Burlington, ON | Grades JK - 8 | Shortlist
Adjusting to full-time school for the first time is not easy, but staff and fellow parents alike have made this transition seamless for our son. He loves going to school everyday and has grown to love learning! Our son has grown in leaps and bounds in his language and writing skills. He is writing his letters clearly and beginning to understand writing words from left to right across a page. He identifies many words in books as read by being able to sound out the letters. Most importantly for my husband and I, he is learning about God and taking concepts from Bible stories and applying them to his own life. He is also memorizing Scripture weekly based on the Bible stories that were read. He is becoming more self-confident and we are all immensely proud of how far he has come since starting school in September.
Overall, we have had a positive experience with the leadership at BCA. Shortly after the school year started, they adopted a new online platform to communicate with families. This new platform has been extremely helpful in disseminating information to family members and in keeping track of dates and deadlines. As many young boys, our son has displayed some hyperactivity and selective listening skills from time to time, and we feel that these issues were dealt with swiftly and fairly. We, as parents, were alerted quickly about the situation at school and the teachers made themselves very accessible so that we could all be on the same page and using similar language.
We have been thrilled with the content and level of education that has been provided at a JK level. We receive a weekly plan on the school’s online platform letting us know what subjects will be taught, and any necessary information that we as parents need to know in order to prepare for the week ahead. We have found the teachers to be energetic, insightful and exceptionally educated. They use innovative ways to make learning fun and not feel like ‘work’. Our son had caught on quickly to many concepts and is continuously provided with more advanced content to challenge him. The school’s online platform has made communication with the teachers extremely easy. They reply quickly and with the necessary details required. BCA teachers are open working with parents and parent contributions and we have witnessed the positive impact that this has had on our child.
As this is our first year at BCA, we cannot help but compare the JK curriculum to the play-based kindergarten curriculum that we know exists and many schools in the public sector. We have been impressed with the art projects, workbooks and items in the classroom. Everything that we have seen is top quality and serves the purpose of making learning fun for kids. The centres in the classroom are well thought out and changed constantly as the topics change. I am impressed that the expectations of academics and learning function at a high level, but there doesn’t seem to also be a high level of stress among students. Students in all grades seem happy to come to school and to be a part of a community that fosters confidence, kindness and love for others while also providing an exemplary academic education. Based on the content we have seen in the JK curriculum, we are excited to see what SK- grade 8 for our son.
During our time at BCA, we have experienced Tinseltown (Christmas market), the school Christmas program, chapels, and assemblies. We have been blown away by the level of detail and attention that has gone into making these events an extra special time to spend together. We have not yet been a part of many extracurricular sports or teams, but have seen them practicing frequently. There seem to be many options, and the students seem to really enjoy them! We are planning on starting our son in the in-house music lessons offered at BCA when he is in SK. Since he is in school all day already, we love the option of him being able to have his lessons (likely, drum!) while at school, which leaves more time in the evenings and on the weekends for us to spend as a family.
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.
Our son loves to go to school every day. There are 2-3 opportunities during the day to go outside and have some unstructured time to run around in a safe area. While inside, there is a balance between structured activities and free play that lends well even to hyper 4-year-old boys. I think that BCA has found a balance of academics and the development of student character that is difficult to achieve. As students and parents alike continue to give feedback, I feel that this balance will only continue to get more refined. Any prospective families considering BCA can anticipate a warm, welcoming environment and top-notch educators. We are extremely happy with our decision to send our son to BCA, and I look forward to also sending our daughter in two years' time.
As parents, we feel that the online platform is engaging for parents and keeps us up-to-date on the events and special days at BCA. The GIFT program (mandatory family volunteer hours) has been a good opportunity to be involved in BCA events and classroom activities. As full-time working parents, we have found it hard to find enough opportunities to earn volunteer hours and this process could be improved. As other parents have also expressed this same sentiment, I have no doubt that future years will be easier in this regard once more clear-cut communication is in place. Overall, we have felt very welcome to voice our opinions and have always felt that the teachers and ourselves are working together for the best interest of our child. Any questions that we have asked have been answered thoroughly and teachers have always encouraged open communication.
The location of BCA is close enough to neighbourhoods and main stores to be accessible, but the land around makes it feel safe and secure. It is far enough from the road and from neighbouring buildings that it is not easy for students to venture away from the safety of its grounds. The plot selected for the school is ideal, and provides a very central place for families from all different surrounding neighbourhoods to easily access the school with very short commute times.