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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The York School


Toronto, Ontario
Yonge St./St. Clair Ave.
 
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"The York School is a JK-Grade 12 gender inclusive IB World School in midtown Toronto. Our mission is to nurture curious learners to become globally minded leaders with integrity and purpose.

  1. International Baccalaureate World School (JK - Grade 12)
  2. 100% university placement rate
  3. Gender inclusive learning environment
  4. Focus on social-emotional and experiential learning

—From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $40,350
 
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The York School 40350 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed

St. John's-Kilmarnock School


Waterloo Region (Breslau), Ontario
 
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"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.

  1. Accredited IB World Continuum School
  2. Experienced, passionate, professional teachers
  3. Project-based, design-thinking experiential learning
  4. Extensive co-curricular programs in athletics, arts, leadership and community service

—From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $21,290 to $78,800
 
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St. John's-Kilmarnock School 21290 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed

Branksome Hall


Toronto, Ontario
Bloor Street East/Mount Pleasant Road
 
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"Branksome Hall is Toronto’s only leading International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for girls in JK-Grade 12, developing the leaders of tomorrow through the nurturing of curiosity and critical thinking at every age.

  1. 13-acre downtown campus
  2. Athletics and Wellness Centre
  3. IB programs: JK to Grade 12
  4. Leadership opportunities

—From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Girls)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $40,940 to $82,290
 
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Branksome Hall 40940 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls

Sunnybrook School


Toronto, Ontario
Merton St/Mt Pleasant
 
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"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.

  1. 71 years
  2. IB PYP World School
  3. JK to Gr 6, coed
  4. 1:1 iPads, JK - Gr 6

—From the school

  • Gr. JK to 6 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $32,700
 
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Sunnybrook School 32700 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed

Upper Canada College


Toronto, Ontario
St Clair Ave W/Avenue Rd
 
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"Located in the heart of Toronto, UCC provides transformational learning experiences in a supportive, caring environment. Our highly sought-after graduates are awarded International Baccalaureate and OSSD diplomas.

  1. High-achieving, all-round students
  2. Challenging but rewarding IB program
  3. First rate academics, athletics and arts
  4. 19 different sports and 80+ clubs

—From the school

  • Gr. SK to 12 (Boys)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $38,600 to $75,200
 
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Upper Canada College 38600 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Boys
Brampton, Ontario
Sunforest Drive/Bovaird Drive E
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $16,785 to $17,320
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Rowntree Montessori Schools (RMS) 16785 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Oakville, Ontario
Trafalgar Road/Dundas
 
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"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, instilling a "Love of Learning!"" —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 3 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $15,695 to $17,375
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Trafalgar Ridge Montessori School 15695 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
Oakville, Ontario
Winston Churchill/Lakeshore Road East
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 8 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $10,250 to $21,000
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Clanmore Montessori School 10250 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Bayview/Hwy 407
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $20,850 to $36,770
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TMS 20850 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
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"GNS is an independent JK-12 International Baccalaureate boarding and day school in Victoria, BC, that empowers and supports each of our students to do their best through truth and courage in learning and in life." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $10,975 to $82,575
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Glenlyon Norfolk School 10975 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Homestay Boarding Coed
Ottawa, Ontario
Buena Vista Road/Springfield Road
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $16,970 to $32,800
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Elmwood School 16970 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
Toronto, Ontario
Davenport Rd/Spadina Rd
 
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"Waldorf education is 'schooling with heart'. Students and parents love our smaller class sizes, strong teacher relationships, incredible curriculum, unique opportunities and arts-infused academics!" —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 8 (Coed)
  • Waldorf curriculum
  • $21,700 to $24,700
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Waldorf Academy 21700 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Spadina Ave/College Street
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 8 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $21,500 to $23,900
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Westside Montessori School 21500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Mississauga, Ontario
Erin Mills Parkway/Argentia Rd
 
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"There’s a different energy at SJA. As a leading IB World School and university prep school, SJA creates an atmosphere of acceptance that allows us to challenge students to take ownership of their own success." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $12,440 to $18,640
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St. Jude's Academy 12440 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
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"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 IB and AP programme offerings." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $17,000 to $22,000
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Lynn-Rose School 17000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
 
