Finding the right program for your gifted child can be daunting.
Our guide is meant to help. We cover the different kinds of gifted programs offered by private schools in Canada and discuss the many issues parents face when selecting a program. We then provide a comprehensive list of schools with gifted programs and tools for comparing those schools by their program offerings.
Giftedness can be hard to detect. In fact, gifted children often do poorly in school before their need for more stimulating work is spotted. Abilities can also change over time, so parents need to stay on top of their child’s performance. Psychoeducational testing is the gold standard for identifying gifted learners.
Gifted children can’t “make it on their own.” They can’t be treated like just any other student. If they aren’t properly challenged or stimulated, they often disengage from school.
There are two main ways to support gifted students in the classroom. (1) Dedicated gifted programs are self-contained classes or schools where students learn alongside other gifted ones. (2) In-class adaptations, on the other hand, enrich or accelerate studies in one or more subjects for an individual student. The adaptations can be offered in a regular class—alongside regular learners—or in a dedicated gifted program.
The right kind of support will depend on a student’s learning abilities, social needs, and other factors. Often, students who are either highly or profoundly gifted, gifted in only one subject, or gifted in some subjects and weak in others will need some kind of in-class adaptation.
Public school boards are required by provincial law to support gifted students, although the boards can choose who qualifies for that support and what the support looks like. Private schools, on the other hand, are under no obligation to offer gifted programs. It’s up to parents to determine whether a school is capable of, or willing to, support gifted students. Many private schools don’t. But private schools that do have gifted programs can be ideal choices.
We list private schools with gifted programs on this site, and provide tools for comparing those schools. Moreover, our parent discussion forum allows you to discuss options and get answers to your questions.
These are self-contained gifted schools, where 100% of the students are gifted. Teachers and staff can focus on tailoring the environment to gifted students, without compromise.
Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E (est. 1993)
Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E. is a private school for intellectually gifted students in Richmond Hill, Ontario, from grades 1 to 12. Tuition is $12,000. [View profile]
Bishop's College School (est. 1836)
Bishop's College School is an English boarding and day school for students in grades 7 through 12. Small in size and culturally diverse, BCS is a member of RoundSquare and offers an ESL program and AP courses. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$18,200 to $55,800|
Hampshire Country School (est. 1948)
A friendly, active boarding school for bright boys who have good intentions but who may be too impulsive, intense, or bothersome for other schools and whose intellectual interests may separate them from their peers. [View profile]
Madrona School Society (est. 1993)
Madrona School Society is a gifted school in Vancouver. It offers programs for kindergarten to grade nine with an average class size of six to 14 students. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$18,000 to $21,000|
Glenburnie School (est. 1985)
Glenburnie School, Oakville, offers enriched, child-centred, responsive, academic programs from Pre-K through Grade 8. Class sizes range from 8 to 18 students depending on grade level. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$8,950 to $17,800|
Joan of Arc Academy / Academie Jeanne d'Arc (est. 1954)
In our all-girls environment, academic achievement in both official languages is the norm. A Joan of Arc Academy bilingual education prepares the women leaders for the challenges of tomorrow. Come and see the difference. [View profile]
Wheatley School (est. 1986)
Wheatley School offers programs from nursery to grade eight in St. Catharines. Its average class size is 15 students. [View profile]
Prestige School - Richmond Hill Campus (est. 2003)
The Prestige School offers programs from pre-school to grade eight in Richmond Hill. Its average class size is ten students. [View profile]
King's College School: International Schools for Bright and Gifted Children offers programs for grades three to 12 in Caldeon. [View profile]
St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School (est. 1891)
Oakville's SMLS continues to be a premier independent school for girls Preschool to Graduating Year since 1891. "Millie" graduates take on the world with confidence and the knowledge that they can do anything. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$9,000 to $26,300|
Dearcroft Montessori School (est. 1968)
Offering Montessori programs from Preschool to Grade 8, Dearcroft is accredited by CCMA and staffed by great teachers. Tuition starts at $5,900. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$7,750 to $19,200|
Wishing Well Schools (est. 1978)
Wishing Well Schools offers enriched programs from 18 months to Grade 8 in Markham. Montessori program from 18 months to 6 years old, advanced academic program from Grade 1 to 8. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$12,370 to $12,620|
Prestige School - Toronto Campus (est. 2003)
Prestige School offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade 12 in Toronto. Its average class size is 10 to 18 students. [View profile]
Robbins Hebrew Academy (est. 1957)
Robbins Hebrew Academy (RHA) teaches students to think critically and globally, in a community that builds self-esteem and life-long character. RHA is Toronto’s first Jewish school to be CAIS accredited. [View profile]
North Broward Preparatory School (est. 1957)
North Broward Preparatory School is a K-12 co-educational day and boarding school located in S. Florida located minutes from the beach with IB, AP, and LD classes set on 80 acres with year round hockey. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$24,200 to $58,000|
The Abelard School (est. 1997)
Founded in 1997, the Abelard School is a small private high school located in downtown Toronto. It offers small class sizes and an enriched, integrated curriculum. [View profile]
These schools have a separate, dedicated class (or classes) where 100% of the students are gifted. These gifted classes can be either full-time or part-time, and exist in parallel to regular, non-gifted classes.
Wildwood Academy (est. 2002)
Wildwood Academy is a special needs private school in Oakville. It offers programs from grades 2 to 8, with an average class size of four to ten students. [View profile]
St. Michaels University School (est. 1906)
Independent K-12 boarding & day school in Victoria, BC, Canada focusing on university prep. Find out how a SMUS education can benefit your family. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$17,235 to $61,590|
Kendellhurst Academy (est. 2004)
Kendellhurst Academy Private School is located in Streetsville, Mississauga for students preschool to grade 8. We offer daily French language, weekly martial arts/tai chi and yoga classes, an organic menu and much more! [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$11,500 to $15,540|
The Thinnox Academy (est. 2014)
The Thinnox Academy is a Mississauga private high school with a focus on technology, engineering and design. Graduates stand out from their peers when applying into University or College. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$10,017 to $12,320|
Westside Montessori School (est. 2008)
An authentic, CCMA accredited Montessori School located in downtown Toronto, offering programs for Toddlers, Casa and Elementary children. [View profile]
The Dragon Academy (est. 2001)
Dragon Academy is the right fit for gifted students, grades 6 to 12. Dragon's small, discussion-based classes go beyond the classroom into our world-class city . An inclusive, exciting, can't wait to get there school. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$20,500 to $26,500|
Century Private School (est. 1994)
Century Montessori Schools in Richmond Hill runs from preschool to grade twelve, with class sizes as low as 12 students. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$8,400 to $26,800|
Académie Westboro Academy (est. 1993)
Westboro Academy is a truly bilingual school serving JK-grade 8 students in the national capital region. We provide an exceptional education, in a community-focused and nurturing environment. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$13,410 to $14,333|
The Junior Academy (est. 1988)
The Junior Academy offers programs for junior kindergarten to grade eight in Toronto. Its average class size is 12 to 14 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$18,000 to $22,500|
Heritage Academy of Learning Excellence (est. 1989)
Heritage Academy is an Ottawa private school that is designed for students with DYSLEXIA, ADD/ADHD and similar learning exceptionalities. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$14,000 to $15,500|
Ellington Montessori School (est. 1990)
Ellington Montessori School, in Toronto, offers pre-school to eight grade individualized education since 1990. Small class sizes, lead by dedicated staff ensure that your child's needs are met. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$7,900 to $14,000|
Niagara Christian Collegiate (est. 1932)
Niagara Christian Collegiate offers both middle school and secondary school programs from Grades 6-12. Graduating students achieve top university placements around the world. We accept both day and boarding students. [View profile]
Glenn Arbour Academy (est. 2005)
Our belief is that an exciting, challenging curriculum,combined with a supportive, nurturing educational environment enhances the student's ability to develop the positive attitude "I can do it!" [View profile]
Taddle Creek Montessori provides an authentic Montessori education for children ages 2.5 to 12 years old in the Annex. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$11,800 to $17,300|
Shawnigan Lake School (est. 1916)
Shawnigan Lake School is the largest boarding school in Canada. Located in Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island, we offer a comprehensive program to 500 young men and women in grades 8-12. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$25,500 to $61,200|
Bishop Hamilton Montessori School (est. 1983)
Bishop Hamilton Montessori School is a Christian Montessori school in Ottawa, Ontario, with classes from nursery to grade eight. Tuition starts at $8,870. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$8,870 to $15,120|
Avante School (est. 2009)
Avante School provides a custom tailored learning experience for accelerated success and much less stress. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$6,500 to $13,500|
The Study (est. 1915)
The Study offers a bilingual mother tongue programme in both English and French from kindergarten to grade 11 in Westmount, Quebec. The average class size is 12 to 18 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$18,415 to $20,735|
Kuper Academy (est. 1987)
Kuper Academy offers programs from pre-school to grade eleven in Kirkland. Its average class size is 22 students. [View profile]
Venta Preparatory School (est. 1981)
