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Richland Academy

11570 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4E 3N7

Progressive,  International Baccalaureate
Grades (Gender):
Nursery/Toddler (24 months) to Gr. 8 (Coed)
$9,700 to 17,800/year
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
15 to 20
Day: 150 (Gr. NS - 8)

School Address
11570 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4E 3N7

About this school:


“Voted #1 Private School in Richmond Hill 3 years in a row.” Richland Academy is a warm and welcoming private school for ages 2.5 - Grade 8 offering Reggio-inspired and IB focused inquiry learning. At Richland we cultivate students who are deeper thinking, confident, and world ready.

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Our Take: Richland Academy

our takeRichland is a Reggio Emilia inspired school, though the administration historically hasn’t been afraid to innovate and put their own spin on things. One example is the house system around which the community of the school is organized. It’s emblematic of the culture of care, and the house names—Suzuki, Fox, and Keilburger—are emblematic as well. Those things hint at an undercurrent of service and engagement that runs through the culture of the school. The instructional programs are strong, but often it’s that culture/values piece that is also a primary draw.  

School busing:

Richland Academy offers bus transferring.
Additional notes: Busing not currently available.

Principal's Message


Jill Colyer , Head of School

I fell in love with Richland Academy the moment I walked through the front doors.
It is a beautiful school. Every element of this Reggio-inspired facility – from the soaring ceiling height and the amount of light that cascades into classrooms, to the warm, rich colours that pepper the school, and the classroom furniture made from real wood – has been carefully and purposefully designed by the school’s founder, Marlina Oliveira.
This beautiful educational environment fuels the natural creativity and curiosity that exists in every child. It sends a message to every child that they are respected and is appreciated. And it creates the conditions that nurture deep learning.
Richland encompasses the very best 21st century education principles that exist in the most successful schools around the world.  Our talented and caring staff develops academic excellence through a pro-child, inquiry-based learning stance. Children experience a personalized and enriched curriculum. Children learn how to learn, so that they can become critical thinkers, problem solvers, and decision makers. In short, each child becomes the very best they can be because they are valued and challenged to imagine that the impossible is possible.
Richland Academy is an International Baccalaureate (IB) candidate school. In September 2016 we begin Year 1 of the three year training and accreditation process. The IB foundation of inquiry-based learning aligns perfectly with the stance we have practiced here at Richland Academy for years. And we know our families will appreciate the portability of this well-respected credential.
It is a privilege to be involved in the education of children and I am very proud to be a part of this very special school. Please feel free to contact me to discuss our curriculum and educational philosophy at any time.

Jill Colyer 


Curriculum Progressive, International Baccalaureate

Primary Curriculum: Progressive

Secondary Curriculum: International Baccalaureate

What Richland Academy says: We offer Reggio-inspired inquiry learning within the International Baccalaureate framework, cultivating students who are deeper thinking, confident and world ready. We are committed to excellence, which resonates through the work of our students and teachers. Our rich and challenging curriculum ensures we deliver a solid academic foundation, which is enhanced by our comprehensive Arts programming. We are a warm and welcoming school that delivers personalized learning to ensure that no student is left behind. Within this supportive environment, we explore the Ontario curriculum and prepare students for future academic success; including the IB Diploma Program.

  • International Baccalaureate offered:
    Program = offered
    Primary Years
    Middle Years
    Diploma program
    Career-related program
  • 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 Richland Academy says: We take the three part math lesson approach: computation, conceptual understanding, and problem solving within real life contexts.

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

    • Calculator policy: Calculators are accepted in the Intermediate years.

    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 Richland Academy says: This information is not currently available.

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

    • What Richland Academy says: We administer diagnostic testing on an ongoing basis, throughout the course of the school year.

    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 Richland Academy 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 Richland Academy says: This information is not currently available.

    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 Richland Academy says: We approach Social Studies through an Inquiry model, under the umbrella of the big ideas as outlined in the Ontario Social Studies curriculum.

    Humanities and Social Sciences Equal Balance

      These programs represent an equal balance between the perennialist and pragmatic approach to teaching the humanities and social sciences.
      Learn about the different humanities and social sciences approaches  

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

    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 Richland Academy says: This information is not currently available.

