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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


List of all-girls' schools

 
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  • Toronto, Ontario
    Spadina/St Clair Ave W
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $32,860 to $62,250

Located in Toronto, The Bishop Strachan School is Canada's oldest independent JK to Grade 12 day and boarding school for girls, welcoming students from Toronto and around the world.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Progressive
The Bishop Strachan School 32860 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    York Mills/Leslie
  • NS to 12 Coed/Girls
  • $14,500 to $36,500

Hawthorn School is an all-girls school in Toronto that offers programs from toddler to grade 12. Our unique mentoring program is tailored to each girl to help them reach their full potential.

  • Day/Homestay
  • Liberal Arts
Hawthorn School 14500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Homestay Day Coed Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bloor Street East/Mount Pleasant Road
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $33,630 to $66,805

Branksome Hall is Toronto’s only all-girls, all-years International Baccalaureate (IB) World School.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Branksome Hall 33630 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Buena Vista Road/Springfield Road
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $13,960 to $26,960

Elmwood School is Ottawa's pre-eminent school for girls from JK to Grade 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 13960 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Oakville, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $18,000 to $28,430

Oakville's SMLS continues to be a premier independent school for girls Preschool to Graduating Year 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 18000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Lawrence Avenue West/Avenue Road
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $33,850 to $61,900

Havergal College is an all-girls school in Toronto for students in JK to Grade 12. Preparing Young Women to Make a Difference Since 1894.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
Havergal College 33850 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge/St. Clair
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $16,800 to $22,600

The Linden School provides a challenging academic program for girls from JK - Grade 12. We create opportunities to discover the joys of learning and foster the development of critical thinking and physical well-being.

  • Day
  • Progressive
The Linden School 16800 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • London, Ontario
    Richmond Street/King Street
  • 9 to 12 Boys/Girls/Coed
  • $11,000 to $41,900

A Canadian Private Secondary Co-ed Boarding school, located in downtown London, Ontario. LIA offers academic courses from Grades 9-12 and is authorized to grant the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

  • Boarding/Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
London International Academy 11000 HighSchools Boarding Boarding Day Boys Girls Coed
  • Victoria, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $14,180 to $65,490

St. Margaret's School (est. 1908) is an independent school in Victoria, BC, offering empowering education for girls from JK to Grade 12. At SMS, girls don't just get equal opportunity; they get every opportunity.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Traditional
St. Margaret's School 14180 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Mississauga Rd/Dundas St W
  • 5 to 12 Girls
  • $17,950

Holy Name of Mary College School in Mississauga, is an independent Catholic school for girls in grades 5-12 offering an enriched university preparatory programme. The average class size is 12 students.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Holy Name of Mary College School 17950 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Iris St/Woodroffe Ave
  • JK to 8 Girls
  • $15,750

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
Joan of Arc Academy / Academie Jeanne d'Arc 15750 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Girls

The Study  

  • Westmount, Quebec
    The Boulevard/Place Breaside
  • K to 11 Girls
  • $19,230 to $21,655

The Study, founded in 1915, is one of Canada's premier all-girls' school. 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 19230 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $22,900

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 22900 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge St./Eglinton Ave.
  • 1 to 12 Girls
  • $30,750

St. Clement's School develops outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous, and compassionate.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
St. Clement's School 30750 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Whitby, Ontario
    Garden Street/Hwy. 2
  • 4 to 12 Girls
  • $23,450 to $62,490

Located in Whitby, Trafalgar Castle School is an all-girls day and boarding school inspiring students in Grades 4-12. For nearly 150 years, Trafalgar Castle girls have become women of impact.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Liberal Arts
Trafalgar Castle School 23450 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls
  • Montreal, Quebec
    Atwater/Docteur-Penfield
  • 7 to 12 Girls
  • $16,850 to $55,271

Since 1861, The Sacred Heart School of Montreal, the city’s only all girls English Catholic high school, has been graduating exceptional leaders. Grade 12 will be offered beginning in 2019-2020.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Traditional
The Sacred Heart School of Montreal 16850 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Boarding Girls
  • Westmount, Quebec
    Mount Pleasant Avenue/Cedar Avenue
  • K to 11 Girls
  • $18,763 to $21,417

Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School is a Tier 1 school for girls in Kindergarten through Grade 11, located in Westmount, Quebec. For every girl who has a mind of her own, we have a school to nurture it.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School 18763 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Montreal, Quebec
    chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine/Avenue Claude Champagne
  • 7 to 11 Girls
  • $4,950 to $15,400

École secondaire francophone privée pour jeunes filles située à Outremont, Qc. Les frais de scolarité sont de 4 500 $ par année. Elle offre les profils Éducation internationale, Danse-études et Musique-études.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie 4950 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding 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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