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THE OUR KIDS REPORT:
Athol Murray College of Notre Dame

Grades 8 TO 12 — Wilcox, SK (MAP)

Athol Murray College of Notre Dame:
THE OUR KIDS REPORT
REPORT CONTENTS:

Pages in this report:

  • Grades
    8 — 12
  • Gender
    Coed
  • Class Size
    16 students
  • Tuition
    $11,000 to 54,600/year
  • Language of instruction
    English
  • Associations
    CAIS
  • Enrolment
    275 boarding students, 30 day students
  • Curriculum
    Traditional
  • EBROCHURE
    View eBrochure

School address

  • P.O. Box 100, Wilcox, Saskatchewan, S0G 5E0 (MAP)
  • Busing available (View details)

School Busing:

Notre Dame College offers bus transferring. Service options offered are airport pick-up.

The regions Notre Dame College offers busing from are:

  • Regina

Our Perspective

How we see 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.

School's Perspective

How Athol Murray College of Notre Dame sees itself


The school administration answered our questions

Who are you, as a school?

"Athol Murray College of Notre Dame is a private, independent, co-educational boarding high school, rooted in Catholic tradition and open to students of all faith backgrounds. Athol Murray College of Notre Dame is committed to developing young men and women to become purposeful leaders with virtuous character. Notre Dame provides an exceptional educational and boarding experience with a balance of strong academic, athletic and spiritual growth in a safe and caring prairie environment."

  • Private, independent, co-educational boarding high school, on 50 acres of land, founded in 1920
  • Home to 300 students, grades 8 - 12, with 90% boarding from up to 20 different countries
  • Exceptional academic standards, offering Honours & AP Stream or Advanced Courses
  • 80% of all students are on Honour Roll with 100% graduation rate
  • Christian teaching in a Catholic environment, all faith backgrounds are welcomed
  • Safe and caring prairie environment, develop life long friendships with students around the world
  • Leadership & character development, exceptional boarding life
  • Outstanding athletic & hockey programs with 12 hockey teams and 15 high school sports to choose from
  • 21st Century academic learning program
  • Outstanding fine arts programs with elite music, art, drama, multi-media and choral teachings

What do you do differently and uniquely well?

"Athol Murray College is more than just a school, it is a way of life. The College is located on 50 acres within the small rural Village of Wilcox, surrounded by endless skies and expansive views, with breath-taking sunsets and ocean like wheat fields. This physical location allows for our students to feel safe, secure and part of a local community. It provides an unique atmosphere free from the distractions, but still connected to the global world with our 21st Century Education Learning Plan."

Why do families choose you over schools they compare you to?

"Families will choose Notre Dame because of the proven success of our challenging academic, athletic and spiritually balanced lifestyle. Notre Dame develops leaders who are equipped with the emotional, physical, mental and social tools needed to become successful and contributing members within their own communities. The developmental growth within ND students is the most noticeably distinguished character commented on by our parents and guardians."

What might families find surprising about your school?

"Families might find surprising that no other high school in the world has developed more elite junior, collegiate, USPORTS, NCAA, National, Olympic, NHL and professional hockey players than Notre Dame with over 215 NHL drafted players alone. ND graduates also receive more than twice as much in post-secondary scholarships and 50% more scholarships that the average Canadian high school. 80% of all students are on the Honour Roll with 100% graduation rate."

What aspect of your school is underappreciated?

"One of the aspects of our school that is often overlooked is the convenience of all essential amenities located in one location. Our university style campus provides everything you need with no more long hours spent driving to location for sports or clubs. It's all right outside your doorway. We are not just a hockey school, we have 15 high school sports including ND Alumni competing professionally in football and rugby and a new Esports Athletic Program (Canada's 1st Prep-College Program)."

What five facts about your school tell your story?

"We are a co-educational prep-college with 300 students from up to 20 different countries.
We have been building our legacy since 1920 developing leaders including: 8 alumni awarded into the Order of Canada, 215 NHL drafted players, published authors, award winning actors and movie director, sports hall of famers, provincial and federally elected politician, industry leaders and developers, a medal of honour winner and more.
We are 90% Boarding. 80% of students on Honour Roll."


School Facilities

Photo-tour of facilities


Athletics facilities


Arts facilities


Campus


Classrooms


Residences


Science facilities


Instructional resources


Shared spaces


School Videos

School leadership

Top-down influence on the school’s direction and tone


Message from school leadership

Rob Palmarin, President

"Come on kid, let me tell you what it means to be a Notre Dame Hound." If one could picture Father Athol Murray walking down the main street of Wilcox (Saskatchewan), one can easily envision Pere approaching a young student in a gruff, but warm, fatherly tone welcoming the new student to Notre Dame College. 

