AN OUR KIDS REPORT:Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E. vs. Explore Nature

one-to-one comparison:

View Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E.'s full report
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View Explore Nature's full report

  • SCHOOL LOCATION

    Distance From

    Map

    Address

    Address

    12 Bond Crescent, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4E 3K2, Canada

    125 Brentcliffe Rd, Toronto, Ontario, M4G 3Y7, Canada

  • SCHOOL OVERVIEW

    Basics

    Basics

    Founded

    1993

    2020

    Enrolment

    280

    24

    Grades

    1 to 8

    JK to 3

    Gender

    Coed

    Coed

    Living arrangements

    Day

    Day

    Language of instruction

    English

    English

    Faith Based

    School focus

    Academic

    Nature-based

    Developmental Priorities

    Intellectual
    The goal is to cultivate "academically strong, creative and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions."
    Balanced
    Equal emphasis is placed on a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social and physical cultivation.
    Balanced
    Equal emphasis is placed on a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social and physical cultivation.

    Academics

    Academics

    Curriculum

    Traditional

    Progressive

    Curriculum pace

    Accelerated
    The main curriculum accelerates beyond the pace of the provincial one; ALL students do the work of OLDER public-school peers in tangible and measurable ways. This accelerated pace is maintained by the teachers and school, (through textbook selection, topic selection, grading, assignment standards and expectations, etc).
    Student-paced
    The main curriculum pace is non-standardized and is HIGHLY responsive to the pacing of individual students, (via differentiated instruction, differentiated assessment, etc). In theory, some students outpace the default/normalized curriculum, while others spend periods "behind schedule" if they need the extra time.

    Academic culture

    Rigorous
    A school with a “rigorous” academic culture places a high value on academic performance, and expects their students to do the same. This does not mean the school is uncaring, unsupportive, or non-responsive -- far from it. A school can have a rigorous academic culture and still provide excellent individual support. It does mean, however, the school places a particular emphasis on performance -- seeking the best students and challenging them to the fullest extent -- relative to a normal baseline. High expectations and standards – and a challenging yet rewarding curriculum – are the common themes here. Keep in mind this classification is more relevant for the older grades: few Kindergarten classrooms, for example, would be called “rigorous”.
    Supportive
    A school with a “supportive” academic culture focuses more on process than short-term outcomes: academic performance is a welcomed side-benefit, but not the driving focus. This does not mean the school lacks standards, or has low expectations for its students: a school can have a supportive academic culture and still light the fire of ambition in its students. It does mean, however, the school provides a less intensive culture than schools with a “rigorous” academic classification, and is focused more simply on instilling a love of learning and life-long curiosity.

    Avg. Class Size

    Varies

    Varies

    Special needs support

    Gifted learner support

    Dedicated gifted school

    Preschool/K curriculum

    Academic
    Academic-based preschools and Kindergartens are the most structured of the different types, and have a strong emphasis on math and reading readiness skills. These programs aim to expose children to what early-elementary school is like. While time is still allotted to free play, much of the day is built around explicit lessons guided by the teacher. Classrooms often resemble play-based ones (with different stations set up around the room), but at an Academic program the teacher leads students through the stations directly, and ties these activities to a whole-class lesson or theme.
    Play-based
    Play-based programs are the most common type of preschool and Kindergarten, and are founded on the belief young children learn best through play. Largely open-ended and minimally structured, play-based programs aim to develop social skills and a love of attending school. “Pre-academic” skills are taught, but in a more indirect way than at, say, an Academic program: through children playing in different “stations” set up around the classroom, which children choose on their own volition. Stations often contain an indirect lesson or developmental goal. Play-based classrooms are highly social and active.

    Tuition

    Tuition

    Day Tuition

    $18,500

    $5,575 to $13,750

    Boarding Tuition

    Financial aid (FA)

    No

    No

    Students on FA

    0%

    0%

    Eligible grades for FA

    None

    None

    Median FA package size

    $0

    $0

    Enrollment

    Enrollment

    Avg. enrollment per grade

    35

    4

    Percent in boarding

    0%

    0%

    Admissions

    Admissions

    Admissions rate

    75%

    100%

    Day entry years

    SK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

    JK, SK, K, 1, 2, 3

    Boarding entry years

    Day admissions deadline

    Rolling

    Rolling

    Boarding admissions deadline

    Not available

    Not available

    Interview required?

