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Gradale Academy

550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 1X7

Grades (Gender):
JK to Gr. 6 (Coed)
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
8 to 10
Day: 50 (Gr. JK - 6)

School Address
550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 1X7
159 Roxborough Drive, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3X8

About this school:


Gradale Academy provides the ideal blend of academic and nature based learning, preparing students to be successful learners and citizens. Each day, students spend one-third of their day outdoors wiithin the beautiful Evergreen Brick Works, learning independence, self-confidence and a strong self worth. Our curriculum includes music, art, drama, french, phys ed/outdoor education — supporting our focus on developing confidence and self-esteem. — Visit school website



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Our Take: Gradale Academy

our takeWhen public boards seek to trim funding, they typically first look at the arts and outdoor education. Yes, the three Rs are important, but so is the way we interact with them, with others, and understand our place in the natural world, including stewardship. Gradale, very happily, begins at that point, having developed a program that delivers the core and then some. The Brick Works property is one of two that the school operates, and supports the core of Gradale program. It’s in the heart of the city, though abuts an impressive bit of green space, allowing the school maintain a very active and porous interface with nature—they don’t travel to it, but rather live, learn, and play within it every day. The benefits are profound, and increasingly demonstrated and apparent. The student body is small, vibrant, and parental involvement is nicely apparent and welcome in a wide range of school life.  

School busing:

Gradale Academy offers bus transferring. Service options offered are regular rider, regular rider AM only, regular rider PM only, occasional rider. The regions it offers busing from are Toronto.
Additional notes: The free Evergreen Brick Works shuttle bus departs every 30 minutes from the parkette on Erindale Ave, east of Broadview Ave (just north of Broadview subway station).

Principal's Message


Michelle Gradish, Founder and Principal

Gradale Academy's place based learning with access to a forest like setting offers a unique environment for your child to learn and grow.  It is like no other school in the downtown area. 

Whether it is math class, yoga class or journal writing we incorporate our outdoor space as an indoor space.


Curriculum Progressive

Primary Curriculum: Progressive

What Gradale Academy says: Gradale Academy’s excellent curriculum is enhanced with a variety of other programs in Art, Music, French and Physical Education. Our students are challenged academically in the morning and their afternoons focus on the extracurricular programs. This allows our students to put their emphasis and concentration into one area at a time, thus giving full attention to each and every part of the program. Each student will have one on one teaching time daily; this will ensure that all of our students are moving forward in a relaxed and comfortable manner. This gentle way of teaching gets results but in a non-stressed setting. The students are happy and content with their work and often desire more.

  • Approach:

  • Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics Discovery Math

      Discovery Math turns traditional math on its head: it frequently begins by introducing a novel problem to students, and works its way back to “discovering” a method of solving the problem. The goal is to ground mathematical procedures and algorithms firmly in their applications, and to challenge students to think critically about how they might go about solving the problem right from the beginning. Generally associated with the “Chicago Math” movement and related Everyday Math textbooks (Grades 1 to 6), Discovery math spends less classroom time mastering established algorithms and more time getting students invested in and thinking critically about novel mathematical problems and concepts. In this sense Discovery Math aims to establish conceptual and applied understand before procedural understanding.
      Learn about the different mathematics approaches  

    • What Gradale Academy says: Math program Kindergarten to grade six is Jump Math

    • Textbooks and supplementary materials: This information is not currently available.

    • Calculator policy: This information is not currently available.

    Early Reading Balanced Literacy

      Balanced reading programs are typically Whole Language programs with supplementary phonics training. This training might be incidental, or it might take the form of mini-lessons.
      Learn about the different early reading approaches  

    • What Gradale Academy says: Reading program is Reading Mastery Kindergarten to grade four. Reading Mastery is a complete basal reading program that uses the Direct Instruction method to help students master essential decoding and comprehension skills. The program places particular emphasis on teaching thinking skills and helping students acquire background knowledge. Independent novel studies and Ontario reading workbook for grades four to six

    • DIBELS Testing: This school does not use DIBELS testing to assess reading progress.