Father Murray left this earth in 1975 but the Notre Dame that he built, along with the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis, remains with us to this day as it has since its inception in 1920.

Although rooted in the Catholic tradition, Notre Dame is open to students of all faiths. Athol Murray College of Notre Dame puts a strong emphasis on delivering an education and character formation based on the beliefs and principles of Christian humanism. We offer a balanced approach to student development in three keys areas: mind, the body, and the spirit. 
 

 

Rob Palmarin, B. Ed., M.A.
President
Athol Murray College of Notre Dame

Evaluate Athol Murray College of Notre Dame for your child

Answer just to supplement this page with our expert insight into the FIT between Athol Murray College of Notre Dame and your child (BETA).
1. Select category
1. Select category
  • Sociability
  • Mental focus
  • Physical activity level
  • Academic focus
  • Arts-oriented
  • STEM-oriented
  • Gifted
  • Special needs (general)
  • Learning disabilities
  • Social/emotional issues
  • Learning style
  • Learning preference
  • Anxious
  • ADHD
  • Autistic
  • Dyslexic
2. Select child's dominant trait
How outgoing is your child?

3. See personalized insights
How Extroverted kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Most big schools provide your extroverted child with plenty of social opportunities and the ability to interact with different peer groups with a wide range of personalities, interests, values, etc. A larger student population and more extracurriculars—including activities like team sports, arts programs, and debate—will give them a broader scope of opportunities to participate in events that scratch their interpersonal itch. “This may also give them the opportunity to hone certain skills,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “For instance, they might run for student council to develop leadership and public speaking skills and learn to be a voice for other students.”

  • Boarding school

    At a boarding school, your extroverted child will likely enjoy seeking out and interacting with peer groups from different backgrounds, away from home. In fact, studying and living with other kids for an extended period of time, as many alumni tell us, provides the unique opportunity to form close relationships that can last well beyond the school years. Many boarding schools also have large student populations and more extracurriculars—including activities like student council, team sports, and arts programs—which will give your outgoing child a broader scope of opportunities to feed off the energy of others, and possibly even become a leader, in a dynamic environment.

    Keep in mind, though, “Being an extrovert can be a catalyst for getting involved in lots of activities, which can sometimes be hard to manage,” says Joanne Foster, Toronto-based education consultant and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids. “For instance, a particularly extroverted child may try to end up juggling too many people and activities. While they still may thrive at a boarding school, it helps to know your child and how much social interaction they can handle comfortably.”

How Introverted kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Make sure any prospective school, no matter what size, provides the right social environment to help your child feel at home, make friends, and develop confidence. This is especially important at big schools, which are sometimes more socially overwhelming and challenging for an introvert to find their bearings in. Of course, “Because larger schools usually have a more diverse student population, introverted kids are more likely to find a small group of people like them, a peer group they can relate to and find acceptance from,” says Dona Matthews, Toronto-based education consultant and co-author (with Joanne Foster) of Beyond Intelligence.

    Bigger schools often have a broader scope of extracurricular activities, which is another way to help your child meet the right group of friends. “This may also give them the opportunity to develop certain skills,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “For instance, they might run for student council to develop leadership and public speaking skills and learn to be a voice for other students. Remember, though, each child is different—so what works for one may not work for another.”

  • Boarding school

    At a boarding school, your introverted child will be more motivated (and virtually compelled) to seek out and interact with different peer groups. Away from home and in a new environment, they’re more likely to take the initiative to form close friendships, which can boost their independence and confidence, and help them develop critical social skills.

    "Consider, though, whether your child will be comfortable and confident while living away from home, and while having to navigate the various, and sometimes unforeseen social-emotional experiences, alongside the academic challenges,” says Joanne Foster, education expert and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids. Finally, ensure support systems are in place to promote their social and emotional development, and that your child is willing and prepared to take advantage of them. Your child will often need to advocate for themselves at a boarding school, and they’ll need confidence and perseverance to do so.

Select a trait in Step 2 to receive child-customized insights about this school. Create a child profile to save your child trait selection.
2. Select child's dominant trait
How mentally focused is your child?

3. See personalized insights
How Mentally focused kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If you’re considering a big school for your mentally focused child, look into the size of its classrooms. Many kids, including focused ones, do better in smaller classes, which not all big schools have. Smaller classes often provide ample individualized learning and one-on-one support, which can boost your child’s engagement.

