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High Park Day School
High Park Day School
291A Jane Street, Toronto, Ontario, M6S 3Z3
Contact name:
Kristin Palin

Phone number:
(416) 645-7440×
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High Park Day School

High Park Day School

291A Jane Street, Toronto, Ontario, M6S 3Z3

Grades (Gender):
JK to 8 (Coed)
$14,300 to 15,900/year
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
6 to 12
Day: 30 (Gr. JK - 8)

Get more information

Contact Name:
Kristin Palin

Phone Number:

School Address
291A Jane Street, Toronto, Ontario, M6S 3Z3
404 Willard Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M6S 3R5

About this school:

High Park Day School offers a unique Inquiry and Project-Based approach to engage and inspire students while meeting individual needs. Our focus on 21st Century Skills provides students with the tools they need for success. Small classes allow for meaningful collaboration and individual contributions from all students regardless of learning styles and abilities. We subscribe to a strengths-based approach allowing our students to stand in their strengths and embrace individual challenges as opportunities for growth.

The Our Kids review of High Park Day School

our takeAmanda Dervaitis, one of the founders of High Park Day School, is a champion of the micro school, and she created the school in light of the benefits a small school can offer. The program is, in a sense, the reinvention of the one-room schoolhouse with mixed age classrooms and very close student-teacher relationships. Likewise, the programming is very responsive to the needs of the students, and adaptable to a wider range of resources, including those within the neighbouring community—while the student body may be small, the classroom extends well beyond the walls of the school, including regular interaction with local businesses and services. It’s perhaps not a typical model, though for many families, it’s rightly a very attractive one. The ideal student is one able to thrive in a flexible, vibrant learning environment.


Curriculum Progressive

Primary Curriculum: Progressive

What High Park Day School says: High Park Day School prepares a diverse community of learners for success in the 21st Century. Project Based Learning provides experiential and collaborative learning opportunities with an emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving and social skill development. An integrated curriculum is offered through exciting and relevant thematic units. Authentic and unique field trips and guest educators enhance our lessons and offer rich learning experiences. Character Education is at the core of the curriculum, while formal Service Learning projects instill social responsibility and citizenship. Engaging and meaningful projects inspire and foster self-driven, lifelong learning. Programs are personalized to account for individual goals. Skill development is highly focused on what's needed for success in the 21st century - communication, collaboration, critical thinking, innovation and creativity, computers and technology.

  • Approach:

  • Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics Equal Balance

      These math programs feature an equal balance of “Traditional” and “Discovery” methods.
      Learn about the different mathematics approaches  

    • What High Park Day School says: We use individualized JUMP Math programs to help students achieve higher standards in mathematics; students work at their level and pace to reach their highest potential. Even the most apprehensive math students learn to love math and gain confidence in their math abilities. Learn more at www.jumpmath.org. Math is also integrated into interdisciplinary STEM classes (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Through real-life challenges, students must think critically to discover how to apply mathematical concepts and methods to solve problems.

    • 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 High Park Day School says: This information is not currently available.

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

    • What High Park Day School 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 High Park Day School says: This information is not currently available.

    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 Equal Balance

      These literature programs draw in equal measure from “Traditional” and “Social Justice” programs.
      Learn about the different literature approaches  

    • What High Park Day School says: This information is not currently available.

    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 High Park Day School says: This information is not currently available.

    Humanities and Social Sciences Pragmatism

      Pragmatism in the humanities and social sciences emphasizes making learning relevant to students’ present-day experience. Assignments tend to centre around projects and tasks rather than argumentative essays; these projects will often have a “real-world” application or relevance. There might be more of a social justice component to a pragmatic program, though that isn’t always the case. Subjects like history and philosophy are still covered/offered, but they play a less prominent role in the overall program than in the case of perennialism. The social sciences (contemporary geography, sociology, psychology, etc), meanwhile, might play a more prominent role in pragmatic programs. The key goals are to make learning progressive and relevant, while teaching students real-life skills and critical thinking.
      Learn about the different humanities and social sciences approaches  

    • What High Park Day School says: This information is not currently available.

    Foreign Languages Communicative

      The communicative method of language acquisition emphasizes the use of the target language in authentic contexts. The approach commonly features interactive group work, games, authentic texts, and opportunities to learn about the cultural background of the language. Drills and quizzes may still be used, but less frequently than with the audio-lingual method.
      Learn about the different foreign languages approaches  

    • What High Park Day School says: This information is not currently available.

    • Languages Offered: • French

    Fine Arts Creative

      Creative arts programs are studio-driven. While historical works and movements may still be taught to add context to the program, students mainly engage in making art (visual, musical, theatrical, etc). The goal is use the actual practice of art to help educate students’ emotions, cognition, and ethos.
      Learn about the different fine arts approaches  

    • Program offers:

      Subject = offered
      Graphic Design
      Visual Arts
    • Visual studio philosophy:

    • What High Park Day School says: This information is not currently available.

    Computers and Technology Medium integration

      Effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy through the curriculum. However, this is not a dominant focus.
      Learn about the different computers and technology approaches  

    • What High Park Day School says: This information is not currently available.

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What High Park Day School says: This information is not currently available.

    Religious Education
    • Approach to teaching religious and secular curricula

      Completely segregated
      Mostly segregated
      Completely integrated
      Mostly integrated
      Not applicable
    • Approach to teaching religion

      Scripture as literal
      Scripture as interpretive
    • What High Park Day School says: This information is not currently available.

