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Dragon Academy
The Dragon Academy
35 Prince Arthur Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, M5R 1B2
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Contact name:
Meg Fox, Ph.D.

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(416) 323-3243×
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Dragon Academy
 

The Dragon Academy

35 Prince Arthur Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5R 1B2

School Type:
Gifted,  Alternative
Grades (Gender):
6 to 12 (Coed)
Tuition:
$18,500 to $22,500 per year
Main Language:
English
Avg. Class Size:
6 to 12
Enrolment:
Day: 75 (Gr. 6-12)

get more information Get more information

Contact Name:
Meg Fox, Ph.D.

Phone Number:


School Address
35 Prince Arthur Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5R 1B2

About this school:
highlights

Using the city-as-school--museums, research facilities, performances, academic and cultural institutions--Dragons engage with cutting-edge practitioners. Exploring, discussing, questioning, Dragons become true critical thinkers, university-bound in fields from engineering to visual arts. Dragon’s small discussion-based classes, inclusivity, expert mentor-teachers, STEAM subject integration (Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) and experiential learning are progressive and gifted. Be a Dragon.

More information on The Dragon Academy
The Dragon Academy is a gifted, alternative, day school in Toronto, Ontario. The school offers programs for grades 6 to 12 with enrolment of 75 students. The Dragon Academy has an average class size of 6 to 12 students and has a tuition of $18,500 to $22,500 per year. Founded in 2001, this private school does not require students to wear uniforms and the language of instruction is English.


Principal's Message expand

principal

Dr. Meg Fox, Principal

To learn is an active not a passive verb.  At The Dragon, we pursue meaningful learning through discussion, participation, experience. Beginning with a handful of adventurous students in 2001, The Dragon has earned a well-deserved reputation for excellence and educational leadership.

Our mission is to develop individual capability. Our students are high achievers and go on to post-secondary success, but a Dragon education is much more than scores and admissions.  Our academic program is demanding and compelling, but we are as interested in the development of character as we are in scholastic achievement. Using the resources of a great city, we engage students with their own potential, and with the role they can play in society.  Dragon alumni frequently tell us how the school has been a home to them, and how it inspired them on a journey of self-discovery.  By engaging our students in a purposeful search for knowledge and truth, we have become leaders in progressive education.

The Dragon Academy needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated. We encourage prospective students and their families to visit us.  This is a better measure of the right fit than a raft of admissions tests and reference letters. To visit us, please contact the Registrar. We look forward to meeting you.


Tuition & Financial Aidexpand

highlights

Tuition:

Type Tuition
Day Students $18,500 to 22,500 CDN

Payment Options:

Deposit required with acceptance Yes
Credit card payment Yes
Maximum installments available 10

Scholarships & awards:

  • The John Roberts Scholarship
       Amount: $2,500
       Type: Merit based
       Grade(s): 9 to 12
  • The Kristine Bogyo Scholarship
       Amount: $2,500
       Type: Merit based
       Grade(s): 9 to 12
  • Bursary
       Amount: 50%
       Type: Need based
       Grade(s): 9 to 12

Stories & Testimonials expand

News

IF THE SCHOOL FITSexpand

Where the Shoe Fits

 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what kind of kid The Dragon fits. Who does best here?  And, selfishly, whom do I like to teach?  I ought to know, shouldn’t I?  The school was certainly my idea in the first place.

 

When people ask me what kind of student I’m looking for, my first impulse is to say a nice kid.  The worst plague of adolescence, and probably of international politics too, is the bully, the selfish, insecure creep who wants to reify his or her own ego by crushing others’.  Middle school comes at the worst moment, the dark night of puberty, when your body betrays you, your hormones run wild, your emotions have the whip hand, and you also have math homework and a curfew.  Even in very small, supportive environments like The Dragon’s, these overcharged and insecure beings are eying each other nervously.  Inexperienced in the judgement of character, relatively naïve about the projection of image, they struggle to assess each other other, their own social impact, the pecking order of the group.  And then they engage in the struggle for place.  If a student comes to us without the stirrings of empathy, the desire to be decent and kind, he or she can throw a whole class into turmoil.  To be successful at collaborative learning, you have to want to collaborate, not put down.

