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THE OUR KIDS REPORT:
MacLachlan College

Grades Preschool TO 12 — Oakville, ON (MAP)

MacLachlan College:
THE OUR KIDS REPORT
REPORT CONTENTS:

Pages in this report:

School address

  • 337 Trafalgar Road, Oakville, Ontario, L6J 3H3 (MAP)
  • Busing available (View details)

School Busing:

MacLachlan College offers bus transferring. Service options offered are regular rider, regular rider AM only, regular rider PM only, door-to-door pickup.

The regions MacLachlan College offers busing from are:

  • Oakville
  • Mississauga
  • Burlington

Our Perspective

How we see MacLachlan College


“MacLachlan prides itself on being at the cutting edge of innovation in teaching and learning theory,” says Michael Piening, head of school. “This generation of learner, and the world they are growing up in, is very engaged, social and interactive. We looked internally at how we could best respond and adapt to enhance student exploration, creativity and knowledge.” That’s quite a mouthful, to be sure, but it’s a good one nevertheless. Schools are challenged to adapt their programs to the needs of students, and there are a lot of red herrings out there, such as an over-emphasis on digital literacy, for example. To be a 21st century learner can mean many things, though at McLachlan it means engagement with ideas, peers, and community. The annual Word Fest is a great example of that, in that case using the language arts program as a starting point for an engagement with issues and topics that require students to think creatively, empathize, and communicate their ideas. Earlier this year the grade one classes took part in a workshop with the Hamilton Children’s museum, roll-playing a shipwreck, stuck on coral in the midst of a storm. That, and indeed many programs at MacLachlan, can rightly turn heads. They provide telling examples of how the school expresses its dedication to engagement, exploration, and social interactivity, all of it as charming as it is impressive. The ideal student is one who can thrive in a diverse, active, and challenging academic environment. 

School's Perspective

How MacLachlan College sees itself


The school administration answered our questions

Who are you, as a school?

"MacLachlan College is a world-class school offering the benefits of small class sizes, highly dedicated and engaged teachers and an internationally recognized curriculum. Our exceptional co-educational learning environment is centred on academic excellence and an ongoing commitment to the latest innovations in education. Believing that active learning has a central role in inspiring and supporting a new generation of learners, our classrooms are adaptive and dynamic spaces that foster collaboration, creativity, engagement and flexibility. MacLachlan is proud to be accredited as an IB World School. Our students develop a strong academic foundation through the IB Primary Years Programme in Kindergarten through Grade 6 and transition to an enriched university preparatory program in Grades 7 through Grade 12. MacLachlan is also a member of Round Square - an internationally diverse network of 200 like-minded schools in 50 countries on six continents. MacLachlan provides a rich and balanced education for every student by supporting academic achievement, accomplishments in the arts, extracurricular endeavors, community and international service, and other outdoor education pursuits. Our graduates are well prepared for future success and attend top universities in Canada and abroad."

  • IB World School Primary Years Programme
  • Advanced Placement Courses
  • Innovation & Future Ready Programs
  • Technology Integration
  • SmartBoards, 1:1 iPads for Gr. 1-5
  • Round Square Leadership/Adventure
  • Duke of Edinburgh's Award
  • National/International debating
  • Choir and bands
  • Hot lunch program

What do you do differently and uniquely well?

"MacLachlan's academic program offers a transitional approach of two globally recognized programs beginning with the International Baccaulaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) for students in Pre-Kindergarten to Gr.6 and Gr. 7 to Gr. 12 academic program offering Advanced Placement preparation/enrichment. The common thread through our Pre-K to Gr. 12 program is to cement a foundation of core academic competencies, fostering a growth mindset and develop transdisciplinary skills."

Why do families choose you over schools they compare you to?

"Families choose MAC because of our highly respected academic programs and co-educational learning environment. What families quickly appreciate is MacLachlan’s high level of communication between home and school and how our smaller school size allows for their child(ren) to emmerse themselves in their learning. Smaller classes afford teachers the opportunity to foster and influence tremendous growth in our students, and we feel privileged to guide them through their learning journey."

What might families find surprising about your school?

"MacLachlan is committed to creating successful and innovative approaches to learning by promoting and developing skills that transcend the classroom environment. MacLachlan is a small but mighty school. Our students score top achievements in cross-collegial local, national and international competitions in the areas of math, debate and public speaking. These opportunities provide enriching experiences for students outside the classroom where they can further explore their passions."

What aspect of your school is underappreciated?

"MacLachlan is an incredibly tight-knit community. It quickly becomes obvious to prospective families that staff have an impressive connection to students, knowing virtually all them by name. Our leadership team is highly engaged with the everyday routines within the school community and are immersed throughout the school year. This level of engagement lends itself to MacLachlan’s commitment to facilitate programs that have a whole child development approach with a focus on student wellness."

What five facts about your school tell your story?

"Our highly dedicated and experienced faculty have 471 years of cumulative teaching experience at MacLachlan with an average tenure of 12 years. 100 percent of MacLachlan graduates enter their top university and program of choice.MacLachlan College has been an accredited IB World School for over 10 years, offering the IB Primary Years Programme for students in Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 6. MAC has a very active Parents’ Association that welcomes involvement from all families."


