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Our Kids Private School Reviews

Objective, detailed reviews of more than 350 private and independent schools.


Ridley College
Metropolitan Preparatory Academy
Fieldstone School
Pickering College
Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School
Holy Name of Mary College School
Lynn-Rose Heights School
Sunnybrook School
Upper Canada College
Brentwood College School
Havergal College
Robert Land Academy
Hudson College
St. John's-Kilmarnock School
Trinity College School
Appleby College


On this page you’ll find:

The Our Kids Review:
Our signature series of book-length private school reviews. Each offers a unique, objective perspective on the programs, facilities, traditions, and administration of a particular school, informed by interviews with administrators, faculty, students, and parents.

Our Take:
Reviews of more than 350 private and independent schools written by staff writers of Our Kids. Each review provides an objective, thumbnail sketch of a school’s strengths, student population, and position within the spectrum of academic programs available in Canada.

User reviews:
Submitted by alumni, students, and parents. Submit a review.

**Use the headers below to sort schools by name, location and whether they have The Our Kids Review or User Reviews.
You can also search for specific terms with the search bar**


Name
Location
Our Kids review
User review

School Name

  • Appleby College
    Appleby College
    Oakville, Ontario
    Our Kids review

    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: While boarding isn't as much of a focus as it once was—the day students now outnumber the boarders, as they have since 1980—Appleby's stance is nevertheless predicated on the benefits associated with a boarding school environment: independence, self-discipline, and responsibility. The school prides itself on a reputation for academic excellence and innovation, and the program is designed to prepare students for the world that they will move into after graduation, one where the primary skill necessary for success is an ability to engage productively with others. Diversity is viewed as a core strength, and the school has instituted a range of programs intended create and maintain a diverse academic, cultural, and economic student population. The ideal student is one who is forthright, active, confident, and self-directed, and predisposed to making the most of the wide range of opportunities that the school provides.


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    Our Take: Appleby College

    While boarding isn't as much of a focus as it once was—the day students now outnumber the boarders, as they have done for some time—Appleby's stance is nevertheless predicated on the benefits that boarding can afford: independence, self-discipline, and responsibility. The school prides itself on a reputation for academic innovation, one that it has rightly earned. The program is designed to prepare students for the world that they will move into after graduation, and indeed it is a leader in that regard. Diversity is seen as a core strength, and the school has instituted a range of programs intended maintain a diverse academic, cultural, and economic student population. The ideal student is one who is forthright, active, confident, and self-directed.


    our take
Oakville 1 0
  • Brentwood College School
    Brentwood College School
    Mill Bay, British Columbia
    Our Kids review

    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: Brentwood was the first all-boys' boarding school in Canada to begin admitting girls, something that remains emblematic of the school's tradition of looking forward, actively anticipating a changing social context and the evolving needs of students. In the 1990s, Brentwood became one of the first schools in the country to make a substantial commitment to sustainable energy, building a performing arts centre with a geothermal loop for heating and cooling. The new dining hall and service centre, completed in 2010, continues that commitment while also providing an example to the student population. A current 10-year strategic development plan, launched in 2013, is as robust as it is comprehensive, providing a unified vision for the school as it embarks on its second century. Arts and athletics are emphasized, and the instructional day is organized in order to ensure that all students take active part in all aspects of curricular life. Brentwood is distinguished by a world-class rowing program that has produced a long list of Olympians, though academics remain the central focus. The program of pastoral care is integrated throughout the school, and begins within the student houses, in which both day and boarding students actively participate. The ideal student is one with sights firmly set on university and inclined to leadership roles in student life and beyond.


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    Our Take: Brentwood College School

    Brentwood was the first all-boys' boarding school in Canada to begin admitting girls, something that remains emblematic of the school's forward-looking approach. In the 1990s, it became one of the first schools in the country to make a substantial commitment to sustainable energy, building a performing arts centre that includes a geothermal loop for heating and cooling. The new dining hall and service centre, completed in 2010, continues that commitment, also providing an example to the student population. Arts and athletics are emphasized—the school is distinguished by a rowing program that has produced a long list of olympians—though academics remain the central focus of the Brentwood program. The ideal student is one with sights firmly set on university and is inclined to leadership roles in student life and beyond.


    our take
Mill Bay 1 0
  • Fieldstone School
    Fieldstone School
    Toronto, Ontario
    Our Kids review

    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: The aim of Fieldstone is to provide an inclusive, supportive, 360-degree student experience, and both curricular and extra-curricular programs have been created with that goal in mind. Class sizes are kept small, and the relationships between instructors, administrators, and students is close. The feel is nurturing, yet the academic gaze is wide. The intention is to educate students to positions of informed leadership, both locally and globally. A rich language program is a hint of that, including a one-on-one reciprocal English-Chinese mentorship, pairing native speakers of both languages. The ideal student is one with sights firmly set on university.


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    Our Take: Fieldstone School

    The aim of Fieldstone is to provide an inclusive, supportive, 360-degree student experience, and both curricular and extra-curricular programs have been created with that goal in mind. Class sizes are kept small, and the relationships between instructors, administrators, and students is close. The feel is nurturing, yet the academic gaze is wide. The intention is to educate students to positions of informed leadership, both locally and globally. A rich language program is a hint of that, including a one-on-one reciprocal English-Chinese mentorship, pairing native speakers of both languages. The ideal student is one with sights firmly set on university.


    our take
Toronto 1 0
  • Havergal College
    Havergal College
    Toronto, Ontario
    Our Kids review
    User review (1)

    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: Founded in 1894, Havergal is one of the oldest girls' schools in Canada, and it shares a tradition with those of its vintage. The school was formed with a strong tie to a religious community—though, even then, it was looking beyond tradition, charting new territory for girls to occupy. As such, the school was disruptive, educating girls to take new, more robust roles within society. Famously, the first principal, Ellen Mary Knox, asked her students, "What are you going to do?" She meant it very much in the way we'd think of that question today: you've got an opportunity to do something, to play a role—what is it going to be? Knox was emblematic of the kinds of women who were leading schools at the time. In turn, they played a larger role in the development of education in Canada than their male counterparts did. All of this is important in that it really does underscore the goals of the school today: to challenge girls, and to be socially disruptive in the best sense of that term. It's easy for us to look back and see that girls' schools were necessary all those years ago. What Havergal continues to demonstrate—as do other schools that operate with the same goals and intentions - is that they remain necessary today. Helen-Kay Davy, the current principal, has written of the ongoing need to educate girls to find new opportunities in the world beyond the school, and to approach them appropriately: "—"There are not enough females in high profile positions in politics, business and beyond, and those on top face additional challenges."


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    User Submitted Reviews

    "The school has harnessed many of our daughter's positive traits and stimulated her growth and development, not just academically, but socially, emotionally, and physically."
    robert gabor - Parent   (Sep 12, 2018)
    Our daughter has had a wonderful time in her three years at Havergal, and is very excited about comp...
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    Our Take: Havergal College

    Founded in 1894, Havergal is one of the oldest girls' schools in Canada, and it shares a tradition with those of its vintage. The school was formed with a strong tie to a religious community though, even then, was looking beyond tradition, charting new territory, as it were, for girls to occupy. As such, the school was disruptive, educating girls to take new, more robust roles within society. Famously the first principal, Ellen Mary Knox, asked her students "What are you going to do?" She meant it very much in the way we'd think of that question today: you've got an opportunity to do something, to play a role, what is it going to be? Knox was emblematic of the kinds of women who were leading schools at the time. In turn, they played a larger role in the development of education in Canada than their male counterparts did. All of this is important in that it really does underwrite the goals of the school today: to challenge girls, and to be socially disruptive in the best sense of that term. It's easy for us to look back and see that girls' schools were necessary all those years ago. What Havergal continues to demonstrate—as other schools that operate with the same goals and intentions—is that they remain necessary today.


    our take
Toronto 1 10
  • Holy Name of Mary College School
    Holy Name of Mary College School
    Mississauga, Ontario
    Our Kids review

    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: Holy Name of Mary College School (HNMCS) began in 1964 as Holy Name of Mary School, and it has grown and changed in the decades since. For a time, the school was publicly funded, and while it operated continually through the years, it reopened in 2008 with a new name—the current one—and as a fully independent school for girls. Today, as in 1964, Holy Name is supported by the Felician Sisters, as well as by the Basilian Fathers of St. Michael’s College School, who co-founded the independent school. The vision of the school has also remained through the years, though it was rededicated in 2009. Families who turn to HNMCS are looking for strong academics and values, and indeed they find both. The values that the school promotes are those of the Catholic tradition, with an emphasis on empathy, justice, and excellence. The ideal student is one who shares those core values, will thrive within a challenging academic atmosphere, and is preparing for post-secondary education.


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    Our Take: Holy Name of Mary College School

    HNMCS began in 1964 as Holy Name of Mary School, and it has grown and changed in the decades since. For a time the school was publicly funded, and while it operated continually through the years, it was re-established in 2008 with a new name—the current one—and as a fully independent school for girls. Today, as in 1964, HNMCS is supported by the Felician Sisters, and is also supported by the Basilian Fathers of St. Michael’s College School, who co-founded the independent school. The vision of the school has also remained through the years, though was rededicated in 2009. Families who turn to HNMCS are looking for strong academics and values, and indeed they find both. The values that the school promotes those of the Catholic tradition, with an emphasis on empathy, justice, and excellence. The ideal student is one who shares those core values, will thrive within a challenging academic atmosphere, and is preparing for post-secondary education.


    our take
Mississauga 1 0
  • Hudson College
    Hudson College
    Toronto, Ontario
    Our Kids review
    User reviews (4)

    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: There are many reasons parents choose to enroll their children at a private school, from family tradition to elite sports. Parents who choose Hudson College, however, are less interested in the extremes at the edges of the private education market, and more interested in the foundational elements of a strong academic program and a positive learning experience: consistent social support, a sense of community, the flexibility to address student interests, and a consistent approach to curricular development. Jeff Bavington founded the school "to be a place where students with all different interests can come and feel part of a larger community, feel at home, and where students themselves can help create" the school environment. And it is.


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    User Submitted Reviews

    Mastering the basics
    Nicolette Linton - Parent   (Jan 23, 2018)
    My daughter is in her fifth year at Hudson College (she joined in Grade One from a French Immersion ...
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    "They both love going to school."
    James Hyslop - Parent   (Jan 23, 2018)
    It starts every morning when I drop my children (grades 7 &2) off at school in the morning. They ru...
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    "nothing but supportive since my first day here"
    Daniel DeBarros - Student   (May 03, 2018)
    My experience at Hudson College has been nothing but wonderful. Coming from a rather large school wi...
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    Our Take: Hudson College

    There are many reasons parents choose to enroll their children at a private school, from family tradition to elite sports. Parents who choose Hudson College, however, are less interested in the extremes at the edges of the private education market, and more interested in the foundational elements of a strong academic program and a positive learning experience: consistent social support, a sense of community, the agility to address student interests, and a consistent approach to curricular development. Jeff Bavington founded the school "to be a place where students with all different interests can come and feel part of a larger community, feel at home, and where students themselves can help create" the school environment. And it is.


    our take
Toronto 1 10
  • Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School
    Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School
    North Vancouver, British Columbia
    Our Kids review

    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: KGMS is unique, something that the students and families who attend are grateful for. Instruction is empathic, as is the entire environment of the school. The students who enrol enter a community of peers, one comprising students and staff who get them, who share their struggles, and who can relate to their perspectives on the world. “I have friends who like me for who I am,” said Theresa MacIntyre when she was a student in 2014. Her voice breaking, she added: “I feel like I’m wanted here.”


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    Our Take: Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School

    When Anne Rushforth’s son, Kenneth Gordon, was in grade 5, she overheard his teacher introducing him to another parent as "one of her slow students.” Rushforth bristled, knowing that “he just needed a school to teach him in the way that he learned.” She said, “I decided that there needs to be a school for these children, where they’re understood.” So, in 1973, she built it, naming it after her son, and parents have been thankful to her ever since. She had been a tutor, and noted that, in that setting, often struggling students bloomed. Rushforth then applied the tutorial model to the entire breadth of the curriculum. It included multi-sensory instruction, later the Orton-Gillingham approach, and as digital tools became available, it used those, too. Students would arrive with a poor self concept, having struggled in other settings, and proceed to grow into a new sense of themselves and their capabilities. That’s what the school continues to offer today.


    our take
North Vancouver 1 0
  • Lynn-Rose Heights School
    Lynn-Rose Heights School
    Mississauga, Ontario
    Our Kids review
    User reviews (4)

    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: Founded in 1997, the mission of Lynn-Rose is to provide individually oriented, student-led instruction, challenging all to reach their potential within the core academic fields and beyond. The blend of the Ontario and International Baccalaureate (IB) curricula is a draw for the families that enrol here, as are the quality of instruction and the very porous interface between families and faculty. The math and literacy programs have students working a grade ahead of their peers in the public system, with further acceleration offered to students able to function at that level. The attention to values, including those underscored within the IB programs, is also a draw. There is a lot going on, though a close attention to the specific skills, abilities, and needs of each student—as well as a broad range of resources to address them—is a distinguishing factor of the Lynn-Rose offering. 


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    User Submitted Reviews

    "The academic program focuses on developing inquiring, knowledgeable and well-rounded individuals."
    Sabine Kussmann - Parent   (Feb 21, 2018)
    My sons love the school and have had a wonderful experience. They like the warm and and positive sch...
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    Atmosphere, experience, communication
    Mrs. S. - Parent   (Mar 06, 2018)
    Our child loves Lynn-Rose Heights and has had a great experience attending this school. Our child lo...
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    relationships that stay, year over year
    Laura Trujillo - Parent   (Mar 08, 2018)
    I have two children enrolled at LRH, my youngest daughter is currently in grade 4 and my older daugh...
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    Our Take: Lynn-Rose Heights School

    Founded in 1997, the mission of Lynn-Rose Heights is to provide individually oriented, student-lead instruction, challenging all to reach their potentials within the core academic fields and beyond. The blend of the Ontario and IB curricula is a draw for the families that enrol here, as is the quality of instruction and a very porous interface between families and faculty. The math and literacy programs have students working a grade ahead of their peers in the public system, with further acceleration offered to students able to function at that level. The attention to values, as those underscored within the IB programmes, is also a draw. There is a lot going on, though a close attention to specific skills, abilities, and needs of each student—as well as a broad range of resources to address them—is a distinguishing factor of the Lynn-Rose offering. 


    our take
Mississauga 1 9
  • Metropolitan Preparatory Academy
    Metropolitan Preparatory Academy
    Toronto, Ontario
    Our Kids review

    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: Metro Prep, in once sense at least, is very much what you might think a preparatory academy is for: the program is intended to prepare students for post-secondary education, particularly university. From there, however, all bets are off, and the school adopts none of the cliches or the stances that are hallmarks of the traditional, stereotypical prep school. The students don't wear uniforms, for one, the intention being to encourage individuality rather than conformity. Likewise, while the school intends student success, it's not defined in test scores, but by a creative engagement with the curricular content, and the world. Confidence over bravado; critical thinking over rote learning – in so many ways, this isn't your grandfathers' prep school. The ideal student is one who can thrive in a very active, engaging student environment, and intending to continue their studies at university.


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    Our Take: Metropolitan Preparatory Academy

    Metro Prep, in once sense at least, is very much what you might think a preparatory academy is for: the program is intended to prepare students for post-secondary education, particularly university. From there, however, all bets are off, and the school adopts none of the cliches or the stances that are hallmarks of the traditional, stereotypical prep school. The students don't wear uniforms, for one, the intention being to encourage individuality rather than conformity. Likewise, while the school intends student success, it's not defined in test scores, but by a creative engagement with the curricular content, and the world. Confidence over bravado; critical thinking over rote learning – in so many ways, this isn't your grandfathers' prep school. The ideal student is one who can thrive in a very active, engaging student environment, and intending to continue their studies at university.


    our take
Toronto 1 0
  • Pickering College
    Pickering College
    Newmarket, Ontario
    Our Kids review
    User review (1)

    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: Pickering College was founded as the West Lake Seminary by Quakers in 1842 and, as you might expect, has had a long and interesting history since. Canada became a dominion, the school amalgamated, some buildings burned down, others were built up. It began as a co-ed school, something unique at the time, and as such provided an expression of the Quaker ideal that both sexes should be educated equally. It was also the first school in North America to offer a course in typewriting, symbolic of the school's desire to encorporate new ideas and technologies, and to educate students with an eye to the world they would enter upon graduation. Times of course have changed, though certainly many of the values that the school upholds today reflect those with which it was founded, including a desire to embrace new ideas and to support a diversity of interest. The ideal student is one who will thrive in a supportive yet challenging academic environment.


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    User Submitted Reviews

    "...encouraged by their teachers to develop their learning skills."
    Amy Wang - Parent   (Dec 13, 2018)
    My sons are always happy in the school. They have got the teachers’ help on their academics and ma...
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    Our Take: Pickering College

    Pickering College was founded as the West Lake Seminary by Quakers in 1842 and, as you might expect, has had a long and interesting history since. Canada became a dominion, the school amalgamated, some buildings burned down, others were built up. It began as a co-ed school, something unique at the time, and as such provided an expression of the Quaker ideal that both sexes should be educated equally. It was also the first school in North America to offer a course in typewriting, symbolic of the school's desire to encorporate new ideas and technologies, and to educate students with an eye to the world they would enter upon graduation. Times of course have changed, though certainly many of the values that the school upholds today reflect those with which it was founded, including a desire to embrace new ideas and to support a diversity of interest. The ideal student is one who will thrive in a supportive yet challenging academic environment.


    our take
Newmarket 1 10
  • Ridley College
    Ridley College
    St. Catharines, Ontario
    Our Kids review

    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: Ridley expresses so many of the great traditions of private school, and it comes by all of them absolutely honestly. The school was founded in 1889, making it one of the oldest schools in the country. It began life as an Anglican boys’ school—it was named after an Anglican Bishop—but is non-denominational today, and has been co-ed since 1973. That said, many of the traditions that inform the life of the school date to the founding, including chapel meetings that serve to bring the school together around shared events and shared values. The school maintains a cadet corps, the largest of its kind in Canada. The chapel, and indeed all of the buildings that comprise the campus, are, frankly, gorgeous. It’s easily one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. The strategic plan, implemented in 2014, provided an opportunity to take stock of the school at the time of its 125th anniversary, including a dedication to maintaining a global perspective across the breadth of the curriculum. Throughout its long history Ridley has maintained a reputation as one of the best schools in Canada, one that no doubt will remain for very many years to come. The ideal student is one who arrives predisposed to make the most of the wide range of academic and extra-curricular opportunities that will be made available to them.


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    Our Take: Ridley College

    Ridley expresses so many of the great traditions of private school, and it comes by all of them absolutely honestly. The school was founded in 1889, making it one of the oldest schools in the country. It began life as an Anglican boys’ school—it was named after an Anglican Bishop—but is non-denominational today, and has been co-ed since 1973. That said, many of the traditions that inform the life of the school date to the founding, including chapel meetings that serve to bring the school together around shared events and shared values. The school maintains a cadet corps, the largest of its kind in Canada. The chapel, and indeed all of the buildings that comprise the campus, are, frankly, gorgeous. It’s easily one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. The strategic plan, implemented in 2014, provided an opportunity to take stock of the school at the time of its 125th anniversary, including a dedication to maintaining a global perspective across the breadth of the curriculum. Throughout its long history Ridley has maintained a reputation as one of the best schools in Canada, one that no doubt will remain for very many years to come. The ideal student is one who arrives predisposed to make the most of the wide range of academic and extra-curricular opportunities that will be made available to them. 


    our take
St. Catharines 1 0
  • Robert Land Academy
    Robert Land Academy
    Wellandport, Ontario
    Our Kids review

    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: Some students thrive in environments where they have lots of latitude to be independent and self-motivating. Others thrive in the opposite: an environment that is structured and ordered, with very clear limits and recognizable boundaries. Robert Land, truly, is for them. The daily routine is regimented, and discipline is enforced. And the results are consistently astonishing. This is a school that prides itself on its ability to turn lives around, and that pride is well placed. Robert Land isn't for every student, but, of course, no school is. For students who require structure in order to succeed, Robert Land Academy can make a remarkable difference in a very short period of time.


