My daughter is in her fifth year at Hudson College (she joined in Grade One from a French Immersion public school). In that first year, she was behind in maths and reading, and didn't believe that she would ever be able to master those skills. She was so down on herself, she almost didn't want to try. Her Grade One teacher was incredibly encouraging, and over the years the school staff have built up her confidence by celebrating her strengths (sports and social skills) and supporting her through any difficulties. It's been wonderful to see my daughter blossom into her best self, gain confidence academically and make great friends. The class is small - 15 this year - so she has a lot of attention on the academic side. One very small thing she would change: she would like to have more girls in her class!
I've found the administration to be very thoughtful and kind. Communication is through email or phone - very friendly and open. They use QuickSchools as well for reports and personal info. The staff know all the children's names and what their interests are. I remember the head of curriculum having a number of girls-only meetings for my daughter's grade, when there was a bit of turbulence between the different personalities. She let them chat through any issues in a safe, non-judgmental way, and the group is now tight-knit.
My daughter has really enjoyed the different approaches each teacher has brought to the curriculum: one teacher was really into sports and technology, using those to bring science and other subjects to life. Another was really into art and drama, and each year got the kids involved in the annual school play. My daughter wasn't happy with the idea of being on stage last year, so was involved in back-stage work, which she enjoyed. This year, she'd like to audition for the play. Big step forward in confidence! This year, her grade teacher has created tribes, and uses those tribal loyalties to motivate the kids to focus on improving their homework, team-work, attention skills. Great bonding moments in the class! The teachers are very enthusiastic, full of ideas, and always happy to talk to parents. We get an email at the end of each day from her grade teacher, telling us of any general class info, plus the homework for that day.
Hudson College uses the Saxon maths program, which includes a lesson plus 30 questions a day. I find that the program works very well for my daughter, as the daily repetition plus additional new skills daily helps keep the concepts fresh and front-of-mind. She has Language every day, Science and French almost every day, plus other subjects like Social Sciences, Music, Art, Media Studies and Phys Ed scattered throughout the week. It's a good balance, although I know my girl would like more science (she always enjoys the science fair and any opportunity to do extra-curricular robotics or coding). Her teachers concentrate on life skills along the way: how to be organized; how to research, check and edit your work; how to work well with others and respect their ideas and effort.
This is probably my daughter's favorite part of Hudson College- the extracurricular opportunities. This year she is learning to code and to cook, she has joined in extra sports (skiing, indoor soccer, ball hockey) and she gets to make friends across the grades. In the past, she's learnt chess and robotics. It does mean she has to be extra-focused to get her homework done, but she absolutely loves this part of her school life. Another wonderful opportunity is the annual trip to Camp Muskoka for Grades 4,5, and 6. They spend four days in a beautiful outdoor environment learning independence and important life skills, having tons of fun and bonding like crazy! Grades 7 and 8 attend Camp Wanakita earlier in the term.
When you first walk into the school, you get the impression that the students are very polite, opening doors, smiling away. It's a small school, so the kids get to know each other across the grades as well as in class. My daughter has helped with the kindergarten kids during recess, playing with them. The older kids are available for conflict resolution if that ever occurs in recess. My daughter has played sports with different grades - and watched older grades play sports against other schools, cheering Hudson on. The annual plays and concerts always bring people together. There is a lovely buzz around the school. It's not too loud or too quiet - just right. Happy and industrious!
When my daughter first went to Hudson - in Grade One - she was quite a clingy girl, having had a hard time in a large public school. Now she's in Grade 5, she runs up the stairs to the school, barely giving me a wave goodbye, very happy. A major difference! She feels safe, encouraged, valued. She has good friends and feels like she's an important part of the school community. And she feels like she's succeeding academically - with a lot of hard work on her part, but that's another great life skill...
I've always felt very welcome at the school. The admin staff are very friendly and I've happily volunteered my time in the school over the years. It's a great way to get to know the staff, teachers and kids. As people come from all over the city, I don't know all the parents in my daughter's class. But my daughter has play dates with her friends and I know parents who live close by.
The school is convenient for public transport with a bus and streetcar nearby. Now that my daughter is in Grade 5, she is buddying up with a couple of other kids to take the streetcar in the morning. Parking is tricky around the school, especially if you're around when the next-door school lets out (the two schools' times are staggered, so this isn't often a problem). My daughter is still having lunch in the school and only ventures out on school trips. I think Grade 7 and 8 can go out at lunchtime.
I remember going to an open house at Hudson and being really impressed by the Grade 8 student who took us around. She was very friendly and open, and we asked her all sorts of questions about life at Hudson. That's really worth doing. It's one thing reading about a school, but having a chat with someone who's actually experienced it is invaluable. When our daughter had a try-out day at Hudson, she didn't want to leave. We carried her out sideways. This was a big change from our other school viewings! We knew then that we'd found a winning combination.