    Also, ensure a school’s teaching approach is suitable for your focused child. “For instance, a school emphasizing group learning over individual learning may or may not play into your child’s strengths,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “You want to make sure the social, emotional, and academic realities of the classroom are a match for your child’s attention skills and personality.”

  • Boarding school

    Many focused kids find the diverse and vibrant student community of boarding schools stimulating. Working and interacting with a group of kids away from home and in a new environment can open up new learning and social pathways. Just make sure to inquire about a school’s teaching and learning approach. For instance, ask how much independent learning and individualized support a school offers, as many focused kids find this beneficial. Also, ask about class sizes, as smaller classes with low student-to-teacher ratios can help ensure your child won’t get lost in the shuffle.

How Distractible kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If you’re considering a big school for your distractible child, look into its classroom sizes and teaching and learning approach. Distractible kids often do better in smaller classrooms with plenty of individualized learning and one-on-one support, as this can help them sustain their concentration.

    Also, “Ask what strategies a school has in place to engage and motivate students,” says Stacey Jacobs, Toronto-based education consultant at Clear Path Educational Consulting. “For instance, do they have flexible seating and innovative furniture?”

    Bigger schools tend to have a wider range of extracurriculars to choose from, which can help your child to pursue an interest or develop a passion. And, “Research shows that when students have something to look forward to after school, they’re often better able to focus during the day,” says Janyce Lastman, Toronto-based education consultant at The Tutor Group. “This can really help them renew their energy and recharge their batteries.”

  • Boarding school

    Many distractible kids enjoy the vibrant student community of boarding schools. Interacting and working with kids away from home and in a new environment can open up new learning and social pathways, which can be stimulating and can cultivate sustained concentration.

    Just make sure a school’s teaching and learning approach is suitable for your child. “For instance, your child may benefit from extra individualized attention and one-on-one support,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “If so, you’ll want to make sure a school provides these things and implements whatever other educational practices suit their academic profile and personality.”

Select a trait in Step 2 to receive child-customized insights about this school. Create a child profile to save your child trait selection.
2. Select child's dominant trait
How physically active is your child?

3. See personalized insights
How Very physically active kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Big schools tend to provide an especially wide range of opportunities for your physically active child to use their energy in productive ways, such as individual and team sports, hiking, and nature walks. In most big schools, they’ll also be given plenty of breaks throughout the day for physical and gross motor activities, such as outdoor recess in the playground. Since different kids enjoy different kinds of physical pursuits, find out exactly what activities a school offers, both in class and out.

    Also, ensure a school’s teaching and learning approach is suitable for your active child. “For instance, a school focusing on individual learning instead of group learning may or may not play into your child’s strengths,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “You want to make sure the social, emotional, and academic realities of the classroom are a match for your child’s personality and energy level.”

  • Boarding school

    At a boarding school, your physically active child will enjoy interacting with different peer groups drawn from a large student body. Through a wider range of supplementals—such as sports, hiking, and nature clubs—they’ll have the opportunity to feed off the energy of others in a dynamic and active environment.

    Keep in mind, though, “Being active and social can be a catalyst for getting involved in lots of physical activities, which can sometimes be hard to manage,” says Joanne Foster, Toronto-based education consultant and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids. “For instance, a particularly energetic child may try to end up juggling too many activities. While they still may thrive at a boarding school, it helps to know your child and how much physical activity they can handle comfortably.”

How Less physically active kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If your child is looking to get more physically active, they’ll benefit from the wide range of extracurriculars at big schools, such as sports and nature walks. In addition to improving their physical and mental health, these activities can help them broaden their horizons and come out of their shell.

    Just make sure any prospective school, no matter the size, provides the right academic and social environment to help your less active child focus on their work and feel like they belong. This is especially important at big schools, which sometimes have bigger classes (with less one-on-one support) and can be more socially overwhelming. That said, the bigger the school, the more diverse the student body (in terms of personalities, interests, etc.), which can make it easier for your child to find a group of like-minded peers. 

  • Boarding school

    If your child is looking to get more physically active, they’ll benefit from the wide range of extracurriculars at these schools—such as sports and nature walks. This can improve their physical and mental health. It can also help them broaden their horizons and come out of their shell. Your child may join one or more of the many non-physical supplementals these schools offer, such as an after-school robotics or book club.

    Ensure, though, that the school will give your child ample downtime to rest and replenish the energy they expend. “Consider, too, whether your child will be comfortable and confident while living away from home, and while having to navigate the various, and sometimes unforeseen social-emotional experiences, alongside the academic challenges,” says Joanne Foster, education expert and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids.

