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St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School

1080 Linbrook Road, Oakville, Ontario, L6J 2L1

Progressive,  Reggio Emilia
Grades (Gender):
Preschool to Gr. 12 (Girls)
$9,000 to 26,300/year
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
Day: 550 (Gr. PS - 12)

School Address
1080 Linbrook Road, Oakville, Ontario, L6J 2L1



About this school:


At St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School, girls from Preschool to Grade 12 experience an enriched academic and co-curricular program, personalized learning and teachers who are experts in educating girls. We support each girl's interests, talents and learning needs. Our world-class facilities and signature programs such as Global Studies, Professional Internship and Robotics, equip each girl to achieve excellence in whatever path she chooses. Discover how an SMLS education will benefit your daughter for her whole life. — Visit school website



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Our Take: St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School

our takeThe school has a long history, having been founded in Toronto 1891. After a move to Oakville, it later paired with a school guided by Ruth Lightbourn, a renowned teacher who founded a school almost by default—she began as a tutor for the children of John Guest, then headmaster of Appleby College, and her success was of the kind we associate with Nanny McPhee. She became the go-to tutor, and in time founded her own school. That and St. Mildred's formally joined in 1969, combining the traditions and the drive of both under one umbrella. More than anything, the intention is to provide girls with the skills, experience, and esteem that will carry over into academic and professional success. Ample opportunities are provided for students to discover their passions, wherever they may lie, as well as the encouragement to grow within those areas of interest.

School busing:

SMLS offers bus transferring. Service options offered are regular rider, regular rider AM only, regular rider PM only, door-to-door pickup .

Principal's Message


Nancy Richards, Head of School

Thank you for your interest in St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School. 

It is a great privilege and honour to be the new Head of School at St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School. I am delighted to be a part of the school's warm and invitational learning community with such a longstanding and rich heritage of more than125 years.  I'm excited to play a key role in an all-girls learning environment where girls are encouraged to discover and pursue their personal excellence through a rigorous academic program. And I'm proud to be leading a deeply committed and dedicated faculty in preparing girls for a strong inspired future as empowered young women. 

The entire community celebrates our recent graduates, all of whom are anticipating the start of the next phase of their journey at Canadian and international universities of their choice. For those families who are considering St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School for their daughter, please visit the school where you will be warmly welcomed.    



Curriculum Progressive, Reggio Emilia

Primary Curriculum: Progressive

Secondary Curriculum: Reggio Emilia

Reggio Emilia emphasizes the role of the child in directing their own learning. Heavily intertwined with progressive ideals in education, the program espouses ideas such as child-centred classrooms, discovery learning, and 21st century education.
If you want to learn more about Reggio Emilia education, check out our comprehensive guide.

What SMLS says: SMLS is a dynamic learning environment designed to address the unique needs of girls from preschool to graduation. Our programs focus on the intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual development of girls, and are designed to develop our students to become courageous girls who challenge and change the world.

  • Approach:
    Focus Special needs
    Academic Gifted

  • 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 SMLS says: This information is not currently available.

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

    • Calculator policy: This information is not currently available.

    Early Reading
    • What SMLS says: This information is not currently available.

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

    • What SMLS says: This information is not currently available.

    • What SMLS says: This information is not currently available.

    • 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

    • What SMLS says: This information is not currently available.

    Social Studies
    • What SMLS says: This information is not currently available.

    Humanities and Social Sciences
    • What SMLS says: This information is not currently available.

    Foreign Languages
    • What SMLS says: This information is not currently available.

    • Languages Offered: • Chinese-Mandarin • French • Spanish

    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 SMLS says: This information is not currently available.

    Computers and Technology
    • What SMLS says: This information is not currently available.

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What SMLS says: This information is not currently available.

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

    What SMLS 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 SMLS says: This information is not currently available.

    Preschool/K Curriculum Play-based

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

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

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

    What SMLS says: At SMLS, we use best practices from the philosophies of the Ontario 'Play Based' program, Reggio Emilia, inquiry based learning and direct teaching. We take this approach because we believe that providing a balanced program allows for the development of curiosity and the joy of learning in every child. Our process of instruction educates children in the fundamentals needed to go on to a successful academic career in the primary, junior, middle and senior programs. Our goal is to develop within students the core skills of a lifelong learner.

    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 SMLS 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 SMLS says: We are rigorous in our academic culture, while at the same time supportive of girls of different learning styles.

    Developmental Priorities Intellectual, Balanced

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

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

    What SMLS says: This information is not currently available.

    Special Needs Support Resource Assistance

    Resource Assistance

    Students remain in a regular classroom for the whole day, and periodically receive break-out support (individually or in small groups) within the classroom from a qualified special education teacher.

    • 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 SMLS says: Through our Student Success Centre, we provide additional support to students as needed.

    • 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
    • Summary: SMLS supports the emotional and social development of our students through our social skills/guidance program as well as our on site Social Worker.

    Gifted Learner Support Dedicated gifted school

    Curriculum delivery: Acceleration and enrichment (There is an equal emphasis on acceleration and enrichment.)

    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 SMLS 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.

    Class Sizes Not available

    This information is not currently available.


    What SMLS says:
    • Internationally recognized Robotics program Competitive sports Robust arts offerings (drama, music, etc.)