Venta Preparatory School offers programs from senior kindergarten to grade ten in Ottawa. Its average class size is ten students. [View profile]
Star Academy (est. 1997)
Star Academy offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade eight in Mississauga. Its average class size is ten students. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$12,500 to $16,200|
The Linden School (est. 1993)
The Linden School provides a challenging academic program for girls from JK - Grade 12. We create opportunities to discover the joys of learning and foster the development of critical thinking and physical well-being. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$13,000 to $17,950|
High Park Gardens Montessori School is an authentic quality Montessori program for children ages 12 months to 12 years. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$11,800 to $17,300|
Kingsway College School (est. 1989)
Kingsway College School offers programs for PK to grade 8 in Etobicoke. Its average class size is 17 to 21 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$8,000 to $25,500|
Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School (est. 1973)
KGMS/Maplewood provides supportive individual and small group instruction for students with learning differences. [View profile]
Academie Providence (est. 2002)
Providence Academy is the only Private French Catholic School offering a trilingual program of study in Ontario with classes from nursery to grade eight. Tuition starts at $8,050 [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$8,050 to $12,300|
Cornerstone Montessori Prep School (est. 1990)
Cornerstone Montessori Prep School is a Toronto Christian Montessori school with grades from nursery to 12. Tuition begins at $13,500. [View profile]
Crestwood Preparatory College (est. 2001)
Crestwood Preparatory College in Toronto offers grade seven to 12. The average class size here is 16, with a tuition cost of $23,700. [View profile]
Army and Navy Academy (est. 1910)
Army and Navy Academy is a life-changer for boys. As a Gurian Model School, we know how boys learn inside and outside the classrom, what motivates them, and how to develop each student's potential. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$22,000 to $37,500|
Académie St-Laurent Academy (est. 2007)
St-Laurent Academy is a gifted private school that offers programs from nursery to high school in Ottawa. Its average class size is ten to 15 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$13,000 to $17,000|
St. John's-Ravenscourt School (est. 1820)
SJR is the world’s leading school in Debating and Public Speaking. It has produced 18 Rhodes scholars and three math olympiads. The School's graduates average a 98% university acceptance rate. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$16,890 to $49,440|
Collège Rivier (est. 1870)
Rivier is a college that welcomes students from secondary 1 to 5 (boarding and day school). Parents and students choose Rivier because it provides quality and personalized education in a warm family environment. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$2,985 to $22,500|
Nile Academy (est. 2005)
Nile Academy offers small class sizes and low student to teacher ratio, while also following the Ontario Curriculum, ensuring our students are well prepared for the rest of their educational pursuits here in Canada. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$8,000 to $25,500|
OAT - Ontario Academy of Technology (est. 2013)
OAT is a high school in Toronto specializing in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Full credit courses, Booster programs and Reach Ahead programs designed to give students the support they need to excel. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$500 to $1,500|
Avenue Road Academy (est. 2010)
Academy C60 is a small school in Toronto for grades 9 to 12. Students earn credits while developing skills that best prepares them for post secondary education. [View profile]
The Mildenhall School (est. 1967)
The Mildenhall School provides an authentic Montessori education for children ages 2.5 to 14 years old in south Etobicoke. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$11,800 to $19,500|
Hillfield Strathallan College (est. 1901)
Established in 1901, Hillfield Strathallan College offers co-educational programs from 18 months to grade 12 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. [View profile]
Heritage (est. 1984)
Heritage offers expert care for at-risk adolescents including those diagnosed with Mood Disorder, depression, anxiety, defiance towards authority figures and those on the Autism Spectrum. Learn more on our website. [View profile]
Banbury Crossroads School (est. 1979)
Since 1979, Banbury's student-paced approach with tutorial instruction is in small, multi-aged groups of 10:1. Meainingful relationships enhance learning. Member of Canadian Coalition of Self Directed Learning--CCSDL. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$9,000 to $13,000|
St. Peter's ACHS College School (est. 1990)
St. Peter's ACHS College School in Amherstburg, Ont. is a day/residency school for boys grades 1-8 who love Sports and the Outdoors. Tuition starts at $8,900. and is a member of OFIS. We put "FUN" back into learning. [View profile]
Calgary French & International School (est. 1969)
Calgary French & International School, a traditional, alternative private school, offers preschool to grade 12 with enrolment of 750 day students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$10,810 to $12,720|
Woodland Christian High School (est. 1976)
Students receive an excellent education which prepares them well for university, college and a wide variety of workplaces. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$15,425 to $16,360|
College Prep International (est. 1944)
College Prep International, a traditional private school in Montreal, offers English instruction with partial French immersion, for grades five to eleven. Its average class size is 12 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$11,000 to $12,500|
These schools offer support for gifted students within the regular classroom. Gifted students stay with regular learners, while receiving special, individualized programming.
Chamberlain International School (est. 1976)
Co-ed therapeutic boarding school in Massachusetts for students 11-22 years. Student support is offered for learning disabilities, OCD, anxiety, ADHD, NLD, ASD, attachment disorder, bipolar disorder and depression. [View profile]
Elmwood School (est. 1915)
Elmwood School is Ottawa's pre-eminent school for girls from JK to Grade 12. Our high academic standards, small class sizes and safe, supportive environment ensure that each girl is inspired to reach her full potential. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$12,956 to $22,980|
Hawthorn School for Girls (est. 1989)
Hawthorn School is an all-girls school in Toronto that offers programs from toddler to grade 12. Our unique mentoring program is tailored to each girl to help them reach their full potential. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$10,000 to $31,400|
Toronto Prep School (est. 2009)
Toronto Prep School starts later in order to maximize teen learning. The optimal time for teenagers to learn is late in the morning through to late afternoon. Our classes start at 10:00 am. [View profile]
Montcrest School (est. 1961)
Montcrest School offers programs from JK to Grade 8. Its average class size is seven to 18 students. Montcrest offers an exceptional academic experience with balanced opportunities in leadership, the arts, and athletics. [View profile]
Alive Montessori & Private School (est. 2014)
50% off the first three months for new elementary students. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$7,500 to $14,500|
Shoore Centre for Learning (est. 1975)
Shoore Centre for Learning is a special-needs private school that offers programs from grades seven to 12 in Toronto. Its average class size is six students. [View profile]
Brookes Shawnigan Lake, an IB boarding school on beautiful Vancouver Island, offers grades 7 to 12 for both day and boarding students with an average class size of 12 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$9,500 to $44,500|
Columbia International College (est. 1979)
Columbia International College is a day and boarding school, offering programs to international students in grades 7 to 12. [View profile]
St. Margaret's School (est. 1908)
St. Margaret's School (est. 1908) is an independent school in Victoria, BC, offering empowering education for girls from JK to Grade 12. At SMS, girls don't just get equal opportunity; they get every opportunity. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$9,500 to $49,300|
Neuchâtel Junior College (est. 1956)
Neuchâtel Junior College, in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, offers Canadian Grade 12 curriculum and AP to students from across Canada and elsewhere. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$29,000 to $54,500|
Mississauga Christian Academy (est. 1977)
We are proud to offer families a superior elementary school education where God and His Word are central to the curriculum. Our faculty of qualified teachers is committed to loving and teaching each child. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$9,055 to $10,622|
Clanmore Montessori School (est. 1997)
Clanmore Montessori School in southeast Oakville offers a full spectrum, co-ed Montessori program from Toddler to Middle School. Tuition starts at $7,750. CCMA accredited. Member Oakville Independent Schools. Licenced. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$7,750 to $16,500|
St. Jude's Academy (est. 2006)
St. Jude's Academy is an IB World School that offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade 12 in Mississauga. Its average class size is 16 to 18 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$7,500 to $10,500|
TFS - Canada's International School (est. 1962)
TFS - Canada's International School offers Canada's only bilingual IB programs from PK to Grade 12. Average class size is 12 to 22 students. Entrance Scholarship to Grade 7 is available. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$17,600 to $31,100|
Hudson College (est. 2003)
Hudson College is a non-denominational, co-ed school offering superior academic programs from JK to university entrance. [View profile]
Appleby College (est. 1911)
Appleby College in Oakville is recognized globally as one of Canada's leading independent schools. Breadth, excellence, innovation and caring are the characteristics that define the essence of the Appleby experience. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$33,510 to $65,980|
WillowWood School (est. 1980)
We are a new style of independent school for diverse learners where all students learn with dignity; where a warm and nurturing school serves as a foundation for remarkable lives; and where the whole person who matters. [View profile]
Island Pacific School (est. 1995)
Island Pacific School offers distinctly different programs for middle school students on Bowen Island, BC. Its average class size is 12 to 18 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$14,250 to $19,500|
Olivet School (est. 1893)
Founded in 1893, Olivet School is a Christian private school in Etobicoke, offering PS-Gr5. Olivet School combines quality teaching with individual attention to help each child achieve their personal potential. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$595 to $10,000|