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"At Central Montessori School (CMS), young minds are inspired to be creative, innovative, and inquisitive. We cultivate bright, young leaders and strong communicators ready for the 21st century." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 6 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $9,400 to $21,200
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Central Montessori Schools 9400 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Day Day Coed
Richmond Hill, Ontario
 
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"Richland Academy is a progressive, innovative Reggio-inspired and International Baccalaureate (IB) PYP Authorized and MYP Candidate School for children from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $24,000
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Richland Academy 24000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Scarborough, Ontario
Kennedy Road/Progress Avenue
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 6 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $11,158 to $17,500
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Enquiring Minds Montessori 11158 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Yonge Street/Silverwood Ave.
 
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"Century Private School is located in Richmond Hill, and our campus occupies 12 acres of land. Our programs runs from preschool to grade twelve, with small class ratio to ensure best learning for our students." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum; Montessori
  • $18,500 to $28,500
  • Day school
  • 250 students
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Century Private School 18500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Ottawa, Ontario
Highway 417/Greenbank
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $20,983 to $26,978
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Académie de la Capitale 20983 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 8 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $5,386 to $22,000
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Humberside Montessori School 5386 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Oakville, Ontario
 
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"Rotherglen School - OAKVILLE offers programs for students age 4 to grade eight. The average class size is 18 students." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; Montessori
  • $16,530 to $28,120
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Rotherglen School - Oakville 16530 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
North Vancouver, British Columbia
Keith Rd/Lynnmouth Ave
 
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"Collaborative and engaging, North Star's programs put students at the center of their learning and quest for knowledge." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 7 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $5,800 to $15,840
  • Day school
  • 110 students
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North Star Montessori Elementary School 5800 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Whitby, Ontario
Brock Street South/Dundas Streer West
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 8 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $12,250 to $15,750
  • Day school
  • 0 students
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Hatch House Montessori School 12250 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Ottawa, Ontario
Baseline Rd./Woodroffe Ave.
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 8 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $6,183 to $22,970
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Bishop Hamilton Montessori School 6183 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Maple Ridge, British Columbia
240th Street/Dewdney Trunk Road
 
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"Our practices in teaching and learning are exemplified by our outstanding academic results and are achieved through the active engagement of the head, heart, and hands." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $28,400 to $38,400
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Meadowridge School 28400 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Mississauga, Ontario
Hurontario/Queensway
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to SK (Coed)
  • Montessori approach
  • $7,800 to $12,800
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Shepherd Montessori Private Catholic School 7800 Preschool Kindergarten Day Coed
Rothesay, New Brunswick
Rothesay Rd/College Hill Rd
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. 6 to 12 (Coed)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $25,130 to $70,830
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Rothesay Netherwood School 25130 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Bathurst St./Eglinton Ave. West
 
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"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!" —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 6 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum; Waldorf
  • $15,500 to $17,500
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Alive Montessori & Private School 15500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
Ottawa, Ontario
Bank Street/Marché Way
 
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"Our programs find the interaction of youth’s developmental characteristics, the Ontario curriculum, and the requirements of the adult world to create the focussed engagement that naturally leads to personal excellence." —From the school

  • Gr. 7 to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; Montessori
  • $20,748 to $24,156
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The Element High School 20748 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Oakville, Ontario
Lakeshore Road East/Bel Air Drive
 
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"Offering Montessori programs from Toddler to Grade 8, Dearcroft is accredited by CCMA and staffed by dedicated teachers. We have three campuses in Oakville, delivering exceptional Montessori Programs." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 8 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $10,600 to $27,800
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Dearcroft Montessori School 10600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Newmarket, Ontario
 
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"LMMH was established in 2003, the school offers a unique French Immersion Program as well as an English Program for children from 2 ½ to 13 years of age. Our students also learn to ski, golf, play tennis and more." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 8 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $13,500 to $15,500
  • Day school
  • 120 students
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La Maison Montessori House 13500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Ottawa, Ontario
Alta Vista Drive/Industrial Road
 
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"OMS Montessori is a non for profit, independent school offering separate French and English programs within a world class Montessori environment." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 6 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $9,763 to $17,524
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OMS Montessori 9763 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
Brantford, Ontario
Charlotte St/Chatham St
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to SK (Coed)
  • Montessori approach
  • $12,000 to $13,000
  • Day school
  • 41 students
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Montessori House of Children 12000 Preschool Kindergarten Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Prince Edward Dr N/Bloor Street West
 