 

My second thought is a Dragon student needs to be a reader.  All right, my dyslexic friends, a bookworm, whether you devour books on tape or as a wave file or on a Kindle, or in my favourite old technology.  Because the founder of The Dragon is a great and constant reader herself, because she loves books so much she even writes them, and because books are their own kind of museum, a museum of thought, books play a goodly role at The Dragon.  Books and what’s in them are the foundation for two of our central tenets:  you bring what you’ve found out to a discussion based class, and you want to know the best that’s been thought and said, to remember the soul’s history, Spender says. 

 

So a Dragon student is a thinker. Although it has more than four letters, “think” is a good old Anglo-Saxon word, originally meaning “to cause something to seem or to appear to oneself.” A thinker, then, is an active being, a person who has both the power to think and is engaged in thinking.  All too many students have already learned that the power to think gets you in trouble, and engaging is thinking is not something that you will do on the exam. Eager to please, they learn that the high achieving student displays information, and they have become terrified of engaging with ideas.  What if the answer is wrong? A Dragon student needs to be fearless, ready to enter the scrum of understanding.[1]

 

And then I think, a Dragon student is a creative soul. Creative is another great word, from the Latin, meaning “to bring into being, to make”.  A creative student is originative, productive.   It’s not about art necessarily or about volume.  It’s about bringing something into reality, of yourself, your ideas, your hopes.  I know this is a challenge, but you can’t participate in a true education through repetition, imitation, or regurgitation. 

 

And then, selfishly, because a teacher has to have a good time too, I’m looking for a student with a sense of humour.  I like to tease people, I like to be teased, it’s wonderful to be able to laugh instead of pull long faces and set punishments.  I love the wits, the one-liners that let you stop in the middle of some earnest explication and see the possibility of delight. (All right, my Aspberger’s friends, I know you’ll have to think about that, but admit that you too like to play.)

 

The other things Dragon students have been described as seem less important to me.  It’s true my students are no slouches.  But the gifted label can be a burden to carry.  Such strange expectations accompany it, as if it were undemocratic, unsporting somehow, to be smarter than average, while acceptable to be more athletic or better-looking than average.  As if you needed to be taken down a peg or two.  And while lots of successful Dragon students have tested gifted, lots of others don’t or can’t.  What they all have, what they bring, are deeper gifts, the things they teach each other and us, their teachers, every day—about the courage to persist, the other ways to demonstrate knowledge of curriculum content, about trains. 

 

I use “non-conformist” as shorthand sometimes, meaning they are individuals, and not afraid to be, which is not the same thing many people thing of as non-conformist.  A lot of great Dragon students have been square pegs being hammered into round holes in more conventional schools, and yes their sense of costume is quite highly developed.  But it’s not that most of them set out to be outrageous.  It’s that they want to be true to themselves. 

 

And besides compassion, empathy, I am looking for that other aspect of heart: courage.  My best students have been risk takers, and the children of risk takers. There are many things wrong with the great world, not just the small world of middle-class western education.  I am interested in those Young Persons who look around them with clear eyes, and see what is wrong with the world, who have the imagination to see how it could be better, the analytical strength to see how to bring about change, and above all the courage to tackle change.  This kind of transformative courage begins with small changes, with changing yourself, and what you know. A good education will not make such changes in and of itself.  It will not move the world.  But a good education is a wonderful place to stand, for a nice, kind, book-loving, free-thinking, risk-taking, creative individualist with a sense of humour. 

 

Endnote:

In case your English teacher didn’t make you memorise it, here is Stephen Spender’s poem.

 

I Think Continually Of Those Who Were Truly Great

 

I think continually of those who were truly great.

Who, from the womb, remembered the soul's history

Through corridors of light where the hours are suns

Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition

Was that their lips, still touched with fire,

Should tell of the Spirit clothed from head to foot in song.

And who hoarded from the Spring branches

The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

 

What is precious is never to forget

The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs

Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.

Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light

Nor its grave evening demand for love.

Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother

With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.

 

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields

See how these names are feted by the waving grass

And by the streamers of white cloud

And whispers of wind in the listening sky.

The names of those who in their lives fought for life

Who wore at their hearts the fire's center.

Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun,

And left the vivid air signed with their honor.

 

[1] You might wonder, at this point, why I don’t then wish for a talker.  The truth is, in discussion based, teacher-mentored, intimate classes, we have ways of making you talk.

...



I WANT TO TAKE EVERYTHINGexpand

I Want to Take Everything:  Intellectual Curiosity

 

At the time half my students were crowded into my office and all talking at once about their elective course choices and conflicts, I took it as the usual craziness of early September and scheduling headaches.  I teased and cajoled and promised to do what I could, and reminded everyone that popular courses would be available next year too, so that I was going to start by seeing that things worked out for the grade 12s.  Sarah Beatty spent most of Friday reworking the schedule (artists are better than algorithms for working out schedules, which is fundamentally a visual task, requiring you to see the solution), and I was ready to take off for the weekend. 

On Saturday night, my dear friend Doug Freake, who is a professor of Humanities at York (and with whom I went to graduate school in the late Cretaceous), was hosting a dinner party.  He had particularly wanted to introduce his friends Sol and Bessie Goldberg, who are also academics.  I imagined them to be in their early seventies, the kind of Jewish intellectuals who had been radicalized during the McCarthy era.  They turned out to be handsome Young Persons, on the cutting edge of inter-disciplinary daring, he working on a post-doctoral fellowship positioned in both Philosophy and Near Eastern Studies, she “dissertating” on my favourite novel by Jane Austen, Mansfield Park.  Since the other guest was my colleague Seth who did his own dissertating on political philosophy, you can imagine that the conversation was profoundly interesting.

The moment when the abstract concept of democratic education and the concrete educational incidents of The Dragon Academy came together, I found myself trying to describe the school and the very particular and original kind of learning that goes on there. I was trying to explain that your could teach absolutely anything through discussion.  I argued that it was also the only way to foster free thinking, which is necessary to democratic success, and freedom of expression, which is an emblem of democracy.   We were in a knotty place, where we were trying to distinguish between education and schooling (academic materialism, I think of schooling as being, the collecting of credits and degrees and gold stars).  We also wanted to distinguish between the things you needed to understand in order to participate meaningfully in the democratic process and the things anyone who participated in a democratic education could understand.  People who care about teaching and learning don’t give you much of an argument against the necessity of critical thinking, of bringing philosophical concepts like reason and justice and responsibility into the curriculum.  But they can balk at original texts, and doubt whether untrained minds are ready to consider metaphysical and ethical questions.

Bessie certainly understood that you can’t just put critical thinking on hold, schooling people relentlessly until they’ve stockpiled enough information, and then grant them license to think for themselves, or expect them to express themselves freely.  She talked about how Henry Crawford in Mansfield Park had been spoiled because the moral expectations of his guardians, and his society, were so low.  Seth talked about his first class in Philosophy, and the lively discussion about how we understand the world that sprang from his helping them to define metaphysics and ethics, and to think about which comes first.  Doug brought Kant’s categorical imperative forward, bravely sharing with two philosophers how he would explain it to his second year Humanities’ students.  He was not expecting them to read Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.   But he thought it was important to expose them to ideas, to help them see what a richness of thought there was in the world, to entice them to discover it.  I wanted to illustrate how adolescents could master really complex ideas, although they were usually cheated of the challenge by curriculum fogeys who confused an interest in Green Day with intellectual limitation.  “They can read almost anything, if you’re prepared to walk through it with them,” I said. “Adolescents are ready to rise to Plato’s Republic.”  Sol thought we were talking about selected passages. 

“No,” Seth said, “I’m planning to reading it out loud with them in class, all of it, and discuss it.” Sol thought this was a pretty risky project.  We all tried to remember how old we had been the first time we’d actually read the whole of the Republic. Sol revealed doubts about Plato’s reliability, and we made a number of jokes about how annoying Socrates must have been, and why he was forced to drink hemlock.