Fern Hill School - Oakville (est. 1982)
Fern Hill School Oakville is a private independent school offering individualized learning in Preschool to Grade 8. Our school is regarded as one of the pre-eminent elementary schools in Canada. [View profile]
Académie de la Capitale (est. 1998)
Académie de la Capitale is an IB World School in Ottawa,ON. We offer programmes in both English and French, from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12. Students thrive in a culture of academic excellence and real-life learning. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$11,200 to $16,715|
Richland Academy (est. 2002)
Richland Academy is a Reggio-inspired, International Baccalaureate candidate school that offers programs from 24 months to Grade 8 in Richmond Hill. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$9,700 to $17,800|
Northmount School (est. 1990)
Northmount School offers an enriched curriculum in Catholic education from junior kindergarten to grade eight in Toronto. Its average class size is eight to 15 students. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$12,500 to $23,000|
Tall Pines School (est. 1987)
Tall Pines School in Brampton provides enhanced Montessori and traditional classes from Infant to Grade Eight, is the longest accredited CCMA Montessori school in Canada, and is a leader in 21st Century education. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$7,813 to $17,637|
Peel Montessori Private School (est. 1992)
Peel Montessori School offers an enriched, personalized program. Emphasis is on strong academics, and the development of personal excellence (leadership skills, creativity) in a supportive, family-like environment. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$7,500 to $15,000|
King Heights Academy (est. 2004)
Located in Vaughan, King Heights Academy provides a unique educational experience for toddlers to grade eight, which includes the IB Program. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$11,598 to $11,998|
ArtsCalibre Academy (est. 2010)
ArtsCalibre Academy helps foster creativity while grounding students with leadership skills and mindfulness. Our program starts at Junior Kindergarten to Grade Six with plans to add a grade each year. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$4,750 to $5,500|
The Montessori Country School - Milton Campus (est. 2007)
Montessori Country School has provided a first-class academic experience to students in an environment that is distinguished by its compassion, integrity and unwavering commitment to the individual child. [View profile]
Randolph-Macon Academy (est. 1892)
Randolph-Macon Academy is located in Front Royal, Virginia. This college-prep school is for grades 6-12. Students develop a strong knowledge base while also building leadership skills and strong positive morals. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$14,350 to $40,525|
Lynn-Rose Heights Private School (est. 1997)
Lynn-Rose Heights Private School offers challenging academic programming from pre-school to grade eight in Mississauga. Lynn-Rose Heights school is an official International Baccalaureate World School. [View profile]
Villa Maria (est. 1854)
Villa Maria offers programs from grades seven to 12 in Montreal. Its average class size is 28 to 32 students. [View profile]
We focus on personalized education, very small class sizes, and experiential learning. Located in vibrant Westboro Village, Blyth Academy Ottawa is surrounded by art galleries, boutiques and the Gatineau Hills. [View profile]
Newton’s Grove School (est. 1977)
Newton's Grove School offers programs from kindergarten to grade 12. Its average class size ranges between 12 to 18 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$14,000 to $16,000|
Signet Christian School (est. 1975)
Signet Christian School offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade 12 in North York. Its average class size is six to ten students. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$7,000 to $14,500|
Yip’s Music & Montessori School (est. 1990)
Founded in 1990, Yip's Montessori Program cater to children from 1.5 to 6 years old. Yip's four campuses are located in Markham, Unionville and Thornhill. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$6,600 to $10,900|
Rosseau Lake College (est. 1967)
Rosseau Lake College - The Personalized Learning Community Clearer personal goals- Diverse learning strategies- collaborative problem solving - Focus on building skills and competencies for the future. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$9,400 to $47,500|
Holy Name of Mary College School (est. 2008)
Holy Name of Mary College School in Mississauga, is an independent Catholic school for girls in grades 5-12 offering an enriched university preparatory programme. The average class size is 12 students. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$16,350 to $44,500|
Waldorf Academy (est. 1987)
Waldorf Academy offers programs from pre-kindergarten to grade eight in Toronto. Its average class size is 18 students. [View profile]
Fern Hill School - Burlington (est. 1982)
Fern Hill School welcomes students from Preschool to Grade 8 and focuses on developing intellectual curiosity, creativity and confidence. Our maximum class size is 19 students. [View profile]
York House School (est. 1932)
York House School offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade 12 in Vancouver. Its average class size is 16 to 20 students. [View profile]
Trafalgar School For Girls (est. 1887)
Based in the heart of downtown Montreal, Trafalgar School for Girls is a diverse school community that challenges and inspires girls to love learning, build confidence and shape a better world. [View profile]
Canadian International Hockey Academy (est. 2011)
The Canadian International Hockey Academy is Eastern Canada's Premier Hockey Prep School recruiting, educating and training students-athletes in grades 8 to 12 from around the world. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$17,500 to $44,900|
Toronto District Christian High School (est. 1963)
We believe in project-based learning, enfolding, engaging and empowering students, and fantastic parent-teacher communication. We offer family friendly tuition with transportation included. [View profile]
Fairview Glen Montessori (est. 2007)
Fairview Glen offers authentic Montessori education for children 18 mo.-12 yrs. The academically driven, collaborative and supportive community, also specializes in French, Music, Visual Arts and Phys-Ed programs. [View profile]
The Sacred Heart School of Montreal (est. 1861)
The pre-eminent All Girls English Catholic high school in Montreal, with 156 years of experience graduating young women of action with solid skills and tools for success. [View profile]
Avalon Children's Montessori School (est. 2000)
Avalon provides quality programmes from kindergarten to Grade 8 in the heart of the Beach. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$6,400 to $14,750|
CGS (Children's Garden School) (est. 1986)
CGS (Children's Garden School) offers co-ed, Preschool-Grade 3 programming. Small class sizes. Exceptional phonics program. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$8,800 to $20,000|
Edge School (est. 1999)
At Edge School, your child succeeds through integrated athletics, academics, and character-building programs. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$15,600 to $16,640|
King's-Edgehill School (est. 1788)
King's-Edgehill School offers programs for grades six to 12 in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Its average class size is 15 students. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$17,350 to $51,950|
City Academy (est. 1999)
City Academy offers courses which follow Ontario Curriculum Guidelines. Utilizing teachers who are subject specialists and following a flexible and unique timetabling format, we are committed to every student's success. [View profile]
Delta West Academy (est. 1993)
Accomplished, confident and innovative - adjectives that describe not only our programs but more importantly, our students! Developing critical thinking, creative problem solving and greater achievement for everyone. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$9,900 to $17,550|
Hitherfield School (est. 1991)
Hitherfield School offers programs from pre-school to grade 8. With an average class size of 14 students, we offer an excellent academic program along with a multitude of outdoor activities. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$10,920 to $13,825|
St. Clement's Early Learning School (est. 1955)
St. Clement's Early Learning School 70 St. Clements Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4R 1H2 St. Clement’s Early Learning School provides a child with an opportunity for growth in all areas of his or her development. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$8,500 to $20,500|
High Park Day School (est. 2010)
High Park Day School offers an alternative program from JK to Grade 8. Reggio Emilia inspired Kindergarten and Project Based Learning programs inspire and engage while developing essential 21st Century skills. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$14,000 to $15,900|
Crescent School (est. 1913)
Crescent School is a Toronto independent school for boys only, Grades 3 to 12. Tuition starts at $30,750. Crescent offers a variety of extra-curricular activities including sports, arts, outreach and robotics. [View profile]
Royal St. George's College (est. 1964)
RSGC is an urban day school that combines academic excellence with a stimulating and supportive environment. Our mission is to challenge and inspire each boy to become the best version of himself. [View profile]
Oakville Christian School (OCS) (est. 1982)
Oakville Christian School offers programs from pre-school to grade eight in Oakville. Its average class size is 20 students. [View profile]
Crofton House School (est. 1898)
Crofton House School in Vancouver, BC is a university preparatory school with JK to grade 12 classes. Tuition starts at $16,000. [View profile]
John Knox Christian School - Oakville (est. 1959)
John Knox Christian School is a faith-based school that offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade 8 in Oakville. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$12,100 to $21,100|
Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie (est. 1905)
École secondaire francophone privée pour jeunes filles située à Outremont, Qc. Les frais de scolarité sont de 3 800 $ par année. Elle offre les profils Éducation internationale, Danse-études et Musique-études. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$4,000 to $9,150|
West Island College (Montreal) (est. 1974)
West Island College offers French and French Immersion programs from grades seven to 11 in Montreal. It is a leader in innovative teaching methods. Average class size 22 students. [View profile]
Brampton Christian School (est. 1977)
Brampton Christian School in Caledon, Ontario, offers JK to Grade 12, with average class sizes from 17 to 19 students and a one-student tuition cost of $10,290. [View profile]
Oxford Learning Academy (Private School) (est. 1984)
Oxford Learning Academy – where your child will experience a homeschooling approach with the benefits of socialization in a small classroom environment. This Milton private school runs from PK to grade 8. [View profile]
Cambridge International Academy (est. 2015)
