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Alternative schools

Find a list of the top private alternative schools in Canada

Find a list of schools

"Alternative schools" refers to any school that offers a curriculum, learning environment, or philosophical predisposition that diverges markedly from the mainstream. Typical examples of alternative private schools and preschools include Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, and Arrowsmith. Read more


List of private alternative schools

 
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  • Waterloo Region (Breslau), Ontario
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $17,415 to $64,750

St. John's-Kilmarnock School, in Waterloo, offers enriched educational programming for students from JK – Grade 12 through its accredited International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. Its average class size is 17.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
St. John's-Kilmarnock School 17415 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Markham, Ontario
    Woodbine Ave/Major Mackenzie Dr E
  • NS to 3 Coed
  • $6,800 to $12,900

Royal Cachet Montessori School is a Montessori school that offers programs from nursery to grade three in Markham. Its average class size is five to 15 students.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Royal Cachet Montessori School 6800 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $15,470 to $20,600

Lynn-Rose Heights Private School offers challenging academic programming from three years old to grade twelve in Mississauga. Lynn-Rose Heights school is an official International Baccalaureate World School.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Lynn-Rose Schools 15470 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge St./St. Clair Ave.
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $28,000 to $32,000

The York School is a JK to Grade 12 co-ed, independent, International Baccalaureate school in midtown Toronto. The school is accredited by CAIS, IBO, and CIS.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
The York School 28000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    St Clair Ave W/Avenue Rd
  • SK to 12 Boys
  • $33,300 to $61,860

Located in the heart of Toronto, Upper Canada College is the oldest independent boys' school in Ontario. Our IB graduates are highly regarded by top universities and post-secondary institutions worldwide.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Upper Canada College 33300 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Boys
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Hurontario/Queensway
  • NS to 1 Coed
  • $6,800 to $11,500

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 6800 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bloor Street East/Mount Pleasant Road
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $33,630 to $66,805

Branksome Hall is Toronto’s only all-girls, all-years International Baccalaureate (IB) World School.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Branksome Hall 33630 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $19,200 to $21,300

An authentic, CCMA accredited Montessori School located in downtown Toronto, offering programs for Toddlers, Casa and Elementary children.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Westside Montessori School 19200 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 & movement, and addresses the intellectual, physical, emotional & social aspects of child development. Preschool to gr. 12.

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Toronto Waldorf School 18000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Buena Vista Road/Springfield Road
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $13,960 to $26,960

Elmwood School is Ottawa's pre-eminent school for girls from JK to Grade 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 13960 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Lawrence Ave./Bathurst St.
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $18,376 to $21,870

Conveniently located in Midtown Toronto, our Junior and Elementary campuses are a popular choice for families seeking exceptional childcare and the very best Montessori education for their children.

  • Day
  • Montessori
The Clover School 18376 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed

TMS  

  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    Bayview/Hwy 407
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $18,300 to $31,350

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.

  • Day
  • Montessori
  • International Baccalaureate
TMS 18300 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Erin Mills Parkway/Argentia Rd
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $9,265 to $13,695

St. Jude's Academy is an IB World School that offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade 12 in Mississauga. Its average class size is 16 to 18 students.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
St. Jude's Academy 9265 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
    Winston Churchill/Lakeshore Road East
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $8,500 to $18,000

Clanmore Montessori School in southeast Oakville offers a full spectrum, co-ed Montessori program from Toddler to Middle School. Tuition starts at $8,250. CCMA accredited. Member Oakville Independent Schools. Licenced.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Clanmore Montessori School 8500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Merton St/Mt Pleasant
  • JK to 6 Coed
  • $26,250

Sunnybrook School offers a fully integrated 1:1 iPad program for all students in JK - Grade 6.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Sunnybrook School 26250 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Bank Street/Marché Way
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $17,208 to $18,840

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 17208 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $18,000 to $18,800

Richland Academy is a progressive, innovative Reggio inspired and International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for children from 2.5-years to Grade 8. Voted #1 Private School in Richmond Hill 4 years in a row.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Richland Academy 18000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Sheppard Avenue/Yonge Street
  • NS to 3 Coed
  • $13,500 to $15,400

Pine Lake Montessori School pursues teaching with a one on one method that respects and nurtures children and allows them to achieve their fullest potential.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Pine Lake Montessori School 13500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Highway 417/Greenbank
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $13,340 to $19,510

