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Villa Maria
Villa Maria
4245 Decarie Boulevard, Montreal, Quebec, H4A 3K4
Contact name:
Mirella Spadafora

Phone number:
(514) 484-4950×
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Villa Maria

Villa Maria

4245 Decarie Boulevard, Montreal, Quebec, H4A 3K4

Grades (Gender):
7 to 11 (Girls); 7 to 7 (Boys)
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
30 to 34
Day: 1,400 (Gr. 7 - 11)

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Contact Name:
Mirella Spadafora

Phone Number:

School Address
4245 Decarie Boulevard, Montreal, Quebec, H4A 3K4

About this school:

Founded in 1854 on a magnificent campus, Villa Maria is a leading private high school for girls and boys in Montreal housing two distinct schools, one English, one French, of approximately 1400 students . We provide young adults not only with pedagogical excellence, but with life skills that are required to be successful in our changing global community. Visit our Open House – French: September 17, 2016, English: September 24, 2016

The Our Kids review of Villa Maria

our takeVilla Maria is both one of the oldest and largest private schools in Canada, with a current enrollment just shy of 1400 students. Founded in 1854, the school has a long history, remaining a focal point of Anglophone society well into the 20th century, hosting an impressive roster of dignitaries, including King Edward VII, King George V, and Queen Mary. Academically, the school has continually adapted to the changing times, adopting programs and practices to meet the needs of the student population. One of the most notable came in September of 2016 when boys were admitted for the first time in the school's 161-year history. Today, the program is at the leading edge of academic innovation, including an active use of technology in the classroom and a dedication to global awareness. Both Francophone and Anglophone students are enrolled, and the school is divided into to teaching sectors, one French and one English (though competency in both languages is posited as a goal for all students). The ideal student is one who with thrive in a rich, busy, academically challenging environment.

Principal's Message


Lynda da Silveira, Director - Educational Services

Education in the 21st century faces many challenges that did not exist a generation ago.  Globalism, rapid-fire technological advancements and the rise of social media have changed not only how the world interacts, but also how people learn.  The schoolhouse, which was once the bastion of imparting knowledge to young minds, is now one of many players on the learning landscape for children worldwide. 

Villa Maria has over 160 years of tradition as a teaching establishment.  We are experts in teaching students.  In this decade, our focus has shifted to looking at how different types of learners excel.  We use technology in the service of education to help foster important skills such as teamwork and curiosity.  We employ diversified teaching techniques such as Universal Design for Learning to reach all students in a classroom regardless of their academic level.  We invest in modern equipment and installations to provide all our students with the best in educational technology so that they can exploit their high school experience to its full potential.

We have the unique privilege, as educators, to hold in our hands the budding sparks teenagers hold within their psyches.  As Irish poet William Butler Yeats once said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  It is our ardent hope that we will continue fanning the majestic flames of quality education for another 160 years to come.



Curriculum Traditional

Primary Curriculum: Traditional

What Villa Maria says: A personal approach to education: Villa Maria offers personalized support through innovative teaching, not just academic, which offers everyone the opportunity to succeed. Together, we consider the differences and personal resources of students at different levels. Education and environment are aligned to meet everyone’s needs and expectations. We nurture our students to help them acquire the necessary autonomy for their development. We reveal every student’s potential as we train tomorrow's professionals.

  • Approach:
    Focus Language-based Religious-based
    Academic French immersion Christian (Roman Catholic)

    If you want to learn more about faith-based education, check out our comprehensive guide.
    If you want to learn more about Christian education, check out comprehensive guide.
    If you want to learn more about Catholic education, check out comprehensive guide.

  • 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 Villa Maria 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.

    Science Equal Balance

      Science programs that balance expository and inquiry learning equally will likely have an equal blend of tests and experiments; direct, textbook-based instruction and student-centred projects.
      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 Villa Maria says: This information is not currently available.

    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 Villa Maria says: This information is not currently available.

    Foreign Languages Communicative

      The communicative method of language acquisition emphasizes the use of the target language in authentic contexts. The approach commonly features interactive group work, games, authentic texts, and opportunities to learn about the cultural background of the language. Drills and quizzes may still be used, but less frequently than with the audio-lingual method.
      Learn about the different foreign languages approaches  

    • What Villa Maria 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
      Visual Arts
    • Visual studio philosophy:

    • What Villa Maria says: This information is not currently available.

    Computers and Technology Heavy integration

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

    • What Villa Maria says: This information is not currently available.

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What Villa Maria says: Villa’s three gymnasiums are always busy as our teachers and coaches strive to provide students with ample opportunities to integrate physical activity into their daily lives and to develop good habits and tools to manage their health and well-being. Participation and sportsmanship are emphasized throughout the diverse Villa Maria sports programs.