    Yes: grades 1 - 8

    No

    SSAT required

    No

    No

  • OUR PERSPECTIVE

    The Our Kids Review

    The Our Kids Review

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    information not available

    EXPLORE NATURE

    information not available

    Our Take

    Our Take

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    The PACE program was developed with gifted students in mind, based in an understanding of what they share—overall ability—as well as what they don't, such as specific talents, interests, and curiosities. The term of art is differentiated programming, though it's a term that can easily lend itself to misunderstanding. It doesn't mean that different students proceed through the curricula at different rates or are each given separate tasks based on their individual abilities. Rather, within a differentiated program all students proceed at the same pace through the material, while instructors provide multiple entry points that address the needs of individual students within the class. The ideal student is one who has been identified as gifted, and who requires challenge in order to succeed in academic work.

    View full report

    EXPLORE NATURE

    With its unique forest school approach, Explore Nature stands out as an innovative school that transcends the conventional classroom setting. Immersed in nature, the school enables children to experience enhanced focus, reduced anxiety, and deepened self-awareness. Explore Nature’s commitment to personalized learning is clear with their 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio, which allows them to cater to the unique learning styles of each child. Beyond the standard Ontario curriculum, the school’s holistic education includes mindfulness sessions, literacy and numeracy growth, and the chance to care for animals in collaboration with Pawsitively Pets. These experiences foster empathy, responsibility, resilience, and a broad range of emotional and social competencies. At the heart of Explore Nature is a commitment to students' overall well-being and a balanced development through creating positive connections with the self, others, and the environment.

    View full report
  • INSIDER PERSPECTIVES

    Written Reviews

    Written Reviews

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    "he administration and teaching staff truly want all students to succeed to their highest potential."
    Melanie Maresch - Parent   (Mar 09, 2023)
    Both of our kids love the culture and environment at PACE. They have many close friendships that hav... View full review

    "It offers a challenging, yet well-balanced curriculum in every grade."
    Yuliya M - Parent   (Mar 13, 2023)
    Our daughter's experience at the Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E. has been rewarding. She has ... View full review

    "The quality of teaching at PACE has always surpassed our expectations."
    Raminder Juneja - Parent   (Mar 22, 2023)
    Both of our children have had wonderful experiences at PACE. The collaborative, supportive learning ... View full review

    EXPLORE NATURE

    "The teachers are well-equipped to have kids working on skills appropriate to their level in any subject."
    Karen Sadler - Parent   (May 17, 2023)
    My daughter is thriving thanks to the small, collaborative nature of this school. The teachers work ... View full review

    "I can't say enough about the positive benefits of sending your child to a forest school where immersion in nature is part of the everyday experience."
    Alicia Shala - Parent   (Jun 01, 2023)
    This school is all around amazing. My kiddo has a lot of energy and needs space to move around and e... View full review

  • School’s perspective

    Who are you, as a school?

    Who are you, as a school?

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    "P.A.C.E. provides a differentiated curriculum built on greater depth and breadth of instruction. Our primary goal is to identify and enhance the abilities of our students, while simultaneously addressing their social and emotional needs. P.A.C.E. is based on the premise that gifted children require high-powered learning experiences to challenge their minds and ensure intellectual growth and achievement. A fully balanced program, including Arts and Athletics, complements this specialized academic program."

    EXPLORE NATURE

    "Explore Nature is a unique outdoor education school (K-3) nestled in Leaside. Small class sizes (6:1) and serene forest classroom allow for hands-on learning and curiosity-driven exploration. Learning outside improves attention, reduces anxiety and cultivates self-awareness. In addition to the Ontario curriculum, we offer mindfulness sessions, literacy and numeracy development, and the chance to care for animals. Our passionate teachers create an inclusive environment where individual learning styles are embraced."

    • A focus on personal growth, well-being, and positive relationships
    • Learning outside improves attention, reduces anxiety, and cultivates self-awareness.
    • Weekly mindful sessions, literacy and numeracy development, and the chance to care for animals
    • Small class sizes and multi-age groups nurture leadership skills and collaboration
    • Hands-on learning and curiosity-driven exploration

    Array

    What do you do differently and uniquely well?

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    Information not available

    EXPLORE NATURE

    "Explore Nature stands apart from other schools by offering a unique blend of outdoor education and holistic development. Our forest school approach fosters a deep connection with nature and provides students with hands-on experiences that ignite their curiosity and love for the natural world. Our school goes beyond traditional classroom walls, allowing children to learn and explore in a serene and calm outdoor environment."

