Lower Canada College

Lower Canada College (LCC) truly lives up to their motto: Non Nobis Solum/Not For Ourselves Alone, which means instilling a sense of responsibility and accountability in their students, and ensuring that everyone has the chance to make a difference in the lives of others, locally or on a global level. Dawn Levy is the Director of Enrolment and Communications, and Alison Wearing is the Junior School Director – together they filled in MList readers on why LCC is so vested in the well-rounded development of its student body. This is especially true of their Junior School students, where their focus is on ensuring they get the best starts in their academic careers.

What makes LCC stand apart from other private schools?

Levy: Our mission is to develop the fullest potential of every child in mind, body and heart. That is our promise to parents. What differentiates us is our outlook – it’s a combination of factors and all boils down to the LCC CORE- Community, Opportunity, Resources, and a culture of Excellence.

Tell us about the community aspect of the school.

Levy: There are many facets – we’re a family school, we have many schools within a larger school, but each has its own leadership, and we have active parent and alumni communities, which are very important to who we are as a school. From the moment the child enters the school to being a graduate, the relationship with that individual and extended family is important. We recently launched LowerCanadaConnect, an online centre with alumni to communicate with one another and help one another with mentorship and jobs. So, things here extend beyond graduation.

What is the opportunity part of your mission?

Levy: We’re very fortunate to offer a breadth of opportunities, regardless of age and stage of life. We’re able to offer age-appropriate activities and scaffold these opportunities so they build upon one another, all contributing to the growth and development of the child. It’s about learning beyond the academic classroom. We offer membership in international organizations, coding, math, leadership opportunities, environmentalism, a ton of stuff for students who can become involved and try. And it’s okay to not like something or be good at something, but we want them to grow and develop through the variety and selection of opportunities available.

Why does LCC pride itself on its resources?

Levy: When people come to LCC, they’re very impressed by the campus, but our number-one resource is our teachers. We have an ongoing philosophy of professional development whereby teachers are encouraged and expected to continue to grow and improve their practice. We are not a school that rests on its laurels and we’re not married to always doing things the same way. We’re looking to grow and expand and improve all the time.

Beyond the teachers there’s also an amazing support staff in place to support the children in their learning as well.  

We’re really a family here, committed to supporting the students.

And how does LCC promote excellence?

Levy: We go beyond excellence in terms of curricular development, and we are trying to instill this in students as well, to be the best you can be. We want our students to discover who they are, cultivate what they have within them, and try to develop other facets of themselves as part of the journey. This helps us to realize our mission.

Tell us about the student life of the Junior School at LCC.

Wearing: Our Junior School offers leadership activities for Grades 5 and 6 – these clubs are run by teachers and with a student representative who is in Grade 6 and elected to that position. We have community service groups that are student-led where they help choose what our fundraising initiatives are for the year, kindergarten patrol group where students help children in kindergarten, and groups who organize games and sports for grade 1 and 2 so that they learn how to coach and referee. We also have an IT club, math club, a debating club, a choir, and an ambassador group, and a great athletics program.  Each year we put on a Junior School musical as well, which is another opportunity open for Grades 4, 5 and 6 – we find a role for everyone who is interested.

How do you integrate technology in school?

Wearing: We have created a digital citizenship curriculum that has really evolved and helped us guide students about the use of technology in age-appropriate ways. We are always looking to balance the use of technology in the classroom,  and being mindful of how and when we are using our iPads. We’ve seen our students using an iPad to program robots, or they’re used for reading in Grade 1 and creating videos in French class. We also have an in-house IT specialist who comes in and offers support and shares information on best practices, to ensure we’re making the most of the resource and integrating technology to enrich the learning experience.

You both have kids – how has your job at LCC impacted your personal life?

Wearing: I have two boys who are 3 years old and 11 months, and I’ve become a better parent because of my job. I learn a lot from the students every day and then I want to go home and share that with my kids. I can go home and be more empathetic to my own child, and the same can be said in reverse. It’s helped me become a better parent and my kids have helped me be better at my job.

Levy: What’s interesting is we’re really, truly a global school, where almost 20% of our students are from elsewhere. When you have that, it broadens your horizons. And it doesn’t matter what side of the desk you’re on – this is true of our teachers and for myself – I have the opportunity to meet so many families from around the world who have had enriching experiences, and you can’t help but absorb that and transfer it into your own lives and with your own children. We are all learners on this journey of education.