    • Villa Maria 's approach to sex-ed: This information is not currently available.

    Religious Education
    • What Villa Maria says: This information is not currently available.

    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 Villa Maria says about flexible pacing: This information is not currently available.

    Academic Culture Supportive

    • Rigorous
    • Supportive

    A school with a “supportive” academic culture focuses more on process than short-term outcomes: academic performance is a welcomed side-benefit, but not the driving focus. This does not mean the school lacks standards, or has low expectations for its students: a school can have a supportive academic culture and still light the fire of ambition in its students. It does mean, however, the school provides a less intensive culture than schools with a “rigorous” academic classification, and is focused more simply on instilling a love of learning and life-long curiosity.

    What Villa Maria says: Villa Maria offers personalized support through innovative teaching, not just academic, which offers everyone the opportunity to succeed. Together, we consider the differences and personal resources of students at different levels. Education and environment are aligned to meet everyone’s needs and expectations. We nurture our students to help them acquire the necessary autonomy for their development. We reveal every student’s potential as we train tomorrow's professionals.

    Developmental Priorities Balanced

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

    What Villa Maria says: This information is not currently available.

    Special Needs Support High


    Villa Maria provides a high degree of support for special needs students.

    • Academic Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
      Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
    • Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD
      Support Type = offered
      Extra support
    • Support for moderate-to-severe special needs:
      Special needs
      Learning disabilities
      ADHD (moderate to severe)
      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
      Behavioral and Emotional
      Troubled behaviour / troubled teens
      Clinical Depression
      Suicidal thoughts
      Drug and alcohol abuse
      Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
      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 Moderate


    Villa Maria offers gifted learner support in the form of inclusive practices -- special, custom arrangements made for advanced learners (who otherwise remain in the regular classroom).

    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 Villa Maria 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 11, Villa Maria students perform an average of 30 mins of homework per night.

    Nightly Homework
    Villa Maria 30 mins30 mins30 mins30 mins30 mins
    Site Average55 mins61 mins75 mins85 mins98 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 grades7 to 11
    Parent-teacher meetings7 to 11


    What Villa Maria says:
    • Villa Maria offers several activities as part of their lunch-time extra-curricular program such as, archery, fitness, karate, kickboxing, long-distance running and an extreme sports club. The school also boasts a Healthy Mind, Healthy Body club and program that focuses on mental and physical well-being. The club's goal is to reinforce positive body-image and mental health. The Villa in Action club (VIA) is a club that focuses on social justice and humanitarian causes. VIA members are active participants at We Day and work throughout the year on social activism causes.

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Ice Hockey
      Track & Field
      Martial Arts
    • Clubs Offered
      Chess Club
      Community Service
      Dance Club
      Drama Club
      Environmental Club
      School newspaper
      Student Council

    Tuition & Financial Aid




    Discount TypeEnrollment TypeAmount
    2nd child (sibling)all students10%
    3rd child (sibling)all students25%

    Need-based financial aid

    This information is not currently available.

    Merit based Scholarships

    This information is not currently available.


    Total enrollment 1,400
    Average enrollment per grade280
    Gender (grades)7 to 11 (Girls); 7 to 7 (Boys)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution: This information is not currently available.



    Admissions Assessments:

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

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:

    What Villa Maria says: This information is not currently available.


    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student Villa Maria is looking for: This information is not currently available.

    Student Entry Points

    Student Type7891011
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)

    Stories & Testimonials


    Kenya Connection

    Two Maasai Warriors, Wilson Meikuaya and Jackson Ntirkana, visited Villa Maria as part of their Canadian tour sponsored by “Free the Children”. Students who visited Kenya last July during a humanitarian trip met the two Maasai who work for “Me to We” as guides and cultural ambassadors.
    During a special assembly, the Maasai tribesmen described how they became warriors, scholars, and leaders in their community; and how the future generations’ battles will be in the classroom.
    Villa was also pleased to welcome Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children, who galvanized the audience and inspired them to continue to be socially engaged and create positive change. ...

    Olympic Champion returns to Villa Maria

    Olympic champion and Villa Maria alumna speaks to students
    Rhian Wilkinson, Class of 2000, returned to speak to the students at an assembly in the Therese Casgrain Hall. The students were thrilled to hear about a Villa sister who triumphed on the Olympic stage and crowded around her for autographs and a chance to admire her Olympic medal. ...