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"Prince Edward Montessori School offers programs for various grades in Toronto. Its average class size is ten to 16 students. " —From the school

  • Gr. NS to SK (Coed)
  • Montessori approach
  • $7,325 to $14,934
  • Day school
  • 100 students
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Prince Edward Montessori School 7325 Preschool Kindergarten Day Coed
Pickering, Ontario
whites/kingston road
 
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"Montessori Learning Centre is a non denominational, inclusive school in operation for 40 years. We acknowledge religious and cultural events supporting our whole life philosophy education." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; Montessori
  • $12,000 to $14,000
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Montessori Learning Centre of Pickering 12000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Markham, Ontario
Woodbine/HWY 7
 
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"Wishing Well Schools offers an enriched, academically advanced program spanning from 18 months to Grade 8." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $17,500 to $17,700
  • Day school
  • 427 students
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Wishing Well Schools 17500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Day Coed
Burlington, Ontario
Appleby Line/Upper Middle Road
 
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"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" —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Coed)
  • Waldorf curriculum
  • $14,360 to $19,360
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Halton Waldorf School 14360 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Mississauga, Ontario
Hurontario St/Matheson Blvd E
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 5 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum; Montessori
  • $5,260 to $11,500
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ABC Montessori 5260 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Day Coed
Markham, Ontario
14th Ave/Kennedy
 
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"Trillium School is a private school that offers programs from pre-school to grade twelve in Markham with Montessori-based kindergarten." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 12 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum; Montessori
  • $8,200 to $41,500
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Trillium School 8200 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Dufferin St/Lawrence Ave W
 
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"LDVA provides foundational education and challenges students to develop to their full potential. Officially recognized by the Italian Government, our unique curriculum incorporates Italian language and culture." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 8 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum; Montessori
  • $10,500 to $18,300
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Leonardo Da Vinci Academy of Arts & Sciences 10500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Queen Street East/Glen Manor Drive
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 8 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $8,240 to $24,000
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Avalon Children's Montessori School 8240 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Thornhill, Ontario
Bathurst St/Rutherford Rd
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 12 (Coed)
  • Waldorf curriculum
  • $18,000 to $24,000
  • Day school
  • 360 students
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Toronto Waldorf School 18000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
North York, Ontario
 
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"Bannockburn provides a strong, academic foundation anchored in the principles of the Montessori philosophy that supports your child’s intellectual, moral, social, and emotional development in a nurturing environment." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 6 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $18,515 to $28,120
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Bannockburn 18515 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
Aurora, Ontario
St. John Sideroad/Yonge St.
 
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"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!" —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 8 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $14,200 to $23,300
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Aurora Montessori School 14200 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
St. Catharines, Ontario
Edinburgh Dr/Scott Street
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 8 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $7,300 to $15,200
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Wheatley School 7300 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Mississauga, Ontario
Tomken Rd./Eglinton Ave. E
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 8 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $11,100 to $17,400
  • Day school
  • 300 students
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Northstar Montessori Private School 11100 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Vancouver, British Columbia
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 12 (Coed)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $28,220 to $32,970
  • Day school
  • 545 students
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Stratford Hall 28220 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Oakville, Ontario
QEW/Ford Drive / Ninth Line
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 6 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $6,000 to $18,500
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La Villa Montessori School 6000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Lawrence Ave./Bathurst St.
 
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"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." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 6 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $25,312 to $26,290
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The Clover School 25312 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
Mississauga, Ontario
 
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"Rotherglen School - MISSISSAUGA is a montessori school that offers programs from JK to grade eight. The average class size is 18 students." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; Montessori
  • $15,850 to $20,315
  • Day school
  • 400 students
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Rotherglen School - Mississauga 15850 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Mississauga, Ontario
Glen Erin/Dundas
 
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"Kaban Montessori School is a CCMA accredited school in the west area of Mississauga . Our environments foster each child's interests and abilities while supporting them to achieve their full potential." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 6 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $17,000 to $18,000
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Kaban Montessori School 17000 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 levels. 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 several 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 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 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 for 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

Before 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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