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Pear Tree Elementary

215-2678 West Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6K 2G3

Grades (Gender):
K to Gr. 7 (Coed)
$15,500 to 18,600/year
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
Day: 45 (Gr. K - 7)

School Address
215-2678 West Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6K 2G3



About this school:


Pear Tree Elementary is a progressive K-7 school located in Kitsilano. People learn by doing – that’s why we use active, hands-on learning that engages all learners. Taking a whole child approach means Pear Tree nurtures academic, socioemotional and physical development. Integral to this is our healthy lunch program and daily P.E. classes. With the help of our expert masters-qualified teachers, we offer a leading approach that develops well-rounded children who can be happy and successful in all aspects of life. — Visit school website



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Our Take: Pear Tree Elementary

our takePear Tree is young, and has all the attributes of youth: energetic, engaging, fun. The day program grew out of the Pear Tree education programs, and launched in 2016. So, it’s fresh, and indeed that’s an attraction. The feel is a great one, and that’s not to be underestimated—creating the right environment, the right feel, is important. With Pear Tree, it’s that vibrant feel that creates the first impression. The program is the definition of progressive, with small classes, hands-on instruction, and built around links across areas of the curriculum. Students are required to work collaboratively, solving problems together, and to engage creatively with each other and with technology. Activity is important, as is nutrition, which is just as it should be. The ideal learner is one who will thrive in an active, creative, small-group oriented environment.

Principal's Message


Alexis Birner, Principal

Early, formative, positive school experiences set the foundation for lifelong intellectual and social growth.

The traditional approach to teaching places students in homogeneous age groups. All twelve year olds in this room. All eight year olds in this room. They sit in desks facing the front and learn the core subjects one at a time for a set period of time each day. 45 minutes of math, followed by 60 minutes of English, followed by a short break, and then 45 minutes of science. Everything is compartmentalized and isolated.

This, quite frankly, has nothing to do with how we best learn.

Pear Tree Elementary is Vancouver's most progressive school. We focus on developing strong academic, emotional, social, and physical skills in children. Our approach to the B.C. curriculum adopts a 21st century approach through meaningful integration of technology, student collaboration, learning through themes (rather than subject areas), public speaking, and project based learning.

Students work independently, with each other, and as a class in proportions expertly balanced by their teachers to provide each student with what they need. No cookie cutter solutions. No one-size-fits-all philosophies.

That’s how we learn. So that’s how we teach.

That’s Pear Tree Elementary.

We invite you to experience the difference.


Curriculum Progressive

Primary Curriculum: Progressive

What Pear Tree Elementary says: Pear Tree Elementary’s progressive model emphasizes hands-on, student-centered, theme and project-based learning. It includes a balanced mix of academics, integrated subjects, physical skills, socioemotional development and seamless integration of technology. Taking a whole child approach means Pear Tree Elementary nurtures academic, social-emotional, and physical development. Integral to this is Pear Tree's healthy hot lunch program, cooking and food education, as well as its rigorous physical education program, which includes martial arts, swimming, yoga and ice skating. We believe in and apply: + Integrated subjects (through theme-based learning and project-based learning) + Technology + Hands-on learning + Collaboration + Student-centred learning + Creativity + Real-life application / Entrepreneurship The methodologies delivered by Pear Tree's outstanding masters-qualified teachers offer a new approach to the B.C. curriculum that develops well-rounded children who can be happy and successful in all aspects of life.

  • 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 Pear Tree Elementary says: Discovery Math plays a strong role in our approach to mathematics. It helps to develop problem solving skills and the application of math to real-life scenarios. Supported by our masters-qualified teachers, we find the Discovery Math method to be effective. At the same time, there are some core skills that require more traditional approaches, especially at younger ages. Even so, our approach to this is much more progressive than the traditional, rote method.

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

    • Calculator policy: We balance the use of calculators. It is important for students to have a conceptual understanding of math in order to know whether the data output from a calculator is logical, as well as to know what information to input.

    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 Pear Tree Elementary says: This information is not currently available.

