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Waldorf Academy

250 Madison Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4V 2W6

Grades (Gender):
Preschool to 8 (Coed)
$5,040 to $17,800 /year
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
Day: 240 (Gr. PS - 8)

School Address
250 Madison Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4V 2W6



About this school:


Waldorf Academy: the world renowned name in alternative arts enriched education. We offer a developmentally appropriate, experiential, and academically rigorous approach to education. We integrate the arts in all academic disciplines for children to enhance and enrich learning. Waldorf Education aims to inspire life-long learning in all students and to enable them to fully develop their unique capacities. — Visit school website



The Our Kids review of Waldorf Academy

our takeWe often consider the ideal student for a certain educational setting, though with Waldorf schools, it's important to also consider the ideal parent. Instruction is play-based, student directed; benchmarks are less important than engagement. Multiple intelligences, multiple-sensory learning, cross-curricular instruction, visual learning--it's perhaps the epitome of what we think of as alternative education: constructivist rather than didactic. Waldorf Academy is one of the first of its kind in Canada, and was created when a group of parents decided to come together to create the kind of school that they wanted for their children. It's grown since then, and the organization and infrastructure has been formalized as well, including the creation of a purpose-built learning environment. Nevertheless, the core concept remains. The successful student is one who thrives in a play-based setting. The ideal parent is one who sees the value in a constructivist approach, narrative-based assessment (letter grades are given only in grades 7 and 8) and who supports the maintenance of a media-free learning environment.


Curriculum Waldorf

Primary Curriculum: Waldorf

Often conflated with Montessori schools (incorrectly), Waldorf schools focus on developing the "whole child" -- emphasizing collaborative, hands-on learning, along with the arts and music, which are integrated into all areas of study. Waldorf schools are unmistakably "progressive". Their intellectual forefather is Rudolf Steiner, who believed the educator's first task should be to help students develop an aesthetic appreciation for life and learning. If you want to learn more about Waldorf education, check out our comprehensive guide.

What Waldorf Academy says: The essence of Waldorf can be thought of as follows: The use of art and creative play across the spectrum of subject areas brings out a child’s imagination and the joy of learning. Our interdisciplinary approach to mastering subject areas across the academic spectrum encourages children to make connections and deepen learning. Waldorf Academy’s E.Q. approach is designed to enhance a child’s sense of connection to the world and to grow spiritually. We stress hands-on, experiential, inquiry-based learning that carries with it the ability to take risks, reach beyond our comfort zones and test our mettle. We work with a child’s natural tendencies to encourage their curiosity and figure out answers their own way. Sometimes they fail the first time, but then they learn how to get back up and see it through.

  • Approach:

  • Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics
    • What Waldorf Academy says: Making Math More Meaningful - A Waldorf curriculum guide. Middle school math specialist

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

    • Calculator policy: This information is not currently available.

    Early Reading
    • What Waldorf Academy says: Combination of approaches. Grade 2 reading assessment.

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

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

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

    • Teaching approach: Science is based on a phenomenological approach

    • 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 Waldorf Academy says: This information is not currently available.

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

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

    Foreign Languages
    • What Waldorf Academy says: French is offered from grade 1 to 8

    • Languages Offered: • French

    Fine Arts
    • Program offers:

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

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

    Computers and Technology Light integration

      Computers are used in the classroom from time to time, but integrating technology into everything students do is not a dominant focus. Digital literacy is understood to be a legitimate skill in the 21st century, but not one that should distract from teaching the subject at hand, or more fundamental skills and literacies. The idea is today’s students, being “digital natives”, are likely exposed to computers and new media enough outside the classroom: the role of the school, rather, should be to develop competencies that may otherwise get missed.
      Learn about the different computers and technology approaches  

