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Assessing gifted kids

Gifted children shine in the right environment

Find a list of schools

Based on his public school record, you never would have guessed the boy was gifted. “This student’s academic record was spotty and teachers expressed disappointment with him,” says Mark Young, principal of The Abelard School in Toronto, Ontario. The student, now in Grade 11, handed in assignments late, antagonizing his teachers. When the boy switched over to Abelard, Young discovered the delays weren’t because the student was struggling with the work; rather, they reflected his perfectionism. What he eventually delivers, Young says, is “remarkable.”

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One of many common misconceptions about gifted students, administrators of such programs say, is they are straight-A students (although many are). “Gifted doesn’t mean the ability to absorb a lot of material,” Young says. “It is about bringing a unique and important perspective to a subject, whether it is math or history, and combining it with traditional interpretations.”

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Without academic indicators, educators, let alone parents, find it difficult to determine if a child is gifted. Melissa Volekaert, director of lower school and gifted co-ordinator at Fieldstone School in Toronto, says the only accurate test is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), a roughly two-hour oral exam that evaluates a child’s independent and abstract thinking. And Young says tests don’t always accurately reflect if a child is gifted.

But gifted kids show certain characteristics that can tip off parents and educators. While bright students tend to be obedient, Volekaert says, gifted students “aren’t usually the best behaved.” This isn’t to say gifted kids are troublemakers, or vice versa, but they tend to be more inquisitive than most and possess unique eccentricities that can frustrate teachers.

“They are very oriented towards justice and fairness,” Volekaert says. “If something is not perceived as fair, you will get quite a reaction.” If a teacher claims information to be accurate when the student suspects it is not, for example, the student may start an argument or essentially “write the teacher off,” which can lead to behaviour issues. 

And while bright students perform well in most subjects, Young says gifted students generally excel in certain areas and struggle in others—another reason why gifted students sometimes go undetected. Young remembers a former Grade 9 student studying then-OAC (Grade 13) math, but struggling with reading novels at his own level. An instructor worked one-on-one with the student in Grade 9 English, and teachers in subsequent grades were alerted to the math genius’ weakness. “By the time he came through the curriculum, he was very strong all around,” Young says. 

That’s what a good gifted program can do: challenge students’ strengths, while addressing their weaknesses. Gifted programs generally follow two models: withdrawal, in which students are periodically removed from regular class to study gifted curricula, and self-contained classrooms, where students only attend classes exclusively for them. 

Abelard’s 50 students are not all gifted, but all are exceptionally bright and highly motivated. “These students are all irrepressible and want to be challenged,” Young says. “This way each student’s voice is heard.”

Three hundred students are enrolled in Fieldstone’s academically challenging program, but just 30 take part in its gifted program. The program removes kids from regular classes three times a week: once to interact with their peer group, and twice to work with students from other grades on specific subjects, such as robotics or cryptography. Volekaert believes it’s important for gifted kids to remain in regular classes. “Not everyone is gifted,” she says. “They need to learn to work with the kind of people they will work with when they’re finished school.”

Of course, not every child is ready to be called gifted. “The label is not always helpful because there are certain expectations brought to bear,” Young says. Yet both Young and Volekaert say if your child shows characteristics of being gifted—and seems disengaged from regular school—it may be time to investigate a specialized program. “These kids really march to their own drum,” Volekaert says.

Read our advice guide on choosing a school for a gifted child and for kids with other traits. To customize 350+ school profiles with insights unique to your child's traits, create a child profile through your user account.

 

 

Read our advice guide on choosing a school for a gifted child and for kids with other traits. To customize 350+ school profiles with insights unique to your child's traits, create a child profile through your user account.

Read our advice guide on choosing a school for a gifted child and for kids with other traits. To customize 350+ school profiles with insights unique to your child's traits, create a child profile through your user account.

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List of gifted schools and programs

 
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  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Mississauga Road/Eglinton Avenue
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $12,000 to $16,000

Kendellhurst offers students an enriched curriculum with a mix of project based, traditional and arts infused curriculum, with digital displays, Macs and PC's in every room and Edwin personal devices for grades 5 to 8.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Kendellhurst Academy 12000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Avenue Road/Bloor Street
  • 4 to 12 Coed
  • $22,000 to $27,000

Dragon Academy is the right fit for gifted students, grades 6 to 12. Dragon's small, discussion-based classes go beyond the classroom into our world-class city . An inclusive, exciting, can't wait to get there school.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
The Dragon Academy 22000 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Dufferin Street/Lawrence Avenue
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $18,280 to $25,500

Fieldstone prepares students to be future global leaders. As Canada's first Cambridge School, we offer a stimulating curriculum in the context of a small and nurturing environment.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Fieldstone School 18280 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    Yonge Street/King Road
  • 1 to 12 Coed
  • $14,500

Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E. is a private school for intellectually gifted students in Richmond Hill, Ontario, from grades 1 through 12. Tuition is $14,500.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E. 14500 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Vaughan, Ontario
    407/Dufferin
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $18,500 to $19,500

