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Alternative private schools

Find a list of the top alternative private schools in Canada

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Toronto, Ontario — Located in the heart of Toronto, UCC provides transformational learning experiences with exceptional day and boarding programs. Our highly sought-after graduates are awarded International Baccalaureate and OSSD diplomas. View School Profile.


  • High-achieving, all-round students
  • Challenging but rewarding IB program
  • First rate academics, athletics and arts
  • 19 different sports and 80+ clubs
  • Boutique urban boarding program
Grades:
SK to 12 (Boys)
Type:
Liberal Arts, International Baccalaureate
Tuition:
$36,750 to $71,875
Living:
Boarding/Day
Enrollment:
1200
Avg. Class:
20 to 25
Upper Canada College 36750 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Boys
 
 

Waterloo Region (Breslau), Ontario — SJK offers an enriched environment of exploration and experiential learning. Through its IB curriculum, SJK provides exciting experiences and guides students to discover their talents and passions. Go beyond at SJK. View School Profile.


  • Accredited IB World Continuum School
  • Experienced, passionate, professional teachers
  • Project-based, design-thinking experiential learning
  • Extensive co-curricular programmes in athletics, arts, leadership and community service
  • Outdoor experiential learning
Grades:
JK to 12 (Coed)
Type:
Progressive, International Baccalaureate
Tuition:
$19,720 to $73,700
Living:
Boarding/Day
Enrollment:
470
Avg. Class:
10 to 17
St. John's-Kilmarnock School 19720 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
 
 

Toronto, Ontario — The York School is a JK-Grade 12 Gender Inclusive IB World School in midtown Toronto. Our mission is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are engaged citizens of the world. View School Profile.


  • International Baccalaureate World School (JK - Grade 12)
  • 100% university placement rate
  • Gender Inclusive learning environment
  • Progressive, contemporary approach
  • International community
Grades:
JK to 12 (Coed)
Type:
Progressive, International Baccalaureate
Tuition:
$35,000
Living:
Day
Enrollment:
742
Avg. Class:
15 to 20
The York School 35000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
 
 

Toronto, Ontario — Branksome Hall is Toronto’s only all-girls, all-years International Baccalaureate (IB) World School developing the leaders of tomorrow through the nurturing of curiosity and critical thinking at every age. View School Profile.


  • 13-acre downtown campus
  • Athletics and Wellness Centre
  • IB programs: JK to Grade 12
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Boarding starting in Grade 7
Grades:
JK to 12 (Girls)
Type:
Liberal Arts, International Baccalaureate
Tuition:
$37,130 to $75,020
Living:
Boarding/Day
Enrollment:
960
Avg. Class:
16 to 22
Branksome Hall 37130 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls
 
 

Mississauga, Ontario — Lynn-Rose's philosophy is to create an environment that is challenging and rewarding; focusing on social, intellectual and emotional aspects of the students development through the International Baccalaureate program. View School Profile.


  • French/English
  • Drama/Virtual Theatre Production/ Virtual Instrumental Music
  • Field Trips & Clubs
  • Events: Book Fairs, Winter/Spring Concerts, Music & Art Gallery, French Cafe
  • Transportation Available upon request
Grades:
PS to 12 (Coed)
Type:
Progressive, International Baccalaureate
Tuition:
$17,700 to $22,000
Living:
Day
Enrollment:
600
Avg. Class:
16 to 18
Lynn-Rose Schools 17700 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
 
 

Toronto, Ontario — Sunnybrook School offers the IB Primary Years Program for all students in JK - Grade 6. We have a fully integrated co-ed and 1:1 iPad program for all the grades. Our inquiry approach leads to global citizens. View School Profile.


  • 70 years
  • IB PYP World School
  • JK to Gr 6, coed
  • 1:1 iPads, JK - Gr 6
  • Singapore Math
Grades:
JK to 6 (Coed)
Type:
Progressive, International Baccalaureate
Tuition:
$29,750
Living:
Day
Enrollment:
140
Avg. Class:
16 to 20
Sunnybrook School 29750 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
 
 

Toronto, Ontario — The Clover School's innovative curriculum combines Montessori essentials with heart-centred learning practices designed to nurture the ​mind​, heart, health, and soul of each child. View School Profile.