“A lot of the pleasure of university, for me,” I said, “was that we were finally really reading things, not bowdlerized texts or watered down abridgements or dull irrelevancies, but challenging and important things. Why do we think that you can’t start thinking critically until university?  Why should they have to wait, while we try to stuff their heads with ‘answers’?   I’ve read amazing stuff with my high school students,”  I said. 

Seth’s students had understood Heart of Darkness, and Machiavelli’s The Prince.

“I read all of Dante’s Inferno out loud twice last year,” I said,  “once to the Grade 10s and once to the Grade 9s.”

“The kids really loved those classes too,” Seth said, kindly.

“In fact, they were all crowded into my office on Friday,” I said, “wanting schedule changes so they could take Biology and Philosophy, English Literature and World History.”

“And the whole school wants to take Anthropology,” said Seth. 

“They don’t want spares or bird courses.  They want a democratic education in another sense.  They want to take everything.” And I thought, I want to take everything too.  I want to sit in on the Physics course, and Media Studies, and take drumming with the grade 7 music students.  I really want to range over world literature with Doug, and read Bessie’s thesis, and hear Sol lecture on the opening words of Genesis.

“That’s what I love about being an intellectual,” Doug said.  “You’ll never run out of ideas.”  Then he read us the quote from Sir Isaac Newton that he was putting on the first page of his course kit for his Introduction to Humanities Course, the one where he was going to explain the categorical imperative, and read both The Tale of Genji and Heart of Darkness.  ‘I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore,’ Newton wrote, ‘and diverting myself now and them finding a smoother pebble, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.’” 

 And we thought for a moment about the great ocean of truth, and how passionately we wanted our students to look up from the pebbles they were fumbling, and out across its wide expanse.  We’re doing something right, I thought, if Philosophy and Anthropology and Biology are popular courses, if our students want to take everything.  And by the way, Doug and Bessie and Sol have promised to come in as guest teachers at The Dragon.

 

...



DANGEROUS GIFTSexpand

It started with Adrian.  He said that he was tired of being labeled gifted and suggested we call him “burdened” instead.  I admit to being startled as well as distraught.  I don’t like to think of someone being made to suffer for who he is, and being gifted is a quality as inborn as the colour of your eyes or the shape of your nose.  You can certainly disguise it or I suppose have it surgically altered, but why would you want to?  Which is why I was so startled, because I have always thought it made so many things easier, being extremely smart, and it certainly made things interesting.

 

And then, not long after, I was in English class with my grade 9 students. We are working our way, this year, through the great, disturbing classics of the nineteenth century, Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dracula,  Browning’s  My Last Duchess.  We were reading Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, a text I favour, like so many of my colleagues.  It’s compulsively readable, an irresistible combination of that heavily perfumed, languid, poetic writing and a brilliantly Freudian horror twist.  It allows you to talk about two key periods of English literature, the Victorian and the Modern, and the turning point between them.  It raises the issues of gender identification and sexual orientation, and it’s still subversive, glamourous, seductive.  There is no better text for getting adolescents talking about art and morality. 

 

I was reading the first chapter out loud.  “There is a fatality about all physical and intellectual distinction,”  Basil Hallward, the artist who paints the fatal portrait, says,  “the sort of fatality that seems to dog through history the faltering steps of kings.  It is better not to be different from one’s fellows.  The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world. They live as we all should live, undisturbed, indifferent, and without disquiet. Your rank and wealth my art, Dorian Gray’s good looks—we shall all suffer for what the gods have given us, suffer terribly.”  

 

“He’s right,” Lydia interjected.  “I wish I wasn’t so intelligent.”

 

And there it was, two very bright, creative kids of sterling character, from supportive families, in a school jam-packed with exceptional students, who found being brainy a burden.  My first thought was that to live “undisturbed, indifferent, and without disquiet” would be a kind of hell for me, a suffocating boredom.  Why would you want to give up all the gifts that being gifted brings, the heightened sensitivity, the rich inner life, the originality of imagination, the quickness of apprehension?  In my experience, Renzulli is right—there is more than high measureable intelligence, there is motivational energy and creativity.  Gifted kids move in a world that is sensually, emotionally, imaginatively and intellectually rich.  Who would not revel in the experience?

