We are so proud of our Kindergarten educators and we love all of our Kindergarten families. Choosing a school is a big decision. Below you may read a letter from the parent of two JK Griffiins. (scroll to read all)
My name is Natalie Bondy and I’m the Mom to twin boys, Ethan & Evan, who started in JK at AV Graham this year. Our experience with both in-school and remote learning has been fantastic. If you have a child starting kindergarten in 2021, definitely consider AVG – you’ll be warmly welcomed into the Griffin family.
One of my sons had a really hard time regulating his emotions. At daycare, he’d hit, bite and throw tantrums out of frustration. When it came time to look at kindergarten programs, we considered everything available to us; all school boards, even private schools. What really was noticeable at AV Graham when we had our visit and tour last year (which was led by 2 wonderful Grade 8 Student Ambassadors by the way), was how HAPPY all the kids were – and I just had this certainty in my heart that AV Graham was the place for them, especially for my little guy who struggles. I saw this school as the best match for him because, beyond anything else, I just wanted him to LIKE school and be GLAD to be there.
In a very short amount of time, I’ve seen both my boys improve and grow so much. The Early Years team really focuses on teaching about the “zones” to help little ones understand how to manage their feelings – so my boys learned how to calm themselves when they were in the red and settle themselves when they were in the yellow zone. Even at home, they can tell me when they need help to be calm now. They also use a visual schedule that helped them get familiar with the routine of the school day and how they move from one activity to the next – super-helpful for my son who gets overwhelmed with transitions.
Let me tell you, there were some rough days at first. With the pandemic and so much isolation with just our immediate family, we had some serious separation anxiety going on – for them and for me. The Early Years team was able to help us all through it – even figuring out what was best for drop-off and pick-up so our boys would be able to start their days happy and ready to learn.
With my other son, I’ve seen him become more confident and able to express himself. I see him using what he’s learned at school – he’s always asking us, “Do you have any questions?” “What do you wonder about that?” And, when you really think about it, this is just so awesome. I want my little guys to be good thinkers and curious boys who can’t wait to find out more about the things that get them excited (like penguins or trucks rolling down ramps or building a cruise ship out of Lego).
Helping them with online learning at home has been an eye-opener for me, I see how these educators set up the learning – they get their energy out with some DPA (daily physical activity), get them prepped for the learning with some mindfulness activities (we do fish breathing, usually) and then dig into the lesson. They always give us lots of ideas on how to carry on the learning on our own later – we’ve done scavenger hunts, built habitats, danced, completed experiments, created artworks and had lots of sharing with their whole class in Edsby. These educators truly get how my kids learn (hands on) and what it takes to keep them engaged and having fun. And the sharing keeps us all connected – we’ve been learning at home but they still get to see their friends and teachers every day.
It has been so wonderful being truly involved in my boys’ learning. Mrs. Cowell uses Twitter to share what’s happening and we look at her posts at home and have really good conversations about what they did. When I look at the big picture, I see a lot of careful and thoughtful preparation taking place with the planning. I see the emphasis on nurturing their curiosity by following what they’re interested in. I see the importance of fine and gross motor development with the activities that range from cutting with scissors to using their whole bodies to show action patterns or follow dance steps. I see opportunities for play and learning at the same time. I see my boys being encouraged to take risks, to try new things, to try again when they make a mistake and to not give up. I see the Early Years team working so hard – answering our questions on Edsby, sharing their own stories, modelling how to learn about technology and using a wealth of strategies with our children.
At AVG, my children are growing – emotionally, cognitively and socially. But, most importantly, they are happy and they really like school – and that’s exactly the start to their learning journey my husband and I wanted for them. In our current pandemic, with all this global uncertainty, it has been a consistent ray of sunshine for our family that our boys have such an experienced team of caring educators to give them this great start – no matter what the circumstances. What will stick with them about this year will be the idea that learning is fun- they will remember that – and the relationships they’ve made with their educators and friends.
Mrs. Cowell, Mrs. Lamb & Ms. Kennedy – we all adore you and are very thankful for all you’re doing to inspire our boys! Thank you so much!