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Girls schools: Expert advice

How girls benefit according to experts

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It’s no secret that girls and boys learn differently, and that each thrives in different learning environments. Girls’ schools across the world have tapped into this understanding by focusing on the social, emotional and specific academic needs of girls in their approach to education. Single sex education not only gives girls the tools they need to learn effectively, but also provides the opportunity to develop strong friendships and self-confidence.

“When I go to school, I am surrounded by people I want to be with and we’re all learning,” says Juliet Caragianis, a Grade 11 student at Elmwood School in Ottawa, Ontario. With a focus on digital learning, including a one-to-one laptop program and the use of interactive SMART Boards in classrooms, this all-girls’ independent school encourages students to feel comfortable and confident with technology. For Juliet, who writes a weekly blog about student life, technology use is just one way that her school defies many of the stereotypes associated with an all-girls’ environment. “Elmwood also strongly promotes its math and science programs,” she says.

Girls Schools Expert Advice
Bishops College School - Photograph by Christinne Muschi

Math, science and technology targeted for girl

Generally, the belief is that as girls mature faster than boys, they have the advantage when it comes to language and vocabulary skills, whereas boys’ learning styles give them an edge in the sciences. Traditionally, this is accepted as the reason why the scientific and mathematic fields are overwhelmingly male-dominated. The truth is that girls are just as capable of enjoying, excelling at and pursuing careers in these fields – with the right approach. Many girls’ schools offer math, science and technology programs tailored specifically for their students – not to mention the freedom from gender stereotypes associated with these subjects.

According to Elmwood’s Head of School, Cheryl Boughton, at least 50 per cent of the school’s graduates go on to study math and science in university. “Ours is a very enabling environment,” Boughton says. “We provide opportunities for educational risk-taking and we establish supportive learning communities.”

Increased confidence for girls

According to a study released by the University of California, Los Angeles in March 2009, female graduates of single-sex high schools in the United States showed higher levels of academic engagement, SAT scores and confidence in mathematical ability and computer skills than their counterparts at coeducation schools.

The study also showed higher levels of self-confidence among students in girls’ schools, says Meg Milne Moulton, Executive Director of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. “Most girls’ schools offer against-the-grain learning experiences where students take on challenges that they may not have done on their own—and are encouraged to learn from their mistakes,” Moulton says.

Improved concentration and the freedom to be themselves

Not only are single sex schools praised for their tailored approach to learning, they also eliminate distractions and allow students to be their best. Girls’ schools provide an environment where girls can truly be themselves and grow into self-reliant, confident young women.

In the classroom, students are encouraged to express opinions and ask questions, Juliet says. “When you’re in a coed environment, the boys often try to say funny things and the girls try to sound smart,” she says. “Here, our classes are much more relaxed.”

The concentration in the classroom is also improved at an all-girls school, as students are more able to sit still and focus than boys, a result of more serotonin and oxytocin hormones.

Without boys around, Elmwood students are able to focus on doing well in school and making friends—with much less social drama, says Ella Mar, who has one daughter in Grade 12 at the school and another who recently graduated. But the girls aren’t without male friends, because that’s an important part of being a teenager.

“During the school day the focus is on academics and not on boys, it’s nice not to have that distraction.”

—Hailey Eisen and Sonja Schweiger

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List of Girls schools: Expert advice

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      School Name Type Cost

    Branksome Hall (est. 1903)  

    • Toronto, Ontario
    • JK to 12 Girls
    • Day school (834 students)
    • Boarding school (66 students)
    Branksome Hall is an all girls school in Toronto, from JK to Grade 12, including 56 boarding students. Tuition ranges from $28,995 to $31,245 for day students. [View profile]
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
    • Liberal Arts
    • International Baccalaureate
    $29,590 to $56,855


    Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day29590

    St. Margaret's School (est. 1908)  

    • Victoria, British Columbia
    • JK to 12 Girls
    • Day school (220 students)
    • Boarding school (130 students)
    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]
    • Traditional
    $9,500 to $49,300

