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THE OUR KIDS REPORT:
Bannockburn

Grades Nursery/Toddler TO 6 — Toronto, ON (MAP)

Bannockburn:
THE OUR KIDS REPORT
REPORT CONTENTS:

Pages in this report:

  • Grades
    Nursery/Toddler — 6
  • Gender
    Coed
  • Class Size
    15 — 24 students
  • Tuition
    $17,450 to 26,900/year
  • Language of instruction
    English
  • Associations
    CCMA, CIS Ontario
  • Enrollment
    200 day students
  • Curriculum
    Montessori
  • EBROCHURE
    N/A

School address

  • 3080 Bannockburn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5M 2M8 (MAP)

Our Perspective

How we see Bannockburn


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

School's Perspective

How Bannockburn sees itself


The school administration answered our questions

Who are you, as a school?

"Bannockburn offers an outstanding, authentic Montessori learning environment, carefully implemented to meet the specific needs of children during the most crucial periods of their formative years. Each fully equipped classroom is directed by dedicated, qualified teachers complemented by specialist instruction in French, music, visual arts and physical education. We invite you to discover how Bannockburn can make a brilliant difference in your child's life.... from the very beginning."

  • Exceptional Montessori education for children 18 months-12 years
  • Accredited by CCMA
  • Member of CIS
  • Licensed under CCEYA
  • Individualized curriculum
  • Low student teacher ratio
  • French, music, art and physical education
  • Toddler 18 months-3 years
  • Primary 3-6 years
  • Elementary 6-12 years

What do you do differently and uniquely well?

This information is not available.

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

This information is not available.

What might families find surprising about your school?

This information is not available.

What aspect of your school is underappreciated?

This information is not available.

What five facts about your school tell your story?

This information is not available.


Insider Perspectives

How people from the school’s community see Bannockburn


Video reviews of Bannockburn

Parent, Christine Bernardini (2022)

Watch our parent interview with Christine Bernardini to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to have a child attend Bannockburn.

Parent, Carrie Clark (2021)

Watch our parent interview with Carrie Clark to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to have a child attend Bannockburn.

Parent, Raewyn Seaberg (2020)

Watch our parent interview with Raewyn Seaberg to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to have a child attend Bannockburn.

School leadership

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


Message from school leadership

Meg Kahnert, Head of School

Thank you taking the time to read about Bannockburn. I encourage you to pay us a visit and see what makes Bannockburn such a special place. It starts with our Toodlers who show us that these young individuals are capable of so much more than we would normally expect, and culminates with our Upper Elementary graduates who truly exhibit that they are responsible, nurturing, peaceful young people with self-esteem and respect for others. Bannockburn graduates are self-motivated, intellectually curious, love learning and achieve academic success.

Evaluate Bannockburn for your child

Answer just to supplement this page with our expert insight into the FIT between Bannockburn 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 Bannockburn'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.”

  • Montessori school

    If you’re considering a Montessori school for your extroverted child, make sure to look into the amount of unstructured social time it provides. Some Montessori schools don’t have recess, and may limit free time, which is often when kids get their most stimulation. While kids spend plenty of time interacting in a Montessori classroom, a very outgoing child might find the lack of unstructured time less invigorating. Note: The more “orthodox” the Montessori environment, the more it tends to limit recess and unstructured social time.

How Introverted kids fit with Bannockburn'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.”

  • Montessori school

    At a Montessori school, your introverted child will often work independently on their own tasks, e.g., during two-hour-plus uninterrupted work periods, which can boost their focus and concentration. They’ll also often work in small groups with kids of different ages, where they’ll learn from and mentor their peers, which can help them come out of their shell, be more assertive, and learn critical social skills. Ask how much, if any, unstructured social time is provided, since this varies between Montessori schools.

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2. Select child's dominant trait
How mentally focused is your child?

3. See personalized insights
How Mentally focused kids fit with Bannockburn'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.”

  • Montessori school

    At a Montessori school, your focused child will often work independently on their own tasks, e.g., during two-hour-plus uninterrupted work periods, which can further enhance their concentration. Since many of these schools don’t have recess, this will also give your child more time to focus on their work, pursue their interests, and absorb knowledge. An additional benefit: in a Montessori classroom, your child will often work in small groups with kids of different ages, where they’ll learn from and mentor their peers, which can help them become more assertive, develop important social skills, and if they’re on the shy side, come out of their shell.

How Distractible kids fit with Bannockburn'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.”

