It has been a while since I wrote something but I thought for this purpose it would be a good idea because I have noticed that many people that I know are now looking into whether or not private school is something that they can afford or look into. Understand that I write this post based solely as my experience as an OCT qualified teacher with more than a decade of teaching experience and as a parent.
In Vaughan there are quite a few public schools and to be honest they aren’t great. They have entirely too large class sizes in my area with 20+ students to 1 teacher. They may say that there will be a teachers aid in the smaller classes but what about when there isn’t? Also why is an aide at the same level as the teacher? In addition to that in York region the sheer lack of diversity in the teaching staff is almost laughable. There is very little diversity and it certainly doesn’t match up with the student population. When I initially went into the school that my son was supposed to go to it was unbelievable the way I was dismissed, I didn’t once mention that it was my field, because I wanted to see if they treated me well or not. In fact they treated me poorly from the very first person I spoke to, to the very last. So I said forget it.
I was ready to homeschool my child, because he was 2 at the time of this, and he could already read. So I discussed this with my spouse and he flat out refused, and said I had to look for another alternative. Since marriage is about compromise I had to find a middle ground so I looked into private schools.
In Vaughan there are three private schools that are somewhat affordable; King heights, North Hill Private and Woodbridge Private School (formerly Woodbridge Montessori)
King Heights: They have an IB program, and personally I found quite a few problems with this school as a parent and an educator. Any school activity whether it is Gym or going to the library or something like that has to be done off campus at another place. So the children have to be bussed there. That means a lot of time is given to transportation and my kids would be in a bus without car seats regularly when they could be learning. I won’t even let my mother drive my kids to school, they have to have their winter clothes off when in the car, so this wouldn’t have worked one bit for me. On top of it when I asked why the school was IB in elementary since in my professional opinion it isn’t necessary at the primary level, I was given the lame excuse that all work should tie back to world and global studies. I wanted to say all GOOD curriculum already does that but I hadn’t told her that I was a teacher, so I made note of the BS answer she gave me. I personally didn’t like the vibe of this school nor the fact that I didn’t get a straight answer as to whether or not all the teachers were OCT certified.
North Hill Private School: Food is included with this program and it only goes up until a lower elementary level and I wanted to put my children in a school once and not have to change them for a while to a different school. The problem with food being included is that my children have allergies and I wouldn’t trust any other source than mine.
Woodbridge Private School: This turned out to be my winner for many reasons. First the school recently went through a complete overhaul. I am very happy with it as a parent. The religious aspect was removed from the everyday school curriculum, which was beginning to be a problem for my kids.
Secondly they have brought in a music and piano teacher to teach both of my children, on site, which is great for them to get the basics of music being taught at such a young age. They have physical education on site and extra curricular activities such as Mandarin, Italian, French, Taekwondo, and Tennis, so that we as parents don’t have to schlep our children around to this activity or that activity on the weekends.
The staff work with each individual kid and they truly make them feel safe and happy which creates a great learning environment for learning. My younger son, literally cried every day going to school for the first 3 months, and they never made him feel bad for it, nor me, they just encouraged me to continue on and that he was in good hands. I would come in some days just to check in, and there he would be happily playing and learning.
The kids are in split classes JK & SK, 1-3, 4-6 are all grouped as such to have plenty of peer learning and the ability for children to gain social skills and understanding from each other, which has been proven to be the most effective learning tool for primary aged children.
Here is the best thing they have recently implemented tutorial from 3:30-4pm so all children will have a chance to complete their homework on site at school, so that we as parents can just have a good time at home discussing their day at school instead of struggling to complete endless mind numbing tasks of trying to get a tired kid to complete a bunch of busy work homework at home when all you want to do is talk to them.
Even when you have a concern about children not getting along or every day concerns the principal is so quick to figure out a solution, and sure you can say it is because you are paying for it, but truthfully I don’t think that is the case here. I ask my kids every day and even when there have been conflicts how they feel about school and they both love it and love seeing each other in school too.
They do offer a hot lunch program too, with great food options, the school is also a nut free school. I know that because my youngest son has an egg allergy they also accommodate for that and various other allergies too based on other students needs.
As a visible minority, I find it very important to add that the school population is very diverse and much more diverse than I have seen of other schools. This is very important to me and to my children so that they aren’t constantly surrounded by one type of person, and you can truly see the diversity of Canada in the school’s population.
If you are looking for an affordable private school I highly suggest looking into Woodbridge Private. A certain percentage of tuition can also be written off as child care expenses also. For me my children are my greatest investment, of my love and work. I give them the best car seats for their safety and even though it meant I had to go back to work to pay for them to be in private school, I was more than willing to put that income entirely towards this school.
I know I had a hard time trying to find any information on this topic so if I have helped you I am very happy!