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Wishing Well Schools
Wishing Well Schools
455 Cochrane Drive, Unit 30, Markham, Ontario, L3R 9R4
Contact name:
Mrs. Vatalaro

Phone number:
(905) 470-9751×
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Wishing Well Schools

Wishing Well Schools

455 Cochrane Drive, Unit 30, Markham, Ontario, L3R 9R4

Traditional,  Montessori
Grades (Gender):
Nursery/Toddler (18 months) to 8 (Coed)
$12,370 to 12,620/year
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
Day: 220 (Gr. NS - 8)

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Contact Name:
Mrs. Vatalaro

Phone Number:

  • Arts facilities
  • Instructional resources
  • Instructional resources
  • Instructional resources
School Address
455 Cochrane Drive, Unit 30, Markham, Ontario, L3R 9R4



About this school:


Offering a CCMA accredited Toddler and Montessori program, as well as an enriched Grade 1 to 8 Elementary program, we focus on teaching 21st century learning skills, including independence, creativity, collaboration, intrinsic motivation and leadership. Coding/Computer Science is taught from Grade 1 to 8, as well as S.T.E.A.M. lessons from Toddler to Grade 8. Students at Wishing Well love learning, graduating with the confidence to succeed in academically rigorous, technologically advanced learning environments.

The Our Kids review of Wishing Well Schools

our takeFounded in 1978, Wishing Well is one of the older Montessori programs in the region, as well as the country, so has had a lot of time to develop its programs. Today it provides the foundational elements of the method, including a strong sense of place, as well as a wealth of opportunity to peer interaction. The Casa classrooms are of a size that the work well, allowing for mentorship relationships to develop naturally among the students. In addition, the administration has demonstrated a keen desire to develop the program with an eye to the kinds of things that students need when they advance to grade 9 and beyond, including a keen interest in developing 21st century literacies, including digital literacy and a robust science curricula. The extended care option, included in tuition, is understandably a very welcome feature for the families that enroll; it’s also a sign of the school’s attention to the needs of the parent community.  The school has built a reputation on providing a strong, varied program based firmly in the ethos of the Montessori method, with an eye to educating students to be creative, confident, and social learners.

Principal's Message


Ms. Hobbs, Principal

Wishing Well Schools is truly a wonderful place to teach and learn.  We offer an advanced curriculum which is not only focused on academic excellence, but enriched with the Arts, Language, Phys Ed, technology and the full integration of critical thinking and collaboration.  I am proud to be a part of such a talented team of teachers and students and fortunate to teach and learn in such a warm and caring environment.


Curriculum Traditional, Montessori

Primary Curriculum: Traditional

Secondary Curriculum: Montessori

Particularly popular in the younger grades (preschool to elementary), but sometimes available all the way up to high school, Montessori schools offer an alternative vision to the standard lesson format of most classrooms. Lessons are highly decentralized: children typically work individually (though sometimes with others) on specialized "Montessori materials" -- without interference from the teacher. The materials are self-correcting and teach the student something about the subject at hand. The method's goal is to develop children's innate desire to learn, while freeing up time for teachers to help children individually, as needed.

If you want to learn more about Montessori education, check out our comprehensive guide. You can also check out our guide to Montessori preschools, elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.

What Wishing Well Schools says: Wishing Well Schools delivers the Montessori curriculum from Toddler to age 6 and an enriched academic program following the Ontario Curriculum from Grades 1 to 8. We believe in teaching the skills of critical thinking, with a 21st century approach to teaching and learning.

  • Montessori offered:
    Program = offered
    Montessori toddler
    Middle School
    High School
  • Approach:
    Focus Special needs
    Academic Gifted

  • Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics Traditional Math

      Traditional Math typically teaches a method or algorithm FIRST, and THEN teaches the applications for the method. Traditional algorithms are emphasized and practiced regularly: repetition and drills are frequently used to ensure foundational mastery in the underlying mathematical procedures. The traditional approach to math views math education as akin to building a logical edifice: each brick depends on the support of the previously laid ones, which represent mastery over a particular procedure or method. Traditional Math begins by giving students a tool, and then challenges students to practice using that tool an applied way, with progressively challenging problems. In this sense Traditional Math aims to establish procedural understanding before conceptual and applied understanding.
      Learn about the different mathematics approaches  

    • What Wishing Well Schools says: We use a variety of tools to help solidify math concepts and ensure automaticity and understanding of deeper mathematical problems. From Grades 4 to 8 we have specialized math teachers for all students. Included in our Math curriculum are our STEAM lessons where students are presented with problems using the engineering design process to solve. Coding is taught from Grade 1 to 6, with more intensive Computer Science taught in Grade 7/8.