 

But then I thought, just because it is a difference, and a rare enough difference, it is also a disability in the ordinary world.  Being gifted makes it impossible to move through the world undisturbed.  Every fallen sparrow, every loud noise, every instance of irrational behaviour, every question left unanswered, the smell of cooked cabbage, the scratch of a wool turtleneck, disturbs you.  Being gifted makes it impossible to be indifferent.  Any piece of work to which you turn your hand must be perfect.  The distance between what you conceive and what you realize torments you.  Injustice enrages you.  You can’t keep your mouth shut, even when you know you’re going to get in trouble.  You need meaning; you need complication.  Even small differences are significant to you, because you can perceive them, and understand their implications.  And to live without disquiet?  Once you refuse the pat answers and come to know what’s going on? John Milton could have been writing about gifted kids instead of Adam and Eve and the apple, “of man’s first disobedience and the fruit of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste brought death into the world and all our woe”. 

 

I think there’s another element too, the Frankenstein’s monster feeling of being marked as different, misunderstood, outcast and reviled.  I can remember being cruelly teased because of my vocabulary-- all those big words-- because I was constantly reading, because I knew the answer, and everyone else knew that I did, even if I managed to sit on my hand.  My gifted kids all tell me they’ve been bullied, humiliated for being able to do things others don’t find so easy, that they have earned the ire of teachers who found their curiosity rude, rebellious, and infuriating.  And at the very same time that they are passed over, as if they are hogging the limelight and keeping others from having an opportunity to speak, they are objectified,  made to feel like freaks.  Chris told me his favourite movie was The Elephant Man, that he felt like Joseph Merrick, an object of curiosity, isolated from others by his difference, his giftedness. 

 

How do you transform giftedness from a burden into a treasure?  The key is community.  You have to find a place where your gifts are honoured, where you are honoured, and where difference is accepted.  For me, this came only in university, when all of a sudden people in class looked to me for my opinion, instead of groaning when I raised my hand, where everyone was a strong and confident individualist.  Which brings us back to Oscar Wilde, who venerated the free intellect, the life of passionate feeling, subjecting all that is conventional, pat, and smug to questioning.  There it is, I say to my grade 9 students.  It may be a difficult life, but it is an examined life, it is a life overflowing with richly lived and closely analysed experiences.  And that’s the gift in being gifted.  You can live richly, and understand deeply. 

 

...



expand

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The Triumph of the Willexpand

"An act that produces effective surprise this I take as the hallmark of a creative enterprise." - Jerome Bruner As we plan next year, our first integrative project will be "The Triumph of the Will," built around the C.O.C.'s forthcoming production of Puccini's Tosca. Such key historical concepts as positive and negative liberty, and such psychological topics as personal identity are beautifully explored in the music and book of this most accessible work. We will be able to take advantage of a set of educational workshops covering elements from fight choreography to costume design with artists of the company. Instead of a single field trip to a baffling performance, our students will find relevance and challenge. Other integrative projects for next year will draw connections between martial arts and moral education, the replacement of mythological questions with proto-scientific ones, the tension between religious and scientific frameworks, the enormous impact of geography on culture, the critical paradox of Enlightenment thought, which promoted new and inspiring ideas of liberty at the same time as it supported the imperialist mandate. A study of the Protestant legacy will focus on utopias and dystopias, and some very contemporary expressions of these ideas. These are not only academic integrations, enriching the students' intellectual life. They will give rise to trips and vivid experiences, the creation of artistic, scientific, research and collaborative work. The students will continue to be drawn together by much more than the accident of attending the same class in the same school; they will share in experiences which awaken their curiosity and join them in shared conversation, the heart of learning and knowing. ...