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    Our Take: Robert Land Academy

    Some students thrive in environments where they have lots of latitude to be independent and self-motivating. Others thrive in the opposite: an environment that is it structured and ordered, with very clear limits and recognizable boundaries. Robert Land, truly, is for them. The daily routine is regimented, and discipline is enforced. The results, often, are astonishing. This is a school that prides itself on its ability to turn lives around, and that pride is well placed. Robert Land isn't for every student, but, of course, no school is. For students who require structure in order to succeed, the school can make a remarkable difference in a very short period of time.


    our take
Wellandport 1 0
  • St. John's-Kilmarnock School
    St. John's-Kilmarnock School
    Waterloo Region (Breslau), Ontario
    Our Kids review

    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: SJK presents as a very traditional school, an impression granted by the name, the uniforms, the size of the campus. In fact, the school is both younger and more progressive than it might initially seem. Founded in 1972, it has taken all of the more modern educational concepts to heart: small class sizes, student-directed instruction, before- and after-school care from JK to grade 6, and an extensive busing program. The dining hall menu is built around locally sourced, non-GMO food. Academically, the program is intended to challenge learners who need to be challenged, and is comprised of IB programme from JK through grade 12. The intention is to address the whole child, providing strong academic and social support. The school has grown over the years, and is also in the midst of a 5-year development plan, to complete in 2020. While the physical plan is still quite new, the current development is around community and instruction (rather than buildings and infrastructure) including an ongoing dedication to experiential learning, values-based instruction, and community connections. The ideal student is one operating at the top of his or her peer group, and who can benefit from a vibrant, diverse educational and social environment.


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    Our Take: St. John's-Kilmarnock School

    SJK presents as a very traditional school, an impression granted by the name, the uniforms, the size of the campus. In fact, the school is both younger and more progressive than it might initially seem. Founded in 1972, it has taken all of the more modern educational concepts to heart: small class sizes, student-directed instruction, before- and after-school care from JK to Grade 6, an extensive busing program. The cafeteria menu is even built around locally sourced, non-GMO food. Academically, the program is intended to challenge learners who need to be challenged, and includes IB programs from JK through Grade 12. The intention is to address the whole child, providing strong academic and social support. The school has grown over the years, and is also in the midst of a 5-year development plan, to complete in 2020. While the physical plan is still quite new—it was completed in 1990—the current development is around community and instruction (rather than buildings and infrastructure) including an ongoing dedication to experiential learning, values-based instruction, and 20th century literacies. The ideal student is one operating at the top of his or her peer group, and who can benefit from a vibrant, diverse educational and social environment. 


    our take
Waterloo Region (Breslau) 1 0
  • Sunnybrook School
    Sunnybrook School
    Toronto, Ontario
    Our Kids review
    User review (1)

    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: Sunnybrook School (SBS) is a small coed school for students from JK to Grade 6, located on a leafy residential street in midtown Toronto. It was the first primary school in Canada to adopt the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) and continues to take a global approach to education. Since its founding in 1952 as one of North Toronto’s first preschools, SBS has been an innovator in education for young children. The current curriculum strives to keep pace with the latest advances in pedagogy, such as Singapore math and one-to-one iPads, while still maintaining a focus on the fundamentals, such as cursive writing. There’s a lively arts and music program (including an elaborate, school-wide musical production), traditional and unique offerings in physical education, daily French from JK and extensive community service opportunities. To compensate for its limited size and modest facilities, SBS ensures its students benefit from the many resources the city has to offer, from nearby athletic facilities to downtown galleries and museums. With a family-like atmosphere where everyone knows everyone and parents are always welcome, SBS offers a warm, academically enriched environment focused on preparing young students for success at middle school and beyond.


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    User Submitted Reviews

    "Right away we could see our daughter amongst the students of Sunnybrook School"
    Reza Asadikia - Parent   (Feb 21, 2018)
    The size of this school is in a way that is not intimidating for younger students, but at the same t...
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    Our Take: Sunnybrook School

    Sunnybrook School was founded in 1952, becoming one of the very first preschools in Canada. It was exotic for the time, both for being a nursery school, as well as being founded by an Austrian educator, Irmingard Hoff. From opening day the school was at the leading edge of education at the time, and it has worked to remain there ever since. Sunnybrook was the first school in the country to adopt the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. It's since dedicated itself to development of 21st century literacies, an international curriculum, and the adoption of Singapore Math. Which sounds like a lot, and it is. The ideal student is one who is operating at the top of her peer group, and who is able to make the most of the range of programming on offer.


    our take
Toronto 1 9
  • Trinity College School
    Trinity College School
    Port Hope, Ontario
    Our Kids review
    User reviews (3)

    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: Trinity College School is one of the oldest boarding schools in Canada and, having been founded two years prior to confederation, is indeed older than the country itself. While it looks entirely different than it did when it was founded—there are no original buildings, nor does it sit at the same site as it did in 1865—the core values remain: quality academics with an eye to educating students into positions of social, professional, and political leadership. Academic achievement is highly valued—this is a school, as many will tell you, where it is cool to be smart—though tolerance, personal expression, and consideration of others are equally important. Service is central to the ethos of the school, as underscored by a robust program of service learning dedicated to developing opportunities within the local community and beyond.


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    User Submitted Reviews

    "Beate Mundo Corde: Blessed are the pure in heart... truer words could not be said about the people of Trinity College School."
    Benjamin Glassco - Alumnus   (Jan 25, 2018)
    "Beate Mundo Corde": Blessed are the pure in heart. Adorned on the school's crest and displayed on t...
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    "I felt like the luckiest person in the world"
    Jocelyn Murphy - Alumnus   (Jan 26, 2018)
    My time at Trinity was so special. I spent four years there in both day and boarding programs, and I...
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    " ... everyone is truly welcoming"
    Mariam Omilabu - Student   (Jan 23, 2018)
    Being at Trinity College school is like moving away from home, feeling terrified and lost, then grad...
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    Our Take: Trinity College School

    Trinity is one of the oldest boarding schools in Canada and, having been founded two years prior to confederation, is indeed older than the country itself. While it looks entirely different than it did when it was founded—there are no original buildings, nor does it sit at the same site as it did in 1865—the core values remain: quality academics with an eye to educating students into positions of social, professional, and political leadership. Academic achievement is highly valued—this is a school, as many will tell you, where it is cool to be smart—though tolerance, personal expression, and consideration of others are equally important. Service is central to the ethos of the school, as underscored by a robust program of service learning managed by a director dedicated to developing opportunities within the local community and beyond. The ideal student is one who responds well to challenge.


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Port Hope 1 10
  • Upper Canada College
    Upper Canada College
    Toronto, Ontario
    Our Kids review
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    The Our Kids Review

    From the review: Upper Canada College (UCC) is one of the oldest and most storied schools in Canada. Its alumni include a who's who of Canadian political, business, and cultural life. Its history is, in many ways, the history of independent schooling itself; to attend is to become a part of a Canadian cultural tradition, one that retains a prominent place in Canadian education. The school leads in the provision of financial assistance, with a robust program of scholarships and bursaries intended to attract the brightest students in Canada and from around the world.


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    "We have a saying at the College called 'Never Walk Alone'. This motto is a great summary of the type of culture we have at the school and I can relate to the saying more and more each year."
    Will Huang - Student   (Jan 23, 2018)
    My time so far at Upper Canada has been absolutely amazing. I truly love every time I come to school...
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    "The school spirit and school community is like no other."
    Julia Pantalone - Parent   (Feb 23, 2018)
    My boys have had an amazing experience at Upper Canada College since Day 1. They engage the boys rig...
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    Our Take: Upper Canada College

    UCC is one of the oldest and most storied schools in Canada. Its alumni include a who's who of Canadian political, business, and cultural life. Its history is, in many ways, the history of independent schooling itself; to attend is to become a part of a Canadian cultural tradition, one that retains a prominent place in Canadian education. The school leads in the provision of financial assistance, with a robust program of scholarships and bursaries intended to attract the brightest students in Canada and from around the world.


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Toronto 1 9
  • A+ World Academy
    A+ World Academy
    Kristiansand, Other
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    Great experience, great memories
    Louise Aasboe - Alumnus   (Jan 24, 2018)
    My year at A+ was incredible and Im blessed to have that in my memories. I Cant believe I woke up to...
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    Our Take: A+ World Academy

    A+ was founded in 2015 by Terry Davies, the founder of four schools, including West Island College and Class Afloat. So, while A+ is still young, it reflects decades of experience in education and life at sea. Davies founded Class Afloat in 1984, the year that the United Nations declared as “International Youth Year” and invited schools worldwide to interpret that theme. Class Afloat was Davies response. “While other schools engaged in painting murals and hosting international food fairs,” he says, “I chartered a tall ship and committed to bringing the classroom to the world.” When asked what students need most out of their educations, Davies tellingly responds “accountability.” With A+, it’s easy to be wowed by the destinations—yes, it looks like a dream come true, and in many ways it is—though life at sea is a crucible for gaining a sense of accountability to oneself and others, and in many ways that’s the nut of the program. The tall ship platform is used to teach a host of personal development skills, hands-on lessons in history, economics, political science, environmental stewardship and, ultimately, to grant students a heightened sense of their place in the global community. They return having packed a lot of learning and a lot of growth into a relatively short period of time. Invariably, though, what students think of first is that sense of accountability, having worked as part of a team of people who were all responsible for the wellbeing of the group. The experience is intense and uniquely rewarding. The ideal student is one who shares a sense of adventure and who also thrives in an exceptionally close-knit academic and social setting.


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Kristiansand 0 10
  • ABC Montessori
    ABC Montessori
    Mississauga, Ontario

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    Our Take: ABC Montessori

    There’s a lot to learn in the early years, one of them being a confidence to learn and to engage effectively with others. ABC, in keeping with the core tenets of the Montessori approach, was founded in 1995 to create a caring, supportive, family-centred environment, and that remains foremost in the school’s approach. An impressive roster of extracurricular activities is a draw, as is the attention to values. ABC’s reputation has been rightly gained through an individual attention to the needs of each student, and providing a solid foundation for their ongoing academic life.


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Mississauga 0 0
  • The Abelard School
    The Abelard School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: The Abelard School

    Historically, a liberal arts curriculum comprised a course of study required by citizens in order to take an active part in civic life. It included not just what a person would need to know, but how they would need to be, including an understanding that the cultivation of intellect is a worthy goal unto itself. The Abelard School was created to reflect those kinds of goals. In 1997, a group of seasoned teachers founded the school in order to deliver the basics of a secondary education—the knowledge and the skills required to move on to university life—as well as to impart a love of learning and to encourage creative engagement across the academic spectrum. Those ideals, and indeed those teachers, remain today. The school is small—there is a total enrolment of just 50—and whatever it may lack in terms of a breadth of programming it gains in depth and individual attention.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Académie de la Capitale
    Academie de la Capitale
    Ottawa, Ontario

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    Our Take: Académie de la Capitale

    It’s a big world out there and for the students who enroll here, AcadeCap is a window onto all of it. The attention to global education is underscored by the adoption of the IB PYP and MYP programs, and things continue from there. Collaborative learning, among peers as well as intergenerational, is an important aspect of the delivery of the curriculum, as is the provision of authentic learning experiences. There is of course a vast array of resources available within the capital region, and AcadeCap rightly makes the most of them. Class sizes are small, and instructional support is personal and individualized. The school casts a very wide net, and models an approach to learning based in curiosity, empathy, and active engagement. The ideal student is one able to thrive in a diverse, challenging, vibrant and social learning environment.


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Ottawa 0 0
  • Académie Marie-Claire
    Academie Marie-Claire
    Kirkland, Quebec

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    Our Take: Académie Marie-Claire

    AMC sets its sights very high, and well it should. The academic program is strong, and overtly grounded in an empathetic world view, with an emphasis on providing reasoned leadership. Those three things are perhaps the principal draws for the families that enroll. AMC was founded by Marie-Claire Martin, the child of diplomats, and that international experience has been central to school’s development. After an initial period of growth, the school today hits what many feel is the sweet spot: large enough to be able to offer a full range of extracurriculars, while small enough to maintain a strong sense of place and community. The breadth of the language program, and the provision of an authentically bilingual environment, is also a draw.


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Kirkland 0 0
Ottawa 0 10
  • Académie Vaudrin Academy
    Academie Vaudrin Academy
    Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec

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    Our Take: Académie Vaudrin Academy

    Vaudrin has devoted itself to helping children reach their full potential, and within that casts a very wide net. A trilingual school, certificates of eligibility are not required for enrollment. The school bases instruction in creativity and interpersonal collaboration, and supports learners through a broad range of means, including those for struggling learners, including the rightly celebrated Arrowsmith approach. This is a school that doesn’t shy from reaching out, trying new things, and adapting to meet individual’s needs, and though still relatively young, Vaudrin has certainly charted its success in that regard. When Vaudrin says that they will help all learners reach their potential, they certainly take it to heart.


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Vaudreuil-Dorion 0 0
  • Académie Westboro Academy
    Academie Westboro Academy
    Ottawa, Ontario

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    Our Take: Académie Westboro Academy

    Westboro was established in 1993 by a group of parents who wanted a quality bilingual elementary education for their children. It began with a single Grade 1 class comprised of just 7 students. Needless to say, the school has grown, though—as at the beginning—growth has been an expression of need within the community. Further, the sense of community within the school is rightly encouraged and prized. The focus remains centred on providing an authentic, effective bilingual program within a setting that addresses academic and social development. The ideal student is one able to thrive in a challenging, active educational environment. As such, at Westboro those who enroll will join a student body of true peers, one in which social currency is gained through achievement in all levels of student life. For many, that experience alone can be transformational.


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Ottawa 0 0
  • Academie Providence
    Academie Providence
    Ottawa, Ontario

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    Our Take: Academie Providence

    All private and independent schools are unique — designed to a specific purpose and for a specific class of learner — and Academy Providence is a particularly good example of that. It was founded in 2002 as an expression of the work of the Antonine Sisters in Canada and the values of the Catholic church. The curriculum adopts a multicultural gaze, even in the earliest years, in part through a substantial attention to languages. Likewise, it adopts the hands-on, group inquiry approach of the Montessori method. That’s a lot, perhaps, but it works. Families that enroll here are drawn by the strength of the academic program as well as the values that inform the delivery of the curriculum. The school is an expression of a Catholic order, though one of the tenets of the Antonine Sisters is to provide education to all people, something that is reflected in the diversity of the student body.


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Ottawa 0 0
  • Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E.
    Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E.
    Richmond Hill, Ontario

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    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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Richmond Hill 0 0
  • Alexander von Humboldt German International School
    Alexander von Humboldt German International School
    Baie-D'Urfé, Montreal, Quebec

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    Our Take: Alexander von Humboldt German International School

    The program at Alexander von Humboldt is unique in Canada, principally because it admits students for whom either English, French, or German is the language spoken at home. Students need to use those languages not just to interact with the coursework, but also to make themselves understood to their peers, something which creates a particularly rich academic environment. Students arrive speaking different languages, with different life experiences, yet all share the experience of difference, and are faced each day with the social and linguistic challenges of making themselves understood to others. While they learn languages, they also have a more authentic experience of language than students have in the more typical immersion programs found in Canada. Likewise, the atmosphere is particularly conducive to the development social competencies, including empathy and cooperation, as well as an authentic global perspective through which the core curriculum is taught. The ideal student is one able to thrive in a challenging, diverse academic and social environment.


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Baie-D'Urfé, Montreal 0 0
  • Alive Montessori & Private School
    Alive Montessori & Private School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Alive Montessori & Private School

    Julia Simon founded Alive Montessori in 2001, and she remains very much the head and hands of the school today. She established the school as a means of delivering the Montessori principles, prime among them being the provision of a family-like atmosphere in which to learn. Families who enroll here are drawn to the small size of the school, allowing students to gain a heightened sense of their place within the life of the school. Instruction is personal, with pacing cues taken from the individual students, and a close attention to the talents, perspectives, and interests that they bring with them to the school each day. Students are encouraged to have a voice, and to use it in their daily lives. Numeracy and literacy are important, though passion is, too, something that Simon has rightly built the Alive program around.  


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Toronto 0 0
Belleville 0 0
  • Arrowsmith School
    Arrowsmith School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Arrowsmith School

    The Arrowsmith School was founded in 1980 by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young to provide support for struggling learners. The school has been an object of interest ever since, due to the concept that Arrowsmith-Young built her program around. "If we look at a lot of special education programs, the majority assume the learner is fixed," she said. "What my program is saying is that we can change the learner so they can learn." While there are many things that set the school apart, that sense of what is possible is prime among them. The Arrowsmith School works closely with students to develop their strengths, address weaknesses, and build academic, social, and vocational competence. That the method works may be evidence of neuroplasticity, and science may yet underscore that. In the meantime, daring to dream as well as creating a supportive, caring, understanding environment can itself provide what many students need in order to succeed, and that's what the Arrowsmith school principally addresses. 


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Toronto 0 0
  • ArtsCalibre Academy
    ArtsCalibre Academy
    Victoria, British Columbia

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    Our Take: ArtsCalibre Academy

    Too often when a public school board seeks to trim costs they look to arts programming. We like the three Rs, to be sure, and they’re important. But the division between those and the arts isn’t perhaps as clear as some might think. When the people, all those thousands of years ago, wanted to express themselves to others on the walls of the caves at Lascaux, they painted pictures and (presumably) told stories about them. They were communicating about hunting, or so it seems, and they did it through art. We do that too, of course. The arts—music, fine art, dance—are central to the way we express our thoughts, ideas, and our identities. As such, they are central to the way we understand the thoughts, ideas and identities of others. Which is the thinking that ArtsCalibre brings to the delivery of the curriculum. Rather than reducing and isolating the arts, they’ve decided to bring them forward. It’s not for everyone, perhaps, though for many students it’s an important means of engaging with the curricular content. The success that ArtsCalibre has had in the years since it was founded is certainly testament to that. The preschool and elementary programs are divided between two locations, giving each a sense of identity and, through proximity to the Cedar Hill Recreation facilities, an impressive range of resources, especially for a school of this size. Small classes, personal attention, a rich interface between faculty and families, and on it goes. In all, there’s a lot to love.


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Victoria 0 0
  • Ashbury College
    Ashbury College
    Ottawa, Ontario

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    Our Take: Ashbury College

    Ashbury celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2016, making it one of the oldest schools in the nation. Of that class, it’s also one of the larger schools, with an annual enrollment in the 800 range. There are benefits to size, and Ashbury displays them, with a wealth of extra-curricular activities and co-curricular programs. The school was founded by a graduate of Oxford, Canon George Penrose Woollcombe, who cast the school within the academic tradition that Oxford was, and is, an example of. That said, times change, and certainly Ashbury did as well. The school was an early adopter of global education, most obviously with the addition of the IB program in 1976. Girls were enrolled in 1982, and while the boys still marginally outnumber the girls, the school continues to move toward gender parity. The list of alumni is impressive, including a prime minister, John Turner, and a Nobel laureate, Douglass North. The ideal student is one looking for a challenge, and who can function well in very active curricular and extracurricular environments.


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Ottawa 0 0
  • Astolot Educational Centre
    Astolot Educational Centre
    Ottawa, Ontario

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    Our Take: Astolot Educational Centre

    Not all children learn in the same way, and that’s been a guiding principle behind the Astolot Educational Centre since Jennifer Cowan founded it in 1998. Classes are small, and instruction is student-oriented, beginning with the talents, interests, and perspectives that the children bring with them into the classroom and starting from there. Learning is cooperative, with faculty and students working together to tailor delivery to best meet their individual learning styles. It’s not the typical approach, which is precisely why families turn to Astolot. In addition to reaching student potentials, the program encourages learner responsibility while growing the students’ awareness of how they learn best. While there are a range of student supports, the ideal student is one who is capable of thriving in a challenging atmosphere, and who operates at the top of his or her peer group.


