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Hawthorn School:
The Our Kids Report > Academics
Grades Nursery/Toddler TO Gr. 12 — Toronto, ON (Map)

Hawthorn School:


Curriculum Liberal Arts

[Show definition of Curriculum]

Central to your child's school experience is the underlying curriculum taught in the classroom. "Curriculum" refers to both what is taught and how it's taught. When considering the different curricula outlined in the next few pages, keep in mind that few schools fall neatly into one category or another. Most schools' curricula comprise a blend of best practices drawn from multiple curriculum types. Having said that, most schools do have a general overall curriculum type. These are identified for each school on OurKids.net.

Curriculum approach at Hawthorn School: Liberal Arts

Hawthorn School has a Liberal Arts approach to Curriculum (as opposed to Traditional, Progressive, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf approach).

[Show: About Liberal Arts?]

Our Kids definition: Liberal Arts curricula share with traditional programs their emphasis on core knowledge-acquisition, but tend to borrow more best practices from the progressive approach. A Liberal Arts program might still feature group work and projects, for example, contrary to the more singular emphasis on tests and essays at a Traditional program.

Compare Hawthorn School's Curriculum with other schools on OurKids.net:
  Liberal arts - 13%
  Traditional - 41%
  Progressive - 34%
  Montessori - 11%
  Reggio Emilia - 0%
  Waldorf - 1%

What Hawthorn School says about their overall curriculum and approach:

In the Lower School students develop a love for learning, and build social skills and work habits in each area of a well-rounded academic program. In the early grades, the curriculum focuses on a systematic approach to cultivate phonetic, literacy and mathematics skills. Lower School students develop outstanding literacy and numeracy skills, generally testing about one year ahead of the Ministry of Education requirements. Hawthorn's Upper School delivers an ambitious liberal arts education, preparing the leaders of tomorrow for university, the workplace, family life and the world beyond. The requirements of the Ministry of Education for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma are surpassed through learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. Hawthorn's compulsory courses fine tune students' capacity for critical thinking, round out their cultural literacy, and serve to educate the whole person: body, mind and soul.


Focus Religious-based
Academic Christian (Roman Catholic)

If you want to learn more about faith-based education, check out our comprehensive guide.
Read our detailed guide to learn all about Christian education.
If you want to learn more about Catholic education, check out our comprehensive guide.

Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics

    Traditional Math

    Mathematics approach at Hawthorn School: Traditional Math

    Hawthorn School has a Traditional Math approach to Mathematics (as opposed to Discovery Math, Equal Balance approach).

    [Show: About Traditional Math?]

    Our Kids definition: Traditional Math typically teaches a method or algorithm FIRST, and THEN teaches the applications for the method. Traditional algorithms are emphasized and practiced regularly: repetition and drills are frequently used to ensure foundational mastery in the underlying mathematical procedures. The traditional approach to math views math education as akin to building a logical edifice: each brick depends on the support of the previously laid ones, which represent mastery over a particular procedure or method. Traditional Math begins by giving students a tool, and then challenges students to practice using that tool an applied way, with progressively challenging problems. In this sense Traditional Math aims to establish procedural understanding before conceptual and applied understanding.

    Compare Hawthorn School's Mathematics with other schools on OurKids.net:
      Traditional math - 26%
      Discovery math - 5%
      Equal balance - 69%

    What Hawthorn School says:

    The curriculum used at Hawthorn is the Saxon Math Program. This program has a unique pedagogy of systematic introduction of mathematical concepts by incremental development. This strategy introduces concepts in small, easily understandable pieces in lessons over the course of an academic year. These concepts are continually practiced and reviewed on a daily basis. Complementing the continual practice and review are the frequent cumulative assessments which enhance learning so that students can correct errors of understanding before those errors become ingrained. The Upper School curriculum follows the course objectives set out by the Ontario Ministry of Education.

    Textbooks and supplementary materials:


    Calculator policy:

    This information is not currently available.

  • Early Reading


    Early Reading approach at Hawthorn School: Phonics-intensive

    Hawthorn School has a Phonics-intensive approach to Early Reading (as opposed to Whole Language, Balanced Literacy approach).

    [Show: About Phonics-intensive?]