  • Over 25 years of Montessori Innovation Providing Real-World Education Raising 21st Century Adults
  • Three Toronto Campuses (18 months - Gr. 8) in Toronto's Midtown and West End
  • Integrated Four-Pillar Curriculum, Character & Entrepreneurship Education, Inquiry Based Learning
  • French, Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Drama, Yoga, Sports, Mindfulness, STEAM, Outdoor Education
  • Year-Round Urban Farming Program in Partnership with The Edible Lab
Grades:
NS to 8 (Coed)
Type:
Montessori
Tuition:
$15,100 to $24,200
Living:
Day
Enrollment:
400
Avg. Class:
10 to 30
The Clover School 15100 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Rothesay, New Brunswick
    Rothesay Rd/College Hill Rd
  • 6 to 12 Coed
  • $24,520 to $69,100

Our unique, daily Advisor Program ensures every student is surrounded by a strong network of highly qualified, dedicated faculty and staff whose mission is to provide academic, emotional, and social guidance and support.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Rothesay Netherwood School 24520 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
  • Victoria, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $9,345 to $73,145

GNS is an independent JK-12 International Baccalaureate boarding and day school in Victoria, BC, that challenges and supports each of our students to do their best through truth and courage in learning and in life.

  • Boarding/Day/Homestay
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Glenlyon Norfolk School 9345 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Homestay Coed
  • Brampton, Ontario
    Sunforest Drive/Bovaird Drive E
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $15,100 to $15,600

RMS is an award-winning progressive private school. We focus on excellence, participation, leadership, and inclusivity while developing each child’s academic strengths, both in traditional and 21st Century skills.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Rowntree Montessori Schools (RMS) 15100 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Tomken Rd./Eglinton Ave. E
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $10,500 to $16,350

Northstar Montessori offers an accredited Montessori curriculum from Toddler age to Grade 8. Our goal is to develop strong character and contributing citizens who understand that their involvement makes a difference.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Northstar Montessori Private School 10500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Erin Mills Parkway/Argentia Rd
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $10,095 to $14,395

We are different! As a leading IB World School and university preparatory school with a focus on student life, SJA students are inspired to confidently make their mark in the world.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
St. Jude's Academy 10095 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Spadina Ave/College Street
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $20,700 to $23,300

Authentic, CCMA accredited Montessori Schools located in downtown Toronto, offering programs for Toddlers, Casa, Elementary and Adolescent children in beautiful settings with large and expansive natural playgrounds.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Westside Montessori School 20700 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
    Trafalgar Road/Dundas
  • PS to 3 Coed
  • $14,995 to $16,595

TRMS uniquely provides enriched French as a second language (FSL) instruction for all levels from Preschool to Elementary. We give students a head start in their educational journey by insuring they "Love to Learn"!

  • Day
  • Montessori
Trafalgar Ridge Montessori School 14995 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Bank Street/Marché Way
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $18,810 to $21,905

The Element nurtures focused, engaged and internally motivated students who strive to do their best. The Element High School provides conditions that will put youth ‘in their element,’ in school and beyond.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
The Element High School 18810 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $24,540 to $28,670

Stratford Hall takes learning beyond IB with its IDEA Lab, OEE and partner schools, where students strive to develop harmony between the urban and natural world through activities like camping, music, and orienteering.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Stratford Hall 24540 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed

TMS  

  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    Bayview/Hwy 407
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $19,100 to $32,700

TMS is a leading, accredited independent school that offers a unique design of Montessori and International Baccalaureate programmes. Our students thrive in academics while building a foundation of Significance for life.

  • Day
  • Montessori
  • International Baccalaureate
TMS 19100 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $8,750 to $19,900

CMS provides a quality Montessori education for Casa and Elementary students. Set on beautiful campuses children are inspired to learn their role in protecting the global environment and fostering peace and harmony.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Central Montessori Schools 8750 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Day Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Buena Vista Road/Springfield Road
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $16,160 to $30,900

Elmwood School is Ottawa's pre-eminent school for girls from PreK to Gr. 12. Our high academic standards, small class sizes and safe, supportive environment ensure that each girl is inspired to reach her full potential.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Elmwood School 16160 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Oakville, Ontario
    Winston Churchill/Lakeshore Road East
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $10,000 to $20,000

Clanmore is one of the few schools offering authentic Montessori programming from Toddler - Middle School. Our culture is warm and inviting and our philosophy empowers us to support each child as a unique individual.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Clanmore Montessori School 10000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    Yonge Street/Silverwood Ave.
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $17,700 to $27,500

Century Private School in Richmond Hill runs from preschool to grade twelve, with small class ratio to ensure best learning for our students.