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Ottawa 0 0
  • Athol Murray College of Notre Dame
    Athol Murray College of Notre Dame
    Wilcox, Saskatchewan

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    Our Take: Athol Murray College of Notre Dame

    The school began its life in 1920 as a convent school, though came into its own—and gained the present name—after Father Athol Murray arrived in 1927. Murray is one those great Canadians that we all should know more about. Charity was a guiding principle, and he believed that quality education was to be offered to all, if they wanted it, whether they could pay for it or not. Indeed, many students he admitted couldn’t, and he took them anyway. It was on that basis that he was invested into the Order of Canada.
     
    Still, Murray is more remembered today due to his influence in regional and professional hockey. He once said, “I love God, Canada and hockey—not always in that order.” He built the Notre Dame Hounds into a force, and in time the program attracted students for that reason, many of who went on to professional careers. Olympic medalist Delaney Collins is an alum, as is Wendell Clark and of course many others. That said, there is far more to the school than hockey. The program is based in the Catholic tradition, and attention to values is a particular attraction, both for students who share that tradition as well as those who don’t. Character is important, too, and while we tend to look first at the hockey program, the list of notable alumni would be impressive even without the NHL players. The ideal student is one looking for a strong foundation for their careers at university and beyond.


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Wilcox 0 0
  • Aurora Montessori School
    Aurora Montessori School
    Aurora, Ontario

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    Our Take: Aurora Montessori School

    AMS is a Montessori school, though in many ways it exceeds the expectations that parents might have of what a Montessori education offers. The programs are hands-on, community based, though the academic environment is large, both in terms of physical space and student population. As such the extra-curricular programs are robust, including sports as well as a fully development music program that includes group and individual instruction. Those things, in themselves, are a draw for many families. The grounds are extensive, with a porous interface between interior and outdoor learning spaces. The amphitheater is impressive, and likewise is a symbol of the school’s dedication to outdoor and environmental education. In all of that, the school’s name can risk being misleading. AMS isn’t your average Montessori school. It offers broad curricular and extracurricular programs, strong academics, and an overt attention to emotional and social development through the elementary grades. 


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Aurora 0 0
  • Aurora Preparatory Academy
    Aurora Preparatory Academy
    Aurora, Ontario
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    "The academics are so relevant and well-applied. The kids know why they are learning something and are using this knowledge to relate to and understand real-life situations."
    Meave Mastracci - Parent   (Dec 10, 2018)
    Making the decision to switch my eldest to APA was literally one of the best decisions we have ever ...
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    "The teachers are passionate at APA and have a contagious energy that reflects in students' performances. The teachers are knowledgeable..."
    Tunde Nyarfadi - Parent   (Feb 21, 2019)
    Aurora Preparatory Academy is a happy place. Making this change for my son was one of the best decis...
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    "...this school took me in with a smile and great attitude."
    François LeFantôme - Student   (Nov 06, 2018)
    I absolutely love Aurora Prep! It is a bit small but it comes with plenty of charm and smiles. It ha...
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    Our Take: Aurora Preparatory Academy

    We all want to go where everyone knows our name, and while there is a strong academic program at APA, that sense of place is one of the primary draws for the families that enroll here. Students are known throughout the school, and their successes are routinely recognized, shared, and celebrated. For many students, that in itself can provide a transformative learning experience. The community of the school actively includes the parents and siblings of the students who attend, something that brings a welcome warmth and familiarity to the lived experience of the school. The size of the school also allows for faculty to approach each student individually, providing appropriate challenge and support to ensure that all reach their academic and social potentials. The ideal student is one who will thrive in a close-knit, personal, challenging academic setting.


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Aurora 0 10
  • Avalon Children's Montessori School
    Avalon Children's Montessori School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Avalon Children's Montessori School

    Avalon began in 2000 with a single toddler room and one casa classroom and has happily grown ever since. The program today extends through Grade 8, offering a consistency for children through the primary and elementary grades. Likewise, the breadth allows for a greater interaction between generations than elsewhere, something that is rightly a cornerstone of the Montessori approach. The best Montessori schools are those that retain a fidelity to the core of the method while also meeting the needs of the community it serves, expressing their diversity and their values. Certainly, that’s a great strength of Avalon, and one of the reasons that families consistently turn to it. In the nearly two decades of the school’s life it has earned an impressive reputation for good work, professional development, and a strong delivery of the core curriculum. No doubt, it continues to provide all of that and then some.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Avante School
    Avante School
    Vancouver, British Columbia

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    Our Take: Avante School

    The Avante school was founded in 2009 in the understanding that some students aren’t well served within a traditional or typical academic environment. The school is small, which is a foundation for the program’s strengths. Instruction is student led, responsive to their specific needs and pacing as they move through the curriculum. It’s also cross-curricular in ways that most schools simply don’t have the opportunity to be, again this being a function of size. Field trips, guest speakers, group work—all find a place within the delivery of the curriculum. It’s not for everyone, but for the students that enroll, the experience of working closely in a responsive, peer-based environment can be transformative.


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Vancouver 0 0
  • AVRO Academy
    AVRO Academy
    North York, Ontario

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    Our Take: AVRO Academy

    AVRO was founded in 2010 by David Berger and Jason Ellenbogen, both of whom remain at the head of the school, continuing to guide it with a keen fidelity to their initial vision. They aren’t your typical educators which, again, is part of the draw. Berger is a long-time educator, and is also very integrated within the life the community that provides a context for the school, including a co-director of Spiritfest, an annual community arts festival. Ellenbogen, too, brings a unique set of skills and experience, including that of being a psychologist with clinical experience with teens and their families. They tailored the delivery of the curriculum based in a sense of best practices that they’d been growing in their professional lives. The faculty continues in kind. Chriasee Sen-Varma, an instructor and academic coordinator, is a physicist. Mindy Alexander, head of social studies, has taught art in prisons. And it continues from there. The feel is small, personal, and the approach builds from the talents and curiosity that the students bring with them into the classroom. The school was created out of a sense of doing things well, but differently, and with an added bit of spark. As such the school has attracted students and instructors of a like mind. The ideal student is one able to thrive in a diverse, close-knit, challenging while supportive learning environment.


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North York 0 0
  • École la Nouvelle Vague
    Ecole la Nouvelle Vague
    Montreal, Quebec

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    Our Take: École la Nouvelle Vague

    École la Nouvelle Vague is new to Montreal’s educational landscape, and intentionally provides a unique learning profile. Offering a preschool-Grade 6 program, the school offers a strong, bilingual entrée to a child’s formal education. The location, for many families, is optimal. The approach, for many learners, is as well: experiential, inquiry based, and group oriented. The curriculum has been engineered to provide a range of age-appropriate, authentic learning opportunities. The work with local artists and artisans, invited in to provide workshops, is a plus. The school, however, extends that instructional model into areas that are less typical for this age group, including entrepreneurship and technology. Mentorship is a focus, including a partnership with the École de Technologies Superieur. Parents are very welcome to take part in the life of the school through a range of roles. The ideal student is one able to thrive in a very diverse, appropriately challenging learning environment.


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Montreal 0 0
  • Banbury Crossroads School
    Banbury Crossroads School
    Calgary, Alberta

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    Our Take: Banbury Crossroads School

    Diane Swiatek founded Banbury Crossroads in 1980, and she remains the head of the school today. She has said that “parenting and mentoring children is a matter of choosing philosophy and principles, and acting so as to live out those principles.” Indeed, since its inception, Banbury has been an expression of that ideal. The academics are demonstrably strong, though the attention to values, including responsibility and character development, is a particular draw for the families that enroll here. So too is an academic approach founded in the curiosity and the interests that students bring with them to the classroom. We learn best when we learn for ourselves, rather than for external reward, and the Banbury environment has been created with that in mind. 


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Calgary 0 0
  • Bannockburn
    Bannockburn
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Bannockburn

    Bannockburn is founded in Montessori, and hews close to the spirit of the method and its fundamental principles. There is an abiding attention to creating a supportive, student-centric environment, one that can stimulate and build on children’s curiosity. That said, there are a few welcome adaptations as well, such as lower teacher/student ratio that one might expect to see within a Montessori classroom. The school is very much an expression of the surrounding community—it was begun in 1993 by local parents and educators, and retains very close ties to the surrounding community today. The life of the school is informed by an active and robust parents’ association, with meetings held on the first Monday of each month. Given the location of the school, the fact that it sits on a five-acre property is an added plus, one that both adds to the atmosphere of the school, and allows for the programming, as appropriate, to spread beyond the interior instructional spaces. So, yes, the school has a strong Montessori program, though there is also a clear Bannockburn identity, one that nicely reflects the community that it serves.   


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Toronto 0 0
  • Bayview Glen
    Bayview Glen
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Bayview Glen

    It's a big world out there, with lots of big ideas in it, and Bayview Glen prides itself on offering students an introduction to all its breadth and complexity. The school is part of the Round Square network of schools, which reflects that ambition; the program includes cross-curricular links to concepts of community, self-reliance, and entrepreneurialism. For some students, it can be a lot, perhaps especially for those within the younger grades—the school admits students from preschool through to grade 12. A broad range of curricular and extracurricular activities back up the school's promise to deliver the world: Mandarin classes, a model United Nations program, as well as a range of arts and athletics. While learner support is provided, the ideal student is one who is able to thrive in an intellectually diverse, academically challenging environment.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Beacon of Light
    Beacon of Light
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Beacon of Light

    Some kids thrive in larger settings, though not all do; for those that benefit from a closer, more hands-on approach to learning, Beacon of Light offers a welcome alternative. The tutorial model has been shown to be effective with emerging learners, and many schools have demonstrated its efficacy. While Beacon of Light offers tutorial support in addition to its full program, the classroom model is also based in the same approach, one that begins with the needs of the individual students and a detailed, personal understanding of how each learns. The families that enroll here are drawn by that attention as well as the benefits of a smaller, more focused approach to learning. After care is a draw as well, allowing students to stay within the same setting throughout their day.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Bearspaw Christian School
    Bearspaw Christian School
    Calgary, Alberta

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    Our Take: Bearspaw Christian School

    BCS prides itself in being a leader of Christian education, and certainly it distinguishes itself in various ways. With a student body in excess of 700 students, it’s easily one of the larger schools of its kind in the country. As such, it reflects the benefits of its size, including a broad range and variety of programming. BCS also distinguishes itself in the way Christian values are woven through the curriculum. Rather than simply delivering the core curriculum through a Christian lens, BCS seeks to promote the lived experience of a life based in faith. Service programs are an expression of that, as is the emphasis on discipleship in all aspects of student life. The facilities are sparkling, and despite the size, the feel remains very personal and community oriented. The ideal student is one who shares the approach of the school, and who will thrive within a dedicated educational and social environment.


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Calgary 0 0
  • Beyond Montessori School
    Beyond Montessori School
    St. Catharines, Ontario

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    Our Take: Beyond Montessori School

    There is of course a great range within the world of Montessori education, from schools with a high fidelity to the approach as Maria Montessori expressed it, to those who use it as a starting point for their own unique program. As the name suggests, Beyond Montessori in some senses is within the latter end of that spectrum, seeking to create a program that is responsive to the needs of the community it serves as well as the passions of the faculty. There is a very faithful adoption of the core of the Montessori method, though the school has developed its own personality as well. Families are drawn to BMS for its empathetic approach to instruction, one that seeks to build interpersonal awareness and a sense of environmental stewardship.


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St. Catharines 0 0
Ottawa 0 10
  • The Bishop Strachan School
    The Bishop Strachan School
    Toronto, Ontario
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    "I am still in touch, twenty years later, with some of my teachers...This speaks to the dedication of the teaching staff I believe"
    Allison Smith - Alumnus   (Sep 19, 2018)
    I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at The Bishop Strachan School. BSS has a strong academic prog...
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    Our Take: The Bishop Strachan School

    The Bishop Strachan School has a long tradition, and an essential part of it has been a desire to think expansively. “We really have a responsibility to get them to think about things in different ways,” says Judith Carlisle, head of school. That means getting beyond school walls, and interacting in substantial ways with the people, the ideas, and the cultures beyond. A parent told us that “our experience with the school, has been that they are teaching the girls that they are part of a larger community, and there’s a lot of opportunity to do good.”

    The school’s approach, largely, is based in an understanding that it’s a complicated world, one which requires a set of complex foundational skills: being able to think for yourself, working cooperatively, and engaging empathetically with others. That includes coding, yes, but it also includes, per Angela Terpstra, principal of the senior school, an ability to write well, speak well, and appreciate the elegance in a well-crafted argument.

    And that’s the kind of learning environment that students enter when they arrive at BSS, namely one that is varied, diverse; one that is comprised of a community of true peers, those who share a sense of curiosity and, while not being bookish, are inclined to academics and respond well to a challenge while appreciating support. Once here, they find those interests and curiosities shared and rewarded. "There's very little pressure to conform at a girls' school,” says an alumnus. “Being unique and having deep interests is what's considered cool.”

    The academics are not only strong, they have long provided an example that other schools have sought to emulate. That said, there’s a belief in being able to relax too—that it’s a journey, not a race, and that it’s as valuable to look around as it is to look forward. In terms of skills, outlook, and confidence, girls leave the school ready to take on the world. And they do.


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Toronto 0 10
  • Bishop's College School
    Bishop's College School
    Sherbrooke, Quebec

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    Our Take: Bishop's College School

    Bishop's was founded in 1836, becoming co-ed in 1972 through an amalgamation with King's Hall Compton. That long history is apparent in the traditions that remain at the school, including Chapel every morning (now non-denominational) the social organization of the school into houses, and a thriving cadet corps. More prosaically, the names of the 128 alumni who gave their lives in the WWI, WWII, and the Korean War are read out each Remembrance Day during a school-wide assembly. Throughout its life, Bishop's remained a redoubt, grounded in a set of clear values and traditions, while the tides of North American history rose and fell all around it, something that continues today. We live in noisy world, and the ideal student is one who can benefit from a bit of conceptual and geographic distance from it. It's not about isolation, but about having the freedom and the opportunity to direct attention rather than being lead by distraction. The school has been a member of Round Square since 1986, something which provides a foundation for the diversity of the student population, one that includes students from a dozen countries despite an annual enrollment of just 220 students.


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Sherbrooke 0 0
  • Blooming Lives Montessori
    Blooming Lives Montessori
    Markham, Ontario

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    Our Take: Blooming Lives Montessori

    While there is a spectrum of approach across Montessori schools, the program offered by Blooming Lives retains a high fidelity to the method as described by Maria Montessori and demonstrated within the school that she founded in 1907. Mixed age classrooms are a hallmark, as are the manipulatives and a child-centred approach and pacing. The Blooming Lives program adds, very sympathetically, yoga and mindfulness practice, as well as languages and a broader approach to cultural studies. The school environment is well designed, and created with the Blooming Lives program specifically in mind. In all, it’s a very nice mix, one that is true to the core of the method while also responsive to the needs of the community it serves.  


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Markham 0 0
  • Blyth Academy Burlington
    Blyth Academy Burlington
    Burlington, Ontario

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    Our Take: Blyth Academy Burlington

    Whereas some schools are just that, schools, Blyth represents a range of programs at a range of locations. It was founded by Sam Blyth in 1977, and quickly established itself as a leader in global education with the creation of a Canadian high school in France, as well as an accredited program at Oxford University. Those global education programs provided a unique addition to the Canadian educational landscape.

    With the creation of the first brick-and-mortar school here at home in 2002, Blyth applied the same concept to domestic education. In the intervening decades, the program has grown exponentially, now including 11 campuses which, together, represent the largest single private school student population in Canada. Still, the program continued to grow, today including a campus in Washington DC. A majority host summer programs, night and weekend classes, intended to provide challenge or support for students of the school, or those interested only in specific courses. And on it goes … there are further international programs, year-long study abroad program under the Blyth Global High School banner, as well as online/distance course offerings. There are even March break courses, both here and abroad.

    Again, it's a lot, with a range of programs to support a wide range of students and academic goals. Again, for anyone who thinks of school in a traditional way—a building with classes—Blyth can be a lot to get your head around. Given the historical strength of the programs, however, it's very much worth the effort.


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Burlington 0 0
  • Blyth Academy Downsview Park
    Blyth Academy Downsview Park
    North York, Ontario

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    Our Take: Blyth Academy Downsview Park

    Whereas some schools are just that, schools, Blyth represents a range of programs at a range of locations. It was founded by Sam Blyth in 1977, and quickly established itself as a leader in global education with the creation of a Canadian high school in France, as well as an accredited program at Oxford University. Those global education programs provided a unique addition to the Canadian educational landscape.

    With the creation of the first brick-and-mortar school here at home in 2002, Blyth applied the same concept to domestic education. In the intervening decades, the program has grown exponentially, now including 11 campuses which, together, represent the largest single private school student population in Canada. Still, the program continued to grow, today including a campus in Washington DC. A majority host summer programs, night and weekend classes, intended to provide challenge or support for students of the school, or those interested only in specific courses. And on it goes … there are further international programs, year-long study abroad program under the Blyth Global High School banner, as well as online/distance course offerings. There are even March break courses, both here and abroad.

    Again, it's a lot, with a range of programs to support a wide range of students and academic goals. Again, for anyone who thinks of school in a traditional way—a building with classes—Blyth can be a lot to get your head around. Given the historical strength of the programs, however, it's very much worth the effort.


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North York 0 0
  • Blyth Academy Lawrence Park
    Blyth Academy Lawrence Park
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Blyth Academy Lawrence Park

    Whereas some schools are just that, schools, Blyth represents a range of programs at a range of locations. It was founded by Sam Blyth in 1977, and quickly established itself as a leader in global education with the creation of a Canadian high school in France, as well as an accredited program at Oxford University. Those global education programs provided a unique addition to the Canadian educational landscape.

    With the creation of the first brick-and-mortar school here at home in 2002, Blyth applied the same concept to domestic education. In the intervening decades, the program has grown exponentially, now including 11 campuses which, together, represent the largest single private school student population in Canada. Still, the program continued to grow, today including a campus in Washington DC. A majority host summer programs, night and weekend classes, intended to provide challenge or support for students of the school, or those interested only in specific courses. And on it goes … there are further international programs, year-long study abroad program under the Blyth Global High School banner, as well as online/distance course offerings. There are even March break courses, both here and abroad.

    Again, it's a lot, with a range of programs to support a wide range of students and academic goals. Again, for anyone who thinks of school in a traditional way—a building with classes—Blyth can be a lot to get your head around. Given the historical strength of the programs, however, it's very much worth the effort.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Blyth Academy London
    Blyth Academy London
    London, Ontario

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    Our Take: Blyth Academy London

    Whereas some schools are just that, schools, Blyth represents a range of programs at a range of locations. It was founded by Sam Blyth in 1977, and quickly established itself as a leader in global education with the creation of a Canadian high school in France, as well as an accredited program at Oxford University. Those global education programs provided a unique addition to the Canadian educational landscape.

    With the creation of the first brick-and-mortar school here at home in 2002, Blyth applied the same concept to domestic education. In the intervening decades, the program has grown exponentially, now including 11 campuses which, together, represent the largest single private school student population in Canada. Still, the program continued to grow, today including a campus in Washington DC. A majority host summer programs, night and weekend classes, intended to provide challenge or support for students of the school, or those interested only in specific courses. And on it goes … there are further international programs, year-long study abroad program under the Blyth Global High School banner, as well as online/distance course offerings. There are even March break courses, both here and abroad.

    Again, it's a lot, with a range of programs to support a wide range of students and academic goals. Again, for anyone who thinks of school in a traditional way—a building with classes—Blyth can be a lot to get your head around. Given the historical strength of the programs, however, it's very much worth the effort.


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London 0 0
  • Blyth Academy Mississauga
    Blyth Academy Mississauga
    Mississauga, Ontario

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    Our Take: Blyth Academy Mississauga

    Whereas some schools are just that, schools, Blyth represents a range of programs at a range of locations. It was founded by Sam Blyth in 1977, and quickly established itself as a leader in global education with the creation of a Canadian high school in France, as well as an accredited program at Oxford University. Those global education programs provided a unique addition to the Canadian educational landscape.