    Array

    What tradeoffs has your school made to serve families in this way?

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    Information not available

    EXPLORE NATURE

    Information not available

    Array

    What key junctures in your school's history have most shaped its present?

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    Information not available

    EXPLORE NATURE

    Information not available

    Array

    What type of student is a good fit for your school?

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    Information not available

    EXPLORE NATURE

    Information not available

    Array

    Under what conditions would you advise a family against choosing your school?

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    Information not available

    EXPLORE NATURE

    Information not available

    Array

    To your knowledge, why do families choose your school over others?

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    Information not available

    EXPLORE NATURE

    "Explore Nature goes beyond academic learning, equipping students with essential tools for managing stress, building resilience, and promoting overall well-being. By tailoring the learning experience to individual needs and building upon students' unique starting points, we foster a sense of achievement, boosting their self-esteem and motivation. Students graduate from Explore Nature with the tools to thrive in diverse settings and become compassionate and confident leaders in their communities."

    Array

    How would you characterize your school's image amongst the public?

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    Information not available

    EXPLORE NATURE

    Information not available

    Array

    What aspect of your school is underappreciated?

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    Information not available

    EXPLORE NATURE

    "Our school's partnership with Pawsitively Pets offers students a unique opportunity to interact with and care for rescue animals. This hands-on experience not only teaches children about empathy, responsibility, and animal welfare, but it also instills a sense of pride and confidence in their abilities. By nurturing a caring relationship with animals, students develop a deep appreciation for all living creatures, fostering a compassionate and empathetic mindset."

    Array

    What might families find surprising about your school?

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    Information not available

    EXPLORE NATURE

    "We prioritize building positive connections with self, others, and nature. Through meaningful experiences and relationships, our students develop a strong sense of self-awareness, empathy, and respect for others and the environment. A focus on positive connections enriches well-being and personal growth, promoting a balanced lifestyle. By providing a nurturing and inclusive space to express their emotions and develop self-regulation skills, we empower them to navigate challenges with confidence."

    Array

    What improvements or changes has your school made recently?

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    Information not available

    EXPLORE NATURE

    Information not available

    Array

    How will your school change in the next 5 years?

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    Information not available

    EXPLORE NATURE

    Information not available

  • SCHOOL LEADERSHIP

    Message from school leadership

    Message from school leadership

    My journey at P.A.C.E. began in 1999 and in 2019 I was delighted to assume the role of Director/Principal. The most rewarding part of my job is interacting with the students. They are fun loving, witty and demonstrate an intellectual curiosity that is any educator's dream. The energy level in the building is very high, the questioning by the students is incessant, and there are a lot of laughs. The skills for succeeding at P.A.C.E., whether in the role of teacher or student, are the same: a love of learning, high motivation, an excellent work ethic and a sense of humour. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by excellent teachers and a strong administrative staff: Liana, the Assistant to the Director; our Vice Principals, Caroline Corbit and Joanne Abela; and our Administrative Assistant, Irina. Every September we look forward to yet another passionate and exciting year for all.

    As the principal of Explore Nature, I am thrilled to welcome you to our vibrant learning community. At Explore Nature, we believe in the transformative power of outdoor education and experiential learning. Our dedicated team of educators is committed to providing your child with an exceptional educational experience that fosters a deep connection with nature, cultivates a love for learning, and nurtures their overall well-being.

    We are proud to offer a unique curriculum that combines academic excellence with meaningful outdoor experiences. Our students engage in hands-on activities, explore the wonders of the natural world, and develop essential skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving.

    At Explore Nature, we celebrate diversity, inclusivity, and the value of each student's unique talents and abilities. We provide a safe and supportive environment where students can express themselves, take risks, and grow both academically and personally.

    I invite you to explore our website, schedule a visit, and discover firsthand the exceptional educational opportunities that await your child at Explore Nature. Together, let's inspire a lifelong love for learning, foster a deep connection with nature, and empower our students to become compassionate and engaged global citizens.