    • Textbooks and supplementary materials: Nelson Math, Jump Math, iPads and various resources created by teachers.

    • Calculator policy: Calculators are used at more advanced levels of mathematics after students have learned important fundamental skills.

    Early Reading Phonics-intensive

      Systematic-phonics programs teach young children to read by helping them to recognize and sound out the letters and syllables of words. Students are then led to blend these sounds together to sound out and recognize the whole word. While other reading programs might touch on phonetics (either incidentally or on a “when needed” basis), systematic phonics teaches phonics in a specific sequence, and uses extensive repetition and direct instruction to help readers associate specific letter patterns with their associated sounds.
      Learn about the different early reading approaches  

    • What Wishing Well Schools says: Our students learn to read during their Montessori years (age 3 to 6) in preparation for the advanced academic program in Grade 1.

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

    • What Wishing Well Schools says: This information is not currently available.

    Writing Equal balance

      Programs that balance systematic and process approaches equally likely have an emphasis on giving young students ample opportunities to write, while providing supplementary class-wide instruction in grammar, parts of sentences, and various writing strategies.
      Learn about the different writing approaches  

    • What Wishing Well Schools says: Writing is carefully planned and focuses on developing technical writing skills as well as creative expression. Varied lessons focus on essay writing, media literacy, film analysis, poetry and song writing, creative writing in a variety of narrative formats, and non-fiction writing (such as writing blogs, websites, speeches, biographies, etc.). We have specialist Language Arts teachers from Grades 4 to 8.

    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: Science is taught using varied materials and approaches in an inquiry based setting (such as in our STEAM lessons) as well as a traditional setting. Project Based Learning is emphasized and students are expected to test their hypothesis using the scientific method. Specialist Science teachers teach students from Grades 4 to 8.

    • 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 Wishing Well Schools says: We begin teaching literature from Grade 1 with careful selection of challenging classic novels and shorts stories, as well as modern, award winning literature. Shakespeare is taught from Grade 6 to 8. Our curriculum focuses on appreciation of literature, with the deconstruction and analysis of both contemporary and classic novels and poems.

    Social Studies Core Knowledge

      Usually focused on teaching history and geography at an early age, the core knowledge approach uses story, drama, reading, and discussion to teach about significant people, places, and events. Breadth of content and knowledge is emphasized. The curriculum is often organized according to the underlying logic of the content: history might be taught sequentially, for example (as students move through the grades).
      Learn about the different social studies approaches  

    • What Wishing Well Schools says: We teach Social Studies following the Ontario Curriculum and expand upon our curriculum by including an in-depth investigation of world events and their social/historical context. We have specialist Social Studies teachers from Grades 4 to 8.

    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 Wishing Well Schools says: Humanities and Social Sciences are taught following the Ontario Curriculum while also supplementing the curriculum with resources that investigate current events and globalization. Project Based learning and deeper investigation is used to further explore the issues that effect the world, lending students an understanding of their place within it.

    Foreign Languages Equal Balance

      These programs feature an equal blend of the audio-lingual and communicative styles of language instruction.
      Learn about the different foreign languages approaches  

    • What Wishing Well Schools says: French is taught from age 3 to Grade 8. Our French teachers are classically trained and speak European French, providing students with the diction and fluency required in advanced courses of language in Secondary School and University. Our students are confident, fluent speakers and enter Grade 9 far ahead of their peers.

