Let me just be upfront: I’m a nerd. Like, a really, really super-big N-E-R-D.
I’ve always loved school — so much so, that when I was in high school, I went to both summer school and night school. Not because I had to, because I wanted to. I could have graduated more than a year earlier because of all the extra credits I had.
I did the same thing in university one summer, because I was there for extracurriculars and I wanted to learn.
I’ve always said that if we won the lottery, the second thing I’d do is go back to school. (The first, obviously, would be a ridiculously over-the-top trip with our families.)
So, school is important to me; and it’s important that I foster a deep love of learning and persistent curiosity in my kids. Because I don’t want them to feel like school and homework are chores. I want them to genuinely love it like I did.
If you read about my son’s early reading struggles, you’ll know that our Oxford Learning experience has been a game-changer. He went from being a nearly six year old who could read at a JK level, to being a nearly seven year old who has not only caught up but now surpassed his expected reading level for grade one. His confidence is over the moon and his personality is out in full force when he’s at Oxford because he’s so darn comfortable there. It’s really been a gift.
Like I said in my last review, I always planned to put the kids in Oxford’s summer program.
So, here we are. It’s summer. And this time it was Miss Q’s turn to have a placement test so the team could assess her academic and cognitive strengths and weaknesses and develop her customized learning plan.
This summer, both of my kids will be in the R.E.A.D. Elite program. If you’ve been with Oxford over the years, it’s similar to the well-known Little Readers program in that it’s designed for kids who are age three to six, with R.E.A.D. Elite designed for those going into grade two (so some kids will actually be nearly or just seven) and Little Readers designed to end in grade one.
How the redesigned program differs makes all the difference for people with busy lives.
Above all else, the class times are more flexible — R.E.A.D. Elite programs are offered for one hour, 1.5 hours or two hours depending on location and the demand in specific centres. During the school year, at our Courtice location, it’s 1.5 hours long to accommodate full-day kindergarteners and stretches to two hours in the summer to allow for extra academic time when kids are not in school. For anyone who’s ever tried to get anything done while kids are at activities, you know two hours is GOLD. You could actually do a full grocery shop, get a mani-pedi, go home and do a load (maybe two!) of laundry, meet a friend for a whole meal of food or return that thing that’s been in your trunk for the last two months. And do it without risking a speeding ticket.
I also love that the weekday schedule is far more flexible, too, at least at our local location (other locations may be different). Little Readers was on a strict twice-weekly schedule out here and if it didn’t work with your other activities, you were pretty much pooched. Now you can choose two weekdays — morning or afternoon sessions — that suit YOU. This works so well for us this summer because it’ll give my parents a two-hour break on one of the days they babysit for me, and give me a two-hour break on one of my days off.
That two hours is broken up with a couple of breaks — one of which involves a fan favourite: snack time.
- Little Readers is only offered in English, whereas R.E.A.D. Elite is also available in French
- Little Readers assessment only offers a placement guide where the R.E.A.D. Elite assessment involves measuring oral vocabulary, a placement guide as well as auditory and visual discrimination
- Little Readers allows for more “play time” where as R.E.A.D. Elite is more focused on academics
- Little Readers student-to-teacher ratios can vary depending on whether a centre is licensed under the Day Nurseries Act, while R.E.A.D. Elite ratios are always 6:1
Miss Q will be starting with the Level 2 R.E.A.D. Elite planner at her first session tomorrow. I’m excited to see her progression over the summer — and stay tuned for a recap post in August where I’ll share everything.
Because, of course, that’s what I do.