  • ACADEMICS

    • OVERALL CURRICULUM


      Primary Curriculum

      Primary Curriculum

      ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

      Traditional

      EXPLORE NATURE

      Progressive


      Secondary Curriculum

      Secondary Curriculum

      ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

      Information not available

      EXPLORE NATURE

      Information not available


      Our Take: primary curriculum type

      Our Take: primary curriculum type

      ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

      Traditional curricula tend to be very content-based and rooted in the core disciplines. It is a structured approach that involves the teacher delivering a unified curriculum through direct instruction. Students usually learn by observing and listening to their teacher, studying facts and concepts in textbooks, and completing both tests and written assignments - which challenge students to not only demonstrate their mastery of content but their ability to analyze and deconstruct it critically. Class discussions are also used to create critical dialogue around the content of the curriculum.

      EXPLORE NATURE

      Progressive (sometimes called "in- quiry-based") curricula attempt to place children's interests and ideas at the heart of the learning experience. Instead of lessons being driven by predetermined pathways, progressive curricula are often "emergent", with learning activities shaped by students' questions about the world. Instead of starting with academic concepts and then tying it to everyday experience, progressive methods begin with everyday experience and work back to an academic lesson. Teachers provide materials, experiences, tools and resources to help students investigate a topic or issue. Students are encouraged to explore, reflect on their findings, and discuss answers or solutions.


      Our Take: secondary curriculum type

      Our Take: secondary curriculum type

      ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

      Not applicable

      EXPLORE NATURE

      Not applicable


      What the school says about their curriculum

      What the school says about their curriculum

      ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

      P.A.C.E. is a magnet school for students who have been identified as intellectually gifted by means of a psycho-educational assessment. The curriculum is differentiated through various methodologies and strategies i.e. compacting, identifying learning styles, creative problem solving, acceleration, inquiry-based learning, addressing the critical thinking skills, sophisticated field studies, greater depth and breadth of instruction, etc. in order to meet the special needs and characteristics of gifted kids. Our courses reflect high powered learning experiences for our gifted learners, including pre-AP courses offered in grade 8. To address the needs of the whole child, wonderful Fine Arts, Athletic, and Co-Instructional Programs complement our strong academic program. There is something truly special about being surrounded by people passionate about everything they do.

      EXPLORE NATURE

      Information not available

    • COURSE PEDAGOGIES

      • Mathematics


        Approach

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Equal Balance


        Our take: math approach type

        Our take: math approach type

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        These math programs feature an equal balance of “Traditional” and “Discovery” methods.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        These math programs feature an equal balance of “Traditional” and “Discovery” methods.


        What the school says about their math program

        What the school says about their math program

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        P.A.C.E. is a blend of old and new, allowing for the mastery of basic skills while creating exciting new initiatives in how to learn mathematics. It's not all about numerical operations but the understanding of mathematical concepts and the application of mathematics to real world experiences.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Math concepts are introduced through implicit teaching, and each strand is structured according to the Ontario Curriculum. Once introduced, concepts can then be explored through experiential based learning in the forest, using nature to explore how each idea presents itself in the real world, as well as cross-curricular connections, such as graphing colours found in nature, or exploring shapes in natural art.


        Textbooks and supplementary materials

        Textbooks and supplementary materials

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        A number of different textbooks are used at the high school level. But, most importantly, we create Resources Booklets for our students which allows us to draw from many different sources.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Nelson Math


        Calculator policy

        Calculator policy

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        To foster the development of mental math students in grades 1-6 do not use calculators. Starting in grade 7 calculators are used for basic computational skills. Graphing calculators are taught and used in grades 8- 12, but only scientific calculators (without graphing capabilities) are used for evaluations.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Information not available

      • Early Reading


        Approach

        Approach

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        Phonics-intensive

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Balanced Literacy


        Our take: early reading approach type

        Our take: early reading approach type

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

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

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Balanced reading programs are typically Whole Language programs with supplementary phonics training. This training might be incidental, or it might take the form of mini-lessons.


        What the school says about their early reading program

        What the school says about their early reading program

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        Children entering in to grade 1 are reading at various levels; from one or two sentences with pictures, to chapter books. Therefore, often there are 2 or 3 reading groups each with different reading assignments. Typically, by January, all of the children have reached a comparable level in their reading fluency but not necessarily in their reading comprehension. By the end of grade one all of the children are reading the same novels.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Explore Nature uses the dual coding theory to teach literacy, encoding language as sensory information that can be taught through phonics and sight word skills, as well as conceptual imagery that includes whole word concepts and comprehension. A systematic phonics program is used to support and fill learning blocks in readers of all grades, with a whole language reading and writing program used in all subjects to support the reading of age-appropriate literature.

