Personal Testimonies

Choosing a school can be a daunting task for a parent. At the end of grade 6, like most people, we had to seek out a new school. Since our daughter had attended Montessori from Kindergarten, our first choice was to investigate The Element High School at Lansdowne. A chance to attend the school for a day during Grade 6 allowed our daughter to make the decision for us. She came home saying “This is exactly where I want to go to school” and we can honestly say it has changed our lives.  The last thing anyone wants is to force their child to go to school.  So far for Grade 7 and 8 she has wanted to be the first to arrive and is almost the last to leave. They really do provide a program that considers the students stage of development.

The staff is exceptional and accepting of a variety of learning needs and provides an environment that is flexible enough to meet those needs. Their cooking program is by far one of the most essential skills all children should have an opportunity to experience.  From meal planning, shopping, cooking and serving they are preparing themselves for the real world. Our daughter is more engaged in the meal planning at home and provides us with tips on where to find the best prices and products for our menu. Her routine is not governed by a series of bells.  She receives instructions in all areas of the curriculum but has the opportunity to plan and organize her work through independent work periods. It is this balance between structure and freedom that allows her to take charge of her learning and incorporate and apply her interests to the subject matter.

I have never seen her more engaged in her learning and she accomplishes so much in her school day. She loves the outdoor space especially the opportunity to skate everyday in the winter if she chooses.  To our surprise, she had an awesome time on the Odyssey trips, which helped to establish friendships and build a strong school community.  What an awesome experience. She loves the bright, open concept classrooms, their quiet rooms, and the couches and chairs in the lobby to lounge or work in. Attending this school really does allow her to be in her element!

– Patricia Reilly, mother of current Grade 8 student

The transition from Grade 6 to Grade 7 represents a big change for our children at an important time of their lives. We thought our daughter would benefit significantly from smaller class sizes, a cohesive group of teachers, many of who get to progress with the children as they advance through their grades from 8 to 11 and a mix of independent and teacher-directed learning initiatives. The Element High School has delivered and surpassed our expectations in every regard.

We were impressed that the first week of “school” for students in Grades 7 and 8 was a multi day educational field trip experience which doubled as a true back country canoe trip. This allowed students and staff to get to know each other and also showed the students how to work as a team with their peers. The benefits of this experience surpass the purely educational and we have seen the life lessons learned in the real world to be evident in our daughter today.

Like many students, our daughter finds some studies such as mathematics to be challenging. The small class sizes and mix of teacher-directed and independent work periods has instilled a new confidence in her abilities to tackle even the most challenging of topics. She has realized that to succeed, she needs to work hard, but that with help that is available, no academic challenge is too great or insurmountable.

The Element High School also has a fresh, progressive approach to the traditional report card. Students are expected to interface with their teachers, discuss their strengths and weaknesses in all of their subjects and then communicate their progress to their parents in an official presentation including the student, parents and teachers during a face to face meeting.

We could go on and on with additional examples of how The Element High School has surpassed our expectations in areas of education, both academic and real world life lessons. Our choice of The Element High School for our daughter was the right one without a doubt.

If you are considering an alternate education path as compared to traditional public high school for your child, I highly recommend contacting The Element and arranging a time to come in and meet with the Directors and Staff. They will be better able to explain the school’s philosophies and show you what happens on a day to day basis.

– Hans and Penny Schroeder, parents of current Grade 8 student