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Guide to private schools for boys

A look at all-boys education

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Boys' schools in Canada offer young men a learning environment that maximizes their academic and personal potential with teaching methods that are tailored specifically toward the way boys learn.

Although there are significant differences between genders, psychologists find that boys and girls develop differently and each gender has an ingrained learning style. Proponents of single-sex education also highlight that boys and girls tend to be treated differently in co-educational settings, in which case a child’s learning and personal growth has greater potential to be hindered. 

These are fundamental reasons for the existence of all-boys schools and all-girls schools.

Video: All-Boys Independent Schools

 

 

How boys are different

According to the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, boys become interested in math and science by exploring the "properties of numbers," whereas girls want their instructors to tie class material to the real world. Girls may view being unsuccessful as disappointing to the adults around them, while boys see lack of success as related to the specific subject area. In elementary school, girls tend to learn quicker than boys do (for example, girls usually read first).

At an all boys private school, your son will have the chance to develop at a similar pace to his classmates. The International Boys’ School Coalition notes some other unique traits of boys that a boys-only education is best equipped to deal with:

  • Physically, socially and emotionally, boys mature later than girls.
  • Boys are full of energy and "engage physically with the world."
  • Boys are quite often disorganized.
  • Boys like to take risks.
  • Boys seek responsibility and want to be leaders.

The ISBC also notes, “The importance of relational teaching to boys cannot be underestimated, as recent research sponsored by the IBSC has proven. In single-sex schools, education, teachers are informed of gender learning differences and strive to meet individual boy [and girl] learning needs.”

Benefits of an all-boys education

All-boys schools will allow your son to explore passions he may not feel comfortable with at a co-ed school. Subjects that may be viewed as "feminine" elsewhere no longer have such a gender stereotype at a boys-only school and a broad range of extra-curricular activities (such as music, art, and drama)  are available for your son to enjoy.

At this type of school, young men have a greater opportunity to find their true identity as they’re freed up from the pressure of doing things to impress girls, which also helps them feel less pressure to grow up too quickly. Here your son can settle into an atmosphere where he and his classmates do not feel the weight of trying to uphold a certain reputation but rather encourage and challenge one another to succeed.

And what age is the right age for boys to start in an all-boys environment? According to the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, a nationwide study conducted by Marcia Gentry and her associates, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, confirmed that at every age boys in co-ed schools are less enthusiastic about school than girls are, which suggests that regardless of your son’s age, a single-sex education may be the right step for him to help him focus and flourish.

In one notable example from NASSPE, years ago when an in inner-city high school in Montreal made the switch from co-ed classrooms to single-sex classrooms, absenteeism dropped from 20 percent to 7 percent, 80 percent of students passed their final exams (compared to 65 percent before) and the rate of students going on to college nearly doubled.

Plus, as recently as September 2014, the New Zealand Council for Educational Research published “promising research showing that graduates from boys' schools have higher qualification achievements than those from co-educational schools.” 

Criticisms of an all-boys education

Perhaps one of the most notable criticisms of boys schools is that they allow for fewer opportunities for young men to engage with the opposite sex, which some experts argue inhibits their social and sexual growth, as well as their sensitivity to women’s opinions and feelings. In this type of environment, critics also argue that boys are prone to further stereotypes and gender intensification.

On the contrary, proponents of single-sex education have supplied evidence that boys and girls schools can actually ‘break down gender stereotypes’ and offer students a variety of activities and programs that boys may not normally feel comfortable trying out in a co-ed environment.

According to NASSPE research, school principal Andrew Hunter, who has taught in both single-sex and co-ed environments, states, "there is a subtle pressure toward gender stereotyping in mixed schools. In boys' schools, boys feel free to be themselves, to follow their interests and talents in what might be regarded as non-macho pursuits: music, arts, drama."

IBSC also highlighted in their literature ‘Why a Boy’s School?’, “In all-boys schools, gender related issues are discussed more candidly because of the openness of an all-male environment and because of the potential for deeper mentoring relationships among boys and their teachers.”