      • Writing


        Approach

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Equal balance


        Our take: writing approach type

        Our take: writing approach type

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

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

        EXPLORE NATURE

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


        What the school says about their writing program

        What the school says about their writing program

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        Our children love to write, and we begin to introduce analytical writing as well as creative writing in grade one; the sophistication of which increases as writing assignments are introduced into writing categories: poetry, short stories, essays, and dialogues/monologues.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        At Explore Nature, we foster a love of writing and equip our students with essential writing skills from a young age. Our approach to teaching writing in the younger grades is designed to engage students, encourage their creativity, and develop effective communication skills. We believe that writing is a powerful tool for self-expression, and we provide numerous opportunities for students to share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas through written expression. Through structured lessons and creative writing exercises, we nurture their love for writing and motivate them to become proficient writers. We take a systemic approach to teaching foundational writing concepts in the early grades. We guide students in correctly printing their names, emphasizing proper letter formation and alignment. Our teachers provide individualized support to students, recognizing their unique writing abilities and adapting instruction accordingly. They employ various instructional strategies, including modelling, guided practice, and peer collaboration, to writing proficiency.

      • Science


        Approach


        Our take: science approach type

        Our take: science approach type

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        Science programs that balance expository and inquiry learning equally will likely have an equal blend of tests and experiments; direct, textbook-based instruction and student-centred projects.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Inquiry-based science emphasizes teaching science as a way of thinking or practice, and therefore tries to get students “doing” science as much as possible -- and not just “learning” it. Students still learn foundational scientific ideas and content (and build on this knowledge progressively); however, relative to expository science instruction, inquiry-based programs have students spend more time developing and executing their own experiments (empirical and theoretical). Students are frequently challenged to develop critical and scientific-thinking skills by developing their own well-reasoned hypothesis and finding ways to test those hypotheses. Projects and experiments are emphasized over textbook learning. Skills are emphasized over breadth of knowledge.


        What the school says about their science program

        What the school says about their science program

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        A variety of methodologies work best with our students. It is very important for our students to be exposed to the expert, to work effectively with their peers, and to creatively design their own scientific experiments.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        We aim to instill a love for scientific inquiry, nurture curiosity about the natural world, and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, introducing science through hands-on exploration and observation. Students engage in age-appropriate experiments, and sensory activities to develop their scientific skills and understanding. They learn to ask questions, make predictions, and gather evidence, fostering a sense of wonder and excitement about the world around them. We cover a wide range of topics, including life sciences, earth and space sciences, physical sciences, and environmental sustainability. We believe in fostering a strong connection to nature. Our outdoor learning environment provides the perfect setting for scientific exploration, allowing students to observe and interact with ecosystems, plants, animals, and natural phenomena firsthand. Our teachers serve as facilitators and guides, encouraging students to think critically and ask thought-provoking questions. They provide reflection, discussion, and self-assessment opportunities, nurturing a growth mindset and lifelong learning habits.


        Topics covered in science curriculum

        Topics covered in science curriculum

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        Evolution as consensus theory
        Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
        Evolution is not taught

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Evolution as consensus theory
        Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
        Evolution is not taught


        Treatment of evolution (value)

        Treatment of evolution (value)

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        Zoology

      • Social Studies


        Approach

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Expanding Communities


        Our take: social studies approach type

        Our take: social studies approach type

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        The Thematic approach organizes the curriculum around certain themes or cultural universals. Students might spend time focused on food. Then they might focus on transportation or government, and so on.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        The Expanding Communities approach organizes the curriculum around students’ present, everyday experience. In the younger grades, students might learn about themselves, for example. As they move through the grades, the focus gradually broadens in scope: to the family, neighbourhood, city, province, country, and globe. The curriculum tends to have less focus on history than Core Knowledge programs.


