I had to suddenly change up my son’s preschool as we had just moved to Oakville and I was quite worried about how he would adjust.
I shouldn’t have been!
From the very first day, Milan absolutely loved the environment, teachers and classmates of the Oakville Academy for the Arts. I love the art-based curriculum and how art, music and dance are such an integral part of his day. He comes home happy, proud of his accomplishments and full of curiosity and questions. The teachers truly love what they do and it shows. They really care about the kids and provide a very safe and loving environment which also encourages the children to learn.
What comes to mind when I think about my child’s and my family’s experience here at OAAK? Peace of mind.
The OAAK has been very supportive in my son’s learning and development. The team has strengthened his confidence in verbalizing his thoughts as well as expressing himself through visual arts, music and movement!
The open communication fosters a sense of family and comfort. The weekly personal messages from the classroom teacher highlight the children’s activities and are greatly appreciated.
The OAAK has been a caring and thoughtful place for my son and our family!
The words that immediately jump to mind when thinking about our daughter’s experience at OAAK are supportive and responsive, and this school demonstrates those qualities each and every day, in each and every possible way.
Our family joined OAAK this fall after relocating from the US. Even back home, we heard glowing reviews about the program, and even before our move–via email!– we found the staff to be remarkably supportive and caring. Responses to my series of inquiries were always prompt and informative, and, beyond that, they also always included a sympathetic comment regarding the challenges of moving or settling in.
OAAK’s supportive nature extends well beyond words, though. The school was remarkably sensitive to the needs and feelings of my three-year-old, who was transitioning not only to a new school, but also to a new country; upon entering the school for the first time, we were offered a guided tour of the facility, and, when we entered the classroom, Ms. Berri crouched down and spoke with my daughter at her level. She was at home at once. The next day, Ms. Berri and Ms. Jenn’s email recapping her first day on her own–enhanced with pictures of my smiling child–demonstrated their ability to quickly discern what makes her “tick” and–full disclosure–completely eased my confident-that-we’d-made-the-right-choice-yet-somehow-still-slightly-worried mind.
In addition, we found the school supportive in the flexibility it so consistently displays. We have encountered this quality frequently, in instances ranging from a long-term and unexpected change in schedule to sporadic early or alternate-driver pick-up requests. It’s reassuring to know that in this often hassled and harried day and age, the response you’re most likely to hear out of the smiling mouth of anyone on staff is, “Sure! We can do that!”
The support that the school so consistently demonstrates flows naturally into a classroom environment that is authentically and organically responsive. The teachers respond genuinely to the interests of the children and permit their innate curiosity to guide the curriculum. Student-driven is not, by any means, synonymous with “fluffy” or lacking rigor at OAAK, though. Children examine, explore, question, assess, and create at a remarkably high level, while the traditional hallmarks of pre-school education–letter and number identification, etc.–are expertly and artfully woven in by the teachers. In addition, Dance and Music classes challenge the children physically and mentally and complement the curriculum masterfully.
In the past six months, our family has experienced quite a few significant and radical changes. One of the few consistencies has been our absolute confidence in the fact that we made the right choice in sending our daughter to OAAK, and the program (and everyone who is a part of it!) is something for which we are thankful every day.
Kinderschool is the perfect home away from home for my daughter. The school is so well-managed that it attracts the best-in-class teachers. Everyone at the school is so friendly and flexible. The school and the wonderful teachers genuinely care about the kids and enhance the kids’ life-long interest in learning. I see and feel that the teachers are in it because they love what they do and they are the best at what they do.
The team at The Oakville Academy for the Arts have a genuine passion for learning and personal growth. We enrolled our 3 yr old twins into OAAK without them ever having attended formalized care outside of the home. We anticipated a painful adjustment period for our son in particular, but couldn’t have been more wrong. From day one, the classroom teacher went above and beyond to truly get to know our children and to gain their trust and respect. I knew we were in for an altogether different experience when we were offered a home visit prior to the start of school!