Revenge Remains Unknownexpand

The cultural riches of Toronto inspired us to experiment with museum based education. Too often schools hesitate to expose students to "high culture", fearing both the charge of elitism and the failure of engagement. Our experience at The Dragon contradicts this: properly prepared, exposed to a properly integrated thematic unit of study, students become a knowledgeable audience for grand opera and its impact on the other arts, including film. Opera is not just the music or the singing, it's theatre, it includes dance and design, it's rich in history. We prepare for our attendance at an opera by examining not only the music, the story, the production values, by making use of the excellent workshops and educational support offered by the world-class companies which our city hosts, but delving into the political, historical, literary and social background. We took advantage of Opera Atelier's production of Mozart's Magic Flute to construct a whole school thematic unit of study of Mozart and the intellectual and historical sources of his great opera, "Revenge Remains Unknown". We have all been impressed by the seriousness with which our students have considered these questions, and by their commitment to participating in the special Opera Atelier workshop, and their enjoyment and understanding of a splendid production of The Magic Flute. "When I first heard bout the idea, I was not thrilled. I have never liked operatic CDs, and thus, I was not inclined to want to go. As we studied and then went to see it, however, I became more and more interested. This experience has opened my eyes to opera." --Alex, grade 10 "I didn't think it would mean much to me, but it was so colourful and really funny, and the music was amazing." - Jake, grade 11 "Now I get what people are going on about." - Eli, grade 12 ...



Dressed in a Little Brief Authorityexpand

"Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus, Another thing to fall." At The Dragon, we end every year with a whole school, full-length, full-scale production of a play by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare's concerns are timeless. And at the same time you get a real window into a critical moment of western history. His characters are complex and challenging. He's been translated and performed all over the world, for centuries. And if you take a student-centred approach to the script (and treat it like a script, not a holy book) there's room for cultural and political diversity. So, we have set The Comedy of Errors in Jakarta, accompanied by a student gamelan orchestra, with the generous aid of The Indonesian Consulate and the teaching of Andrew Timur. The students are invited to a limitless imaginative exploration. And the proof is in the pudding: each year we mount a wonderful production, and the experience of saying Shakespeare, of knowing his words by heart, stays with them for a lifetime. This past year, the students selected Measure for Measure. This, after all, is a play filled with ambition, darkness, political intrigue, sex, surveillance, and revenge. The students helped to edit it to a manageable length, following an honourable production tradition. They chose the setting (a sixties Cold War country threatened by a coup d'etat, worthy of Le Carre). They designed the lighting, and manned the lighting booth. They created an eerie soundscape, including staging the seduction scenes as flamenco-inspired dances, classical chamber music for the politicos and garage band rock for the rebellious young people, and brought it in on cue. They memorized, and passionately enacted, thousands of lines. They designed and made the costumes. They ran the backstage. They had all the help they needed: a literary scholar and historian, a flamenco artist, professional stage choreographer, director and tech crew, professional makeup and textile artists. ...



Where We Liveexpand

"The aims of schools are to enable children to do something about creating a better, more humane, more equitable society." - Eliot Eisner The Dragon is truly a community, which means that we share ideas and activities in meaningful rather than accidental ways. The life of the school grows out of the carefully constructed life in the school. This begins with its small size. Here, you know everyone, and everyone knows you. The relationship between students and teachers is not merely formal, nor dependent on the accidents of who teaches you what. The school itself is a living entity of which each person is a crucial part. "The Dragon is a family," students say. "Our shared experience of the school is a glue." "There are no cliques, or maybe the whole school is a clique, teachers and kids together." These factors make it possible to construct and richly execute integrative, whole school projects. Guest teachers come for an hour (to talk about a career in writing or academia, in chemistry or in dance) or over the course of weeks to introduce and oversee a major production. All of these projects have important political and social implications' they reflect and help us to understand the larger issues of the world outside school, which all our students must fully enter. As a result, The Dragon is marked by the passionate sharing of ideas, by learning through experience, from both our successes and our failures. We build a spirit of free communication. "We all really get into the big projects. Everyone's energy is up, everything you do seems really important. We work incredibly hard, but it doesn't feel like work. And when it's over we know so much, but we don't feel like we were studying. We were just doing." ...



