AN OUR KIDS REPORT:Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E. vs. Fern Hill School - Burlington

one-to-one comparison:

View Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E.'s full report
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View Fern Hill School - Burlington's full report

  • SCHOOL LOCATION

    Distance From

    Map

    Address

    Address

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

    801 North Service Rd, Burlington, Ontario, L7P 5B6, Canada

  • SCHOOL OVERVIEW

    Basics

    Basics

    Founded

    1993

    1982

    Enrolment

    280

    195

    Grades

    1 to 8

    Preschool to 8

    Gender

    Coed

    Coed

    Living arrangements

    Day

    Day

    Language of instruction

    English

    English, French, Mandarin

    Faith Based

    School focus

    Academic

    Academic

    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.
    Intellectual
    The goal is to cultivate "academically strong, creative and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions."
    Emotional
    The goal is to cultivate "emotionally intelligent and confident individuals, capable of leading both themselves and others."

    Academics

    Academics

    Curriculum

    Traditional

    Traditional

    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).
    Standard-enriched
    Broadly-speaking, the main curriculum -- like that of most schools -- paces the provincially-outlined one. This pace is steady and set by the teachers and school. The curriculum might still be enriched in various ways: covering topics more in-depth and with more vigor than the provincial one, or covering a broader selection of topics.

    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”.
    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”.

    Avg. Class Size

    Varies

    16 to 19

    Special needs support

    Gifted learner support

    Dedicated gifted school

    Dedicated class; in-class adaptations

    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.
    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.

    Tuition

    Tuition

    Day Tuition

    $18,500

    $11,742 to $24,550

    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

    16

    Percent in boarding

    0%

    0%

    Admissions

    Admissions

    Admissions rate

    75%

    80%

    Day entry years

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

    Preschool, JK, SK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

    Boarding entry years

    Day admissions deadline

    Rolling

    Rolling

    Boarding admissions deadline

    Not available

    Not available

    Interview required?

    Yes: grades 1 - 8

    Yes: grades Preschool - 8

    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

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    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.

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    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    At Fern Hill, academics are important, just as they should be at any school, but culture is important too, including a desire to capitalize on the individual strengths of the staff. Cross-curricular links are a focus, as is a desire to allow students to experience things that may, for the moment at any rate, seem to reside outside their immediate areas of interest. The school takes good advantage of its location within the Ontario Greenbelt, and field studies—there’s a bird banding program, among other initiatives—are used as an entrée to the development of confidence, skill development, and team building. Families are drawn to the strength of the academic program, the small class sizes, the broad range of co-curricular programs, and an abiding dedication to academic excellence.  

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  • 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

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    "I personally appreciate the comradery and sense of community among the children."
    Justin Jones - Parent   (Nov 24, 2021)
    We have two children (twins) who have attended Fern Hill School – both absolutely loved their 9 ye... 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."

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    "Since 1982, Fern Hill's mission has been to develop students ages 3-14 who are dedicated to excellence, possess a sense of personal worth, and have confidence in their abilities. Our enriched, rigorous curriculum is taught in a rotary timetable by qualified, subject specific teachers who are passionate about their subjects. This approach is reflected in the high level of engagement found in our classrooms. Math, Science & Literacy programs are enriched with Sports,Mandarin,French, Art, Drama,Music and more."

    • Strong Academics
    • Personalized, enriched curriculum
    • Wireless technology & SMARTBoards
    • Accelerated academic courses
    • Full sports program & facilities
    • Visual arts, band, vocal music, choir & musical productions
    • Mandarin study in Grades 7 & 8
    • Full and half day PS & JK
    • Bus Service
    • Global Round Square - a collaboration of international schools committed to character education

    Array

    What do you do differently and uniquely well?

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

    Information not available

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    "Our subject specific teachers make us unique. Almost all elementary schools in Ontario use a single grade teachers to deliver the core program. Fern Hill provides individual teachers for each subject in a rotary schedule similar to that used in Ontario high schools. Our students don't move rooms each period, but our teachers do. This allows our teachers to expand and share their expertise and passion for their subject with students across a number of grades. It also enables us to enrich or support the individual skills of the students in each subject. Throughout the week, our students will many different teachers but whether it is math or art, each teacher believes their subject is the most important subject!"

    Array

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

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

    Information not available

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    "Fern Hill students all have a consistent homeroom teachers who greets them in the morning, eats lunch with them, and organizes them at the end of the day, but they also have a flow of subject teachers who move through the classroom according to the weekly timetable. This flow brings a regular change of personal connection and chemistry that we believe is positive, but that also requires an ability to transition and refocus quickly in preparation for the next subject. While many children appreciate the structure of a defined schedule, and find the change of teacher to be interesting and refreshing, some children may find this structure and its multiple transitions challenging."