    • 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
      Graphic Design
      Visual Arts
    • Visual studio philosophy:

    • What Wishing Well Schools says: We believe that the arts are as important as Language and Math and lend students the ability to become truly well rounded individuals. The ability to perform with confidence, analyze artistic pieces fluently and create art and media with freedom of expression are all embedded within our curriculum.

    Computers and Technology Medium integration

      Effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy through the curriculum. However, this is not a dominant focus.
      Learn about the different computers and technology approaches  

    • What Wishing Well Schools says: In our Elementary program, we have a 1to1 iPad program and we are fortunate to have many opportunities to integrate technology into our curriculum. This technology is used to enhance the pedagogy and is curriculum driven. We teach coding from Grade 1 and Computer Science in Grade 7/8.

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What Wishing Well Schools says: We believe that Physical Education is the key to success. We have a mandatory 20 minute whole school DPA every morning and three to four gym classes per week. Our ski program is a six week program every winter and we are part of the SSAF.

    Religious Education
    • Approach to teaching religious and secular curricula

      Completely segregated
      Mostly segregated
      Completely integrated
      Mostly integrated
      Not applicable
    • Approach to teaching religion

      Scripture as literal
      Scripture as interpretive
    • What Wishing Well Schools 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. 1 Gr. 1
    Nutrition Gr. 1 Gr. 1
    Human development Gr. 5 Gr. 1
    Puberty Gr. 6 Gr. 4
    Sexual health and hygiene Gr. 7 Gr. 4
    Reproduction Gr. 5
    Pregnancy Gr. 7
    Sexually transmitted infections Gr. 7
    Sex and decision-making Gr. 7
    Contraception Gr. 8
    Consent Gr. 8 Gr. 9
    Sexual orientation Gr. 8 Gr. 8
    Gender identity Gr. 8 Gr. 8
    Misconceptions relating to sexuality Gr. 8 Gr. 10
    Relationships and intimacy Gr. 8 Gr. 8
    Bias and stereotyping about sex Gr. 6 Gr. 12
    Sexual harassment Gr. 8 Gr. 9
    Body image issues Gr. 6 Gr. 7
    Mental illness Gr. 7 Gr. 11
    Social justice and diversity Gr. 4

    What Wishing Well Schools says: We do not introduce our students to all of the topics in the Ontario Health Curriculum, particularly those that we feel our students are too young to be exposed to. We work collaboratively with parents to determine readiness and individual programming as required.

    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 Wishing Well Schools says: We believe in teaching the curriculum at an age appropriate level and work with our families to determine suitability of content delivery.

    Montessori ApproachOrthodox

    SCHOOL POLICIES: This information is not currently available.

    Whole-class lectures
    • Orthodox

      Whole-class lectures should never be given. Students learn best through small group lessons, interaction, and independent work.

    • Moderately orthodox

      Whole-class lectures should only be given occasionally (e.g., at the beginning of a term or unit). Students usually learn best through small group lessons, interaction, and independent work.

    • Moderately non-orthodox

      Whole-class lectures should be given semi-regularly (e.g., at the beginning of a lesson or a week). While students often learn best through group and independent work, it's sometimes important for teachers to set the stage for and contextualize learning.

    • Non-orthodox

      Whole-class lectures should be given often (e.g., every day). While group and independent learning is important, teachers need to provide lectures on a regular basis to provide the foundation for learning.

    Special education
    • Orthodox

      External special education support isn't necessary. Core teachers can deal with all special education needs, by offering the relevant support for each student.

    • Moderately orthodox

      External special education support is only rarely necessary. For instance, a psychologist might be brought in to help out a student with a severe developmental disorder.

    • Moderately non-orthodox

      External special education support is quite important. Outside specialists are needed for a fairly wide range of special needs, such as developmental and learning disabilities.

    • Non-orthodox

      External special education support is very important. Outside specialists are regularly brought in to support students with many different types of special needs, including developmental and learning disabilities, language and speech issues, behavioural issues, and advanced learning abilities.

    Specialist classes
    • Orthodox

      We don't have any specialist teachers or classes. Core teachers are well-equipped to teach all subjects.

    • Moderately orthodox

      We only use specialist teachers and classes in rare cases (for instance, to teach a second language). Core teachers are well-equipped to teach almost all subjects.

