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Look on the bright side

Given the right environment, gifted children learn to shine

Based on his public school record, you never would have guessed the boy was gifted. "This student's academic record was spotty and teachers expressed disappointment with him," says Mark Young, principal of The Abelard School, a gifted school in Toronto, Ontario. The student, now in Grade 11, handed in assignments late, antagonizing his teachers. When the boy switched over to The Abelard School, Young discovered the delays weren't because the student was struggling with the work; rather, they reflected his perfectionism. What he eventually delivers, Young says, is "remarkable." Read more


List of gifted schools and programs

 
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  • Toronto, Ontario
    Dufferin Street/Lawrence Avenue
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $17,750 to $24,755

Fieldstone prepares students to be future global leaders. As Canada's Cambridge School, we offer a stimulating curriculum in the context of a small and nurturing environment.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Fieldstone School 17750 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • 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
  • Vaughan, Ontario
    407/Dufferin
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $15,995 to $19,995

D.A. is a K-12 university prep, coed IB candidate 21st Century school. Enriched and rigorous curriculum. Balanced academics, arts, athletics & character development. We value best practices & evidenced based approaches.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
Delano Academy 15995 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    Yonge Street/King Road
  • 1 to 12 Coed
  • $14,000

Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E. is a private school for intellectually gifted students in Richmond Hill, Ontario, from grades 1 to 12. Tuition is $13,500.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E. 14000 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Avenue Road/Bloor Street
  • 4 to 12 Coed
  • $22,000 to $27,000

Dragon Academy is the right fit for gifted students, grades 6 to 12. Dragon's small, discussion-based classes go beyond the classroom into our world-class city . An inclusive, exciting, can't wait to get there school.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
The Dragon Academy 22000 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Sherbrooke, Quebec
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $25,000 to $66,100

Bishop's College School is an English boarding and day school for students in grades 7 through 12. Small in size and culturally diverse, BCS is an IB World School offering the IB DP and course certificates.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
Bishop's College School 25000 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Highway 417/Greenbank
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $13,340 to $19,510

Acadecap International School ( Académie de la Capitale), an IB school, offers bilingual and/or English programmes from Pre-K to Grade 12. Students thrive in a culture of academic excellence and real-life learning.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Académie de la Capitale 13340 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge St./Sheppard Ave.
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $11,250 to $15,500

Prestige School offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade 12 in Toronto. Its average class size is 10 to 18 students.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Prestige School - Toronto Campus 11250 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge/Eglinton
  • 9 to 12 Coed
  • $12,000 to $14,000

OAT is a high school in Toronto specializing in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Full credit courses, Booster programs and Reach Ahead programs designed to give students the support they need to excel.

  • Day/Homestay
  • Progressive
OAT - Ontario Academy of Technology 12000 HighSchools Day Homestay Coed
  • Markham, Ontario
    Warden/Steeles
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $10,000 to $25,000

AIS Montessori & Elementary School offers authentic Chinese Immersion program in GTA area.Its average class is 15 students.

  • Boarding/Day/Homestay
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
A.I.S. School 10000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Homestay Coed
  • Aurora, Ontario
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $10,500 to $16,200

Aurora Montessori School offers a comprehensive, nurturing and enriched program for Toddler to Grade 8. Our enrolment of 375 day students has an average class size of 15 to 24.

  • Day
  • Montessori
  • Reggio Emilia
Aurora Montessori School 10500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Church/Bloor
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $20,000 to $25,000

Founded in 1997, the Abelard School is a small independent school for grades 7 though 12, located in downtown Toronto. It offers small class sizes and an enriched, integrated curriculum to bright, motivated students.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
The Abelard School 20000 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Bracebridge, Ontario
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $18,000 to $36,950

We uphold and pursue a pragmatic, balanced education with an emphasis on art, sports and music to cultivate talents to lead the new century.

  • Boarding
  • Traditional
  • Waldorf
Dewey Institute 18000 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Coed
  • Edmonton, Alberta
    Groat Road/107 Avenue
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $8,950 to $10,150

Progressive Academy's programs inspire students from preschool to grade 12 in Edmonton, Alberta. Wonderful faculty, wide range of experiential opportunities and high expectations ignite a desire to learn.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Progressive Academy 8950 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Unionville, Ontario
    Kennedy Road/16th Avenue
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $7,750 to $14,750

Unionville Montessori School offers programs from pre-school to grade eight. Its average class size is 18 to 22 students.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
Unionville Montessori Private Schools 7750 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge St/Sheppard Ave
  • 8 to 12 Coed
  • $399 to $499 /course

Ontario Virtual School is an Ontario Government approved credit-granting institution offering high school level courses for Grades 9-12 in an interactive online format. Students can start anytime with 24/7 access.

  • eSchool/Day
  • Traditional
Ontario Virtual School 399 HighSchools eSchool Day Coed
  • London, Ontario
    Richmond Street/King Street
  • 9 to 12 Coed/Boys/Girls
  • $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).

  • Day/Boarding
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
London International Academy 11000 HighSchools Day Boarding Boarding Coed Boys Girls
  • St. Catharines, Ontario
    Edinburgh Dr/Scott Street
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $5,900 to $13,500

Wheatley School offers programs from nursery to grade eight in St. Catharines. Its average class size is 15 students.

  • Day
  • Montessori
  • International Baccalaureate
Wheatley School 5900 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
    Lakeshore Road East/Bel Air Drive
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $8,800 to $21,250

Offering Montessori programs from Toddler to Grade 8, Dearcroft is accredited by CCMA and staffed by dedicated teachers.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Dearcroft Montessori School 8800 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Rindge, New Hampshire(USA)
    Deer Run Ln/Hampshire Rd
  • 3 to 12 Boys
  • US $61,500

A friendly, active boarding school for bright boys who have good intentions but who may be too impulsive, intense, or bothersome for other schools and whose intellectual interests may separate them from their peers.

  • Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
Hampshire Country School 61500 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Boys
  • Calgary, Alberta
    Crowchild Trail/Flanders Ave
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $8,000 to $10,000

Since 1979, Banbury's student-paced approach with tutorial instruction is in small, multi-aged groups of 10:1. Meainingful relationships enhance learning. Member of Canadian Coalition of Self Directed Learning--CCSDL.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Banbury Crossroads School 8000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Riverside Dr./Bank St
  • 1 to 12 Coed
  • $14,800 to $16,300

Astolot Educational Centre is a day school with grades 1 to 12 in Ottawa, Ontario. Classroom teacher-student ratios are 1 to 10. Students have the ability to reach their full potential with Astolot programming.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Astolot Educational Centre 14800 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
  • JK to 6 Coed
  • $3,600 to $18,900

Oak Learners offers a creative learning atmosphere, working with your child’s unique learning style to inspire their strengths and interests.

  • Day
  • Reggio Emilia
Oak Learners 3600 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Dundas Ave. West/High Park Ave.
  • PS to 1 Coed
  • $10,000 to $15,000

Oxford Learning Academy offers a bilingual academic program complemented by a personalized school experience. We grow lifelong learners by focusing on early primary education.

  • Day
  • Progressive
High Park Oxford Learning Academy 10000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Kanata, Ontario
  • 1 to 6 Coed
  • $16,000

March Academy offers an alternative program for students in grades 1 through 6. Small classes with academic programming includes weekly lessons in the arts, the natural environment and daily physical education.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
March Academy 16000 Elementary Day Coed
  • 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
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    Major MacKenzie Dr. W/Bathurst St.
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $10,000 to $15,500

The Prestige School offers programs from pre-school to grade eight in Richmond Hill. Its average class size is ten students.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Prestige School - Richmond Hill Campus 10000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • North York, Ontario
    Avenue Road/Lawrence Avenue
  • 9 to 12 Coed
  • $15,175 to $19,175

AVRO Academy is an alternative high school in Toronto for grades 9 to 12. Students earn credits while developing skills that best prepares them for post secondary education. We focus on student strength!

  • Day
  • Progressive
AVRO Academy 15175 HighSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Eglinton Ave W/Ninth Line
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $11,700 to $15,000

Sherwood Heights School offers Enriched Academic Programmes from Kindergarten to Grade 12, in Mississauga. The Programmes are Enriched and Comprehensive, delivered with Extra Attention and Care.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Sherwood Heights School 11700 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed

One of many common misconceptions about gifted students, administrators of such programs say, is they are straight-A students (although many are). "Gifted doesn't mean the ability to absorb a lot of material," Young says. "It is about bringing a unique and important perspective to a subject, whether it is math or history, and combining it with traditional interpretations."

Without academic indicators, educators, let alone parents, find it difficult to determine if a child is gifted. Melissa Volekaert, director of lower school and gifted co-ordinator at Fieldstone School in Toronto, says the only accurate test is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), a roughly two-hour oral exam that evaluates a child's independent and abstract thinking. And Young says tests don't always accurately reflect if a child is gifted.

But gifted kids show certain characteristics that can tip off parents and educators. While bright students tend to be obedient, Volekaert says, gifted students "aren't usually the best behaved." This isn't to say gifted kids are troublemakers, or vice versa, but they tend to be more inquisitive than most and possess unique eccentricities that can frustrate teachers.

"They are very oriented towards justice and fairness," Volekaert says. "If something is not perceived as fair, you will get quite a reaction." If a teacher claims information to be accurate when the student suspects it is not, for example, the student may start an argument or essentially "write the teacher off," which can lead to behaviour issues.

And while bright students perform well in most subjects, Young says gifted students generally excel in certain areas and struggle in others - another reason why gifted students sometimes go undetected. Young remembers a former Grade 9 student studying then-OAC (Grade 13) math, but struggling with reading novels at his own level. An instructor worked one-on-one with the student in Grade 9 English, and teachers in subsequent grades were alerted to the math genius' weakness. "By the time he came through the curriculum, he was very strong all around," Young says.

That's what a good gifted program can do: challenge students' strengths, while addressing their weaknesses. Gifted programs generally follow two models: withdrawal, in which students are periodically removed from regular class to study gifted curricula, and self-contained classrooms, where students only attend classes exclusively for them. Abelard's 50 students are not all gifted, but all are exceptionally bright and highly motivated. "These students are all irrepressible and want to be challenged," Young says. "This way each student's voice is heard."

Three hundred students are enrolled in Fieldstone School's academically challenging program, but just 30 take part in its gifted program. The program removes kids from regular classes three times a week: once to interact with their peer group, and twice to work with students from other grades on specific subjects, such as robotics or cryptography. Volekaert believes it's important for gifted kids to remain in regular classes. "Not everyone is gifted,"she says. "They need to learn to work with the kind of people they will work with when they're finished school."

Of course, not every child is ready to be called gifted. "The label is not always helpful because there are certain expectations brought to bear," Young says. Yet both Young and Volekaert say if your child shows characteristics of being gifted - and seems disengaged from regular school - it may be time to investigate a specialized program. "These kids really march to their own drum," Volekaert says.

Series: Gifted Programs

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Latest Articles



May 1, 2019
Assessing gifted kids
Gifted children shine in the right environment

March 11, 2019
Schools for Gifted Kids
Gifted Kids

January 31, 2017
Gifted curriculum alternatives
How language immersion, IB, AP, and Montessori programs work for gifted kids


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