Acadecap International School ( Académie de la Capitale), an IB school, offers bilingual and/or English programmes from Pre-K to Grade 12. Students thrive in a culture of academic excellence and real-life learning.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Académie de la Capitale 13340 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Kennedy Avenue/Highway 401
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $8,750 to $15,300

Ellington Montessori School offers small class sizes and individualized programs from pre-school to grade eight. Our holistic approach to education helps prepare students for success in today's rapidly changing world.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Ellington Montessori School 8750 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Brampton, Ontario
    Sunforest Drive/Bovaird Drive E
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $7,900 to $14,600

RMS is an award-winning progressive private school, and voted the BEST private school in Brampton. We offer a structured programme that is ahead of the Ministry set guidelines.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
Rowntree Montessori Schools (RMS) 7900 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    Yonge Street/Silverwood Ave.
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $16,550 to $26,800

Century Montessori Schools in Richmond Hill runs from preschool to grade twelve, with class sizes as low as 12 students.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
Century Private School 16550 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Alta Vista Drive/Industrial Road
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $12,864 to $21,384

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 12864 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Maple Ridge, British Columbia
    240th Street/Dewdney Trunk Road
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $22,500 to $32,500

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 22500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
  • K to 8 Coed
  • $13,700 to $22,800

Rotherglen School - OAKVILLE offers programs from pre-school to grade eight. Its average class size is 18 students.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
Rotherglen School - Oakville 13700 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Burlington, Ontario
    Appleby Line/Upper Middle Road
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $8,800 to $14,620

Halton Waldorf School in Burlington, Ontario offers a licensed preschool, kindergarten and grades 1 to 12. It’s average class size is 15 to 21 students.

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Halton Waldorf School 8800 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Brantford, Ontario
    Charlotte St/Chatham St
  • NS to SK Coed
  • $8,200 to $10,000

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 8200 Preschool Kindergarten Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Queen Street East/Lee Ave.
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $6,395 to $20,150

Avalon provides quality programmes from kindergarten to Grade 8 in the heart of the Beach.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Avalon Children's Montessori School 6395 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $8,900 to $19,900

Central Montessori Schools in Toronto offers instruction from nursery to grade six, with enrolment of 900 day students and tuition starting at $5,900.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Central Montessori Schools - York Mills 8900 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Aurora, Ontario
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $10,500 to $16,200

Aurora Montessori School offers a comprehensive, nurturing and enriched program for Toddler to Grade 8. Our enrolment of 375 day students has an average class size of 15 to 24.

  • Day
  • Montessori
  • Reggio Emilia
Aurora Montessori School 10500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Woodbridge, Ontario
    Weston Road/Rutherford Road
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $15,598 to $18,998

Located in Vaughan, King Heights Academy provides a unique educational experience for toddlers to grade eight, which includes the IB Program.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
King Heights Academy 15598 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Tomken Rd./Eglinton Ave. E
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $9,500 to $14,900

Northstar Montessori offers authentic Montessori programs from Toddler to Grade 8 in Mississauga. We pride ourselves on strong character development and supporting life long learners! Now, Swim program is now included.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Northstar Montessori Private School 9500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Rothesay, New Brunswick
    Rothesay Rd/College Hill Rd
  • 6 to 12 Coed
  • $22,770 to $62,630

Rothesay Netherwood School offers programs for grades 6 to 12 in Rothesay, New Brunswick. Its average class size is 16 students and is an outstanding engaged and supportive community.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Rothesay Netherwood School 22770 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
  • North York, Ontario
  • PS to 6 Coed
  • $8,700 to $17,500

The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one - the period from birth to the age of six. Choose Central Montessori Schools.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Central Montessori School – Maplehurst Campus 8700 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Pickering, Ontario
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $9,000 to $13,000

Montessori Learning Centre of Pickering is a non denominational 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
  • Markham, Ontario
    Woodbine/HWY 7
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $13,600 to $13,800

Wishing Well Schools has an academically advanced program from 18 months to Grade 8. Montessori program from 18 months to 6 years old, accelerated academic program from Grade 1 to 8 with 21st c. teaching and learning.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
Wishing Well Schools 13600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Day Coed
  • St. Catharines, Ontario
    Edinburgh Dr/Scott Street
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $5,900 to $13,500

Wheatley School offers programs from nursery to grade eight in St. Catharines. Its average class size is 15 students.