    With the creation of the first brick-and-mortar school here at home in 2002, Blyth applied the same concept to domestic education. In the intervening decades, the program has grown exponentially, now including 11 campuses which, together, represent the largest single private school student population in Canada. Still, the program continued to grow, today including a campus in Washington DC. A majority host summer programs, night and weekend classes, intended to provide challenge or support for students of the school, or those interested only in specific courses. And on it goes … there are further international programs, year-long study abroad program under the Blyth Global High School banner, as well as online/distance course offerings. There are even March break courses, both here and abroad.

    Again, it's a lot, with a range of programs to support a wide range of students and academic goals. Again, for anyone who thinks of school in a traditional way—a building with classes—Blyth can be a lot to get your head around. Given the historical strength of the programs, however, it's very much worth the effort.


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Mississauga 0 0
  • Blyth Academy Online School
    Blyth Academy Online School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Blyth Academy Online School

    Whereas some schools are just that, schools, Blyth represents a range of programs at a range of locations. It was founded by Sam Blyth in 1977, and quickly established itself as a leader in global education with the creation of a Canadian high school in France, as well as an accredited program at Oxford University. Those global education programs provided a unique addition to the Canadian educational landscape.

    With the creation of the first brick-and-mortar school here at home in 2002, Blyth applied the same concept to domestic education. In the intervening decades, the program has grown exponentially, now including 11 campuses which, together, represent the largest single private school student population in Canada. Still, the program continued to grow, today including a campus in Washington DC. A majority host summer programs, night and weekend classes, intended to provide challenge or support for students of the school, or those interested only in specific courses. And on it goes … there are further international programs, year-long study abroad program under the Blyth Global High School banner, as well as online/distance course offerings. There are even March break courses, both here and abroad.

    Again, it's a lot, with a range of programs to support a wide range of students and academic goals. Again, for anyone who thinks of school in a traditional way—a building with classes—Blyth can be a lot to get your head around. Given the historical strength of the programs, however, it's very much worth the effort.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Blyth Academy Ottawa
    Blyth Academy Ottawa
    Ottawa, Ontario

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    Our Take: Blyth Academy Ottawa

    Whereas some schools are just that, schools, Blyth represents a range of programs at a range of locations. It was founded by Sam Blyth in 1977, and quickly established itself as a leader in global education with the creation of a Canadian high school in France, as well as an accredited program at Oxford University. Those global education programs provided a unique addition to the Canadian educational landscape.

    With the creation of the first brick-and-mortar school here at home in 2002, Blyth applied the same concept to domestic education. In the intervening decades, the program has grown exponentially, now including 11 campuses which, together, represent the largest single private school student population in Canada. Still, the program continued to grow, today including a campus in Washington DC. A majority host summer programs, night and weekend classes, intended to provide challenge or support for students of the school, or those interested only in specific courses. And on it goes … there are further international programs, year-long study abroad program under the Blyth Global High School banner, as well as online/distance course offerings. There are even March break courses, both here and abroad.

    Again, it's a lot, with a range of programs to support a wide range of students and academic goals. Again, for anyone who thinks of school in a traditional way—a building with classes—Blyth can be a lot to get your head around. Given the historical strength of the programs, however, it's very much worth the effort.


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Ottawa 0 0
  • Blyth Academy Thornhill
    Blyth Academy Thornhill
    Thornhill, Ontario

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    Our Take: Blyth Academy Thornhill

    Whereas some schools are just that, schools, Blyth represents a range of programs at a range of locations. It was founded by Sam Blyth in 1977, and quickly established itself as a leader in global education with the creation of a Canadian high school in France, as well as an accredited program at Oxford University. Those global education programs provided a unique addition to the Canadian educational landscape.

    With the creation of the first brick-and-mortar school here at home in 2002, Blyth applied the same concept to domestic education. In the intervening decades, the program has grown exponentially, now including 11 campuses which, together, represent the largest single private school student population in Canada. Still, the program continued to grow, today including a campus in Washington DC. A majority host summer programs, night and weekend classes, intended to provide challenge or support for students of the school, or those interested only in specific courses. And on it goes … there are further international programs, year-long study abroad program under the Blyth Global High School banner, as well as online/distance course offerings. There are even March break courses, both here and abroad.

    Again, it's a lot, with a range of programs to support a wide range of students and academic goals. Again, for anyone who thinks of school in a traditional way—a building with classes—Blyth can be a lot to get your head around. Given the historical strength of the programs, however, it's very much worth the effort.


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Thornhill 0 0
  • Blyth Academy Waterloo
    Blyth Academy Waterloo
    Kitchener, Ontario

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    Our Take: Blyth Academy Waterloo

    Whereas some schools are just that, schools, Blyth represents a range of programs at a range of locations. It was founded by Sam Blyth in 1977, and quickly established itself as a leader in global education with the creation of a Canadian high school in France, as well as an accredited program at Oxford University. Those global education programs provided a unique addition to the Canadian educational landscape.

    With the creation of the first brick-and-mortar school here at home in 2002, Blyth applied the same concept to domestic education. In the intervening decades, the program has grown exponentially, now including 11 campuses which, together, represent the largest single private school student population in Canada. Still, the program continued to grow, today including a campus in Washington DC. A majority host summer programs, night and weekend classes, intended to provide challenge or support for students of the school, or those interested only in specific courses. And on it goes … there are further international programs, year-long study abroad program under the Blyth Global High School banner, as well as online/distance course offerings. There are even March break courses, both here and abroad.

    Again, it's a lot, with a range of programs to support a wide range of students and academic goals. Again, for anyone who thinks of school in a traditional way—a building with classes—Blyth can be a lot to get your head around. Given the historical strength of the programs, however, it's very much worth the effort.


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Kitchener 0 0
  • Blyth Academy Whitby
    Blyth Academy Whitby
    Whitby, Ontario

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    Our Take: Blyth Academy Whitby

    Whereas some schools are just that, schools, Blyth represents a range of programs at a range of locations. It was founded by Sam Blyth in 1977, and quickly established itself as a leader in global education with the creation of a Canadian high school in France, as well as an accredited program at Oxford University. Those global education programs provided a unique addition to the Canadian educational landscape.

    With the creation of the first brick-and-mortar school here at home in 2002, Blyth applied the same concept to domestic education. In the intervening decades, the program has grown exponentially, now including 11 campuses which, together, represent the largest single private school student population in Canada. Still, the program continued to grow, today including a campus in Washington DC. A majority host summer programs, night and weekend classes, intended to provide challenge or support for students of the school, or those interested only in specific courses. And on it goes … there are further international programs, year-long study abroad program under the Blyth Global High School banner, as well as online/distance course offerings. There are even March break courses, both here and abroad.

    Again, it's a lot, with a range of programs to support a wide range of students and academic goals. Again, for anyone who thinks of school in a traditional way—a building with classes—Blyth can be a lot to get your head around. Given the historical strength of the programs, however, it's very much worth the effort.


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Whitby 0 0
  • Blyth Academy Yorkville
    Blyth Academy Yorkville
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Blyth Academy Yorkville

    Whereas some schools are just that, schools, Blyth represents a range of programs at a range of locations. It was founded by Sam Blyth in 1977, and quickly established itself as a leader in global education with the creation of a Canadian high school in France, as well as an accredited program at Oxford University. Those global education programs provided a unique addition to the Canadian educational landscape.

    With the creation of the first brick-and-mortar school here at home in 2002, Blyth applied the same concept to domestic education. In the intervening decades, the program has grown exponentially, now including 11 campuses which, together, represent the largest single private school student population in Canada. Still, the program continued to grow, today including a campus in Washington DC. A majority host summer programs, night and weekend classes, intended to provide challenge or support for students of the school, or those interested only in specific courses. And on it goes … there are further international programs, year-long study abroad program under the Blyth Global High School banner, as well as online/distance course offerings. There are even March break courses, both here and abroad.

    Again, it's a lot, with a range of programs to support a wide range of students and academic goals. Again, for anyone who thinks of school in a traditional way—a building with classes—Blyth can be a lot to get your head around. Given the historical strength of the programs, however, it's very much worth the effort.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Bodwell High School
    Bodwell High School
    North Vancouver, British Columbia

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    Our Take: Bodwell High School

    Bodwell began in 1991 with just six students, and has grown exponentially since then. It’s now one of the largest international boarding schools in the country. Throughout, the school has been developed to support learners arriving in Canada from overseas, including counsellors who can provide guidance on travel and visa requirements, and international credit equivalencies. The atmosphere in many ways in an expression of the surrounding city. Like Vancouver, the school is diverse, positioned to grant a global perspective. Graduates are encouraged to grow a sense of who they are in that wider world, both of the pacific rim and beyond. The ideal student is one preparing for university and, afterward, a professional engagement within an international context.


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North Vancouver 0 0
  • Bond Academy
    Bond Academy
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Bond Academy

    Begun in 1978, Bond has grown to include a wealth of programs, including those beyond the prospectus of the academy. Because of the association with them, the Academy is proximate to a full range of physical resources and a rich athletics program. Boarding supports international students, including a language centre offering ESL classes and tutorial in addition to core curriculum, as well as provisions for foreign credit equivalency. With AP courses and independent study options, the ideal student is one who is preparing for university enrollment.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Braemar House School
    Braemar House School
    Brantford, Ontario
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    "...the academic level was much lower at his old school and at Braemar the educators are all on board and eager to help out our son achieve his best!"
    Anna Nemeth - Parent   (Nov 07, 2018)
    Our son enrolled in Braemar House School in Sep 2018. We had considered Braemar for many years, but...
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    "BHS was the best investment we could have made for our children."
    Rebecca Rooney - Parent   (Nov 06, 2018)
    We have been lucky enough to have two children at BHS. Each value different aspects of the school. ...
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    "One of the things I love most about Braemar is how the students interact with one another and with other members of the school community."
    Kate Rossiter - Parent   (Feb 21, 2019)
    Both my kids attend Braemar, and both started when they were three. In our first year, as the mothe...
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    Our Take: Braemar House School

    Braemar House was founded in 1996 by a group of parents looking for a school for their children centred around their shared values and beliefs. That’s great of course, as are the specific values that they had in mind: citizenship, stewardship, and community. When we think of education, we think of academics, though those initial families were aware that academics, while important, are only one part of the bigger picture. The school has grown and formalized since then, as with the creation of the Citizenship Program in 2005, as well as the creation of the Virtues Project, which contribute to the other character building initiatives within the delivery of the core curriculum. There is of course an abiding attention to delivering a strong academic program—there has been a significant attention to developing 21st century literacies—though it’s the attention to values that remains, rightly, an important draw. The ideal student is one operating at the top of his or her peer group, able to thrive in a vibrant educational atmosphere. 


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Brantford 0 10
  • Brampton Christian School
    Brampton Christian School
    Caledon, Ontario

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    Our Take: Brampton Christian School

    BCS was founded in 1977 by the Kennedy Road Tabernacle and was initially known as KRT Christian School. It’s grown since, and the name was changed to reflect the school’s non-denominational perspective, though the school is now, just as it has always been, a part of the KRT ministry. Bob Boshart became principal in 1982 and over the next 26 years he consistently lead the development of the programs, accreditation, and the expansion into the upper grades. That said, the development has been very much guided by the school community, and the involvement of the families who have enrolled past and present is a great source of strength for the school. A fairly recent and substantial capital campaign has brought the school to where it is today, with a renewed infrastructure and a full complement of up-to-date instructional resources. Families are drawn to the reputation that the school has gained over its life, as well as a program based in the values of the Christian faith.


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Caledon 0 0
  • Branksome Hall
    Branksome Hall
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Branksome Hall

    Clans and tartans, prefects and polo shirts—the initial gestalt is very traditional. Some of the buildings on campus are heritage buildings, which adds to the luster, though they pre-date the founding of the school. Still, the spirit of the school is strikingly modern. The IB program starts early, as does the view to globalism. Branksome has a sister campus in South Korea, offering a hint of the dedication to an international gaze. Lists of notable alumni don't always reflect the work of the school—princes, for example, appear on those lists no matter what they achieve at school or afterward—though Branksome might prove the exception, in part because of the consistency of the achievement it demonstrates. Arts, letters, philanthropy, and leadership are all well represented in the list of notable alumni, just as they are within the school itself. Branksome Hall sets its sights very high, to be sure, and the ideal student is one who shares the core vision and is able to function in a very diverse, challenging, expansive environment.


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Toronto 0 0
Caronport 0 11
  • Brighton Launch
    Brighton Launch
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Brighton Launch

    BrightonLaunch is, for the families that enroll, a life-changer. The students enter an environment that is as empathetic as it is supportive, one in which they experience a community of peers, some of them for the first time. That alone can be transformative. The intention, as they say so beautifully, is to create “lives of success”—that they use that terminology is a great entrée to the focus of the program. Students are engaged through their strengths and talents, rather than any supposed or perceived deficits. They call the school a “launch pad” which is great, too—the program looks ahead to next steps, including entrée into social and work settings beyond the walls of the school. Instruction is informed by a wealth of expertise and experience. In all that and more, there’s certainly a lot to love.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Brighton School
    Brighton School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Brighton School

    The Brighton program begins from the understanding that not all students are able to adapt themselves to the curriculum; rather, in order to reach their potentials, they require an academic environment that adapts itself to them. That can take many forms, and Brighton offers the full range, from small, student-centred groups, to a balanced daily schedule, to a staff with the tools and supports—and the time—to really work individually with each of the students. There are lots of challenges out there, and Brighton has a history of helping their students meet all of them, no matter what form they might take. The service programs, spirit days, and extracurricular programs all extend and enhance the strength of the core program.


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Toronto 0 0
  • British Columbia Christian Academy
    British Columbia Christian Academy
    Port Coquitlam, British Columbia

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    Our Take: British Columbia Christian Academy

    Founded in 1992, the BCCA story is much like that of the little engine that could: dogged persistence toward the goal. Despite a number of moves and growing pains, the school has reached its 25th anniversary stronger than ever, and also remaining very true to the goals of the founders. The school began its life as an expression of the community, with parents coming together around the idea of providing an interdenominational Christian education for their children. It has grown over the years, though that ideal remains, namely to serve families and to include them, unequivocally, within the life of the school. This recent anniversary has provided a moment to pause and consider the successes that the school has had, as well as to reflect a bit on what’s ahead. Certainly, it’s a continuing story. BCCA offers an opportunity for students to engage within a shared culture of belief, and to live and learn though a Christian lens. Values are important, and that piece, in consort with a proven academic program, is what draws families to the school.


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Port Coquitlam 0 0
  • Brockton School
    Brockton School
    North Vancouver, British Columbia

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    Our Take: Brockton School

    Families rightly turn to Brockton for strong academics, and it certainly has that, undergirded by the IB program. But families turn to private school for other reasons as well, prime among them an environment in which students enter a community of peers of a like mind, and who are academically inclined, and Brocton offers that as well. Even more importantly though is an aspect of the school that perhaps parents don’t think to first, though they should, and that’s the opportunity to have authentic experience with a range of endeavor that they wouldn’t otherwise. The community of the Brockton School is close-knit, while the course and extracurricular program is broad. No, it’s not always easy to try new things, and the school is cognizant of the barriers to participation, anticipates them, and seeks to provide a sympathetic introduction. The ideal student is one able to thrive in a vibrant, active, supportive yet challenging academic environment.


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North Vancouver 0 0
  • Bronte College
    Bronte College
    Mississauga, Ontario

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    Our Take: Bronte College

    Any way you look at it, there’s a lot going on at Bronte College. The student population is predominantly boarding, which in turn provides a foundation for the life of the school. Students arrive each year from more than 30 countries from around the world, and the instruction adopts an international gaze as well. AP, IB—the academic programs are focused intently on the progression to university, and to ensure success in post-secondary life. The ideal student is one who will thrive within a very diverse, challenging, globally minded academic environment.


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Mississauga 0 0
Victoria 0 0
  • Buffalo Seminary
    Buffalo Seminary
    Buffalo, New York

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    Our Take: Buffalo Seminary

    SEM was founded in 1851 as The Buffalo Female Academy, and it’s had an impressive history ever since. Times have changed of course, and so has the school, yet the initial intent for the school remains pretty much what it was at the beginning: to provide an exceptional education for young women, preparing them for productive roles in academics, society, and life. Some of the traditions of the school reflect those of the Christian church—the school gathers each day in chapel, where they sing “Jerusalem,” the school’s anthem—though the daily life of the school is secular, reflective and supportive of the diversity within the student body. At the center of a historic city neighborhood, the location and the buildings of the campus are a strength, and the programming of the school rightly capitalizes on it. Students are able to experience city life, and the school makes good use of the resources that an urban setting provides. The long-held traditions of the school offer a unique and very welcome sense of place, as does the dedication to creative engagement between students, both in and out of the classroom. The ideal student is one preparing for post-secondary education, and who will thrive in a very active academic environment. 


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Buffalo 0 0
  • Burlington Christian Academy
    Burlington Christian Academy
    Burlington, Ontario
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    A unique style of learning
    Tosha Freitag - Parent   (Jan 24, 2018)
    All 3 of my children thrive in the small class room size where they feel like a student and not anot...
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    caring staff, good communication
    Doriel Moulton - Parent   (Mar 12, 2018)
    My children absolutely LOVE attending BCA. They feel truly loved and cared for by their teachers, an...
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    " ... loves the hands-on learning"
    Tammy Beattie - Parent   (Feb 13, 2018)
    My son's self esteem has soared since joining BCA. He is finding success, and loves the hands-on le...
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    Our Take: Burlington Christian Academy

    Founded in 1975, parents, understandably, have turned to BCA first because it is one of the few private school options in the Burlington area where the elementary curriculum is taught through a Christian lens. And, to be sure, that’s one of the schools prime offerings. That said, the program has other strengths as well, including very broad arts and athletic programs that are unique to schools of this size. The variety and attention is a plus, though so is access—in a school of 140 students, and with this level of programming, all students are able to experience and participate in organized sports, leadership training, music, and theatre. The school has also dedicated itself to higher order athletics, with a level of coaching and training that, again, is atypical within schools of this size. So, while the values piece is certainly a draw, the school has a lot to offer in addition, including a proven academics, a rich extra-curricular programming, housed within a close, community atmosphere.


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Burlington 0 10
  • Calgary Academy & Calgary Collegiate
    Calgary Academy & Calgary Collegiate
    Calgary, Alberta

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    Our Take: Calgary Academy & Calgary Collegiate

    Every school is unique, supporting a unique set of learners, and Calgary Academy is an excellent example of the concept. The school addresses itself to students with learning difficulties and differences and who aren’t reaching their potential in a traditional learning environment. The Academy addresses learners who are struggling and need targeted academic support; the Collegiate addresses learners who are achieving at the top of their peer group, and who need a challenge and direction in order to reach their potentials. The program is designed in the awareness that students often arrive having had negative experiences elsewhere. As such, a core goal of the program is to build self-esteem and confidence in their skills and abilities. The values that inform the delivery of the curriculum are also, rightly, a draw for the families that enrol.


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Calgary 0 0
  • Calgary French & International School
    Calgary French & International School
    Calgary, Alberta
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    "We have been blown away by the care and attention demonstrated by the teaching staff at CFIS."
    Jimmy Porter - Parent   (Sep 11, 2018)
    Our daughter absolutely loves CFIS. She feels a strong community connection with supportive teacher...
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    Our Take: Calgary French & International School

    The Calgary French & International School (CFIS) is one of the leading independent schools in Canada. Students enjoy enriched academic courses, take part in incredible co-curricular programming, and graduate fluent in three languages. Each student’s unique potential is nurtured within our warm, welcoming community, and we work together to create a dynamic learning environment with each student’s individual learning needs in mind. Strong academics and robust language programming are the foundation of CFIS, and to that end, a wide range of options is offered to encourage students to explore interests in subject areas they may not have previously experienced. Within CFIS’s French immersion learning environment, the curriculum is taught in French, with the exception of English language arts and Spanish as a third language. CFIS students graduate fully bilingual in French and English and with functional fluency in Spanish. Tomorrow’s world will require today’s young people to be innovative and creative global citizens. As multilingual learners in a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Associated School, Round Square School and IB programming at the Senior High level, CFIS students will be confident in their ability to communicate in a variety of languages, which will help them to make a difference in their world. Each one is encouraged to lead advocacy and humanitarian work related to their studies, in their local community and even globally. Through international connections, including travel studies in higher grades, students are taught to effectively and confidently navigate among different cultures, which affords our graduates an exciting range of future options. CFIS graduates are well-prepared for university, finishing Grade 12 with the courses required to pursue post-secondary studies in the fields of their choice. CFIS alumni have moved on to study at French and English universities throughout Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom in a wide-range of disciplines.