Aside from learning from and interacting with female administrators and staff at the school, boys have plenty of opportunities and are able to collaborate with young women their age so that they are able to develop an understanding and appreciation for different perspectives in and outside of the classroom.  

Bullies at all-boys schools

Private schools continuously endeavor to give each student individualized attention, provide supportive and inclusive learning environments, lower their student-to-teacher ratios and closely monitor situations both in the classroom and online that may otherwise encourage bullying.

While the perception in some cases is that boys may exhibit more aggression than girls and feel a need to exert this over other boys, particularly in a classroom of all-male peers, at an all-boys school the competition is less about trying to impress and more about building character, becoming leaders and motivating one another to succeed. Any issues that do arise can be handled effectively by staff who understand the culture of boys and strive to provide an encouraging and understanding environment focused on continued achievement.

Learn more about bullying in private schools.

Differences in culture at an all-boys school

For many families, the best impression they can get of a school’s environment is through a visit to the campus.

At an all-boys school a school visit is where potential students and their parents can get a better idea of how well they might fit into the culture with other boys, speak with current students about their experience, and sit in on a classroom session to see which subjects appeal most to them or that they may be willing to try out that they may not have considered previously. Where some boys might find it difficult to concentrate and excel in a co-ed environment, in a supportive culture of men they can feel confident exploring their identities and building their full potential through activities and programs developed with boys’ interests and ways of learning in mind.

In addition, while the fathers of boys today are much more involved in their lives than in the past, experts agree that boys need male role models. At male-centric schools, they are able to interact with a range of male teachers and staff with different perspectives and strengths who can inspire and motivate them, as well as relate to their growing experiences as adolescents and young men. 

Key questions to consider when choosing a boys private school

  • What is the school's reputation? Do you have references from other parents or boys at the school?
  • What is the school’s educational philosophy? Do you agree with it?
  • Why would you prefer an all boys education to a coed school?
  • How far is the school from where you live?
  • Did the tour of the school impress you?
  • Does the school have scholarships and bursaries

Keep in mind that many schools offer programs from kindergarten until grade twelve and may also have elementary institutions ("feeder schools") that are affiliated with middle or high schools.

Paying for an all-boys private school

There are numerous ways to pay for a private school. If your son has been really successful or involved in a particular area (like academics, visual art, music, community service, and more), then his school may award him a scholarship. All-boys private schools might also provide you with a bursary if you demonstrate clear financial need. However, you may have to pay to apply for some of these grants, so make sure that you are likely eligible. Also consider other helpful financing options. These could include: tax breaks for sending your child to a religious school, donations from charitable organizations, and government subsidies.

You can also get more information on choosing a school and applying to private school, or learn more from the all boys private schools listed below.

For a much more in-depth look into all boys schools, visit one of our annual private school expos. Here, you will learn about what you need to know to navigate the private school selection and admissions processes.

Sources:

Learn more from the all-boys private schools listed below.

Series: Boys Schools

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List of Guide to private schools for boys


 FEATURED SCHOOL     OPEN HOUSE      SCHOOL EXPO EXHIBITOR

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  •  
  • Name
  • Cost
  • Robert Land Academy (est. 1978)   6727 South Chippawa Road, Wellandport, Ontario, L0R 2J0

    • 5 to 12 (Boys)
    • Boarding school (125 students)
    Robert Land Academy is a private military style boarding school (Gr 6-12) helping boys to achieve their potential and gain admission to post-secondary programs.  
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto, Halton-Peel
    • Traditional
    • Standard- enriched
    $51,500 to $59,500 /year
    Boarding Boys 51500 10-17 Wellandport,

    Upper Canada College (est. 1829)   220 Lonsdale Road, Toronto, Ontario, M4V 2X8
    (St Clair Ave W / Avenue Rd)

    • K to 12 (Boys)
    • Day school (1072 students)
    • Boarding school (88 students)
    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.  
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
    • Liberal Arts
    • International Baccalaureate
    • Accelerated
    $30,860 to $61,560 /year
    Day & Boarding Boys 30860 4-17 Toronto,