    Our Kids definition: Systematic-phonics programs teach young children to read by helping them to recognize and sound out the letters and syllables of words. Students are then led to blend these sounds together to sound out and recognize the whole word. While other reading programs might touch on phonetics (either incidentally or on a “when needed” basis), systematic phonics teaches phonics in a specific sequence, and uses extensive repetition and direct instruction to help readers associate specific letter patterns with their associated sounds.

    Compare Hawthorn School's Early Reading with other schools on OurKids.net:
      Phonics-intensive - 44%
      Whole language - 2%
      Balanced literacy - 54%

    What Hawthorn School says:

    The first level of the reading program, which consists of 160 lessons in total, is designed to set the stage for word reading. Students learn how to discriminate between sounds and take part in pre-reading exercises, which contain decoding, symbol identification, rhyming and comprehension activities. This allows the students to begin to read simple, regular words by sounding out each word and saying it quickly. The students are also taught to sequence and follow directions, and are guided in sharpening auditory skills. They learn the importance of forming strong work habits as well as working independently and neatly on corresponding take-home sheets. They are encouraged to develop their ability to pay attention and learn to participate as part of a group.

    DIBELS Testing: This school does not use DIBELS testing to assess reading progress.

    What Hawthorn School says:

    This information is not currently available.

  • Writing

    Equal balance

    Writing approach at Hawthorn School: Equal balance

    Hawthorn School has an Equal balance approach to Writing (as opposed to Systematic approach, Process approach approach).

    [Show: About Equal balance?]

    Our Kids definition: Programs that balance systematic and process approaches equally likely have an emphasis on giving young students ample opportunities to write, while providing supplementary class-wide instruction in grammar, parts of sentences, and various writing strategies.

    Compare Hawthorn School's Writing with other schools on OurKids.net:
      Equal balance - 80%
      Systematic approach - 9%
      Process approach - 11%

    What Hawthorn School says:

    The Hawthorn writing curriculum uses a blended structure and style program. Various writing structures are taught throughout the year. These structures are repeated in the grades. Elements of style are taught overlapping the various writing structures. Students progress through the stylistic techniques according to their ability and their mastery of the stylistic techniques.

  • Science


    Science approach at Hawthorn School: Inquiry

    Hawthorn School has an Inquiry approach to Science (as opposed to Expository, Equal Balance approach).

    [Show: About Inquiry?]

    Our Kids definition: Inquiry-based science emphasizes teaching science as a way of thinking or practice, and therefore tries to get students “doing” science as much as possible -- and not just “learning” it. Students still learn foundational scientific ideas and content (and build on this knowledge progressively); however, relative to expository science instruction, inquiry-based programs have students spend more time developing and executing their own experiments (empirical and theoretical). Students are frequently challenged to develop critical and scientific-thinking skills by developing their own well-reasoned hypothesis and finding ways to test those hypotheses. Projects and experiments are emphasized over textbook learning. Skills are emphasized over breadth of knowledge.

    Compare Hawthorn School's Science with other schools on OurKids.net:
      Inquiry - 26%
      Expository - 5%
      Equal balance - 69%

    Teaching approach:

    The Science curriculum at Hawthorn focuses on giving the students a love for and appreciation of the natural world. The study of the world through the scientific method allows the students to develop the intellectual processes necessary to understand the idea of objective truth. Students are encouraged in the development of scientific curiosity through an emphasis on hands-on activities and experiments. The knowledge gained through these lessons and investigations fosters the virtues of co-operation, of respect for others and materials, and responsibility towards our environment. These, in turn, promote a sense of global citizenship in our students. The development of independent intellectual inquiry is further enhanced through the Science Project during alternating years. The Science Project is an integral part of the science curriculum and grades 1 – 7 prepare science projects under the guidance of their science teacher as an enhanced learning experience.

    Treatment of evolution:

    Evolution as consensus theory
    Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
    Evolution is not taught

    Topics covered in curriculum:

  • Literature


    Literature approach at Hawthorn School: Traditional

    Hawthorn School has a Traditional approach to Literature (as opposed to Social Justice, Equal Balance approach).

    [Show: About Traditional?]