Cambridge International Academy offers an enriched curriculum from grades seven to twelve in Downtown Ajax. Central to the school’s philosophy is the belief that all students are capable of success. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$10,650 to $12,650|
Rothesay Netherwood School (est. 1877)
Rothesay Netherwood School offers programs for grades six to 12 in Rothesay, New Brunswick. Its average class size is 14 to 16 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$20,110 to $54,090|
Kells Academy (est. 1978)
Kells Academy is a private school in Montreal which offers programs from Kindergarten to grade 11. Its average class size is 15 students. [View profile]
Sherwood Heights School (est. 1989)
Kindergarten to Grade 8. Enriched, Academic Programmes. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$10,910 to $11,860|
St. George's School of Montreal (est. 1930)
St. George's School of Montreal is a bi-lingual private school where students acquire a life-long love of learning as we challenge each student to excel and become confident problem solvers and engaged citizens. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$17,390 to $21,217|
Somerset Academy (est. 1990)
Established in 1974, Somerset Academy is an independent, not-for-profit private school that provides education to students in Grades 1 to 8. Somerset Academy has an average class size of 10 to 18 students. [View profile]
The Westside School (est. 2004)
Westside's unique approach combines the best practices of Canadian and European education. Students are known, valued and understood as they prepare for admission to the top 50 universities and contributing lives beyond. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$9,000 to $55,000|
Braemar House School (est. 1996)
Braemar House School is a not-for-profit elementary school that proves each day that children thrive in a nurturing environment that offers personalized attention. Class cap size is 16. [View profile]
Home Sweet Home Montessori Academy offers our students an environment with an array of programming which supports them in discovering their passion within! [View profile]
Country Garden Montessori Academy (est. 1995)
Situated on seven acres of rolling parkland and gardens, Country Garden Montessori Academy in Newmarket is a co-ed private day school for students in grades PS-12. The school provides a family atmosphere and is committed the intellectual growth and emotional well-being of students. [View profile]
Turnbull School (est. 1992)
Turnbull School is dedicated to academic excellence in a caring environment. We offer highly qualified teachers, small class sizes, well rounded and enriching programming, and variety in athletics, science and the arts. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$18,100 to $19,975|
Arts and Science Academy of Canada (est. 2003)
|Standard-enriched||$10,000 to $31,000|
West Island College (est. 1982)
West Island College offers post-secondary preparatory programs from grades 7 to 12 in Calgary. It's class size varies from 15 to 25 students. French Immersion is offered alongside the English program [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$15,200 to $20,200|
River Valley School (est. 1983)
RVS offers programs for the Early Learning & Elementary years in Progressive, Montessori & Arrowsmith environments. Specialists teach fine arts, physical education and French language. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$7,400 to $13,100|
Quetico College School (est. 2013)
Technologically savvy classroom facilities combine with caring teachers to help ensure you are headed towards life goals that include knowledge, skill and responsibility. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$16,000 to $28,000|
Pear Tree Elementary (est. 2015)
Small and intimate by design, progressive by choice, and innovative by necessity, Pear Tree Elementary is redefining what it is to teach and learn in the modern world. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$15,000 to $18,000|
Sidney Ledson Institute (est. 1982)
The PK – Grade 6 program is a visible expression of the philosophy embodied in Ledson's books, Raising Brighter Children and Teach Your Child to Read in Just 10 Minutes a Day. [View profile]
King’s Christian Collegiate is an independent Christian high school providing superb instruction in a safe, stimulating academic environment. [View profile]
North Point School For Boys (est. 2014)
North Point provides boys with an alternative learning environment to the traditional, outdated factory-style model that has been in place in our North American schools for the past 100 years. [View profile]
Aurora Preparatory Academy (est. 1979)
Aurora Preparatory Academy is small by design, a supportive JK-8 community in which students thrive. Affordable tuition and an advanced programme, including all-grade French, music and art, and inclusive sports teams. [View profile]
These schools offer no formal program for gifted students, but have an accelerated baseline curriculum. This means all students—gifted or not—do the work of older peers at other schools. For highly gifted learners (those in the 99th percentile), this alone is likely not enough to support their needs.
La Citadelle is a Bilingual Private School with exceptional advanced curriculum, excellence, compassion, discipline, achievement, respect, and Harmony. Nursery-12 [View profile]
TMS School (est. 1961)
Internationally recognized since 1961, TMS is a not-for-profit independent university preparatory school located in Richmond Hill where students, faculty and staff regularly Go Beyond. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$14,075 to $25,440|
Royal Cachet Montessori School (est. 2006)
Royal Cachet Montessori School is a Montessori school that offers programs from nursery to grade three in Markham. Its average class size is five to 15 students. [View profile]
Walden International School (est. 2014)
Walden International School is pursuing authorization to become an IB World School. With a unique student-centred focus, it prepares all students to become globally responsible citizens. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$10,000 to $20,000|
Upper Canada College (est. 1829)
Located in the heart of Toronto, Upper Canada College is the oldest independent boys' school in Ontario. Our graduates are highly regarded by top universities and post-secondary institutions worldwide. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$30,860 to $61,560|
McDonald International Academy (est. 1994)
McDonald International Academy offers programs for grades 9 to 12 with 2 locations in the heart of Toronto. Its average class size is 10 to 20 students. [View profile]
The Giles School (est. 1989)
The Giles School is a French immersion private school in Toronto for children age 2 (Pre-K) to Grade 8. Open Admissions through Grade 1, small classes, and Mandarin introduced as a third language in Grade 1. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$12,200 to $20,300|
Villanova College (est. 1999)
Villanova College is York Region's only independent Catholic school offering Grades 4 to 12 in King City, Ontario. Average class size is 18 students. Specialty programs include STEM and AP. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$17,400 to $46,000|
St. Francis High School (est. 1927)
Located in Athol Springs, NY, a small suburban community in the town of Hamburg just south of the city of Buffalo. The 65 acre campus is located 13 miles from the Canadian border directly on the shores of Lake Erie. [View profile]
Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School (est. 1909)
Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School offers programs from kindergarten to grade 11 in Westmount, Quebec. Its average class size is 18 students. [View profile]
Central Montessori Schools - Sheppard Campus (est. 1995)
The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one - the period from birth to the age of six. Choose Central Montessori Schools. [View profile]
Mulgrave School (est. 1993)
Mulgrave School offers programmes from Preschool to Grade 12 in West Vancouver. Its average class size is 20 students with teacher to student ratios of 1:8. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$17,195 to $21,370|
Bannockburn (est. 1993)
Bannockburn, a Montessori school in Toronto, Ontario offers grades nursery to six, average class sizes of 22 students and tuition from $10,350 to $20,700. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$12,350 to $23,700|
Wesley Christian Academy (est. 1988)
Wesley Christian Academy offers programs from Toddler to Grade 8 in Markham. As we are a Christian school, we share our beliefs with all our students but we warmly welcome families from ALL faiths and backgrounds! [View profile]
|Accelerated||$9,500 to $11,850|
Trillium School (est. 1991)
Trillium School is a montessori school that offers programs from pre-school to grade eight in Markham. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$9,400 to $33,000|
University of Toronto Schools (est. 1910)
University of Toronto Schools offers programs for grades seven to 12. Its average class size is 25 students. [View profile]
Meadow Green Academy (est. 1995)
Meadow Green Academy offers programs from pre-school to grade eight in Mississauga. Its average class size is 12 students. [View profile]
TFS - Canada's International School (West Campus) offers programs from pre-kindergarten to grade seven. Its average class size is 12 to 22 students. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$11,900 to $26,150|
Aurora Montessori School (est. 1989)
Aurora Montessori School offers toddler to grade 8 with enrollment of 400 day students. Average class size is 18 to 24 with tuition from $9,510. to $15,000. [View profile]
Prince Edward Montessori School (est. 1995)
Prince Edward Montessori School offers programs for various grades in Toronto. Its average class size is ten to 16 students. [View profile]
This traditional private school in Ottawa, Ontario offers Grades 4 to 12 with 100 boarding and 600 day school students. Tuition is from $23,600 to $58,300. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$22,440 to $52,300|
Bayview Glen is a traditional co-ed day school in Toronto, Ontario from Preschool (age 2) to Grade 12, a global member of Round Square and offers Advanced Placement programme. Tuition ranges from $16,995 to $24,000. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$16,995 to $24,000|
Buffalo Seminary (est. 1851)
Independent day and boarding school for college-bound girls. Our STEAM curriculum is unique, and creative, independent thinking is valued. Located in Buffalo, NY, girls access the best of city living. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$19,840 to $46,715|
Guiding Light Academy (est. 2007)
Guiding Light Academy is a Catholic private elementary school in Streetsville, Mississauga. We offer an enriched curriculum for JK, SK and Grades 1 to 8. We are located just minutes away from the Streetsville Go Station. [View profile]
As discussed above, keeping a gifted child in a regular classroom, without adaptations, typically leads to a mismatch between the curriculum and the child’s learning needs. The child will feel bored and frustrated as a result—not to mention the frustration created for parents, teachers, and school staff. This can give rise to social problems, such as conflicts with teachers and parents, and being excluded from peer groups.