OAAK is dedicated to the individual growth of each child. As opposed to following a standardized program for all children, OAAK recognizes each child’s unique talents and fosters their individual growth in nurturing environment. From exploring local maps to dis-assembling old electronics, the teachers have a way of incorporating learnings into every part of the day.and in such a fun way! I feel so fortunate to share in all the big and little moments through regular email updates – complete with pictures!
My family’s experience at OAAK has been extremely positive; far above what I ever expected when we first enrolled. I cannot say enough about Jenn and the OAAK team.
The OAAK is a perfect fit for my daughter. Smaller class sizes provide an intimate setting where each child gets to freely interact with each other and with the teacher. OAAK has a very transparent approach where the parents get to be very involved with the children’s experience at school. We receive detailed emails from the teacher on a weekly basis with pictures and updates from the week’s activities. The monthly newsletter further elaborates the projects the students are undertaking and gives us an overview of what the other classes are doing as well. The teachers are always available, be it after school or over email or phone, to talk to the parents about any questions or concerns we may have.
My daughter also really enjoys her music and dance lessons that are a part of her curriculum. OAAK encourages the children to practice creative thinking and problem solving, which helps me a lot at home as well. The snacks provided are highly nutritious and natural. I really appreciate this as it takes a lot of commitment on the part of the teachers to stick to a healthy meal plan.
OAAK has a strong sense of community and belonging and we are very happy to be a part of it. Overall, my daughter and I have had nothing but the best experience at the OAAK!
When we think of our daughter’s experience at OAAK so many wonderful things come to mind. OAAK is, simply, an excellent school. However, we are most encouraged by the love and care that is showered upon our daughter from her teachers – she is made to feel important and valuable as if she too is part of the OAAK family. These feelings of belonging have been foundational to the ‘love to learn’ attitude and inquisitiveness continuing to grow in our daughter. Thank you to all at OAAK!
For you, teaching young children, helping them learn and grow, is more than a profession: it is a passion that you pass on to our youngest citizens each and every day…It is an honour to be associated with such an outstanding group of educators.
Taken from his personal letter of congratulations to the school upon earning the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education:
Choosing a school for your child is essentially choosing a team of people who will help raise and shape your child’s future. I cannot praise, appreciate and revere (my daughter’s teacher) and the KinderSchool Team at the Oakville Academy enough! It is such a gift to know that your child is in the hands of a loving, nurturing, and expert teacher and team. (Our daughter’s teacher’s) commitment to her growth, learning and increasing confidence have made her experience of education one of great joy. When our daughter first started she was so shy and afraid of new experiences, now, after having been in the JK and SK program, our daughter has a shining confidence, a love of learning, growing, experimenting, creating and imagining. (Our daughter’s teacher) embraced our daughter and shone a light on all her strengths, giving her a safe, creative, and stimulating space in which to grow and take risks. Hearing our daughter say that she “loves school!” is such a joy, because what she loves is the community, the space for fun and learning, and the love that abounds from the OAA Kinderschool Team.
Choosing a preschool/kindergarten is never an easy task; but for me it was as simple as seeing how, while waiting at (my daughter’s) ballet class, the Kinderschool teachers interacted with the children and families upon dismissal. For 15 minutes every Friday I saw the teachers engage with every single child and parent individually after class. From there I was hooked; I had to learn more about this school.
My teacher education in Australia was based on Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, so I was blown away when I found out that this was the basis for the learning at the OAA. I know that my child is not a “sit at your desk and learn” personality (really, who is?), and short of home schooling I had no idea what I was going to do with her.
Let’s face it, (my daughter) a bit of a challenge, or should I say “likes to challenge”, and every time I spoke to (my daughter’s teacher) I was assured that I made the right decision. I have become the queen of “why do you think …. ” and “let’s figure it out together … ” because I know she has been given these tools at school. There have been times when she has come to me and told me something quite matter of factly and laid out the steps used to get to her conclusion. Whether she’s correct or incorrect doesn’t matter nearly as much the fact that she took the time to investigate, test her theory, and come to some sort of verdict. She will actually argue with me because she knows the steps she used to get there were right, even if the result may be a bit questionable. What 5 year old does this as second nature?
