Tall Pines School Complaint - Private School in Brampton, Ontario. After 3 years at Tall Pines School in Brampton we left in disgust. This school gets a D- rating from us!
The first 2 years were fine, our child was in Toddlers with great staff running that department. Everything changed in Casa (kindergarten). We noticed our child had a complete change in attitude with respect to school. Thinking it may not be the best match with those teachers, we requested a move to another classroom. This is when we first dealt with the head of the Casa Department. We were not impressed. We were made to feel the problem was on our end and they were doing us a favor by granting our request. We were specifically told by her NOT to speak to other parents about it. So of course I asked around. I found there had been similar issues and requests to move children from that classroom.
I did like the new teachers personally but they didn't seem well-equipped to deal effectively with a child who was now unhappy and defiant about school. The teachers told us on several occasions if they didn't ask our child to do anything the day went well. We disagreed with that approach but they continued. With one of the teachers gone several months into the year and various people filling in, its understandable that the remaining teacher felt overwhelmed with 30 students. However, if they let a child do whatever they want, they had no cause to complain later about behavior.
They also kept recommending the latest parenting books. And they were implementing the techniques from the books on the fly in the classroom, they told me. I was quite skeptical. One thing they suggested and were practicing in the classroom, was the direct opposite of what I was advised by a person who is actually trained and accredited in the school district to work with young children.
Things went from bad to worse by the end of the year. Our child was labeled a behavior problem and excluded from class activities. At one point, the head of the Casa Dept swooped in, took my child aside where I couldn't hear what she was saying. I asked what was going on and she said my child understood. Understood what?! From the deceptive smile on her face, even I didn't understand. What my child did understand was next being pushed out the door, just "in case" they were a problem during the upcoming activity. I was furious! If it was such a problem, the first thing they should have done was ask me to attend. I can't imagine how someone so out of touch with children could hold a position in charge of so many. I spoke to the owner of the school and once again, it was our fault, not the school. I told them we had concerns and were researching other schools. We wanted to make sure we were doing the best for our child. Apparently she took it personally because after the year was over we got a letter in the mail saying they agreed it was not the right program for our child. She actually seemed angry, which was evident when I spoke to her about my surprise in receiving the letter without even the courtesy of discussion, only to have her tell me that since I was looking for other schools I should go call one of those schools! At $10K/year, I think a parent has every right to question their services.
Afterwards I found out a few things. First, neither the teachers nor administrators running private schools are required by law to have any special training, unlike public schools where there is a set standard. When I paid for private school I believed I was getting highly trained and specialized staff. Not necessarily so. Fortunately for private schools that are poorly run, they have the luxury of weeding out anyone that may challenge inadequately trained staff so they can look relatively capable on paper.
Its not unusual for young children to go through stages of defiance, especially in the midst of changes that don't agree with them. Rather than constantly putting the blame on us and saying our child had behavioral problems, the school should have referred us to professionals to dispense the advice and diagnosis. One thing was apparent; they were no experts! Tall Pines recommended a small class size and specialized schooling. That was all false and we paid no attention because by that point we realized it was only to deflect blame from them for their mistakes. And sure enough, it turned out, all that was necessary to solve the problem was to be away from Tall Pines.
Now at another school, we're doing wonderfully. I researched the new school and asked a lot of questions this time! Our child was reported as very bright in a number of areas and we're now able to take advantage of those gifts in a positive school environment. When I've mentioned missing or wanting to go back to the old school, our child screams "NO!" and gets very agitated. Our child is loving school and excited about going and participating. And there are no longer any "behavioral issues". When I see the difference between the schools and the effectiveness of the teachers, I regret ever putting my faith in Tall Pines.
I would not recommend Tall Pines School to anyone and I hope parents researching schools online read this and are better informed than we were at the start. I felt the administrators were untrustworthy, financially motivated and did not have my child's best interests in mind. Parents need to research schools and ASK QUESTIONS rather than assume, as we did, that the school provides adequately trained teachers just because you're paying thousands of dollars. Watch your child for cues that the school is not meeting their needs. Trust your feelings and your child's reactions. Problems at school may be systemic rather than an issue with your child.
A VERY dissatisfied parent, formerly of Tall Pines School, Brampton, Ontario.