Moreover, research suggests these problems can emerge at a young age. The well-known Marland Report on gifted children in 1972, the first of its kind, reports that
“Because the majority of gifted children’s school adjustment problems occur between kindergarten and fourth grade, about half of gifted children became ‘mental dropouts’ at around 10 years of age.”
It adds that
“Gifted and talented children are, in fact, deprived [if they remain in unsuitable learning environments] and can suffer psychological damage and permanent impairment of their abilities to function well which is equal to or greater than the similar deprivation suffered by any other population with special needs.”
For these reasons, gifted children usually shouldn’t remain in a classroom without significant modifications. Programs should be put in place to tailor the curriculum to their strengths and weaknesses. And, these programs should be administered by teachers with the right training (ideally, specialized training in gifted education).
Here we begin our review of the different types of programs for gifted kids. We first outline the options, along with their strengths and weaknesses. Further down the page, we synthesize this into a comparison table and look at what types of students might fit what type of program. Much further down, we offer advice on choosing a specific program, including questions to ask yourself about your child. Further down still, we provide tools for comparing those schools in terms of the specific accommodations they offer.
|(i) Dedicated gifted programs||(ii) In-class adaptations||(iii) Other options|
The two main kinds of gifted programs are dedicated gifted environments and in-class adaptations. Each option has its benefits and potential drawbacks. To help your search for the right program, we summarize some common arguments used in support of each option. These arguments are generic, in that they aren’t tailored to your child. Moreover, it’s often just as important to look at the specific school or program as it is to look at the type of program.
|Arguments for dedicated gifted programs||Arguments for in-class adaptations|
Ultimately, neither approach— dedicated environments nor in-class adaptations—is “better” than the other. What matters is the fit between the approach and your child. Below, we outline which students might be suitable for which approach. Remember: there is a lot more to picking a school than just the points below. This table is meant to stimulate your thinking, not replace it. Note that your child might display signs from both columns.
To discuss which option might be best for your child, go to our parent discussion forum, frequented by other parents, schools, and education experts.
While our focus thus far has been on distinguishing between dedicated gifted programs and in-class adaptations, there’s another distinction that cuts across these approaches. Janyce Lastman, a Canadian education consultant and case manager, draws an important distinction between acceleration and enrichment. Some programs, whether dedicated or in-class, emphasize acceleration; others emphasize enrichment.
In acceleration, the student completes studies in less time. This approach increases the pace of learning, as students move quickly to topics normally reserved for older students. It includes options such as whole-grade acceleration, single-subject acceleration, curriculum compacting, early entrance to school, Advanced Placement courses, and International Baccalaureate programs.
In enrichment, on the other hand, students cover topics at more or less the same pace as their age-peers. However, they cover these topics in both a broader and deeper manner than regular students. This approach includes options such as independent studies, project-based learning, mentorships, career exploration, cross-grade resources, dual-track programs, and specialty subjects.
Some approaches to gifted education can involve either acceleration or enrichment, or both. These include cyber learning, peer coaching, and extracurricular activities.
|Acceleration approach||Enrichment approach||Both approaches|
|Dedicated gifted environments||
What’s a better bet for your gifted child: a private school or a public one? Well, it depends on the private school you’re looking at, along with what’s available in your public school district.
Public school boards are mandated by provincial law to provide some kind of gifted programming for kids who need it. School boards vary, however, in who they deem gifted and in need of programming, and in what that programming looks like. Sometimes, gifted programming takes the form of a dedicated gifted class. Students enrolled at a school without separate gifted classes might be asked to switch to a school which does have those classes. Sometimes gifted programming involves in-class adaptations, assuming the teacher is qualified in gifted education. Some school boards in Canada also have dedicated gifted schools, though this is less common in the public system.
Some public schools offer the GATE program, which stands for Gifted and Talented Education. The GATE program is designed to address the learning styles of students identified as talented and gifted. In Canada, there is a GATE program offered in Calgary, Alberta, by the Calgary Board of Education (CBE).
Private schools, unlike public schools, are under no such obligation to support gifted students. It’s up to parents to find out if a private school will make special accommodations for their child. Many schools don’t. Remember, public schools are expected, at least in theory, to try to accommodate everyone.
Private schools, on the other hand, can be more narrowly focused. They can choose their “type” of student, and don’t have to compromise when designing education programs specifically for that type. (It can be inefficient to try to be all things to all people). This, in fact, is one of the virtues of private schools: they offer a wide array of niche choices.
What that means, however, is not all private schools will be the right choice for your child. Gifted children are by definition “exceptional”—they don’t fit the norm. It’s up to you, then, to find a private school that’s able and eager to be flexible in supporting a gifted student. Luckily, in most areas of Canada, there are private schools that do support gifted students, whether they offer dedicated gifted programs or in-class adaptations.
Of course, the benefits of private schools—assuming they support gifted children—are numerous. The right one can be an excellent way to get individualized support for your gifted child. In particular, you should look for a private school that’s attentive and responsive to the learning needs of your gifted child.
Whether you’re looking at private or public schools, though, the quality of gifted programming will have a lot to do with the teachers. Look for schools with teachers who are trained in educating gifted children. Unfortunately, in Canada, the federal and provincial governments provide little funding for teacher training in gifted education (or for gifted education itself).
Certain alternative curricula are associated with advanced learning, including language immersion, the IB program, AP courses, and Montessori schools (which are unique in that they have mixed-age classrooms). It’s a good idea to look into these alternative options for your gifted child. While these options have benefits for gifted children, they also have some potential drawbacks.
A language immersion program offers a dual-track curriculum where students learn to speak two or more languages. In language immersion programs, most or all subjects are taught in the second language, beginning as early as preschool and continuing to the end of high school. For example, in Toronto, children can enrol in a French immersion program beginning in kindergarten.
Language immersion programs can enrich a student’s education. Learning some or all one’s subjects in a second language provides the right kind of challenge for many students, including some gifted students. It can keep gifted students interested in school, while also enabling them to develop another skill: fluency in a second language.
On the other hand, language immersion programs aren’t always the right choice for gifted students. As Matthews and Foster point out, for children whose main strengths are reasoning and the ability to master complex concepts, it can be years before their competency in a second language is strong enough to support their advanced learning abilities. Until students achieve enough competency in the second language, they’ll struggle to have high-level, meaningful discussions with teachers and peers. For the first few years, then, these programs can be frustrating for some gifted learners.
Gifted students typically prefer high-level instruction. But when most or all one’s subjects are taught in a foreign language, the level of sophistication is usually much lower for core subjects than would otherwise be the case (in the early years, especially). For many gifted students, Matthews and Foster claim, the best option is to separate second-language instruction from core instruction, at least until second-language proficiency improves. This is particularly true for students who lack a strong interest in second languages.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a program offered in many elementary, middle, and high schools. In high school, it offers a wide-ranging curriculum, where students enrol in six subject areas and fulfill a variety of community service and extracurricular requirements. Students also write an extended essay or dissertation at this level.
IB curricula tend to be more challenging than regular high school curricula. Upon successful completion of the program, students are awarded credits which can be transferred to first-year university. Because the curriculum is so rigorous, IB programs often attract highly motivated and intelligent students with strong academic track records. Thus the IB diploma is highly regarded by universities around the world.
The IB program can be a good option for gifted students: it offers them a demanding education.
Many gifted students enrol in IB programs, and some do so at an earlier age than their peers to accelerate their studies even further. The IB can indeed be a good option for some gifted students: it offers them a more demanding education.
On the other hand, IB programs are likely not a good option for students who resist a traditional curriculum. Since most IB programs follow standard course syllabi and use standard evaluation schemes, they leave little room for the level of flexibility some gifted students want. Students who tend to “march to the beat of their own drums” are thus usually not a good fit.
For similar reasons, many gifted students who want to explore non-core subjects that interest them, pursue independent projects, or follow their passions, find that the strict curriculum of IB programs is not for them. Moreover, research indicates that some IB courses, especially in math and science, aim more for breadth than depth, and may not be rigorous enough for some gifted students.
That said, this is mostly only true of the high school IB program. In the primary and elementary programs, there tends to be far more curricular flexibility. While certain topics do need to be covered in these programs, there’s lots of variation in how they’re covered. Even gifted students who resist a traditional curriculum, then, may be a good fit for primary and middle school IB programs.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses are university-level courses offered by some high schools in Canada, the United States, and elsewhere. By taking an AP course, students can both earn a university credit and help prepare for the advanced level of university. Many gifted students enrol in AP courses late in high school, and some enrol in them earlier to accelerate their studies.
AP courses are more challenging than typical high school courses. Moreover, since AP courses mainly contain highly motivated and intelligent students, they can be very stimulating. Often, they provide the right kind of challenge for gifted students, one that meets a wide range of their learning needs.
