Our son started going to Building Blocks in September 2003. He went 3 mornings in the Preschool setting and 2 mornings in the Kindergarten setting. This was what was decided by ourselves and the staff members, since our son has special needs and was at the age to attend Kindergarten but was, in certain areas, intellectually at the Preschool level. It was important to us to have our son with his peers, but we still had to acknowledge his delays. The staff at Building Blocks helped in both areas. They adapted the Kindergarten work to his level. He learned his alphabet (both upper and lower case), the sounds that each letter makes, and recognized his numbers to 20, by the end of this school year. He has been included in everything, from daily routines to Christmas and end of school concerts. He has been taught how to be just one of the kids! In order to keep our son’s academics up, we chose to keep him in Building Blocks for the smaller teacher/student ratio, 3 afternoons a week, even though he is attending a public school in the mornings (a decision we made so our son could learn the school routines before starting Grade 1). The staff continues to encourage him to try the difficult tasks, in a non-threatening way. Without Building Blocks, we feel our son would not be as far advanced as he is. We have nothing but praise for the school and all involved. The only thing we want to know is “WHY DON’T YOU TEACH HIGHER GRADES?”!!!
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My name is Susan Huys. I am the mother of Jenna who is 9 years old and Evan who is 6. I am a teacher with the Peel District School Board with over 10 years of experience teaching Junior Kindergarten to Grade 5. My husband and I are both professionals who take our job as parents very seriously and, like many of you here tonight, we strive to make the best decisions possible for our family. I offered to speak to you tonight because I only wish that there had been someone with experience that could have explained to me the benefits of having a child attend the Building Blocks kindergarten program.
I’ll start off by telling you our story. When our daughter Jenna was 3 we brought her to Building Blocks for the preschool program. We loved everything Building Blocks had to offer. At the end of the school year we struggled with the decision whether to keep Jenna at Building Blocks for JK or to send her to our neighborhood school. After much deliberation we decided to send her to our neighborhood school. Our main reasons were that we wanted Jenna to go to school with her friends from our neighborhood, at the time I was a stay-at-home mom and financially it would be a stretch and we felt that academically the school could provide Jenna with all that she would need to succeed.
Unfortunately, we were extremely disappointed in what our public school offered Jenna in terms of a comprehensive Kindergarten program. The program was disjointed and ineffective in how it was delivered, the ratio of student to teacher was high and there lacked the personal touch each young child needs in order to grow academically as well as socially.
After our experience with Jenna, it was a very easy decision to have our second child, Evan, attend Building Blocks for preschool, junior and senior kindergarten. My husband and I consider this one of the best decisions we have made for our family. I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you what I think makes the Kindergarten program at Building Blocks such a phenomenal success. The low teacher to student ratio (1 to 10 in Junior Kindergarten and 1 to 12 in Senior) enables the teachers to get to know the children and the children to get the one-to-one attention that they need to succeed at this age. The experienced and nurturing teachers work with each child’s strengths and weaknesses to help them to experience success. The “Jolly Phonics” program is an excellent program and it is taught in such an effective way that all children develop the skills necessary to read and write. Through the combination of pencil to paper work, small and large group activities and free play time the children blossom academically and socially. Early study habits are developed which will stay with the children as they go through their years of schooling and each child’s self esteem and confidence levels soar as they experience success in the Kindergarten program.
Evan is now in Grade 1 at our neighbourhood school and he is excelling beyond belief. He is an enthusiastic learner who loves to read, write and do math. When his grade 1 teacher repeatedly comments on what a confident and capable learner Evan is, my response is always the same – Building Blocks!
In closing I would like to say that many parents feel that their neighborhood school can provide an appropriate Kindergarten program for their child so why would they even consider Building Blocks. Through experience I can tell you that there are some public schools that offer a half decent Kindergarten program but none can begin to compare with Building Blocks – not even close. The early years of school are crucial to a child’s development and there is no doubt that Building Blocks offers the best Kindergarten program possible. The staff at Building Blocks have the children’s and families’ best interests in mind and it is evident in all that they do on a daily basis. Thank you for your time and I hope that through relaying our family’s experience at Building Blocks it will make your decision that much easier.Susan Huys