From the Parents
The Okonsky Family
Our son does a mix of kindergarten at First Steps and Beyond and also attends full-day kindergarten at public school on alternate days. Within the first few days at First Steps and Beyond it was clear to us that we had made an excellent choice. His teacher is an absolute gem and an exceptional person. She is warm, kind, encouraging and the classroom energy that she creates is nothing short of amazing. When you walk into the classroom, there are science experiments going on, games, so much wonder, imagination, fun, colours, excitement and positive energy. It is obvious that a huge amount of time, care and consideration is put into creating the very best environment for the kids to learn in. It's not my intention to put any one else down or system, but we haven't seen this in the public school that our son attends. It's not that it is bad, but our experience hasn't been to this high level. Our son immediately came home with projects and "take-homes" in his backpack that made us say "wow!" Things like personalized games for where he is at (ie: sight word games), building sentences, writing words and drawing corresponding pictures. We see an excitement for learning in our son on the days he attends First Steps. He is engaged and excited to go to school. The environment has a warmth, and from our first day we felt welcome and that our son and us, as a family, are important to all of the teachers there. We instantly were treated with kindness and felt like an extended family, on the same team and with the same goals.
As a parent, I'm exhausted from the endless choices that I need to make for my child every day. Some of the choices feel monstrous, when they are to do with his education and essentially choosing the people that will be in his tribe to shape the person he will become. In my journey as a parent, I've found that I've needed to continually adjust my expectations and that it hasn't been realistic to set my hopes so high of what I want for my child. I've heard comments like "no one will treat your child as well as you do" or "that's a dream world to have that." First Steps & Beyond has been a rare experience where my hope and expectations have been in line with what we've seen and experienced. I am very grateful that this school and these teachers exist! I would highly recommend them. It's a powerful thing, when the dream you vision for your child and the environment for them to learn in, is attainable.
The Constable Family
“We have a lot of respect for the level of effort seen upon each visit at your wonderful establishment since Cleopatra and Nikita have been attending. Their interest in letters and word recognition have peaked, their ability to write, especially Cleopatra’s capability on holding crayons amazes me. The girls also have excelled with their speech performance lately. Your resourcefulness along with your talents reflects in the children. We’re amused with all the crafts, such adorable ideas! We love to display them as soon as we arrive home. After only 3 months in preschool thus far, we’re looking forward to more advancement, and we thank you for your continued support with the development of our children.”
“This is Zackary’s first year at First Steps and Beyond. He is our first child to attend this program and he won’t be the last. I am truly happy that I did my research and chose this school. The small class size and the opportunity to learn in a safe and caring environment were the primary reasons we chose this Pre-K class. The teachers are really involved, the school is clean and safe and Zack can’t wait to get to school each day! Music with Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Stasyk is by far far his favourite part of the day. He is constantly coming home and singing me the songs that he learned in class. I have already noticed that Zack is recognizing more letters than before. He is rhyming words and getting so much better with his counting. Zack also enjoys science, from learning about planets to making goop and science projects outside. He loved learning about the arctic, igloos and penguins. I am amazed at the rate of his learning. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the school year brings.”
Janel and Dan Boomer
“Since starting at First Steps & Beyond Eva has completely come out of her shell. She loves going to school to see her friends and teachers. We are always amazed at how much she has learned and how independent she has become. She is proud of being able to sign her name and most recently started reciting her phone number. Eva’s vocabulary has grown as well as having better pronunciation. We strongly feel that choosing this preschool was the right decision for our daughter. We look forward to next year in Pre-K.”
“As a mother, and teacher myself, I wanted my daughter’s schooling to begin on a high note; an introduction to the rest of her school career where she wasn’t just a number. Being that class sizes are quite large, in some cases reaching numbers in the high twenties for Kindergarten, I was most concerned with my child receiving the best possible start, both socially and academically.
When I was initially introduced to First Steps and Beyond, I had heard of it while volunteering for the Kids’ Help Phone. A few months later I noticed their exhibit at the Family Expo in the Westerner. After learning more about the school and following an orientation visit, where my daughter was able to join a class for a day, my husband and I chose to enroll her for pre-kindergarten.
My daughter can be quite shy at times and, like me, she gets anxious of new situations, yet her first day of pre-kindergarten was exciting and fun! She came home talking about how much fun school was! In a class of 8 for pre-kindergarten my daughter was not only making new friends, but also striving academically, receiving the one-on-one attention when she needed it. This environment built up her confidence, where risk-taking could be fostered. As her parent, I saw her grow and love school!
Now, she is in the Enhanced Kindergarten program, and also attends the before and after school care. She is always excited to get to school early to help out and set up the classroom. My daughter absolutely loves the teachers in the building and has formed a relationship with all of them. She comes home excited to share her projects and read her books!
As a teacher, I wanted my daughter to be exposed to a positive school environment from the beginning in hopes that her school career would begin how it has now – her loving school and being excited to learn, both socially and academically. As a mother, I wanted her to be able to build her confidence and become more sure of herself and her decisions. With the one-on-one attention, small class sizes, and caring staff my hopes have become a reality.
Thank you to the staff at First Steps and Beyond for caring for my daughter and providing a safe and caring place for her to learn.”