There are many opportunities for parents, student and the community to get involved with school life. We regularly receive notifications to participate in community events such as painting for Halloween, events leading up to Christmas, various parenting classes, and participation in festivals for the community. On other occasions, you will find students trying to raise money for worthy causes such as feeding the homeless and learning civic responsibility, whether that is voting for older kids, or helping others. These life lessons are important for children's early development. It is easier for children to learn in this environment because of the small class size and more accessibility to the teachers. Unlike various other Montessori models of schooling, this environment is open, inclusive, and parents have numerous opportunities to participate in various events.
The principal of Oak Learners if part of the local community and is adamant that her school's presence be a part of that community. She herself organized the 2019 Tulip Festival and the children loved being engaged in that process with her. Parents are asked to volunteer on occasion which we happily do. We had an extraordinary experience bonding with other parents at a recent birthday party (that the school helped organize by allowing exchange of emails, which many schools won't allow). We were both fascinated and horrified to learn that all the other children whose parents we spoke to had had essentially the same previous school experience, where the children were shamed for their behaviours by "special educators" who had no clue what they were dealing with. We all congratulated each other on having found this amazing school for our children !
We are some of the newest parents to arrive here and have found a very welcoming community. Since we are also new to the area, we have found parents to be extremely open and willing to help us set up after we have arrived. All parents are very involved in the life of the school, and are known to all of the kids, which further contributes to building a true feeling of community. The school provides many opportunities for parental involvement, from moments to come and enjoy student learning, to day-to-day experiences. We have many opportunities to reach out and interact, and our kids have had many opportunities to play with their school friends outside of the school hours. the school also is active within the local community, which has allowed our kids to meet and learn from a variety of people in various functions around the neighbourhood.
Parents are welcome and encouraged to participate in the life of the school as well as in the organizational development of Oak Learners. In any given term, there are typically several opportunities for parents to engage with each other and with the school staff. Parents are usually invited to participate in school social events on Friday afternoons, encouraged to watch presentations of school projects developed by the student body, or join school staff and students in weekend community events in Mimico. On a proactive side, when parents take the initiative to propose something new or in addition to the calendar in place, the school administration always reacts promptly and in a positive way. We feel that the school is providing more opportunities than all other schools we had the opportunity to observe up close.