My wife, two sons and I are relatively new to the Fundy Albert area. We moved here from Ontario (which seems to be way more common than we ever thought possible) in the summer of 2022. Our move was greatly influenced by the absolutely beautiful landscape and small, tightly knit communities we discovered on our one and only east coast vacation earlier that year. The surprise of our move, though, was Riverside Consolidated School.
Back in Ontario, when COVID hit and schools shut down, we were sucked into the online platform of teaching. Over the next couple of weeks, we watched the quality of care decline as the education system, the teachers and the students all tried to traverse this online structure. It saddened our hearts watching our boys staring into a computer screen for six hours a day. We listened in as teachers tried to get their students engaged, only to spend most of the time coaxing answers out of them instead of delivering the needed education. As soon as it was evident that COVID wasn’t leaving anytime soon, we decided to pull the kids and switch to home-schooling. Until our move to New Brunswick, they stayed home-schooled.
When we settled into our new home, we took the time to go to the school and introduce ourselves. We had contemplated returning them to the school system, but we still had reservations. We were greeted by big smiles and open arms. Principal Kierstead toured us around the school and charmed us with tidbits of history. He showed us large classrooms with handfuls of students engaged in various activities. They were far from the small classrooms jammed with desks with which we were familiar. I question whether our children are losing more than just education with larger and larger class sizes and fewer and fewer programs and support, but I digress. Principal Kierstead even described their lunch program where they make home-cooked lunches for all the students. All the while, it was evident that what happened in the school mattered to him.
Since that tour, we have met many of the teachers and staff and we have seen that same level of care. Coming from Ontario, and in a world that seems to put less weight on decency and integrity, it was a refreshing experience to speak genuinely with other people. Riverside Consolidated has a unique educational platform, and I am honoured that my son can experience it. The school has been such an inspiration to us that both my wife and I volunteer to help make those lunches and be part of the joy it brings to the students.
But, more importantly, what does my son think about this school? He’s not looking at class sizes or opportunities lost because of a broken system. He wants engagement, he wants to learn and play and enjoy time with friends. Well, all I can say is that he never wants to miss a day of school. He’s disappointed when there are holidays because it means he is missing out on something he loves. I’m not sure there is any better compliment.
If you would like to register your elementary aged children for school in the fall please call Riverside Consolidated school at 506-882-3002.