You’ve got a friend

July 18, 2019
Students form special bonds at RMHC Toronto School
Three boys
Among the many things that kids with a serious illness need are friends who know what they are going through. The School at Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto helps fill that need.

The RMHC Toronto School is a private school, recognized by the Ministry of Education, for patients and siblings of patients who are staying at the House. With three full-time teachers, it accommodates students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12.

Says teacher, Ryan Day, “Friendships start to form as soon as a new student enters the classroom. Kids usually come in hesitant because they don’t know what to expect. Our small class size helps kids bond right away, and within a day or two, they build a strong connection with someone.” 

He recalls two teenage students who bonded this February when their siblings in treatment were not doing well.

“They became close friends and supported one another in a situation where they could have easily become isolated.”

Students experience academic benefits from their friendships as well.

“When students have friends in the classroom, they feel more comfortable asking questions and participating, which increases their self-confidence. There’s also a powerful dynamic where older students become mentors to younger students, helping them learn new skills faster.”

Reflecting on previous school years, Ryan has noticed that friendships that form in the House outside the School can help increase the School’s enrolment.

“New parents sometimes hear about the School from other parents, and kids often ask their parents if they can go to School so they can be with their new friends.”

This year was one of our busiest ever and high enrolment means we are helping even more kids keep up with their education while they stay with their family at the House.

“Seeing our students learn and have fun together is a rewarding experience as a teacher. I’ll always remember one teenage student who relapsed, and he told me it could have been the worst time of his life, but it wasn’t because of the friendships he made and the fun experiences he had at our School.”

Learn more about RMHC Toronto School.