For over 40 years, Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School and Maplewood Alternative High School have helped kids build skills and develop tools to be successful throughout their lives. We empower students by unlocking and removing obstacles to learning so that each child can experience personal growth and academic achievement. Our school specializes in educating and growing the confidence of students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities in Grades K - 12 and our approach is designed to develop the whole child.
Daily 1:1 tutoring with Orton-Gillingham Specialists from kindergarten to grade 8
Multimodal approach to learning and instruction across kindergarten to grade 12
Co-taught elementary classrooms with a teacher-student ration of 2:18
Small group instruction for elementary core academics: reading, writing and math
Classroom Teachers as IEP Case-managers in elementary to grade 9
School Counsellors teach Social Emotional Learning curriculum: kindergarten to grade 12
Dogwood Diploma as primary focus for high school completion
When Anne Rushforth’s son, Kenneth Gordon, was in grade 5, she overheard his teacher introducing him to another parent as "one of her slow students.” Rushforth bristled, knowing that “he just needed a school to teach him in the way that he learned.” She said, “I decided that there needs to be a school for these children, where they’re understood.” So, in 1973, she built it, naming it after her son, and parents have been thankful to her ever since. She had been a tutor, and noted that, in that setting, often struggling students bloomed. Rushforth then applied the tutorial model to the entire breadth of the curriculum. It included multi-sensory instruction, later the Orton-Gillingham approach, and as digital tools became available, it used those, too. Students would arrive with a poor self concept, having struggled in other settings, and proceed to grow into a new sense of themselves and their capabilities. That’s what the school continues to offer today.
The Our Kids Review
This 50-page review of Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School, published as a book and available to read in full, here on OurKids.net, is part of our series of in-depth accounts of Canada's leading private schools. Insights were gardnered by visiting the school and interviewing students, parents, faculty, and administrators.
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 KGMS: Traditional
KGMS has a Traditional approach to Curriculum (as opposed to Liberal Arts, Progressive, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf approach).
[Show: About Traditional?]
Traditional curricula tend to be very content-based and rooted in the core disciplines. It is a structured approach that involves the teacher delivering a unified curriculum through direct instruction. Students usually learn by observing and listening to their teacher, studying facts and concepts in textbooks, and completing both tests and written assignments - which challenge students to not only demonstrate their mastery of content but their ability to analyze and deconstruct it critically. Class discussions are also used to create critical dialogue around the content of the curriculum.
Curriculum at schools on OurKids.net
Traditional - 44%   Liberal arts - 17%   Progressive - 27%   Montessori - 10%   Reggio Emilia - 1%   Waldorf - 1%
What KGMS says: KGMS/Maplewood is a student-centred supportive environment designed to help students with learning challenges maximize their potential as learners. The school follows the required BC curriculum but makes adaptations to the teaching and learning process to enable our students to master the required content and skills to be successful in their chosen post-secondary path. KGMS/Maplewood uses a combination of small group and one on one instruction along with an extensive use of assistive technology to create a climate of success for all students.
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.
Mathematics at schools on OurKids.net
Traditional math - 29%   Discovery math - 3%   Equal balance - 68%
What KGMS says: This information is not currently available.
Textbooks and supplementary materials: This information is not currently available.
Calculator policy: This information is not currently available.
Sex and health education approach at KGMS: British Columbia curriculum
KGMS has a British Columbia curriculum approach to Sex and health education (as opposed to Does not follow prrovincialcurriculum approach).
[Show: About British Columbia curriculum?]
The structure, pacing, focus, and tone of the sex education curriculum reflects that of the provincial one, taught in public schools.
Sex and health education at schools on OurKids.net
Follows provincial curriculum - 55%   Does not follow prrovincial curriculum - 45%
Approach to sex and health education:
KGMS has a approach Mostly value-neutral (as opposed to Fairly value-based approach).
[Show: About Mostly value-neutral?]
By and large, students are taught about sex free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. The school doesn't impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on students when teaching sex and related issues.
KGMS's approach to sex-ed: This information is not currently available.
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 KGMS: Play-based
KGMS has a Play-based approach to Preschool/K Curriculum (as opposed to Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, Academic approach).
[Show: About Play-based?]
Play-based programs are the most common type of preschool and Kindergarten, and are founded on the belief young children learn best through play. Largely open-ended and minimally structured, play-based programs aim to develop social skills and a love of attending school. “Pre-academic” skills are taught, but in a more indirect way than at, say, an Academic program: through children playing in different “stations” set up around the classroom, which children choose on their own volition. Stations often contain an indirect lesson or developmental goal. Play-based classrooms are highly social and active.