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

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

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

    Sex and Health Education Doesn’t follow Ontario curriculum
    Topics covered in sex and health education:
    Topics We begin covering this topic at: Begins in Ontario
    Body parts Gr. 4 Gr. 1
    Nutrition JK Gr. 1
    Human development Gr. 4 Gr. 1
    Puberty Gr. 4 Gr. 4
    Sexual health and hygiene Gr. 7 Gr. 4
    Reproduction Gr. 7 Gr. 5
    Pregnancy Gr. 7 Gr. 7
    Sexually transmitted infections Gr. 7 Gr. 7
    Sex and decision-making Gr. 7 Gr. 7
    Contraception Gr. 7 Gr. 8
    Consent Gr. 3 Gr. 9
    Sexual orientation Gr. 7 Gr. 8
    Gender identity Gr. 7 Gr. 8
    Misconceptions relating to sexuality Gr. 7 Gr. 10
    Relationships and intimacy Gr. 7 Gr. 8
    Bias and stereotyping about sex Gr. 7 Gr. 12
    Sexual harassment Gr. 6 Gr. 9
    Body image issues Gr. 4 Gr. 7
    Mental illness Gr. 6 Gr. 11
    Social justice and diversity Gr. 8

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

    Preschool/K Curriculum Waldorf

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

    Highly group-oriented and with a strong emphasis on creative and imaginative play, Waldorf preschool and Kindergarten programs have very little to no emphasis on academics. A Waldorf environment will often feel more like a home than a traditional classroom -- the goal being to instill comfort and and a sense of predictability in students’ day. This emphasis on comfort and predictability also manifests through a heavy use of repetition: for example, teachers might read the same story multiple days in a row. Waldorf schools ask parents to refrain from offering children TV or computers at home, and aim to develop in children a connection to the natural world. If you want to learn more about Waldorf 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 Waldorf Academy says: Early childhood programs are based on child development and imitation. Science, numeracy and literacy are fostered through real experiences in cooking, nature walks, building and art as well as storytelling, poetry, singing and recitation. Movement and self directed play as well as emotional intelligence are high priorities. There are group activities as well as small group and individual activities. Healthy physical development of the child is a critical prerequisite for proper mathematical and scientific education. Self directed play promotes questioning, problem solving, higher level thinking skills, discovery, self-directed activity and speech.

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

    Developmental Priorities Balanced

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

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

    Special Needs Support High


    Waldorf Academy 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
    • Summary: All applicants are considered based upon the capacity of the class as a whole and the capacity of the teacher.

    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 Waldorf Academy says: The students create their own text books and as a result are encouraged to deepen the content. Through independent projects they are also guided to deepen their scope. Often gifted children require strengthening in other areas such as movement, social skills and the arts. Here, at Waldorf Academy the focus is to provide a well rounded educational experience that ensures healthy relationships as well as academic rigour.

    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 8, Waldorf Academy students perform an average of 1 hour of homework per night.

    Nightly Homework
    Waldorf Academy0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins15 mins15 mins30 mins30 mins45 mins60 mins
    Site Average2 mins5 mins7 mins6 mins16 mins18 mins24 mins29 mins34 mins40 mins53 mins58 mins

    Report Card Policy

    How assessments are delivered across the grades:

    Lettered or numbered grades7 to 8
    Prose (narrative)-based feedbackJK to 6
    Academic achievement reporting1 to 8
    Habits and behaviour reporting1 to 8
    Parent-teacher meetingsJK to 8

    Class Sizes Not available

    This information is not currently available.

    Recess Policy

    Non-lunch recessFrequency 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day 2/day
    Location Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside
    Lunch recessAmount

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

    Non-lunch recesses: All of this school’s non-lunch recesses take place between classes or academic periods. Recess segmentation: This school segments recesses by grade

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


    What Waldorf Academy says:

    This information is not currently available.

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Field Hockey
      Ice Hockey
      Track & Field
      Cross-country skiing
    • Clubs Offered
      Chess Club
      Community Service
      Outdoor Education
      School newspaper

    Tuition & Financial Aid


    This information is not currently available.

    Need-based financial aid

    Grade range that need-based aid is offered: JK to 8
    Percentage of grade-eligible students receiving financial aid20%
    Average aid package size$5,000
    Percentage of total enrollment on financial aid20%
    Total aid available$200,000

    Application Deadline:
    Rolling deadline

    More information:

    Application Details:

    This school works with Apple Financial Inc. for processing financial applications
    Confidential and transparent process. Based on latest T4 assessments only and number of applicants to pool funds. 50% max of tuition only

    Merit based Scholarships

    This information is not currently available.


    Total enrollment 240
    Average enrollment per grade20
    Average class size18
    Gender (grades)Preschool to 8 (Coed)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution: This information is not currently available.



    Admissions Assessments:

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

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:

    What Waldorf Academy says:

    Grade school students must complete a 3 day visit after a family interview.