    Sterling Hall School (est. 1987)   99 Cartwright Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M6A 1V4

    • JK to 8 (Boys)
    • Day school (310 students)
    The Sterling Hall School is a leading independent school for boys, JK to Grade 8. We understand how boys learn best and we support each boy in his learning journey.  
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
    • Progressive
    • Standard- enriched
    $27,100 /year
    Day Boys 27100 3-13 Toronto

    Northmount School (est. 1990)   26 Mallard Road, Toronto, Ontario, M3B 1S3
    (York Mills Road / Don Mills Road)

    • JK to 8 (Boys)
    • Day school (97 students)
    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.  
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
    • Traditional
    • Accelerated
    $12,500 to $23,000 /year
    Day Boys 12500 3-13 Toronto,

    Army and Navy Academy (est. 1910)   2605 Carlsbad Blvd., Carlsbad, California, 92008
    (Carlsbad Blvd / Pacific Ave)

    • 7 to 12 (Boys)
    • Day school
    • Boarding school
    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.  
    • Traditional
    • Standard- enriched
    US $22,000 to $37,500 /year
    Day & Boarding Boys 22000 12-17 Carlsbad,

    North Point School For Boys (est. 2014)   2445 23rd Ave SW, Calgary, Alberta, T2T 0W3
    (17th Ave SW / Richmond Road SW)

    • K to 9 (Boys)
    • Day school (30 students)
    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.  
    School Expo Exhibitor - Calgary
    • Progressive
    • Student- paced
    $6,000 /year
    Day Boys 6000 5-14 Calgary,

    Crescent School (est. 1913)   2365 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M2L 1A2
    (Bayview Avenue / Lawrence Avenue East)

    • 3 to 12 (Boys)
    • Day school (715 students)
    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.  
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
    • Traditional
    • Standard- enriched
    $31,750 /year
    Day Boys 31750 8-17 Toronto,

    Venture Academy Troubled Teens Program (BC)   2040 Joe Riche Road, Kelowna, British Columbia, V1P 1G7

    • 7 to 12 (Boys)
    • 7 to 12 (Girls)
    • Homestay school
    Venture Academy is a therapeutic private school providing educational and clinical support services, individualized instruction and engaging interaction to get students back on track and restore confidence.  
    • Traditional
    • Student- paced
    Varies /year
    & Homestay Boys Girls 12-17 Kelowna

    St. Peter's ACHS College School (est. 1990)   6101 County Road #20 RR# 5, Harrow, Ontario, N0R 1G0
    (Concessions Rd 6 S / Hwy 18)

    • 1 to 8 (Boys)
    • Day school
    • Boarding school
    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.  
    • Traditional
    • Student- paced
    $8,900 to $29,000 /year
    Day & Boarding Boys 8900 6-13 Harrow,

    Royal St. George's College (est. 1964)   120 Howland Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5R 3B5

    • 3 to 12 (Boys)
    • Day school (426 students)
    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.  
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
    • Progressive
    • Standard- enriched
    $30,540 /year
    Day Boys 30540 8-17 Toronto

    St. Francis High School (est. 1927)   4129 Lake Shore Road, Hamburg, New York, 14075
    (Lake Shore Road / Lasalle Ave)

    • 9 to 12 (Boys)
    • Day school (500 students)
    • Boarding school (26 students)
    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.  
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
    • Traditional
    • Accelerated
    $10,620 to $46,000 USD /year
    Day & Boarding Boys 10620 14-17 Hamburg,

    Selwyn House School (est. 1901)   95, chemin Côte St. Antoine, Westmount, Quebec, H3Y 2H8

    • K to 11 (Boys)
    • Day school (540 students)
    Selwyn House School provides a well-rounded education of exceptional depth and scope for boys from Kindergarten to Grade 11. It is located in Westmount, Quebec.  
    School Expo Exhibitor - Montreal
    • Traditional
    • Standard- enriched
    $17,500 to $22,500 /year
    Day Boys 17500 5-16 Westmount

