Girls schools: Expert advice

How girls benefit according to experts

It’s no secret that girls and boys learn differently, and that each thrives in different learning environments. Girls’ schools across the world have tapped into this understanding by focusing on the social, emotional and specific academic needs of girls in their approach to education. Single sex education not only gives girls the tools they need to learn effectively, but also provides the opportunity to develop strong friendships and self-confidence. Read more


List of all-girls' schools

 
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St. Clement's School


Toronto, Ontario
Yonge St./Eglinton Ave.
 
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"Our goal is for SCS students to understand learning as an outcome in and of itself. Learning that doesn't follow a straight path. And if it gets messy, that's okay, because at SCS it's safe to explore and be who you are.

  1. Girls' school, founded in 1901
  2. Enriched and balanced academics at all grade levels
  3. Unrivaled Advanced Placement course offerings
  4. 100% university acceptance

—From the school

  • Gr. 1 to 12 (Girls)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $38,000
 
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St. Clement's School 38000 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
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"Confident Learners. Inspiring Leaders. Creating a thriving world.

  1. SMS is Western Canada's only girl-centred boarding school
  2. SMS was the first girls-school in Canada to integrate a STEM curriculum into daily programs
  3. Visual and performing arts options are woven into our weekly programs

—From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Girls)
  • Traditional curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $19,992 to $74,006
 
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St. Margaret's School 19992 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls

Holy Name of Mary College School


Mississauga, Ontario
Mississauga Rd/QEW
 
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"We strive to take the best aspects of Catholic teaching & interpret it in a modern context for the confident young woman of today. They are imbued with a strong work ethic, sense of purpose & a desire to change the world

  1. University preparatory school
  2. Catholic academic tradition
  3. Academic Excellence
  4. Mini-Medical School

—From the school

  • Gr. 5 to 12 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $25,300 to $26,200
 
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Holy Name of Mary College School 25300 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls

"Oakville's SMLS continues to be a premier independent school for girls Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 since 1891. "Millie" graduates take on the world with confidence and the knowledge that they can do anything.

  1. Signature Programs in Global Citizenship, STEM & Robotics, Active Healthy Living, Arts & Design
  2. Professional Internship Customized for Each Girl (Grade 11)
  3. Focus on whole girl and student wellbeing
  4. Enriched curriculum, Advanced Placement, DELF

—From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum; Reggio Emilia
  • $26,187 to $33,602
 
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St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School 26187 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls

Branksome Hall


Toronto, Ontario
Bloor Street East/Mount Pleasant Road
 
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"Branksome Hall is Toronto’s only leading International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for girls in JK-Grade 12, developing the leaders of tomorrow through the nurturing of curiosity and critical thinking at every age.

  1. Picturesque 13-acre urban campus
  2. Athletics and Wellness Centre that prioritizes healthy food and living
  3. IB programs: JK to Grade 12
  4. Leadership opportunities for all grades and students

—From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Girls)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $38,990 to $78,600
 
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Branksome Hall 38990 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls

Havergal College


Toronto, Ontario
Lawrence Avenue West/Avenue Road
 
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"Havergal has been preparing young women to make a difference since 1894 through its innovative curriculum and future-ready programming with a focus on wellbeing and student agency.

  1. Beautiful 22-acre campus in the heart of Toronto.
  2. Innovative curriculum and future-ready programming for students.
  3. Small class sizes with a focus on wellness and student agency.
  4. Award-winning Art, Music and Drama departments.

—From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Girls)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $41,520 to $79,905
 
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Havergal College 41520 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls
Toronto, Ontario
Spadina/St Clair Ave W
 
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"The Bishop Strachan School is a leading independent JK-Grade 12 day & boarding school for girls. Students build the academic skills to thrive at university and beyond. Over $2 million available in financial assistance." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum; Reggio Emilia
  • $37,500 to $72,400
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The Bishop Strachan School 37500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Langside St./Westminster Ave.
 