        What the school says about their social studies program

        What the school says about their social studies program

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        Through our broad-based issues and themes, students learn in a very holistic manner as opposed to learning content and facts in isolation. The exploration of the dynamic activities enhance the critical thinking skills and students learn how to apply, analyze and evaluate information. It is through these theme based assignments that our younger students learn to hone their research skills - both through written report and oral presentation.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Our approach fosters students' understanding of their place in the world, promotes cultural awareness, and embraces the richness of Indigenous history and perspectives. Our social studies curriculum is designed to connect students with their immediate surroundings and expand their understanding to a global scale. We begin by exploring identity, family, and community, encouraging students to reflect on their experiences and how they contribute to the social fabric. Cultural themes are woven throughout our social studies curriculum to ensure a holistic and inclusive approach. We prioritize teaching the histories, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous peoples, with a focus on pre-colonial and pioneer-settled Canada. Our teachers create a safe and inclusive classroom environment where students feel comfortable expressing their opinions, asking questions, and engaging in respectful dialogue. They facilitate discussions on social justice, human rights, and ethical issues, empowering students to become active participants in shaping a more equitable and sustainable world.

      • Humanities and Social Sciences


        Approach

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Not applicable


        Our take: humanities and social sciences approach type

        Our take: humanities and social sciences approach type

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        These programs represent an equal balance between the perennialist and pragmatic approach to teaching the humanities and social sciences.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Not applicable


        What the school says about their humanities and social sciences

        What the school says about their humanities and social sciences

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        Through our life skills course, civics, history, law, philosophy and classical civilization students develop their critical thinking skills through discussion, debate and analytical essay writing. Students enjoy discussing BIG IDEAS while respecting the opinions of their peers in a safe and open learning environment. Application to real life experiences remains an important aspect of any social science or humanities course.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Information not available

      • Foreign Languages


        Our take: foreign language approach type

        Our take: foreign language approach type

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        These programs feature an equal blend of the audio-lingual and communicative styles of language instruction.


        What the school says about their foreign language programs

        What the school says about their foreign language programs

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        The acquisition of French as a second language includes the concrete sequential mode of learning as well as interactive group work. Our French Language program addresses the four components: Listening Comprehension, Reading Comprehension, Written and Oral Expression. Students study French cultural and language heritage as well as the constructs of formal grammar.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Information not available


        Language instruction offered in:

        Topics covered in science curriculum

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        Hebrew
        ESL
        Spanish
        Russian
        Latin
        Japanese
        Italian
        Greek
        German
        French
        Chinese-Mandarin
        Chinese-Cantonese

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Hebrew
        ESL
        Spanish
        Russian
        Latin
        Japanese
        Italian
        Greek
        German
        French
        Chinese-Mandarin
        Chinese-Cantonese


        Learning a foreign language is required until

        Treatment of evolution (value)

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        Information not available

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Information not available

      • Computers and Technolgy


        Approach

        Approach

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        Medium integration

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Light integration


        Our take: computers and technology approach type

        Our take: computers and technology approach type

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        Effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy through the curriculum. However, this is not a dominant focus.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Computers are used in the classroom from time to time, but integrating technology into everything students do is not a dominant focus. Digital literacy is understood to be a legitimate skill in the 21st century, but not one that should distract from teaching the subject at hand, or more fundamental skills and literacies. The idea is today’s students, being “digital natives”, are likely exposed to computers and new media enough outside the classroom: the role of the school, rather, should be to develop competencies that may otherwise get missed.


        What the school says about their computers and technology program

        What the school says about their computers and technology program

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        All students use personally owned devices to enhance learning experiences and opportunities in various disciplines throughout the regular school day. Robotics plays a very large role in our technology program and the instruction of coding begins in grade four.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        A digital Smartboard is used to convey concepts that require extensive visuals, or to show videos of places or practices that can't be found in the classroom. Older students are taught to use digital presentation programs, such as Google Slides, to prepare them for a junior level classroom. Technology is also employed when needed by the curriculum, such as digital media as a part of Media Literacy, or coding as part of Mathematics.


        Courses offered in:

        Topics covered in science curriculum

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        Web design
        Robotics
        Computer science

        EXPLORE NATURE

        Web design
        Robotics
        Computer science

      • Physical Education


        What the school says about their physical education program

        What the school says about their computers and technology program

        ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

        The development of a healthy mind and body is critical to success.

        EXPLORE NATURE

        At Explore Nature, our approach recognizes the vital importance of physical education in a child's overall development. Teaching physical education promotes an active and healthy lifestyle while instilling a love for movement and physical activity. We provide a well-rounded physical education curriculum that combines structured lessons with opportunities for unstructured play and natural exploration. Our teachers integrate physical fitness activities seamlessly into our outdoor learning environment. Our physical education program focuses on developing fundamental movement skills like running, jumping, throwing, and balancing. Students build their coordination, strength, and agility through engaging and age-appropriate activities. We also emphasize the value of teamwork, sportsmanship, and fair play, fostering social skills and cooperation. To ensure a comprehensive approach, we cover a range of activities, including games, sports, yoga, nature hikes, and outdoor adventure challenges. Our students can engage in nature-based activities that enhance their understanding of the environment while staying physically active.