    • Languages Offered: • French

    Fine Arts Equal Balance

      These programs have an equal emphasis on receptive and creative learning.
      Learn about the different fine arts approaches  

    • Program offers:

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

    • What Richland Academy says: Richland students are taught core studio skills and given many opportunities to apply these skills expressively and creatively.

    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 Richland Academy says: This information is not currently available.

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What Richland Academy says: Richland students strive for excellence in everything they do, including sports. Our students are exposed to a breadth of skills appropriate to their development over the course of their elementary education. From a very early age, the physical education curriculum at Richland is designed to develop large motor skills, as well as fine motor skills, and self-regulation. Students experience a program of sports ranging from basketball, soccer, badminton, golf, and track and field. These sports are complemented with other physical training such as yoga and boxing.

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

    What Richland 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 Richland Academy says: We follow the Ontario Curriculum.

    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.

    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 Richland Academy says: Our Reggio-inspired preschool and kindergarten classrooms transition children to an enriched and personalized curriculum while they continue their journey of wonder, exploration and discovery. Students explore the Ontario curriculum within the International Baccalaureate framework, and engage in rich, hands-on experiences that foster creative thinking and problem solving.

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

    Academic Culture Rigorous

    • Rigorous
    • Supportive

    A school with a “rigorous” academic culture places a high value on academic performance, and expects their students to do the same. This does not mean the school is uncaring, unsupportive, or non-responsive -- far from it. A school can have a rigorous academic culture and still provide excellent individual support. It does mean, however, the school places a particular emphasis on performance -- seeking the best students and challenging them to the fullest extent -- relative to a normal baseline. High expectations and standards – and a challenging yet rewarding curriculum – are the common themes here. Keep in mind this classification is more relevant for the older grades: few Kindergarten classrooms, for example, would be called “rigorous”.

    What Richland Academy says: We are a warm and welcoming school that sets high standards for its students and then supports them to achieve those targets.

    Developmental Priorities Balanced, Emotional

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

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

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

    Special Needs Support No support

    No support

    Richland Academy offers no/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
    • Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD
      Support Type = offered
      Extra support
    • What Richland Academy says: This information is not currently available.

    • 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 Richland 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.

    Homework Policy

    In grade 7, Richland Academy students perform an average of 1 hour of homework per night.

    Nightly Homework
    Richland Academy 0 mins15 mins15 mins15 mins30 mins30 mins30 mins45 mins45 mins60 mins60 mins
    Site Average0 mins2 mins6 mins7 mins16 mins17 mins24 mins29 mins34 mins40 mins53 mins

    This school frequently "flips the classroom": asks students to learn material at home and do the "homework" in-class (with teacher support).

    Report Card Policy

    How assessments are delivered across the grades:

    Lettered or numbered grades1 to 8
    Prose (narrative)-based feedbackNursery/Toddler to 8
    Academic achievement reporting1 to 8
    Habits and behaviour reportingNursery/Toddler to 8
    Parent-teacher meetingsNursery/Toddler to 8

    Class Sizes Not available

    This information is not currently available.


    What Richland Academy says:

    This information is not currently available.

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Ice Hockey
      Track & Field
      Martial Arts
    • Clubs Offered
      Art Club
      Chess Club
      Community Service
      Dance Club
      Debate Club
      Drama Club
      Environmental Club
      Foreign Language Club
      Math Club
      Outdoor Club
      Outdoor Education
      Robotics club

    Tuition & Financial Aid


    Day Day (Half day)
    Day (Half day)$9,700


    Discount TypeEnrollment TypeAmount
    2nd child (sibling)all students5%
    3rd child (sibling)all students5%
    4th child (sibling)all students5%

    Need-based financial aid

    Grade range that need-based aid is offered: JK to 8
    Percentage of grade-eligible students receiving financial aid2%
    Average aid package size$2,000
    Percentage of total enrollment on financial aid2%
    Total aid available$10,000

    Application Deadline:
    Rolling deadline

    More information:

    Application Details:

    This school works with Apple Financial Inc. for processing financial applications

    Merit based Scholarships

    This information is not currently available.


    Total enrollment 150
    Average enrollment per grade13
    Average class size15 to 20
    Gender (grades)Nursery/Toddler (24 months) to Gr. 8 (Coed)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution: This information is not currently available.



