"I have never seen a group of young women more sure of themselves."
Our Kids Media traveled to several all-girls' schools to chat with some of the young women about their school life and they took a few minutes out of their day to highlight the benefits of education in a single-sex learning environment. Check out the video to hear more!
Six years ago, her parents were down to two choices: a coed option or the all-girls’ environment of St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School in Oakville, Ontario. And as she finished up Grade 12 as head girl at St. Mildred’s, Alexa Vogel was more than satisfied with the decision her parents ultimately made.
“Personally, I love it,” says Alexa, 18. “The girls aren’t afraid to voice their opinion, because they aren’t second guessing and thinking ‘will a guy think this?’”
Not that contact with the opposite sex is completely lacking. The school arranges mixed social events, while Alexa has several male friends from her extracurricular activities, such as travels that have included work at a hospital in Africa and a semester studying in Australia. In fact, she’s quick to suggest that outside activities for all-girls’ school students are important for getting them used to socializing in mixed environments. “If there are clubs and sports or something that a child in a single-gender school can get involved with that’s in a coed environment, I think that makes a big difference,” she says.
Ask Jacqueline Nivet how she went from student council president to helping to save the world, and she’ll point back to her education for the answer.
Nivet currently works for the United Nations World Food Programme, which comes to the rescue of millions after their darkest hours. She says that a focus on helping others was instilled in her during her years at an all-girls school, which places an emphasis on character education.
“If I had stayed at my old school, I would be a completely different person today,” she says.
The school she attended changed everything about her life, she says—her interest in school activities, her academic capabilities, her sense of belonging, her confidence in the contributions she could make, and above all, her friends, who constantly challenge and push her to be a better person.
“I know I would never have achieved even half of what I have without them or without all that the school has given me over the years,” says Nivet.
While she attended Hawthorn School for Girls in Toronto, Ontario, from Grade 5 to OAC, she became student council president, as well as co-developer and co-editor of the first student publication.
“I think those two activities were most influential for my later career choices: acting as a leader, serving others and writing,” she says.
It’s been a decade since she graduated, and Nivet has travelled and lived abroad in a number of countries. Despite the distance however, her closest friends are still from her school days.
“It’s not a coincidence,” she says. “Students could really be themselves without the peer pressure we heard about in other middle and high schools.”
Nivet will always value the friendships she made at school.
“No matter what our career choices or countries we live in now, we are all still Hawthorn girls at heart,” she says. “We have so many memories and experiences that we still share.”
In an all-girls school, there is one less variable in teaching. “Research shows that girls really like a more communicative, collaborative approach to learning,” says Elizabeth Falco, head of school at The Study, in Westmount, Quebec. “As a teacher in an all-girls classroom, you can cater to that.” Confidence often blooms as a result.
“Girls change when boys are out of the picture and opportunities that might not have existed in a coed environment are suddenly available. Possibilities seem infinite. There are no limits in their imagination about what they can do.”
At Trafalgar Castle School in Whitby, Ontario, Amy, 18, agrees. There, most of the teachers and all of the students are female. “You can be more yourself instead of trying to impress the boys. You can take chances. You can try anything and not be afraid.”
“We were trying out different schools. My mom wanted me to go to an all-girls school. We came to an open house (at Trafalgar School for Girls in Montreal, Quebec), and as we were walking out, we both said, that’s the school! Because it’s so homey, you feel comfortable there.”
First impressions turned out to be accurate for Jenna, 13, who has just finished Grade 7. “I enjoy going there every day to see my friends—and the teachers. I’ve tried all different things, soccer, and I was manager of the basketball team. I was in the junior drama production and I am in the choir. Some days I get to school at 7:30 and don’t come home until 5:30. I see Mr. Dowd (principal Geoff Dowd) more than I see my parents.”
Her mother’s preference for an all-girl school? “At first I thought it would be weird because I had gone to a coed elementary school. But it’s actually nice because everyone is so comfortable, everyone can say things freely without feeling embarrassed.”
Girls school alumni include women leaders who testify about the value of single gender education in video and testimonial, including:
Research provided by the National Association for Choice in Education shows that 82 per cent of recent girl’s school graduates are satisfied or extremely satisfied with the how well their schools instilled self-confidence and that 84 per cent give their schools top marks for providing leadership opportunities.
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||Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day||12956|
Branksome Hall (est. 1903)
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]
|Standard-enriched||$29,590 to $56,855||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day||29590|
Trafalgar Castle School (est. 1874)
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]
|Standard-enriched||$21,860 to $52,230||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day||21860|
Hawthorn School (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||Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Coed Day Homestay||10000|
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/program to $49,300||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day||9500|
Alive Montessori & Private School (est. 2014)
50% off the first three months for new elementary students. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$7,500 to $14,500||Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Girls Boys Day||7500|
The Bishop Strachan School (est. 1867)
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]
|Student-paced||$31,740 to $60,130||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day||31740|
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]
|Standard-enriched||$18,960||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day||18960|
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]
|Accelerated||$17,095 to $19,570||Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day||9999999999|
Havergal College (est. 1894)
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]
|Standard-enriched||$31,725 to $58,000||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day||31725|
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||Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day||9000|
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||Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day||18415|
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]
|Standard-enriched||$15,875||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day Homestay||15875|
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||$14,000 to $19,400||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day||14000|
St. Clement's School (est. 1901)
St. Clement's School develops outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous and compassionate. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$28,350||Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day||28350|
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]
|Student-paced||$1||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boys Homestay||9999999999|
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||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day||16350|
Queen Margaret's School (est. 1921)
Queen Margaret's School is an independent day/boarding Senior School for girls in Grades 8-12 and co-ed Junior School from Preschool to Grade 7 in Duncan, BC. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$5,325 to $53,600||Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Coed Boarding Day||5325|
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]
|Standard-enriched||$13,764 to $49,492||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day||13764|
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 USD||HighSchools Girls Boarding Day||19840|
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]
|Standard-enriched||$4,175||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boys Day||4175|
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]
|Standard-enriched||$19,600 to $20,300||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day||9999999999|
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]
|Student-paced||$1||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boys Homestay||9999999999|
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]
|Student-paced||$14,825||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Girls Day||14825|
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||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day||4000|
Collège François-Delaplace (est. 1963)
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 200 boarding students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$7,950 to $30,300||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding||7950|
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]
|Student-paced||$138,000 USD||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boys Boarding||138000|
Alpine Academy (est. 2001)
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]
|$120,000 USD||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding||120000|
|Student-paced||$26,500 to $37,995||MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day||9999999999|