    Our Kids definition: In traditional literature programs students focus on decoding the mechanics of texts: plot, characterization, and themes. These texts tend to include a balance of contemporary and “classic” literature. When studying a past work, students investigate its historical context -- but only insofar as this adds understanding to the work itself. Past works are therefore studied “on their own terms”, and not merely as historical artifacts to be deconstructed: traditional literature programs are firmly rooted in the humanities, and carry the belief that great literature can reveal fundamental and universal truths about the human condition. These programs emphasize class discussions and critical essay writing, and aim to develop in students critical thinking, communication skills, and a cultivated taste and ethos.

    Compare Hawthorn School's Literature with other schools on OurKids.net:
      Traditional - 21%
      Social justice - 3%
      Equal balance - 76%

    What Hawthorn School says:

    The writing program follows the Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Blended Structure and Style Curriculum. This program guides students through different structural models of writing. Each month is spent on a different structure. This sequence of structures is repeated every year to help students develop excellent writing skills. Stylistic techniques are taught simultaneously in a personalized cumulative manner so that students can achieve a mastery of each technique. A beautiful aspect of this program is that grammar is taught implicitly within the stylistic techniques.

    Program covers:

    Canadian lit
    American lit
    European (continental) lit
    World (non-Western) lit
    English lit
    Ancient lit
  • Social Studies

    Core Knowledge

    Social Studies approach at Hawthorn School: Core Knowledge

    Hawthorn School has a Core Knowledge approach to Social Studies (as opposed to Expanding Communities, Thematic approach).

    [Show: About Core Knowledge?]

    Our Kids definition: Usually focused on teaching history and geography at an early age, the core knowledge approach uses story, drama, reading, and discussion to teach about significant people, places, and events. Breadth of content and knowledge is emphasized. The curriculum is often organized according to the underlying logic of the content: history might be taught sequentially, for example (as students move through the grades).

    Compare Hawthorn School's Social Studies with other schools on OurKids.net:
      Core knowledge - 38%
      Expanding communities - 30%
      Thematic - 32%

    What Hawthorn School says:

    The Social Studies program is an essential component of the development of cultural literacy. The curriculum focuses on developing an understanding of western culture and history as well as a more particular knowledge of Canadian history. Students examine western culture from its’ roots in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome through Medieval times to present day Canadian society. Canadian history is emphasized in order to give an intellectual basis for each student’s patriotism. As well, the novel study in the English curriculum and studio projects in the Art curriculum are linked to the periods studied in order to give the students a breadth of cultural exposure.

  • Humanities and Social Sciences


    Humanities and Social Sciences approach at Hawthorn School: Perennialism

    Hawthorn School has a Perennialism approach to Humanities and Social Sciences (as opposed to Pragmatism, Equal Balance approach).

    [Show: About Perennialism?]

    Our Kids definition: Perennialism in the humanities and social sciences emphasizes the idea of education being a kind of “conversation” between generations, and so frequently turns to “Great Works” and “Big Ideas” for teaching-content. Perennialist programs approach past works on their own terms; as if they might actually help students understand “today” better. Past works are not viewed as mere historical artifacts, but as gateways to a deeper understanding of the human condition. History (and, by extension, the humanities in general) therefore plays a large role in perennialist curriculums, though social sciences like economics, psychology, and sociology can still be taught. There is a strong Liberal Arts bent to perennialist programs. The key goals are to develop critical thinking, a strong foundation of core knowledge (or “cultural literacy”), and persuasion skills through informed debate and extensive practice in essay writing.

    Compare Hawthorn School's Humanities and Social Sciences with other schools on OurKids.net:
      Perennialism - 7%
      Pragmatism - 11%
      Equal balance - 82%

    What Hawthorn School says:

    Students discover the truth about the human person and the human experience through their education in the humanities. Integration with the other disciplines and subject areas (classics, mathematics, sciences, arts, health and physical education) completed the context in which critical thinking and cultural literacy are achieved.

  • Foreign Languages

    Equal Balance

    Foreign Languages approach at Hawthorn School: Equal Balance

    Hawthorn School has an Equal Balance approach to Foreign Languages (as opposed to Audio-Lingual, Communicative approach).

    [Show: About Equal Balance?]

    Our Kids definition: These programs feature an equal blend of the audio-lingual and communicative styles of language instruction.