    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    InterviewJK - 8
    SSAT (out of province)
    Entrance Exam(s)1 - 8
    Entrance Essay
    Application Fee

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:

    What Richland Academy says:

    Applying to Richland Academy involves three steps:

    1. Forward your application by post, email or in person

    Download our application forms:

    With your completed form, please include:

    • A copy of your child’s three most recent report cards (if applicable)
    • A copy of your child’s birth certificate or passport
    • Application fee of $250.00 (non-refundable) for Grades: JK to 8 
    • Application fee of $125.00 (non-refundable) for Early Years 

    2. Arrange for a Personal Day Visit at Richland

    After reviewing your application, we will schedule an appointment for you to visit our school and meet with the Head of School. All applicants are welcome to spend a day or two at Richland. During this visit, we will conduct an assessment for students in Grades 1 to 8 to determine their academic abilities. For children in Early Years, we schedule a family meeting with our Early Years Lead Teacher. For the JK-SK, we use a comprehensive tool to get to know them better. 

    3. Receive your Offer of Placement

    We want to ensure that we are able to meet, and exceed, the needs of all of our students.  Decisions are made based on the thoughtful observations and assessment by Richland faculty and staff; and are made in the best interests of the students.   Richland’s student population benefits from a range of abilities, and we recognize the potential in every child.  Once a decision has been made to offer your child a placement at Richland Academy, you will receive a written offer of placement along with a registration package.


    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student Richland Academy is looking for: We take students as they are and move them along their learning pathway. We are supportive and nurture each child's individual needs and strengths.

    Student Entry Points

    Student TypePSJKSK12345678
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)
    1 - 16 (80%)1 - 15 (80%)1 - 5 (75%)1 - 5 (80%)1 - 5 (80%)1 - 5 (80%)1 - 3 (80%)1 - 3 (80%)1 - 3 (80%)5 - 7 (80%)5 - 7 (80%)

    Stories & Testimonials


    How (And Why) Visual Design Matters In e-Learning

    Through our summer readings, we came across a very interesting article on the Edudemic website about creating visually engaging content.  It’s fascinating to see the shift in our preference for digesting information, knowing that increasingly we are relying on visual content to ‘tell us the story’.What struck us about this article was the connection to the Gestalt Principles, a psychological approach which values four main ‘laws’ of grouping visual elements; and how they tie in to e-Learning Design.

    Edudemic presents the content simply and effectively.


    Richland Construction in Full Swing

    It’s so hard to believe that the year of our expansion construction will soon be coming to a close.  Looking around the campus now, every corner is in a state of upheaval; but we know that these are the final stages of the process, and will soon dissolve into our memories.We wanted to share these images with you, so that you too can see what we’re talking about. We’re sorry our students are missing all the incredible machines that have been working on site – they’re quite impressive!

    We also wanted to provide you with some internal images, so that you can see the progress being made on the expansion.  Here’s what’s been taking place:

    • Finishing touches on the drywall
    • Painting
    • Installation of the lights and ceiling panels
    • Tiling of the bathrooms
    • Placement of the internal windows

    The excitement is building as everyone pulls together to meet our deadline – it really is ‘all go around here’ and we cannot wait to move in and welcome everyone back for September.Until then, enjoy the break and keep following our progress!


    Celebrating Olympic Ideals through the Arts

    The community of Richland Academy was entirely captivated by the school’s holiday concert last evening. Congratulations to all the performers on a truly inspirational celebration of the Olympics. The ideals of excellence, overcoming challenges, and honouring global friendship all shone through. From the impressive Olympic icon murals, to the multi-media lighting of the Olympic Flame, no detail went unnoticed.  Students sang, danced, and played instruments with confidence and poise – and the energy they exuded was certainly contagious.  Here is a quote from a member of the audience:

    “A big thanks to each and every one of you, and the whole Richland Academy family, for the great evening tonight. Performances were simply amazing!

    In addition to great performances, the fun-filled atmosphere was the magical touch you guys spread among everyone this evening… A great way to spread the magic of the season to the Richland community.

    From our side, we were so proud seeing our son on stage tonight, we had no idea what to expect or how he would perform; he did great… it was amazing seeing him, his fellow classmates, and every other self-confident student perform.

    We are very glad and honoured to be part of the Richland family and looking forward for a great 2014 together where we are sure that we will nurture that relationship further…”  H.B.