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"Parents trust us to personalize the educational experience of each girl, to care for each girl, to challenge her to grow, to build a supportive community around her, and, most importantly, to prepare her for the future." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $17,850 to $74,650
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Balmoral Hall School 17850 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls
Ottawa, Ontario
Buena Vista Road/Springfield Road
 
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"Elmwood School is Ottawa's pre-eminent school for girls from PreK to Gr. 12. Our high academic standards, small class sizes and safe, supportive environment ensure that each girl is inspired to reach her full potential." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $16,970 to $32,800
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Elmwood School 16970 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
Toronto, Ontario
York Mills/Leslie
 
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"Hawthorn School is located in Toronto. We offer a co-ed toddler-SK program and an all girls program for grade 1- grade 12. Our unique mentoring program is tailored to help students reach their full potential." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 12 (Girls/Coed)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $17,000 to $40,000
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Hawthorn School 17000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Homestay Day Day Girls Coed
Ottawa, Ontario
Iris St/Woodroffe Ave
 
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"Empowering girls from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8 through bilingual education." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $17,400
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Academie Jeanne d'Arc 17400 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Girls
Calgary, Alberta
Crowchild Trail/Flanders Ave. SW
 
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"Clear Water Academy is the only private Catholic school in Alberta. We offer a rigorous academic program from Jr. Kindergarten to Grade 12 for students of all faiths. 100% of our students pursue post-secondary education." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed/Boys/Girls)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $15,700 to $17,400
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Clear Water Academy 15700 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Day Coed Boys Girls
London, Ontario
Richmond Street/King Street
 
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"A Canadian Private Secondary Boarding school, located in the heart of London, Ontario. LIA is authorized to grant the Ontario Secondary School and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme." —From the school

  • Gr. 9 to 12 (Coed/Girls)
  • Traditional curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $16,000 to $32,000
  • Boarding
  • 345 students
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London International Academy 16000 HighSchools Boarding Boarding Coed Girls
Whitby, Ontario
Garden Street/Hwy. 2
 
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"Whether exploring science and technology, creating art, or competing in athletics, there is nothing a Trafalgar girl can't handle." —From the school

  • Gr. 4 to 12 (Girls)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $29,348 to $78,215
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Trafalgar Castle School 29348 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls
Halifax, Nova Scotia
 
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"With a global network of schools around the world, a rich and proud history, and a strong and unique set of core values, Sacred Heart offers not just an education but an experience that is unparalleled in Nova Scotia." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Boys/Girls/Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $14,370 to $20,130
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Sacred Heart School of Halifax 14370 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Boys Girls Coed
Aurora, Ontario
St. John's Sideroad/Shining Hill Way
 
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"Girls at St. Anne's will thrive in an inspirational and progressive learning environment. The school’s focus on STEM/STEAM, community giving, leadership, and wellness will develop well-rounded, global-minded citizens." —From the school

  • Gr. 5 to 10 (Girls)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $41,440
  • Day school
  • 173 students
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St. Anne's School 41440 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
Aurora, Ontario
St. John's Sideroad/Yonge Street
 
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"With a tradition dating back to 1899, St. Andrew's remains the single largest all-boys boarding school in Canada. Our 126-acre campus provides our students with an ideal setting for learning and growth." —From the school

  • Gr. 5 to 12 (Boys/Girls)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $41,440 to $77,070
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St. Andrew's College 41440 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Day Boys Girls
Westmount, Quebec
Mount Pleasant Avenue/Cedar Avenue
 
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"Located in Montreal, QC, Miss Edgar’s & Miss Cramp’s School offers a bilingual education for girls from K-11. From entrepreneurship to STEM, our unique learning environment empowers girls to lead the way." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 11 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $21,800 to $26,380
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Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School 21800 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
Toronto, Ontario
Yonge/St. Clair
 
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"The Linden School's transformative teaching and socially-progressive values inspire academic excellence, wellness, and civic engagement, empowering students to become changemakers ready to take on complex global issues." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $21,850 to $29,450
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The Linden School 21850 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
Montreal, Quebec
Atwater/Docteur-Penfield
 
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"Since 1861, The Sacred Heart School of Montreal, the city’s only all-girls English Catholic high school, has been preparing girls to change the world. We offer grades 7 to 12, day school and boarding." —From the school

  • Gr. 7 to 12 (Girls)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $21,790 to $47,559
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The Sacred Heart School of Montreal 21790 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Day Girls
St. Catharines, Ontario
Ontario St./Welland Ave.
 
