My child enjoyed the small class size and dedicated teacher time that the small class size afforded. She really enjoyed the special units involving salmon and butterflies and giving back to the community through trips to senior homes. She enjoyed attending school everyday and made great friends that she continues to have to this day. The small school size allowed her to ease into the school setting without being overwhelmed by the size of a larger school. Overall, her experience was fantastic and set her up very well to succeed in grade 1. In terms of disappointment, truly the only thing I can say she was disappointed with, was having to graduate and leave. She enjoyed her time immensely and the prospect of heading out was sad but necessary. In addition, the small parent community was a bonus for us and allowed for a tight-knit group overall.
The school leadership is very committed and communicates appropriately for a school this size with weekly updates, regular events that allow parents into the classrooms as well as regular formal parent teacher interviews. The school does a good job of encouraging different ideas and intorducing diversity to the kids. Teachers are very responsive to e-mail. Fortunately, we did not have a discipline issue, so I am unable to comment on that but overall, I think that the administration and teachers are normally able to detect problems before they become serious and so I am not sure there are very many discipline issues to deal with.
The teachers are extremely passionate and knowledgeable. The year starts with a curriculum night where the teachers lay out the philosophy they follow and what to expect. I attended the curriculum night three times and learned something every time. Weekly update e-mails provide feedback on what the kids are doing and allowed us to continue the conversations at home about school activities. The teachers provide strategies to get information out of the kids other than "nothing much". The teachers regularly communicate with parents and are very responsive to e-mail and very available. The regular parent teacher interviews are very informative and the small school size allows for those interviews to be lengthy enough to get the most out of them. The teachers regularly attend continuing education seminars and post about it so we can learn what they are learning as well.
The school is wonderfully located in midtown Toronto within walking distance of amenities and public transit for those who need it. The school is located in a church at the top of a hill and has wonderful grounds available to the school and the children, including a great playground area. The kids are able to take advantage of the surrounding area for field trips.
Given the level that the school covers, I am not sure that extracurricular is the way to describe it. The curriculum already involves a number of different aspects, including a gym program conducted by CFCC, frequent field trips, in the local area, a scope program in the afternoon and play based learning. I am not sure students at this level can take much more extra-curricular.
The school goes from pre-school to SK so the academic program is appropriate for that level. The model is mainly play-based but with an explanation to parents about what the particular play is intended to achieve and some strategies to implement in the home to be complementary. The curriculum is part teacher driven and part student inquiry, and I think they achieve a reasonable balance. I believe strongly that early childhood education is extremely important and the most important place to put money towards schooling. While public schools have classes of over 30, the class size here ensures that student get a decent amount of teacher one on one time. My child has hit the ground running in her class and all schools that we talked with for the next step in our child's academic career had great things to say about the preparation the students who attend Epic get for the next level.
One of the best parts of the school for us was the community aspect. The parent group was great. We still socialize even though our kids largely no longer attend the same schools. Because of the size of the school, you get to know parents very well and I think parents whose kids join the school at different stages also seem to be able to integrate quickly. Parents are able to attend a number of events such as a tea party, literacy day and regular family assemblies as well as particular assemblies to honour students such as birthday and star of the week. Parents are very welcome to be involved and have frequent opportunities to interact. Our 3 years were great and in addition to a top-rate education, the parent community was part of what made it great.
The student body is small, but for its size has a decent amount of diversity, with students of all levels and abilities. The small school size allows for teacher attention for all students and there have been students that test on the spectrum that have provided additional resources to the class. My child's class got along extremely well and continue to socialize following the completion of school. I participated in numerous family assemblies that involved students at all three levels served and all the students seemed to be genuinely happy to be at the school and interact with each other. We have had nothing but positive experiences and other parents of kids have generally communicated similar experiences for their kids. Community and the student body are really first rate.
Overall, we are extremely pleased with student life at EPIC School. Our child was happy, enjoyed her time and was extremely well prepared for the next step in her education. Our child loved going to school at EPIC, including the programming, student body and teachers. We never had a single instance in three years of her not wanting to go to school and in fact on sick days, she would be hugely disappointed that she couldn't go to school. As I have mentioned in response to previous questions, the location is great, the grounds on which the school lie provide great opportunities for students to get outside and learn when the weather permits, the teachers are committed and passionate and the administration is friendly and accomodating.