    Performances like this happen for a number of reasons.  First of all, the Reggio-inspired emergent approach to learning that Richland embraces; secondly, the collaboration and dedication of Faculty and Staff; and lastly, the perseverance and ethic of excellence our students apply. 

    Congratulations to Ms. Pitt, Richland’s Performing Arts teacher, on such a successful undertaking; and congratulations to the students performing, who left us all feeling full of hope as we look towards the new year ahead.At Richland we share the ideals of the Olympic Spirit celebrated in this performance:

    “Building a peaceful and better world in the Olympic Spirit which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.” ...

    “Deep thoughts, Words and Wisdom”

    The Grade 5/6 Students have begun a journey in reading and writing poetry! Students have blossomed in their writing, showing creativity and emotion like never before. The students and I have shared in laughter, and even some tears as we brainstormed, drafted, critiqued, wrote and performed our own works of art.

    As students were asked to contemplate, “What makes good poetry?”-  Heated discussion ensued. Ideas and opinions were shared, debated and layered. Finally, one student pointed out that a theme was emerging; “Really…poetry is a short but powerful piece” that shows “deep thoughts, words and wisdom”. Finally – consensus!

    Through this unit, we have been exploring issues around remembrance, peace and conflict, in honour of Remembrance Day. Mature ideas such as nostalgia, loss and death have emerged in their words. Through the course of the study, I have been continually impressed by the lack of inhibitions and their willingness to expose their emotions and ideas around these deep issues.

    In the end, our poetry study has become a powerful method of communicating, and bringing our peers together. Poetry is helping us build community! Each week, we look forward to our Poetry Coffeehouse. Where we read and share our poetry. Within out coffeehouses, I have enjoyed watching the students engaged as supportive audience members. The lights and dimmed as each audience member sips tea. We watch, enjoy and appreciate with “snaps”!

    We continue to write and reflect! Stay tuned for more news around our “deep thoughts, words and wisdom” on Inquiring Minds or our Twitter @RichlandClass. ...

    Richland Student is the Youngest Contributor to the "Create Your Own Peace" Art Show!

    Richland Academy Grade 6 student, Ion Curea, is the youngest contributing artist in the “Create Your Own Peace” Art Show! Ion’s original drawing, entitled “Peace and War”, is his interpretation of what a world at peace and a world at war looks like. The drawing was created for the “Create Your Own Peace” Art Show: Imagining, Creating and Inspiring CHANGE; which invites visitors to see PEACE through multi-media art forms from a youth perspective. All donations made at the “Create Your Own Peace” Art Show go directly to the Canadian Red Cross West Africa Partnership Program, in support of Canadian Red Cross’ sister societies of Mali, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

    At Richland Academy, all the arts, including visual arts, music, drama and dance; are integrated into the curriculum for all students. The benefit of the arts in education is profound, and develops fundamental skills in children, ranging from creativity to confidence.


    Richland Shines at the Kiwanis Music Festival

    Recently, Richland Academy’s Junior Choir competed in the Kiwanis Music Festival, under the guidance of their Performing Arts Teacher, Ms. Pitt.  The choir blew the audience away with their musical selections of “True Colours” and “Seasons of Love”, delivered with energy and joy. The expression, soul, and love the choir put into their performance was unmatched.   Congratulations to the entire choir.
    Here are some things the choir had to say about the experience:
    “When we were up there, we owned it! We really let ourselves be like, it’s now or never!” – Andrea

    “At Richland, we always step out of the box! When we were singing, we had so much expression and we really enjoyed what we were doing and I think that was the most important part.”- Kayla


    Richland Academy Working Collaboratively with Local Felting Artist

    Richland Academy was selected by local felting artist, Melanie Siegel, to participate in her Intergenerational Felting Extravaganza, which is supported by Richmond Hill's Mayor's Endowment Fund for the Arts. Richland students have been working collaboratively with Ms. Siegel to create felting art pieces which are inspired by the natural landscape. The beauty of the raw wool and the fascinating process of creating felt have captivated Richland's students. We look forward to showcasing the finished pieces as part of this exciting local arts initiative.


    Richland Helps Free the Children Raise 70,000,000 Pennies!

