I Wish I'd Had the Chance to Attend Blue Sky School - reflections of a Pioneer Parent


As parents, we are all looking for the perfect fit for our children. Whether it be the right school, dance class, instrument to play, soccer league, group of friends etc...We just want our children to be O.K., to feel safe, happy and engaged. To have positive self-esteem and feel part of a community. For them to know that they can make a difference in this ever changing world. I have been searching for a school that can provide this for my children for 7 years. I have finally found it. Blue Sky School.

I am a teacher myself. I have 20+ years of teaching experience. I have taught in both the private and public systems, as well as overseas, (Australia and U.S), JK/SK to grade 8, in inclusive classrooms to congregated gifted programs, and everything in between! I know all too well the struggles that we as educators have on a daily basis. There are so many enthusiastic teachers out there with hearts of gold who go home each night wondering what more they could have done...Unfortunately, it’s almost an impossible task to meet the needs (social, emotional and academic) of all our students these days. As an educator, I strive each day to provide my students with all that I can give, but as a mother, I have made it my mission to find the right school where my children will be able to access all these things I aspire for them to have.

Here are my top reasons I encourage you to send your child to BSS.

Blue Sky School is small. On the web page it says 1:12 ratio, but in actuality it’s probably more like 1:5 because there are so many coaches and guests and helpers! Small class sizes can greatly benefit development, especially in reading and math. The lower teacher/ student (coach/learner) ratio helps draw kids out of their shell and grow in confidence. Coaches have the ability to tailor lessons more specifically to learners. Fewer learners allow coaches to really get to know learners, their distinct learning styles and needs. More time with each learner means more time to address individual questions and explain difficult concepts.

There are opportunities every day for self-directed learning, which in my opinion is so important.  Coaches make sure that the learners set goals that are within reach, at the appropriate level for their ability. Learners are better able to learn when they can control the flow in their experience. For instance, my daughter wants to be a vet. Since joining BSS she has visited dog kennels, been given multiple opportunities to interact with animals and even takes different dogs for walks along the Trans-Canada Trail! Long term, if our children are to make the most of themselves in this fast-changing world, their competence as a self-directed learner is paramount to their success.

Blue Sky School focuses on supporting mental health and wellness and in so doing promotes positive self esteem. They encourage learners to take healthy risks. In many cases, the new age parenting style seems to be to rescue ones child from failure all the time. But how are our children supposed to learn if we as educators and parents never provide them with opportunities to learn from their failures? For me, my children need to learn how to solve their own problems just like we do as successful adults. At Blue Sky, learners are encouraged to take age-appropriate risks, make choices and solve problems. I am forever grateful that the coaches are helping the learners understand that struggles and failure will NOT hurt them, but that actually it’s a golden opportunity to help them improve!

Learners are encouraged to pursue their interests fully! They engage in passion projects! They are encouraged to stick with what they start, even if the course of direction changes. There is continuous reflection and then the feeling of accomplishment at the end!

Learners are empowered to believe that they too can become changemakers. My daughter is becoming a changemaker. WOW!  In such a short period of time, she has learned how to see a problem and shape it into a vision and then create an action-oriented path forward. My eleven-year-old is researching the negative effects fast food has on our bodies, the environment, and how these large franchises overpower the smaller family run businesses and how this invariably affects the choices of us as consumers.  WOW! 

She has learned so much about things that are current, real issues and is gaining confidence that awareness can precipitate change. 

My daughter is finally part of a community, the BLUE SKY SCHOOL COMMUNITY! As human beings, we need a sense of belonging, and that sense of belonging is what connects us to the many relationships we develop. My child is happy. My child is making connections. My child feels empowered.

I wish I had had the chance to attend Blue Sky School when I was school age. What an amazing experience that would have been. I am grateful and thankful that I can provide my children with this opportunity, with this investment in their future selves, and give them a chance to feel safe, happy, engaged.   To have positive self-esteem, feel  part of a community and  to know that  they can make a difference in this ever changing world.  

Thank you BLUE SKY SCHOOL for making this dream  of mine become a reality for my children.

-Alexandra Smith (parent of future changemaker)

Comments

  1. Alexandra, thank you for sharing your reflection and encouraging words! And thank you for sending your daughter to Blue Sky School!

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