Select a trait in Step 2 to receive child-customized insights about this school. Create a child profile to save your child trait selection.
2. Select child's dominant trait
How focused is your child on school and academic achievement?

3. See personalized insights
How Intensively academically-focused kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Many big schools offer high-level courses as well as subject-specific enrichment and acceleration opportunities, which some academically-focused kids find stimulating. Most also have plenty of academic diversity in the classroom, where your child will find many opportunities to challenge themselves in groups with like-minded peers. “Many academically-focused kids enjoy competition in the classroom: they like to measure themselves against peers with high academic aspirations,” says Janyce Lastman, Director of The Tutor Group. “They’re more likely to find this in big schools with big classes.”

    Also, “Due to their large numbers of students, bigger schools offer more opportunities for reflection and collaboration with one’s peers, and to learn from the perspectives of different students, in class and out,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. Having a larger and more diverse pool of students can be a catalyst for intellectual and creative progress (and even breakthrough insights!).

    That said, make sure your child will be able to register for their desired courses in a big school. While big schools often have a wide range of core and specialist courses on their docket, sometimes logistical issues—such as scheduling and timetables—make it challenging for them to run some courses or for your child to enrol in them.

  • Boarding school

    Many boarding schools have a broad scope of specialist courses for your child to choose from, to pursue their interests and develop new ones. They also tend to have a lot of academic diversity in the classroom, where your child will find many opportunities to challenge themselves with other kids who enjoy school and have high academic aspirations.

    Just make sure to inquire about a school’s teaching and learning approach. For instance, ask what kinds of independent learning and enrichment opportunities a school offers, as many academically-focused kids benefit from these. Also, ask about class sizes, as smaller classes with low student-to-teacher ratios can help ensure your child won’t get lost in the shuffle.

    Finally, since they’ll be living away from home, ensure support systems are in place to promote their social and emotional development, and that your child is willing and prepared to take advantage of them. Your child will often need to advocate for themselves at a boarding school, and they’ll need confidence and perseverance to do so.

How Less academically-focused kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If you’re considering a big school for a less academically-focused child, look into its classroom sizes and teaching and learning approach. Smaller classrooms with plenty of individualized learning and one-on-one support can help kids really engage with their school work, regardless of their level of academic interest.

    Bigger schools normally have a wide range of specialist subjects to choose from, which can help your child pursue an interest or develop a new one. Just make sure your child will be able to register for their desired courses in a big school, since sometimes logistical issues—such as scheduling and timetables—make it challenging for these schools to run some courses or for your child to enrol in them.

  • Boarding school

    Many less academically-focused kids enjoy the vibrant community of boarding schools. They’ll be able to interact with a large and diverse student body and participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities, which can help them become more well-rounded.

    Just make sure a school’s teaching and learning approach is suitable for your child. “For instance, say your child can benefit from extra individualized attention and one-on-one support,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “You’ll want to make sure a school provides these things, and implements whatever other in-class practices suit their academic abilities and learning needs.”

Select a trait in Step 2 to receive child-customized insights about this school. Create a child profile to save your child trait selection.
2. Select if applicable
Is your child passionate about the arts?

3. See personalized insights
How Arts-oriented kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If you’re considering a big school for your arts-oriented child, make sure it offers them plenty of opportunities to explore their creative impulses. Ideally, it will have some smaller classes with plenty of individualized teaching and learning, since this will give your child more flexibility to pursue their interests and get one-on-one support to refine their skills.

    Since big schools have larger student populations, they often have more arts programs, classes, productions, and staff than smaller schools. They also tend to offer more supplementaries, like after-school musical theatre classes or field trips to art museums.

    Finally, “Due to their large numbers of students, they offer more opportunities for reflection and collaboration with one’s peers, and to learn from the perspectives of different students, in class and out,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “This also allows kids to understand the contributions they can make to the larger student community, such as being a musician in an orchestra, an actor in a play, or a dancer in an ensemble.”

  • Boarding school

    If you’re considering a boarding school for your arts-oriented child, make sure it offers them plenty of opportunities to explore their creative passions and refine their artistic skills. Often, small- to medium-sized classes with plenty of individualized learning work well, since they give your child the freedom to pursue their interests and carve out a fulfilling developmental path. Ask any prospective school about its class sizes, teaching approach, and arts curriculum, to ensure it’s the right fit.