    Kindergarten requires a family meeting and visit in the morning if senior kindergarten.


    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student Waldorf Academy is looking for: This information is not currently available.

    Student Entry Points

    Student TypePSJKSKK12345678
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)
    2 (80%)16 - 18 (100%)16 - 20 (100%)000000000

    Stories & Testimonials


    Parent Testimonial- The Right Education

    There are two main reasons that I chose the Waldorf Academy as the school that would best serve the needs of my son, Jasper. As an educator, I became keenly aware that the Waldorf approach is the only one that is consistent in every aspect of its pedagogy with what current studies are showing to be essential for cognitive development and learning. As a mother, it broke my heart that every single morning Jasper would cry and protest having to go to his previous public school, even though it was a good school and he had many friends there.

    I have taught at high schools, community colleges and universities for twenty-five years, for the last ten years in York University’s Creative Writing Program as I am also a professional writer. I have designed the original curriculum for several writing programs and for the Yukon School of Art and am completing my PhD in Language, Culture and Teaching. My colleagues and I have noticed a tremendous shift in the abilities of our students over the past decade. Our university students can’t remember anything, can’t follow simple instructions such as how to label an assignment properly, can’t read deeply (they skim), have read very little and are intellectually immature. This is true even of the specially selected Honours students I teach in an elite program. Across disciplines, grades have been inflated and reading lists and assignments scaled down to accommodate this generation.

    The public education system has changed: pushing cognitive skills and “paper and pencil” work earlier and earlier, focusing on standardized testing and “teaching to the test”, cutting music and arts programming, relying on computer instruction. A recent exhaustive study by Harvard’s Department of Education confirms that not only is this approach not working, it is counter-productive and seems to be causing deficiencies in learning skills and an increase in learning disabilities. Such educational studies and, increasingly, studies in neuroscience are confirming what the Waldorf approach has practiced all along: the best preparation for lifelong learners is to have instruction geared to cognitive development without rushing it. Focusing on handwork, music, purposeful physical activity, and memorization of oral stories in a calm and rhythmic environment in the early years has been proven to structure the brain optimally for then learning literacy, math and other academic skills. Holistic and arts-based instruction “lights up” the entire brain whereas common academic activities don’t engage the frontal cortex or pre-frontal lobes. The evidence is clear that the Waldorf approach is what works the best. Consistently, my strongest university students have been the product of Waldorf educations or European public schools that practice Waldorf principles.

    My son was miserable at his public junior kindergarten because they were making him sit at desks and in front of computers all the time and he needed to move, play, do, learn the way a four-year-old learns. He hated the alphabet, hated numbers and counted the minutes until I picked him up, crying, “Mommy, why did you take so long?” every day. Since attending the Waldorf Academy, he is a different child: adding numbers in his head, writing words, weaving, embroidering pictures, memorizing complex stories and making up songs, all on his own initiative and all with joy. His teachers are extraordinarily wise and caring and supportive of his unique and lively spirit. He can’t wait to leave every morning and when I pick him up, he says, “Why did you have to come so soon?”


