parent notes can be seen by the teacher the following day. With our experience, teachers have made themselves available for impromptu emails, phone calls or meetings after school depending on our availability. My two older girls compete in golf at a highly competitive level outside of school, which takes them away from class on several occasions throughout the year because of tournaments/training. Their teachers have been very understanding and supportive. They make every effort to ensure that they are not behind and any missed tests/presentations are rescheduled.
Academics are quite rigorous starting from grade 1 with weekly tests/quizzes in spelling, math, bible theology, etc. There are oral presentations and projects as well. I have seen my children’s studying habits improve through each season at Wesley. Along with parental encouragement, the teachers also push the students to be disciplined in their studies and organization. My son was in JK this past year. In the latter half of the school year, he brought home his Topic Workbook every 3 weeks where a specific project was assigned for him and I to complete together. I loved that this project was related to a topic that he had just learned in class and that I was able to teach him about collaboration as we worked on the assignment. This was a great way to reinforce at home what he learned at school.
There are many forms of extracurricular events that students can be a part of. Wesley is very inclusive and promote inclusion to all their clubs and sporting groups, as a result, at times some of the competitive sports teams end up being larger than optimal. I’m sure that for those students who have never played or competed on a competitive sports team, it provides an excellent and positive opportunity for kids to try-out and get involved. With regards to music, all students from Grade 2 and up are introduced to a variety of different instruments each year. Students can also participate in the yearly musical production, choir, band, and other ensembles.
From the very first time our family walked into Wesley Christian Academy for a tour, we sensed it was a special place. Not only were the staff warm and friendly, but the students as well. Coming from a public school, my girls immediately noticed the differences, especially in the attitude of the students and how orderly things were from as simple as students lining up the shoes in the hallway. My eldest was surprised that students in her class actually did their work during class time and everyone was respectful of each other. Wesley is also a very spirited environment. Students from JK to Grade 8 are divided into four house teams to build school spirit. These teams are used for school events such as Reading Buddies, intramural sports and also include many other opportunities for students to connect and encourage one another in friendly competition. The winning house team is rewarded at the end of the school year by having the cafeteria decorated in honor of their house color. Other events throughout the year include dress-up days (eg. Wacky Wednesdays), Care and Share which takes place monthly where a class focuses on raising money and awareness for missionaries, the local food bank, community help centers, etc.
(5) School Life
Our children LOVE Wesley! At the end of each summer they are actually quite excited to get back to school and eagerly awaiting the first day (no exaggeration). They have made many friends and seem to know the entire school population by name. Even though our kids certainly do not categorize into the “shy” group, it does seem like most of the school knows one another. One of the best benefits at Wesley is the Lunch Program. This program has saved us many times! It is very convenient as kids can sign up on a daily basis at the beginning of the day (especially great for those days where we didn’t have time to prepare a packed lunch) and the cost is automatically charged onto your school lunch account. The food is good, cost is most reasonable and fair and the wonderful kitchen team has the most kindred relationship with each student. Best time saver ever!
There are many opportunities throughout the year for students, staff, and parents to come together (eg. Winter and Spring Concerts, Graduations and Awards Night, Walkathon BBQ). Also, parents can be involved through the parent prayer group, serving lunch at Thanksgiving, attending tournaments and they are often invited on class trips as extra chaperones. I have volunteered and attended a number of events with my children. To be able to experience this really allowed me to engage with my children and observe them in a social setting. I was able to see my children interact with other kids and be able to assess and at times manage their social capabilities and awareness. I feel that these experiences are very important as a parent to be able to know where my child stands in their own social development stage in our complex world.
(4.5) School Location
Wesley Christian Academy is located in Markham. It is north of Highway 7 and tucked away on a side street just east of McCowan Road. The school is walking distance to Markville Shopping Centre, however students are restricted to stay within the school grounds. The school is sectioned off appropriately with fencing all around. There is a play structure in the front of the school that serves the students that are a part of the Early Learning Centre. In the back of the school, there is a larger play structure for students in the Elementary School, along with a paved area where students can play basketball and a large grassy area for students to run around and play sports during recess.