    Compare Hawthorn School's Foreign Languages with other schools on OurKids.net:
      Equal balance - 65%
      Audio-lingual - 2%
      Communicative - 33%

    What Hawthorn School says:

    The French curriculum is a comprehensive and seamless program that builds on communication skills throughout the Lower School. Second-language learning strengthens students’ ability to communicate, enhances problem-solving and reasoning skills and increases the capacity for creative thinking. Learning a second language not only strengthens students' ability to communicate, but also develops their capacity to understand and respect other cultures. At the end of the Lower School students should have a solid base to achieve fluency through the Upper School curriculum.

    Language instruction offered in:

  • Fine Arts

    Equal Balance

    Fine Arts approach at Hawthorn School: Equal Balance

    Hawthorn School has an Equal Balance approach to Fine Arts (as opposed to Receptive, Creative approach).

    [Show: About Equal Balance?]

    Our Kids definition: These programs have an equal emphasis on receptive and creative learning.

    Compare Hawthorn School's Fine Arts with other schools on OurKids.net:
      Equal balance - 66%
      Receptive - 1%
      Creative - 33%

    Program offers:

    Graphic Design
    Visual Arts

    Visual studio philosophy:


    What Hawthorn School says:

    The art curriculum is designed to facilitate an appreciation for art through the study of art history, various artistic techniques and mediums. The curriculum encourages self-expression through the creation of two and three dimensional art projects. The visual arts include the traditional fine arts of drawing, painting, sculpting, printmaking, architecture, and photography, as well as crafts. The curriculum is intended to help students develop their creativity, and technical abilities as well as the ability to communicate with other people through visual images. In learning to express themselves in visual ways, students will sharpen their powers of observation. In developing the ability to analyze and describe works of art from various historical periods and in different styles, they will also learn to understand and appreciate a wide variety of art works. Studio projects that link the social studies curriculum to the art program will be used to enhance cultural literacy.

  • Computers and Technology

    Light integration

    Computers and Technology approach at Hawthorn School: Light integration

    Hawthorn School has a Light integration approach to Computers and Technology (as opposed to Heavy integration, Medium integration approach).

    [Show: About Light integration?]

    Our Kids definition: Computers are used in the classroom from time to time, but integrating technology into everything students do is not a dominant focus. Digital literacy is understood to be a legitimate skill in the 21st century, but not one that should distract from teaching the subject at hand, or more fundamental skills and literacies. The idea is today’s students, being “digital natives”, are likely exposed to computers and new media enough outside the classroom: the role of the school, rather, should be to develop competencies that may otherwise get missed.

    Compare Hawthorn School's Computers and Technology with other schools on OurKids.net:
      Light integration - 18%
      Heavy integration - 29%
      Medium integration - 53%

    What Hawthorn School says:

    Hawthorn recognizes the importance of information literacy, media literacy, and information and communication technology literacy as critical 21st century skills. In order to support information literacy in both the Lower School and Upper School, students are taught through the curricula and through specifically designed workshops how to access information efficiently and effectively, evaluate information critically and competently, and use information accurately and creatively. In support of media literacy, students are taught to analyze media (social sciences) and create media products (data management, visual arts, yearbook, and others). To help students achieve information and communication technology literacy the computer lab. is used to teach students to apply technology effectively.

    Program covers:

    Computer science
    Web design
  • Physical Education

    What Hawthorn School says:

    Hawthorn's approach to physical education emphasizes regular participation in a variety of enjoyable physical activities that promote lifelong healthy active living. Students will learn movement skills and principles, ways to improve personal fitness and physical competence, and safety and injury prevention. Healthy Living—students will relate healthy eating practices and active living to body image and self esteem, and outline a variety of issues related to health and wellness. They will investigate issues related to the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, and will participate in activities designed to develop goal-setting, communication, and social skills. Fundamental Movement Skills—students will combine a variety of movement skills in participating in physical activities: locomotion, manipulation and stability, and demonstrate the principles of movement while refining skills Active Participation—students will participate on a regular basis in physical activities that maintain or improve physical fitness

  • Advanced Placement courses

    This information is not currently available.
  • Sex and health education

    What Hawthorn School says:

    Hawthorn is founded on the principle that parents are the primary educators of their children. In the Lower School issues relating directly to sexuality are addressed in partnership with parents. In the Upper School, topics relating to sexuality and sexual morality and ethics are discussed in relevant courses (Science, Biology, Moral Theology, Philosophy). Everything that the school teaches in regards to sexual morality is firmly grounded in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Preschool/K Curriculum Academic

[Show definition of Preschool/K Curriculum]

Preschools and kindergartens tend to have a particular curriculum or curricular approach. This refers to what is taught and how it's taught. Most preschools have a curriculum that comprises a blend of best practices drawn from multiple curriculum types. A preschool's curriculum may or may not, though, reflect its higher-level curriculum (if it's part of a school with elementary or secondary programs)

Preschool/K Curriculum approach at Hawthorn School: Academic

Hawthorn School has an Academic approach to Preschool/K Curriculum (as opposed to Play-based, Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia approach).

[Show: About Academic?]

Our Kids definition: Academic-based preschools and Kindergartens are the most structured of the different types, and have a strong emphasis on math and reading readiness skills. These programs aim to expose children to what early-elementary school is like. While time is still allotted to free play, much of the day is built around explicit lessons guided by the teacher. Classrooms often resemble play-based ones (with different stations set up around the room), but at an Academic program the teacher leads students through the stations directly, and ties these activities to a whole-class lesson or theme.

Compare Hawthorn School's Preschool/K Curriculum with other schools on OurKids.net:
  Academic - 42%
  Play-based - 23%
  Montessori - 26%
  Waldorf - 2%
  Reggio emilia - 7%

What Hawthorn School says about their preschool/K curriculum approach:

Students are exposed to a wide variety of subjects and their natural curiosity is encouraged to help them gain knowledge of the world. The core subjects of mathematics and language are carefully structured to help young students develop their ability to think logically. A well-rounded education is provided through the other specialty subjects, including French, art, music, physical education and science. Students learn sound study skills and work habits in each area.

Language bilingual / dual-immersion

Learn about Hawthorn School's languages of instruction and enrolment.

Hawthorn School is a bilingual / dual-immersion school with English, French as the primary language of instruction

English - 60% French - 40%

Language of enrolment include: English

Curriculum Pace Accelerated

[Show definition of Curriculum Pace]

This refers to the rate at which students move through the curriculum (e.g., topics, textbook material, skills, etc.). Curriculum pace is often defined in comparison to provincial standards.

Curriculum Pace approach at Hawthorn School: Accelerated

Hawthorn School has an Accelerated approach to Curriculum Pace (as opposed to Standard-enriched, Student-paced approach).

[Show: About Accelerated?]

Our Kids definition: The main curriculum accelerates beyond the pace of the provincial one; ALL students do the work of OLDER public-school peers in tangible and measurable ways. This accelerated pace is maintained by the teachers and school, (through textbook selection, topic selection, grading, assignment standards and expectations, etc).

Compare Hawthorn School's Curriculum Pace with other schools on OurKids.net:
  Accelerated - 18%
  Standard-enriched - 57%
  Student-paced - 25%

What Hawthorn School says about their curriculum pace:

Many of our programs are one year ahead of the equivalent public school grade level. Each component of the curriculum is enhanced through various co-curricular activities.

Flexible pacing style

Type Offered
Subject-streaming (tracking)
Multi-age classrooms as standard
Ability-grouping (in-class) as common
Frequent use of cyber-learning (at-their-own-pace)
Regular guided independent study opportunities
Differentiated assessment

What Hawthorn School says about their flexible pacing:

This information is not currently available.

Academic Culture Rigorous

[Show definition of Academic Culture]

Through the collective mindset of teachers, administrators, students, and parents, each school develops and maintains its own academic culture. This generally relates to the norms and expectations created around academic performance. Many parents look to private schools because they want a specific type of culture. Some want a rigorous environment that will elevate their child to new heights. Others want a nurturing environment that will help their child develop a passion for learning.

Academic Culture approach at Hawthorn School: Rigorous

Hawthorn School has a Rigorous approach to Academic Culture (as opposed to Supportive approach).

[Show: About Rigorous?]

