Burlington, ON | Grades JK - 8 | Shortlist
I love the "family feel" of the school. Small school and very united. Children in grade 1 know the students in grade 8. Students are encouraged to help each other fit in or find their niche. Due to very small class room sizes in grades 2-3, I love that they blend together do learn certain subjects- this helps with networking and finding great friendships outside your grade and class room. I do find at times their is pressure for everyone to be friends.... but this is not life, we can be kind to one another but not be forced to be friends. Due to small classroom and grade sizes fitting in or finding friends can be challenging.
When we first walked through the school for our tour, we immediately noticed how happy all the kids were. The general vibe going through the halls was so positive and warm. That is what my son gets to be a part of every day. We like the small school feeling but the school spirit is anything but small.
Students get along well with one another and we have often noticed younger and older students interacting positively with one another. This is fostered through buddy programs and multi-grade level programming wishing the academic model of the school. The school is relatively small which makes the atmosphere a little more intimate. Despite the smaller size, however, students have numerous opportunities for unique learning and experiences afforded to them (field trips, specialized programming, music, art, languages, sports, etc.).
The environment is steadfastly positive and built on a strong framework of shared responsibility to the school and to each other. Even though students are in different classes, they spend a lot of time bonding as a whole. The older children are excellent role models for kindergarten kids. The school provides lots of opportunities for older students to interact and provide support to younger students. I love that the senior kids can help younger children when the opportunity arises. The physical structure of the school, with a large yard, allows the children to mingle and play with students of all ages, abilities, and interests. There are special events throughout the year which allow students of all ages to interact with each other.
The students are BCA are diverse and come together to form a community that is accepting and loving. Because the class sizes are small (there are 15 kids in my sons JK class) the friendships are strong and long-lasting. Even in JK playdates outside of school hours occur regularly because the students and even parents form great friendships. As a BCA alumnus, I am still in regular contact with two of my classmates 20+ years later. One of the things that immediately stands out is how the school encourages leadership and helping others. Students look for opportunities to hold open doors for others, pick up dropped items or garbage off the floor and lead groups or clubs (an SK is running a recess soccer program for other students organizing drills and scrimmages). The students are proud of their school and it shows.
The student body at BCA is small, and the feel is often less like a school and more like family. You can sense that people take care of each other and that everyone feels like they are a part of a larger community, all striving for the same goal. We love that the national anthem is played and that the Lord’s Prayer is recited every morning. Our son is starting to be very familiar with these and can nearly recite both at only 4 years old. The JK class has a grade 7 student who helps them get in and get settled in their class in the morning, and this has been hugely helpful for my son. He loves older kids and we are so grateful that several of these older students go out of their way to make sure that the young ones are safe and feel at home.