On the other hand, AP courses likely aren’t a good option for those who lack a strong work ethic, self-confidence, or intrinsic motivation. They’re also not a great option for those who aren’t high achievers. Finally, they tend to be a poor fit for “unconventional” students who resist a traditional curriculum, whether these students are gifted or not. AP courses follow a standard curriculum, taught at a prescribed pace, with strict standards of evaluation. They thus leave little room for flexibility on the part of teachers.
That said, there’s much variance among and within schools in the way AP courses are taught. Some teachers have the ability to modify teaching to meet the learning needs of gifted students. Other teachers lack the expertise to make the necessary adjustments to enable some gifted students to realize their full potential in an AP classroom.
There’s lots of variation among Montessori schools in terms of specific policies and practices. While many of these schools provide an ideal learning environment for gifted students, some don’t. Below, we outline the main benefits and drawbacks of a Montessori education for gifted students.
In some ways, Montessori schools are similar to other schooling options for gifted children. If they’re willing and able to meet the learning needs of gifted kids, through special programs or adaptations, they can be a great fit. If they’re not able to do this, they’re unlikely to be a good fit. It’s thus very important to look at the specific policies and practices of any Montessori school, to see whether it’s able to meet the special learning needs of your gifted child.
If you’re interested in learning more about Montessori education, check out our guide to Montessori schools.
As we’ve discussed, gifted students tend to have advanced learning abilities that are subject-specific. Often, they are gifted in some subjects, while possessing average to below-average abilities in other subjects. It’s less common that a student is equally advanced across the board. This makes it important to find the right gifted program for your child, one tailored to their unique learning strengths and weaknesses.
As a rule, students with very subject-specific giftedness are better off in a classroom that makes tailored adaptations for them. In this setting, students can have their studies accelerated, curriculum compacted, or studies enriched in a single subject.
Dedicated schools or programs for gifted kids, on the other hand, are not usually devoted to one subject. They’re generally more suitable for students who are gifted in many subjects. Having said that, if a student is gifted in a “core” subject—such as math, science, or the language arts—dedicated gifted programs can still be a good fit. This is especially true if the student’s learning abilities are at least average in most other core subjects.
Below, we look more closely at some of the options available for students with common forms of subject-specific giftedness.
Some students have gifted learning abilities in only math or science. These students might be given subject-specific accelerations in which they skip a grade in math or science, or in which their math or science studies are condensed. They might also be offered different kinds of enrichment: they might study with a high-level math or science teacher, or participate in a math or science study group with other advanced students.
There are also extracurricular opportunities for these students. For instance, there are after-school math enrichment programs or camps, such as Math Spirit, located in many cities in Canada.
There are also plenty of enrichment programs for advanced science students. In Toronto alone, for instance, there are part-time science programs provided by the Ontario Science Centre Science School and the University of Toronto Da Vinci Engineering Enrichment Program (DEEP). They offer lectures and classes in physics, biology, chemistry, engineering, and computer science.
When choosing a school, make sure to look into their approach to teaching math for gifted students. Some students do well with traditional math instruction, while others prefer the discovery approach. We identify the math approach of each school we profile on this site.
The same can be said of science instruction: some students do well with expository instruction, while others thrive with the inquiry approach. We also identify the science approach of each school we profile on this site.
Some students have advanced learning abilities in only the language arts. These students might have their studies accelerated or curriculum condensed in English or a second language, such as Spanish or French. The teacher might also offer some kind of out-of-class enrichment to help these students improve their language abilities. For instance, they might be given the chance to attend a Spanish discussion group or a reading group focusing on Spanish novels.
There are also extracurricular opportunities for students with advanced learning abilities in the language arts. For instance, they might attend an after-school second-language class in Spanish or French, or join a summer camp for language acquisition.
Some students are advanced learners in a subject not considered part of the “core curriculum.” For instance, some students are advanced in one of the fine arts, such as painting or sculpting. Other students are advanced in some area of music, such as composition or playing the piano. Yet other students are advanced in a sport, such as soccer.
These students would not be considered gifted based on provincial ministry standards, and likely wouldn’t be eligible for a dedicated gifted program. And given how specific their advanced learning abilities are, they likely wouldn’t be a good fit. These kinds of students are often better off obtaining in-class adaptations of the kind we’ve discussed: subject-specific acceleration, curriculum compacting, independent studies, mentorships, and the like.
Some of these students may also benefit the most from extracurricular opportunities. A student who’s a talented pianist may be better off, in some cases, taking after-school piano lessons, rather than obtaining in-class adaptations. A student who’s a talented painter might be better off taking after-school art classes or doing an apprenticeship, instead of receiving in-class adaptations. A student who’s a great soccer player might be best off playing on the school soccer team (if there is one), attending soccer camps, or both.
Students with very subject-specific giftedness are better off in a classroom that makes tailored adaptations for them.
Nominally, a gifted child qualifies as a “special needs” student in most parts of Canada. But it’s common for gifted children to have other special needs as well. These children are often referred to as “twice exceptional” students, since they have two special needs.
These children represent a unique challenge for parents and educators. If your child is twice exceptional, you’ll need to find a school or program where both their giftedness and their other special need can be supported. You’ll also need to monitor the situation closely, since both the strengths and weaknesses of dually exceptional children can evolve over time.
A common dual exceptionality is when a child is both gifted and has a learning disability (LD). Examples of learning disabilities are attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dysgraphia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysphasia, and dyslexia (which is now sometimes called a “reading disorder”).
Some gifted students with LDs can do well in a dedicated gifted program, as long as the teacher has the relevant expertise. Teachers can sometimes differentiate instruction to accommodate the learning strengths and weaknesses of gifted students with LDs. It also helps if the school or program has certain kinds of resources, such as special education classes, alternative instruction modes, tutors, and counselling services.
An important factor here is how severe the LD is and whether it’s likely to interfere with the ability to stay focused in class. Gifted students with a very severe case of ADHD or dyslexia, for instance, may not be good fits for full-time gifted programs, especially those with large classes (where there are more distractions). They may be better suited to a regular classroom, ideally a small one, that makes adjustments to address both their learning strengths and weaknesses.
Some gifted children also have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), such as Asperger’s Syndrome. Depending on the particular disorder and child, these students can have difficulty reading body language and social cues, communicating and understanding certain kinds of messages, and being able to cope with certain environmental stimuli.
These students generally don’t do well in large classes, where it can be hard for them to focus. So regardless of the type of gifted program—whether self-contained, dedicated gifted programs or one with in-class adaptations—these students need their learning environment to be quiet and structured. Other important factors for these students include having a skilled teacher and access to out-of-class resources such as counselling and tutoring. Clearly, though, the right option for these students will largely depend on the severity of the social issue and the unique traits of the student.
Gifted kids can also have pronounced behaviour problems. These problems might include a lack of flexibility, trouble controlling emotions, and difficulty following rules. These kids also can disrupt their class, something that can harm relations with teachers and peers. Many gifted kids develop these problems at least in part because of not feeling challenged in school. Some of these children also have LDs such as ADHD, or developmental disorders such as Asperger’s.
If the child’s behaviour problems are severe, they often might not do well in a full-time, dedicated gifted school or program, especially if it has a large class. Because these kids can be disruptive and often have trouble maintaining their focus, they need a more intensive, one-on-one approach. Usually, then, they’re better suited to classrooms that make in-class adaptations.
If a child’s behavior problems are severe, they might not do well in a full-time, dedicated gifted school or program, especially if it has a large class.
If the child’s behaviour problems aren’t too severe, however, and they have access to out-of-class resources such as counselling and tutoring, they have a better chance of succeeding in a self-contained program. Remember that often a student’s behaviour problems will recede or disappear once they are appropriately challenged and stimulated in school.
In the end, though, the prospects for success in any of these learning environments will largely depend on the expertise and abilities of the teacher.
Use our comparison table below to find schools supporting kids (and adolescents) who are both gifted and have significant behaviour problems. If your child is older, you can also read our troubled teens school guide.
Finally, gifted students can also have a physical disability such as Cerebral Palsy (CP). There are not many schools in Canada, private or public, that are well-equipped to deal with these dual-exceptionality students. The main problem is one of accessibility: few schools are fully accessible to a student population with a wide range of physical disabilities.
If you’re looking at private schools, the main task is to find one that is both physically accessible and has a gifted program. Use our comparison table below to see if private schools near you can offer this kind of support. If not, you may have to look to the public system.
It’s extremely difficult to identify giftedness in preschool-age children, and indeed it often goes undetected in the early years. This is partly because these kids haven’t been in school for long (if at all), so there is a short history from which to spot patterns. Moreover, young kids are less able to communicate their thoughts and needs, and signs your child might be gifted can be confusing at the preschool age.
Yet, just like older children, these kids often end up feeling unchallenged and develop social and emotional problems. It’s important, then, to identify your child’s needs as early as possible, and offer various enrichment opportunities, if those are called for.
