“Dad, why did you waste my time at the last two schools?” These were my daughter’s exact words. She is one of my two children at Andrews Preparatory. Her brother is in Grade 3 and she is in Grade 5.
Enrolling our children at Andrews Preparatory was a temporary measure while we looked for a traditional school at which our children would get quality education. My wife wanted a school that taught Christian values and produced good grades. I wanted a school that taught our children how to learn. For me grades were not a big deal. Only the quality of learning skills mattered, the most.
My wife and I did not know anything about the ACE curriculum that is taught at Andrews Preparatory School. A meeting with Caryn left me fascinated by it, but my wife had more questions and doubt. Although she liked the Christianity bit, she did not see ACE delivering the grades.
Meanwhile, our daughter was struggling with the new way of learning. The absence of teacher driven lessons, setting her own study goals and taking responsibility for attaining the goals was different in a radical way. We also did not know how to assist her. The apparent lack of classroom teaching frustrated us. It felt like our daughter was at a distance learning center. We wondered why we had to pay for tuition when our child was doing everything on her own, or so it seemed.
The turning point was when I attended the one-day ACE Parental Orientation class, conducted by Caryn. “A day in the life of an ACE student” is an apt description of that day. We were taught to learn how our children learn. Let me say this again. Caryn did not teach us how our children did their learning. No. On our own, we learnt how they were learning. Caryn just facilitated the process. I shared my experience with my wife and we agreed to keep our children at Andrews Academy, a decision we will never regret.
It’s close to a year now and there are so many positive changes in our children’s academics. My wife’s favorite is that the children have taken ownership of their learning. It is fascinating to hear the children explaining how and when they will finish ‘x’ numbers of PACEs. Whenever they have homework or a project, they are self-motivated to complete it without us nagging, because they are clear about what they want to achieve. This is a clear demonstration of the initiative and self-direction skill. The end-of-day school run is a daily special time because of the reflective updates we get during the drive home. The quality of conversations is a clear indicator of recently acquired critical thinking skills and communication skills. We are excited by their clever questions, either on something they don’t know or when they are testing us parents on what they are learning. The goal and reward system in place since the last two terms has pushed them to work harder so that they don’t miss out. We are amazed how little things like ice cream, doughnuts and a half day off school can do to a child’s motivation.
Andrews Preparatory School equips children with learning skills, productive work ethics and Christian values. Without doubt, these are the most important ingredients for a complete and successful life. We are thankful to Caryn and her team for the sterling job.