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Ice Hockey
      Track & Field
    • Clubs Offered
      Art Club
      Audiovisual Club
      Chess Club
      Community Service
      Computer Club
      Dance Club
      Debate Club
      Drama Club
      Environmental Club
      Foreign Language Club
      Jazz Ensemble
      Math Club
      Musical theatre/Opera
      Online Magazine
      Outdoor Education
      Poetry/Literature club
      Robotics club
      Round Square
      School newspaper
      Science Club
      Student Council

    Tuition & Financial Aid


    Day Day (Half day)
    Day (Half day)$9,000

    Need-based financial aid

    This information is not currently available.

    Merit based Scholarships

    This information is not currently available.


    Total enrollment 550
    Average enrollment per grade34
    Average class sizeVaries
    Gender (grades)Preschool to Gr. 12 (Girls)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution: This information is not currently available.



    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    InterviewPS - 12
    SSAT (out of province)
    Entrance Exam(s)N/A
    Entrance Essay
    Application Fee 

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:

    What SMLS says:

    Please see our website: http://www.smls.on.ca/Page/Admissions


    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School is looking for: This information is not currently available.

    Student Entry Points

    Student TypePSJKSK123456789101112
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)

    University Placement

    Services = offered
    Career planning
    Mentorship Program
    University counseling
    Key Numbers
    Average graduating class sizeN/A
    *Canadian "Big 6" placementsN/A
    **Ivy+ placementsN/A

    *Number of students in 2015 who attended one of McGill, U of T, UBC, Queen's University, University of Alberta, or Dalhousie University.

    **Number of students since 2005 that attended one of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, University of Chicago, Oxford or Cambridge (UK)

    Stories & Testimonials


    The Importance of Connectedness in All Girls’ Schools

    I recently referred to my copy of Dr. JoAnn Deak’s book How Girls Thrive.  In it, Dr. Deak highlights the importance of connectedness in the successful learning of girls.  In her words, “thanks to the hormone oxytocin, girls are neurobiologically primed to have a higher need for connectedness”.

    Teachers at all-girls’ school SMLS can attest to this fact.  As educators who focus on how girls learn, we understand that our Millies require a caring learning environment that nurtures their minds academically while tending to their affective needs as learners as well.  The independent all girls’ school advantage offered by SMLS provides an optimal learning experience where teachers –  whether in the classrooms, labs and hallways or on the sports fields, stage or an excursion  - artfully blend their teaching strategies with opportunities for our learners to feel connected and cared about.

    What other benefits can girls expect at SMLS? Find out here on Karen's blog: http://blogs.smls.on.ca/importance-connectedness-girls-schools/



    Experiential Learning at its Best!

    We started off the morning of our experiential learning  with a continuation of our CPR certification course. Yesterday we were given homework to research in groups a health emergency and be ready to present. The health emergency presentations we saw today included a variety of common health conditions such as: diabetes, asthma, concussion, anaphylaxis, heart attack and anxiety.

    The presentations involved a general overview of the health condition, the signs and symptoms and treatment, finishing off with a skit. We learned valuable information about common health conditions and how to assess the situation and what to do in the best interest of a victim in that situation. An important part of this experiential learning workshop is learning how to recognize an emergency situation, knowing how to assess the situation and finally, how to act. We got to apply our newly learned skills by practicing n partners and on the compression dummies by acting out various situations.

    Read more about these hands-on learning experiences and see photos: http://blogs.smls.on.ca/experiential-learning-best/


    Millies go Hiking in the Jungle

    Global perspective, real world experiences, and opportunities to try new things are all part of the St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School experience. During the senior girls global studies trip to Ecuador, Millies went hiking in the jungle...

    After getting our faces painted with nature designs, we went on a morning 2.5 hrs hike guided by a local Kichwa indigenous. In our hike we learned about certain species of plants, insects, animals etc. After a much needed rest we walked to a local community home where they showed us the way Kichwa people live, their customs and how they make their pottery. We later changed into our swimsuits and travel by boat to the Napo River where we went tubing while watching the gorgeous Amazon sunset. The amazon experience did not stop there, following dinner we had a farewell ceremony where a family dressed in their traditional attire danced for us.

    Read more about this experience and see photos: http://blogs.smls.on.ca/day-8-hiking-jungle/


    Millies, A Weekend in Beijing!

    In November, St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School Senior Girls travelled abroad as part of the Global Studies Program that our school is famous for.  A weekend spent in Beijing represented a huge learning experience and a great stretch for everyone involved. It all began on a Friday when we were introduced to our home stay sisters from BCCSC. We started off the day with making a presentation about Canada to the middle school and elementary school students, and they really enjoyed it. Some girls participated in the elementary school student’s Kung Fu class, and the middle school students taught our girls about Chinese tea, historical instruments and writing. This was followed by an afternoon of classes. At the end of the day, we all ventured off into our separate paths and said goodbye for the weekend. This was the start to our individual journeys of the home stay experience. We all had many different experiences; this included Hu Tong, karaoke, shopping, trying new foods, and getting to know our home stays and their families very well. Read more about our Beijing trip and see pictures of our real world, global experiences: http://blogs.smls.on.ca/weekend-beijing/



    In the News


    March 24, 2015 - SMLS Preschoolers Have Academic Advantage

    The first years of your daughters life have the greatest impact on her success. Join the SMLS Preschool information session in Oakville. ...

    February 20, 2014 - Millie grads go anywhere they choose

    St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School is often asked, Where in the world are our grads? the answer is simple wherever they choose to go! ...

    February 20, 2014 - President of KidsCanPress featured speaker at St. Mildred's-Lightbourn

    Lisa Lyons, President of publisher KidsCanPress,is featured speaker in the Women in Leadership of Exemplary Character speaker series at SMLS ...


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