As the parent of a gifted toddler or preschool child, you’re faced with a few main options:
If you decide to place your gifted child in a preschool, you’ll have to consider the type of preschool you want. There are no full-time, dedicated gifted programs or schools for preschoolers, but there are other options to consider. There are academic, play-based, Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia preschools. We compare types of preschools in our main preschool guide.
Each type of preschool has its own underlying philosophy and way of addressing the needs of gifted children. It’s important not to get too consumed with picking the “best” preschool approach, and instead focus on the following:
The Young Gifted Child guide outlines the following best practices for any preschool for gifted learners:
You play a crucial role in fostering the learning abilities of your young gifted child. Again, The Young Gifted Child guide outlines some best practices:
If you have a young gifted or precocious child, check out the excellent book Beyond Intelligence: Secrets for Raising Happily Productive Kids (2014). It provides a treasure trove of parenting insights by two Canadian experts in child development, Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster.
If you’re ready, you can look at our list of gifted programs and filter it for preschools.
At the elementary or primary school level, there are more reliable ways to identify gifted children. Since kids are in school at this age, there are more chances to identify their learning needs and, in particular, whether they have advanced needs in any specific areas.
It becomes increasingly important to identify the learning needs of kids at this level, since at this age they tend to be more engaged in the learning process. For parents who suspect their school-age child has advanced learning needs, a formal gifted test or assessment is often recommended. Usually, a formal test can determine whether there’s a mismatch between the learning needs of a child and the instruction provided. The mismatch can then be corrected by tailoring the curriculum to the child’s learning needs.
As already discussed, there is a wide variety of schooling options for gifted children at this level. These include dedicated gifted programs, such as self-contained gifted classes and schools. They also include adaptations made in a regular classroom, such as condensing the curriculum, accelerating the pace of study, and providing out-of-class enrichment opportunities.
When searching for an elementary school for your gifted child, you should choose a school that’s the right fit. This means choosing a school that can meet your child’s specific learning needs and gives them the best chance to thrive both academically and socially.
You’ll need to be diligent in trying to understand your child’s unique learning profile so that you can select the right school or program. Typically, though, the search for the right school or program for a gifted student is an ongoing process. Adjustments to curriculum and teaching methods often need to be made. In some cases, you may make the decision to move your child to a new school or program in order to adapt to their evolving learning needs.
If you’re ready, you can look at our list of gifted programs and filter it for elementary schools.
At the middle school or junior high level, it’s recommended that children thought to be advanced learners be given a formal gifted test or assessment. Ideally, this assessment will determine whether there’s a mismatch between the child’s learning needs and their current instruction, and show how this mismatch might be fixed.
Unfortunately, if a gifted child hasn’t been given a formal gifted test by this time, there’s a good chance their learning needs are not being met and that they’re feeling unchallenged in school. These children may already have experienced a lot of frustration, which can lead to social and behavioural problems.
There’s a wide range of schooling options for gifted students at the upper levels.
There are lots of schooling options for gifted students at this level. These include dedicated gifted programs, such as self-contained gifted classes and schools. They also include in-class adaptations, such as condensing the curriculum, accelerating the pace of study, and providing out-of-class enrichment opportunities. Also, there are some enrichment opportunities at this level which are not always available at elementary school. These include project-based learning, independent studies, and peer coaching.
To select the right school or program for your child, you’ll need a strong understanding of their learning needs. Depending on your child’s age and maturity, it’s often a good idea to involve them in decisions about schooling at this level. But it may be necessary to frequently adjust programming for your child in response to evolving learning and social needs, just as it may be at the elementary school level.
If you’re ready, you can look at our list of gifted programs and filter it for middle schools.
By the time high school begins, many advanced learners will already have been given a formal gifted test. If not, it’s imperative to do so, since any mismatch between your child’s learning abilities and their current instruction needs to be addressed right away. The assessment is all the more important for children with social or emotional problems, which may be due, at least in part, to unmet learning needs.
There’s an even wider variety of schooling options for gifted students at this level. There’s dedicated gifted programming, such as self-contained gifted classes and schools. There are also in-class adaptations, such as condensing the curriculum and accelerating studies. Also, there are even more out-of-class enrichment opportunities for high school students. These include project-based learning, independent studies, mentorships, and career exploration. There are also Advanced Placement courses and International Baccalaureate programs available at the high school level for gifted students (and students who aren’t deemed “gifted”), which we’ve already discussed.
To select the right high school program for your gifted child, you’ll need a strong understanding of their learning needs. At this level, it’s important to involve your child in the decision, given their ability to know their own learning needs. You should collaborate with your child to choose a school or program that gives them the best chance to thrive both academically and socially.
Gifted programs often provide good preparation for university, and many universities think highly of gifted programs. This means graduating from a high school gifted program can improve your child’s chances of both being accepted to a good university and excelling once they get there.
If you’re ready, you can look at our list of gifted programs and filter it for high schools.
In your search for the right gifted program, it’s important to consult with teachers, education specialists, and (in some cases) your child.
Begin researching gifted programs early, as much as a year before applying. You can research private schools with gifted programs here on this site (starting with our list of schools), on individual school websites, at open houses, during on-site visits, at our annual school expos, and other venues.
You’ll need to reflect on several questions during this process.
Consider exactly what you’re looking for in a school or program, and why. Your focus should not be on the school, but on the fit between the school and your child. Your first step, then, is to develop a clear picture of your child’s personality, learning style, and academic abilities. This means being clear on both their academic strengths and weaknesses.
Here are some questions to get you started:
Then you need to start thinking about the following:
You want to have an idea of the kind of environment your child will thrive in academically, socially, physically, and emotionally. Your idea can be tentative—but you should have it clear in your mind.
There are some standard questions to ask schools when investigating them.
Beyond those, there are also questions to ask schools about their gifted program. They include:
|In-class adaptations||Dedicated gifted programs|
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It’s best to first discuss these questions with the admissions officer. You can then speak to school directors or principals, as well as teachers. It’s also a good idea to attend one or more classes to get a sense of how they’re run, teaching philosophies, school culture, and the like.
If you want to ask these questions of many schools in one place, look into attending one of our private school expos.
If you’re seeking specific in-class adaptations for your child at their current school, no formal application process is usually involved. In some cases, you can simply make the request to the teacher. If the teacher is willing and able to make the necessary adaptations, they will do so (with your consent).
On the other hand, if your child is trying to get into a new school, there will be a formal application process. The application materials required will be similar to those required for any private school. These may include:
In some cases, though, they may also include:
The application process for different gifted schools and programs varies widely. Generally, when applying to gifted programs of any kind, the school will try to understand your child’s full cognitive, academic, and social/emotional profile. This helps in deciding how, or whether, a school can adapt its instruction to meet your child’s special learning needs—their strengths and weaknesses.
The right mindset to have is that the school is working with you, not against you. For more general advice on applying to private schools, see our “getting in” guide.
Some private schools offer needs-based financial aid or bursaries. This means that, if you can demonstrate a need for it, the school will cover either a portion or all of tuition.
A school’s decision to grant needs-based aid is not tied to academic performance or giftedness. Nor does asking for aid affect your child’s chances of admission. In most cases, a school will first decide who they want to admit, and only then turn to the question of aid. Also, most schools will have a third party assess a family’s financial aid application. The third party will then recommend to the school how much aid, if any, they should offer.
Remember that schools offer aid because they want a diverse and talented student body.
If you are unsure if you would be eligible for aid, you should ask. Schools that offer aid often tell us parents underestimate the availability of aid. Paying for private school can strain even the most comfortable middle-class family, and schools know this.
Financial aid applications are typically very thorough, and you’ll need an organized record of your finances to apply. They often ask for information about family income, real estate assets, mortgages, vehicles, investments (including RRSPs), liabilities, expenses, and even information about child support received. Once again, typically this information is reviewed, confidentially, by a third-party company, who then makes recommendations to the school.
You should begin researching financial aid early by visiting private school websites and calling schools.
Some students receive scholarships for attending a private school, which is a merit-based form of financial support. Based on specific criteria, such as past academic performance, extracurricular activities, and potential to contribute to the school’s values, your child may receive a scholarship to help finance their education.
That said, most schools don’t offer scholarships, and the scholarships that are offered often only provide partial coverage of private school costs (such as a reduction in tuition fees). We list some of the available scholarships here.
For general advice on affording private school, refer to our paying guide.
If your child is gifted in one or more subjects and is having trouble engaging in school, this is sufficient reason to seek out a gifted program.
