Our Kids 20th logo

Traditional curricula

Find a list of schools  

Traditional curricula tend to be very content-based and rooted in the core disciplines. It is a structured approach that involves the teacher delivering a unified curriculum through direct instruction. Students usually learn by observing and listening to their teacher, studying facts and concepts in textbooks, and completing both tests and written assignments—which challenge students to not only demonstrate their mastery of content but their ability to analyze and deconstruct it critically. Class discussions are also used to create critical dialogue around the content of the curriculum.

There is a strong emphasis on objective evaluations of student achievement.

The approach is based on the philosophy of educational essentialism, whose proponents believe in instilling students with the fundamentals of core subjects in a systematic and disciplined way. Traditional curricula emphasize “core knowledge”—knowledge of facts—as a prerequisite to higher-ordered learning activities, and so structure the curriculum and lessons accordingly. The curriculum is delivered in a linear and sequential fashion: as if laying brick on top of brick, where students only move on to the next step once the previous one has been fully mastered.

Private schools with traditional curricula have remained popular with parents who believe that public schools have abandoned some of their important education features, says Barbara Bierman, executive director of the Ontario Federation of Independent Schools.

Critics of the approach say it applies a one-size-fits-all learning sequence that discounts the uniqueness of each student’s developmental path. They argue that the top-down instructional style stifles students’ natural sense of exploration and creativity, and that too narrow a focus is placed on academic achievement at the expense of other developmental goals.

Defenders of traditional curricula say the critics fundamentally misunderstand creativity and exploration: “you can’t connect the dots without first having the dots” is a common refrain.

Private School Expos
FIND PRIVATE SCHOOLS
advertisement

Five steps to finding
the perfect school


Start here

In the spotlight

  • A fresh approach to Coding Camp

    Whatever you might think a coding camp is like—say, kids at laptops, you know, coding—it’s safe to say that Hatch isn’t that. Here’s why their unique program is now being used by 250+ schools across Ontario.
    [Read more]

  • 3 tips to an allergy free summer

    One mother’s guide to keeping your kids allergy-free this summer. Whether it’s at home or while kids are away at summer camp, these two things are a must to have on-hand. [Read more]

  • Toronto's only fully immersive English Mandarin School

    Being bilingual has positive cognitive effects. But Mandarin leads the way due to its character-symbol relationship which requires the use of more areas of the brain than English, French or Spanish. [Read more]

Latest Articles


May 9, 2018
Scarborough Montessori schools
Find the top Montessori schools in Scarborough, Ontario

May 3, 2018
Private Mandarin schools
Find the top private schools in Canada that teach Mandarin

May 1, 2018
Pickering and Ajax Montessori schools
Find the best Montessori schools in Pickering, Ajax, and Oshawa, Ontario

May 1, 2018
Private schools in Durham, Ontario
Find the top private schools in Oshawa, Pickering, Ajax, and Whitby

April 19, 2018
Private schools in Summerland, BC
Find the top private schools in Summerland