What KGMS says: Our transitions programme (Kindergarten and Grade 1) focuses on early literacy and school readiness skills. Within a small group environment our teaching teams individualize learning for each student.
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 KGMS: Student-paced
KGMS has a Student-paced approach to Curriculum Pace (as opposed to Standard-enriched, Accelerated approach).
[Show: About Student-paced?]
The main curriculum pace is non-standardized and is HIGHLY responsive to the pacing of individual students, (via differentiated instruction, differentiated assessment, etc). In theory, some students outpace the default/normalized curriculum, while others spend periods "behind schedule" if they need the extra time.
What KGMS says: Each student is on an individual education plan which articulates their needs, individual supports and goals, and maps out their path to graduation. Students have access to universal and essential supports throughout their program with a school-wide focus on multimodal learning and small group instruction.
Flexible pacing style
Flexible pacing style
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
What KGMS says about flexible pacing: This information is not currently available.
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 KGMS: Supportive
KGMS has a Supportive approach to Academic Culture (as opposed to Rigorous approach).
[Show: About Supportive?]
A school with a “supportive” academic culture focuses more on process than short-term outcomes: academic performance is a welcomed side-benefit, but not the driving focus. This does not mean the school lacks standards, or has low expectations for its students: a school can have a supportive academic culture and still light the fire of ambition in its students. It does mean, however, the school provides a less intensive culture than schools with a “rigorous” academic classification, and is focused more simply on instilling a love of learning and life-long curiosity.
Academic Culture at schools on OurKids.net
Supportive - 49%   Rigorous - 51%
What KGMS says: Our students work in a dynamic classroom setting that includes whole class, small group and one-on-one tutoring. Ministry of Education prescribed curriculum is addressed in all instructional areas from Kindergarten to grade 12.
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: Intellectual
The goal is to cultivate "academically strong, creative and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions."
Secondary Developmental Priority: Emotional
The goal is to cultivate "emotionally intelligent and con?dent individuals, capable of leading both themselves and others."
What KGMS says: Our students grow intellectually through our comprehensive programming in humanities and sciences. In language arts our students, through guided reading and writing strategies, learn to connect with the world through texts, to analyze, evaluate, synthesize ideas and draw conclusions. In mathematics and science, our students learn through problem solving to understand concepts and to become critical and divergent thinkers. Creativity grows as our staff guide students to investigate and explore the world around us.
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.
KGMS is a Special needs school
Full-time programming is offered for all students which is exclusively focused on one or more special needs.
What KGMS says about their special need support: With this multi-sensory method, students engage themselves as visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. The learning sequence is systematic and takes the student step by step from basic concepts that progress to more complex language developments. Through recognizing phonemes and their sounds, students learn to transfer this knowledge to reading and writing activities.
Students internalize their learning and gain confidence in themselves as being capable learners. Students learn at their own pace and benefit from the frequent review and practice that is required. They build the confidence that will enable them to attempt a challenge and reach for higher heights as a learner.
Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD:
Summary: At KGMS, we teach the way your child learns. We believe that every child is unique, and rather than requiring him or her to fit within a rigid, pre-determined program we create a learning environment that’s adaptive, producing the best possible circumstances for success.
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.
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).
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.
his is associated with impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth, and a particular set of facial characteristics.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is a neuromuscular disorder which weakens the body's muscles. Causes, symptoms, age of onset, and prognosis vary between individuals.
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 (CF) is an inherited genetic condition, which affects the body's respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. It affects young children and adults.
Accommodating a wide range of physical conditions and disabilities.
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.
Dedicated gifted programs:
Full-time gifted program (parallel to rest of school)
Part-time gifted program (pull-out; parallel to rest of class)
Curriculum delivery: Enrichment (The main focus is on enrichment. This means that while students may work at a marginally quicker pace than public school peers, the primary aim is to study subject in broader and deeper ways.)
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.
In grade Gr. 7, KGMS students perform an average of No homework of homework per night.
What KGMS says about their flipped classroom policy: This information is not currently available.
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.
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.
Competitive sports: 1 Recreational sports: 2
Legend: Competitive offered Recreational offered
Track & Field
Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School offers 7 clubs and extracurricular programs.