    • Moderately non-orthodox

      We have a fairly wide range of specialist teachers and classes (for instance, in languages, music, and art). Core teachers are well-equipped to teach most subjects.

    • Non-orthodox

      We have many specialist teachers and classes (for instance, in languages, music, art, gym, science, and math). It's important that students receive specialized instruction in many subjects.

    Modern-day technology
    • Orthodox

      Modern-day technology is never used in the classroom. This can interfere with students' social and emotional development and can be a distraction.

    • Moderately orthodox

      Modern-day technology is very rarely used in class, since it can be a distraction and interfere with development. Students at the upper levels, though, might be permitted to use a computer or a tablet to do research for a specific project.

    • Moderately non-orthodox

      Modern-day technology is used in moderation since it can be a distraction. For instance, computers and other digital media might be used for research, writing, and multimedia projects.

    • Non-orthodox

      Modern technology is used fairly regularly. For instance, computers and other digital media might be used for research, writing, multimedia projects, and to learn keyboarding skills. Teachers may sometimes also use digital media, such as interactive whiteboards, to teach lessons or introduce topics.

    Overall approach : Whick option best describes your overall curricular approach?
    • Orthodox
      42% of schools

      Schools that adhere strictly to the original Montessori program. They follow Montessori principles to the letter.

    • Moderately Orthodox
      34% of schools

      Schools that adhere to the original Montessori program and principles. On occasion, though, they supplement it with modern curricular approaches or materials.

    • Moderately Non-Orthodox
      11% of schools

      Schools that are faithful to the original Montessori program and principles, but sometimes supplement it with modern curricular approaches or materials.

    • Non-orthodox
      14% of schools

      Schools that are faithful to the original Montessori program and principles, but often supplement it with modern curricular approaches or materials.

    Teaching Assistants: This school doesn't use teaching assistants.

    Preschool/K Curriculum Montessori

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

    Montessori programs aimed at preschool and Kindergarten- aged children allow young learners to choose which “tasks” or activities interest them. These tasks centre around special Montessori puzzles -- the essential features of these puzzles being they contain a “right answer” and allow for self-correction. A strong emphasis is therefore placed on learning being concrete and rooted in practical experience, along with children developing a sense of self-sufficiency and confidence. Specially trained teachers act as guides, introducing children to progressively more difficult materials when appropriate. A Montessori classroom is typically very calm and orderly, with children working alone or, sometimes, in small groups.

    If you want to learn more about Montessori education, check out our comprehensive guide. You can also check out our guide to Montessori preschools, elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.

    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 Wishing Well Schools says: Our focus is to provide students with a stimulating and academically challenging education that is deeply committed to the Montessori principles, so that they may reach their full potential with integrity and trust.

    Curriculum Pace Accelerated

    • Standard-enriched
    • Accelerated
    • Student-paced

    The main curriculum accelerates beyond the pace of the provincial one; ALL students do the work of OLDER public-school peers in tangible and measurable ways. This accelerated pace is maintained by the teachers and school, (through textbook selection, topic selection, grading, assignment standards and expectations, etc).

    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 Wishing Well Schools says about flexible pacing: This information is not currently available.

    Academic Culture Rigorous

    • Rigorous
    • Supportive

    A school with a “rigorous” academic culture places a high value on academic performance, and expects their students to do the same. This does not mean the school is uncaring, unsupportive, or non-responsive -- far from it. A school can have a rigorous academic culture and still provide excellent individual support. It does mean, however, the school places a particular emphasis on performance -- seeking the best students and challenging them to the fullest extent -- relative to a normal baseline. High expectations and standards – and a challenging yet rewarding curriculum – are the common themes here. Keep in mind this classification is more relevant for the older grades: few Kindergarten classrooms, for example, would be called “rigorous”.

    What Wishing Well Schools says: Our rigorous academic environment is further enhanced with a balanced, well planned curriculum, specialist teachers for Language, Math, Science and Social Studies and a firm foundation from the Montessori curriculum we offer. We expect our students to strive for excellence.