    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

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    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

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    "Fern Hill students enjoy coming to school each day and are motivated to learn and participate in their lessons. Our rotary timetable and the transition of teachers throughout the day encourage personal organization and the ability to adapt and focus on each new class. Our students learn to be flexible through the many experiential learning opportunities that may interrupt their schedule with overnight trips, cultural presentations, sports tournaments, etc.

    Fern Hill families expect their children to participate in extracurriculars and to develop the courage to step out of their comfort zones to try unfamiliar or challenging opportunities. Character traits that our families value include respect, courage, leadership, persistence and resilience."

    Array

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

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

    Information not available

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    "Families looking for a single teacher approach may not find our rotary schedule of subjects and teachers appealing."

    Array

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

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

    Information not available

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    "Families choose Fern Hill for a multitude of reasons, but at the heart of it is our commitment to providing a challenging academic program led by highly qualified teacher specialists. Here at Fern Hill School, we believe in kindling the academic potential of each student through engaging lessons and experiential learning.

    What sets Fern Hill apart are our unique offerings. From Mandarin to Field Studies, Band, and an amazing selection of Arts programs, we provide opportunities for students to explore and excel in various disciplines. Our international travel and leadership opportunities broaden horizons and foster global citizenship.

    Yet, beyond our programs, it's the palpable sense of warmth, community, and connection that truly defines Fern Hill. When families enter our doors, they immediately feel embraced by our supportive community."

    Array

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

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

    Information not available

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    "Fern Hill is a feeling. Parents who choose us will often remark on the quiet they encounter in our halls and the respectful way students address them when we encounter them in the halls or ask them questions visiting a class.

    We have a reputation for strong academics that support applications to excellent high schools where our students excel."

    Array

    What aspect of your school is underappreciated?

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

    Information not available

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    Information not available

    Array

    What might families find surprising about your school?

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

    Information not available

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    Information not available

    Array

    What improvements or changes has your school made recently?

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

    Information not available

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    "In 2024-25, we will be introducing a new reach-ahead Grade 9 credit course named Building the Entrepreneurial Mindset (BEM10). This course replaces BTT10 and is will be offered through our Grade 9 Technology program. All Grade 8 students will complete this program along with the option of taking Grade 9 Math and French and will receive the official transcript that will be reflected in their high school credit reports."

    Array

    How will your school change in the next 5 years?

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

    Information not available

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    "With a history that began in 1982, Fern Hill holds fast to the philosophy and ideals that were the foundation when we began. The journey from Preschool through Grade 8 represents 11 years with each family and they need to be able to trust that the reasons they choose Fern Hill will hold true throughout their time with us. With careful attention to the Ontario Ministry of Ed and their curriculum guidelines and recommendations we endeavour to stay true to our proven delivery methods, school values and our core philosophy of teaching our students the importance of being 'dedicated to excellence'."

  • 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.

    My vision for Fern Hill School began long before there was a building, a student body or even a faculty. It began with a wish list: small class sizes, a warm friendly environment, attention to intellectual, social, emotional and physical growth and caring subject-specific teachers.

    Today, more than 30 years later, Fern Hill combines the best traditional learning approaches with individualized techniques that have proven to be effective in engaging young minds. Taught by teachers who are as passionate about their students as they are about their subject specialties, our enriched curriculum stimulates and challenges students to give their personal best.  

    Our families choose Fern Hill not only because of its excellence in education, but also because our 22 acre campus is warm and inviting with indoor and outdoor spaces that are rich in purpose. In addition to spacious classrooms, a fully equipped gymnasium provides opportunities to be a part of school teams. A music room where vocal music is supported by Orff instruments and where band starts in Grade 5, offers a wide range of opportunities for performance. And a spacious art centre where students are led on an artistic journey that exposes them to all aspects of form, colour, light, perspective and Art History. 

    My honest opinion is that the only way to know what we do, is to come to visit and see for yourself. Ask our teachers why they love to teach here and our children what is it that makes them want to come to school each day. I know you will like what they have to tell you. 

  • ACADEMICS

    • OVERALL CURRICULUM


      Primary Curriculum

      Primary Curriculum

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

      Traditional


      Secondary Curriculum

      Secondary Curriculum

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

      Information not available

      FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

      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.

      FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

      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.


      Our Take: secondary curriculum type

      Our Take: secondary curriculum type

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

      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.

      FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

      Since 1982, Fern Hill's mission has been to graduate students ages 3-14 who are dedicated to academic excellence, feel sense of personal worth, and confidence in their talents and abilities. Fern Hill's enriched curriculum is taught in a rotary timetable by qualified, subject specific teachers who are passionate about their individual subjects. This approach is reflected in the enriched program and high level of engagement in the classroom. Our strong Math, Science and Literature program is enriched with a breadth of subjects including Mandarin, French, Field Studies, Drama, and Vocal studies.

    • COURSE PEDAGOGIES

      • Mathematics


        Approach


        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        Traditional Math typically teaches a method or algorithm FIRST, and THEN teaches the applications for the method. Traditional algorithms are emphasized and practiced regularly: repetition and drills are frequently used to ensure foundational mastery in the underlying mathematical procedures. The traditional approach to math views math education as akin to building a logical edifice: each brick depends on the support of the previously laid ones, which represent mastery over a particular procedure or method. Traditional Math begins by giving students a tool, and then challenges students to practice using that tool an applied way, with progressively challenging problems. In this sense Traditional Math aims to establish procedural understanding before conceptual and applied understanding.


        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        There is no end to Mathematics. Students at Fern Hill develop a love of numbers through our individualized program that allows each student to progress through math concepts at their own pace. Students with a passion for math may work on problems beyond the grade expectation and graduate with accredited high school credits as a result.


        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        Information not available


        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        Fern Hill students practice mental math techniques for multiplication, simple division etc. making calculators unnecessary as a regular tool. In Grade 7 and 8, our laptop program provides access to calculating tools that complement the advanced concepts being studied.

      • Early Reading


        Approach

        Approach

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

        Phonics-intensive


        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        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.


        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        Students in preschool are introduced to letters and numbers using fun, engaging materials. As fine motor skills develop in JK, students develop competency with the printing process, the begin blending letter sounds and reading begins. Reading takes flight in SK with students working on individualized programs based on their progress with phonetic decoding and vocabulary strength.


        DIBELS testing

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        DIBELS Testing: This school periodically uses DIBELS testing to assess reading progress.

      • Writing


        Approach

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        Systematic approach


        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        The systematic approach to teaching beginner writing focuses on directly imparting explicit sentence construction strategies, along with planning, revising, and editing skills. Students are asked to learn these explicit strategies and skills and practice them before applying them in more holistic writing assignments. Grammar and parts of sentences tend to have a central role in systematic writing instruction.


        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        While grammar, penmanship and cursive writing skills are important skills intrinsic to the Fern Hill Language programme, creativity is a central theme. Through journaling, poetry writing, and creative writing, students are provided with many opportunities for creative expression.

      • Literature


        Approach


        Our take: literature approach type

        Our take: literature approach type

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

        These literature programs draw in equal measure from “Traditional” and “Social Justice” programs.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        In traditional literature programs students focus on decoding the mechanics of texts: plot, characterization, and themes. These texts tend to include a balance of contemporary and “classic” literature. When studying a past work, students investigate its historical context -- but only insofar as this adds understanding to the work itself. Past works are therefore studied “on their own terms”, and not merely as historical artifacts to be deconstructed: traditional literature programs are firmly rooted in the humanities, and carry the belief that great literature can reveal fundamental and universal truths about the human condition. These programs emphasize class discussions and critical essay writing, and aim to develop in students critical thinking, communication skills, and a cultivated taste and ethos.


        What the school says about their literature program

        What the school says about their literature program

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

        Literature comes alive through multiple interpretations and rich performance tasks that include choral speaking, debates, trials, videos, music and drama.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        Information not available


        Domains covered by the literature program

        Topics covered in literature curriculum

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

        Ancient lit
        English lit
        World (non-Western) lit
        European (continental) lit
        American lit
        Canadian lit

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        Ancient lit
        English lit
        World (non-Western) lit
        European (continental) lit
        American lit
        Canadian lit

      • Social Studies


        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        Usually focused on teaching history and geography at an early age, the core knowledge approach uses story, drama, reading, and discussion to teach about significant people, places, and events. Breadth of content and knowledge is emphasized. The curriculum is often organized according to the underlying logic of the content: history might be taught sequentially, for example (as students move through the grades).


        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        History, Geography and Science are timetabled as separate subjects and often each have a separate teacher.