Our Kids definition: A school with a “rigorous” academic culture places a high value on academic performance, and expects their students to do the same. This does not mean the school is uncaring, unsupportive, or non-responsive -- far from it. A school can have a rigorous academic culture and still provide excellent individual support. It does mean, however, the school places a particular emphasis on performance -- seeking the best students and challenging them to the fullest extent -- relative to a normal baseline. High expectations and standards – and a challenging yet rewarding curriculum – are the common themes here. Keep in mind this classification is more relevant for the older grades: few Kindergarten classrooms, for example, would be called “rigorous”.

Compare Hawthorn School's Academic Culture with other schools on OurKids.net:
  Rigorous - 49%
  Supportive - 51%

What Hawthorn School says about their academic culture:

Hawthorn School for Girls has a two-fold goal: academic excellence and character education. In order to help the students develop strength of character, it is important that they be well informed of their responsibilities, both academic and personal, within the school community.

Developmental priorities Balanced

[Show definition of Developmental priorities]

Schools have specific goals regarding how they want their educate and develop their students. This is part of a school's overall philosophy or vision, which is contained in its mission statement. While they tend have several developmental aims, schools tend to priortize certain aims, such as intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, or physical development.

Primary Developmental Priority: Balanced

Equal emphasis is placed on a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social and physical cultivation.

Secondary Developmental Priority: Intellectual

The goal is to cultivate "academically strong, creative and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions."

What Hawthorn School says about their developmental priorities:

Hawthorn educates its students in academic excellence and character formation by providing the necessary means to grow in knowledge, virtue and responsibility. Freedom and responsibility require an informed intellect, a strong will, and emotional tranquility. The school integrates all aspects of formation - intellectual, spiritual, human, and social - within a liberal arts education. Our formal educational goal describes this as an integral education, and places special emphasis on the development of natural virtues.

Special needs support

[Show definition of Special needs support]

Schools offer a wide range of approaches and services to support students with special needs. This may include individualized learning, one-on-one support, small classes, resource rooms, and learning aids. These supports may be provided in a number of different environments such as a dedicated special needs school or class, an integrated class, a withdrawal class, or a regular class with resource support or in-class adaptations.

A - Forms of Support
B - Environments
Indirect Support:
Resource Assistance:
Withdrawal Assistance:
Partial Integration:
Full-Time Class:

Special NeedNeed
Forms of SupportA
  • Learning disabilities
    Dyslexia (Language-Based Learning Disability)
    This is a learning disability that can limit a child's ability to read and learn. It can have a variety of traits. A few of the main ones are impaired phonological awareness and decoding, problems with orthographic coding, and auditory short-term memory impairment.
    Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
    This is a sound differentiation disorder involving problems with reading, comprehension, and language.
    This is a kind of specific learning disability in math. Kids with this math disorder have problems with calculation. They may also have problems with math-related concepts such as time and money.
    This is a kind of specific learning disability in writing. It involves problems with handwriting, spelling, and organizing ideas.
    Language Processing Disorder
    This is characterized by having extreme difficulty understanding what is heard and expressing what one wants to say. These disorders affect the area of the brain that controls language processing.
    Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)
    These involve difficulties interpreting non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language. They're usually characterized by a significant discrepancy between higher verbal skills and weaker motor, visual-spatial, and social skills.
    Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
    A characteristic seen in people with learning disabilities such as Dysgraphia or Non-verbal LD. It can result in missing subtle differences in shapes or printed letters, losing place frequently, struggles with cutting, holding pencil too tightly, or poor eye/hand coordination.
  • Developmental
    Refers to a range of conditions that involve challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, and speech and nonverbal communication. They also involve unique strengths and differences. For instance, there are persons with both low- and high-functioning autism (some claim the latter is identical to Asperger's syndrome).
    Asperger's Syndrome
    On the autism spectrum, Asperger's is considered quite mild in terms of symptoms. While traits can vary widely, many kids with Asperger's struggle with social skills. They also sometimes fixate on certain subjects and engage in repetitive behaviour.
    Down syndrome
    his is associated with impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth, and a particular set of facial characteristics.
    Intellectual disability
    This is a condition characterized by significant limitations in intellectual functioning (e.g., reasoning, learning, and problem solving). Intellectual disabilities are also known as general learning disabilities (and used to be referred to as a kind of mental retardation).
    Williams syndrome
    This is a rare genetic disorder present at birth. It is characterized by intellectual disabilities or learning problems, unique facial features, and cardiovascular problems.
    Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
    Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term used to describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy. These may include growth deficits, facial anomalies, and damage to the central nervous system, which can lead to cognitive, behavioural, and other problems.
  • Behavioral and Emotional
    Troubled behaviour / troubled teens
    roubled teens tend to have problems that are intense, persistent, and can lead to quite unpredictable behaviour. This can lead to behavioural and emotional issues, such as drug and alcohol abuse, criminal behaviour, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.
    Clinical Depression
    This is a mental health disorder also called "major depression." It involves persistent feelings of sadness, loss, and anger. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms are usually severe enough to cause noticeable problems in relationships with others or in daily activities, such as school, work, or one's social life.
    Clinical anxiety
    This is a mood disorder involving intense, relentless feelings of distress and fear. They can also have excessive and persistent worry about everyday situations, and repeated episodes of intense anxiety or terror.
    Suicidal thoughts
    This involves persistent thoughts about ending one's life.
    Drug and alcohol abuse
    This involves the excessive use of drug and/or alcohol, which interferes with daily functioning.
    Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
    This is a disruptive behavioural disorder which normally involves angry outbursts, often directed at people of authority. This behaviour must last continuously for six months or more and significantly interfere with daily functioning.
  • Physical
    Multiple sclerosis
    This is a condition of the central nervous system. It affects the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. Symptoms can include fatigue, loss of motor control, memory loss, depression, and cognitive difficulties.
    Cerebral palsy
    his refers to a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. CP is caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture.
    Muscular dystrophy
    Muscular dystrophy is a neuromuscular disorder which weakens the body's muscles. Causes, symptoms, age of onset, and prognosis vary between individuals.
    Spina Bifida
    This is a condition present at birth due to the incomplete formation of the spine and spinal cord. It can lead to a number of physical challenges, including paralysis or weakness in the legs, bowel and bladder incontinence, hydrocephalus (too much fluid in the brain), and deformities of the spine.
    Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
    This is a Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Also known as "sensory integration disorder," it affects fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. It may also affect speech.
    Visual impairment is a decreased ability or inability to see that can't be fixed in usual ways, such as with glasses. Some people are completely blind, while others have what's called "legal blindness."
    Hearing impairment, also known as "hearing loss," is a partial or total inability to hear. The degree of hearing impairment varies between people. It can range from complete hearing loss (or deafness) to partial hearing loss (meaning the ears can pick up some sounds).
    Cystic Fibrosis
    Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited genetic condition, which affects the body's respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. It affects young children and adults.
    Multiple physical
    Accommodating a wide range of physical conditions and disabilities.

Read our guide to special needs schools and special education

Academic support

Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties

Mild but clinically diagnosed learning disabilities

Extra support

What Hawthorn School says:

Mild learning difficulties are typically accommodated. If a difficulty is such that school staff are not qualified to provide the appropriate support, parents are informed and the school works together with them to take the appropriate steps which may include to find a school which is a more appropriate fit.

Additional support

Social skills programs
Occupational therapy
Speech-language therapy

Gifted learner support In-class adaptations

[Show definition of Gifted learner support]

Schools support students with gifted or advanced learning abilities in a several ways. Whether they offer a full-time gifted program or part-time support, they normally provide some form of accelerated learning (delivering content at a faster pace) or enrichment (covering content more broadly or deeply). Many schools also offer a wide range of in-class adaptations to support advanced learners, such as guided independent studies, project-based learning, and career exploration.

Curriculum Delivery: This information is not currently available.

Class structure

Program Offered
Full-time gifted program (parallel to rest of school)
Part-time gifted program (pull-out; parallel to rest of class)

In-class adaptations

Program Offered
Custom subject enrichment (special arrangement)
Custom curriculum compacting (special arrangement)
Guided independent study (custom gifted arrangement)
Cyber-learning opportunities (custom gifted arrangement)
Formalized peer coaching opportunities (specifically for gifted learners to coach others)
Custom subject acceleration (special arrangement)
Career exploration (custom gifted arrangement)
Project-based learning (custom gifted arrangement)
Mentorships (custom gifted arrangement)

What Hawthorn School says about their gifted learner support:

This information is not currently available.