Balanced Academics, Arts, Athletics & Character Development. We value best practices & evidenced based approaches. University preparatory & 21st Century Tech Rich & Future Proof school. Enriched and rigorous curriculum.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
Delano Academy 18500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $19,000 to $29,280

Oakville's SMLS continues to be a premier independent school for girls Preschool to Graduating Year since 1891. "Millie" graduates take on the world with confidence and the knowledge that they can do anything.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School 19000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Highway 417/Greenbank
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $16,628 to $18,128

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

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Académie de la Capitale 16628 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge St./Sheppard Ave.
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $12,000 to $16,500

Prestige School offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade 12 in Toronto. Its average class size is 10 to 18 students.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Prestige School - Toronto Campus 12000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Sherbrooke, Quebec
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $26,500 to $69,000

Bishop's College School is an English boarding and day school for students in grades 7 through 12. Small in size and culturally diverse, BCS is an IB World School offering the IB DP and course certificates.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
Bishop's College School 26500 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Riverside Dr./Bank St
  • 1 to 12 Coed
  • $14,800 to $16,300

Astolot Educational Centre is a day school with grades 1 to 12 in Ottawa, Ontario. Classroom teacher-student ratios are 1 to 10. Students have the ability to reach their full potential with Astolot programming.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Astolot Educational Centre 14800 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge/Eglinton
  • 9 to 12 Coed
  • $12,500 to $14,000

We go beyond curriculum expectations to provide opportunities for students to earn admission into their choice of university using our AP accreditation, staff expertise and individual goal setting in small classes.

  • Homestay/Day
  • Progressive
OAT - Ontario Academy of Technology 12500 HighSchools Homestay Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Iris St/Woodroffe Ave
  • JK to 8 Girls
  • $16,175

In our all-girls environment, academic achievement in both official languages is the norm. A Joan of Arc Academy bilingual education prepares the women leaders for the challenges of tomorrow. Come and see the difference.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Joan of Arc Academy / Academie Jeanne d'Arc 16175 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Girls
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
    W 8th Ave/Laurel Street
  • 8 to 12 Coed
  • $7,800 to $19,200

We are an arts-based, hands-on, creative high school in Vancouver (grades 08 to 12) that has already established a record of excellence in getting students admitted to some of the best arts universities in North America.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Canada Royal Arts High School 7800 HighSchools Day Coed
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    Major MacKenzie Dr. W/Bathurst St.
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $11,250 to $15,000

The Prestige School offers indiviualized programs from pre-school to grade eight in Richmond Hill with an average class size of ten students. It will soon be expanding its facilities to include full-time high school.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Prestige School - Richmond Hill Campus 11250 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Bracebridge, Ontario
  • 1 to 12 Coed
  • $6,400 to $35,000

Dewey’s educational goals follow the philosophies of John Dewey, preparing students through “student-centred learning" and "learning by doing", while emphasizing the cultivation of the "three New Liberal Arts".

  • Day/eSchool/Boarding
  • Traditional
Dewey Institute 6400 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day eSchool Boarding Coed
  • Kanata, Ontario
    March Road/Sandhill Road
  • 1 to 8 Coed
  • $16,000

March Academy offers an alternative program for students in grades 1 through 8. Small classes with academic programming includes weekly lessons in the arts, the natural environment and daily physical education.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
March Academy 16000 Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Markham, Ontario
    Woodbine/HWY 7
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $13,600 to $14,500

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

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
Wishing Well Schools 13600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Eglinton Ave W/Ninth Line
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $12,740 to $15,000

Sherwood Heights School offers Enriched Academic Programmes from Kindergarten to Grade 12, in Mississauga. The Programmes are Enriched and Comprehensive, delivered with Extra Attention and Care.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Sherwood Heights School 12740 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Rindge, New Hampshire(USA)
    Deer Run Ln/Hampshire Rd
  • 3 to 12 Boys
  • US $61,500

A friendly, active boarding school for bright boys who have good intentions but who may be too impulsive, intense, or bothersome for other schools and whose intellectual interests may separate them from their peers.

  • Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
Hampshire Country School 61500 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Boys
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Dundas Ave. West/High Park Ave.
  • PS to 1 Coed
  • $10,000 to $15,000

Oxford Learning Academy offers a bilingual academic program complemented by a personalized school experience. We grow lifelong learners by focusing on early primary education.

  • Day
  • Progressive
High Park Oxford Learning Academy 10000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Edmonton, Alberta
    Groat Road/107 Avenue
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $8,950 to $10,150

Progressive Academy's programs inspire students from preschool to grade 12 in Edmonton, Alberta. Wonderful faculty, wide range of experiential opportunities and high expectations ignite a desire to learn.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Progressive Academy 8950 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
  • 9 to 12 Coed
  • $68,900

The Gordonstoun’s broad curriculum dedicates itself to delivering to each student a world class education and personal development experiences in a caring and safe environment that instills in each student the knowledge that there is “More in you than you think.”

  • Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Gordonstoun Nova Scotia 68900 HighSchools Boarding Boarding Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Queen St./Ossington Ave.
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $28,173

University of Toronto Schools (UTS) offers a transformative education to high-achieving students in Grades 7 to 12 from all backgrounds. UTS graduates take initiative and innovate as socially responsible global citizens.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
University of Toronto Schools 28173 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • North York, Ontario
    Avenue Road/Lawrence Avenue
  • 9 to 12 Coed
  • $17,175 to $22,175

AVRO Academy is an alternative high school in Toronto for grades 9 to 12. Students earn credits while developing skills that best prepares them for post secondary education. We focus on student strength!

  • Day
  • Progressive
AVRO Academy 17175 HighSchools Day Coed
  • Aurora, Ontario
    St. John Sideroad/Yonge St.
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $10,500 to $16,200

Aurora Montessori offers an extensive, enriched program for day students to Grade 8 including an Outdoor Ed. Program, an option of an OSSD credit in Grade 9 Academic Math and a bridge to elite private high schools.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Aurora Montessori School 10500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
    Crowchild Trail/Flanders Ave
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $9,000 to $10,000

Banbury meets individual needs, and helps students to become self-sufficient, innovative and proficient. Banbury feels like a family, where you have the freedom to be yourself, and are seen, heard, and understood.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Banbury Crossroads School 9000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • London, Ontario
    Richmond Street/King Street
  • 9 to 12 Coed/Girls
  • $21,200 to $26,000

A Canadian Private Secondary Boarding school, located in the heart of London, Ontario. LIA is authorized to grant the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

  • Boarding
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
London International Academy 21200 HighSchools Boarding Boarding Coed Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Church/Bloor
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $20,000 to $25,000

Founded in 1997, the Abelard School is a small independent school for grades 7 though 12, located in downtown Toronto. It offers small class sizes and an enriched, integrated curriculum to bright, motivated students.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
The Abelard School 20000 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $12,600 to $18,900

Oak Learners offers a unique learning atmosphere, inspired by the strengths of our students. Our classrooms apply interdisciplinary and inquiry-based teaching to facilitate an enriched educational environment.

  • Day/eSchool
  • Reggio Emilia
Oak Learners 12600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day eSchool Coed
  • Langley, British Columbia
    Glover/Logan
  • 8 to 12 Coed
  • $4,900

Whytecliff is a warm & welcoming place for teens with a diverse range of learning/personal challenges. Youth experience a high-growth environment and positive community that pulls each child up to be their very best.

  • Day/Homestay
  • Progressive
Whytecliff Agile Learning Centres 4900 HighSchools Day Homestay Coed
  • Stouffville, Ontario
    Ninth Line/Main Street
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $7,782 to $15,396

Toronto French Montessori offers French and English programs from pre-school to grade 8 in York Region. Its average class size is 15 students.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Toronto French Montessori 7782 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Day Coed
  • Unionville, Ontario
    Kennedy Road/16th Avenue
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $8,000 to $15,250

UMS offers year advanced programs from pre-school to grade eight. Our hallmark is a clear focus on high expectations blending academic success with the character development of the individual child.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
Unionville Montessori Private Schools 8000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
    Lakeshore Road East/Bel Air Drive
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $9,600 to $23,000

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

  • Day
  • Montessori
Dearcroft Montessori School 9600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge St/Sheppard Ave
  • 8 to 12 Coed
  • $449 to $549 /course

Ontario Virtual School is an Ontario Ministry-inspected credit-granting institution offering high school courses for Grades 9-12 in an interactive online format. Students can start anytime with 24/7 access.

  • eSchool
  • Traditional
Ontario Virtual School 449 HighSchools eSchool Coed
  • Markham, Ontario
    Warden/Steeles
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $10,000 to $25,000

AIS Montessori & Elementary School offers authentic Chinese Immersion program in GTA area.Its average class is 15 students.

  • Day/Homestay/Boarding
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
A.I.S. School 10000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Homestay Boarding Coed
  • St. Catharines, Ontario
    Edinburgh Dr/Scott Street
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $6,550 to $14,050

We provide students with opportunities to explore real-world concepts and issues, broadening their sense of responsibility, develop their critical thinking skills, and empower them to take action in a global community.

  • Day
  • Montessori
  • International Baccalaureate
Wheatley School 6550 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Caledon, Ontario
    The Gore Road/Old Church
  • 3 to 12 Coed
  • $17,900 to $33,000

The King's College experience develops in students responsibility, accountability, and ownership of their own learning and a passion for making a difference. Students can attend in person, online, or a mix of both.

  • Day/Homestay/eSchool
  • Traditional
King's College School for Bright and Gifted Children 17900 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Homestay eSchool Coed

Series: Gifted Programs

Latest Articles



March 11, 2019
Schools for Gifted Kids
Gifted Kids

January 31, 2017
Gifted curriculum alternatives
How language immersion, IB, AP, and Montessori programs work for gifted kids

January 31, 2017
Gifted children with special needs
Programming options for gifted kids who have other special needs
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