Dialogueexpand

Jeff: Before The Dragon, I felt that I wasn't being challenged enough, or growing as a person as I wanted to. Mike: They bring the subjects to life and make you want to learn. Jeff: They challenge us, and make us think for ourselves. The skills are transferable. We don't just get what we're studying, but also how to examine, understand and fully appreciate anything. Mike: Even the museum trips, you bring back what you saw to the school and it incorporates directly into what you're learning. Jeff: Like when we were reading Macbeth, going and visiting an actual director helped deepen our understanding. In Ancient Art and Architecture, going to the ROM created a concrete image of what we were learning, so it goes beyond simple textbook definitions. We can actually see and relate to what we are being taught. Mike: Being a student at the Dragon definitely sky-rockets you into becoming an intellectual being. The classes are all integrated, they all go hand in hand. Jeff: In drama, we were reading Doctor Faustus and talking about the Faustian bargain, which came up again with Macbeth, but also, simultaneously, in English and Philosophy, that concept of transgression became dominant. Mike: I think that the table seating creates a much better environment. There isn't any pecking order for seating arrangements, the "cool" kids can't sit at the back of the class, and kids can't be judged based on where they sit. Jeff: When we have everyone close together around one or two tables, it makes things naturally progress towards discussion. ...



Insightexpand

My former high school focused on the achievement of high grades. The educational mentality was mechanical, with very little emphasis on creative participation. It relied heavily on extrinsic motivators at the detriment of more intrinsic ones. I found myself stressed about maintaining the status of an accomplished student. I was unmotivated to work, because the required tasks seemed to lack relevance, and I was more inclined to feign effort, since my primary concern was image-management. When I first visited The Dragon, I was taken by the simultaneously relaxed and rigorous atmosphere of the school. The material was significantly more advanced than what I was accustomed to (certainly on a conceptual level), and there was a genuine attempt to provoke insight in each student. At The Dragon, I became more productive and attentive to my own learning. Remarkably, I had stopped thinking about grades altogether, even though I was working considerably harder. I soon made the shift from being product-oriented to being process-oriented and intrinsically motivated. I was encouraged to be creative, to take risks, and to use an assignment as an opportunity for introspection. Many of my essays became pivotal stepping-stones toward greater confidence. At times, I experienced a transformational insight that led to new ways of thinking and an intense episode of personal growth. Although I was definitely being pushed to develop intellectually, I also matured socially and emotionally. Once at U of T, I found myself more than equipped to handle the work-load and subject material. In most cases, it was not as challenging. I continue to strive for personal relevance in my work at university, so as to recreate the style of learning I was introduced to at the Dragon. The Dragon has also provided me with an encompassing academic framework that I can use to situate new concepts. The rich and integrated curriculum that the school promotes makes learning more enjoyable. ...



Intellectexpand

When I came to visit The Dragon, I sat in on a literature class. I was impressed with the sheer volume and the depth of learning, and in fact I felt that I learnt more in a day at Dragon than in a week at my former school. The Dragon is full of conversation. There is a constant dynamic flow of knowledge and opinion, among the faculty as well as between students and teachers. Whenever any two teachers are in a room together a fascinating conversation is sure to take place. This is not just true of the faculty but the students as well. Every student at the school has been taught to actively engage with society, using their newly trained intellects. Before I came to The Dragon, I had never had an overwhelmingly positive experience of education. I think I grew a lot emotionally at The Dragon. I have a whole new way of thinking about things, putting things in a framework, that I couldn't have conceived of before. My way of evaluating what it means to be a human being has shifted. I also feel much more capable of actually achieving my goals, realizing those values. The Dragon has provided me with a template of what intellectual life should be like. I've gone to university with a set of skills for reading and writing and thinking that a lot of students don't have. The readings seem light. The essays seem ridiculously little. I am doing really well, and not panicking. The interpersonal skills developed at The Dragon allowed me to survive the triple room in residence without any major conflicts, a task which I certainly would not have considered myself up to before. . Why do I come back to visit so often? I've never visited any of my other schools. It's like coming home to be revitalized. Our shared experience of the Dragon is a glue. Whenever I come back and leave again, I feel energized to renew all my efforts at being a human being. ...