    Richland Academy was honoured to be one of three guest schools invited to Free The Children's press conference in Toronto last month. With the penny officially going out of circulation, it was a wonderful send off for the Canadian copper coin. Richland Ambassadors represented the Richland Community and presented over $2000 to Free the Children's founder, Craig Kielburger, enough money to provide 78 people with clean drinking water for life. Congratulations to the entire Richland Academy Community for their commitment and generosity towards this important cause.


    Acclaimed Artist Works with Richland Students

    Recently, Richland Academy welcomed internationally recognized artist, Guo Yue Dou back to the school. Dou returned for another session with Grades 1-3 to create chalk pastel drawings of birds and other wildlife. Dou's work is detailed and lifelike, and our students did an excellent job capturing these same qualities.
    The workshop was a tremendous success, and in addition to our students, we had many parents engaged in the session. At Richland we recognize the importance of providing students with creative opportunities to develop their artistic abilities. The results speak for themselves!


    We Day at Richland!

    "A small community with big hearts."  That is how Ms. Jones, a representative of Free the Children, described her experience at Richland Academy's We Day event. Richland is one of the first schools in the GTA to hold its own We Day as part of its commitment to support Free the Children. This emotional and uplifting event was organized by Richland's student Ambassadors, and kicked off the school's campaign to BE THE CHANGE. The Canadian penny goes out of circulation on February 4th, and Richland students are collecting bags of 25,000 pennies, totally $25.00 per bag, which is enough to provide someone with clean drinking water for life. If you would like to support Richland's BE THE CHANGE initiative, additional penny bags are available from the school office. Together we can change the world.


    Welcoming the Mayor to Richland

    Richland was all a buzz at the arrival of Richmond Hill’s Mayor, Mr. David Barrow, who recently came to see Richland’s Reggio-inspired approach to learning firsthand;  and to review the exciting plans in place for Richland’s upcoming expansion. Mayor Barrow hardly got a word in, thanks to the enthusiasm of the students to share their thoughts and ideas. The pride they exude for their work reaffirms the importance of giving students a voice in their learning, and creating opportunities for them to express their understanding. Mayor Barrow was suitably impressed with the confidence and the thoughtfulness Richland’s students displayed during his visit!


    Richland to Become a Rights Respecting School

    Richland Academy has launched its campaign to be recognized as a Rights Respecting School in association with Unicef Canada. Unicef Canada's Rights Respecting Schools Initiative uses the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as a basis for enhancing an inclusive, participatory and respectful school culture for children and adults.  
    With an engaging and hands-on program grounded in children's rights, the Rights Respecting Schools Initiative enriches school culture in a way that is directly connected to the work that Richland is already doing.  
    Congratulations Richland, for ensuring that children's best interests are at the centre of all decisions through this exciting partnership with Unicef Canada.


    Reflection and Remembrance

    Richland Academy’s Remembrance Day Assembly conveyed poignancy and peacefulness as the school community came together to mark this important occasion. The Grade Five students shared a reflective montage of World War II experiences, which included a portrayal of Colonel John McCrae and a beautiful acapella rendition on the wartime hit, Lili Marlene. The Grade Six students followed with their performance of John Lennon’s classic, Imagine, with exceptional sensitivity. Their powerful presentation about wars currently being fought around the world brought the message of peace to the foreground.

    The highlight of the Assembly was a concluding dance which involved the entire audience. The song We Want Peace, by Emmanuel Ja, infused a compelling message throughout the Richland community. This experience, coupled with the powerful voices of children, reminded us all of the need for peace around the world.


    Congratulations, Class of 2012!

    On Thursday, June 14th, we honoured and congratulated our SK and Grade 6 students at respective Graduation Ceremonies. It was remarkable to see how far each student has come on their path of learning, with support from their fantastic teachers and families! We wish our SK students the best of luck as they progress to Grade 1 next year. We wish our Grade 6 'Class of 2012' graduates continued success as they venture beyond the 'walls' of Richland. We congratulate each of our students as they advance to the next step of their learning. We are proud of each and every one of them! ...

    Richland Celebrates Father's Day

    On the sunny afternoon of June 13th, Richland students paid tribute to their Dads at our annual 'Father's Day Celebration BBQ.' Students and their fathers enjoyed special activities, including parachuting, sidewalk chalk, basketball and soccer. We hope that each and every one of our special Dads had a delightful day! ...