    Brain Bee Winners

    Brain Bee Winners
    Congratulations to Secondary 4 student Firoza Lussier who won McGill’s Brain Bee competition, and bravo to Evelyn Macdonald and Sarina Lalla who came in 2nd and 4th!
    Thirty-two students from six Montreal area high schools were quizzed about synapses, axons and other cerebral facts in the international scientific contest held at the Montreal Neurological Institute on February 21st.  Firoza will go on to the Canadian National Brain Bee at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON in May. The national winner will travel to Vienna or Hawaii for the International Brain Bee.
    The Brain Bee is a bilingual event where contestants answer questions about the brain and the nervous system, including such diverse topics as memory, sleep, emotion, perception, stress, aging, brain-imaging, neurology, genetics, and brain disease. The competition begins with a written neuroanatomy quiz followed by a round of questions. The top six contestants compete in the final round. ...

    Villa Maria : A School in Action

    The Villa Maria WE Day Committee which once started out with twenty students has now grown to sixty members. On February 29, 2012, fifty students participated in the WE Day Event which took place at Montreal’s St. Denis Theatre to inspire and celebrate the youth movement for global change. The event included musical artists and guest speakers such as Jesse Jackson, Justin Trudeau, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, Martin Sheen, Shawn Desman and Nikki Yanofsky. Villa Maria has become a true “School in Action”, inspiring its students to care about social justice and providing the practical tools to turn that inspiration into action inside and outside the school. Recent events include the Talent Show, Arts+, Christmas Baskets, Walkathons, the Anti-Bullying Campaign and the humanitarian trips encouraging the movement of “youth helping youth”. In particular, the Christmas Basket drive in which one hundred and fifty boxes of food were collected from students in all grades and given to various organizations including the Centre des Femmes, St. Monica’s Parish, St. Gabriel’s Parish, Nazareth House, and the Missionary Sisters of Charity, helped to feed over twenty-three families. Nadia Martone, Pastoral Animator, expresses her pride with this achievement, “My favourite memory of this past Christmas will be standing in the hallway in the E wing in awe as I looked at the many boxes stacked up, filled with love and generosity….and I realized that we are surrounded by the greatest gift of all every day, the spirit of goodness and kindness and love that lives in all of us at Villa”! Another successful event at school was the 24-hour Vow of Silence taken in solidarity with children who are silenced by poverty, disease, and exploitation. Students took a full day reprieve from talking, texting and all social media to bring awareness to the children who do not have the ability to voice their basic rights. ...

    Villa Maria Students Visit China

    On June 30, 2010, seven Villa Maria students from Secondary 3 and 4 embarked on an unforgettable two-week voyage to China with Social Studies Teacher Janet Lewis ’96 and Mathematics Teacher Jennifer Wyse ’96. They toured the ancient cities of Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai and Hong Kong. For two weeks, they were immersed in history, touring the Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven Park, the Great Wall of China, and the newer Olympic buildings in Beijing. In Xi’an they visited the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Shaanxi Provincial Historical Museum, and the Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses. In Shanghai, a city known for finance and commerce, they visited the Shanghai World Financial Center. Finally, reaching Hong Kong, known for its expansive skyline, sites to be seen included Victoria Peak, Aberdeen Harbour, Stanley Market and Lantau Island. During their time in China, they were subject to dizzying heights and offered much-appreciated foot messages. They sharpened their bargaining skills and enjoyed the bird, flower and goldfish markets. They investigated the culture by foot, rickshaw and sampan transport, viewed an acrobatic show and historical monuments, tasted mouth-watering food, learned how to speak a little Mandarin, and embraced this magnificent trip, creating treasured memories and friendships. Miss Lewis remarked, “The students enjoyed every single day, and we saw friendships grow between girls who had not really known each other before. I think I speak for all of us when I say that the Buddhist Temples were a highlight, as were the Great Wall and Hong Kong. Though the girls were amazed at many of the differences: the food, the traffic, the language, the living space, the bargaining, the toilets, they were also a little shocked that some aspects of Chinese life and society were not that different from our own.” In conclusion, Miss Wyse said, “We learned a little bit of Mandarin: “yes”, “no”, “thank you”, “I love you” and “watermelon”. We are going to have to go back to China to practice. I don’t think there would be any complaints from the students. Most wanted to stay longer and so did their teachers!” Other wonderful trips are offered to the students of Villa Maria: Secondary 4 and 5 students traveled to Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels and England in February, Secondary 4 and 5 students will visit New York City in April, and a trip to Ecuador is planned for June. ...


    • The Quebec Association of Independent Schools (QAIS) Associations
    • La Federation des etablissements d'enseignement prives (FEEP) Associations

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    Contact Name
    Mirella Spadafora

    Phone Number:
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