    • PRESCHOOL/K CURRICULUM


      Approach

      EXPLORE NATURE

      Play-based


      Our Take

      Our Take

      ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

      Academic-based preschools and Kindergartens are the most structured of the different types, and have a strong emphasis on math and reading readiness skills. These programs aim to expose children to what early-elementary school is like. While time is still allotted to free play, much of the day is built around explicit lessons guided by the teacher. Classrooms often resemble play-based ones (with different stations set up around the room), but at an Academic program the teacher leads students through the stations directly, and ties these activities to a whole-class lesson or theme.

      EXPLORE NATURE

      Play-based programs are the most common type of preschool and Kindergarten, and are founded on the belief young children learn best through play. Largely open-ended and minimally structured, play-based programs aim to develop social skills and a love of attending school. “Pre-academic” skills are taught, but in a more indirect way than at, say, an Academic program: through children playing in different “stations” set up around the classroom, which children choose on their own volition. Stations often contain an indirect lesson or developmental goal. Play-based classrooms are highly social and active.


      What the school says

      What the school says

      ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

      Information not available

      EXPLORE NATURE

      Information not available

    • CURRICULUM PACE


      Pace

      EXPLORE NATURE

      Student-paced


      Our Take

      Our Take

      ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

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

      EXPLORE NATURE

      The main curriculum pace is non-standardized and is HIGHLY responsive to the pacing of individual students, (via differentiated instruction, differentiated assessment, etc). In theory, some students outpace the default/normalized curriculum, while others spend periods "behind schedule" if they need the extra time.


      What the school says

      What the school says

      ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

      Information not available

      EXPLORE NATURE

      Information not available

    • ACADEMIC CULTURE


      Culture

      EXPLORE NATURE

      Supportive


      Our Take

      Our Take

      ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

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

      EXPLORE NATURE

      A school with a “supportive” academic culture focuses more on process than short-term outcomes: academic performance is a welcomed side-benefit, but not the driving focus. This does not mean the school lacks standards, or has low expectations for its students: a school can have a supportive academic culture and still light the fire of ambition in its students. It does mean, however, the school provides a less intensive culture than schools with a “rigorous” academic classification, and is focused more simply on instilling a love of learning and life-long curiosity.


      What the school says

      EXPLORE NATURE

      Information not available


      Approach to student honours

      Approach to student honours

      ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

      "We honour and distinguish our brightest students, using them as examples for other students to follow."

      EXPLORE NATURE

      "We intentionally avoid all forms of public distinction between students in terms of academic performance."

    • DEVELOPMENTAL PRIORITIES


      Primary

      Primary

      ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

      Intellectual
      The goal is to cultivate "academically strong, creative and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions."

      EXPLORE NATURE

      Balanced
      Equal emphasis is placed on a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social and physical cultivation.


      Secondary

      Secondary

      ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

      Balanced
      Equal emphasis is placed on a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social and physical cultivation.

      EXPLORE NATURE

      Not applicable
      Not applicable


      What the school says

      What the school says

      ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

      Addressing the needs of gifted children through a well balanced education that attends to the cognitive as well as social emotional needs of the children allows for us to groom good people who will be productive citizens in society.

      EXPLORE NATURE

      Information not available

  • EXTRACURRICULARS

    Competitive

    Comp.

    Recreational

    Rec.

    Competitive

    Comp.

    Recreational

    Rec.

    Badminton

    Baseball

    Basketball

    Canoeing/Kayaking

    Cricket

    Cross-country skiing

    Cycling

    Downhill skiing

    Equestrian

    Fencing

    Field Hockey

    Figure Skating

    Football

    Golf

    Gymnastics

    Ice Hockey

    Ice Skating

    Lacrosse

    Martial Arts

    Mountain biking

    Racquet Ball

    Rowing

    Rugby

    Running

    Sailing

    Skateboarding

    Snowboarding

    Soccer

    Softball

    Squash

    Swimming

    Tennis

    Track & Field

    Volleyball

    Weightlifting

    Wrestling

    Archery

    Curling

    Ultimate


    Clubs Offered

    Clubs offered

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    Ballet and Classical Ballet
    Yoga
    Yearbook
    Student Council
    Scouting
    Science Club
    School newspaper
    Round Square
    Robotics club
    Radio club
    Poetry/Literature club
    Photography
    Paintball
    Outdoor Education
    Outdoor Club
    Online Magazine
    Musical theatre/Opera
    Math Club
    Jazz Ensemble
    Habitat for Humanity
    Foreign Language Club
    Environmental Club
    Drama Club
    Debate Club
    Dance Club
    Computer Club
    Community Service
    Choir
    Chess Club
    Band
    Audiovisual Club
    Astronomy Club
    Art Club
    Animation