  • Day
  • Montessori
  • International Baccalaureate
Century Private School 17700 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Highway 417/Greenbank
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $18,500 to $22,700

Acadecap International School (Académie de la Capitale), an IB World School, offers bilingual and/or English programmes from JK to Grade 12. Students thrive in a growth mindset environment and a culture of excellence.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Académie de la Capitale 18500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
  • JK to 8 Coed
  • $22,000

Richland Academy is a progressive, innovative Reggio-inspired and International Baccalaureate (IB) PYP Authorized and MYP Candidate School for children from JK to Grade 8.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Richland Academy 22000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Scarborough, Ontario
    Kennedy Road/Progress Avenue
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $16,775 to $17,200

Enquiring Minds Montessori is a one-of-a-kind Montessori Art School. We have created a unique learning experience that fosters academic and artistic excellence in a nurturing environment while challenging young minds.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Enquiring Minds Montessori 16775 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Pickering, Ontario
    7 campuses/Ajax, Pickering, Oshawa, Bowmanville
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $12,350 to $12,690

Blaisdale Montessori School is the premier Montessori school in the Durham area. Offering an outstanding learning environment. Choose from one of 7 campuses in Pickering, Ajax, Oshawa and Bowmanville.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Blaisdale Montessori School 12350 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Alta Vista Drive/Industrial Road
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $16,045 to $27,202

OMS Montessori is a non for profit, independent school offering separate French and English programs within a world class Montessori environment.

  • Day
  • Montessori
OMS Montessori 16045 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Prince Edward Dr N/Bloor Street West
  • NS to SK Coed
  • $7,325 to $14,934

Prince Edward Montessori School offers programs for various grades in Toronto. Its average class size is ten to 16 students.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Prince Edward Montessori School 7325 Preschool Kindergarten Day Coed
  • Newmarket, Ontario
    Bayview Ave/Newpark Blvd
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $8,100 to $25,900

Situated on seven acres of rolling parkland and gardens, Country Garden Montessori Academy in Newmarket is a co-ed private day school for students in grades PS-12. The school provides a family atmosphere and is committed the intellectual growth and emotional well-being of students.

  • Homestay/Day
  • Montessori
Country Garden Montessori Academy 8100 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Homestay Day Coed
  • Whitchurch-stouffville, Ontario
    Ninth Line/Main Street
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $7,620 to $16,350

Toronto French Montessori offers French and English programs from pre-school to grade 8 in York Region. Its average class size is 15 students.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Toronto French Montessori 7620 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Queen Street East/Glen Manor Drive
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $7,200 to $22,275

Our objective is to guide children with respect and understanding, developing in them a love of learning. Our aim is to create a nurturing environment full of intellectual, social and moral learning and development.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Avalon Children's Montessori School 7200 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Peterborough, Ontario
    Highway 7/Burnham Line
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $13,920 to $17,785

Kawartha Montessori School is the only CCMA-accredited school in the region. We offer an education that inspires academic excellence and develops socially responsible, independent, and confident individuals.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Kawartha Montessori School 13920 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Markham, Ontario
    Woodbine Ave/Major Mackenzie Dr E
  • NS to 3 Coed
  • $7,600 to $12,900

Royal Cachet has authentic Montessori programs from infants to grade 3 in our healthy & safe environments. We focus on the Language & Math areas of the Montessori Curriculum & encourage our students to grow and succeed.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Royal Cachet Montessori School 7600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Markham, Ontario
    14th Ave/Kennedy
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $11,500 to $37,500

Trillium School is a private school that offers programs from pre-school to grade twelve in Markham with Montessori-based kindergarten.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
Trillium School 11500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Hurontario/Queensway
  • NS to SK Coed
  • $7,800 to $12,000

Shepherd Montessori Private Catholic School in Mississauga offers Casa Montessori programs for children a ged 2.5 to 6. Before- and after-school care and summer camps also available.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Shepherd Montessori Private Catholic School 7800 Preschool Kindergarten Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • NS to 5 Coed
  • $9,950 to $11,500

