Positive, inviting, small class sizes allow for the children to get to know one another and the teachers to have a key understanding of each child, including their strengths and areas of development. The classroom is a safe area to try new things, they support each student as they learn a new skill and work together to help them become great students and future members of society. I believe cultivating this environment has led to the students being able to learn concepts 2 years above their grade level. Students are also taught empathy and concern for one another directly in the classroom. I can think of countless examples where our children have come home from school and told us about how they as a class cared for either a student in need or someone in their community at large.
The student body size is small, but the spirit is lively and caring. Students, in general, show courtesy. They will help holding the school door open when they see schoolmates are approaching. They greet hello and goodbye when meeting with classmates’ parents. They ask for permission to leave when they need to go to the washroom or go get something. Also, students show great interest in learning. They are enthusiastic in asking questions when they learn new things and in trying to give answers to find out what and why things are the way they are. We appreciate the small class size. The class teacher has more time and space to get to know students’ personalities and abilities as well as to attend to each student’s individual needs. Our child loves very much to have more time with each student as well.
In my opinion, the students at The Giles School are an impressive group of children. They are polite and respectful. They are well-disciplined and cooperative. They are diverse and inclusive of their peers. They are kind to one another. They are hardworking and dedicated to excellence. They are confident in their abilities. Since this is a small school with small class sizes, the children form tight bonds with one another. At recess, children from different grade levels can be seen playing together and interacting with one another. Older students mentor younger students. It is a tight-knit group of kids that genuinely cares about their friends. The students are proud of themselves and their school.
The school is small, but the heart is HUGE. My children have always talked about how they have loved the atmosphere at the school. It is collaborative, supportive, respectful and fun. When children have big conflicts the students are supported to help resolve them. There are spirit days that students are engaged in; creating the yearbook, leadership initiatives, as well as annual family events like the Gala and Fun Fair. When looking at the school, one might be led to believe that the social circles are small, but what I've come to realize is that ALL the children socialize together. They are not restricted by age, they know each other, and the younger children love and look up to the older students, and the older students look out for and engage the younger children. I heard from a parent who left the school - and found that their child missed the Giles students - "I didn't realize she was friends with so many kids at the school and not just those in her grade". My own children continue to be in regular contact with all their former classmates as a group, which really speaks to the bond that the school helps to create.
One of the most unique things about the Giles School is the type of student/family that it attracts. One of my concerns when taking the private school route was that my children would only be exposed to one type of student and that they would turn into "private school kids". On the contrary, the kids at Giles are kind, well rounded and down to earth. Because the student body is relatively small (less than 130), the kids all know each other and interact regularly with one another. In addition, the school does a great job on emphasizing the important things in school as well as in life. The focus of the school is on education, acceptance, kindness, inclusion, being good global citizens, all of which teaches the children to look beyond themselves and see themselves as part of a larger community.
In a smaller school, it's inevitable that everyone ends up knowing everyone, very much like an extended family. Many students have older and/or younger siblings at the school, so it's not unusual to see older students looking out for the younger ones. And while the student body may be small in size, there is certainly no lack of school spirit. Having accompanied my kids on numerous school trips, tournaments and other school events over the years, I can see that the kids are an enthusiastic, energetic, close knit bunch. Of course it is normal from time to time that there are conflicts between students, but the teachers really try to actively manage those situations and take advantage of those teachable moments as they arise.