    Grade 3- Reflections on the Strength of the Curriculum

    At such an important and crucial time in the life of a child, when childhood is fast receding, the nine year old is strengthened by the Waldorf Curriculum, to answer the feelings of separation and change that are unfolding in their life. A child experiencing what Rudolf Steiner called '€œThe Nine year old Change'€, no longer feels supported by old pictures from his childhood. These ideas are now questioned, and can leave the child feeling lonely and isolated. At such times, it is essential, that through understanding this stage in a child’s life, we can call upon them to not buckle under these deep feelings of separation, but instead nobly rise to this journey towards adulthood. We can inspire the children to work hard and rebuild new towers of support within themselves through working with the Grade Three Curriculum. We can keep them busy rebuilding a new inner house, furnished with new tools, new skills, and new pictures. Thus Grade Three began the journey to address these questions in September, with a 6 week Farm and Horse Program outside of the city. Each week the children were bussed to the location and spent time planting garlic and winter wheat, mucking the barn, and learning to ride and care for the horses that resided there. In the classroom, we mirrored this experience, with planting and writing about the Earth Mother, and our interconnectedness to the forces that enable life to flourish. The rhythm of planting, will again awaken in the spring, when we will cultivate a garden at the school, and nurture small seedlings for transplanting there. The Spring will also find us hard at work constructing a long house and teepees, as we study primitive shelters, where, peoples of our planet have been able to build simple homes of local materials to provide for their families survival. In our hand-work classes, the children have been knitting wonderful woolen 3 toned hats, each unique and individual. We are learning Cursive writing and finding the ability to communicate with the world. We are rehearsing our Grade Three play of Moses. We have been learning, that even the plagues, the Red Sea, the lack of food as well as the lack of water, were overcome through Divine support. We have stretched our skills to read 7 digit numbers and advanced our math to division soon with re We can hold our own part now as we sing in three and four part harmony. A skill we could not do in Grade Two. The children will discover that they will be all right to step into the next grade, having rebuilt a new confidence in themselves. They have been called to ennoble themselves in every way. They are coming through this experience stronger, thanks to the support provided by this wonderful curriculum. €œThe right thing at the right time.€ By the end of Grade Three, they will hopefully be able to say,  I can build a shelter, grind my grain, make bread, create my clothing, grow my own food, communicate with others through my cursive writing, tell time.€ They will have courage, knowing they will be all right. They will have the tools to navigate the world they have entered on this exciting journey of life. Submitted by Ena Bruce, Grade Three Class Teacher Waldorf Academy 2012


    Grade Eight Reflection from a parent

    Grade Eight's recent production of A Midsummer Night's Dream was a fantastic way for me to conclude my years of being a parent volunteer at this school. If you were lucky enough to see it, you know that it was an outstanding production in every way, by any standard. I've been involved behind the scenes a lot over the years, with plays, but also, metaphorically, in other ways at the school. My biggest learning experience since becoming a parent here is around community and how deeply significant that is for all of us. We are so immensely fortunate at this school to have a vibrant, supportive community that contributes in so many ways to creating a great environment for the children. Making this school happen is a collaborative effort, no doubt about it. I have had the best 18 years of my life as part of this community. The Alan Howard Waldorf School has given me experiences that were heartwarming, soul-stirring, spirit-lifting, mind-boggling, uplifting, challenging, moving, troubling, intense, confusing, exhausting, healing, gratifying, enriching and joyful. In short, a full measure of what life has to offer. I have made friends for life, seen my children develop in awe inspiring ways, had opportunities to be creative and helped other people. I would like to thank everyone who has crossed my path in this community for the past 18 years. You know who you are. And while this Grade Eight class is still here and A Midsummer Night's Dream is still fresh in my memory I would like express my appreciation for the collaboration that made the play happen so beautifully. ...


    In grade three the children go through the 9 year change. They start seeing themselves in the bigger world and are no longer the princess or the knight. They may feel alone and unsure of this new outlook on life and how they fit in. Waldorf curriculum meets this development in the child by giving them the tools to survive. They knit a hat (they can make their own clothes), they learn cursive writing (communication), they grow a garden and go on a 3 day farming trip (they can grow their own food), and they build a wigwam (they can build their own shelter). Aside from teaching academic excellence, the curriculum works with the whole child to provide a very deep sense of knowledge that will last them a lifetime. Notes from their teacher, Karen Smith: Grade Three had a wonderful time building a wigwam as part of our Shelter block. Throughout the year, Grade Three journeyed with Jabal to visit many shelters from around the world. We visited with First Nations who lived in wigwams and learned to use gifts from nature—saplings, bark, and animal hides to create shelters. Grade Three built our very own class wigwam in the side yard. We packed saplings into the earth, bent them toward each other to create a dome, and tied them together with twine. To prepare our saplings, we removed branches, leaves and bark, and cut points to go deep into the earth. Instead of using bark and animal fur, we improvised by weaving vines and saplings into our dome. It was wonderful to work together, using our creativity and the gifts of our hands to build a temporary home. ...

    In the News


    July 18, 2017 - Stanford University Report: Waldorf education multi-year study

    What did Stanford find? Why does happiness matter? ...

    July 18, 2017 - 30 Years of Educating Toronto Youth

    Students are putting finishing touches on an original song while faculty prepares to host acclaimed documentarian Kim Hunter ...

    May 26, 2017 - The Tempest, A Grade 8 Rite of Passage

    The Bard’s Voice – Waldorf Academy's grade 8 play is not just a theatre production but a rite of passage! ...


    • The Associated Waldorf School (AWSNA) Associations

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