On this page, we cover private Waldorf schools in Toronto. This includes Waldorf schools in Burlington, Halton, Thornhill, downtown Toronto, and the Annex.
For a far more comprehensive guide to Waldorf education, including extensive discussion of the Waldorf philosophy and classroom, read our Waldorf school guide.
There are many private Waldorf schools in Canada, including in Toronto, Ontario, and Vancouver, British Columbia. Most of these are schools are at the preschool or elementary (or lower school) level. There are also Waldorf middle and high schools, though. All of these schools have an individualized curriculum. They also focus on more than just academics. They aim to educate the whole child: the intellectual, practical, and artistic sides of students.
Private school expos are a great way to research different schools, to see if any of them are the right fit for your child. Our Toronto private school expo is big and lively: it allows you to speak with more than 70 private schools, including some Waldorf schools. If you live in the west end of the Greater Toronto Area (the GTA), visit our Halton-Peel expo. Find a Waldorf school near you.
Another great resource in your school search is the Our Kids parent discussion forum. The forum is the ideal venue to discuss Waldorf schools, and other types of private schools, with a large community of parents, school officials, alumni, and education experts.
Attending open houses is a great way to learn more about a school and what it has to offer. For general advice on open house visits, check out our guide on school visits. For specific things to look for in Waldorf schools, see our Waldorf school guide.
The cost of Waldorf schools in Toronto is, on average, lower than the cost of other private schools in Toronto. It’s also on the lower end of the spectrum of private school tuition in general.
Keep in mind, some Toronto Waldorf schools offer needs-based financial aid, such as bursaries, subsidies, or tuition relief. Other schools offer scholarships, which are given based on merit—for instance, in academics, athletics, or extracurriculars. Learn more about needs- and merit-based financial aid in our dedicated guide.
Below, find the range of costs for Waldorf schools in Toronto:
|Tuition (day school)||Students receiving financial aid||Grade eligibility for financial aid||Avg. aid package size (annual)|
|Waldorf Academy||20%||JK - 8||$5,000|
Average class size
Special needs support
|Waldorf Academy||Waldorf||Standard-enriched||Supportive||18||High||Light integration|
Waldorf education was introduced by Rudolf Steiner, a prominent educator and philosopher, in the early 20th century. It’s often referred to as “Steiner education,” and Waldorf schools are often referred to as "Steiner schools."
There are Waldorf schools in Toronto ranging from preschool to high school. While they vary somewhat in their approach, these schools all provide a structured and caring learning environment. They also provide plenty of concrete and imaginative learning, and aim to educate the whole child.
Waldorf education can be an appealing option for many families. We discuss some of its main features below. Keep in mind, though, that different schools apply Waldorf principles in different ways. Also, classroom policies vary somewhat between different schools and levels of education, in Toronto and across Canada.
Waldorf students aren’t given a preset or standardized curriculum. Instead, the Waldorf curriculum is emergent. Students often have the freedom to choose their own activities and work at their own pace. Curricula and lesson plans are co-constructed, by students and teachers.
Many students find this personalized approach very challenging and stimulating. The ability to pursue special interests and passions tends to inspire curiosity and cultivate a love of learning.
This is not to say, though, that Waldorf schools don't have a curriculum. Teachers in Waldorf schools follow a broad curriculum and students must meet standards or benchmarks. It’s just that there are different ways of teaching the curriculum, and different ways students can meet standards.
Waldorf schools, in Toronto and across the GTA, focus on far more than academic progress. They educate the whole child—“head, heart, and hands.” Teachers aim to develop the intellectual, practical, and artistic sides of students.
Students take core academic subjects, such as math, science, English, and history. But they also take many non-mainstream subjects. For instance, they take art, music, nutrition, and mythology.
Moreover, art and music are infused throughout the curriculum, and many academic lessons begin with poems, stories, drama, or singing. This fosters the artistic and creative sides of students, and allows them to see the joy and value of learning.
Students also learn a variety of useful practical skills such as gardening, cooking, and cleaning. They thereby become more independent, mature, and well-rounded. This often pays huge dividends down the line, throughout the school years and beyond.
Academic learning begins later than in most schools. Often, Waldorf students don’t begin to learn reading, writing, math, science, and other core academic subjects until at least grade 1 or 2.
Waldorf preschool and kindergarten (and even early elementary school) is thus in many ways play-based. Young children have the freedom to engage in different and interesting activities, either on their own or with their peers.
It’s recognized that children need to learn social skills before studying core academic subjects. Starting abstract learning too early can also stunt children’s cognitive and social growth. And, it can interfere with their natural curiosity and love of learning.
On the Waldorf approach, there's a major focus on pretend play and learning through one’s imagination. This is especially true at the preschool level, but also at the early elementary level.
Children are given lots of toys, dolls, pretend houses and kitchens, dress-up clothes, and other playthings. This stirs their imagination and excites their interest. It also enables them to engage in imaginative play with other children, which can improve their social skills, language, and creative abilities.
Play, it’s urged, can be a great way for young children to learn about themselves. It’s also a key to overall growth: it enables children to learn, develop, and grow into more mature individuals.