    Richland Presents 'Broadway Classics'

    On June 7th, Richland Academy students showcased their talents in a collaborative presentation of song and movement, under the direction of Performing Arts Teacher, Ms. Morgan. Confident students performed a wonderful collection of Broadway Classics, including Goldie and the 3 Bears, Clowns, Once Upon a Mattress, and Oliver Twist, before a packed audience of proud families and friends. A special thank you to all those involved in bringing these Broadway Classics to life! ...

    Science Inquiry Festival

    On May 31st, Richland students highlighted their scientific and inquiry learning talents at our 'Science Inquiry Festival.' Explorations included: the life cycle of a frog, butterflies, sensory organs, simple machines, food chains, moving bodies, and chair constructions. Congratulations to our students for their hard work and dedication to their remarkable projects! ...

    Meagan's Walk: Creating a Circle of Hope

    On Friday, May 25th, the Richland Community participated in our 8th Annual Meagan's Walk, honouring the memory of Meagan Bebenek. For this fund- and awareness-raising event, we welcomed special guests, Denise Bebenek, mother of Meagan, and her wonderful team from the Meagan's Walk Foundation. As a community, we enjoyed a walk around the Richmond Hill community, followed by a special video performance, featuring images from past Walks at Richland, and heartfelt student quotes about the importance of this event. ...

    Mother's Day Celebration

    On the sunny afternoon of May 11th, Richland students honoured their special Moms at our annual 'Mother’s Day Celebration.' It was a truly memorable event, where students and their Moms enjoyed the outdoors and beautifying our gardens together. We hope that each and every one of our special Mothers had an enjoyable experience. Thank you to all of our Richland children for their love in sharing this most special afternoon with their Moms! ...

    Richland Welcomes Special Guest, Ms. Lella Gandini

    On Tuesday, May 8, we had the honour and privilege of welcoming our Special Guest, Ms. Lella Gandini, for a day visit to Richland! The children were ever so engaged with Ms. Gandini, as they chatted with her and welcomed her into the fold and into our community; it was truly a sight to behold. As the Reggio Children United States Liaison for the Dissemination of the Reggio Emilia Approach, Ms. Gandini had the opportunity to tour our School and meet with staff to thoughtfully discuss this inquiry-based philosophy. Staff were inspired by the "energy she brought to the school," "her sense of peace and joy when she spoke about Reggio experiences," "her wealth of knowledge," and her "ideas about how to engage learners on a more holistic level." Reggio Lead Teacher, Mrs. Kate Daniel, marvelled at "how interested she was in what we were all doing at our School, in our context, and that she so much wanted to learn from us, as well as us from her." ...

    FREEDOM from Exploitation, Poverty, Thirst and Disease

    The week of April 16-20, Richland Academy students and staff participated in various fund- and awareness-raising activities in support of Free The Children's 'Five Days for Freedom' campaign. The purpose of this initiative is to inspire students to take action and raise awareness about the obstacles of freedom that many face each day - exploitation, poverty, thirst and disease.

    During the week, students illuminated the obstacles of freedom with daily announcements, brought in non-perishable food items to donate to the Richmond Hill Community Food Bank, and wore band-aids in visible spots on their body or backpack to help raise awareness and stand in solidarity with those lacking basic health. Students also contributed coins to a Classroom Coin Drive in support of a young York Region cancer patient, Julia M. of Markham, in need of financial assistance for her specialized treatment. Julia, who was the recipient of a heart transplant at eight months, is in need of medical attention after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that only affects transplant patients. Money raised will help cover the cost of procedures that will provide Julia with the T-cell infusion treatment only available at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York or in Europe. To learn more about Julia, or to follow her journey, visit: helpjulia.blogspot.ca. We are proud of all of our students who are helping to make a difference in this world, both locally and globally.


    Dancing for a Cause at Richland!

    This Valentine's Day, the Richland Academy gymnasium was buzzing with excitement as we held our first ever "Dance-a-Thon Fundraiser for Haiti," in accordance with Free The Children’s 'Adopt-A-Village' program. Students, staff and some parents had fun expressing themselves as they enjoyed a diverse playlist of songs selected from each class. Students dressed in pink, red and white in celebration of the day. Our Richland Ambassadors, who hosted the Dance-a-Thon, described it as "full of energy" and "awesome," and decided that it should definitely be an annual event. We are proud to announce that our students and staff collected over $4,000 in pledges, which will go directly toward our village in Manac, Haiti! With this total, we are less than $1,000 away from reaching our 'Adopt-a-Village' goal! Congratulations to all! ...