The OAA Kinderschool is such a family, and we feel a part of a greater community of like minded individuals that will last a lifetime for us and our children.
Our daughter’s teacher saw parents and families as an integral part of the Academy’s Kinderschool environment. We received not only frequent newsletters and invitations to be part of current projects, but also each parent had an ongoing relationship with (each teacher). (Our daughter’s teacher) spoke to each of us at the end of the school day and also called or emailed us to stay connected. As a result of her welcoming spirit, the parents were able to form a community among themselves that provided ongoing support and encouragement to each of the families. The school environment was a place of belonging for everyone that entered there.
Within 30 seconds of having met one of the Kinderschool teachers, my husband and I decided the Oakville Academy for the Arts’ Kinderschool would be the right fit for our young son and our family. We were right. For a number of reasons, OAA’s Kinderschool program is very special. We can’t imagine a better program for a child’s first foray into education.
Students are taught all the academic skills to put them in good stead for Grade One. But, more importantly to us, students are being prepared for life-long learning through the school’s amazing child-centred, co-operative, Reggio Emilia-inspired approach, which not only fosters the children’s natural curiosity, but develops their confidence, compassion, problem-solving abilities and interpersonal skills.
Best of all, we feel our son has been cherished by all the truly gifted teachers and great support staff OAA is fortunate enough to employ. It has been wonderful to watch our son flourish as a young learner. The teachers – classroom, dance, and music – have enthusiastically recognized and nourished our son’s unique strengths and learning style, and have accommodated his challenges with thoughtful care, patience and compassion. Every parent I know who has a child in the program feels the same way about his or her own child’s experience…this program is really, really special!
In the classroom, children are free to be themselves, to learn at their own pace, discover their own interests and to soar to their unique potential. As a result…students are excited to come to class and eager to learn. One exceptional tactic … used to keep students’ interest is to teach within an overarching topic of study. For example, when (my daughter) suddenly became interested in the subject of outer space …(my daughter) asked if the class could learn more about space… (her teacher) creatively wove this theme into every subject from math to science to art for a whole month!
I feel fortunate to have had our two girls go through Preschool, Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten with the Oakville Academy for the Arts Kinderschool. With phenomenal teachers, our girls have learned confidence, creativity, discipline, respect, consideration and incredible knowledge. My girls grasped early printing, reading, basic math skills – also dance, music and a great exploration of the arts. Most importantly, the teachers established self confidence, value and self worth, early study habits, exposure to choice and self direction with a sense of openness. The general curriculum of the Kinderschool at Oakville Academy has established the roots to our children’s present educational journey. School and learning is a positive and even fun experience for our kids still today which I feel is because of their first early Kinderschool years.
Our daughter’s teacher was a keen observer. She knew our daughter very well. She would often recount something that our daughter said and did with such detail that I could almost imagine being there myself. She loved the uniqueness in each child and celebrated it. They discussed ethnic and ability differences openly in class. They celebrated each others’ holidays and important family events. She ran her classroom environment with enormous respect for each individual. This atmosphere encouraged an openness and tolerance in our daughter that is refreshing and hopeful in our world.
The Kinderschool program offered at the Oakville Academy has been a fantastic introduction to a classroom setting for our daughter. We have found the school offers a well-balanced program that has exposed her not only to the fundamental math and language components of education, it has enriched and opened her mind to art through painting or sculptures, crafts such as bridge building or map making, dance at the ballet classes, and music using percussion and woodwind instruments. As the class has progressed, the curriculum has progressed; new materials or ideas are constantly being introduced to stimulate the imagination and overall learning environment. The enthusiasm shown by her teachers for the educational development of the children is outstanding. We would recommend this program to any parent looking for an fun and exceptional learning environment for their child.