  • Day
  • Montessori
  • International Baccalaureate
Wheatley School 5900 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Montreal, Quebec
    chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine/Avenue Claude Champagne
  • 7 to 11 Girls
  • $4,950 to $15,400

École secondaire francophone privée pour jeunes filles située à Outremont, Qc. Les frais de scolarité sont de 4 500 $ par année. Elle offre les profils Éducation internationale, Danse-études et Musique-études.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie 4950 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Baseline Rd./Woodroffe Ave.
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $12,850 to $19,675

Bishop Hamilton Montessori School is a Christian Montessori school in Ottawa, Ontario, with classes from Infants to grade eight.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Bishop Hamilton Montessori School 12850 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Brampton, Ontario
    Torbram/Clark
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $13,921 to $19,988

Tall Pines School in Brampton provides enhanced Montessori and traditional classes from Infant to Grade Eight, is the longest accredited CCMA Montessori school in Canada, and is a leader in 21st Century education.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Tall Pines School 13921 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $6,700 to $16,800

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

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
Rotherglen School - Mississauga 6700 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Nobleton, Ontario
    15th Sideroad/Hwy 27
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $9,000 to $18,000

For over 25 years, the Montessori Country School provides a first-class accredited curriculum for students 12 months through grade 6. The sprawling 10 acre campus offers a unique indoor and outdoor learning experience.

  • Day
  • Montessori
The Montessori Country School - Nobleton Campus 9000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Glen Erin/Dundas
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $15,000 to $17,000

Kaban Montessori School in west Mississauga/Erin Mills is a CCMA accredited school for children aged 6 months to 12 years. Come for a tour, you'll love it!

  • Day
  • Montessori
Kaban Montessori School 15000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Davenport Rd/Spadina Rd
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $5,040 to $19,950

Waldorf Academy offers programs from childcare to grade eight in downtown Toronto. Its average class size is 18 students.

  • Day
  • Waldorf
Waldorf Academy 5040 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    QEW/Southdown Road
  • NS to K Coed
  • $8,100 to $15,608

La Villa Montessori School is dedicated to following the Montessori philosophy and to create a safe, stimulating and nurturing environment that fulfills a child's emotional, social, physical and intellectual needs.

  • Day
  • Montessori
La Villa Montessori School 8100 Preschool Kindergarten Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
    Lakeshore Road East/Bel Air Drive
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $8,800 to $21,250

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

  • Day
  • Montessori
Dearcroft Montessori School 8800 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bathurst St./Eglinton Ave. West
  • PS to 6 Coed
  • $8,500 to $15,500

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!

  • Day
  • Montessori
Alive Montessori & Private School 8500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bathurst/Sheppard
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $9,000 to $18,150

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
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $9,200 to $15,400

Humberside Montessori Schools a montessori private school in Toronto. It offers programs from nursery to grade eight.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Humberside Montessori School 9200 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $9,120 to $15,744

Ellesmere Montessori School prepares children for a lifetime of creative and purposeful learning based on the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Ellesmere Montessori School 9120 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Whitby, Ontario
    Brock Street South/Dundas Streer West
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $9,950 to $13,500

The Hatch House Montessori School is a very child centered school where each student is respected for his/her uniqueness and is taught accordingly. Ask about our unique, fully bilingual elementary program.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Hatch House Montessori School 9950 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Stouffville, Ontario
    Ninth Line/Main Street
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $7,620 to $15,704

Toronto French Montessori offers programs from pre-school to grade eight in North York. Its average class size is 15 students.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Toronto French Montessori 7620 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Day Coed
  • Milton, Ontario
    Tremaine Road/Hwy 401
  • PS to 3 Coed
  • $8,160 to $13,600

Montessori Country School has provided a first-class academic experience to students in an environment that is distinguished by its compassion, integrity and unwavering commitment to the individual child.

  • Day
  • Montessori
The Montessori Country School - Milton Campus 8160 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Victoria, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $17,135 to $49,635

Glenlyon Norfolk School, an independent school in Victoria, BC, provides International Baccalaureate programs from JK to Grade 12. GNS offers 5- and 7-day Family Boarding for students who are not residents of Victoria.