    • What Gradale Academy says: This information is not currently available.

    Writing Equal balance

      Programs that balance systematic and process approaches equally likely have an emphasis on giving young students ample opportunities to write, while providing supplementary class-wide instruction in grammar, parts of sentences, and various writing strategies.
      Learn about the different writing approaches  

    • What Gradale Academy says: Spelling skills work book

    Science Inquiry

      Inquiry-based science emphasizes teaching science as a way of thinking or practice, and therefore tries to get students “doing” science as much as possible -- and not just “learning” it. Students still learn foundational scientific ideas and content (and build on this knowledge progressively); however, relative to expository science instruction, inquiry-based programs have students spend more time developing and executing their own experiments (empirical and theoretical). Students are frequently challenged to develop critical and scientific-thinking skills by developing their own well-reasoned hypothesis and finding ways to test those hypotheses. Projects and experiments are emphasized over textbook learning. Skills are emphasized over breadth of knowledge.
      Learn about the different science approaches  

    • Teaching approach: This information is not currently available.

    • Topics covered in curriculum:

      Subject = offered
    • Treatment of evolution:

      Evolution as consensus theory
      Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
      Evolution is not taught

    Literature Traditional

      In traditional literature programs students focus on decoding the mechanics of texts: plot, characterization, and themes. These texts tend to include a balance of contemporary and “classic” literature. When studying a past work, students investigate its historical context -- but only insofar as this adds understanding to the work itself. Past works are therefore studied “on their own terms”, and not merely as historical artifacts to be deconstructed: traditional literature programs are firmly rooted in the humanities, and carry the belief that great literature can reveal fundamental and universal truths about the human condition. These programs emphasize class discussions and critical essay writing, and aim to develop in students critical thinking, communication skills, and a cultivated taste and ethos.
      Learn about the different literature approaches  

    • What Gradale Academy says: Spelling skills work book\n

    Social Studies Thematic

      The Thematic approach organizes the curriculum around certain themes or cultural universals. Students might spend time focused on food. Then they might focus on transportation or government, and so on.
      Learn about the different social studies approaches  

    • What Gradale Academy says: Nature and Environmental studies done on site \n

    Foreign Languages Equal Balance

      These programs feature an equal blend of the audio-lingual and communicative styles of language instruction.
      Learn about the different foreign languages approaches  

    • What Gradale Academy says: This information is not currently available.

    • Languages Offered: • French

    Fine Arts
    • Program offers:

      Subject = offered
      Graphic Design
      Visual Arts
    • What Gradale Academy says: This information is not currently available.

    Computers and Technology Light integration

      Computers are used in the classroom from time to time, but integrating technology into everything students do is not a dominant focus. Digital literacy is understood to be a legitimate skill in the 21st century, but not one that should distract from teaching the subject at hand, or more fundamental skills and literacies. The idea is today’s students, being “digital natives”, are likely exposed to computers and new media enough outside the classroom: the role of the school, rather, should be to develop competencies that may otherwise get missed.
      Learn about the different computers and technology approaches  

    • What Gradale Academy says: This information is not currently available.

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What Gradale Academy says: Children receive 1-2 hours of physical activity every day. In the winter students skate and go tobogganing every week. In the spring, there is skating, biking and hiking throughout the Evergreen Brick Works.\n

    Sex and Health Education Ontario curriculum
    Topics covered in sex and health education: This information is not currently available.

    What Gradale Academy says: This information is not currently available.

    Mostly value-neutral

    By and large, we teach sex education free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. We try not to impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on our students when teaching sex and related issues.

    Fairly value-based

    Sex education is sometimes taught from a particular moral or ethical standpoint. Sometimes particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) are invoked when teaching sex and related issues.


    This includes a range of positions. A traditional approach might, for example, go as far as emphasizing the nuclear family and complete abstinence from sex before marriage. Alternatively, this approach might simply involve placing less emphasis on sex outside of the context of marriage and more emphasis on abstinence. Or finally, it might just involve focusing less on sex outside of the context of marriage.


