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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


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List of all-girls' schools

 
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Toronto, Ontario — Branksome Hall is Toronto’s only all-girls, all-years International Baccalaureate (IB) World School developing the leaders of tomorrow through the nurturing of curiosity and critical thinking at every age. View School Profile.


  • 13-acre downtown campus
  • Athletics and Wellness Centre
  • IB programs: JK to Grade 12
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Boarding starting in Grade 7
Grades:
JK to 12 (Girls)
Type:
Liberal Arts, International Baccalaureate
Tuition:
$37,130 to $75,020
Living:
Boarding/Day
Enrollment:
960
Avg. Class:
16 to 22
Branksome Hall 37130 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls
 
 

Toronto, Ontario — Our goal is that our students 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. View School Profile.


  • Girls' school, founded in 1901
  • Enriched and balanced academics at all grade levels
  • Unrivaled Advanced Placement course offerings
  • 100% university acceptance
  • Extensive athletic, arts, and co-curricular programs
Grades:
1 to 12 (Girls)
Type:
Liberal Arts
Tuition:
$34,500
Living:
Day
Enrollment:
460
Avg. Class:
16
St. Clement's School 34500 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
 
 

Toronto, Ontario — Havergal has been preparing young women to make a difference since 1894 through its innovative curriculum and future-ready programming with a focus on wellness and student agency. View School Profile.


  • Beautiful 22-acre campus in the heart of Toronto.
  • Innovative curriculum and future-ready programming for students.
  • Small class sizes with a focus on wellness and student agency.
  • Award-winning Art, Music and Drama departments.
  • More than 80 co-curricular athletic teams.
Grades:
JK to 12 (Girls)
Type:
Liberal Arts
Tuition:
$36,950 to $68,540
Living:
Boarding/Day
Enrollment:
1000
Avg. Class:
18 to 22
Havergal College 36950 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls
 
 

Toronto, Ontario — 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. View School Profile.


  • Founded in 1867
  • Specializing in the learning needs of the 'whole girl'
  • Co-curricular programs and clubs
  • 100 per cent university placement
  • Extensive leadership opportunities
Grades:
JK to 12 (Girls)
Type:
Progressive, Reggio Emilia
Tuition:
$35,800 to $69,145
Living:
Day/Boarding
Enrollment:
1000
Avg. Class:
18 to 20
The Bishop Strachan School 35800 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Victoria, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $18,860 to $72,555

St. Margaret's School offers inter-disciplinary and experiential learning from JK3 to Grade 12. Confidence, leadership and academic rigor lead to student success.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Traditional
St. Margaret's School 18860 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Buena Vista Road/Springfield Road
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $16,160 to $30,900

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.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Elmwood School 16160 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    York Mills/Leslie
  • NS to 12 Girls/Coed
  • $15,000 to $40,000

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.

  • Homestay/Day
  • Liberal Arts
Hawthorn School 15000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Homestay Day Day Girls Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $12,600 to $31,065

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

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School 12600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Iris St/Woodroffe Ave
  • JK to 8 Girls
  • $16,600

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

  • Day
  • Progressive
Academie Jeanne d'Arc 16600 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Girls
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Mississauga Rd/QEW
  • 5 to 12 Girls
  • $21,095 to $21,845

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

  • Day
  • Progressive
Holy Name of Mary College School 21095 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Langside St./Westminster Ave.
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $16,500 to $69,400

We offer a supportive environment for girls’ learning with a strong sense of community. We encourage the love of learning in a place of belonging that nurtures resilience, inspires creativity, and celebrates diversity.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Balmoral Hall School 16500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Westmount, Quebec
    Mount Pleasant Avenue/Cedar Avenue
  • K to 11 Girls
  • $19,750 to $23,950

Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School offers a Tier 1 education for girls from K-11, located in Westmount, Qc. We develop bold leaders and creative thinkers — equipping each girl to be the entrepreneur of her own future.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School 19750 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • JK to 12 Boys/Girls/Coed
  • $13,820 to $19,360

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.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Sacred Heart School of Halifax 13820 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Boys Girls Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $27,200

With over 120 years of excellence in all-girls’ education, our rigorous academic program is complemented by strong arts, design technology and athletic programs. Financial assistance is available.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Crofton House School 27200 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Aurora, Ontario
  • 5 to 9 Girls
  • $34,585 to $37,280

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.

  • Day
  • Traditional
St. Anne's School 34585 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Erda, Utah
    Droubay Rd/Erda Way
  • 7 to 12 Girls
  • US $120,000

Alpine Academy isn't just a school, it is an experience that prepares young women for life beyond our campus. Students learn to engage in not only academics, but also family, community, and interpersonal relationships.

  • Boarding
  • Traditional
Alpine Academy 120000 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge/St. Clair
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $21,050 to $28,350

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.

  • Day
  • Progressive
The Linden School 21050 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Calgary, Alberta
    17th Ave SW/Richmond Road SW
  • K to 12 Girls/Boys/Coed
  • $8,000 to $15,500

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.

  • Day
  • Progressive
North Point School 8000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Girls Boys Coed
  • Montreal, Quebec
    Atwater/Docteur-Penfield
  • 7 to 12 Girls
  • $19,430 to $40,743

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.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Traditional
The Sacred Heart School of Montreal 19430 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Boarding Girls
  • London, Ontario
    Richmond Street/King Street
  • 9 to 12 Coed/Girls
  • $25,600 to $32,000

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

  • Boarding
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
London International Academy 25600 HighSchools Boarding Boarding Coed Girls

The Study  

  • Westmount, Quebec
    The Boulevard/Place Braeside
  • K to 11 Girls
  • $24,460 to $27,610

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.

  • Day
  • Progressive
The Study 24460 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • St Catharines, Ontario
    Ontario St./Welland Ave.
  • NS to 12 Coed/Girls
  • $350 to $5,200

Heuristic & autodidactic, inspired by Sudbury & democratic models. Students are self-directed, holistically empowered. Voluntary attendance, year-round calendar, agency, & consent inspire free learning.

  • Day/eSchool/Boarding/Homestay
  • Progressive
Agate Private School 350 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day eSchool Boarding eSchool Homestay Coed Girls
  • Whitby, Ontario
    Garden Street/Hwy. 2
  • 4 to 12 Girls
  • $26,125 to $70,625

Trafalgar Castle offers a close-knit, academically challenging environment where girls feel a strong sense of belonging and discover their unique talents and interests.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Liberal Arts
Trafalgar Castle School 26125 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding 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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