How we chose a school board

The decisions you have to make when becoming a parent are overwhelming. There are no perfect answers, only ones that are the best fit for your child and your family.

When deciding on a school board for our kids, my husband and I weigh out all the factors. We visited schools, scoured school board websites, discussed with family and friends, and assessed our own experiences when growing up. 

We started the discussions when our first born was ready for daycare. My mother in law watched him from the age of one to two, and spoke to him in English and Italian. He would then come home to us, where I would infuse Arabic into the everyday chats. When choosing a daycare in French, it was daunting to think that our baby could take on yet another language. 

We truly believed that a new language is a gift we could give to our kids, however, and not surprisingly he picked up French in no time. Within a couple months, he was speaking French in full sentences.

Choosing the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) as a school board was an easy decision and the next logical step. Not only did family members already attend the CECCE school in our neighbourhood, the École élémentaire catholique Laurier Carrière, we had met with the staff and were impressed. They reassured us that although French was not our first language, they would work with our children to ensure they didn’t fall behind. 

We also discussed at great lengths the topics of religion and diversity. Although it is a catholic school board and catholicism is taught in the curriculum, it is done with a worldly view of openness and inclusion. 

Social and world events were also considered and taken into account many times in the school year, with many hard topics being covered and discussions encouraged. Our school has a very active parent association that liaises with the school and the CECCE to reflect needs and concerns. One of the biggest things that will stay with me forever is when our school took on many Syrian refugees speaking only Arabic. It was absolutely heartwarming to see a call go out to parents asking for Arabic speaking volunteers to help with their transition. One of the teachers in our school really stepped and volunteered many of her personal hours ensuring that the families had everything they needed to achieve academic success. As an Arabic speaking person, I have now made friends with some of these families and our children have wonderful friendships. Something I take great pride in.

When the pandemic hit, it was extremely hard for all families, and school aged children. The school board immediately sent out resources for parents, and championed a campaign reassuring the children it would be alright. With the mantra “Ça va bien aller” (everything will be alright), not only were classes and academic resources moved to a virtual environment, the board and teachers were quick to also share resources on mental health for both parents and children. Websites, professionals and seminars were put on to address some of the challenges that we were facing.

We are now 3 kids and 14 years into the CECCE. Of course our kids have run into obstacles and difficult times, but the overall care and guidance that they have received has been so appreciated. The École élémentaire catholique Laurier-Carrière has been a wonderful elementary experience for our kids and my husband and I alike.

If you are considering the CECCE as a school board, I encourage you to check out their website. This Fall, they will be offering 3 learning approaches in Junior and Senior Kindergarten to choose from based on you and your child’s comfort and needs. Registration is still open for the 2021-2022 school year. 

Bonne chance à toutes et à tous!

Note: I have been hired by the CECCE for part of their online campaign, but every word in this blog is my opinion based on our family’s genuine experience.

Alessia’s first day of school. She was so excited to follow in her sibling and cousin’s footsteps.
Babes walking to the bus stop together for their first day of school all together. It brought us such comfort in knowing that they were headed to a school they all loved.
Doing one of the many games that the teachers sent when we went into virtual school.
The slogan the school board came up with was “ca va bien aller (it will be alright)”, and the school encouraged the kids to draw rainbows and put them in the window for the whole community to see.
When she graduated from Laurier Carriere during the pandemic, the teachers (one in particular) stayed up all night to make a covid safe graduation display for the kids.

Our middle child made many cards to thank her teachers throughout the school year. This one in particular was very helpful in teaching her to not give up on reading in French.

Note: I have been hired by the CECCE for part of their online campaign, but every word in this blog is my opinion based on our family’s genuine experience.

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