ABC Montessori is one of Mississauga's premier private schools. We offers both Montessori and traditional school programs from preschool to Grade 5 with an emphasis on developing literacy, numeracy, sciences, and arts.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
ABC Montessori 9950 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bathurst/Sheppard
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $9,000 to $18,750

MJDS inspires a lifetime love for learning in a nurturing environment that fosters respect for oneself, the community and the world, guided by the shared values of Judaism and Montessori education.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Montessori Jewish Day School 9000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Burlington, Ontario
    Appleby Line/Upper Middle Road
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $10,500 to $17,600

Halton Waldorf School offers an education that fosters confidence, independence and intelligence. Located on five forested acres, the school has been uniquely designed to support the goals of Waldorf education. Est 1984

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Halton Waldorf School 10500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Eglinton Ave E/Laird Dr
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $10,080 to $16,800

Maria Montessori School is one of the longest established AMI accredited Montessori school's in Canada. We offer accredited programs for children 18 months to 12 years and hire only AMI certified teaching staff.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Maria Montessori School 10080 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Thornhill, Ontario
    Bathurst St/Rutherford Rd
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $18,000 to $21,000

Toronto Waldorf School offers a curriculum that integrates academics, arts and movement while addressing the intellectual, physical, emotional and social aspects of child development from preschool to gr. 12.

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Toronto Waldorf School 18000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
  • K to 8 Coed
  • $15,700 to $26,000

Rotherglen School - OAKVILLE offers programs for students age 4 to grade eight. The average class size is 18 students.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
Rotherglen School - Oakville 15700 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Davenport Rd/Spadina Rd
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $14,325 to $22,650

Small class sizes and our unique curriculum - infused with Arts, Movement, Outdoor Education - create deeper connections across subjects, at all child development stages. Parents describe us as “schooling with heart".

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Waldorf Academy 14325 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    QEW/Trafalgar Road
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $11,000 to $17,900

La Villa Montessori is an AMI recognized School that adheres to Dr. Montessori's principles. We provide a nurturing environment that fulfills the child's emotional, social, physical and intellectual needs.

  • Day
  • Montessori
La Villa Montessori School 11000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
    Lakeshore Road East/Bel Air Drive
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $9,900 to $23,900

Offering Montessori programs from Toddler to Grade 8, Dearcroft is accredited by CCMA and staffed by dedicated teachers.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Dearcroft Montessori School 9900 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Whitby, Ontario
    Brock Street South/Dundas Streer West
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $11,250 to $14,750

The Hatch House Montessori School is a very child centered school where each student is respected for their uniqueness and is guided through learning accordingly. Ask about our unique, fully bilingual elementary program.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Hatch House Montessori School 11250 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • JK to 8 Coed
  • $14,000 to $19,000

Rotherglen School - MISSISSAUGA is a montessori school that offers programs from JK to grade eight. The average class size is 18 students.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
Rotherglen School - Mississauga 14000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bathurst St./Eglinton Ave. West
  • PS to 6 Coed
  • $15,500 to $17,500

NOW WITH LICENSED DAYCARE! Bring your child for a free trial to let him or her experience the difference. Don't be surprised if he or she doesn't want to go home at the end of the day! SUMMER CAMP PROGRAMS AVAILABLE!

  • Day
  • Montessori
  • Waldorf
Alive Montessori & Private School 15500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Aurora, Ontario
    St. John Sideroad/Yonge St.
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $14,800 to $21,600

Aurora Montessori offers an enriched Montessori program for students, Toddler to Grade 8, with an option of an OSSD credit in Grade 9 Math. A unique Mindfulness and Technology program develops key 21st-century skills!

  • Day
  • Montessori
Aurora Montessori School 14800 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Brantford, Ontario
    Charlotte St/Chatham St
  • NS to SK Coed
  • $12,000 to $13,000

Located in Brantford, Ontario, Montessori House of Children (MHC) provides excellent programs for grades Nursery to 3 and helps young children reach their learning potential with both independent and self-directed learning. MHC also offers support for students with learning differences.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Montessori House of Children 12000 Preschool Kindergarten Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $11,400 to $18,900

Humberside Montessori School is internationally recognized and accredited by Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). Our AMI certified teachers provide an authentic Montessori experience for our students.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Humberside Montessori School 11400 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • St. Catharines, Ontario
    Edinburgh Dr/Scott Street
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $7,075 to $14,775

We provide students with opportunities to explore real-world concepts and issues, broadening their sense of responsibility, develop their critical thinking skills, and empower them to take action in a global community.