Homework Policy

[Show definition of Homework Policy]

Homework is work that's assigned to students for completion outside of regular class time. There's a long-standing debate over homework. Should homework be assigned to school-age children? If so, in what grades? And how much homework should be assigned? In selecting the right school for your child, it's important to look closely at a school's homework policy.

Nightly homework

In grade Gr. 12, Hawthorn School students perform an average of 2 hours of homework per night.

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What Hawthorn School says about their flipped classroom policy:

This information is not currently available.

Report Card Policy

[Show definition of Report Card Policy]

While all schools measure individual progress and achievement in students, they have different ways of doing this. For instance, many traditional schools gauge progress through report cards, which give students lettered or numbered grades. Other schools, meanwhile, measure progress in other ways, either in addition to or instead of giving grades. For instance, they may offer prose-based feedback (i.e, comments), academic achievement reporting, habits and behaviour reporting, and parent-teacher meetings. In choosing the right school for your child, take a close look at its policy for measuring the individual progress of students.

How assessments are delivered across the grades

Lettered or numbered gradesNursery/Toddler to Gr. 12
Prose (narrative)-based feedbackNursery/Toddler to Gr. 12
Parent-teacher meetingsNursery/Toddler to Gr. 12

Extracurricular Activities

While academics remain the priority for most private schools, many also place a strong focus on a well-rounded education and encourage participation in extracurricular activities such as sports, music, arts, or clubs. Involvement in extracurriculars helps stimulate students in their studies, makes them more motivated to learn, and can make school more enjoyable and fulfilling. Extracurricular activities can also provide students with a much-needed break from the stresses of academics, while helping them to develop skills and allowing them to take part in valuable social situations.

Sports offered

Hawthorn School offers 7 competitive sports and 6 recreational sports.

  Competitive offered          Recreational offered
all sports]
  • Archery
  • Curling
  • Ultimate
  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Canoeing/Kayaking
  • Cricket
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Cycling
  • Downhill skiing
  • Equestrian
  • Fencing
  • Field Hockey
  • Figure Skating
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Ice Hockey
  • Ice Skating
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial Arts
  • Mountain biking
  • Racquet Ball
  • Rowing
  • Rugby
  • Running
  • Sailing
  • Skateboarding
  • Snowboarding
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Squash
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling

Clubs offered

Hawthorn School offers 19 clubs and extracurricular programs.

  Clubs offered           Clubs not offered
all clubs and programs]
  Foreign Language Club
  Habitat for Humanity
  Jazz Ensemble
  Math Club
  Musical theatre/Opera
  Ballet and Classical Ballet
  Online Magazine
  Outdoor Club
  Outdoor Education
  Poetry/Literature club
  Radio club
  Robotics club
  Round Square
  School newspaper
  Science Club
  Student Council
  Art Club
  Astronomy Club
  Audiovisual Club
  Chess Club
  Community Service
  Computer Club
  Dance Club
  Debate Club
  Drama Club
  Environmental Club

What Hawthorn School says about their extracurricular activities:

  • Educating the whole person is part of Hawthorn’s philosophy of education. Extra-curricular sports provide opportunities for students to develop their physical capacities, as well as providing balance to the rigor of academics and an arena for character development. School teams compete in the Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association (CISAA) and comply with the CISAA Constitution and Sport Guidelines. Objectives of Hawthorn’s Extra-curricular sports program are: •to acknowledge the importance of participation in extra-curricular sports as part of the development of the whole person and to provide students with the opportunity to experience this participation. •to provide opportunities for partcipants and spectators to develop in character through good sportsmanship and through school spirit. •to provide a program where students may develop their knowledge and understanding of a sport, improve their technical skills and pursue excellence in that area while maintaining an acceptable standard in other important areas of life.
  • Extracurricular opportunities complement and enhance the academic program and are essential to student success. As a school we have deliberately integrated a host of activities into our daily school experience for decades, knowing that merging these so-called “extra” activities into your educational experience is actually essential to a well-rounded education, character development, leadership and the ability to team effectively with others. The school encourages students in creating new extracurricular activities, fostering a spirit of initiative and responsibility. This year for instance as a result of students and parents interest we are offering, hip hop, piano, Quatum Kidz Lego, Thinnox - Robotics Engineering, Spanish and Instrumental Music.

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