Beyond Graduationexpand

The Dragon began in 2000. We've had 20 graduates so far. They've all been admitted to all the universities they applied to, over half of them with scholarships. They're studying everything from Studio Arts to Physics. And they're all doing really well. In conversations with parents of prospective students, I hear again and again, "He's doing well enough, but he's so bored at school." Or, "She's just not motivated. I know she could do so much better." When they come to meet with us, they remark on our warmth and sense of community. "We certainly were able to get a feel for the passion everyone has for teaching and learning (even while playing cards, one could feel the camaraderie)." They almost always say, "I wish I could have gone to a school like this." When their children have enrolled they tell us: "Max was late this morning because he and his dad were so absorbed in an intense discussion about the gospels, their accuracy, the sociopolitical roots of Christianity, and the alleged divinity of Jesus. Wow! Our jaws are bruised from hitting the floor so much. Keep up the great work." "The Dragon and John (Vervaeke) have had an impact on that young man that will last him a lifetime. You have changed his life." "I can't begin to tell you what The Dragon has meant to me. Your belief in Michael and the constant support and love you gave to him helped him to know what a wonderful person he is. He has truly flowered under your care from a lost soul into a strong and thoughtful human being - a whole person. Thank you will never be enough." Talking together to gather their reflections for these pages, our graduates articulated everything that is most important to The Dragon's vision: intellectual richness, the Socratic method, mining the riches of Toronto's cultural institutions, that small is much better, the integration of learning across the curriculum, the moral purpose of education. The best testimonial is what our graduates have to say for themselves. ...



In the News expand

News

April 10, 2014 - OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET

On Wednesday, April 16th, Dragons will be leaving the planet and heading out on a Mission to Mars. ...


April 3, 2014 - Dragons at SPUR Festival

Dragon senior students are thrilled to be part of the inaugural SPUR Young Scholars Day, Friday, April 4th at University College. ...



Curriculum & Programs expand

Curriculum & Programs

    Specialty Academics

  • AP courses
  • Community service
  • Distance learning
  • Gifted program
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Summer camps/program
  • Summer studies
  • University counseling

    School Support

  • Private/Individual lessons
  • Tutoring

    Special Needs

  • Dyslexia
  • Learning differences support (ADD/ADHD)
  • Learning study assistance


    Arts

  • Acting
  • Ceramics
  • Choreography
  • Composition
  • Dance
  • Directing
  • Drawing
  • Electric music
  • Film & video
  • Graphic design
  • History of Theatre
  • Lighting design
  • Music history
  • Music Theatre/Opera
  • Music theory
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Production
  • Recording
  • Screenwriting
  • Sculpture
  • Set design
  • Song writing
  • Theatre design

    Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Astronomy
  • Canadian history
  • Classical history
  • Classics
  • Creative writing
  • Debate
  • Ethics
  • European history
  • Independent study
  • Journalism
  • Literature
  • Medival history
  • Philosophy
  • World religions

    Languages

  • English
  • French
  • Latin
  • Spanish

    Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Computers

  • Algebra
  • Animation
  • Biology
  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • Computer programming
  • Computer science
  • Ecology
  • Finite
  • Geometry
  • Physics
  • Robotics
  • Statistics
  • Trigonometry


    Academic / Social Clubs

  • Chess Club
  • Community Service
  • Debate Club
  • Environmental Club
  • Foreign Language Club
  • Poetry/Literature club
  • School newspaper
  • Science Club
  • Student Council
  • Yearbook

    Arts

  • Art Club
  • Audiovisual Club
  • Dance
  • Drama Club
  • Jazz Ensemble
  • Photography

    Athletics

  • Basketball
  • Camping/Canoeing
  • Ski/Snowboard club
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Weightlifting
  • Yoga

    Moral Development

  • Character education
  • Leadership
  • Self-esteem development
  • Social justice

    Admissions & Finances

  • Bursaries
  • Interview required
  • Sibling discounts

    Religious Affiliation

  • Non-denominational

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Get more info

Contact Name
Meg Fox, Ph.D.

Phone Number:


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