    Preschool/K Curriculum Reggio Emilia

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

    Reggio Emilia programs aim to develop curiosity and problem-solving skills through the liberal use of “projects”, (as opposed to “activities” or “lessons”). Teachers design projects for children around their demonstrated interests. Projects can be geared to an individual student, a small group of students, or the class as a whole. Projects can last from a few days to the whole year. Art is strongly emphasized and is typically incorporated into every project. Teachers actively participate in projects alongside students, rather than sitting back and observing. A high degree of parent involvement is also encouraged, particularly when forming curriculums and project plans (which happens throughout the academic year).
    If you want to learn more about Reggio Emilia education, check out our comprehensive guide.

    What High Park Day School says: Our child-driven, inquiry-based program incorporates both play-based learning and academic development (literacy, phonics, math, and fine-motor skills). Science and the Arts are taught through thematic units and regular field-trips, giving students an opportunity to learn in an enriched environment. Visual Arts, Music, Drama and Dance celebrate the innate imagination of children and foster the growth of the creative mind. Physical education and healthy, active living round out our program.

    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 High Park Day School 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 High Park Day School says: HPDS students strive for personal excellence through self-reflection and goal-setting. Academic rigour is embedded in our Project-Based curriculum; students’ project work is purposeful, reaching authentic audiences beyond the teacher, often in our Toronto community. Students are accountable to members of their group and the "audience", raising the bar for the quality of their work and academic contributions. Students can make mistakes in our supportive environment, building their resiliency when faced with challenges. Instead of content knowledge, focus is placed on the development of 21st century skills: critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity and innovation, character, global citizenship and computer and technology.

    Developmental Priorities Balanced

    Primary Developmental Priority: Balanced
    Equal attention is paid to a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social, and physical.

    What High Park Day School says: We focus on the development of the whole child. We believe that each of the child's needs must be considered and that these needs may change regularly; we must be responsive to this so that the highest learning potential can be achieved. We believe self-awareness is critical for students to understand their needs so they can self-advocate, find assistance, and drive their own learning, further adding to their resiliency. Individual academic programs, regular collaboration, daily Physical Education, mindfulness practices and individual student support are but a few approaches to addressing the various developmental needs of our students.

    Special Needs Support Limited


    High Park Day School offers limited support for students with learning difficulties or special needs.

    • Academic Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
      Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
    • Summary: Project Based Learning and our individual programs allow for teachers to naturally differentiate for a broad range of abilities in the classroom.

    • What High Park Day School says: Project Based Learning (including STEM) is a framework that supports a broad range of learners. Students work collaboratively in small groups with direct support from teachers. Individualized math and language programs also allow for enrichment, support and remediation when necessary to enable students to move forward without gaps. While we are able to support a diverse population, we do not have dedicated resources and programs for more complex diagnoses.

    Gifted Learner Support Moderate


    High Park Day School offers gifted learner support in the form of inclusive practices -- special, custom arrangements made for advanced learners (who otherwise remain in the regular classroom).

    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: This information is not currently available.

    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 High Park Day School says: The Project Based Learning approach and integrated STEM programs are especially effective for exceptional learners, including gifted learners. With the close guidance of the teacher, gifted students have the opportunity to drive their academic learning and skill development in both areas of personal interest and strength. Individualized programs in Math and language allow gifted students to work at their level and pace. Other areas of need (social, emotional, physical) are also supported individually.

    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.

    Homework Policy

    In grade 8, High Park Day School students perform an average of 45 mins of homework per night.

    Nightly Homework
    High Park Day School 0 mins0 mins0 mins15 mins30 mins30 mins30 mins45 mins45 mins45 mins
    Site Average5 mins6 mins15 mins17 mins23 mins29 mins34 mins40 mins54 mins59 mins

    Report Card Policy

    How assessments are delivered across the grades:

    Lettered or numbered grades7 to 8
    Prose (narrative)-based feedbackJK to 6
    Parent-teacher meetingsJK to 8


    What High Park Day School says:
    • Maker Club! HPDS now hosts a Maker Club after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Students from HPDS and other schools code, 3D print, craft and many other innovative activities.

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Ice Hockey
      Track & Field
    • Clubs offered: None

    Tuition & Financial Aid




    Discount TypeEnrollment TypeAmount
    Full payment all students$1,000
    2nd child (sibling)all students$500

    Need-based financial aid

    This information is not currently available.

    Merit based Scholarships

    This information is not currently available.


    Total enrollment 30
    Average enrollment per grade3
    Gender (grades)JK to 8 (Coed)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution: This information is not currently available.



    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    Interview1 - 8
    SSAT (out of province)
    Entrance Exam(s)
    Entrance Essay
    Application Fee 

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:

    What High Park Day School says:

    Enrollment into High Park Day School is open year round. Our admissions process is as follows: submit an Inquiry Form found on our website:  www.highparkdayschool.com.  A member of our admissions team will contact you directly to set up a private information session. An application package will be available at the information session.  

    *High Park Day School is a small school. Although we are well equipped to support diverse learning needs, we do not have the resources to accommodate extreme exceptionalities.


    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student High Park Day School is looking for: At HPDS we welcome a broad range of interests and abilities. Those who struggle to work cooperatively with their peers will find our collaborative approach challenging. Students who are most successful with us are curious, engaged, respectful and have a positive attitude towards learning.

    Student Entry Points

    Student TypeJKSK12345678
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)
    0 - 5 (80%)0 - 3 (50%)0 - 4 (65%)0 - 2 (30%)0 - 4 (65%)0 - 2 (30%)0 - 1 (15%)0 - 4 (65%)


    • The Ontario Federation of Independent Schools (OFIS) Associations

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    Contact Name
    Kristin Palin

    Phone Number:
    click to view number

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