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  • I’ve read through the website and think Brookstone’s educational philosophy sounds great! But how does it compare to other school’s approaches in terms of how my child will learn?
    There are elements of how Brookstone educates its students that are similar to traditional systems. For example, we follow a well balanced schedule to ensure we are offering learning in all subjects as per the Ontario curriculum, we plan, assess, evaluate and report on learning units and offer direct whole class instruction when appropriate. How we differ is in the personalised and differentiated approach our teachers can take with their students’ learning, thanks in part to our low student-teacher ratio. Engaging small group work, student-interest based projects, cooperative learning, hands-on, experiential learning are all offered on a daily basis at Brookstone, in direct response to the needs of individual students. Having access to these varied types of learning experiences also allows us to encourage and develop deep “thinking” skills in our students. As Einstein said, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think”. At Brookstone students don’t just learn facts and skills, they learn how to apply these facts and skills to discover and create new knowledge in a meaningful way while investigating concepts with a high degree of depth and breadth.
  • How will I know my child is progressing as they should be?
    With our low (8 to 1) student to teacher ratio, our teachers can get to know their students' needs and interests and monitor their learning achievements in a comprehensive way. Rather than use a traditional grading system to evaluate a student’s work, the meaningful teacher feedback that is given instead provides a wealth of information about a student’s true ability. Using a proficiency scale, a student’s learning is communicated in a report three times a year in December, March and June. We also use standardized assessments to measure progress in the acquisition of basic Math and Language skills three times a year in October, February and May. To gather evidence of learning, our teachers are continually assessing their students’ learning through a triangulation of data. This means that as well as using “products” the students have completed (assignments, projects, quizzes etc.. ) to assess learning, teachers also use their observations, anecdotal notes and conversations and conferences they have with their students about their knowledge and understanding. This allows for a detailed, precise and accurate picture of what has been learned. Teachers also communicate about what is being learned and student progress on a regular basis via a user friendly communication app called SPACES, by email, phone calls or our favourite, in person meetings and are available for a chat anytime.
  • “What” is my child learning at Brookstone exactly? Is the Ontario Curriculum used?
    Yes! In addition to a number of other resources that enhance, enrich and support the Ontario Curriculum, we do use the Ontario Curriculum expectations as a reference and guide in our programming. This way we can ensure that students are learning the fundamental skills expected for each grade level. However, as each child’s program is individualized to their skill levels and interests, programs will differ from one child to another. With this individualization students are met where they are in every subject so are not constrained by grade levels when they should be moving ahead or overwhelmed by work that they are not quite ready for. As such, many students have programs in which they are working at differing grade levels in each subject. The overarching goal is always to fill in gaps wherever they may be to get them up to grade level in all subjects and then engage in enrichment for those at or beyond grade level and that are ready.
  • Will my child have difficulty or be behind if/when they enter the public system?
    As we use the Ontario Curriculum as a guide at all grade levels, students will be able to enter or reenter the public school system seamlessly after being educated at Brookstone from an academic standpoint. Far from being “behind”, as we focus on the development of thinking skills as noted above in the explanation of how the learning happens, students should be able to enter any system and do very well. Depending on which system they transfer to, not having access to as much enriching, personalized curriculum and hands on experiential learning, may take some getting used to, but in terms of their thinking and learning skills most student’s should leave us ahead of the game, with a greater understanding of themselves as learners and new levels of confidence in their abilities.
  • Will my child be adequately prepared for high school?
    As all students are learning skills consistent with expectations in the Ontario curriculum throughout the years, academically students will be very well prepared for success in high school. In addition to being prepared with the knowledge required for success, students graduate from Brookstone as thinkers, meaning in addition to retaining new information, they can apply and work with this knowledge, evaluate information and create new knowledge. They can think critically and creatively, problem solve, collaborate and communicate their thinking and think outside the box. These are the skills that are essential for success in high school, not to mention life in the world today, and will equip students to handle the workload and varying pressures of high school and beyond, navigate any challenges they are presented with and successfully advocate for themselves when needed.
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