    With larger student populations, boarding schools often have more arts programs, classes, productions, and staff. They also tend to offer a wider range of extracurriculars for your child to scratch their creative itch. Ask what opportunities are available, focusing especially on your child’s interests and needs: for instance, if they love art history, find out whether the school offers such a class and when.

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2. Select if applicable
Is your child passionate about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)?

3. See personalized insights
How STEM-oriented kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since big schools have larger student populations, they often have more STEM programs, classes, and specialty teachers than smaller schools. They also tend to offer more STEM-oriented supplementaries, like after-school robotics classes or field trips to science museums. And, “Due to their large numbers of students, they offer more opportunities for reflection and collaboration with one’s peers, and to learn from the perspectives of different students, in class and out,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. Having a larger and more diverse pool of students can make it easier to produce valuable insights and have creative breakthroughs.

    Ask prospective schools about their class sizes. Smaller classes with plenty of individualized teaching and learning give students more flexibility to pursue their interests in STEM and get one-on-one support to refine their knowledge and skills.

  • Boarding school

    With large student populations, boarding schools often have more STEM-oriented programs, classes, and specialized staff. They also tend to offer a wider range of extracurriculars for your child to explore their passion for STEM.

    Ask what opportunities are available, in class and out, focusing especially on your child’s interests. For instance, if they’re interested in engineering, find out whether the school offers such a class and when. Also, inquire about a school’s class sizes and teaching approach. Often, small- to medium-sized classes with plenty of individualized learning work well, since they give your child the freedom to pursue their interest in STEM with close supervision.

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2. Select if applicable
Does your child have gifted learning abilities?

3. See personalized insights
How Gifted kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Some big schools provide learning environments that explicitly address the needs of gifted students. These can include dedicated gifted classes, part-time withdrawal classes, enrichment opportunities, acceleration options, and in-class adaptations. Big schools also usually have a wider scope of curriculum options and extracurricular activities that can provide gifted learners with the challenge and stimulation they need across a range of topic areas. Finally, they tend to have more academic diversity in their student bodies, helping your child find like-minded peers as well as opportunities to challenge themselves with other intellectual, curious, and high-ability learners.

  • Boarding school

    Many boarding schools provide learning environments that directly address gifted students’ learning needs, such as dedicated gifted classes, withdrawal classes, in-class adaptations, etc. They also often have a wide range of extracurricular programs to challenge and stimulate gifted learners and enable them to pursue areas of interests. For instance, they might have an after-school Spanish discussion or reading group for students with a special interest in or talent for language and literature.

    “Consider, though, whether your child will be comfortable and confident while living away from home, and while having to navigate the various, and sometimes unforeseen, social-emotional experiences, alongside the many academic challenges,” says Joanne Foster, gifted education expert and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids.

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2. Select if applicable
Does your child have special needs?

3. See personalized insights
How Special needs (general) kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with special needs require special attention, ensure any prospective school has small- to medium-sized classes with plenty of structure, individualized learning, one-on-one support, and properly trained special education staff. Also, ask exactly what kinds of special needs support a school provides. For instance, while it's unlikely to provide modifications to the curriculum, does it offer accommodations, and if so, for which special needs?

    Some big schools provide learning environments that explicitly support students with special needs. These can include dedicated special needs classes, integrated classes, and regular classes with in-class adaptations and breakout groups. Many also provide a range of out-of-class resources to promote your child’s academic and social development, such as robust guidance departments, academic and psychological counselling, social work, tutors, and faculty advisors. And some have designated resource/learning centres for students with special needs, as well as various in-house support staff, like speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and reading specialists.

  • Boarding school

    Some boarding schools provide learning environments that directly address special needs, including dedicated classes, integrated classes, and part-time withdrawal classes. Many also provide a range of resources to cultivate your child’s overall development, such as academic and psychological counselling, social workers, faculty advisors, and tutors.

    Just make sure any prospective school has small enough classes to provide the structure, individualized learning, and one-on-one support your child will likely require. Also, since they’ll be living away from home, inquire what support systems are in place to keep them on the right track—academically and socially. For instance, if your child has an auditory processing disorder, ensure the school has an on-site specialist to provide them with the help they need.

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2. Select if applicable
Does your child have a learning disability?

3. See personalized insights
How Learning disabilities kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with learning disabilities (LDs) require special attention, ensure any large school has smaller classes (ideally 15 students or less) with plenty of structure, personalized learning, and individual support. Also, look into exactly what kinds of LD support it provides. “While many big schools provide accommodations, such as extra time for tests or assignments, few provide a modified academic curriculum,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting.