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Calgary 0 9
  • Cambridge International Academy
    Cambridge International Academy
    Ajax, Ontario

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    Our Take: Cambridge International Academy

    Cambridge International Academy is positioned to address a diversity of learners, including those who arrive domestically and those arriving from overseas. Families are drawn to the small class sizes and the individual instruction they allow, as well as the international gaze afforded through working and learning with students from a range of cultural backgrounds and experiences. English language learning and homestay programs support international students. While the academic program is strong, families are also drawn to the focus on interpersonal, emotional, and social development. The ideal student is one able to thrive in a close-knit, challenging environment, and who is preparing for success at university.


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Ajax 0 0
  • Cedar Ridge High School
    Cedar Ridge High School
    Kanata, Ontario

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    Our Take: Cedar Ridge High School

    Cedar Ridge High School is a relatively new school, but was created to extend and build upon the success of the primary and elementary program at Kanata Mountain School over the past four decades. The program has been designed to support learners seeking university acceptance, and to be successful once they arrive there. The environment is small and close-knit, though very much a part of the larger community that includes Kanata Montessori. On enrollment students enter an environment of true peers, namely those who which to excel academically, and who thrive within a creative, cooperative, and challenging learning environment. A hallmark of the Cedar Ridge program is the intention to develop students’ facility with the core material, as well as confidence in an ability to communicate it and work effectively with others, encouraging them to take leadership roles within the school and beyond.


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Kanata 0 0
  • Centennial Academy
    Centennial Academy
    Montreal, Quebec

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    Our Take: Centennial Academy

    While there is no formal link, Centennial is very much in the tradition of the Gow School in New York State. Founded in the 1920s, Gow pioneered a concept that, thankfully, is more common today than it was all those years ago: that not all learners are created equally, and that intelligence and an ability to succeed in school are two very different things. That understanding alone accounts for much of the value that Centennial can offer. The typical student arrives after struggling within a traditional academic setting. Most often, that struggle is a result of linguistic disruption—dyslexia, dysgraphia—or executive functioning issues, as common in children with ADHD or autism spectrum disorders. For them, the approach taken at the school can feel like a breath of fresh air. Instruction is empathetic, using strategies appropriate to the students' unique needs. An environment in which students find themselves as part of a majority, rather than an academic or social minority, can also create unique opportunities for the development of a positive self concept than might previously been available to them.


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Montreal 0 0
North York 0 0
  • Central Montessori Schools - York Mills
    Central Montessori Schools - York Mills
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Central Montessori Schools - York Mills

    Since it was founded in 1995, CMS has grown to include five locations in the GTA. The program is founded on the core ideals that Maria Montessori promoted in her work, those of respect, community, purposeful engagement, and self-directed learning. That said, Montessori didn't create her program as a museum piece, but rather as a starting point, and that's a spirit that CMS upholds as well. Dr. Montessori, as has been said, "adjusted and adapted her educational system to better serve children's needs, and well-functioning Montessori classrooms typically share many features reflecting those adjustments." One of which was, of course, a willingness to adjust and adapt. As such, the CMS program includes, as at the Maplehurst location, a computer lab, a library, and a music room. In all, the focus is very clearly on the child, and supporting child development, which is just as it should be.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Century Private School
    Century Private School
    Richmond Hill, Ontario

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    Our Take: Century Private School

    Century began its life in 1994 when Sybil Taylor founded the Montessori school. The program has grown considerably since then, and in a variety of ways, most notably with the development of the high school program. The school is housed within a heritage building that provides a welcome sense of place and purpose. While the middle and high school programs perhaps venture away from the core of the Montessori method, they nevertheless retain a sense of community, hands-on learning, and peer support. The ideal student is one that can thrive within a challenging academic environment, and who is preparing for success at university.  


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Richmond Hill 0 0
Toronto 0 10
  • Chamberlain International School
    Chamberlain International School
    Middleboro, Massachusetts

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    Our Take: Chamberlain International School

    Chamberlain offers a lot, to be sure, though it’s perhaps easy to understate the value of an understanding, inclusive environment. Educator Mary MacCracken wrote that “children can’t begin to learn until they feel safe, and they can’t feel safe until they are honestly and completely accepted.” For many if not all of the students that enroll at Chamberlain, that’s huge. The school supports, diagnostically and academically, learners with a wide range of academic and emotional challenges. What they all share, however, is a lived experience of exceptionality—the world can be a hard place, and these children, whether they articulate it or not, know that better than most. At Chamberlain they find a place which addresses their capabilities, is cognizant of their potentials, and where instruction is based in a very close understanding of their specific needs. Many will go on to post-secondary education, though the principle aim is to allow students to grow into a better understanding of themselves, their place in the world, and to build on their personal strengths.


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Middleboro 0 0
  • Children's Garden Nursery School
    Children's Garden Nursery School
    Toronto, Ontario
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    "The small class sizes are the perfect transition into a formal classroom environment, ensuring that each child feels safe as they take their first steps towards independence."
    Dixie Ho - Parent   (Dec 03, 2018)
    Our older child started in the preschool class at Children's Garden Nursery School and completed the...
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    "The principal and all the teachers are passionate about creating the optimal environment for young children to adapt to school life, learn and grow."
    Omar Hamam - Parent   (Oct 16, 2018)
    I have 3 children, one attended from preschool to SK and the others are currently in JK and started ...
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    "Children's Garden Nursery School provides a theme-based curriculum that is relatively structured which was one of the main selling points for us. There is a calendar sent out each month that shows exactly..."
    Benjamin Pham - Parent   (Nov 19, 2018)
    Our daughter's experience at Children's Garden Nursery School has been fantastic. She is in her 2nd ...
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    Our Take: Children's Garden Nursery School

    Since Children’s Garden was established in 1986, there has been a nice consistency of approach and leadership through the directorship of Pauline Foulkes. When she began there were just two students, though enrolment grew quickly to the 100 student mark, where the enrolment remains today. Throughout, Foulkes has maintained a very hands-on, involved role within all aspects of care and instruction. Location and size are important, though the quality of the programming, of course, is too, and there are few instances of nursery schools with as long a record of providing such unwavering service. The school is housed, now as from the start, in the Church of St. Augustine of Canterbury, though the program isn’t affiliated with the church and is non-denominational.


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Toronto 0 9
  • Chisholm Academy
    Chisholm Academy
    Oakville, Ontario

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    Our Take: Chisholm Academy

    Chisholm was created to address the needs of the kinds of learners who are prone to falling through the cracks of a traditional education. Special needs is the term we might use, though the definition used at Chisholm admits a broader understanding than we typically grant, including students from across the entire academic spectrum. What they share is a need for a more structured academic experience. The school is headed by Dr. Howard Bernstein and Dr. Shirley Bryntwick, both clinical psychologists. The ideal student is one who requires more than they are able to get from a traditional academic setting, and who benefits from a very structured, personal, planned approach to their education. A robust interface between parents and the school is encouraged, and close communication is ongoing throughout the academic year.


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Oakville 0 0
  • City Academy
    City Academy
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: City Academy

    All schools are unique, though that’s particularly true of City Academy. It was founded in 1999 by Sheila Dever, and her pedigree for teaching is simply unequalled. She brought a long experience in the public school sector and within the education faculty at York University. She created the program at City Academy to be intensive and challenging, and it is. Small classes and the four semester format focus student attention in unique ways, while allowing instructors to take cues from the students, adapting to their individual strengths and needs. There really is nothing like it. The ideal student is one intending to proceed to post-secondary education, and is looking to build the personal and academic skills that will be required for success in that context.


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Toronto 0 0
Oakville 0 9
  • Claren Academy
    Claren Academy
    Vancouver, British Columbia

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    Our Take: Claren Academy

    Technology is increasingly providing a way into the core curriculum, certainly in ways that it couldn’t 50 or even 20 years ago. Claren was founded in with that in mind, principally using technology as the spark that will create and inspire children to engage with the curriculum and with their peers. There is an awareness of the skills that children will need in their adult lives, though they include working together, organizing their interest around projects, and employing a range of tools to communicate their ideas, and to develop them. The ideal student is one able to thrive in an active, diverse learning environment, and whose interests tend toward a hands-on engagement with technology.


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Vancouver 0 0
  • Class Afloat - West Island College International
    Class Afloat - West Island College International
    Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

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    Our Take: Class Afloat - West Island College International

    In the world of unique educational options, Class Afloat takes the prize. It’s exactly what it looks like: students board a tall ship and sail off to see the world. While they do that, they take classes, earning credits toward completion of their high school diploma. Unreal. But, there it is.

    The program was begun in 1984, inspired by that year being designated by the United Nations as International Youth Year. The founder of Montreal’s West Island College, Terry Davies, chose to mark the year and its main themes—development, participation, peace—through an extended sailing trip with students that were already enrolled at WIC. Because of the success of that trip, the Class Afloat program has continued to operate ever since. To date the program has gained 1500 alumni, and has sailed more than 700 000 nautical miles, roughly equivalent to travelling to the moon and back, or four circumnavigations of the globe.

    The ship provides, as you might imagine, a focal point, though it does so in ways that you may not initially think. Living and working aboard a tall ship can be challenging—students need to live in close quarters, and work with their peers in order to achieve certain goals. For some, that experience itself can provide some of the best, and most lasting lessons. It’s not for the faint of heart, and is only for students who choose this option themselves and are keen to make the most of it.


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Lunenburg 0 0
Montreal 0 0
  • Columbia International College
    Columbia International College
    Hamilton, Ontario

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    Our Take: Columbia International College

    While some schools pride themselves on being small, Columbia finds its strength in being large—with a student population in excess of 1800, it is easily the largest boarding school in Canada. What Columbia might lack in intimacy it gains in the ability to provide a wealth of supports and programs that smaller schools simply can't. The school maintains extensive liaison offices, a dedicated guidance staff, and even its own medical clinic. The faculty, through size and experience, is remarkably adept at providing a quality, well-rounded education with an eye to success in postsecondary education. The school provides ESL to students who need it, and liaises directly with universities in Canada and beyond in order to facilitate the transition to postsecondary education. In all, the school excels at doing what it was created to do: to support the university-bound international learner who is living away from home within a culture, and at times a language, that is unfamiliar.


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Hamilton 0 0
  • Cornerstone Montessori Prep School
    Cornerstone Montessori Prep School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Cornerstone Montessori Prep School

    The total student population is perhaps on the larger side for Montessori schools in the area, though residing on two campuses. As such Cornerstone reflects the benefits of size, namely in a broader access to resources, while maintaining a very close-knit feel within the classroom. Families are drawn to the Christian values which provide a foundation for the program, and augment the interpersonal aspects of the Montessori method. The teaching methods and the educational philosophy follow those developed by Maria Montessori, and then grow out from there, giving the school its unique character. The program stretches from preschool through Grade 12, allowing students to learn and grow in a consistent environment. The goal is to graduate students who have a good sense of themselves, their place in the world and what they can bring to it, and prepared to provide empathetic leadership within their community. The school has grown into a reputation for providing exactly that, with consistent, caring faculty in a family-oriented setting. The program is challenging, and includes a rich language program, intended to support students in reach their full academic and social potentials.


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Toronto 0 0
  • The Country Day School
    The Country Day School
    King, Ontario
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    Building experience and leadership
    Liz Diaz - Parent   (Feb 03, 2018)
    Balanced education which means his receives great education and many options to participate in other...
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    Our Take: The Country Day School

    The Country Day School (CDS) began, literally, over a dinner one evening in 1971. The region was in the process of amalgamating schools, which meant that students who had been attending local schools would be bussed to larger, more suburban ones. That didn’t sit well, in part because of the bussing involved, but also because of the sense of community that students had and, presumably, would lose by going to schools further afield. Seven families decided to do something about it, to take things into their own hands, and to build a school that would continue what had been developed in the rural, country schools that their children had been attending. (The name refers to that, as well as to the country day school movement that had been developing in the US since the late 19th century, with a period of renewed growth in the 1960s and 70s.) They didn’t have any experience building a school, but they turned to those who did, including Dick Howard, then head of Upper Canada College. “You’ve got to get a feel for the community,” was Howard’s advice, “who’s in it and how they perceive education.” And, for the next two years, that’s exactly what they did, speaking with families, and building a conceptual outline for what the school could be.
     
    When CDS opened its doors in 1972, it was, in every way, an expression of the community that created it. The school has grown since then—enrollment has grown from 49 in that first year to over 700 today—and the community it sits within has grown and changed, too. Nevertheless, the school remains very much an expression of the families that turn to it. The size of the school allows for a very rich, robust extra-curricular program, and students are gently required to experience all aspects of it. The physical plant of the school has been significantly augmented through a recent and very sizable capital campaign. The core program continues to be underwritten by the values that the founding families intended to express, namely a sense of belonging, empathy, inclusion, and respect. The ideal student is one able to thrive in a vibrant, diverse, student-centred environment.


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King 0 11
  • Country Garden Montessori Academy
    Country Garden Montessori Academy
    Newmarket, Ontario

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    Our Take: Country Garden Montessori Academy

    When Maria Montessori began designing the method that would eventually bear her name, she was charting some very new and controversial territory. In contrast to rote learning, or treating children like miniature adults, she felt that children were people too, with their own lives to live. Today those ideas aren’t at all controversial, and indeed much of the things that Montessori was doing then have found their way into all early childhood learning environments, as well as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They include the right to play, to follow their curiosity, to grow and develop in a healthy way with kind, caring support. Not all environments deliver those things equally, with some doing it much better than others, and CGMA is certainly one of them. The school site itself is a great strength of the school, with green space offering a buffer from the world around, and allowing for a very clear understanding of place. When children arrive, they find themselves in a familiar, caring, vibrant, and entirely sympathetic environment. That’s important, as Maria Montessori knew, then, and which we know even better today. The programs are progressive, with lots of intergenerational interaction, something furthered by the scope of the school from preschool through Grade 12. There is a great fidelity to the hallmarks of the Montessori method, which is a draw for many families, the most important being a sense of respect, and for accepting children for the people that they are, and allowing them to grow and develop comfortably into a sense of themselves and the place they hold in the world.


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Newmarket 0 0
  • Crescent School
    Crescent School
    Toronto, Ontario
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    "Life at Crescent is very healthy, fulfilling and meaningful."
    Claire Chen - Parent   (Jun 21, 2018)
    The character education is very unique and useful. There are four pillars— Respect, Responsibility...
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    Our Take: Crescent School

    One of the chief benefits of a gender specific school is the provision of opportunities for students to resist the stereotypes that they would encounter in co-ed schools. Crescent, of course, addresses the specific needs of boys around learning and development, though that experiential piece is equally important: to maintain an environment in which boy’s attention and curiosity can be actively engaged, and where they can participate in all curricular areas outside of any need to impress others or gain status across gender lines. Crescent begins, as they say, from the understanding that "when you remove girls from the classroom, some remarkable things can happen." And they’re right to. They also have a long tradition of doing just that. The ideal student is one who is academically curious, has broad potential, and could benefit from increased opportunity to express both their curiosity and their potential.


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Toronto 0 9
Toronto 0 0
  • Crestwood School
    Crestwood School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Crestwood School

    The school was founded in 1980 with an eye to providing a strong, focused academic program for the lower grades. In the intervening decades it has very much kept with the times, including an early adoption of e-learning tools and texts, at times in partnership with national publishers. Student success is gauged through mastery of the course material, and the ideal student is one who is able to thrive within a supportive yet academically challenging environment. In 2001 the program was extended into the upper grades with the creation of the Crestwood Preparatory College.


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Toronto 0 0
  • The Dalton School
    The Dalton School
    Toronto, Ontario
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    Kind, caring, dedicated instruction
    Julie Majic - Parent   (Mar 29, 2018)
    I have 3 children at the Dalton School and this is our 4th year here, so we have experienced prescho...
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    Our Take: The Dalton School

    The Dalton School is a dual-language school, so it doesn't use the language immersion model that most Canadians are familiar with. First off, no prior Mandarin or English proficiency is required to enroll. Further, both languages are given equal weight, unlike in many public school immersion programs where students all share a first language and are all learning the same second language—at The Dalton School, 50% of the day’s instruction is in Mandarin, and 50% in English. The curriculum is balanced in order to allow students to achieve academic proficiency in both languages. So, it’s different, and as such, visiting the school can be, and often is, a striking experience. Most Canadians, truly, have never experienced an academic environment quite like it, with very young children functioning easily, casually in two languages. Both languages naturally open up a range of learning areas—both social and academic—not the least being an exposure to a wider range of culture influence, providing the groundwork for an expanding and empathetic world view. All academics follow an enriched presentation of the Ontario curriculum. Dalton has a very close, community feel, and parents are welcome to be involved in the life of the school. A new home for the school is set to open in 2018, allowing space to further grow the program and the enrollment.


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Toronto 0 9
Toronto 0 11
  • Dearcroft Montessori School
    Dearcroft Montessori School
    Oakville, Ontario

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    Our Take: Dearcroft Montessori School

    Now in its 50th year, Dearcroft is one of the older Montessori schools in the country, founded in 1968 by Peter and Barbara Phippen. It also has very consistent history, now being directed by Gordon Phippen, son of the founders. All of that, while not essential to the delivery of a quality Montessori program, nevertheless underscores what parents and students value in the approach, namely a clear sense of community, family, cross-generational interaction, and a sense of tradition. The program hews very closely to Maria Montessori’s model, and also brings the community—both local and beyond—into the classroom. The student body is on the larger end for a dedicated Montessori school, and the benefits of size are apparent in the range of programs offered.


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Oakville 0 0
Vaughan 0 10
  • Delta West Academy
    Delta West Academy
    Calgary, Alberta

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    Our Take: Delta West Academy

    Delta West was established in 1993 in order to provide families with something different, something new, within Calgary’s educational landscape. First located downtown, the school moved to its current location in 1998 in order to build programming and to accommodate a growing student body. Typically, when schools talk about bringing something new to the table, they often are thinking of all the things that fall under the umbrella of 21st century literacies: facility with technology, collaborative learning, student-driven inquiry, a focus on rhetoric and logic over rote learning. Delta West addresses all those things, though the focus, too, has been to consider the physical aspects of learning—the value of active learning, both within athletic and classroom settings. The classroom furniture is an indication of how the school approaches the learner in that regard; students can choose, for example, movement chairs, standing desks, or more traditional furniture. For many students, that’s a big deal. Movement, even very subtle movement, can help stimulate engagement and keep students on task. Again, that’s just one aspect of the school, but it’s an instructive one; Delta West has a history of working with students to increase engagement with the curriculum and with peers, and therein lies the school’s success. The ideal student is one looking for something different, and who will thrive in a very interactive, diverse, and stimulating environment.  


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Calgary 0 0
  • Don Valley Academy
    Don Valley Academy
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Don Valley Academy

    Don Valley is one of those little gems within the city that doesn’t get nearly the attention that it deserves. It’s a small school, and the size is one of its strengths. Students choose Don Valley because they are looking for something different, something more personal, where they can exercise their talents and abilities in the ways they choose to exercise them. It requires a certain amount of responsibility, of course, though the program rewards those that arrive with it. This isn’t the school for a student looking for a full complement of intramurals, for example, but instead is looking for a respectful, quiet, challenging academic environment peopled by students and faculty that are true peers. The ideal student is one looking for a challenge, is operating at the top of his or her peer group, and is able to make the most of a flexible learning environment.