    Developmental Priorities Intellectual, Social

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

    Secondary Developmental Priority: Social
    Socially aware and active citizens, motivated to change the world (or their community) for the better.

    What Wishing Well Schools says: We value citizenship and academic achievement. We aim to shape students into leaders of their communities, with character, grit and integrity.

    Special Needs Support Mild difficulties

    Mild difficulties

    Wishing Well Schools can provide support for mild disablities. Wishing Well Schools does NOT provide specialized support for moderate-to-severe learning disabilities, developmental disabililties, behavioural/emotional disorders, or physical disabilities.

    • Academic Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
      Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
    • Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD
      Support Type = offered
      Extra support
    • What Wishing Well Schools says: Every child is unique and their strengths and skills should be determined on an individual basis.

    Gifted Learner Support Very High

    Very High

    Wishing Well Schools is a full-time gifted school and so offers a highly specialized environment for gifted learners.

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

    In-class adaptations:
    Practice = offered
    Custom subject enrichment (special arrangement)
    Custom curriculum compacting (special arrangement)
    Guided independent study (custom gifted arrangement)
    Cyber-learning opportunities (custom gifted arrangement)
    Formalized peer coaching opportunities (specifically for gifted learners to coach others)
    Custom subject acceleration (special arrangement)
    Career exploration (custom gifted arrangement)
    Project-based learning (custom gifted arrangement)
    Mentorships (custom gifted arrangement)

    What Wishing Well Schools 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 8, Wishing Well Schools students perform an average of 1.5 hours of homework per night.

    Nightly Homework
    Wishing Well Schools0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins0 mins30 mins30 mins45 mins60 mins60 mins90 mins90 mins90 mins
    Site Average0 mins2 mins5 mins7 mins6 mins16 mins18 mins24 mins30 mins34 mins41 mins54 mins59 mins

    Report Card Policy

    How assessments are delivered across the grades:

    Lettered or numbered grades1 to 8
    Prose (narrative)-based feedbackNursery/Toddler to K
    Academic achievement reporting1 to 8
    Habits and behaviour reportingNursery/Toddler to 8
    Parent-teacher meetingsNursery/Toddler 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 No recess No recess No recess No recess No recess No recess No recess No recess
    Location Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside Outside
    Amount 0 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30
    Lunch recessAmount 120 120 120 120 120

    What Wishing Well Schools says: With teacher monitored recesses, we believe it is a time for children to unwind and develop social skills. Students also have a snack time in the morning and a time to play games after school, however our outdoor lunch time recess is when we encourage all children to play and have a bit of fun.


    What Wishing Well Schools says:

    This information is not currently available.

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Downhill skiing
      Ice Hockey
      Ice Skating
      Martial Arts
      Track & Field
    • Clubs Offered
      Art Club
      Computer Club
      Dance Club
      Debate Club
      Foreign Language Club
      Outdoor Education
      Student Council

    Tuition & Financial Aid


    What Wishing Well Schools says: Toddler to Age 6: includes all lunches and snacks Grade 1 to 8: Includes after care and clubs

    Need-based financial aid

    This information is not currently available.

    Merit based Scholarships

    This information is not currently available.


    Total enrollment 220
    Average enrollment per grade17
    Gender (grades)Nursery/Toddler (18 months) to 8 (Coed)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution:

    Day Enrollment



    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    InterviewNS - 8
    SSAT (out of province)
    Entrance Exam(s)
    Entrance Essay1 - 8
    Application Fee 

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:

    What Wishing Well Schools says:

    Students from age 4 to Grade 8 must spend a day with us to determine suitability to our program.  A variety of activities are presented to the students in a natural and stress free environment.



    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student Wishing Well Schools is looking for: Students who strive for excellence and can cope with academic rigour, finding joy in learning, are ideal candidates for Wishing Well Schools.

    Student Entry Points

    Student TypeNSPSJKSKK12345678
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)

    Stories & Testimonials




    • The Ontario Federation of Independent Schools (OFIS) Associations
    • The Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA) Associations

    Social Feeds


    Get more info

    Contact Name
    Mrs. Vatalaro

    Phone Number:
    click to view number

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