    This might mean more emphasis is placed on the importance of such things as social equality, diversity, and choice in sex education.

    What Gradale Academy says: This information is not currently available.

    Preschool/K Curriculum Play-based

    • Play-based
    • Montessori
    • Waldorf
    • Reggio Emilia
    • Academic

    Play-based programs are the most common type of preschool and Kindergarten, and are founded on the belief young children learn best through play. Largely open-ended and minimally structured, play-based programs aim to develop social skills and a love of attending school. “Pre-academic” skills are taught, but in a more indirect way than at, say, an Academic program: through children playing in different “stations” set up around the classroom, which children choose on their own volition. Stations often contain an indirect lesson or developmental goal. Play-based classrooms are highly social and active.

    If you want to learn more about preschool education, check out our comprehensive guide. You can also read our in-depth answers to important preschool questions: What is preschool? What are the main preschool programs? What are the main pros and cons of preschool? What do children learn in preschool? How much does preschool cost?  What makes for a great preschool?

    What Gradale Academy says: A lower student/teacher ratio allows all students to achieve the goals set out in our curriculum. In turn this gives a strong sense of self-worth and helps develop our students in to confident and motivated individuals. If a child feels good about him/herself, they will attempt more and learn more with an open and curious mind.

    Curriculum Pace Student-paced

    • Standard-enriched
    • Accelerated
    • Student-paced

    The main curriculum pace is non-standardized and is HIGHLY responsive to the pacing of individual students, (via differentiated instruction, differentiated assessment, etc). In theory, some students outpace the default/normalized curriculum, while others spend periods "behind schedule" if they need the extra time.

    Flexible pacing:

    Flexible pacing style = offered
    Subject-streaming (tracking)
    Multi-age classrooms as standard
    Ability-grouping (in-class) as common
    Frequent use of cyber-learning (at-their-own-pace)
    Regular guided independent study opportunities
    Differentiated assessment

    What Gradale Academy says about flexible pacing: This information is not currently available.

    Academic Culture Supportive

    • Rigorous
    • Supportive

    A school with a “supportive” academic culture focuses more on process than short-term outcomes: academic performance is a welcomed side-benefit, but not the driving focus. This does not mean the school lacks standards, or has low expectations for its students: a school can have a supportive academic culture and still light the fire of ambition in its students. It does mean, however, the school provides a less intensive culture than schools with a “rigorous” academic classification, and is focused more simply on instilling a love of learning and life-long curiosity.

    What Gradale Academy says: This information is not currently available.

    Developmental Priorities Emotional, Intellectual

    Primary Developmental Priority: Emotional
    Emotionally intelligent and confident individuals, capable of leading both themselves and others.

    Secondary Developmental Priority: Intellectual
    Academically strong, creative, and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions.

    What Gradale Academy says: All students are given the opportunity to learn at their own level by providing individual attention from qualified teachers. Daily each student learns independence, self-confidence and a strong self worth with advanced language and social skills.

    Special Needs Support Indirect Support

    Indirect Support

    Students remain in a regular classroom for the whole day; the teacher receives special training in accommodating special needs and/or learning disabled students.

    • Academic Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
      Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
    • Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD
      Support Type = offered
      Extra support
    • Support for moderate-to-severe special needs:
      Special needs
      ADHD (moderate to severe)
      Learning disabilities
      Dyslexia (Language-Based Learning Disability)
      Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
      Language Processing Disorder
      Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)
      Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
      Asperger's Syndrome
      Down syndrome
      Intellectual disability
      Williams syndrome
      Behavioral and Emotional
      Troubled behaviour / troubled teens
      Clinical Depression
      Clinical anxiety
      Suicidal thoughts
      Drug and alcohol abuse
      Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
      Multiple sclerosis
      Cerebral palsy
      Muscular dystrophy
      Spina Bifida
      Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
      Cystic Fibrosis
      Multiple physical
    • Forms of support delivery:
      Support Type = offered
      A regular class with indirect support
      A regular class with resource assistance
      A regular class with withdrawal assistance
      A special education class with partial integration
      A full-time special education class
    • Additional Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Social skills programs
      Occupational therapy
      Speech-language therapy

    Gifted Learner Support In-class adaptations

    Dedicated gifted programs:

    Program = offered
    Full-time gifted program (parallel to rest of school)
    Part-time gifted program (pull-out; parallel to rest of class)

    Curriculum delivery: Enrichment (The main focus is on enrichment. This means that while students may work at a marginally quicker pace than public school peers, the primary aim is to study subject in broader and deeper ways.)