    Some big schools provide learning environments that explicitly support students with LDs. These can include dedicated classes, integrated classes, and regular classes with in-class adaptations and breakout groups. Many also offer a range of out-of-class resources to promote your child’s overall development, such as academic and psychological counselling, social workers, tutors, and faculty advisors. 

  • Boarding school

    Some boarding schools provide learning environments that explicitly support learning disabilities, including dedicated classes, integrated classes, and part-time pull-out classes. Many also provide a range of resources to promote your child’s academic, social, and emotional development, such as robust guidance departments, counsellors, psychologists, social workers, and faculty advisors

    Just make sure any boarding school has small enough classes to provide the structure, individualized learning, and one-on-one support your child will likely require. Also, ensure it has the resources and staff to address your child’s specific challenges. For instance, if they struggle with visual processing, ask whether properly trained staff are available to help them with reading, math, maps, charts, symbols, pictures, and the like.

    Finally, “Ensure your child has a strong understanding of their learning challenges and what kind of support and accommodations they need,” says Stacey Jacobs, Director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “At a boarding school, kids will need to advocate for themselves, and they’ll need the knowledge and confidence to do this.”

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2. Select if applicable
Does your child have a social, emotional, or behavioural issue?

3. See personalized insights
How Social/emotional issues kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with social issues require special attention, ensure any prospective school has small- to medium-sized classes with plenty of structure, individualized learning, one-on-one support, and properly trained special education staff. Also, ask exactly what kinds of support a school provides both in class and out. For instance, does it provide intensive one-on-one counselling for kids with anxiety?

    “Big schools can be challenging for students who experience anxiety or other emotional and mental health issues,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “Their large student population can contribute to anxiety and worries, and may make it more difficult for teachers to monitor their well-being.”

    Some big schools provide learning environments that explicitly support students with social issues. These can include dedicated classes, integrated classes, and regular classes with in-class adaptations and resource support. Many also provide a wide scope of resources to promote your child’s development, such as educational assistants, resource teachers, counsellors, social workers, and support groups.

  • Boarding school

    Some boarding schools provide learning environments that directly address social issues. For instance, some provide dedicated classes (or are dedicated schools) for "troubled teens," who may struggle with alcohol or drug addiction or who may suffer from an anxiety or eating disorder. 

    “Many parents feel that a boarding school is the best environment for their child with behavioural challenges,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “For one thing, they may believe it’s in the best interest of their child to be away from their community and possibly those who might be a ‘bad influence.’”

    Just make sure a school has small enough classes to provide the structure, individualized learning, and one-on-one guidance your child will likely need. Also, since they’ll be living away from home, ensure support systems are in place to keep them on the right track and that your child is willing and prepared to take advantage of them. Your child will often need to advocate for themselves at a boarding school and they’ll need confidence and perseverance to do so.

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2. Select child's dominant trait

3. See personalized insights
How Conventional learner kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Big schools vary in the classroom environments they offer. Size isn’t nearly as important as the teaching and learning approach that individual teachers use in meeting the needs of a conventional learner. 

    Here are some things to look for: 

    • A traditional classroom setup (teacher at the front facing the students) 

    • Whole-class lectures 

    • Plenty of structure

    • Graded work and clear criteria for assessment

    Conventional learners tend to do well in learning environments with all or most of these features. However, since learning preferences differ even among these students, ensure a school provides what your child needs.

  • Boarding school

    Boarding schools can be a nice fit for conventional learners, who tend to prefer whole-class lectures, direct instruction, textbook-based learning, and graded work. While some boarding schools offer more alternative approaches—e.g., student-centred, inquiry-based, and individualized learning—these are more the exception than the rule. Asked detailed questions about a school’s teaching approach to ensure your child’s academic needs will be met, bearing in mind that learning preferences vary even among conventional learners. 

How Unconventional learner kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If you’re considering a big school for an unconventional learner, make sure it offers them plenty of independent learning opportunities. Ideally, it will have some smaller classes with lots of individualized teaching and learning, since this will give your child more flexibility to pursue their interests and explore their passions.

    Big schools normally have more extracurriculars for kids to probe different areas of interest, from painting to robotics to creative writing. Also, due to their large numbers of students, they offer more opportunities to find a group of like-minded peers to learn and grow with, in class and out.

  • Boarding school

    If you’re considering a boarding school for an unconventional learner, make sure it offers them plenty of opportunities to pursue their interests. Often, small- to medium-sized classes with lots of individualized learning work well, since this gives your child the freedom to carve out a fulfilling academic niche. Ask a school about its class sizes, teaching approach, and amount of individualized learning, to confirm whether it’s the right fit.