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"Heuristic & autodidactic, inspired by Sudbury & democratic models. Students are self-directed, and holistically empowered. Voluntary attendance, year-round calendar, agency, & consent inspire free learning. Also Forest" —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 12 (Coed/Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $57 to $10,000
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Agate Private School 57 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools eSchool Day Homestay Boarding Coed Girls
Calgary, Alberta
17th Ave SW/Richmond Road SW
 
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"In addition to academics, our focus on mentorship, hands-on learning in and outside the classroom, and character development, will allow our students to thrive academically and personally as they discover who they are." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 12 (Coed/Girls/Boys)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $14,000 to $16,000
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North Point School 14000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Coed Girls Boys
Westmount, Quebec
The Boulevard/Place Braeside
 
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"The Study, founded in 1915, is one of Canada's premier all-girls' schools. Dedicated teachers offer a warm and stimulating bilingual mother-tongue environment from Kindergarten to Grade 11. The World Needs Great Women." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 11 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $26,200 to $29,380
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The Study 26200 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls

“When I go to school, I am surrounded by people I want to be with and we’re all learning,” says Juliet Caragianis, a Grade 11 student at Elmwood School in Ottawa, Ontario. With a focus on digital learning, including a one-to-one laptop program and the use of interactive SMART Boards in classrooms, this all-girls’ independent school encourages students to feel comfortable and confident with technology. For Juliet, who writes a weekly blog about student life, technology use is just one way that her school defies many of the stereotypes associated with an all-girls’ environment. “Elmwood also strongly promotes its math and science programs,” she says.

Girls Schools Expert Advice
Bishops College School - Photograph by Christinne Muschi

Math, science and technology targeted for girl

Generally, the belief is that as girls mature faster than boys, they have the advantage when it comes to language and vocabulary skills, whereas boys’ learning styles give them an edge in the sciences. Traditionally, this is accepted as the reason why the scientific and mathematic fields are overwhelmingly male-dominated. The truth is that girls are just as capable of enjoying, excelling at and pursuing careers in these fields – with the right approach. Many girls’ schools offer math, science and technology programs tailored specifically for their students – not to mention the freedom from gender stereotypes associated with these subjects.

According to Elmwood’s Head of School, Cheryl Boughton, at least 50 percent of the school’s graduates go on to study math and science in university. “Ours is a very enabling environment,” Boughton says. “We provide opportunities for educational risk-taking and we establish supportive learning communities.”

Increased confidence for girls

According to a study released by the University of California, Los Angeles in March 2009, female graduates of single-sex high schools in the United States showed higher levels of academic engagement, SAT scores and confidence in mathematical ability and computer skills than their counterparts at coeducation schools.

The study also showed higher levels of self-confidence among students in girls’ schools, says Meg Milne Moulton, Executive Director of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. “Most girls’ schools offer against-the-grain learning experiences where students take on challenges that they may not have done on their own—and are encouraged to learn from their mistakes,” Moulton says.

Improved concentration and the freedom to be themselves

Not only are single sex schools praised for their tailored approach to learning, they also eliminate distractions and allow students to be their best. Girls’ schools provide an environment where girls can truly be themselves and grow into self-reliant, confident young women.

In the classroom, students are encouraged to express opinions and ask questions, Juliet says. “When you’re in a coed environment, the boys often try to say funny things and the girls try to sound smart,” she says. “Here, our classes are much more relaxed.”

The concentration in the classroom is also improved at an all-girls school, as students are more able to sit still and focus than boys, a result of more serotonin and oxytocin hormones.

Without boys around, Elmwood students are able to focus on doing well in school and making friends—with much less social drama, says Ella Mar, who has one daughter in Grade 12 at the school and another who recently graduated. But the girls aren’t without male friends, because that’s an important part of being a teenager.

“During the school day the focus is on academics and not on boys, it’s nice not to have that distraction.”

—Hailey Eisen and Sonja Schweiger

Series: Girls Schools

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