  • Day/Homestay
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Glenlyon Norfolk School 17135 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Homestay Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Eglinton Ave E/Laird Dr
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $7,000 to $16,000

Maria Montessori School is an AMI accredited Montessori school in Toronto that offers programs for children 18 months to twelve years.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Maria Montessori School 7000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Markham, Ontario
    14th Ave/Kennedy
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $10,500 to $36,000

Trillium School is a montessori school that offers programs from pre-school to grade eight in Markham.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Montessori
Trillium School 10500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
  • Newmarket, Ontario
    Bayview Ave/Newpark Blvd
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $7,200 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 7200 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Homestay Day Coed
  • Guelph, Ontario
    Suffolk/Dublin
  • JK to 1 Coed
  • $5,750 to $12,500

Montessori School of Wellington in Guelph is the only CCMA accredited school in Guelph and the number one choice for children's education and life skill

  • Day
  • Montessori
Montessori School of Wellington 5750 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • NS to 5 Coed
  • $6,600 to $10,000

ABC Montessori is one of Mississauga's premier private schools. The school offers both Montessori and traditional school programs from preschool to Grade 5.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
ABC Montessori 6600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $14,900 to $25,100

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 14900 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed

Alternative schools: basic principles

Alternative schools depart from the mainstream. They offer a teaching approach, curriculum, or learning environment that differs from what you’ll find in most schools.

Some, but not all, alternative schools are part of the progressive movement in education. This movement involves different and sometimes conflicting ideas. Normally, though, it focuses on experiential learning, integrated curricula, personalized and collaborative learning, critical thinking, and problem solving, among other things.

Many private schools in Canada are alternative. These schools employ many, though normally not all, of the following practices:

Kinds of alternative schools

There are several different kinds of private alternative schools in Canada. These schools are especially popular at the preschool and elementary level. They’re also offered in middle and high school, though.

Benefits of alternative private schools

Alternative schools in Canada, like other kinds of private schools, have plenty of perks. For many kids, they can be a better fit than a traditional school. Depending on your child and the type of school you choose, alternative schools can have a number of benefits.

Why parents choose alternative schools

Parents send children to alternative schools for numerous reasons. Classroom structure, educational outlook, and essentially alternative ideas about childhood development are among the most common motivators for sending a child to such a school. Some of these schools test innovative teaching strategies and programs to help them identify how children develop most effectively.

For example, Montessori schools, unlike most other types of private schools, believe that students learn best in large classes where they can educate themselves (i.e., self-exploration) and become mentors for each other. This principle has always distinguished Montessori education from the customary model of teaching.

Arrowsmith Schools focus on helping students with learning disabilities, through intensive and graduated cognitive exercises. The program presupposes the plasticity of the human brain, a concept that has gained much wider acceptance in the broader scientific community and in the public sphere.

Waldorf schools and preschools focus on hands-on activities and the stimulation provided by a more holistic approach that downplays seat work.

Arrowsmith and Montessori (as well as, to a lesser extent, Waldorf) are examples of alternative schools that have seen their curriculum influence public education and become more widely accepted. Both progenitors of these methods (Maria Montessori and Barbara Arrowsmith) used their personal observations to see flaws in and help mold a unique alternative to mainstream schooling. Alternative schools are an important breeding ground for new ideas and approaches, although not all alternatives are as successful as these two examples.

Parents who enroll their sons or daughters in alternative private schools also have more control than they would find elsewhere. Conventional schools have fairly standard curricula and teaching strategies. Being private, alternative schools offer more control.

If your son or daughter has a high aptitude or passion in a certain discipline, some alternative schools can recognize this and help him or her develop that aptitude. Plenty of alternative schools and preschools (and daycares) combine classroom education with a particular specialty. In countless cases, parents prefer alternative schools because they allow their children to unleash their creativity which may have been stifled in another environment.

Selecting a private school usually comes down to finding the right fit. As such, private schools with clear and identifiable educational visions can help you make a choice based on concrete reasons.

Questions to consider before choosing an alternative private school

Prior to making this important decision, consider some, if not all, of these key questions:

For much more detailed information about some excellent alternative private schools, visit one of Our Kids’ annual expos, read our guide to private school questions, or click on any of the links below.

More alternative schools around the world:

Montessori schools in Poland (szkoły Montessori)

Social schools in Poland (szkoły społeczne)

Schools in Warsaw include przedszkola i szkoły Montessori w Warszawie

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