    User
    reviews (5)

    • User reviews (5)
    Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day9500

    Hawthorn School (est. 1989)  

    • Toronto, Ontario
    • NS to 12 Coed/Girls
    • Day school
    • Homestay
    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]
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
    • Liberal Arts
    $13,300 to $19,050


    Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Coed Day Homestay13300

    Elmwood School (est. 1915)  

    • Ottawa, Ontario
    • PS to 12 Girls
    • Day school (370 students)
    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]
    School Expo Exhibitor - Ottawa
    • Progressive
    • International Baccalaureate
    $13,500 to $25,660


    Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day13500

    Trafalgar Castle School (est. 1874)  

    • Whitby, Ontario
    • 4 to 12 Girls
    • Day school (125 students)
    • Boarding school (85 students)
    Located just 45 minutes east of Toronto, Trafalgar Castle School offers world-class curriculum in a small-school environment that inspires and encourages growth. * Day and boarding * All Girls * Grades 5 to 12 [View profile]
    • Liberal Arts
    $21,995 to $56,950


    MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day21995

    The Linden School (est. 1993)  

    • Toronto, Ontario
    • JK to 12 Girls
    • Day school (115 students)
    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]
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
    • Progressive
    $14,000 to $19,400

    User
    reviews (2)

    • User reviews (2)
    Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day14000

    Trafalgar School For Girls (est. 1887)  

    • Montreal, Quebec
    • 7 to 11 Girls
    • Day school (140 students)
    • Homestay
    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]
    • Liberal Arts
    $17,995 to $26,000


    MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day Homestay17995

    Buffalo Seminary (est. 1851)  

    • Buffalo, New York
    • 9 to 12 Girls
    • Day school
    • Boarding school
    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]
    • Liberal Arts
    $19,840 to $46,715 USD


    HighSchools Girls Boarding Day19840

    Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School (est. 1909)  

    • Westmount, Quebec
    • K to 11 Girls
    • Day school (320 students)
    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]
    School Expo Exhibitor - Montreal
    • Progressive
    $17,095 to $19,570


    Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day9999999999

    Venture Academy Troubled Teens Program (ON)   

    • Barrie Area, Ontario
    • 7 to 12 Boys/Girls
    • Homestay
    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. [View profile]
    • Traditional
    not provided


    MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boys Homestay9999999999

    St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School (est. 1891)  

    • Oakville, Ontario
    • PS to 12 Girls
    • Day school (550 students)
    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]
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto, Halton-Peel
    • Progressive
    • Reggio Emilia
    $9,000 to $26,300


    Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day9000

    Heritage (est. 1984)  

    • Provo, Utah
    • 7 to 12 Boys/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. [View profile]
    • Progressive
    $138,000 USD


    MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boys Boarding138000

    Venture Academy Troubled Teens Program (BC)   

    • Kelowna, British Columbia
    • 7 to 12 Boys/Girls
    • Homestay
    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. [View profile]
    • Traditional
    not provided


    MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boys Homestay9999999999

    Odyssey Heights School for Girls (est. 2017)  

    • Toronto, Ontario
    • 3 to 12 Girls
    • Day school
    • Homestay
    Odyssey Heights School: starts at 9:55am with dance, yoga, or outdoor fitness; 25-35 Overnight OE3 trips are included in tuition, there's a "No Homework Ever!" policy; Equestrian curriculum, small group French, 1:1 iPads [View profile]
    • Progressive
    • Montessori
    $26,450 to $28,375


    MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day Homestay26450

    Alpine Academy (est. 2001)  

    • Erda, Utah
    • 7 to 12 Girls
    • Boarding school (70 students)
    Alpine Academy isn't just a school, it is an experience that prepares young women for life beyond our campus. Students learn to engage in not only academics, but also family, community, and interpersonal relationships. [View profile]
    • Traditional
    $120,000 USD


    MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding120000

    Villa Maria (est. 1854)  

    • Montreal, Quebec
    • 7 to 11 Girls/Boys
    • Day school (1400 students)
    Villa Maria offers programs from grades 7 to 11 in Montreal. Its average class size is 30 to 34 students. [View profile]
    • Traditional
    $4,175


    MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boys Day4175

    Holy Name of Mary College School (est. 2008)  

    • Mississauga, Ontario
    • 5 to 12 Girls
    • Day school
    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]
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto, Halton-Peel
    • Progressive
    $16,650 to $45,950


    MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day16650

    The Sacred Heart School of Montreal (est. 1861)  

    • Montreal, Quebec
    • 7 to 11 Girls
    • Day school (230 students)
    • Boarding school
    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]
    • Traditional
    $13,764 to $49,492


    MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day13764

    Joan of Arc Academy / Academie Jeanne d'Arc (est. 1954)  

    • Ottawa, Ontario
    • JK to 8 Girls
    • Day school
    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]
    School Expo Exhibitor - Ottawa
    • Progressive
    $14,825


    Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Girls Day14825

    Queen Margaret's School (est. 1921)  

    • Duncan, British Columbia
    • PS to 12 Girls/Coed
    • Day school (254 students)
    • Boarding school (94 students)
    Queen Margaret's School is an independent day/boarding university preparatory school in Duncan, BC. [View profile]
    • Progressive
    $6,250 to $55,200

    User
    reviews (1)

    • User reviews (1)
    Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Coed Boarding Day6250

    The Bishop Strachan School (est. 1867)  

    • Toronto, Ontario
    • JK to 12 Girls
    • Day school (825 students)
    • Boarding school (80 students)
    Located in Toronto, The Bishop Strachan School is Canada's oldest independent JK to Grade 12 day and boarding school for girls, welcoming students from Toronto and around the world. [View profile]
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
    • Traditional
    • Reggio Emilia
    $31,740 to $60,130


    Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day31740

    The Study (est. 1915)  

    • Westmount, Quebec
    • K to 11 Girls
    • Day school (385 students)
    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]
    School Expo Exhibitor - Montreal
    • Progressive
    $19,230 to $21,655


    Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day19230

    Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie (est. 1905)  

    • Montreal, Quebec
    • 7 to 11 Girls
    • Day school (1150 students)
    • Boarding school (60 students)
    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]
    • Liberal Arts
    • International Baccalaureate
    $4,000 to $9,150


    MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day4000

    York House School (est. 1932)  

    • Vancouver, British Columbia
    • JK to 12 Girls
    • Day school (656 students)
    York House School provides an exceptional education for girls from JK to Gr. 12. We instill in each girl the belief and confidence that girls can do anything! [View profile]
    • Liberal Arts
    • Reggio Emilia
    $20,600 to $21,400


    Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day20600

    St. Clement's School (est. 1901)  

    • Toronto, Ontario
    • 1 to 12 Girls
    • Day school (470 students)
    St. Clement's School develops outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous and compassionate. [View profile]
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
    • Liberal Arts
    $29,175


    Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day29175

    Havergal College (est. 1894)  

    • Toronto, Ontario
    • JK to 12 Girls
    • Day school (870 students)
    • Boarding school (50 students)
    Havergal College is an all-girls school in Toronto for students in JK to Grade 12. Preparing Young Women to Make a Difference Since 1894. [View profile]
    School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
    • Liberal Arts
    $32,750 to $59,875

    Our Kids
    Review

    • Our Kids Review
    Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day32750

    Collège François-Delaplace (est. 1963)  

    • Waterville, Quebec
    • 7 to 12 Girls
    • Boarding school (200 students)
    COLLÈGE FRANÇOIS-DELAPLACE is a private traditional / academic boarding school in Waterville, Quebec. The school offers programs for grades 7 to 12 with enrolment of 150 boarding students. [View profile]
    • Traditional
    $7,950 to $21,000


    MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding7950