    In-class adaptations:
    Practice = offered
    Custom subject enrichment (special arrangement)
    Custom curriculum compacting (special arrangement)
    Guided independent study (custom gifted arrangement)
    Cyber-learning opportunities (custom gifted arrangement)
    Formalized peer coaching opportunities (specifically for gifted learners to coach others)
    Custom subject acceleration (special arrangement)
    Career exploration (custom gifted arrangement)
    Project-based learning (custom gifted arrangement)
    Mentorships (custom gifted arrangement)

    What Gradale Academy says: This information is not currently available.

    Gifted education: If you want to learn more about gifted education, check out our comprehensive guide. It’s the first of its kind: it covers different kinds of gifted schools and programs, and a whole host of issues parents face in finding the right option for their gifted child.

    Report Card Policy

    How assessments are delivered across the grades:

    Lettered or numbered gradesJK to 3
    Prose (narrative)-based feedbackJK to 3
    Academic achievement reportingJK to 3
    Habits and behaviour reportingJK to 3
    Parent-teacher meetingsJK to 3

    Class Sizes Not available

    This information is not currently available.


    What Gradale Academy says:

    This information is not currently available.

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Ice Hockey
      Track & Field
      Cross-country skiing
      Ice Skating
    • Clubs Offered
      Community Service
      Environmental Club
      Outdoor Club
      Outdoor Education

    Tuition & Financial Aid



    Need-based financial aid

    This information is not currently available.

    Merit based Scholarships

    This information is not currently available.


    Total enrollment 50
    Average enrollment per grade5
    Average class size8 to 10
    Gender (grades)JK to Gr. 6 (Coed)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution:

    Day Enrollment68888765



    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    SSAT (out of province)
    Entrance Exam(s)
    Entrance Essay
    Application Fee 

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:

    What Gradale Academy says:


    An individual meeting must be scheduled with the parents. After this initial meeting a classroom visit will be scheduled for your child to come to the school. Once we have determined that the child's needs are met by the school a letter will be e-mailed to the parents to inform them of the acceptance. Upon acceptance parents are responsible to fill in all forms and pay a non-refundable deposit to complete the process of acceptance to Gradale Academy. The Ministry of Ontario requires all forms to be complete and kept on file for all children who are attending Gradale Academy.

    Part-time and full-time attendance options available.

    If you have any questions or concerns regarding the required information please speak to the Director, Michelle Gradish.

    Parent Fees

    The fees range from $9,000 to $20,000 depending on the age and class.

    Fees are paid in three installments throughout the year:

    • First payment dated April 3rd, 2017
    • Second payment dated October 2nd, 2017
    • Third payment dated January 1st, 2017


    Post dated cheques are required upon registration.


    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student Gradale Academy is looking for: Gradale Academy will not be for everyone. We are looking for unique families that espouse the value of a superior education combined with an appreciation for nature. Gradale’s focus on experiential learning will be a great benefit to a child ready to embrace all of the opportunities the school will provide.

    Student Entry Points

    Student TypePSJKSK123456
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)
    3 - 5 (100%)3 - 5 (100%)3 - 5 (100%)3 - 5 (100%)3 - 5 (100%)3 - 5 (100%)3 - 5 (100%)3 - 5 (100%)

    In the News


    March 7, 2018 - Toronto Private Elementary School With Outdoor Classrooms

    With 30 to 40 per cent of every day spent outdoors, students at Gradale Academy use the 16 hectare campus for inquiry-based learning. ...

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