  • Montessori school

    At a Montessori school, your child will often work independently on their own tasks, e.g., during two-hour-plus uninterrupted work periods, which can benefit kids who get distracted by too much stimulation. Also, independent study time can boost a child’s ability to concentrate and sustain their concentration, as professor of psychology and renowned Montessori researcher Angeline Lilard points out in Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius.

    That said, since some kids with shorter attention spans will find it more challenging to work independently for long periods of time, carefully weigh the pros and cons of this learning environment for your child.

    Finally, if you’re considering a Montessori school for your distractible child, make sure to look into the amount of unstructured social time it provides. Some Montessori schools don’t have recess, and may limit free time, which is often when kids get their most stimulation and which gives them a chance to renew their energy. This is especially important if your child is social, energetic, and enjoys physical activities.

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 Bannockburn'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.”

  • Montessori school

    If you’re considering a Montessori school for your active, energetic child, make sure to look into the amount of unstructured social time provided. Some Montessori schools don’t have recess, and may limit free play, which is when young kids tend to be most physically active. While Montessori environments give kids plenty of time to interact inside the classroom, a very active child might find a lack of unstructured time challenging to cope with. Note: The more “orthodox” the Montessori environment, the more it tends to limit recess and unstructured playtime.

How Less physically active kids fit with Bannockburn'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. 

  • Montessori school

    At a Montessori school, your less active child will often work independently on their own tasks, e.g., in two-hour-plus uninterrupted work periods, during which they can pursue quieter learning activities. Since many of these schools don’t have recess, this will also give your child more time to focus on their work, pursue their interests, and absorb knowledge. Another benefit for your child: they’ll sometimes work in small groups with kids of different ages, where they’ll learn from and mentor their peers, which can help them become more assertive and confident, learn critical social skills, and come out of their shell.

    If your child is looking to get more physically active, just make sure a school offers plenty of opportunities to do this.

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 Bannockburn'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.

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools offer highly individualized learning, allowing your child to move through the curriculum at their own pace and focus on tasks of interest (with some teacher guidance), which can strengthen their love of learning. Also, during two-hour-plus uninterrupted work periods, your academically-focused child will have the opportunity to work independently on their own tasks, which can bolster their focus and concentration. And, since many Montessori schools don’t have recess, this will give your child more time to key in on their work, pursue their interests, and absorb knowledge. 

    That said, keep in mind that most Montessori schools don't assign grades at the primary level. If your child is fixated on academic achievement and measuring themselves against their peers, they'll likely find this practice challenging.

How Less academically-focused kids fit with Bannockburn'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.

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools offer highly individualized learning, allowing your child to work at their own pace and choose tasks of interest, with teacher guidance. This can help motivate and inspire them, and cultivate a love of learning.

    That said, since some less academically-focused kids may find it difficult to work independently for two or more consecutive hours each day, during Montessori schools’ uninterrupted work periods, carefully weigh the pros and cons of this learning environment for your child.

    Finally, if you’re considering a Montessori school for a child with less interest in academics, make sure to look into the amount of unstructured social time it provides. Some Montessori schools don’t have recess, and may limit free time, which is often when kids get their most stimulation. This is especially important if your child is social, energetic, and enjoys physical activities.

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2. Select if applicable
Is your child passionate about the arts?

3. See personalized insights
How Arts-oriented kids fit with Bannockburn'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.”

  • Montessori school

    If you’re considering a Montessori school for your arts-oriented child, make sure to look into its policies regarding the arts and creativity. The Montessori approach is not known for encouraging certain kinds of creative pursuits: for instance, many Montessori schools don’t include fiction in the curriculum or offer dedicated art classes (though they do encourage creativity in other ways). If your child is highly interested in the arts and various forms of creative expression, they may find these particular schools less engaging than schools with more of an arts focus.

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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 Bannockburn'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.

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools’ child-centred, self-directed focus gives kids the flexibility to pursue their interests and dive deeply into STEM subjects. Their interdisciplinary and experiential approach to STEM learning will also appeal to many kids. That said, “Ensure any prospective school doesn’t allow students to focus on these subjects to the detriment of others—e.g., focusing on science or math disproportionately, while leaving other academic areas by the wayside,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. 

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

3. See personalized insights
How Gifted kids fit with Bannockburn'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.

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools vary greatly. Some allow gifted students to accelerate their studies. Since students are given leeway to determine the focus and pace of their learning, gifted learners may choose to move quickly through their academic activities and into areas they find challenging and engaging.

