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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.”


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.”

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 get school-choice advice customized to your child's unique 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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Toronto, Ontario — Prestige School offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade 12 in Toronto. Its average class size is 10 to 18 students. View School Profile.


  • Our curriculum exceeds Ontario guidelines as a result of our individualized, accelerated learning.
  • We are ministry inspected and a proud member of the Ontario Federation of Independent Schools.
  • 100% university placement rate
  • French instruction beginning in junior kindergarten.
  • Dedicated faculty that draw upon best practices
Grades:
PS to 12 (Coed)
Type:
Traditional
Tuition:
$12,750 to $17,000
Living:
Day
Enrollment:
290
Avg. Class:
10 to 18
Prestige School - Toronto Campus 12750 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Langley, British Columbia
    Glover/Logan
  • 8 to 12 Coed
  • $4,900 to $19,500

Whytecliff is a safe, empathetic & supportive place for teens with a diverse range of learning needs / personal challenges. Our positive community & high-growth environment pulls each child up to be their very best!

  • Homestay/Day
  • Progressive
Whytecliff Agile Learning Centres 4900 HighSchools Homestay Day Coed
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    Yonge Street/King Road
  • SK to 12 Coed
  • $15,500

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

  • Day
  • Traditional
Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E. 15500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
  • 9 to 12 Coed
  • $68,900

Gordonstoun’s broad curriculum dedicates itself to deliver each student a world class education and personal experiences in a caring and safe environment to instil "Plus est en vous" - There is more in you than you think

  • Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Gordonstoun Nova Scotia 68900 HighSchools Boarding Boarding Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Mississauga Road/Eglinton Avenue
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $14,250 to $17,100

Kendellhurst offers students an enriched curriculum with a blend of project-based, traditional and arts-infused curriculum within a seamless technology program. We include school-issued chrome books for grades 5 to 8.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Kendellhurst Academy 14250 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $20,000 to $30,160

Oakville's SMLS continues to be a premier independent school for girls Preschool to Grade 12 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 20000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Maple, Ontario
    407/Dufferin
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $15,500 to $19,500

Balanced Academics, Arts, Athletics & Student Wellness. We value best practices & evidence-based approaches. University preparatory & 21st Century Tech-Rich & Future Proof school. Enriched and rigorous curriculum.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
Delano Academy 15500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Coed
  • Aurora, Ontario
  • 1 to 8 Coed
  • $2,500 to $12,850

First school of its kind in the world. We are unique in everything we do. It is time for thinking outside of the box and raising a new generation of leaders, innovaters, inventors and entrepreneurs.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Waldorf
Agora Prep 2500 Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Lakeshore Road/Southdown
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $8,500 to $18,500

Peel Montessori School and our Carrington College division students are encouraged to be engaged, inquisitive learners who think for themselves, display character strength, and learn to succeed on their own merits.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
Peel Montessori School 8500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Sherbrooke, Quebec
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $28,100 to $72,450

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 28100 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge/Eglinton
  • 9 to 12 Coed
  • $13,000 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.

  • Day/Homestay
  • Progressive
Toronto STEM School 13000 HighSchools Day Homestay Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Highway 417/Greenbank
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $17,283 to $21,527

Acadecap International School (Académie de la Capitale), an IB World School, offers bilingual and/or English programmes from JK to Grade 12. Students thrive in a growth mindset environment and a culture of excellence.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Académie de la Capitale 17283 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge Street/St. Clair Ave E
  • 1 to 8 Coed
  • $24,000

Esprit Academy is a community and environment that cultivates independence and lifelong learning through individualized experiences that integrates and connects knowledge and skills.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
Esprit Academy 24000 Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Riverside Dr./Bank St
  • 1 to 12 Coed
  • $14,500 to $16,500

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 14500 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Coed
  • 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
  • Unionville, Ontario
    Kennedy Road/16th Avenue
  • PS to 9 Coed
  • $9,050 to $15,750

UMS offers year advanced programs from pre-school to grade eight. We blend high standards for academic success with the social and emotional development of the individual child.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
Unionville Montessori Private Schools 9050 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $12,600 to $18,550

Oak Learners is a Reggio-Inspired alternative school with a focus on Outdoor Education and personalized learning. Our classrooms are mixed-grade and follow an inquiry-based learning model of skill development.

  • eSchool/Day
  • Reggio Emilia
Oak Learners 12600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools eSchool Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • 9 to 12 Coed
  • $795 /course

Building on Toronto Prep School's 12 year history of outstanding values-added education, we are pleased to launch Toronto Prep School Online, a premium online High School serving grades 9-12.

