Our three boys have attended ICS for the past eight years, when our first started kindergarten in 2006.
When we started looking for a school for our eldest, we wanted something small and community-based. While chatting with a friend one day, I learned that you didn’t have to be Catholic to attend ICS, so we added it to the list of possible schools for our sons. Then at a preschool parent education night, there was a panel of representatives from local schools that included Sue Dvorak from ICS. She was so warm and inviting and said two things that stuck with me, “At ICS, if you try out for the team, you make it” and described ICS as a “faith-based community”. I immediately felt drawn to the school as an inclusive place where our religious values would be fostered in our children. We applied and got a kindergarten spot for the following September.
We have never looked back. It has been a wonderful faith-based learning environment for our boys and an anchor to the Dunbar community. It is small enough that you get to know everyone; its own little village. I love that the church and school are connected and that religion and religious values are woven into the curriculum. I love that God and Jesus are everyday words and not taboo in the educational setting. I love that every day starts with prayer.
Academically, I think the teachers put extra effort into teaching the curriculum in creative ways that include field trips, art projects, themed-based units and raising social consciousness through outreach. French is taught from kindergarten onwards and our second son is excited about learning the guitar in music class next year.
Our boys are anchored in the traditions of the school year: the walkathon, the book fair, the Christmas fair, the Chow and Cha Cha, to name a few. They enjoy the predictability of having events to look forward to year after year.
I have two favourite school events. First of all, the Christmas fair. We shine! All the best of us is shared with the community. I love seeing the high school kids that have graduated from ICS who come back to volunteer. It’s fun to welcome neighbours and friends into the school. Most of all, it’s a great way to get to know fellow parents as we come together to make it all happen.
My other favourite event is the Mass on the last day of school. The first year I attended, it was with some trepidation. I’d never been to a Catholic Mass. I loved it and felt very welcomed, just as our boys have been welcomed and never made to feel like outsiders. To this day, eight years later, I always take the last morning of school off work to be there, to join in song and prayer as Father Paul blesses the students heading off on summer vacation.
Our little blue school has been and will continue to be a wonderful educational haven for our boys in the midst of a big and busy world; a safe place where they can truly grow in knowledge and the love of God.