    Other Montessori schools, however, are reluctant to move kids too quickly through the curriculum or to move them to a higher age-level class. These particular schools may be a poor fit for some students—especially those who test higher than the 98th or 99th percentile in terms of their learning abilities. “Because Montessori schools are not all alike, it’s important to avoid making assumptions about them. It’s prudent to check out whether the educational environment will provide a suitable learner-learning match for your child, and to keep monitoring that if you choose to enrol your child in this form of schooling,” 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 Bannockburn'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.

  • Montessori school

    Students with special needs can benefit from Montessori schools’ unique emphasis on individualized learning. Since students are given the freedom to determine the focus and pace of their studies, with teacher guidance, the curriculum will be tailored to their abilities, interests, strengths, and weaknesses. This can allow a child to work on a specific area of need, such as organization or impulse control.

    That said, not all Montessori schools provide the right environment to meet the learning needs of kids with exceptionalities. “Some don’t provide the explicit, teacher-directed instruction that some research indicates is beneficial for students who learn differently,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “Students with weak executive functioning or other learning exceptionalities, for instance, may not have the independent work skills necessary to thrive in some Montessori environments.”

    Of course, since different Montessori schools have different approaches, speak to school directors and staff to gauge whether your child is likely to be a good fit.

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Does your child have a learning disability?

3. See personalized insights
How Learning disabilities kids fit with Bannockburn'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. 

  • Montessori school

    Many kids with learning disabilities (LDs) will find the calm and quiet learning environment of most Montessori classrooms peaceful. They can also benefit from Montessori’s special focus on individualized learning: since students can help choose their tasks, with teacher guidance, their work should be tailored to their abilities and interests. 

    That said, not all Montessori schools offer the right environment for kids with LDs. “Some don’t provide the explicit, teacher-directed instruction that some research indicates is beneficial for students who learn differently,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “Students with weak executive functioning or other learning exceptionalities, for instance, may not have the independent work skills necessary to thrive in some Montessori environments. Also, progress monitoring and assessment tend to be qualitative and observation-based, which can be challenging for parents who prefer to track their child’s progress through more measurable data.” 

    Of course, since Montessori schools vary in their approach, speak to school directors and staff to determine whether your child is a good fit.

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Does your child have a social, emotional, or behavioural issue?

3. See personalized insights
How Social/emotional issues kids fit with Bannockburn'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.

  • Montessori school

    Many kids with social issues will find the calm and quiet learning environment of the typical Montessori classroom soothing. “The degree of self-direction and individualization in a Montessori school can be ideal for a child experiencing mental health issues,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “Its close-knit, supportive environment is sometimes empowering and reassuring for an anxious child, for example, who may feel more comfortable taking risks.” 

    That said, not all Montessori schools provide the right environment to meet the needs of kids with social issues or disorders. Some kids may need more supervision and one-on-one support than some Montessori schools are able to provide. “Students with severe behavioral issues, for instance, may not have the independent work skills necessary to thrive in some Montessori environments,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. Of course, since different Montessori schools have different teaching approaches and classroom environments, speak to school directors and staff to gauge whether your child is likely to be a good fit.

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2. Select child's dominant trait

3. See personalized insights
How Conventional learner kids fit with Bannockburn'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.

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools’ decentralized, individualized learning environment often works well for unconventional learners. Many conventional learners, however, tend to prefer more whole-class lectures, teacher-led instruction, textbook learning, and graded work than Montessori schools tend to provide. 

    That said, since not all Montessori schools are alike, inquire about the learning environment and approach a school provides. For instance, ask if it offers whole-class lectures (and how often), direct instruction, and textbook learning.

How Unconventional learner kids fit with Bannockburn'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.

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools offer highly individualized learning, allowing your child to move through the curriculum at their own pace and and focus on areas of interest (with teacher guidance), which most unconventional learners love. Also, during two-hour-plus uninterrupted work periods, your child will have the opportunity to work independently on their own tasks, which can enhance their engagement and cultivate a love of learning. Another benefit: in a Montessori classroom, your child will sometimes work in small groups with kids of different ages, enabling them to learn from and mentor peers. 

    That said, if your unconventional learner is arts-oriented, make sure to look into a school’s policies regarding the arts and creativity. The Montessori approach is not known for encouraging certain kinds of creative pursuits: for instance, many Montessori schools don’t include fiction in the curriculum or offer dedicated art classes (though they do encourage creativity in other ways). Some artsy kids may find these particular schools less engaging than more arts-focused schools.