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Toronto 0 0
  • The Dragon Academy
    The Dragon Academy
    Toronto, Ontario
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    "changed my kids' lives"
    Shanti Barclay - Parent   (Mar 29, 2018)
    My child was not happy at our local public school. He loves Dragon. Everything scholastic chang...
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    "my boys have found a home where they are understood"
    Kate Hilton - Parent   (Apr 02, 2018)
    The Dragon has been a godsend for our family. Both of my boys have found a home where they are unde...
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    strong teaching, engaging programs
    Gideon Scanlon - Alumnus   (Apr 04, 2018)
    At 15, my mother announced I would no longer be attending my strict all-boys school. I was to become...
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    Our Take: The Dragon Academy

    The Dragon Academy was founded in 2000 to appeal to a very specific kind of learner, one who is intellectually omnivorous, creative, and academically gifted. The school began with just 12 students in its first year, and it remains very close-knit and intimate. Instruction is discussion-based, hands-on, and it makes the most of the wealth of learning resources that are nearby, including the A.G.O., the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics, and the ROM. It has a lot to offer, though, again, for a very specific kind of learner. The right student will find the Dragon Academy to be a home, arriving within a community that contrasts with their prior school experience in some very significant ways. The focus is on engagement and curiosity. While the program is progressive, at least from a modern perspective, it's also in some ways exceedingly traditional, with a focus on the classics and Socratic investigation. The Dragon Academy is truly a school like none other. It's not every student's cup of tea, though of course no school ever is. For the students who attend, the program can be transformational and supportive in all the right ways.


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Toronto 0 11
  • The Dunblaine School
    The Dunblaine School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: The Dunblaine School

    Dunblaine was founded in 1969 by concerned parents of children with needs that weren’t being met within the public school system. They wanted a safe environment, run by staff that understood, clearly, the needs of the students; one that offered an opportunity for them to grow academic skills, life skills, confidence, respect, and self-advocacy. And, for almost 50 years, that’s exactly what they’ve been doing. The current location is also the one that best represents what Dunblaine is all about: it’s a house in a quiet residential neighbourhood. The faculty maintain close communication with parents on all aspects of the students’ experience within the school. The staff represents the full range of all the right expertise, instructional and therapeutic. Frankly, this is what it’s all about. It’s a great school as well as a great example of what education should be about. If you have a chance to speak with a parent of a student of the school, by all means, do it. If you don’t, ask the staff to put you in touch. It will be the best introduction to the school, and its successes, you could hope to have.


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Toronto 0 0
Oshawa 0 0
  • Edge School
    Edge School
    Calgary, Alberta

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    Our Take: Edge School

    Edge School was founded in 1999 with just 7 students in its inaugural year. Within a decade it grew to over 300, where it remains today. In 2009 the school moved to its current location, a 170,000 sq ft school and athletics centre purpose built to house the Edge program. You don’t have to demonstrate your athleticism to apply, though athletics and physical activity is the school’s reason for being. The vision for the school is to be a leader in student-athlete development, and athletics are present, in some way, in every aspect of the life of the school. The Spanish teacher, for example, is a certified personal trainer; the social studies teacher is a national ringette champion. No, it’s not necessary to be athletic to be a good language teacher, but the school has been crafted as a place where students will work and learn with others who share their passion and their interests, and that alone can be transformative. They’ll find themselves among peers in the truest sense of the word, and live a daily schedule that is built to support their training. It’s not for everyone, but of course no school ever is. For the right student, Edge School is unequalled.


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Calgary 0 0
  • The Element High School
    The Element High School
    Ottawa, Ontario

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    Our Take: The Element High School

    The Element is that rare bird of secondary education: a Montessori high school. The Element grew out of a primary program at OMS Montessori, building into the intermediate grades and, ultimately, through the high school grades. In 2012, The Element became distinct unto its own, offering a consistent program from grades 7 to 12. Then, in 2015, it moved into its own space, becoming physically distinct as well. Nevertheless, the foundational principle remains across all grades, providing learning that is self-referential and student directed. The ideal student is one who thrives within a very hands-on environment, who is guided by their curiosity, and is able to make the most a greater range of academic independence.


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Ottawa 0 0
  • Ellington Montessori School
    Ellington Montessori School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Ellington Montessori School

    Since it was founded in 1990, Ellington has grown its reputation on providing a solid, comprehensive academic experience. The school has developed its program, on one hand, with the needs of parents foremost in mind—before and after care, meals, and beginning in early childhood. Likewise, they’ve developed summer programs which allow for children to stay within a familiar setting throughout the year. From the child’s perspective, the community is very close-knit and personal, true to the foundational concepts of the Montessori method. It’s very much a home away from home, delivering students confident and prepared to succeed at secondary school.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Elmwood School
    Elmwood School
    Ottawa, Ontario

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    Our Take: Elmwood School

    Elmwood was founded in 1915 by Theodora Philpot and, in addition to having a great name, was well ahead of her time in the world of education. Like Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner, and others at the time, she felt that traditional education wasn’t meeting the needs of students, both academically and personally. She wanted to offer an alternative, one that was student-centric, and that would stimulate a love of learning rather than the rote memorization of facts. She felt that there should be a bit of poetry in the course of daily life, and a bit of joy, too. She began that first year with just four students, all of whom were boys. Despite the obvious differences—it’s now home to nearly 400 students, all of whom are girls—the spirit of the school nevertheless is reflective of Philpot’s vision. The school is one very much centred on possibility, creating opportunities for students to explore their world and to find their place within it. The ideal student is a girl looking for a vibrant, challenging, community-oriented academic environment. 


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Ottawa 0 0
  • Emmanuel Christian School
    Emmanuel Christian School
    Dollard des Ormeaux, Quebec

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    Our Take: Emmanuel Christian School

    Emmanuel began more than 40 years ago with just 38 students in its founding year. It’s grown considerably, building out the program to include the early years, increased enrolment, and a move to its current location. In addition to the provision of an authentically bilingual learning environment, families are drawn by the attention to values, something that underwrites instruction in all areas of the curriculum. The school is very much a community of peers, a group that is formed around shared interests, values, and goals. The ideal student is one who will thrive within a vibrant, globally oriented setting, and who is looking forward to post-secondary education.


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Dollard des Ormeaux 0 0
  • EPIC School
    EPIC School
    Toronto, Ontario
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    "Carolyne (the school director) is a parent's dream. She's wonderful and caring with the children; analytical, responsive..."
    Josh Arbuckle - Parent   (Feb 21, 2019)
    Our daughter has been at EPIC for 2 years now. EPIC offers a very safe, caring, and nurturing envir...
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    "The teachers are extremely passionate and knowledgeable. The year starts with a curriculum night where the teachers lay out the philosophy they follow and what to expect."
    Frank DeLuca - Parent   (Feb 21, 2019)
    My child enjoyed the small class size and dedicated teacher time that the small class size afforded....
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    Our Take: EPIC School

    EPIC is a small school that has been lovingly and consistently lead since it was founded in 1999. The location is a plus, both in terms of accessibility—it’s proximate to various forms of public transit—and available resources. The facilities to hand are augmented by green space nearby, and creative use is, rightly, made of both. One of the benefits of a smaller environment is instructional agility, and that’s an area in which EPIC particularly shines. Teachers are keen to try new tools and methods, and to continually seek best practices. The instructors feel that they drive the curriculum and its delivery, rather than the other way around. The instructional environment is also a draw, one that foregrounds care, play, and collabortion, and which begins with the talents, interests, and curiosities that the students bring with them into the classroom. Parental satisfaction is high and, certainly, there’s a lot to love.


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Toronto 0 9
  • Fairview Glen Montessori
    Fairview Glen Montessori
    Burlington, Ontario

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    Our Take: Fairview Glen Montessori

    Families look to Fairview Glen because it is trusted and established, and presents a robust academic program that hews closely to Maria Montessori’s intentions, including multi-aged classrooms and a bright, comforting classroom atmosphere. Fairview is perhaps a bit larger than the average Montessori in Halton, something that allows for a nice breadth and depth of programming. That includes before- and after-school options, which allow for consistency from the preschool years into the elementary grades. A full range of arts programming, including distinct music and visual arts instruction, as well as a proven preschool immersion program, is also a draw.


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Burlington 0 0
  • Fern Hill School - Burlington
    Fern Hill School - Burlington
    Burlington, Ontario

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    Our Take: Fern Hill School - Burlington

    Each year Fern Hill mounts a theatrical presentation that includes all the students from grade 4 up. No, it's not a theatre school, but the strength of the production, and the enthusiasm with which it's mounted, is as good an introduction to the school as any. 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 of the field studies program, which also takes advantage of the location of the campus within the Ontario Greenbelt. Field studies are used as an entre to the development of confidence, skill development, and team building. The ideal student is one who can benefit from a bit more support, a bit more encouragement than they might find elsewhere in order to reach their full potential.


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Burlington 0 0
Oakville 0 0
  • Fern Hill School - Ottawa
    Fern Hill School - Ottawa
    Ottawa, Ontario

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    Our Take: Fern Hill School - Ottawa

    Families typically cite academics as an important driver when considering a school, and certainly they should be. That said, in the best school settings, a strong academic program is simply the baseline for what the program offers, and Fern Hill is a great example of that. Yes, numeracy and literacy are the core components, though confidence and self-esteem are too. Students are encouraged to grow in all literacies, including those of the arts and music and social interaction. The French language program has been augmented in recent years, driven principally by the needs of students and desire of parents. Administration has worked to create an environment of discovery across all curricular areas, and they’ve succeeded in that. Yes, academics are strong, though, rightly, that’s just the beginning of what Fern Hill is able to offer. It's perhaps the things over and above that which truly give strength to the overall program and distinguish the school.  


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Ottawa 0 0
  • Foothills Academy
    Foothills Academy
    Calgary, Alberta

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    Our Take: Foothills Academy

    “Everybody is like me here.” That’s what one student said when asked why he liked going to Foothills. Indeed, while the academics are exceptional, as is the staff, it’s that relatability that is a draw for families, and which sits at the very core of the school’s success. We all do better in environments that we can relate to, and which in turn can relate to us. For the students that attend, Foothills is precisely that environment. If you have a chance, by all means, speak to a parent of a student, and remember to bring some tissues. The school rightly prides itself in making a difference in the lives of the children that attend, and they have, and they do, often in very moving ways. The students arrive having struggled in other settings, often lagging behind their peers in significant ways. That changes, often from the first day. It’s telling that at least one of the teachers—there may be more—is a graduate of the school. Not only has she achieved things that, perhaps, she at one point she may not have expected of herself, she also translates that experience to the students that she teaches today. In her, and in the school as a whole, students are encouraged to see the possibility within themselves. And, oftentimes, that makes all the difference.


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Calgary 0 0
Toronto 0 0
  • Fulford Academy
    Fulford Academy
    Brockville, Ontario

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    Our Take: Fulford Academy

    International education can mean different things in different contexts. Some educate students to adopt a global view. Others, as with Fulford Academy, it’s the student population that brings the international flavor, arriving from around the world, often with the intention of staying in Canada to complete their high school and post-secondary careers. The school communicates with families in 11 languages, something which is very key, and very welcome, for many of them. Cultural literacy is a focus, as is proficiency in English. For some, Fulford is a stepping stone other schools, though students are of course welcome to stay through the completion of their high school degrees, as indeed many do. The ideal student is a one intending to pursue post-secondary education in Canada, and who is also looking for a smaller, more personalized setting in which to get up to speed with the various fluencies they will need in order to achieve success.


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Brockville 0 0
  • German International School Toronto
    German International School Toronto
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: German International School Toronto

    GIST bases instruction on the curriculum developed in Thüringen, a state at the geographic and cultural heart of Germany. It’s also inspected regularly by officials from that region who come in order to ensure that the school meets the standards set out within the curriculum, something it does for all of the 140 German schools around the globe. They were formed to offer education to German expats, though their popularity grew in response to local demand. The schools offered a quality, a unique pedagogical approach, and a sense of globalism that was hard to find in other institutions. The school provides dual-immersion, admitting students for whom either of the instructional languages are mother tongues. The ideal student is one who is intellectually curious, keen to learn languages, and who is excited by the prospect of learning and living within a rich, diverse, and uniquely authentic cultural environment.


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Toronto 0 0
  • The Giles School
    The Giles School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: The Giles School

    The Giles School provides an enriched language immersion program from preschool through the middle grades. The French program starts in preschool, and a Mandarin program begins in grade 1 with a period a day spent in an immersive Mandarin environment. It's perhaps safe to say, in terms of language learning—both in terms of when immersion is introduced, as well as providing multilingual immersion—the program is the only one of its kind in Canada. Classes are small, and academics are rigorous, covering the entire core curriculum and then some. The ideal student is one who can benefit from enrichment and who will thrive within a play-based, curiosity-driven environment.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Glenburnie School
    Glenburnie School
    Oakville, Ontario

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    Our Take: Glenburnie School

    If you didn't know otherwise, you'd perhaps be given to thinking that Glenburnie is a prep school, operating at the high school level with an eye to preparing students for success at university. There is a dedication to 21st century skills, fostering leadership and independence, and developing communication and analytical skills. There is overt attention to preparing students for the challenges that they will face in a changing world. All of which can jar a bit given that those goals are applied to an early-education, junior, and intermediate program, one that enrolls students from pre-kindergarten to grade 8. Still, there is a method here, one that Linda Sweet established when she founded the school in 1985. She felt that education was lagging behind, addressing the needs of the industrial age rather than the nascent digital one. In creating Glenburnie, Sweet became one of the first school administrators in the region to actively adjust instruction away from a model that was designed, implicitly, to serve a predominantly vocational workplace. Despite the kinds of pedagogical language used to describe the school, Glenburnie creates space for kids to be kids, applying the core academic concepts in an age-appropriate way. The ideal student is one that is functioning above their peers, and who is able to make the most of an enriched, creative, and at times intense educational environment.


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Oakville 0 0
  • Glenmore Christian Academy
    Glenmore Christian Academy
    Calgary, Alberta

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    Our Take: Glenmore Christian Academy

    The initial draw for families considering Glenmore is the values piece: a full curriculum taught through the Christian lens. Certainly, that’s something which distinguishes the school within the region, and often is the first point of contact. What families find in the school, however, is both that and whole lot more. Given the size of the school, Glenmore is also able to offer a very rich, diverse range of programming, something that understandably is also very attractive. There is a full program of intramurals, and the breadth of the music program—including options for individual lessons—is something that also distinguishes the school. A mission program at the grade 9 level offers an international experience earlier than in a majority of programs, and can provide a very nice punctuation to a student's experience at Glenmore. The ideal student is one who will thrive within a vibrant, challenging, community-centered learning environment.


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Calgary 0 0
  • Glenn Arbour Academy
    Glenn Arbour Academy
    Burlington, Ontario

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    Our Take: Glenn Arbour Academy

    Glenn Arbour positions its approach to instruction within a sense of possibility, building from a student’s sense of what they’re capable of and then extending it. Students feel that they are at baseline and building from there, rather than feeling that they are below baseline and reaching up to achieve it. Perhaps it’s a fine point, but the lived experience, for many students, can be transformational. The goal is academic excellence and personal confidence, and Glenn Arbour has built its reputation on delivering students into their high school careers with both of those. Families are also drawn to an impressive roster of extracurricular activities, one that is somewhat remarkable for a school of this size. As such, students not only have access to the activities of their choice, they are also challenged to try others that they may not consider in other environments.


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Burlington 0 0
  • The Gow School
    The Gow School
    South Wales, New York

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    Our Take: The Gow School

    The Gow School was founded in the 1920s, though from the outset has based instruction in a very modern understanding, namely that not all learners are created equally, and that intelligence and an ability to succeed in school are two very different things. It's an idea that remains as fresh today (perhaps a little bit disheartningly) as it was when Peter Gow Jr. founded the school all those years ago. He believed that small class sizes and an open mind, when it comes to instruction, can make all the difference, especially for those who are at risk of falling through the cracks of a traditional approach to academics. The students at the top of his mind were those with some form of linguistic disruption—students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia or issues with central auditory processing. Gow believed that success for these students was a function of teaching, and for decades the school has been proving his point. All students—typically they are kids who have been struggling in a traditional setting—are aiming for college and university, and the school has a history of delivering them there. The program has changed over the years, though the spirit of investigation, of finding better ways to support learners, remains.


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South Wales 0 0
  • Gradale Academy
    Gradale Academy
    Toronto, Ontario
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    "The staff is very hands-on and attentive to particular needs, and the principal was very accessible and accommodating."
    David Lancaster - Parent   (Mar 07, 2019)
    A completely enriching experience for my child. The environment and atmosphere was the prefect size ...
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    Our Take: Gradale Academy

    When public boards seek to trim funding, they typically first look at the arts and outdoor education. Yes, the three Rs are important, but so is the way we interact with them, with others, and understand our place in the natural world, including stewardship. Gradale, very happily, begins at that point, having developed a program that delivers the core and then some. The Brick Works property is one of two that the school operates, and supports the core of Gradale program. It’s in the heart of the city, though abuts an impressive bit of green space, allowing the school maintain a very active and porous interface with nature—they don’t travel to it, but rather live, learn, and play within it every day. The benefits are profound, and increasingly demonstrated and apparent. The student body is small, vibrant, and parental involvement is nicely apparent and welcome in a wide range of school life.  


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Toronto 0 9
  • Great Lakes Christian High School
    Great Lakes Christian High School
    Beamsville, Ontario

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    Our Take: Great Lakes Christian High School

    Families look to Great Lakes based on its reputation for offering a strong academic program combined with the opportunity to grow spiritually within a community of shared interest. Due to the boarding program, the student population is diverse, bringing an international perspective to coursework and social life. The values piece is, of course, important, though equally so is the place that it occupies both within instruction and within the life of the school. The curriculum is delivered through a Christian lens, with a specific attention to empathetic service, both locally and internationally. The ideal student is one who will thrive within a close-knit community of shared values and interest, and where social currency is gained through academic and personal achievement. For the right student, the experience of Great Lakes can be as transformative as it is empowering.


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Beamsville 0 0
  • Greenwood College School
    Greenwood College School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Greenwood College School

    Having been founded in 2002, Greenwood is a relatively young school, though has grown in response to the needs of the families that enroll here, and the place that it has within the academic mosaic of the city. It still thinks of itself as a small school, and the lived experience is personal and close-knit. That said, at 475 students, it’s certainly not tiny, and the curricular and extracurricular programs benefit from the size. The current facility, opened in 2016, is an apt expression of the goals of the school, as well as the families that support it. It includes flexible learning spaces and up to date athletic and arts spaces. Greenwood, in some sense, still flies a bit below the radar in the public consciousness, though given the success and growth it’s experienced, that won’t last long. The ideal student is one able to thrive within an active, academically oriented learning environment.


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Toronto 0 0
Mississauga 0 9
  • Halton Waldorf School
    Halton Waldorf School
    Burlington, Ontario

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    Our Take: Halton Waldorf School

    Any school is more than the buildings or the setting, though perhaps especially with Waldorf programs, setting is an important piece. Halton’s program is established and proven, having been founded in 1984, and the facilities are notable as well, providing, in many ways, the ideal environment for the Waldorf approach. The buildings aren’t small, though they really confer a nice sense of place, some that is beautifully extended by the school’s proximity to green space. Waldorf intends to set students apart a bit from the bustle of daily live, and all the distractions that might be found there, and refocus students’ attention, and awaken a perception and appreciation of children’s talents and their place in the world. You’d be hard pressed to find a learning environment that better expresses and supports those goals. It’s idyllic, and matches the strength of the academic program and the experience of the staff.