    With larger student populations, boarding schools often have more extracurriculars for your child to explore their passions outside of class. Ask what opportunities are available, focusing especially on your child’s interests and needs: for instance, if they love computer programming, inquire whether the school offers an after-school or lunch program to boost their coding skills.

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How Independent learner kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Make sure a big school offers your child plenty of independent learning opportunities. Ideally, it will have some smaller classes with individualized teaching and learning, giving your child more flexibility to pursue their interests and develop their skills. With more classes and student cohorts, big schools can often accommodate a wide range of learning styles, including independent learning. Some also offer greater access to guidance and resources to help students subject choices and independent pursuits.

    Since big schools have larger student populations, they often have more extracurriculars and after-school programs. Whether it’s art, STEM, or coding, your child will have more opportunities to continue their unique learning path outside of class.

    Finally, “If your independent learner is a competitive student who likes to measure themselves against their peers, they’re more likely to find this in a big school,” says Janyce Lastman, Director of The Tutor Group. “Since they have diverse student bodies, it will be easier for your child to find peers with high academic aspirations to compete with.”

  • Boarding school

    If you’re considering a boarding school for your independent learner, make sure they’ll have ample opportunity to explore their passions. Often, small- to medium-sized classes with plenty of individualized learning work well, since they give your child the freedom to pursue unique learning pathways. Ask a school about its class sizes, teaching approach, and curriculum, to ensure it’s the right fit.

    With larger student populations, boarding schools often have more extracurriculars and supplemental learning options. Find out what’s available, focusing especially on your child’s areas of interest: for instance, if they love robotics, ask whether the school offers such a program. 

    Also, “If your independent learner is a competitive student who likes to measure themselves against their peers, they’re more likely to find this in a boarding school,” says Janyce Lastman, Director of The Tutor Group. ““Since they have diverse student bodies, it will be easier for your child to find academically-focused peers to compete with.”

    Finally, “Boarding schools also promote self-reliance and resourcefulness since students live away from home, and these are valuable attributes for independent learners and other kids to have,” says Joanne Foster, education consultant and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids.

How Collaborative learner kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Big schools vary widely in their learning environments and approaches. While some stress collaborative learning and provide lots of group activities, others don’t. That said, with many classes and diverse student cohorts, big schools can often accommodate and nurture a wide range of learning styles, including collaborative learning.

    Since big schools have larger student populations, they often have more extracurriculars and supplementals for students to pursue group learning activities like debate and student government. Also, “Due to their large numbers of students, they offer more opportunities to find a group of like-minded peers, in class and out,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services.

  • Boarding school

    Boarding schools have a wide range of learning environments. While some prioritize collaborative and group learning, others don’t. Of course, since they often have more classes and bigger student cohorts, they can normally accommodate a broad scope of learning styles, including both collaborative and independent learning.

    Since boarding schools tend to have larger student populations, they often have more extracurriculars which involve group or collaborative learning, such as debate and student government. Also, “Due to their large numbers of students, they offer more opportunities to find a group of like-minded peers,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. This can give your child the opportunity to explore interesting and dynamic social learning opportunities, in and out of class.

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Is your child anxious?

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How Anxious kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with anxiety require special attention, ensure any prospective school has small- to medium-sized classes with plenty of structure, individualized learning, one-on-one support, and properly trained special education staff. This is especially true if your child has a diagnosed anxiety disorder.

    “Big schools can be challenging for students with anxiety,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “Navigating a large student population and lots of relationships can compound issues with anxiety. And it’s sometimes more difficult for teachers and administrators to monitor students’ well-being in this setting.”

    That said, many big schools provide a wide scope of resources to support anxiety (and other mental health issues), such as educational assistants, resource teachers, psychologists, social workers, and support groups. Ask exactly what kinds of support a school provides, both in class and out. For instance, does it provide counselling for kids with a social anxiety disorder or selective mutism?

  • Boarding school

    Make sure any school you’re considering has small enough classes to provide the structure and one-on-one support your anxious child needs. Also, since they’ll be living away from home, ensure support systems are in place to keep your child on the right track, academically and emotionally, and that they’re willing and prepared to take advantage of them. For instance, if your child has a social or generalized anxiety disorder, weekly visits with an on-site psychologist may be in order. 

    Also, “Consider whether your child will be comfortable and confident while living away from home, and while having to navigate the various, and sometimes unforeseen, social-emotional experiences, alongside the many academic challenges,” says Joanne Foster, education expert and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids.