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2. Select child's dominant trait

3. See personalized insights
How Independent learner kids fit with Bannockburn'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.”

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools offer highly individualized learning, allowing your child to move through the curriculum at their own pace and focus on areas of interest (with teacher guidance), which independent learners love. Also, during two-hour-plus uninterrupted work periods, they’ll work independently on their own tasks, which can boost their engagement and foster a love of learning. One more benefit: in a Montessori classroom, your child will sometimes work in small groups with kids of different ages, where they can learn from and teach their peers. This can help them become more confident, develop critical social skills, and, if they’re on the shy side, come out of their shell. 

    That said, “Ensure any prospective school doesn’t allow students to focus on specific subjects to the detriment of others—focusing on geography, say, disproportionately, while leaving other academic areas by the wayside,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners.

How Collaborative learner kids fit with Bannockburn'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.

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools have a child-focused educational approach with lots of individualized learning. For some schools, this includes uninterrupted independent work periods of up to three hours a day, which can be daunting for some collaborative learners.

    That said, most Montessori schools, from preschool to the secondary level, provide kids with plenty of opportunities to work in small groups on specific tasks and projects. Classrooms are also normally divided into three-year age groups, which will enable your child to both learn from and mentor their peers, something collaborative learners tend to love.

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Is your child anxious?

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How Anxious kids fit with Bannockburn'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?

  • Montessori school

    Many kids with anxiety will find the calm and quiet learning space of the typical Montessori classroom soothing. “Its close-knit, supportive environment can be empowering and reassuring for anxious kids,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “Montessori schools’ focus on self-direction and individualized learning can also enable them to feel more comfortable taking academic risks.” 

    However, some anxious kids may need more supervision, structure, and one-on-one support than some Montessori schools provide. Students with severe generalized anxiety, for instance, may not have the emotional resources needed to thrive in some Montessori environments, at least without extra support. Of course, since different Montessori schools have different approaches and environments, speak to school directors and staff to gauge whether your child is likely to be a good fit.

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Does your child have ADHD?

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How ADHD kids fit with Bannockburn'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).

  • Montessori school

    Many kids with ADHD will find the calm and quiet learning environment of the typical Montessori classroom soothing. Its close-knit, supportive setting can be empowering and reassuring for kids with ADHD. The self-directed learning approach may also work well for kids with ADHD, who may be able to hyperfocus on tasks they find engaging and challenging,” says Stacey Jacobs, director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. 

    However, “The self-directed nature of a Montessori classroom can sometimes allow students with ADHD to fly under the radar,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “A child with weak executive functioning skills may not have the independent work skills necessary to be successful in a Montessori environment. Additionally, parents should ask about assessment and progress monitoring. In some Montessori schools, the focus on qualitative observation for assessment can make it challenging for parents to judge how their child is doing and to monitor their progress.”

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Is your child autistic?

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How Autistic kids fit with Bannockburn'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?”

  • Montessori school

    Many kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will find the calm and quiet learning environment of the typical Montessori classroom soothing. “Its close-knit, supportive setting can be empowering and reassuring for kids with ASD,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “‘Montessori schools’ focus on self-direction and individualized learning may also enable them to feel more comfortable taking academic risks.” 

    That said, not all Montessori schools provide the right environment for kids with ASD. Some will require more supervision, structure, and one-on-one support than some Montessori schools provide. For instance, kids with poor executive functioning skills may struggle to function independently in some Montessori environments. Of course, since different Montessori schools have different teaching approaches and resource support, speak to school directors and staff to gauge whether your child is likely to be a good fit.

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Is your child dyslexic?

3. See personalized insights
How Dyslexic kids fit with Bannockburn'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.

  • Montessori school

    Many kids with dyslexia (and other LDs) will find the calm and quiet learning environment of most Montessori classrooms peaceful. They can also benefit from Montessori’s special focus on individualized learning: since kids often choose their tasks, with teacher guidance, their work can be tailored to their abilities and interests. 

    That said, not all Montessori schools offer the right environment for kids with dyslexia. “Some don’t provide the explicit, teacher-directed instruction that some research indicates is beneficial for students with dyslexia,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “For instance, some students may need more help with phonic decoding than some Montessori environments are able to provide.” 

    Of course, since Montessori schools vary in their teaching approach, support systems, and resources, speak to school directors and staff to determine whether your child is a good fit.

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