Stouffville, ON | Grades PS - 8 | Shortlist
My daughter absolutely loves Toronto French Montessori School. it has a very family feeling and the class sizes are small. kids associate with older and younger kids and seem to know everyone, including all the teachers names. The students develop a good sense of community and friendship and most importantly kindness.There hasn't been any incidences of bullying that i'm aware of. They also tend to invite the entire class to birthday parties and whatnot (due to the small size). In terms of learning, I'm an very happy with her progress. She is learning complex math solving strategies already and has learned to read both printing and cursive. Her french skills are improving as well. Most importantly for me, she isn't stressed out and looks forward to going to school and learning.
At the beginning of what would be SK but they call Casa in Montessori, my daughter expressed that school was "too hard" and she didn't want to go. I sent an e-mail into the school and they addressed it that day. It was forwarded to the teacher and she sent home a note explaining there was a bit of competition going on between the girls in the class over work and that she had had a talk with them about it and that it seemed to resolve the situation. my daughter didn't complain after that. I was impressed with the speed of resolving my concerns. administration is always available to answer questions and concerns and have a close relationship with students too. they really care about each student's success. discipline tends to be through "time outs" at this stage and seem to work. monthly e-mail newsletters are sent out as well to communicate upcoming events and things going on at school.
I am extremely happy with the quality of teaching at the school. It is definitely above level and keeps the kids interested and challenged while allowing them to stay curious and enjoy their work. There are two parent-teacher meetings during the year and they take the time to really address any areas of improvement and struggle and give parents an idea of how the student is doing.
The academic program is above grade level and very hand's-on as it's Montessori. They are very strong in french but will explain in english if a student is struggling. The school is a very family/friendly atmosphere. parents are allowed inside the school to drop off students and get to see what their kids are working on. Students know all the staff by name, and i'm amazed at how the staff knows all the students names as well, even if they aren't in their class. (small size of school). i think my child is really set up for success at this program because it has instilled in her a sense of curiosity and love of learning. it has also developed social skills as well and a knowledge of different cultures, etc. the only downside so far, is that they do not have a real gymnasium and thus i think their gym program is limited as to variety. if your child is very athletic and wants to develop those skills he/she will have to do outside activities to find variety.
The extracurriculars are a bit limited and a bit pricey. I'm not sure if they are in line with other private schools as this is the first encounter with private education I've had. Also, I find any special events always involves buying tickets and whatnot. If there is one downfall of the school it is the constant asking for money. It's never a huge amount, but it seems to be happening regularly and would be nice if they did a fundraiser instead to get the money rather than paying some here and there.
The students are great at this school. They look out for each other and I'm impressed at the kindness older students show to younger ones. the overall number of students is small, and the culture is one of friendly atmosphere. I can honestly say the kids at this school are kind and special. You can regularly witness older students acting as great role models for younger ones when they are interacting during the rush after school.
The building they are currently in is a church and it is so-so. It doesn't seem to affect the quality of education and experience of students though. They have recently bought a new building but it is in Stouffville. As such, a lot of parents are really sad that they won't be moving with the school due to the far location. Stouffville students will be lucky to have this school.
Parents are very friendly and quite involved in the school. When they have an assembly (christmas concert, etc) there seems to be high attendance. There is no snobbery, and is an overall friendly atmosphere. There is a parent council that interacts with school management via the running of the school, etc. but I am not part of it so I couldn't speak to how it is run or it's effectiveness; I can just say that of the parents I have met all have been friendly and there is definitely a family feeling at the school. staff is always present (administration) and there are a many opportunities to interact with them.
My child loves attending this school. She's made great friends there and the students really are like a family. She likes seeing her friends and taking part in Zumba after school. It would be nice to have more field trips if possible, maybe one a year or something for fun.