    Of course, boarding school can be a great way for some anxious kids, especially those with milder anxiety, to develop confidence, independence, and resilience. Having to manage schedules and routines and advocate for oneself can be emboldening.

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Does your child have ADHD?

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How ADHD kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with ADHD require special care, ensure any prospective school has smaller classes (ideally 15 students or less) with plenty of structure and one-on-one support to help them stay focused on their studies. Also, ask exactly what kinds of support a school provides both in class and out. For instance, “do you have an in-house psychologist who can help my child with their impulse control?”

    “Big schools can sometimes be challenging for students with ADHD,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “Navigating a large student population and lots of relationships can sometimes be a distraction which interferes with the ability to focus in class. And in a big school with bigger classes, it’s sometimes more difficult for teachers to monitor students’ well-being.” 

    The upside is most big schools offer a range of support for children with ADHD (and other special needs), such as educational assistants, resource teachers, psychologists, social workers, and support groups. They also tend to offer many supplemental activities to give your child physical, cognitive, and creative outlets, and to enable them to hyperfocus on areas of interest (which many ADHD kids enjoy).

  • Boarding school

    Make sure any boarding school has small enough classes to provide the structure, individualized learning, and one-on-one guidance kids with ADHD need. Also, since your child will be living away from home, ensure support systems are in place to keep them on the right track, and that they’re willing and prepared to take advantage of them. Your child will often need to advocate for themselves at a boarding school, and they’ll need the confidence and perseverance to do so.

    Finally, “Evenings can be challenging for kids with ADHD,” says Stacey Jacobs, director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “If your child is on medication, it may sometimes wear off at night, which can make completing homework and falling asleep challenging. Ensure boarding supervisors and dons are well-equipped with strategies to support kids with ADHD.”

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Is your child autistic?

3. See personalized insights
How Autistic kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) require special attention, ensure prospective schools have smaller classes with plenty of structure and one-on-one support, run by qualified special education staff. Depending on where your child falls on the spectrum, they may need a learning environment with direct support for ASD, such as a dedicated ASD class or a regular class with targeted ASD support. 

    Many big schools offer a wide range of resources to support kids with autism (and other special needs), such as educational assistants, psychologists, and social workers. Ask what’s available, focusing specifically on your child’s needs. For instance, “do you have an in-house psychologist who can help my child with their social skills?”

  • Boarding school

    Make sure any boarding school has small enough classes to provide the structure, individualized learning, and one-on-one support kids with autism need. Also, since your child will be living away from home, ensure support systems are in place to keep them on the right track, academically and socially, and that they’re willing and prepared to take advantage of them. Your child will often need to advocate for themselves at a boarding school, and they’ll need the confidence and perseverance to do so.

    Finally, “Consider whether your child will be comfortable and confident while living away from home, and while having to navigate the various, and sometimes unforeseen, social-emotional experiences, alongside the many academic challenges,” says Joanne Foster, education expert and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids.

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2. Select if applicable
Is your child dyslexic?

3. See personalized insights
How Dyslexic kids fit with Notre Dame College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with dyslexia require special attention, ensure any large school has smaller classes (ideally 15 students or less) with plenty of structure, personalized learning, and individual support. Also, ask exactly what kinds of resources it has to support your child. For instance, “do you have a reading intervention specialist to help my child work on their phonic decoding?”

    Some big schools provide learning environments that explicitly support students with dyslexia. These can include dedicated classes and regular classes with in-class adaptations and breakout groups. Many also offer a range of out-of-class resources to promote your child’s overall development, such as academic and psychological counselling, social workers, tutors, and faculty advisors.

  • Boarding school

    Make sure any boarding school has small enough classes to provide the structure, individualized learning, and one-on-one support your child needs. Also, confirm it has the resources and staff to support your child’s reading disorder. For instance, since they struggle with phonic decoding, ask whether a reading specialist is on staff. 

    Finally, “Ensure your child has a strong understanding of their learning challenges and what kind of support and accommodations they need,” says Stacey Jacobs, director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “At a boarding school, kids will need to advocate for themselves, and they’ll need the knowledge and confidence to do so.” 

    Keep in mind that some boarding schools provide learning environments that explicitly support dyslexia, including dedicated classes and part-time pull-out classes. Many also provide a range of resources to promote your child’s academic, social, and emotional development, such as robust guidance departments, counsellors, psychologists, social workers, and faculty advisors.

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THE OUR KIDS REPORT: Athol Murray College of Notre Dame

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