      • Humanities and Social Sciences


        Approach


        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        Perennialism in the humanities and social sciences emphasizes the idea of education being a kind of “conversation” between generations, and so frequently turns to “Great Works” and “Big Ideas” for teaching-content. Perennialist programs approach past works on their own terms; as if they might actually help students understand “today” better. Past works are not viewed as mere historical artifacts, but as gateways to a deeper understanding of the human condition. History (and, by extension, the humanities in general) therefore plays a large role in perennialist curriculums, though social sciences like economics, psychology, and sociology can still be taught. There is a strong Liberal Arts bent to perennialist programs. The key goals are to develop critical thinking, a strong foundation of core knowledge (or “cultural literacy”), and persuasion skills through informed debate and extensive practice in essay writing.


        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        Information not available

      • Foreign Languages


        Approach


        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        The communicative method of language acquisition emphasizes the use of the target language in authentic contexts. The approach commonly features interactive group work, games, authentic texts, and opportunities to learn about the cultural background of the language. Drills and quizzes may still be used, but less frequently than with the audio-lingual method.


        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        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

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        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

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        Information not available

      • Computers and Technolgy


        Approach

        Approach

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

        Medium 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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        Students attend weekly computer/technology classes as part of their timetable. Coding, hardware, and many software packages are explored. Tools including robotics are used to develop understanding and experience. Laptops are introduced in G7 & 8 to facilitate access to information and collaboration. .


        Courses offered in:

        Topics covered in science curriculum

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

        Web design
        Robotics
        Computer science

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        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.

        FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

        Our athletic program teaches the skills and drills needed to experience and develop competency in a wide variety sports though-out the year. Opportunities for participation in team competitions begin in Senior Kindergarten with our House Teams, and progress to inter-school competitions in Grade 3-8.

    • PRESCHOOL/K CURRICULUM


      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.

      FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

      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.


      What the school says

      What the school says

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

      Information not available

      FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

      Our Preschool class provides a safe and welcoming learning space for children who turn 3 before December 31st. Their busy and interactive days are filled with our early reading and numeracy program along with an introduction to mandarin, french, music, drama, and phys.ed. JK and then SK builds on this foundation, introducing writing and blending sounds so that reading blossoms and number sense becomes second nature. Very much a part of the school, our youngest students are active participants in school events and performances which creates anticipation and excitement about coming to school each day.

    • CURRICULUM PACE


      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).

      FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

      Broadly-speaking, the main curriculum -- like that of most schools -- paces the provincially-outlined one. This pace is steady and set by the teachers and school. The curriculum might still be enriched in various ways: covering topics more in-depth and with more vigor than the provincial one, or covering a broader selection of topics.


      What the school says

      What the school says

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

      Information not available

      FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

      Fern Hill students who are ready to reach ahead are challenged with work beyond their grade level while others are given resource help to build their confidence and build competence. Man y will graduate with accredited Grade 9 credits in their Grade 8 year.

    • ACADEMIC CULTURE


      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”.

      FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

      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”.


      What the school says

      FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

      As our youngest students begin what can be an eleven year journey at Fern Hill, we greet them with an environment where they feel welcome and safe and where they quickly start to learn who they are and that they are capable of trying anything. The confidence that quickly develops in these early years allows them to stretch their own expectations of what they can accomplish. As they grow, so do our expectations for academic performance as do the opportunities we provide for broader learning. Our students confidently move on to excellent high schools, well prepared both academically and socially.


      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."

      FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

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

    • 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."

      FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

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


      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.

      FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

      Emotional
      The goal is to cultivate "emotionally intelligent and confident individuals, capable of leading both themselves and others."


      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.

      FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

      Teaching compassion and empathy while fostering curiosity and confidence lets Fern Hill graduate boys and girls who are academically and intellectually prepared to achieve their goals; Leaders who possess a balance of spiritual, emotional, and social skills; Adults who are able to evaluate and reason with the demands of the times. A Fern Hill student will be both intellectually adaptable and morally grounded.

  • 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

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    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%

    80%

    Day entry years

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

    Preschool, JK, SK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

    Boarding entry years

    Day admissions deadline

    Rolling

    Rolling

    Boarding admissions deadline

    Not available

    Not available

    Interview required?

    Yes: grades 1 - 8

    Yes: grades Preschool - 8

    SSAT required

    No

    No

    SSAT(out of province) required

    No

    No

    Entrance exams required

    No

    Yes: grades 1 - 8

    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.

    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. 

    FERN HILL SCHOOL - BURLINGTON

    1. Completion of our digital application form (contact the admissions office)
    2. Previous two year's report cards
    3. Copy of birth certificate or passport
    4. Completion of age appropriate admissions assessment and or interview (may be done in person or via zoom depending on restrictions)
  • NOTABLE ALUMNI

    Alumni

    information not available
    information not available

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