2016 OUR KIDS MEDIA Plenary Presentation – ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE
Merci, Madame Randa, pour votre pertinent témoignage !
“Hello, my name is Randa Saryeddine, but who I really am is the mother of Nabil and Dalia, who attend Academie Providence and I would like to talk to you a bit about the day in the life of a parent who is part of this great school.
We are so fortunate in Ottawa because there are so many great private schools to choose from. I am a product of a few of the schools mentioned by presenters that came up this afternoon and I don't think we could really go wrong with whatever choice we make. I appreciate Our Kids' opportunity for us to each come and talk about our respective schools. As you choose a school, it is the different characters and colours that you see from each of the schools that allows you to decide whether that school fits well for your family.
Before becoming a mom and a busy public servant, I was a violin teacher so when I think about the key qualities of ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE, I like to organize my thoughts using the four strings of the violin – E – A – D – G.
A – for Achieving Excellence and that is what I get at ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE for my children.
E – for Excellence – an environment where children can strive to be their best and not to be fearful of it – to be in an environment where they are allowed to try and allowed to fail, with people around to push them along – that is part of what it means to be a student at the school.
D – for Dedication and Devotion – speaking not just about the faculty but about the parents that are there. ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE is a very small school, with about 75 to 100 students. It is a mixed school, co-ed, where children can start at the age of 2.5 years old. The school has a daycare but if you decide that the best thing for your child is to start in a curriculum that allows him or her to start practicing his/her hand for writing, even though s/he won't learn how to write at such a young age, you have that opportunity at ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE. Starting from « Toute Petite Section », ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE can be second day home for your child right up to grade 8.
Lastly, Gratitude – G – the last string of the violin. When I think about the World Economic Forum and what it reported about the top skills for children – CREATIVITY – I think about ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE and I would add to that, as a critical factor I desire for my kids, CHARACTER. I know what it feels like to be rushing all the time and to feel like you always need to be at your best and as a result what can sometimes get hurt along the way is our character. This is why one of the things I love most about ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE is that it not only focuses on the curriculum but on building CHARACTER. As an international school with branches in Australia and in the Middle East, drawing from the France, Middle East and Canadian education systems, you will find that their science and mathematics programs are no doubt at par with other schools and likely provide way more than you may be looking for.
What I would like to say about how ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE encourages children in building their CHARACTER is their devotion to all of the other side things that happen at the school. To tell you a bit about this, let me start by telling you about what my day looks like when I drop off my kids at the school. I drop off my kids and there is a pre-school program that starts at about 7 or 7:30 and the after-care program goes until 5:30. You can get a hot meal for them every day and you can find out what your kids are eating every day. With only about 75-100 kids, you can actually find out whether they ate or not. There is a mixture of nuns there and non-faith based teachers, and so kids can really get into a mixture of general life principles, morals and values that any parent would want their child to be learning – they don't just teach the catholic religion, ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE is about allowing kids to explore what other religions are about and to understand core similarities. I myself come from a different faith and I appreciate the experiences they provide for children to learn about what is going on with the Pope, or beyond religion, what is happening with the elections – exploring what is real and happening in everyday life and what it means for us and them. I am very pleased that they have teachers dedicated to individual subject matters, starting at about grade 1 or 2, resulting in the kids having teachers that are passionate about math or science and are teaching students what they need to be learning beyond just the textbook.
ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE also has extracurricular activities as well – they have dance, folklore, violin, piano and a series of other activities that the kids could be doing. By the time I have picked up my kids they have done any sort of these activities that I might have invested in for them. Further, they would have also finished their homework. I am a bit of believer in homework. I would find it somewhat overwhelming it if the science, math, English and French assignments were all assigned on the same day, but I don't get that at ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE. The school organizes to assign most homework on Friday and they choose what days subject assignments are due so it doesn't all land on the same day. In terms of getting it done, by the time I pick up my kids, the aftercare teacher has ensured it is done.
Another feature I would like to emphasize about our school is the experience ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE provides children to explore and learn more about themselves. The school runs science fairs, which all the children get a chance to take part in, and will visit expose children to lots of different things to understand what we understand as parents, allowing them to ask questions about what they see. For example, the older classes were taken to Embassies around the city to learn first-hand about different countries around the world and the role of these diplomatic positions.
ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE is also very focused on music and culture – twice a year there is a concert that the kids partake in. Sometimes it is choreographed dancing to thematic songs and other times the students are presenting topics they or the older children would have written to, bringing out a theme that the teachers identify for the children to explore. Not only do I learn see what the children learn from these events, I get a chance to see how comfortable my kids are at speaking in public.
When you are over at the booths, take a chance and explore some of the schools that are quieter and less known. You are going to find some with really completive prices. I think our school is extremely competitive in terms of how it is priced but everything else that you would be looking for in a school you will find at ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE as well. I encourage us all to keep an open mind to some of those less known schools out there and investigate the extracurricular or accompanying side activities they offer.
I do not think it is surprising if I say that teachers are often not their own best sellers so I would invite you to come and see ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE. I and the other parents would be happy to answer any questions about the school so you can find out a bit more. Let me review some of the basics just to make sure they are clear. ACADEMIE is a three-language school, the kids speak in French, many of the kids come from English-based homes, and they pick up the French at whatever grade a child may enter and if the child is not strong enough in French they will support the child, by providing extra tutorial lessons, doing extra tutor sessions if you want during recess or whatever it takes to get around the language challenge. I am surprised by how quickly the kids pick up languages. I was surprised by how well my kids pick it up. Further, the kids learn a third language – right now, the school offers Arabic or Spanish, and we are talking about other languages that could be added as well. It is very exciting when youe kids come home and they start speaking words in a language that is totally unfamiliar to them.
Finally, at ACADEMIE Providence, we are a tightly knit school – mothers and fathers know each other pretty well because the school is so small and small classes of courses have many benefits for our kids. I was impressed how the school carefully introduces students to the front of the class if they need it. The teachers hold weekly private sessions among themselves discussing how each student is doing. For my son, they found out that he might have been distracted in a certain subject and they brought him closer to the teacher in a sensitive way to ensure he was not ostracized by his peers but that he got the dedicated focus that he needed and that meant a lot to me as a mom.
With a smaller student base, about 10 to 15 students, sometime smaller depending on who has come or go, the school offers different extracurricular activities – folklore is an interesting one, dance is there as well, and there are private piano and violin lessons offered, in addition to the day's music theory class offered as part of the weekly curriculum. Whether you have a child 2.5 years old or heading to any grade up to grade 8, I invite you to check us out and to come on by to our booth. We are ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE. When you come, parents there and I can tell you so much more about the school. We are dedicated as a whole to ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE and we hope to see you join us.”
Randa Saryeddine, PARENTS' COMMITTEE, ACADEMIE PROVIDENCE