    Linbrook School (est. 2014)   1079 Linbrook Road, Oakville, Ontario, L6J 2L2

    • JK to 8 (Boys)
    • Day school (180 students)
    Linbrook School is Oakville's only all-boys school. This independent, not-for-profit day school fosters and supports each individual students special skills as an athlete, musician, performer, artist, writer or humanitarian.  
    School Expo Exhibitor - Halton-Peel
    • Traditional
    • Standard- enriched
    $20,488 to $23,712 /year
    Day Boys 20488 3-13 Oakville

    St. Clement's Early Learning School (est. 22)   70 St. Clements Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4R 1H2
    (Duplex Ave / St Clements Ave)

    • Nursery/Toddler to SK (Coed)
    • 1 to 2 (Boys)
    • Day school (150 students)
    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.  
    • Traditional
    • Student- paced
    $7,500 to $20,000 /year
    Day Coed Boys 7500 1-7 Toronto,

    St. Michael's College School (est. 1852)   1515 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5P 3H4

    • 7 to 12 (Boys)
    • Day school (1030 students)
    St. Michael's College School offers students in Grades 7-12 an enriched, Catholic, liberal arts education complemented by a diverse co-curricular programme.  
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
    • Liberal Arts
    • Standard- enriched
    $19,150 to $19,800 /year
    Day Boys 19150 12-17 Toronto

    St. Andrew's College (est. 1899)   15800 Yonge Street, Aurora, Ontario, L4G 3H7
    (St. John's Sideroad / Yonge Street)

    • 5 to 12 (Boys)
    • Day school (367 students)
    • Boarding school (259 students)
    St. Andrew's College offers programs from grades 5 to 12 in Aurora. Its average class size is 17 students.  
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
    • Traditional
    • Standard- enriched
    $27,825 to $57,940 /year
    Day & Boarding Boys 27825 10-17 Aurora,

    Venture Academy Troubled Teens Program (ON)   3761 Horseshoe Valley Road West, Minesing, Ontario, L0L 1Y0

    • 7 to 12 (Boys)
    • 7 to 12 (Girls)
    • Homestay school
    Venture Academy is a therapeutic treatment and education program for students who may be struggling with ADHD, learning challenges, underachieving, behavioural issues, and a variety of clinical diagnoses.  
    • Traditional
    • Student- paced
    Varies /year
    Boys Girls 12-17 Minesing

    Villa Maria (est. 1854)   4245 Decarie Boulevard, Montreal, Quebec, H4A 3K4
    (Av de Monkland / Boulevard Décarie)

    • 7 to 11 (Girls)
    • 7 to 7 (Boys)
    • Day school (1400 students)
    Villa Maria offers programs from grades seven to 12 in Montreal. Its average class size is 28 to 32 students.  
    School Expo Exhibitor - Montreal
    • Traditional
    • Standard- enriched
    $4,175 /year
    Day Girls Boys 4175 12-16 Montreal,

    Heritage (est. 1984)   5600 Heritage School Dr, Provo, Utah, 84604
    (Heritage School Dr / River Run Dr)

    • 7 to 12 (Boys)
    • 7 to 12 (Girls)
    • Boarding school (115 students)
    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.  
    • Progressive
    • Student- paced
    US $138,000 /year
    Boarding Boys Girls 138000 12-17 Provo,

    Hampshire Country School (est. 1948)   28 Patey Circle, Rindge, New Hampshire, 03461
    (Deer Run Ln / Hampshire Rd)

    • 3 to 12 (Boys)
    • Boarding school (25 students)
    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.  
    • Liberal Arts
    • Student- paced
    US $56,200 /year
    Boarding Boys 56200 8-17 Rindge,

    St. John's Military School (est. 1887)   110 W. Otis Avenue, Salina, Kansas, 67401
    (Santa Fe / Otis Ave)

    • 6 to 12 (Boys)
    • Boarding school (231 students)
    The structured and basic environment that Cadets experience at St. John’s allows them to pursue academics without the distractions common to most high school and middle school environments.  
    • Traditional
    • Standard- enriched
    $39,920 USD /year
    Boarding Boys 39920 11-17 Salina