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Burlington 0 0
Ancaster 0 0
  • Hampshire Country School
    Hampshire Country School
    Rindge, New Hampshire

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    Our Take: Hampshire Country School

    Hampshire Country School began in the 1930s, in a sense at least, when a family brought their son to Henry and Adelaide Patey, begging for help. Henry was a prominent psychologist, and Adelaide was a teacher of languages and music. The boy was given to mood swings and outbursts and, at least given the perspectives available at the time, was seen as a candidate for institutionalization. That’s not the approach we’d take today, thankfully, and that’s not the approach the Pateys offered then. They took him in as a boarder and, between them, proceeded to give the boy, very literally, a new lease on life. There are lots of details about the story that we’ll never know, but nevertheless we know the boy went on to live a full and seemingly very rewarding life; he enrolled at boarding school to complete his high school degree, served in WWII, studied at university, became an engineer and had a family.

    

Understandably, the success the Pateys had, even early on, attracted the attention of parents with similar children—those who have clear intellectual gifts coupled with significant social and interpersonal difficulties. They arrived and, in 1947, the school was founded. The following year it was moved to the house that occupies Hampshire Country School today.

    

One of the reasons for the success of the school was that, perhaps without having a word for it, the school was based in a very student-centred approach. The students required a personal approach, and that’s what they found at the school. Temple Grandin’s experience at the school is telling. When she was expelled from school—she recalls her time in grade school as the worst period of her life—her mother enrolled her at Hampshire (it was co-ed at that time) and she began to excel in ways that some might not have thought possible. She was mentored by William Carlock, a science teacher who had worked for NASA, who helped grow her interest in science and build her sense of worth and self-confidence at the same time. Grandin, of course, went on to an inspiring career in science, and is professor of animal science at Colorado State University.

    Both Grandin and Carlock are emblematic of the work of the school, both then and now. Even today, electronics are used sparingly, and instruction is based on a very close personal interaction between peers and instructors. All students sit in the front row, so to speak, in classes that are very small, typically between 3 and 6 students. Students are addressed directly in a mentoring relationship. Interruptions are accepted as simply part of the day and if classes need to pause, they do.

    

Likewise, the school itself, on the more macro level, has also been responsive to whatever needs are demanded of it. The rural location, as well as a very home-like atmosphere, are intentional, and seen as key aspects to the ongoing success of the school. The student population has, at points in the school’s history, been as large as 100. Today the student population is typically less than 30 in any given year and, while girls have been admitted at times in the past, Hampshire is now run as a boys school.

    

The school has a great story. And, admittedly, it can be a bit hard to get your head around, given that the school is so different in so many ways from what we’ve come to expect of boarding schools. It’s not like any other school. Likewise, the students that it serves aren’t like any others students. And that's what makes it so impressive. Hampshire began from the impulse to provide care, and that impulse remains undiminished. For the families that enroll their boys here, that's exactly what they need.


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Rindge 0 0
  • Hatch House Montessori School
    Hatch House Montessori School
    Whitby, Ontario

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    Our Take: Hatch House Montessori School

    The most striking thing about Hatch House, at least initially, is that, yup, it’s a castle. It was built in 1874 by industrialist Nelson Gilbert Reynolds after he sold his previous home, Trafalgar Castle (which, in time, also became home to a prominent private school, Trafalgar Castle School). The name, Hatch House, comes from a later owner, industrialist Frederick Hatch who lived there from 1904 to 1969.

    The best use for the building, by far, is the one it has now: housing Hatch House Montessori. The building adds a nice spark to the identity of the school, and the interior spaces are charming and include many updates to suit the needs of the academic program—the most recent being “The Hatch,” a discovery room opened just this year. A strong academic program is augmented by an impressive language program that includes French and Spanish instruction. Principal Zsuzsanna Vigh says that “education is a journey, not a race.” She’s right, of course, and that perspective informs all areas of student life.


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Whitby 0 0
  • Hawthorn School
    Hawthorn School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Hawthorn School

    As the only all-girls' Catholic independent school in Toronto, Hawthorn provides a unique and very specific program, one that focusses on the needs of girls while providing instruction through a Catholic lens. It was founded relatively recently—it celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014—through the instigation of a group of parents who wanted the kind of academic specificity that the school continues to promote today. And, truly, there's no other school like it: girls are challenged to pursue passions in the full range of academic pursuit, STEM primary among them. Character, too, is a primary focus, including an expression of self. The ideal student is one who thrives within a supportive yet academically challenging environment.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Heritage Academy of Learning Excellence
    Heritage Academy of Learning Excellence
    Ottawa, Ontario
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    " ... were able to customize a plan to teach to his strengths."
    Kim Bridgeman - Parent   (May 02, 2018)
    Our son had many difficulties in the regular school system due to a number of learning disabilities ...
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    "...thoroughly impressed with the teaching staffs' dedication and care."
    Susan Ward - Parent   (Jul 18, 2018)
    My daughter transferred mid-year. She likes the small classroom setting and the teaching staff. She ...
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    "...emerged from the school with a giant smile and said, "THIS school is where I belong"."
    Lisa Gomes - Parent   (May 02, 2018)
    My child appreciates the individual attention afforded by small class sizes as well as the flexibili...
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    Our Take: Heritage Academy of Learning Excellence

    Schools are founded for a range of reasons, though a few are founded out of a very acute need, and that’s the case with Heritage. Louise Brazeau-Ward’s son had dyslexia, and she had watched him struggle in traditional academic settings, something which inspired her to make a difference in his life and the lives of others like him. Today she’s a world renowned expert in dyslexia, and a proponent of the Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory approach to instruction which she then adapted. All of that forms the foundation of Heritage Academy, the school that Brazeau-Ward created in 1989. Today the school is run by her daughter, and the program, though having grown over the years, remains consistent. The school provides support for students with dyslexia as well as other challenges. The environment itself—one that is created to address the needs of the students—can itself be transformative. For many students, that’s what Heritage principally offers.


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Ottawa 0 10
  • High Park Day School
    High Park Day School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: High Park Day School

    Amanda Dervaitis, one of the founders of Summit Micro School, is a champion of the micro school, and she created the school in light of the benefits a small school can offer. The program is, in a sense, the reinvention of the one-room schoolhouse with mixed age classrooms and very close student-teacher relationships. Likewise, the programming is very responsive to the needs of the students, and adaptable to a wider range of resources, including those within the neighbouring community—while the student body may be small, the classroom extends well beyond the walls of the school, including regular interaction with local businesses and services. It’s perhaps not a typical model, though for many families, it’s rightly a very attractive one. The ideal student is one able to thrive in a flexible, vibrant learning environment.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Hitherfield School
    Hitherfield School
    Milton-Campbellville, Ontario

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    Our Take: Hitherfield School

    Ann Scott founded Hitherfield in 1991 after a career within the Halton school board, and she remains at the head of the school today, giving a nice continuity to the development of the programs. The intention throughout has been to offer something that wasn’t offered in the public board, principally a more individualized, caring approach to learning. The school is small, and the size is one of its strengths. While it’s not a country school in name, the feel is comparable to schools that situate themselves within that movement—namely a learning environment that very much reflects the community that supports it. Parents are important to the life of the school, and are encouraged to take a role that will express their skills and interests. The ideal student is one looking for something more personal approach, one more attentive to the abilities, experience, and passion that students bring into the classroom.


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Milton-Campbellville 0 0
  • Holy Trinity School
    Holy Trinity School
    Richmond Hill, Ontario

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    Our Take: Holy Trinity School

    Since it was founded in 1981, Holy Trinity School has sought to promote the values—respect for self and others, strength of character, encouragement, and insight—that are expressed by the Anglican tradition. Families are drawn to the student-centred instruction, the community feel, the dedication to academic development and innovation, as well as the school’s proximity to green space. The program is designed to reward curiosity, and to develop well-rounded learners who are adept and engaged in a broad range of literacies. The ideal student is one who will thrive within an academically challenging environment, as well as one that is intellectually, culturally, and philosophically diverse.


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Richmond Hill 0 0
  • Home Sweet Home Montessori Academy
    Home Sweet Home Montessori Academy
    Caledon, Ontario

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    Our Take: Home Sweet Home Montessori Academy

    Different students require different things in order to reach their potential, and the founder of Home Sweet Home, Ashley Volpe, is herself an example of that. It was her experience as a student—both good and bad—which brought her to Montessori, and which encouraged her to found the school. It’s telling that she doesn’t cite only the academic benefits that the method provided her, but also the personal ones: confidence, independence, self-worth. The name is telling, too—this is a school meant to build those things from a place of care, respect, and support. The school has grown at quite a brisk pace since it was founded in 2010, and that’s because families, understandably, were attracted to the care and support that the environment was quite obviously providing.


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Caledon 0 0
Toronto 0 9
  • Humberside Montessori School
    Humberside Montessori School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Humberside Montessori School

    Humberside was founded in 1987 by Felix Bednarski Molly Galle, and they remain as directors of the school today. As such, there has been a long and consistent attention to the initial intentions for the school, one of those being a fidelity to the core of the Montessori program as described by Maria Montessori through her work. That fidelity to the core of the approach is a particular draw for the families that enroll here, as is the demonstrated attention to maintaining AMI standards in classroom resources and faculty development. Parental involvement in the life of the school is welcome and encouraged, allowing a sense of community that extends nicely beyond the walls of the school proper.


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Toronto 0 0
  • J. Addison School
    J. Addison School
    Markham, Ontario

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    Our Take: J. Addison School

    J. Addison School was founded in 2002 to serve both local and international students. The facilities are modern and extensive, including boarding and support programs designed with the needs of international students specifically in mind. The school is lead by alumni of York University, and the partnership between the institutions has grown over the years, including unique scholarships and internships. That relationship will presumably continue to grow with the completion of the York University-Markham Centre Campus. Lee Vendetti, principal at J. Addison has said, “This partnership offers all the key players in both institutions an opportunity to share expertise and resources that will make the transition to university and the working world a smoother and more meaningful experience.” The ideal student is one who will thrive in a challenging, academically oriented, international environment, and who is intending to continue to post-secondary education in Canada.


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Markham 0 0
Ottawa 0 0
Brampton 0 9
  • Junior Academy
    Junior Academy
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Junior Academy

    Dianne Johnson founded the Junior Academy in 1988 in the belief that small is better, and indeed the school has remained small, with an annual enrolment of just 100 students. Johnson lead the school for most of its life, lending a continuity to the program and keeping the focus clearly on the quality of the students' learning experience, and maintaining, above all, an atmosphere of care and support. While not all students arrive from the immediate area, the school prizes its position within the community, and encourages active parental involvement within the life of the school.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Kaban Montessori School
    Kaban Montessori School
    Mississauga, Ontario

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    Our Take: Kaban Montessori School

    Despite what many might perhaps naturally assume, not all Montessori schools are created equally, even within the class of schools that hue very closely to the core of the model. As Maria Montessori would herself have approved, each school takes on a unique character through the passions and personalities of those that work and learn within it, and Kaban is a good example of that. The name, Kaban, is a Mayan word meaning “earth,” and was chosen to represent the unique cast of the program, one that seeks to highlight stewardship to the environment both within the school and outside in the natural world. It’s a nice touch, and one that brings forward some of the core elements of the method that perhaps get short shrift. Yes, manipulatives are a part of it, though they are tools toward achieving the goal of mastery of the concepts and, in working with peers, a confidence in who we are and how we relate to others. Kaban nicely focuses its efforts very clearly around those concepts, both within its physical space as well as in the delivery of the curriculum. The size of the school is big enough to allow for diversity in programming while also allowing all of the students to feel that they are known and have a role and responsibilities in the life of the school. Instruction is student-centered and individualized, something that is an important draw for the families that enroll within the school. In all of that, and more, there’s a lot to love.


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Mississauga 0 0
  • Kells Academy
    Kells Academy
    Montreal, Quebec

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    Our Take: Kells Academy

    Irene Woods began her career as an educator within the public system, and while there noted that often the after-school tutorial sessions were more productive, and more time efficient, than the teaching done in the classroom. The obvious question—at least it was obvious to her—was, why don’t we just teach this way all the time? Which, in time, is exactly what she did, applying the tutorial model—small group, student-led instruction—to the entire curriculum. Kells was founded in 1978, and Woods has been an instructor and director there ever since. Those aspects of the tutorial model—individual attention, and a creative approach to instruction—are what continue to define the program today. The school has grown considerably over the years, including the creation of a boarding program, though the division between the elementary and high school programs helps to keep the focus small-group instruction.


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Montreal 0 0
  • Kelowna Christian School
    Kelowna Christian School
    Kelowna, British Columbia

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    Our Take: Kelowna Christian School

    Kelowna was founded in a broad evangelical tradition, created to express a set of ideals rather than those of a specific congregation. The academic tradition is strong, and that constitutes a significant draw for the families that enroll. Of course, values do too, including the delivery of the curriculum through the lens of Christian belief. The scriptures and biblical truths form the foundation of the life of the school and the lessons taught here. Students are encouraged to apply their learning through leadership and stewardship within the school community and beyond. The goal, no matter what career path is followed, is to live in service. The ideal student is one who shares the values of the school and who chooses to live through them, and who is able to thrive in a challenging yet eminently rewarding academic atmosphere.


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Kelowna 0 0
  • Kendellhurst Academy
    Kendellhurst Academy
    Mississauga, Ontario

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    Our Take: Kendellhurst Academy

    Private schools, of course, intend to offer an alternative, and Kendellhurst is a great example of that. The program is founded in an approach to ECE that borrows the best from Montessori and other alternative approaches, yet does it in a very tailored, intentional way in order to best address the needs of the students that attend. It's less about doctrine than meeting the specific needs of student population. There are three locations, though all feel a piece of the communities that they sit within, something that the Streetsville location is a particularly good example of. The educational context is local, small, and integrated with the needs of the families that enroll here. The feel is homey, comfortable, and supportive, and camp sessions allow families to extend that experience into the summer months, providing an opportunity for continuity between school terms. Organic meals and after school programs are included with tuition, something that can provide a welcome support to the daily management of family life.


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Mississauga 0 0
Toronto 0 11
  • Kidz Kare Inc.
    Kidz Kare Inc.
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Kidz Kare Inc.

    Kidz Kare was founded in 2003 by Jennifer Roselli, a parent who wanted to create an environment that was more responsive to the needs of parents, including herself. Care, a family focus, a modern setting—that was the baseline, though the intention was also to include an appropriate education piece, one aimed not only at better preparing children for entry into the primary grades, but also at exciting curiosity and intellectual engagement in the short term.  Moreover, the intention was to provide a balance between those two things—care and learning—in an awareness that, typically, early childhood care providers either focus on one or the other, rather than both equally. The company has grown and now includes a range of ancillary services, including home care and tutoring, all of which have the needs of urban parents firmly in mind. It’s a unique approach, and one that rightly has found favour with families looking for childcare that hits all those sweet spots: care, learning, social development, and service.


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Toronto 0 0
  • King Heights Academy
    King Heights Academy
    Woodbridge, Ontario

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    Our Take: King Heights Academy

    Parents are drawn to King Heights principally by its reputation for delivering high-quality academics. Not all schools perhaps have the same working definition for quality, though King Heights, in many ways, presents the most sound: challenging, collaborative, creative, and active. While not all students are required to enroll within it, the IB program provides a foundation for the life of the school that is inclusive of the values of global, linguistic, and cultural diversity. Also notable is a willingness to continually evaluate best practices, combining elements of traditional curriculum delivery with innovative tools and approaches. The culture of the school is one based in an empathetic world view, with parents and extended family welcome to participate actively in the school community.


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Woodbridge 0 0
  • King's Christian Collegiate
    King's Christian Collegiate
    Oakville, Ontario

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    Our Take: King's Christian Collegiate

    KCC is impressive, beginning with a sparkling campus inclusive of a broad range of cutting edge facilities. It’s a larger school, and demonstrates all the benefits of size, including extensive in-class resources and extra-curricular programming. There’s a lot to do here, and the students who attend are typically keen to make the most of it. The faculty are required to take part in ongoing professional development, and are given lots of latitude to be creative in the delivery of the curriculum. And on it goes. The athletics facilities are extensive and absolutely up to date, the arts programming diverse and dedicated, and the cafeteria exemplary. The ideal student is one who is operating at the top of his or her peer group and looking to learn and grow within a values-based environment populated by those of a similar mindset.


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Oakville 0 0
  • King's-Edgehill School
    King's-Edgehill School
    Windsor, Nova Scotia

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    Our Take: King's-Edgehill School

    King's-Edgehill School is the oldest independent school in Canada, and was founded as King's Collegiate by United Empire Loyalists in 1788. It was given royal assent by King George III the following year, the first instance that honour was bestowed outside Britain. The initial goal of the school was to prevent young men from traveling abroad to receive an education, men that would be needed to stay to administer and defend the colonies. While the school remained small, its alumni took prominent roles in military, legal, religious, and political life (including two fathers of Confederation).

    So, yes, there’s an impressive history here, in all kinds of ways. That said, the school has changed considerably over the years. The historic buildings have been augmented by recent, and very sympathetic, development, all set on a 65-acre campus. It’s, frankly, beautiful. The academic program is as rigorous as it is supportive, and the school attracts students from around the world, creating a diverse, vibrant, exceedingly modern student population.


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Windsor 0 0
  • Kingsley Primary School
    Kingsley Primary School
    Etobicoke, Ontario
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    "she loved all her teachers and she thrived"
    Jane Mueller - Alumnus   (Jan 24, 2018)
    Our child attended Kingsley from JK to Grade 5. She enjoyed everything during her time at Kingsley,...
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    Delivered on the promise to "belong, discover, thrive"
    Nicole Morell - Parent   (Jan 24, 2018)
    It was a tough decision to move our 4-year old son to a new school, but after a challenging junior k...
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    Our Take: Kingsley Primary School

    When parents are considering a school, they’re right to ask about instructional styles, teaching, programs, assessment. Those are important. Though when we pick up our kids from school each day, we’re not thinking about those things. Instead, we ask: “How was your day?” Maybe we ask it reflexively, but when it comes to how children learn, that’s actually where the rubber really meets the road. Kids learn best in a consistent, supportive, personal, safe, and community-focused environment. Providing that kind of environment is what forms a basis for all of the work at Kingsley. When they say “thrive” they mean it in the broad sense—gaining a strong academic foundation—but also in the sense of having fun, gaining confidence, and finding a voice within a community of peers. The programs are strong, the teaching staff seasoned, and the school has had consistent success for more than three decades. For the families that enroll here, all of that is important. Likewise, the strength and focus of the learning environment is often, quite rightly, a principle draw. After all, a child's ability to thrive in life begins in having a good day, today.  


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Etobicoke 0 10
  • Kingsway College School
    Kingsway College School
    Etobicoke, Ontario

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    Our Take: Kingsway College School

    Neil deGrasse Tyson has said, "imagine how different the world would be, if, in fact, that were 'reading, writing, arithmetic, empathy.'" Kingsway College School poses the same question, and has worked to augment a strong academic program with a cross-curricular attention to values. It can risk sounding a bit grand, as when Derek Logan, the head of school, notes that a goal is to teach students to "lead with vision and humility." These are little kids, after all, given that the program ends at Grade 8. Nonetheless, the attention to values, and providing opportunities for social development, in addition to a sense of mastery with core skills, is a strength of the school. The ideal student is one who is able to thrive in an active, academically challenging environment.


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Etobicoke 0 0
  • Kohai Educational Centre
    Kohai Educational Centre
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Kohai Educational Centre

    Kohai began in 1973 as a summer camp for children with emotional, intellectual, and behavioural disorders. Parents were the driver, encouraging the founders to build out the programming based on the success that the summer program was having. It was formalized as a school in 1976 around the approach that had been adopted in the camp setting, one focused on small-group learning and student-directed instruction. Kohai addresses itself specifically to the needs of children who, simply, learn differently, and who require a setting that offers the kinds of supports that they need. The foremost, often, is an environment that is built with them in mind, and which sees their potential, first, rather than their limitations. Which is exactly what Kohai has been offering—impressively, beautifully, skillfully—for more than 40 years.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Kuper Academy
    Kuper Academy
    Kirkland, Quebec

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    Our Take: Kuper Academy

    Kuper was founded in 1986 as a means of providing an intensive, imaginative program for the early grades. The school has grown since then to include the upper grades, and housed within modern facilities, with physical expansion completed in 2008. The attention to an intensive curriculum remains, one that seeks to straddle the goals of a traditional liberal arts education with a range of 21st century literacies. While not expressly intended as a gifted program, the ideal student is one who is able to thrive within a traditional, challenging, yet diverse learning environment inclusive of a relatively large student body.