    EXPLORE NATURE

    Ballet and Classical Ballet
    Yoga
    Yearbook
    Student Council
    Scouting
    Science Club
    School newspaper
    Round Square
    Robotics club
    Radio club
    Poetry/Literature club
    Photography
    Paintball
    Outdoor Education
    Outdoor Club
    Online Magazine
    Musical theatre/Opera
    Math Club
    Jazz Ensemble
    Habitat for Humanity
    Foreign Language Club
    Environmental Club
    Drama Club
    Debate Club
    Dance Club
    Computer Club
    Community Service
    Choir
    Chess Club
    Band
    Audiovisual Club
    Astronomy Club
    Art Club
    Animation


    What the school says

    What the school says

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    • Our students participate in many extracurricular competitions, most notably in drama and improv, robotics, reach for the top, model UN, chess and athletics.
  • Financial Aid

    Grades eligible

    Grades eligible

    Students on aid

    Students on aid

    0%

    0%

    Avg. aid package (annual)

    Avg. aid package (annual)

    $0

    $0

  • ADMISSIONS

    Admissions

    Admissions rate

    75%

    100%

    Day entry years

    SK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

    JK, SK, K, 1, 2, 3

    Boarding entry years

    Day admissions deadline

    Rolling

    Rolling

    Boarding admissions deadline

    Not available

    Not available

    Interview required?

    Yes: grades 1 - 8

    No

    SSAT required

    No

    No

    SSAT(out of province) required

    No

    No

    Entrance exams required

    No

    No

    Entrance essay required

    No

    No

    Application fee required

    No

    No

    Type of student school is looking for

    Type of student school is looking for

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    The first critierion for P.A.C.E. is that the student is identified as intellectual gifted. We are looking for bright individuals who are passionate about learning and are productive citizens within the school.

    EXPLORE NATURE

    At Explore Nature, we welcome students who possess a sense of curiosity, a love for learning, and an appreciation for the natural world. We believe in fostering a supportive and inclusive community where students can thrive and develop to their fullest potential. We are looking for students who enjoy outdoor activities and have a natural curiosity about the environment. Our curriculum heavily emphasizes hands-on exploration and outdoor learning, so a willingness to engage with nature and the outdoors is important. While we welcome students from diverse backgrounds and abilities, it is important that students are able to meet the physical demands of our program, such as walking and carrying their own bags comfortably. Ultimately, we are looking for students who will embrace our educational approach, connect with our values of nature exploration, and actively participate in creating a positive and inclusive learning community at Explore Nature.

    What the school says

    What the school says

    ACADEMY FOR GIFTED CHILDREN - P.A.C.E.

    All students are required to have a psycho-educational assessment (WISC V).  If the student scores in the 95th percentile or higher in verbal reasoning and visual perception, on paper, that child would qualify for P.A.C.E.  The next step would be to have a meeting with the family and for the student to visit for the day. Feedback regarding the child's visit is provided. 

    EXPLORE NATURE

    At Explore Nature, we have a straightforward application process that welcomes all students who meet our basic requirements. We kindly request that students be potty trained to ensure a positive learning environment, as this promotes independence and hygiene.

    We prioritize fostering a deep connection with nature, so we recommend that students have an enjoyment of outdoor activities. Our curriculum heavily emphasizes outdoor exploration and hands-on learning, allowing students to fully engage with the natural world around them. Additionally, students should be able to walk and carry their own bags comfortably, as we often move between indoor and outdoor learning spaces.

    When applying, parents or guardians can complete our application form, providing the necessary details about the student. We encourage families to book a visit to our school, allowing them to experience our unique environment firsthand and ask any questions they may have.

  • NOTABLE ALUMNI

    Alumni

    information not available
    information not available

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