Wednesday, February 17, 2010

28 Reasons I Love Hamilton... Reason 17

Why write 28 reasons I love Hamilton?

1. Hamilton is a CITY.
2. The Location
3. The size (population)
4. The scale
5. Creativity and the arts
6. The buildings
7. The nature

8. The film industry
9. The markets and restaurants
10. The trails, paths, and running routes
11. Gore Park
12. The climate
13. The safety
14. The landscapes and views
15. The ability to live modestly
16. The sports teams

17. The schools

Hamilton has a wide variety of schools. The opportunity here is HUGE.

McMaster (specifically, MacDiv) is what allowed me to move here in the first place. Top-notch faculty and programs. Mohawk and Redeemer are other options... and the first 2 are easily accessible as far as tuition and geography go. When I had to go back for a second program (cardiac testing) the ease with which that was able to happen, and the existence of a practical but challenging program like that floored me.

In October, I met someone from Dundas who takes his kids to Strathcona Elementary - and is moving to the area - because of their SAGE program, which is excellent in many ways - especially because I like the parental participation part of it.

Of course, there's Hillfield Strathallan and the other private schools too. And many high schools specialize in different areas, whether that's Westdale's IB program or the arts program at SJAM.

Hamilton makes the (laughable) assertion that their goal is to be the best place to raise a child. While I do think it is a great city to raise a child, notice that raise is a verb ;) (and environment matters a great deal).

I know I have zero credibility on this till I raise my own kids, but I plan to follow the example of those I know who are raising their kids here and sending them to Hamilton's public schools. Some are tough, but there are many, many great public schools - and other options like Montessori programs and co-op preschools and all sorts of great resources. (Catholic school isn't an option... I don't think trying to explain I was a female Protestant pastor would go over too well with the requirements to get your kids in there... ;))

Full-day kindergarten (which is optional if you don't like it) is a HUGE bonus as well - and many of our schools, especially the ones in worse areas, will get this. What a huge benefit.

A lot of the bridging programs and adult education don't lead well into postsecondary, however, and even some high schools don't let you go into that. I'm not as familiar with that, but I do know even people who have gone through high schools that didn't grant an OSSD have been able to upgrade, go back, and finish a college program and make good money. Now they're thinking - maybe I'll go back for a much more challenging college program. Good for them. It's possible here!

A bit of a tangent, but there are many pluses as well in Hamilton for raising kids - not the traffic blasting past one's door on the main streets, but there's many side streets that are quiet, and parks, libraries, pools, all sorts of lessons and activities nearby.

Hamilton has great post-secondary, secondary, and elementary schools. There's a lot of opportunity here. And that's another reason I love Hamilton.

1 comment:

J. said...

I'm really enjoying reading about why you love Hamilton, being that my wife and I just moved here, and I'm trying to get a feel for the place.

As far as the Catholic School option, however, I must correct your reasoning, as I was raised protestant, and had many classmates in the Catholic High School (in Stratford) whose parents weren't Catholic (mine included). Also, one of those classmates' mothers was the minister at one of the local United Churches, while a couple others were the children of incarcerated atheist drug dealers. They aren't as strict about entry requirements as they were many years ago due to the fact that they are Government funded, and thus aren't allowed to discriminate. Anyhow, all I'm trying to do is reinforce your point about excellent options by expanding the field of opportunity even more!