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

    • What Pear Tree Elementary 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 Pear Tree Elementary 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: Like anything, you only learn something by actually doing it. Pear Tree Elementary is very creative in finding ways for its students to learn about science in a safe, engaging, hands-on approach. One way that we do this is through cooking and cooking science. At the higher grades, students will even be introduced to molecular gastronomy.

    • 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 Social Justice

      In social justice- inspired programs, literature is not viewed as something to be merely decoded and “appreciated”: rather, it is viewed as a catalyst to social action. Choice of texts tends to favour contemporary works. If a classical text is used, it’s often in the context of social deconstruction: students are asked to critically examine possible prejudices and historical narratives inherent in the work. Like in traditional literature programs, students are often asked to engage in class discussion and critical essay writing, but more time might also be devoted to cooperative group projects and personal reflections. The goal is to teach students to think critically about what they read, while becoming intellectually and physically engaged in the social issues pertaining to their wider community.
      Learn about the different literature approaches  

    • What Pear Tree Elementary says: At Pear Tree Elementary, we are constantly training our students to use critical thinking and critical literacy skills. As such, it is important for us to use a variety of texts that require such skills. We use a mixture of texts, such as picture books, graphic novels, poetry, short stories, and novels. These texts will also be chosen because of their relevance to the theme that were are studying.

    Social Studies Expanding Communities

      The Expanding Communities approach organizes the curriculum around students’ present, everyday experience. In the younger grades, students might learn about themselves, for example. As they move through the grades, the focus gradually broadens in scope: to the family, neighbourhood, city, province, country, and globe. The curriculum tends to have less focus on history than Core Knowledge programs.
      Learn about the different social studies approaches  

    • What Pear Tree Elementary says: We use an integrated skills, theme-based approach to our programs. As such, we don't study social studies in isolation. At the same time, our themes are much more meaningful that such topics as 'food'. Overall, we follow a similar pattern to the B.C. curriculum in focusing on the individual student and their immediate environment, and then expanding to large communities as the students get older. This is a more meaningful and empowering way to learn about the world.

    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 Pear Tree Elementary 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 Pear Tree Elementary says: Pear Tree Elementary introduces French studies from Grade 2 onwards. Our approach is to recognise that language and culture are one and the same thing. Language isn't a grammatical construct; it is a cultural construct. As such, we always study languages in cultural context. This helps our students to understand authentic language use, French-speaking cultures, and common body language.

    • Languages Offered: • French • ESL

    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 Pear Tree Elementary says: Fine arts are integrated into every aspect of our program. Therefore, Pear Tree Elementary students are continually learning about and using fine arts.

    Computers and Technology Heavy integration

      A major effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy throughout the curriculum and in everything students do. Digital literacy is understood to be a fundamental skill in the 21st century: it therefore follows, the idea goes, that teachers should find ways to connect every lesson back to technology. Effort is made to ensure the use of technology is meaningful and advances students’ skills beyond what they would otherwise be from using computers outside the classroom.
      Learn about the different computers and technology approaches  

    • What Pear Tree Elementary says: Technology is seamlessly integrated into all of our programs. In grades K-1, students use iPads. From grades 2-4, we use a mixture of iPads and Surface Pros. From grades 5-7, we generally use Surface Pros only. We want our students to become adept at using technology in meaningful ways.

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What Pear Tree Elementary says: At Pear Tree Elementary, our daily Physical Education Program is directly tied to our whole-child education approach. Through our Physical Education Program we develop your child's academic, social-emotional and physical performance every school day. Physical + Improved physical fitness + Skill and motor skills development Socio-Emotional + Teaches self discipline + Facilitates development of student responsibility for health and fitness + Influence moral development, leadership, cooperate with others + Stress reduction – an outlet for releasing tension and anxiety + Strengthened peer relationships + Improve self-confidence and self-esteem + Respect - for your body, classmates and teammates + Experience in setting goals Academic + Subject integration (science, math, social studies) + Through sports, we study about physiology, psychology, nutrition, problem solving, and strategy + Exercise helps to strengthen and stimulate your brain. Increased fitness = improved academics

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

    What Pear Tree Elementary says: In addition to covering topics relating to diversity, body image and social justice, Pear Tree Elementary also works with a specialised sex-education expert to provide our students and parents with a comprehensive sex-education program.

