My son just graduated from Grade 8 and has spent 8 years at Dearcroft. When I think of Dearcroft, I think of a well-rounded education, a great Montessori curriculum, a family and community, a supportive inclusive environment, gifted, caring and dedicated teachers, a wonderful and caring administrator, beautiful and crafted outdoor grounds and well thought and designed indoor (middle school room) environment, truly passionate directors.
All said, it all sounds wonderful, but what matters is who my son has become, a happy, thoughtful, confident, inquisitive, caring human being with a broad knowledge of the World and Canada from its beginnings and throughout history and its current issues. Dearcroft has nurtured his care for the environment and our world and its people. Dearcroft has instilled in him the love of learning and he is a pretty independent learner. Most importantly he has kept his curiosity and imagination intact which I believe is innate in all children.
Yes, he has a solid understanding of math, English and grammar and the core subjects learned in a concrete level in the earlier years and more applied and abstract understanding in the latter years but not in isolation or as units but with a broad view and with a connected understanding of them as part of a whole taught thru an integrated curriculum.
The last two years Grade 7 and 8 has been a culmination of all the previous years as it all has come together and my son has consolidated his knowledge. Two of the best things in West Wind are the independent study projects thru which my son has acquired incredible research and formal essay writing skills, with a solid foundation on independent learning and strong study habits and along the way has learned study strategies to make him a better learner. The second is Expedition education which is a labour of love from the part of Gord Phippen and the teachers, the amount of effort and work to prepare these trips translates into amazing learning experiences that will last a lifetime for our children. My son has truly experience Canada’s beauty and its history, geography, society, its people, First Nations, FIRST HAND, he has been there. They have been to every capital city, almost every province, countless of museums, terrains, climates, met incredible people from all walks of life along the way, the list goes on. They have travel in planes, trains and motorhomes. They have slept in hotels, motels, lodges and tents. They also have a world view as they have tackled issues such as poverty, conflicts, climate change having participated in the Model United Nations in New York.
I am excited for Dearcroft and its future because in the past 8 years I have seen the school grow and get better and better, from improvements to the outdoor grounds to the ideas that is shaping its students. I consider Dearcroft is a forward thinking school that is always evolving and reshaping itself to meet the demands of an ever changing world and dedicated teachers and staff that just want to get and do better and better and they have.