Our children's experience at Braemar House School was a positive one for many reasons. Our children really enjoyed the school environment, interactions with other students and staff, extracurricular programs, sports programs, and the various social opportunities throughout the school year. Braemar House School is a very welcoming school environment and gives families the sense of a community feeling. The staff and students are eager to welcome new students to the classrooms. There are many extracurricular and sports programs to engage every different type of personality. From craft groups, Lego league, reading clubs, environmental clubs, to the extensive list of sports team opportunities, there really was something for each student. Our children also enjoyed the various social opportunities that really built that community feel. The Welcome Back BBQ, Thanksgiving Lunch, Music Concert, Art Show, Science Fair, and the School Play were all noted as favorites.
The part that stands out for our family when dealing with school leadership and administration was approachability. From the very first tour of the school with Mrs. Minutillo (former Exec. Director), the friendly voice on the phone Ms. Woodburn, to the welcoming hello's in the hallway from Mrs. Pass (Exec. Director) and Mrs. Krason (Principal), we had the feeling of approachability. Communication has evolved over the 12 years that our children attended Braemar from a paper-based to an electronic-based system. We were very happy with the communication from the school's leadership from both the student's and parents' views.
The teaching at Braemar is both engaging and enthusiastic. They have a good balance of outside interests that they bring into the classroom and extracurricular activities to engage the students. For example, they have teaching staff that are avid gardeners, have music/vocal abilities, culinary interests, and athletics to bring interest to the classroom. The teaching staff does communicate effectively and are very good at being available. One of the things that we liked most when we started at Braemar was the open door policy for communication, not only in communication from the teachers but the ability to come into the school to pick up your children. We felt that our children received both the challenges and support that they needed while at Braemar.
Our experience with the academic program at Braemar was a positive one. When we saw the need for extra help with one of our child's reading, a program was put in place and it was successful. The school's motto is "Striving for Excellence" and we believe that they do. They do a good job of helping students that may struggle in some areas and also help students that want to excel further than the class may be going. As an alumni parent, I have experienced where my children were at Braemar and where they are now in high school and I feel that they were prepared academically for the next step. We did have one area where both of our children struggled moving onto high school and it was in math.
Braemar has excellent opportunities for extracurricular programs. Children of all interests are given an opportunity to get involved through various activities such as a gardening club, crafts, Lego League, Green Team (environmental club) and the extensive list of sporting opportunities. Braemar has opportunities to participate in competitively as well as for fun through their varsity and intermural sports programs. The Phys Ed teacher Mr. Enyedi also does a great job of coordinating these various sports into his Phys Ed programs so that all students have a chance to get involved.
Braemar is a small school, class sizes were anywhere from 5-16 students when we attended. The feel of the student body is very welcoming and proud. Braemar's use of the Virtues Program is evident when watching student interactions. Teaching virtues such as compassion and respect are apparent in everyday student interactions. When we first started at Braemar we were taken back by how the older students were so receptive and patient with the younger students. The school does not separate the kids at recess so all of the students get a chance to socialize and the older students take on a leadership role watching out for the younger students. We saw this come full circle for our children who started as the youngest students in Montessori and eventually became the graduating students leading the younger students.
Braemar is located in the city of Brantford, close to main roads and the 403 highway for families who live out of town. The school sits in a quiet neighbourhood with ample green/park space shared on the property. There are no area's for students to venture to independently in the immediate vicinity and being an elementary school students do not leave the school property during school hours.
Our experience with the parent community at Braemar was a positive one. I was very involved in many volunteer activities at Braemar. Parents are welcomed and encouraged to be involved in various aspects of the school. From volunteering with pizza days, school events, sporting events, driving for class activities or getting involved through the school's Board of Directors and their committees, there are a number of ways you could be involved. In my experience, parents can choose to be as involved or uninvolved as they like and there is no expectation. I cannot see any other ways that Braemar could provide more opportunities for parental involvement in the life of the school as they already offer an abundance of opportunities.
The overall quality of student life at Braemar is positive. We looked into Braemar when we were looking for a smaller school that had small class sizes and over the years we came to appreciate the way the school has grown from a very small school to a small school that has expanded their programs inside and outside of the classroom to reflect current trends. Our children enjoyed their years at Braemar and all that the school had to offer. They enjoyed the school atmosphere and all of the activities that the school provided. As alumni of Braemar, our children continue to enjoy visiting the school to see students and staff or attend events like the yearly school play. To us, that is a testament of their time at Braemar.