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Kirkland 0 0
Toronto 0 0
Mississauga 0 9
Lakefield 0 11
  • Landmark East School
    Landmark East School
    Wolfville, Nova Scotia

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    Our Take: Landmark East School

    Landmark’s motto is “changing lives since 1979” and that’s not something they state lightly. The fact is, they really have. The core of the Landmark program is a belief that all students can learn, something that they share with the very best, and most innovative schools in the country, intended for learners with various academic challenges. As with the Arrowsmith schools, Landmark East begins with empowerment: the knowledge that these students can achieve great things, and that attention, support, and a belief in possibility is the key to allowing them to reach their potentials. When students arrive they find a place that doesn’t see them as lacking anything at all, or as exceptional. Here, they are students within an environment designed for them, and populated with peers and teachers who know exactly where they are coming from. That can be, and most often is, entirely transformational in how students perceive themselves and their abilities. Truly, that’s huge. 


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Wolfville 0 0
  • Léman Manhattan Preparatory School
    Leman Manhattan Preparatory School
    New York, New York

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    Our Take: Léman Manhattan Preparatory School

    Léman is the only school in Manhattan with sister campuses in Europe, Asia and Latin America, something that speaks to the focus of the school. This the school provides a strong core curriculum while teaching through a broad lens, one that takes in the diversity of the city and as the world beyond. The student body is divided over two campuses, which offers a more intimate experience within each, though retaining a robust array of learning resources for both. The student population is varied and broad, with students from more than 50 countries. Together with the IB offering, this is a school that encourages an informed and critical approach to our place in the world, and positive forms of interpersonal, intercultural communication. In many ways, it’s an expression of the city that provides its context. The ideal student is one able to thrive in a challenging, stimulating, and wonderfully diverse learning environment.


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New York 0 0
Toronto 0 9
  • Linbrook School
    Linbrook School
    Oakville, Ontario

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    Our Take: Linbrook School

    There has been a Linbrook School at this site in Oakville for more than 80 years—prior to 2010, it was the site of a public school with that name. The current Linbrook school keeps the name, as the founders liked the continuity it provided within the community, including the educational tradition that the school represented. That said, the current Linbrook shares little more than a name with that school. It’s the only boys’ school in Oakville, and the approach is based in providing a diversity of activity, and physical movement, both within the classroom and without. Students learn in a dynamic, group environment. Classrooms are large to promote small group facilitation. The facilities were entirely updated for the school's opening, and incorporate a full range of instructional technology. The grounds, including green space and play fields, also recommend the school.


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Oakville 0 0
  • The Linden School
    The Linden School
    Toronto, Ontario
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    An emphasis on community
    Caitlin O'Leary - Parent   (Jan 23, 2018)
    My daughter is very bright, engaged and articulate, but she's also very reserved and shy. She was i...
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    "...the girls are encouraged to develop their passions and to voice their own opinions,"
    Roseanne Carrara - Parent   (Mar 09, 2018)
    My daughter came to Linden from an overcrowded Toronto Catholic District School Board classroom wher...
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    Our Take: The Linden School

    All schools, to some extent, defy the various stereotypes that the general population might have about private education. Still, the Linden School is a particularly stark example of that. Founded by Diane Goudie and Eleanor Moore in 1993, the school was intended as a needed and necessary alternative to what was happening in public schools, as well as other private institutions. Goudie had butt heads with other educators by demanding that education be based in a sense of equity, especially as girls and women are concerned. The Linden School is the result, and today it does exactly what Goudie and Moore hoped it would: provide an example of a school for girls that will make a difference in the students' lives and, in turn, encourage them to make a positive difference in the lives of others. The goal, as Moore said at an address at York University, is to educate each student to "to speak with courage--[to] be credible, find a community, listen for all voices, change structures, be a leader and above all make a difference." Since they founded the school, Goudie and Moore have lead by example, earning honorary doctorate of law degrees from York University in recognition of their leadership in the field of education. On receiving the doctorate, Goudie addressed the convocation saying "Ask yourselves the tough questions: What do you want to achieve beyond your paycheque? What are you prepared to risk in order to make a difference in your communities or in the global community?" Those are, of course, very tough questions, and the Linden School is structured around them. For the wrong student, it could be overwhelming. For the right student, it can provide a very strong foundation for a lifetime of engagement, leadership, and success.


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Toronto 0 10
Toronto 0 0
London 0 0
  • Lower Canada College
    Lower Canada College
    Montreal, Quebec

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    Our Take: Lower Canada College

    Founded in 1909, LCC has a long tradition and a reputation to match. The list of alumni includes some shining lights of Canadian arts, letters, politics, business, and academics. There is a sense of place, and it’s considerable—students feel that they are participating within something larger than themselves. Of course, LCC has evolved over the years, though adaptations have been considered and orderly. A bilingual program for the primary grades was adopted in the early 1990s. The school became fully coeducational in 1995. The International Baccalaureate programme, too, is relatively new. Families are attracted to the traditions of the school, and the dedication to adapting to meet the needs of students. LCC continues to provide an example both of the value of looking ahead, developing programs that will meet the evolving needs of students, and with an eye to the kinds of academic, professional, and social environments students will encounter in their post-secondary careers and beyond.


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Montreal 0 0
Regina 0 11
  • Lycée Claudel
    Lycee Claudel
    Ottawa, Ontario

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    Our Take: Lycée Claudel

    In really any way you care to look at it, there is a lot going on at the Lycée Claudel. It was founded as the Cours Claudel in 1962 in order to provide a school for the children of Francophone diplomats wishing to have their children educated in French, and following the French national curriculum. When the first students graduated the program in 1974, the school became known as Lycée Claudel. The school continued to grow, and move, ultimately moving in 1988 into the buildings vacated by the University of Ottawa’s secondary school.

    Lycée Claudel is an international school in two important ways, both of which are somewhat unique to the school. First, its student population includes students from nearly 50 different countries, which is surprising, at least initially, given that it’s a day school and doesn’t have a boarding program. Of course, the reason is because the school is in Ottawa, and therefore enrolls many children of diplomats. Second, the school continues to offer the French curriculum, as it has from day one. It’s also a member of AEFE, an accrediting body to assure that schools comply with the French curriculum, something of particular interest to French nationals living abroad who intend to return to France. There are only four schools that are fully accredited by the AEFE in Canada, and Lycée Claudel is one of just two that are located outside Quebec, and the only one in Ontario.

    Many families choose the school because they are French nationals, while others choose it because the instructional language is French, rather than the model used in French immersion classrooms. Others choose the school because if the quality of instruction, and the international focus. Of course, the profile of the school is high, given the range of students that attend and the long list of notable alumni, which includes Justin Trudeau.

    In all those ways, Lycée Claudel is remarkably unique. Again, there is a lot going on, and all of it impressive. The ideal student is one who thrives in a large, diverse, and challenging educational and social setting.


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Ottawa 0 0
  • Lycée Français de Toronto
    Lycee Francais de Toronto
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: Lycée Français de Toronto

    Not all immersion programs are created equally, and Lycée Francais is an example of that. The school was founded in 1995 with support from the French consulate to offer a French education to the children of French nationals living in Toronto (a portion of the faculty, then as now, are themselves French nationals). The program is based on the curriculum used in France, as developed by the French Ministry of Education. That said, the most substantive difference is that the program is dual, admitting students with either English or French as a first language, with French as the primary language of instruction from pre-school on up. Immersion often gets lumped in with gifted programs, though it's not at all just for high flyers. That said, the LFT program is challenging and very much intended, especially in the upper grades, for students preparing to enroll at university.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Lycée Louis Pasteur
    Lycee Louis Pasteur
    Calgary, Alberta
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    "...great teachers and remarkable academic program."
    Deniz Basibuyuk - Parent   (May 23, 2018)
    My daughter enjoyed the school environment and the size of the school allowed kids to feel like it...
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    "...our children have so much more confidence in their work. The positive energy and encouragement is so helpful."
    Brigitte Smith - Parent   (May 14, 2018)
    I have to say that the class sizes really are what make our children feel comfortable, less kids mak...
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    Our Take: Lycée Louis Pasteur

    In Canada, “lycée” most typically references a relationship with the French ministry of education, and that’s true of Lycée Louis Pasteur. When the school was established in 1966, it taught to the French curriculum to address the needs of French nationals, though it soon attracted families outside that community to the quality of the program and to the authentic provision of language immersion. Today, that remains, and families look to LLP for a strong French immersion program, one that is more robust than those found in public schools. They are also looking for a curriculum that is delivered through a different lens, one that is more cognizant of the diversity of the global community, and more reflective of a student’s place within that wider world. Certainly, Lycée Louis Pasteur provides all of that. The ideal student is one looking for a challenge and for an opportunity to learn within a diverse community of peers.  


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Calgary 0 9
  • Lynn-Rose College
    Lynn-Rose College
    Mississauga, Ontario

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    Our Take: Lynn-Rose College

    Founded in 1997 as Lynn-Rose Heights, the program has grown to into the upper grades and adopted the IB curricula. The expansion, to the school’s credit, has been considered and calculated in order to grow the offering while maintaining a consistent vision. The intention is to address a range of learners within a setting that is individually oriented in which all are challenged to reach their potential within the core academic fields and beyond. Lynn-Rose College, founded in 2017, is the latest expression of those ideals, and was created at the request of elementary families. With a dedicated campus, the program allows for a dedicated social and academic environment for students in grades 7 through 12. The blend of the Ontario and IB curricula is a draw, as is the quality of instruction, and a very porous interface between families and faculty. The attention to values, particularly as underscored within the IB programmes, is also a draw


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Mississauga 0 0
  • The Mabin School
    The Mabin School
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: The Mabin School

    When Geraldine Mabin founded the Mabin School in 1980 it was considered strikingly experimental. Children were taught in open environments, followed their curiosity, and learned more through guided experience than direct instruction. A teacher at the school once commented that "Our pattern is to have no pattern." Today, despite the changing educational landscape in Canada during the intervening decades, the school remains at the vanguard of alternative education. While Mabin left the school in the 1998, it still reflects the ideals on which it was based, and she remains involved with the school today. "Time in the classroom for actual learning as opposed to teaching is shrinking," Mabin said in 2011. "There's a very high expectation on academics and testing. A lot of time is spent on drumming in lessons and worrying about kids who haven't made it. Children should be given time to learn things, to not be pushed." The instruction is strong, and supported through extensive cross-curricular programming. Parental involvement in the life of the school is encouraged. The ideal student is one who will thrive within a rich, vibrant, and varied learning environment.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Macdonald-Cartier Academy
    Macdonald-Cartier Academy
    Ottawa, Ontario

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    Our Take: Macdonald-Cartier Academy

    Macdonald-Cartier was formed in 1990 to offer a challenging, academic, bilingual program, and it’s been happily and successfully been doing it ever since. The student body is small, with just 60 students annually, which translates into a very responsive, student-centered approach to curriculum delivery. The intention is somewhat unique, namely to give students a strong preparation for high school with an eye to university admission. The feel, as the name implies, is very rooted in a sense of place, and in that the school is an expression of the cultural and historical life of the national capital region. Likewise, there are a wealth of resources located locally, and Macdonald-Cartier rightly makes very good use of them.


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Ottawa 0 0
  • MacLachlan College
    MacLachlan College
    Oakville, Ontario

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    Our Take: MacLachlan College

    “MacLachlan prides itself on being at the cutting edge of innovation in teaching and learning theory,” says Michael Piening, head of school. “This generation of learner, and the world they are growing up in, is very engaged, social and interactive. We looked internally at how we could best respond and adapt to enhance student exploration, creativity and knowledge.” That’s quite a mouthful, to be sure, but it’s a good one nevertheless. Schools are challenged to adapt their programs to the needs of students, and there are a lot of red herrings out there, such as an over-emphasis on digital literacy, for example. To be a 21st century learner can mean many things, though at McLachlan it means engagement with ideas, peers, and community. The annual Word Fest is a great example of that, in that case using the language arts program as a starting point for an engagement with issues and topics that require students to think creatively, empathize, and communicate their ideas. Earlier this year the grade one classes took part in a workshop with the Hamilton Children’s museum, roll-playing a shipwreck, stuck on coral in the midst of a storm. That, and indeed many programs at MacLachlan, can rightly turn heads. They provide telling examples of how the school expresses its dedication to engagement, exploration, and social interactivity, all of it as charming as it is impressive. The ideal student is one who can thrive in a diverse, active, and challenging academic environment. 


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Oakville 0 0
  • Madrona School Society
    Madrona School Society
    Vancouver, British Columbia

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    Our Take: Madrona School Society

    Madrona was founded in 1993 to address the specific needs of learners operating at the top of their peer group. Instruction is based in delivering the fundaments of literacy and numeracy, though it also builds out considerably from there. The school isn’t tiny, with an annual student body of 100, but the feel is very personal and individualistic given a low student-teacher ratio. Students are encouraged to follow their interests and grow into an understanding of a sense of responsibility and active participation in their education. At the moment the school offers the primary and elementary grades, though the intention is to continue building the program through the high school grades relatively soon. That’s something that enrolling families, given the strength of the program, are keen to see realized. A strong school community, one that welcomes parental involvement in the life of the school, is a primary draw. The ideal student is one who will thrive in a challenging, hands-on, collaborative learning environment.


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Vancouver 0 0
  • Magnificent Minds
    Magnificent Minds
    North York, Ontario

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    Our Take: Magnificent Minds

    The mantra of private education is “fit”—finding the right environment for your child’s specific learning needs. Magnificent Minds is a great example of that concept, to be sure. While there are psychoeducational services and support in place for students who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, the school’s approach can benefit a range of learning needs; most often children arrive here coming from environments that, for whatever reason, were unable to provide the supports they needed. The school is small, and for the families that enroll here, that is one of its great benefits. Instruction is student-centred, adapting to the needs of each individual. There is an emphasis on play, and an awareness of the benefits of growing a positive sense of self within a close community of peers. The context of possibility, of celebrating and building upon a child’s unique talents and ability, for many students has been transformational.


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North York 0 0
  • The Maples Academy
    The Maples Academy
    Amaranth, Ontario

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    Our Take: The Maples Academy

    The Maples was founded in 1989 in order to provide a strong core program in the junior and elementary grades, and that remains the draw for parents today. The school is small, with an annual enrollment of 100 students, allowing for a very personal, individual approach to instruction. It was purchased in 2014 by the owner of St. Jude’s and Oakwood, and benefits through the association, including becoming an IB candidate school. Parents are drawn by the strength of the academic program as well as that of the arts offerings, including a robust instrumental music program. Parents are welcome to be involved in the life of the school, and communication between parents and faculty is direct and frequent. The school was founded to provide a welcome alternative to the public offerings in the area, and it’s been happily living up to that mandate for nearly three decades.


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Amaranth 0 0
  • Maranatha Christian Academy
    Maranatha Christian Academy
    Brampton, Ontario
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    "They provide opportunities for the children to showcase their talents and skills and foster growth all around."
    Salee Johnson-Edwards - Parent   (Feb 21, 2019)
    The overall environment of the school is a very positive one. The kids are engaged and are provided ...
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    "...my son's class has 8 kids which allows him the ability to have sufficient classmates for interacting with and ability to work in groups. This class size also enables each student to get individual attention..."
    Renee Vallie - Parent   (Mar 07, 2019)
    My son loves going to school, he enjoys and feels comfortable and at home at Maranatha Christian Aca...
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    Our Take: Maranatha Christian Academy

    Not all Christian private schools are expressly associated with a specific denomination, or a specific church, but MCA is both: it was founded by the North Park Worship Centre as a means of furthering their work and addressing the needs of their community and congregation. The school retains a fidelity to a close reading of the gospels, something that informs instruction across all curricular areas. The school is close-knit and family oriented, and what it might lack in extracurriculars it gains in a very individual approach to education. Enrollment is open to all, and not limited to the church community, and is particularly attractive to families looking for a school that provides the core curriculum as informed by Christian values.


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Brampton 0 10
  • McDonald International Academy
    McDonald International Academy
    Toronto, Ontario

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    Our Take: McDonald International Academy

    McDonald was founded in 1994 to deliver a quality university preparation for students in Canada as well as those arriving from around the world. Ever since, it’s been doing exactly that. The school maintains a small, almost exclusive feel, especially when compared with some of the larger international schools found in Ontario and beyond. The two campuses augment that feel, and students enter a close-knit academic and social community. All of the important supports are in place to appeal to the international learner, from language support, to assistance with daily life, to university counselling. The downtown campus, perhaps especially, is proximate to a rich range of resources, including the nearby University of Toronto campus. The school prides itself on offering a strong academic basis for university entry, as well as a rich and rewarding social experience. The ideal student is one able to thrive in a very vibrant, diverse, challenging and urban academic context.


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Toronto 0 0
  • Meadow Green Academy
    Meadow Green Academy
    Mississauga, Ontario

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    Our Take: Meadow Green Academy

    Georganne MacKenzie founded Meadow Green in order to offer an academic program that was both rigorous and inclusive of Christian values. The approach is as consistent as it is committed to addressing the specific needs of each learner, both academic and social. In crafting the curriculum MacKenzie wanted to reflect the academic traditions of strong core language, numeracy, and assessment, while also bringing in modern best practices. The ideal student is one operating at the upper end of his or her peer group, and who is able to thrive in a challenging, diverse, and cooperative learning environment.


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Mississauga 0 0
  • Meadowridge School
    Meadowridge School
    Maple Ridge, British Columbia

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    Our Take: Meadowridge School

    Meadowridge is a school that intends to inspire and teach through direct, personal involvement. They don't just teach art, for example, they immerse students within it, including an on-site collection of works from an a-list of Canadian artists, including Tom Thomson, Kenojuak Ashevak, and Lawren Harris. The campus includes a forest, so the links between art and the environment are profound. Likewise, gardens and greenhouses provide an entrée to ecology and biology, and a design lab provides an entrée into technology and engineering. Those, and other examples, provide a unique balance between traditional learning and experiential learning. The buildings, the 27-acre campus, the proximity to Vancouver as well as a range of natural environments—all of it would rightly be the envy of any school. The ideal student is one who is curious, engaging, and prone to make use of the range of programs and opportunities that Meadowridge provides.


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Maple Ridge 0 0
  • Mentor College
    Mentor College
    Mississauga, Ontario

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    Our Take: Mentor College

    Mentor College and TEAM School are closely associated, something that brings unique strengths to both. They are overseen by a single administrative body, and they share some facilities, services, and extracurricular programs. The benefits are in a shared infrastructure and organizational efficiency. The facilities are modern and robust, as are student services and transportation. There is a robust, rich program of extra-curricular activity, something that, again, is a benefit of not only the school's size, but also the intra-school associations and programs. That said, the division of the campuses gives each—high school, intermediate, and primary—its own sense of propriety and identity. It's a unique model, one that gains both the benefits of a large student population, as well as those of smaller communities of students. In numbers, this is one of the largest schools in Canada, though the lived experience of the families that attend doesn't bear that out. Frequent and casual communication between parents and teachers, as well, underscores a personal, student and family-centered approach.


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Mississauga 0 0
  • Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School
    Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School
    Westmount, Quebec

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    Our Take: Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School

    Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School was founded in 1909 by Maud Edgar and Mary Cramp, two trailblazing educators. Although still not allowed to own the property that housed their school, or even to vote, Miss Edgar and Miss Cramp were determined to create educational opportunity for young women, to change their place in the world. Those roots in activism and leadership—and the desire to do things better, and more equitably—remain at the school today. The strength of the academic program is a principle draw, though the values, very rightly, are as well. The school has built itself around an ethos of achievement, providing opportunities for authentic engagement with the curriculum and substantial interaction with like-minded peers and mentors. The ideal student is one who shares that vision, and who has the interest and the drive to play an active role in a changing world.  


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Westmount 0 0