  • eSchool
  • Liberal Arts
TPS Online - Toronto Prep School 795 HighSchools eSchool Coed
  • Whitchurch-stouffville, Ontario
    Ninth Line/Main Street
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $7,620 to $16,350

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 7620 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Don Mills Rd/York Mills Rd
  • PS to 6 Coed
  • $8,183 to $13,848

Building on internationally acclaimed preschool reading success, SLI has grown into a hub for ground-breaking student achievement in literary, STEM, and artistic achievement across Pre-K - Gr 6 (offered on site/ online)

  • eSchool/Day
  • Traditional
Sidney Ledson Institute 8183 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary eSchool 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
  • Pickering, Ontario
    Kingston/Altona
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $8,400 to $17,000

École Montessori is Durham Region's premier French private school dedicated to transforming your child into a BILINGUAL critical thinker with our enriched curriculum that fosters the genius within each student.

  • Day
  • Montessori
École Montessori 8400 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Queen St./Ossington Ave.
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $29,800

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 29800 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Bracebridge, Ontario
  • 1 to 12 Coed
  • $6,400 to $28,000

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/Boarding/eSchool
  • Traditional
Dewey Institute 6400 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding eSchool Coed
  • Edmonton, Alberta
    Groat Road/107 Avenue
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $9,300 to $10,350

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 9300 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Dufferin Street/Lawrence Avenue
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $18,830 to $26,265

As a Cambridge School, we teach a curriculum that sets the global standard for education designed to help students develop an informed curiosity and a lasting passion for learning.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Fieldstone School 18830 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools 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 or synchronously online.

  • Day/eSchool/Homestay
  • Traditional
King's College School for Bright and Gifted Children 17900 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day eSchool Homestay Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge/Sheppard
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $9,900 to $16,200

Little Owl Preschool, Elementary and Middle School creates motivated, confident, and happy problem-solving individuals. We invite your child to become a Little Owl student.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Little Owl Private School 9900 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • St. Catharines, Ontario
    Edinburgh Dr/Scott Street
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $6,775 to $14,275

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 6775 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Iris St/Woodroffe Ave
  • JK to 8 Girls
  • $16,500

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
Academie Jeanne d'Arc 16500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Girls
  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • JK to 8 Coed
  • $10,000

Guiding Light Academy is a Catholic private elementary school in Streetsville, Mississauga. We offer an enriched curriculum for JK, SK and Grades 1 to 8. We are located just minutes away from the Streetsville Go Station.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
Guiding Light Academy 10000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Shuter Street/Bond Street
  • 3 to 12 Boys
  • $7,500

St. Michael’s Choir School was founded in 1937 and provides sacred music for services at St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica. Located in downtown Toronto, SMCS is an all boys school from grades 3 through 12.

  • Day
  • Traditional
St. Michael's Choir School 7500 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Rigaud, Quebec
    Rue Saint-Pierre/Rue Bourget
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $4,700 to $35,000

Collège Bourget is a day & boarding school situated between Montreal & Ottawa. The school offers Quebec's french program from Grade 7 till Grade 11 and english program from Grade 10 till Grade 12.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Traditional
College Bourget 4700 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    Major MacKenzie Dr. W/Bathurst St.
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $12,500 to $17,000

Prestige School offers individualized programs from pre-school to grade twelve in Richmond Hill with an average class size of ten students.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Prestige School - Richmond Hill Campus 12500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Avenue Road/St. Clair Ave.
  • 5 to 12 Coed
  • $15,950 to $16,300

De La Salle College is a Catholic, co-educational, university preparatory school in Toronto from Grade 5 to 12, with average class sizes of 218students and tuition at $15,950.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
De La Salle College 15950 MiddleSchools HighSchools 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
  • Oakville, Ontario
    Lakeshore Road East/Bel Air Drive
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $9,900 to $23,900

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

  • Day
  • Montessori
Dearcroft Montessori School 9900 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day 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 enriching academics as well as weekly lessons in music, the arts, nature, yoga, taekwondo, and daily physical education.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
March Academy 16000 Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Aurora, Ontario
    St. John Sideroad/Yonge St.
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $13,400 to $19,550

Aurora Montessori offers an enriched Montessori program for students to Grade 8 with an option of an OSSD credit in Grade 9 Academic Math. A unique Mindfulness and Technology program develops key 21st-century skills.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Aurora Montessori School 13400 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
    Crowchild Trail/Flanders Ave
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $9,000 to $10,000

At Banbury, we teach and mentor each child individually. Students are happy and engaged in learning. We believe in small class sizes with multi-aged groups. 98% of our grads continue with post-secondary education.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Banbury Crossroads School 9000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • North York, Ontario
    Avenue Road/Lawrence Avenue
  • 9 to 12 Coed
  • $17,175 to $22,175

Through individualized education, mentorship, and counselling we tailor our environment to ensure all students feel comfortable and cared for, so they stay actively engaged on their educational journey.

  • Day
  • Progressive
AVRO Academy 17175 HighSchools Day Coed

Series: Gifted Programs

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March 11, 2019
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January 31, 2017
Gifted curriculum alternatives
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