    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 Pear Tree Elementary says: Child safety, welfare, and self-empowerment are our key reasons for teaching sex education from kindergarten. While the content of sex ed classes changes as students get older, they will learn about the human body, about tolerance, about STDs, about myths, about (in)appropriate body contact, and about responsible decision making.

    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 Pear Tree Elementary says: Pear Tree Elementary’s Early Years Program sets the foundations not just of your child’s education, but their whole life. Our theme-based approach to the B.C. curriculum will nurture your child’s academic abilities, socioemotional development, and physical growth. Each day will be one of wonder and enjoyment as they engage in new and exciting hands-on activities. Through play-based learning (guided play, dramatic play, and free play) your child will learn to process and make sense of what they are studying. Delivered by Pear Tree’s passionate, masters-qualified teachers, you can be confident that you have given your child the best educational start.

    Curriculum Pace Standard-enriched

    • Standard-enriched
    • Accelerated
    • Student-paced

    Broadly-speaking, the main curriculum -- like that of most schools -- paces the provincially-outlined one. This pace is steady and set by the teachers and school. The curriculum might still be enriched in various ways: covering topics more in-depth and with more vigor than the provincial one, or covering a broader selection of topics.

    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 Pear Tree Elementary says about flexible pacing: Pear Tree Elementary’s combined-grade approach means that our students have access to a greater range of academic potential and influence.

    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 Pear Tree Elementary says: We strive for our students to become exceptional, well-rounded individuals. This means that we work with our students on both their strengths and weaknesses. With the support of our masters-qualified teachers, we expect our students to continually try to do better, to become the best that they are capable of, and to take pride in the quality of the work that they create.

    Developmental Priorities Balanced, Intellectual

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

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

    What Pear Tree Elementary says: Pear Tree Elementary creates well-rounded individuals. We don't view one attribute as more important than another. Through our unique education method, we continuously develop our students academic, socio-emotional, and physical 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
    • What Pear Tree Elementary says: At Pear Tree Elementary, we avoid the use of labels (e.g. \'gifted\', \'ADHD\', \'ESL\', etc). We find that labels generally have a negative, long-term impact on students. Our learning method engages all forms of learners, while also challenging them to try other approaches. Our teachers are not specialised or trained in special needs or \'giftedness\', nor do we qualify for funding for this.

    • 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 No Support

    Pear Tree Elementary does not offer any specialized programming for gifted learners.

    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 7, Pear Tree Elementary students perform an average of 1 hour of homework per night.

    Nightly Homework
    Pear Tree Elementary 15 mins15 mins30 mins30 mins45 mins45 mins60 mins60 mins
    Site Average6 mins16 mins18 mins24 mins29 mins34 mins40 mins53 mins

    Report Card Policy

    How assessments are delivered across the grades:

    Prose (narrative)-based feedbackK to 7
    Academic achievement reportingK to 7
    Habits and behaviour reportingK to 7
    Parent-teacher meetingsK to 7

    Class Sizes Not available

    This information is not currently available.


    What Pear Tree Elementary says:
    • What other schools can 'extracurricular', Pear Tree Elementary embeds into its daily program. We believe that your child's after-school time is better spent with family and friends.

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Ice Hockey
      Track & Field
      Ice Skating
      Martial Arts
    • Clubs Offered
      Outdoor Education

    Tuition & Financial Aid


    Day (Domestic) Day (International)
    Day (Domestic)$15,500
    Day (International)$18,600
    What Pear Tree Elementary says: Annual fees are paid in 3 x instalments: 1st Payment due May 31, 2017: $5,175 ($6,200 international) 2nd Payment due September 30, 2017: $5,150 ($6,200 international) 3rd Payment due January 31, 2018: $5,175 ($6,200 international)

    Need-based financial aid

    This information is not currently available.

    Merit based Scholarships

    This information is not currently available.