Ultimately, gifted programs are meant to address students’ true abilities and passions and properly engage them in school. This can relieve many students of boredom and make school a source of wonder and pleasure again. With students deeply engaged in school, they’re less likely to develop (or sustain) social and behavioural problems. They’re also more likely to optimize their academic and intellectual development. This re-engagement is achieved in gifted programs through a number of means:
|La Citadelle International Academy of Arts and Science|
|Chamberlain International School|
|Hawthorn School for Girls|
|Toronto Prep School|
|Alive Montessori & Private School|
|St. Michaels University School|
|Shoore Centre for Learning|
|The Thinnox Academy|
|Brookes Shawnigan Lake|
|Columbia International College|
|Westside Montessori School|
|St. Margaret's School|
|Royal Cachet Montessori School|
|Neuchâtel Junior College|
|Mississauga Christian Academy|
|Walden International School|
|Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E|
|Upper Canada College|
|Clanmore Montessori School|
|St. Jude's Academy|
|TFS - Canada's International School|
|McDonald International Academy|
|The Giles School|
|The Dragon Academy|
|Century Private School|
|Bishop's College School|
|Island Pacific School|
|Fern Hill School - Oakville|
|Académie de la Capitale|
|Académie Westboro Academy|
|The Junior Academy|
|Heritage Academy of Learning Excellence|
|Tall Pines School|
|Peel Montessori Private School|
|Ellington Montessori School|
|St. Francis High School|
|Hampshire Country School|
|Niagara Christian Collegiate|
|Madrona School Society|
|King Heights Academy|
|Glenn Arbour Academy|
|The Montessori Country School - Milton Campus|
|Lynn-Rose Heights Private School|
|Taddle Creek Montessori School|
|Blyth Academy Ottawa|
|Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School|
|Central Montessori Schools - Sheppard Campus|
|Newton’s Grove School|
|Signet Christian School|
|Joan of Arc Academy / Academie Jeanne d'Arc|
|Shawnigan Lake School|
|Bishop Hamilton Montessori School|
|Yip’s Music & Montessori School|
|Rosseau Lake College|
|Holy Name of Mary College School|
|Venta Preparatory School|
|Fern Hill School - Burlington|
|York House School|
|Wesley Christian Academy|
|The Linden School|
|Prestige School - Richmond Hill Campus|
|Trafalgar School For Girls|
|High Park Gardens Montessori School|
|King's College School: International Schools for Bright and Gifted Children|
|Kingsway College School|
|Canadian International Hockey Academy|
|Toronto District Christian High School|
|Fairview Glen Montessori|
|The Sacred Heart School of Montreal|
|University of Toronto Schools|
|St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School|
|Avalon Children's Montessori School|
|CGS (Children's Garden School)|
|Meadow Green Academy|
|Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School|
|TFS - Canada's International School (West Campus)|
|Dearcroft Montessori School|
|Cornerstone Montessori Prep School|
|Aurora Montessori School|
|Delta West Academy|
|Crestwood Preparatory College|
|Army and Navy Academy|
|Wishing Well Schools|
|St. Clement's Early Learning School|
|High Park Day School|
|Royal St. George's College|
|Oakville Christian School (OCS)|
|Académie St-Laurent Academy|
|Crofton House School|
|John Knox Christian School - Oakville|
|Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie|
|St. John's-Ravenscourt School|
|West Island College (Montreal)|
|Prince Edward Montessori School|
|Brampton Christian School|
|Oxford Learning Academy (Private School)|
|Cambridge International Academy|
|Rothesay Netherwood School|
|Prestige School - Toronto Campus|
|Sherwood Heights School|
|OAT - Ontario Academy of Technology|
|Avenue Road Academy|
|The Mildenhall School|
|Hillfield Strathallan College|
|St. George's School of Montreal|
|Bayview Glen - Whole Child. Whole Life. Whole World.|
|The Westside School|
|Braemar House School|
|Home Sweet Home Montessori Academy|
|Robbins Hebrew Academy|
|Country Garden Montessori Academy|
|Arts and Science Academy of Canada|
|West Island College|
|River Valley School|
|Quetico College School|
|Banbury Crossroads School|
|Guiding Light Academy|
|North Broward Preparatory School|
|Pear Tree Elementary|
|St. Peter's ACHS College School|
|Sidney Ledson Institute|
|King's Christian Collegiate|
|Calgary French & International School|
|North Point School For Boys|
|Woodland Christian High School|
|College Prep International|
|Aurora Preparatory Academy|
|The Abelard School|
|Tuition (day school)||Students receiving financial aid||Grade eligibility for financial aid||Avg. aid package size (annual)|
|Elmwood School||$12,956 to $22,980||6%||6 - 12||$8,500|
|Hawthorn School for Girls||$10,000 to $18,000||35%||JK - 12|
|TMS School||$20,250 to $25,440||K - 12|
|Alive Montessori & Private School||$13,500 to $14,500||20%||JK - 8||$2,000|
|St. Michaels University School||$22,020 to $26,200||20%||K - 12||$11,685|
|The Thinnox Academy||$10,017 to $11,448||25%||9 - 12||$5,000|
|Brookes Shawnigan Lake||10%||7 - 12||$5,000|
|St. Margaret's School||$11,900 to $21,900|
|Upper Canada College||$30,860 to $33,860||18%||5 - 12||$15,000|
|TFS - Canada's International School||$17,600 to $31,100||Preschool - 12|
|Hudson College||$15,000||JK - 12|
|Appleby College||$33,510 to $41,120||17%||7 - 12||$26,300|
|The Dragon Academy||$20,500||20%||7 - 12||$3,000|
|Bishop's College School||$18,200 to $22,900||40%||7 - 12|
|Island Pacific School||$14,250||15%||6 - 9||$5,000|
|Olivet School||$10,000||14%||JK - 5|
|Villanova College||$17,400 to $18,100||4 - 12|
|Richland Academy||$16,500 to $17,800||JK - 8|
|The Junior Academy||$18,000 to $22,500||4%||JK - 8||$3,000|
|Northmount School||$12,500 to $19,000||5%||JK - 8||$10,000|
|Ellington Montessori School||$7,900 to $14,000||5%||1 - 8||$3,000|
|Madrona School Society||$18,000||K - 9|
|Blyth Academy Ottawa||9 - 12|
|Mulgrave School||$17,195 to $21,370||5%||11 - 12||$10,000|
|Joan of Arc Academy / Academie Jeanne d'Arc||$14,825|
|Bishop Hamilton Montessori School||$11,740 to $15,120||Nursery/Toddler - 8|
|Yip’s Music & Montessori School||$10,550 to $10,900|
|Avante School||$6,500||50%||3 - 12||$4,500|
|The Study||$18,415 to $20,735||15%|
|Rosseau Lake College||$9,400 to $18,800||5%||7 - 12|
|Holy Name of Mary College School||$16,350||10%||5 - 12|
|Waldorf Academy||20%||JK - 8||$5,000|
|The Linden School||$13,000 to $17,950||20%||JK - 12||$10,000|
|Trafalgar School For Girls||$15,875||20%||7 - 11|
|Canadian International Hockey Academy||$17,500||20%||8 - 12||$5,000|
|Toronto District Christian High School||$14,390||9 - 12|
|The Sacred Heart School of Montreal||$13,764||25%||7 - 11||$5,500|
|University of Toronto Schools||$23,590||15%||7 - 12||$11,000|
|Avalon Children's Montessori School||$13,100 to $14,750||5%||1 - 8||$10,000|
|TFS - Canada's International School (West Campus)||$21,420 to $26,150|
|Edge School||20%||5 - 12|
|Academie Providence||10%||1 - 8||$10|
|King's-Edgehill School||$17,350||33%||6 - 12||$15,000|
|City Academy||$1,600||9 - 12|
|Delta West Academy||$9,900 to $17,550||5%||3 - 12||$10,000|
|Crestwood Preparatory College||$24,900|
|Army and Navy Academy||$22,000||20%||7 - 12||$7,500|
|Crescent School||$31,750||3%||7 - 12||$33,770|
|Royal St. George's College||$30,540||3 - 12|
|Crofton House School||$18,960|
|John Knox Christian School - Oakville||$12,100 to $21,100||10%||JK - 8||$3,600|
|Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie||$4,000||7 - 11|
|St. John's-Ravenscourt School||$16,890 to $19,130||10%||6 - 12||$8,100|
|Rothesay Netherwood School||$20,110 to $21,480||28%||6 - 12||$15,500|
|Collège Rivier||$2,985||10%||8 - 12||$1,500|
|Avenue Road Academy||$12,500|
|Ashbury College||$22,440||8%||4 - 12||$6,700|
|Hillfield Strathallan College|
|St. George's School of Montreal||$17,390 to $21,217|
|Bayview Glen - Whole Child. Whole Life. Whole World.||$16,995 to $24,000|
|Somerset Academy||$13,200||5%||1 - 8|
|Robbins Hebrew Academy||Nursery/Toddler - 8|
|Arts and Science Academy of Canada||$10,000 to $19,000||20%||1 - 12||$1,000|
|Buffalo Seminary||$19,840||9 - 12|
|Banbury Crossroads School||$9,000 to $10,000||10%||K - 12||$3,500|
|North Point School For Boys||20%||K - 9||$6,000|
|Woodland Christian High School||$15,425||20%||9 - 12||$2,500|
|College Prep International||$11,000 to $12,500||1%||5 - 11||$1,000|
|The Abelard School||$20,000||20%||9 - 12||$10,000|
To discuss schools and gifted education, go to our parent discussion forum.
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