  • Day
  • Montessori
  • International Baccalaureate
Wheatley School 7075 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Glen Erin/Dundas
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $15,750 to $16,250

Kaban Montessori School is a CCMA accredited school in the west of Mississauga area . We ensure that our environments foster each child's interests and abilities while supporting them to achieve their full potential.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Kaban Montessori School 15750 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Baseline Rd./Woodroffe Ave.
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $13,083 to $21,240

Bishop Hamilton Montessori School, a not-for-profit independent school in Ottawa, provides an authentic Christian Montessori approach for children 3 months to 14 years.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Bishop Hamilton Montessori School 13083 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $17,450 to $26,900

Bannockburn School leads in Montessori education by offering an exceptional, enriched Montessori curriculum in a nurturing environment carefully prepared to meet the needs of children in the formative years of childhood.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Bannockburn 17450 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Maple Ridge, British Columbia
    240th Street/Dewdney Trunk Road
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $25,925 to $35,925

Meadowridge is an IB Continuum World School that supports the development of the whole child in a safe, supportive and challenging environment.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Meadowridge School 25925 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Pickering, Ontario
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $9,000 to $13,000

Montessori Learning Centre of Pickering is a non denominational, inclusive school that offers programs from Pre-school to Grade eight. We acknowledge and celebrate religious and cultural events as part of our cultural program.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Montessori Learning Centre of Pickering 9000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Thornhill, Ontario
    Weston Road/Rutherford Road
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $18,598 to $24,998

King Heights Academy provides a unique educational experience for toddlers to grade 12 which includes the IB Program. Preschool, Pre- Kindergarten, Kindergarten, Elementary, Intermediate & Secondary Programs offered.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
King Heights Academy 18598 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed

While dissatisfaction with traditional primary and secondary education models have led some parents to turn to private schools offering specialized programs in music, sports or the arts; others have opted for an altogether different approach – alternative schools. “Alternative” refers to any educational institution that offers a curriculum, learning environment or education philosophy that differs from the mainstream.

With a plethora of alternative schools to choose from, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Here, we’ve explored four popular models to help you determine whether an alternative school is right for your child.

Montessori: Learning Through Self-Exploration

Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, opened the first Montessori school in 1907. While a range of practices now exist under the name “Montessori”, the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) prescribe to the idea that optimal development is achieved when children have the liberty to act freely within their environment. Schools that follow this philosophy believe students learn best through self-exploration. The teacher acts as a guide, presenting children with a selection of activities to choose from. “Children [become] self-initiated. They’re intrinsically motivated. They’re very comfortable meeting challenges. They’re able to self-correct their work and they’re extremely self-disciplined,” says Sandra Girlato, Director of Training at the Foundation for Montessori Education. In her work as an adult educator, Girlato says students who attended Montessori schools or preschools as children tend to be more self-motivated and are more comfortable receiving feedback and asking for help when they need it.

While a Montessori education can benefit every child, Girlato says it might not be well suited to every family. “Sometimes parents want their child to read as early as possible, but some children are early readers and some don’t read until they’re five, six or seven,” says Girlato. The Montessori model that allows children to develop at their own pace may not be comfortable for these parents.

Reggio Emilia: Fostering Imagination and Ideas

Developed in preschools in the Northern Italian town of the same name in 1963, the Reggio Emilia approach recognizes children as intelligent, resourceful and capable of having good ideas. While a traditional classroom is led by teacher instruction and structured in time (9:15 for arts and crafts, 11:00 for literacy, for example), a Reggio Emilia classroom is structured in space with the room divided into various workstations and is built on the idea that children can self-regulate, using their will to make and execute a plan. “Where it really differs from a traditional classroom is in letting children be creative, letting them design things and letting them have ideas and theorize about the world,” says York University Professor Carol Ann Wien, author of Emergent Curriculum in the Primary Classroom: Interpreting the Reggio Emilia Approach in Schools.