This can depend on a number of factors, including the type of school, living arrangements, what’s included in tuition, school location, resources, and facilities. Many private schools in Canada have tuition that ranges between $6,000 and $12,000 a year. While some schools, such as schools which provide room and board, can be more expensive, many of these schools provide ways to defray the costs of tuition. For instance, they may offer merit-based scholarships or needs-based financial aid (often referred to as “bursaries” or “subsidies”).
What KGMS says about their tuition: For further tuition information, please access the following links:
For Elementary: https://kgms.kgms.ca/admissions/
For High School: https://maplewoodhigh.ca/admissions/
Need-based financial aid
Grade range that need-based aid is offered:
Percentage of grade-eligible students receiving financial aid
Average aid package size
Percentage of total enrolment on financial aid
Total aid available
Merit based Scholarships
Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School does not offer merit-based financial awards.
Private schools come in all shapes and sizes. Some larger schools have enrolment numbers in the thousands, while some smaller schools have only a few dozen students. Boarding schools tend to be on the larger side, while alternative schools, such as Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and Waldorf, are normally smaller. Besides the overall size of school, there are other important facts you’ll want to know about a school’s enrolment. For instance, here you can learn about a school’s enrolment for separate streams (if they have them), such as day and boarding, its average class size, and its average enrolment per grade.
K to Gr. 12
Average class size
5 to 18
% of international students (total enrolment)
Number of different nationalities within student population
Private schools in Canada have admissions policies. All schools have some required application materials, though these vary between schools. These may include letters of application, application fees, essays, and exams (such as the SSAT). Many schools also require interviews with prospective students, either with their parents, on their own, or both. Schools also have different standards and priorities when evaluating student applications, different acceptance rates (which may vary between grade levels), and target different kinds of students. To improve your child’s chances of acceptance, you should find out everything you can about a school’s admissions policies and how they assess applicants.
Arrange for a visit. Typically parents come for about an hour which includes a meeting with the Head of School and Director of Instruction, followed by a tour of the building and campus. We ask that, if possible, you bring your daughter or son’s psycho-educational assessment when you come.
In many cases, a reading of the student’s assessment, and a discussion with you of its findings and your child’s current school experiences, will provide all of the information that we need to determine whether or not our school is a good “fit” for your child.
In some instances, we will recommend a follow-up visit to your child’s home school including an opportunity to speak with her or his teachers, and support personnel.
Based upon our findings, we immediately make an offer of admission, contingent upon available space at the student’s age and level of performance. Occasionally, entry into the programme can take place within a few days although in the majority of cases, a space is held for the next term or school year.
Acceptance Rate: N/A
This is the percentage of applicants typically accepted into the school. So if 50 students are admitted out of 100 applicants, the school has an overall acceptance rate of 50%.
Type of student KGMS is looking for:
With over 40 years of experience, we’ve determined that the following attributes are required of a potential student: 1) submit a current psycho-educational assessment which indicates a language-based learning disability; or other supporting documentation indicating other learning challenges including, but not limited to, chronic health; visual or hearing impairments; or Autism Spectrum Disorder; 2) Meet the Ministry of Education guidelines for designation of a learning disability; 3) Have average to superior intelligence; 4) Demonstrate that the primary impediments to the student’s learning process are learning differences. Any behavioural, physical or emotional issues must be of secondary concern.
Where graduates of a school do their post-secondary studies can be an important factor in choosing a private school. Do you want your child to go to a Canadian university, an Ivy league school in the US, or some other institute? Regardless of your inclinations, take a look at a school’s university placement record, and the services they offer to support university applications and decisions.
Average graduating class size
Students accepted into post-secondary studies upon graduation
Percentage of students who attend post-secondary institutions outside of Canada
Students who attended a Ivy+ school
Number of students in the past 5 years that that attended one of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, University of Chicago, Oxford or Cambridge (UK)
Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School Graduates’ Post-Secondary Studies:
This information is not currently available.
Aggregate of All Schools’ Post-Secondary Studies:
24% - Liberal Arts and Sciences 25% - Engineering and Applied Sciences 25% - Business/Commerce 5% - Fine and Performing Arts 13% - Applied Health Sciences 2% - Applied Professional Studies (Post-grad certificate / diploma) 6% - Other
Dr. Jim Christopher is the Head of Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School and Maplewood Alternative High School in North Vancouver. A parent, author and long-time teacher, and educational administrator across Canada, he has been actively involved in the drive to differentiate learning experiences to meet the needs of all learners.