    Total enrollment 45
    Average enrollment per grade6
    Average class size15
    Gender (grades)K to Gr. 7 (Coed)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution:

    Day Enrollment87555555



    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    InterviewK - 7
    SSAT (out of province)
    Entrance Exam(s)
    Entrance Essay
    Application Fee

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:

    What Pear Tree Elementary says:

    1. Apply online with a nonrefundable fee of $150 + GST

    • Pear Tree Elementary admits students on a rolling basis (subject to spaces available)
    • Applicants for our full-day Kindergarten program must be at least 5 years old on December 31st of the year of entry to Pear Tree Elementary.

    2. Submit required documents:

    • For Kindergarten applicants: a reference letter from a preschool, daycare, or caregiver
    • For Grade 1 - 7 applicants: a copy of most recent report card
    • Proof of your child's citizenship or permanent residence (i.e. birth certificate, passport, PR card)
    • A copy of your child's CareCard (if applicable) 

    3. Student assessment and observation

    • Student assessment and observation will take place within one month of application.

    4. Family interviews

    • Family interviews will take place will take place within one month of application.
    • Every student and family will have an interview with Pear Tree Elementary directors
    • Placement decisions will be announced within one month of application.


    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student Pear Tree Elementary is looking for: Admissions are based on the number of spaces available, the child’s academic potential, as well as the synergy and compatibility between the school, family, and child. Our decision to (not) accept a student has as much to do with the child's family as the child her/himself. Pear Tree Elementary is looking for Vancouver families that share and support our educational philosophy. This is essential to ensure that the approach we foster in our school is continued at home. Such things include healthy eating, an active lifestyle, etc. At the same time, we are looking for students that are well-behaved, kind, and receptive to our learning method.

    Student Entry Points

    Student TypeK1234567
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)

    Stories & Testimonials


    Shared by Sheri, Samantha's mum

    Pear Tree's teaching approach to educating a child is brilliant. Through their whole child learning, teaching and community engagement approach, my daughter has thrived beautifully and is growing more each day into a well rounded, healthy and conscious minded individual!


    Shared by Kristie, Ria's mum

    After two months here, my daughter now loves school (she dreaded it before) and can't wait to go every day. She even complains on the weekend that she wants to go to school. I cannot say enough about how effective and unique this school is - they use cutting edge well-researched teaching styles here that make learning effortless and fun for the children. She also now brags about how much healthy food she eats, so that was an unexpected bonus.


    Shared by Jeff, Max's dad

    Since joining Pear Tree, Max has been happily getting ready for school early, every morning. Pear Tree's flexibility and small classes have removed conflicts and stress that exist in other schools. The teachers and staff have created an environment that is universally happy and positive. Max has learned how to enjoy learning and how to work hard to accomplish a variety of tasks and projects. He is engaged in the learning and the activities, and proud of his projects. Our son has already created close bonds with boys and girls at each level of his class. He's becoming a relaxed, happy kids who is thriving at school, which is exactly what we were hoping for! 


    Shared by Tracy, Kloe's mum

    Switching to Pear Tree has been life-changing for Kloe. Her confidence has improved tremendously in such a short time. We're amazed at her enthusiasm. At Pear Tree, she genuinely loves learning. Her vocabulary is noticeably more eloquent. She is happier. I know the daily fitness is helping her feel better emotionally and physically. The kids are being encouraged out of their comfort zones with idea generation. They are really becoming bright, engaging, confident people in a very short time. At Pear Tree, the kids are being prepared for life in and out of the classroom.


    In the News


    May 1, 2017 - Meet Pear Tree Elementary's new teacher, Andrea Page M.Ed.

    Pear Tree is delighted to introduce our new Grade 2-4 teacher for 2017/18 – Andrea Page. Andrea works at Crofton House School. ...

    June 5, 2015 - Pear Tree mentioned on Global TV

    GLOBALTV: See 3m30 for Pear Tree's mention by VancouverMom.ca. ...

    June 5, 2015 - Vancouver Courier Article about Pear Tree's Summer Camps

    PEAR TREE IN VANCOUVER COURIER: In the May 27 issue of the Vancouver Courier, Pear Tree Education appears in the Summer Camp-o-Rama article. ...

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