The overarching theme of the Reggio Emilia approach is to honour children’s intellectual capacities and intense curiosities. “Children have amazing ideas and thinking capacity far beyond what [we] originally thought four, five and six-year-olds could do,” says Wien. The organization of the physical environment is a crucial component of the Reggio Emilia approach. Classrooms are filled with indoor plants, have large windows to welcome in natural light and open to a centre piazza.

While the Reggio Emilia approach is most often seen in preschool and primary levels, some private schools such as Bishop Strachan School in Toronto, Ontario, are attempting to incorporate Reggio-inspired education all the way up to high school.

Waldorf: The Slow and Steady Approach

Developed on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the first Waldorf school opened in 1919. Waldorf pedagogy first focuses on developing children’s physical body, focusing on practical, hands-on activities and encouraging creative play. “We know that the more their body is moving the more neurons and synapses are firing in their brains,” says Ryan Lindsay, Board President of the Waldorf School Association of Ontario. The Waldorf slogan “the right thing at the right time” is based on the understanding that the brain changes as children age. While the traditional education system takes the same approach to learning in the early years as in the later years, the Waldorf approach distinguishes between stages in child development. “We have a start slow, finish fast approach,” says Lindsay.

While education in the primary years involves multiple periods of extended free play to develop children’s imagination and capacity to move and think, the elementary level engages their connection to the world through emotions, focusing on artistic expression and social capacities. Secondary education emphasizes core academics and focuses on developing a students’ critical mind. “By that time, they’re really ready to excel with technology, math and science,” says Lindsay.

The Waldorf model of “slow and steady wins the race” can be challenging for parents who lack patience and who engage in comparisons between their child and others in traditional educational systems. Elementary students tend to score lower on standardized testing than public schools, but by eighth grade, Waldorf students excel far above averages. “If parents stick with it, by high school they’re pretty confident in their decision,” says Lindsay.

Arrowsmith: Tackling Learning Challenges by Changing the Brain

If your child is being held back by learning difficulties, you may want to look into the Arrowsmith program. Designed by Barbara Arrowsmith Young, author of The Woman Who Changed Her Brain, this program is based on the principal of neuroplasticity; the belief that the brain can be modified through targeted stimulation. While most special education programs accept that we are all born with a certain intellect and focus on changing the environment or the learning materials to accommodate students’ special needs, the Arrowsmith approach argues that the learner’s brain can be modified by identifying and strengthening cognitive capacities.

With a low student-to-teacher ratio (10:1), Arrowsmith instructors deliver intensive and graduated cognitive exercises designed to target specific areas of leaning difficulties. Once the deficient area is improved, the student’s ability to perform academic tasks increases.

While students in traditional resource classrooms typically make gains representing half a school year, Tara Anchel, Assistant Director of the Arrowsmith School, a learning disabilities school, in Toronto, Ontario, says their students can make one to three school year gains after only one year in the program and can successfully integrate into a full academic program at a public or private school after two to four years of study at Arrowsmith.

Which alternative school is right for your child?

There’s a lot to consider when deciding whether to enrol your child in an alternative school, but finding a model that fits with your own educational philosophy and your child’s personality is key. Follow these tips to determine which alternative school model is right for your child:

Observe: Spend the day observing what’s happening in the classroom. Watch how children interact with each other and with the instructor and ask yourself whether you can picture your child fitting into this environment.

Ask questions: Ask current and former students and parents what they think about the school and how it helped prepare students for the next stages of their lives or education.

Consider the level of involvement: Some alternative schools require a higher level of parental engagement than others. The Waldorf model, for example, places great importance on parent participation, so much so, that Lindsay says this may play as much a role on a student’s application as the student’s aptitude.

Common questions to ask a prospective school:

Child-specific advice on school choice
For child-specific insights on choosing a school, read our guide. We explore how school choices crucially depend on kids' unique traits, such as their mental and academic focussocial tendenciesactivity level, academic interests (such as art and STEM), and other attributes (such as giftednessspecial needslearning disabilities, and social issues).

To customize over 350 school profiles with insights unique to your child's traits, create a child profile through your user account.

Related Resources

Montessori Society of Canada - https://www.montessorisocietycanada.org/schools.html

Association Montessori Internationale - https://www.montessori-ami.org/

Waldorf Canada - https://www.waldorf.ca/

Arrowsmith School - https://www.arrowsmithschool.org/

Ontario Reggio Association - https://www.ontarioreggioassociation.ca/

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