    Black History Month Assembly

    Each year, throughout Black History Month, Richland Academy students broaden their understanding of Black Canadian History by participating in insightful and purposeful class discussions and activities, including a special Black History Month assembly.

    At this year's assembly, hosted by our Grade 2 class, Richland students shone brightly as they shared a wonderful assortment of poetry, storytelling and music, including a drumming performance from our Grade 4 students. Commemorating the achievements of important people and events in Black History gives our students the opportunity to experience an important part of their Canadian Heritage. Engaging them in deep and thoughtful dialogue heightens their appreciation for Black Canadian History and fosters respectful, global-minded citizens.

    Congratulations to the Richland Community for continuing to keep Black History alive in our schools.


    Family Fun Day

    On January 27th, Richland students, staff and families joined us for 'Family Fun Day,' a community-building event in celebration of Winterfest and Family Literacy Day. The day began with a morning of free-skating and warming up with hot chocolate at Bond Lake Arena. Smiling (and tired) faces then returned to Richland for a special Family Pizza Lunch, followed by a unique art activity and fun literacy presentation. At the end of the day, we raffled off some local theatre tickets and announced the winner of our Book Drive Guessing Game, where each family had the chance to estimate the number of books we collected for our annual Book Drive. ...

    An Education for Understanding: 'Backward Design'

    William Butler Yeats so aptly once said, "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." This prominent 20th Century poet and playwright was wise to the vast difference between knowing and understanding. To simply know facts is not to understand what makes those facts knowledge. "To understand is to be able to wisely and effectively use- transfer- what we know, in context; to apply knowledge and skills effectively, in realistic tasks and settings." (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 4). So how can today's education system help students achieve this type of 'education for understanding?' Teachers- as collaborators and guides- must find creative ways to stimulate their students' natural curiosities and allow them to make connections between theories, while building the skills and attitudes they will need for life-long learning. Child-centered and retrospective curricula design, combined with inquiry-based learning, will allow schools to foster authentic student learning experiences, by providing students with opportunities to engage in meaningful learning experiences; to explore, investigate, discover, collaborate and communicate with others in an experiential and 'minds-on' learning environment. In order to lead students to a deeper understanding of the content, teachers must highlight the 'Big Ideas' that uncover the value of learning opportunities. 'Backward Design' involves looking at the end results in order to coherently design curricula and assessment. In doing so, teachers "identify desired results, determine acceptable evidence, and plan learning experiences and instruction" (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 17). Enduring Understanding- the 'Big Ideas' that propel the planning and assessment process- and Essential Questions are a part of the curriculum development that assists teachers in planning pertinent and authentic learning units, and are clearly established before the learning unfolds. "So what?" teachers often 'ask' in order to determine what they would like students to be able to explain, interpret, apply, have perspective on, empathize, and have self-knowledge about a given topic (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 343). To help each student achieve a successful and relevant education, schools must begin with what matters most, keeping the authentic learning experience in mind. For instance, when designing an advertisement, we first think about our desired result: How do we want the finished product to look? What message do we want our target audience to walk away with? Then we begin to plan and organize the images, the fonts, the colours, and the placement of details, such as our logo and contact information. Like so, when teachers plan their curricula, it also makes sense for them to start with the end result in mind: What do we want the children to know and understand, including attitudes and transferable skills? Why and how is this relevant to their learning experiences? The students themselves must also understand the purpose of specific experiences and to what they relate, as well as how these experiences will enable them to achieve their goals as active and responsible learners. As a method of understanding, the 'Backward Design' model is largely compatible with the Core Knowledge curriculum and Reggio Approach to inquiry learning richly embraced by Richland Academy. By combining these viewpoints, and regarding children as creative and capable protagonists, teachers are able to take on the role of researchers for the learning that cultivates real-life application beyond the classroom. Richland's 'Big Ideas' include Community and Structure & Function, to which many of the curriculum concepts are filtered. As a Reggio-inspired, 21st Century learning community, our child-centered, experiential and intellectually-stimulating environment fosters life-long learning skills and attitudes, where our students are challenged to extract multi-faceted ideas from their learning interests. This deeper understanding allows our students to experience meaningful and relevant learning opportunities; thus, truly achieving an 'education for understanding.' References Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design. (2nd ed.). Alexandria (VA): Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. ...

    The Wonder of Learning

    According to Malaguzzi, "Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey down the water. Through an active, reciprocal exchange, teaching can strengthen learning how to learn." Richland Academy is now entering its tenth anniversary, and comes with a history of traditional teaching. Now three years into the transition from a traditional teaching model to a Reggio inspired approach, the wonders of this way of supporting learners is emerging. But with it comes the challenges of bringing on board an already existing team of excellent teachers, as well as new teachers, and asking them to teach and learn through a different lens. We are learning how to listen and how to observe the children and each other. As we constantly reflect, we realize that our journey, although fraught with self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy, and the need for us to let go of our own personal egos, also brings us renewed joy in our teaching, allows for deeper creativity and is moving us all towards 21st century learning, that is based on natural inquiry and the child as a key player in his own learning. At the centre of this approach is always the child. The shift from 'the child following the teacher', to™ 'the teacher following the child' has been a monumental one. In the beginning we questioned, "Will we cover the curriculum? Will they learn to read? Will they learn their math skills?" These questions are indeed being answered for us. The children are showing us that they are deep thinkers who can question their own learning and challenge themselves and us, as teachers. As we begin to look back at the beginning of our Reggio journey, we can laugh at the exuberance of how we leapt in with feet first. Our first changes began with the environment. We knew we had to bring nature in, so we went out and purchased natural baskets and branches. We look now with amusement realizing that yes, environment is of key importance, but we did not have to take it so literally. Every type of branch we could find was strung throughout each classroom. A classroom that looks like a forest is not necessarily a Reggio classroom! We learned that everyone learns differently, even teachers, and to think that they would all spontaneously and unquestionably embrace this philosophy was idealistic. Perhaps we need to slow down, take more time to reflect deeply and allow everyone to move at their pace in their learning. No one book provides you with a step by step guide, but it is only through reading, reflecting, dialoguing with others, observing and embracing new ideas that we can transform. At Richland Academy, we have a strong and supportive administration that allows us to experiment, and encourages us to challenge our own beliefs. As we dialogue with our colleagues, we are ever changing as we listen and learn from each other. Together, we are co-constructing what is Reggio in our school. What we are realizing is that Reggio cannot be transported from one place to another. It needs to be molded and nurtured, and made our own. Our journey is an inspirational one and truly transformative, both for the children and ourselves as co-learners. Embracing the Reggio Approach has brought us back to the roots of childhood, and allowed us the privilege to experience the joy and wonder of learning through a child's eyes. ...

    21st Century Education

    As we move into what is being called the "creative" or "conceptual" age, success in a few narrow core subjects will no longer prepare students for this world. A renewed vision of education in the 21st century requires reforming or redesigning our schools, our curriculum, and how we are teaching the children of today.


    Nutrition Awareness at Richland

    At Richland Academy, we are committed to engaging staff, students and parents in nutrition awareness and educational activities that promote healthy eating within and outside of our environment. Our School Nutrition Action Committee (SNAC) actively promotes a safe and healthy school nutrition environment year-round. Each March, we also participate in National Nutrition Month with fun and informative activities throughout the month!

    Daily nutritional intake affects every aspect of a child's life; their behaviour and mood, susceptibility to illness and infection, physical activity, and performance in school are all affected by diet. The old adage, 'you are what you eat,' rings true. Children who over-indulge in sugary and fatty foods react slower- both physically and mentally- than those who consume natural, fresh and wholesome diets. In order to support optimal cognitive functioning, healthy eating patterns and physical activity must be reinforced at home and school. Remember, as a parent you set a primary example for your child when it comes to health and nutrition. Your attitude toward food and exercise can shape your family's habits.

    As a Healthy School Community, Richland Academy is doing their part to provide a safe and healthy environment for students, free from unhealthy consumer-driven ads, junk and pop machines. We educate students about healthy eating habits and promote their wellbeing with ongoing physical and mental activities.



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