School Facilities

Photo-tour of facilities


Athletics facilities


Arts facilities


Campus


Classrooms


Science facilities


Instructional resources


Shared spaces


School Videos

Insider Perspectives

How people from the school’s community see MacLachlan College


Video reviews of MacLachlan College

Alumnus, Haider Ishtiaq (2020)

Watch our alum interview with Haider Ishtiaq to learn about the unique experience of attending MacLachlan College.

Written reviews of MacLachlan College

(4.9)

Parent, Tatiana Memos (2021)

Our son started attending MacLachlan in grade 7 and is currently in grade 10. The choice was between...

School leadership

Top-down influence on the school’s direction and tone


Message from school leadership

Michael Piening, Head of School
B.Sc.,(Hons.),B.Ed.,M.A.,OCT, Prin.Cert.

MacLachlan College lives its mission statement by cultivating intellectual curiosity in its students and inspiring them to be active contributors to our ever changing world. Our small class sizes, averaging 14 in the lower school and 18 in upper school, ensure that every student is known on a personal level. This is a key feature of our school. MacLachlan College is committed to providing superior, world class education. Accredited as an IB World School, MacLachlan offers the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, making us the only private school in Oakville with this prestigious designation. The IB PYP programme is an internationally recognized curriculum designed for students from pre-school to grade 6. The IB is one of the world’s most highly esteemed education programs. In an increasingly globalized world, the IB challenges students to think critically, research deeply and develop internationally minded perspectives on a broad range of issues. Students become lifelong learners and conscientious critical thinkers. In grades 7 to 12 we offer a rigourous academic program with an option to work toward Advanced Placement courses of study. We believe in the traditional approach to education. However, true to our motto "Where tradition and vision meet", our methodology and approach to the use of communication technology is progressive. Our teachers and students engage in dynamic and interactive educational opportunities. Our approach leads to inquiry based learning and the development of higher order critical thinking skills. At MacLachlan College we believe in the personal touch. We take the time to listen. I would like to hear about your child and I invite you to call for a visit.

Evaluate MacLachlan College for your child

Answer just to supplement this page with our expert insight into the FIT between MacLachlan College and your child (BETA).
1. Select category
1. Select category
  • Sociability
  • Mental focus
  • Physical activity level
  • Academic focus
  • Arts-oriented
  • STEM-oriented
  • Gifted
  • Special needs (general)
  • Learning disabilities
  • Social/emotional issues
  • Learning style
  • Learning preference
  • Anxious
  • ADHD
  • Autistic
  • Dyslexic
2. Select child's dominant trait
How outgoing is your child?

3. See personalized insights
How Extroverted kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Most big schools provide your extroverted child with plenty of social opportunities and the ability to interact with different peer groups with a wide range of personalities, interests, values, etc. A larger student population and more extracurriculars—including activities like team sports, arts programs, and debate—will give them a broader scope of opportunities to participate in events that scratch their interpersonal itch. “This may also give them the opportunity to hone certain skills,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “For instance, they might run for student council to develop leadership and public speaking skills and learn to be a voice for other students.”

  • International Baccalaureate school

    Throughout the continuum—from the Primary Years Programme (PYP) to the Diploma Programme (DP)—the IB offers plenty of group work, projects, and activities, which can be great for extroverts who often enjoy social and collaborative learning. Also, “Since IB schools have a strong emphasis on community service and activism, your child will have great opportunities to harness their outgoing and collaborative personality,” says Stacey Jacobs, Director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. These schools will also give your child the chance to interact and spend time with a bright, motivated, and ambitious group of kids who may have interests similar to them. 

    However, given the challenging curriculum and heavy workload of the IB, it can sometimes leave less time for socializing. This makes it especially important to ask about social opportunities at the school, including the ability to interact with different peer groups, both in class and out.

How Introverted kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Make sure any prospective school, no matter what size, provides the right social environment to help your child feel at home, make friends, and develop confidence. This is especially important at big schools, which are sometimes more socially overwhelming and challenging for an introvert to find their bearings in. Of course, “Because larger schools usually have a more diverse student population, introverted kids are more likely to find a small group of people like them, a peer group they can relate to and find acceptance from,” says Dona Matthews, Toronto-based education consultant and co-author (with Joanne Foster) of Beyond Intelligence.

    Bigger schools often have a broader scope of extracurricular activities, which is another way to help your child meet the right group of friends. “This may also give them the opportunity to develop certain skills,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “For instance, they might run for student council to develop leadership and public speaking skills and learn to be a voice for other students. Remember, though, each child is different—so what works for one may not work for another.”

  • International Baccalaureate school

    IB schools give your child the opportunity to interact and spend time with a bright, motivated, and ambitious group of kids who may have interests similar to them. Due to the IB’s heavy focus on group work, the programme offers a social and collaborative learning environment, which can help your introverted child overcome their shyness and get to know their peers well. This can relieve some of the pressure associated with having to take the initiative outside of class to make friends.

    Just make sure any school you're considering offers enough independent work time for your introverted child—something which can vary widely between IB schools.

Select a trait in Step 2 to receive child-customized insights about this school. Create a child profile to save your child trait selection.
2. Select child's dominant trait
How mentally focused is your child?

3. See personalized insights
How Mentally focused kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If you’re considering a big school for your mentally focused child, look into the size of its classrooms. Many kids, including focused ones, do better in smaller classes, which not all big schools have. Smaller classes often provide ample individualized learning and one-on-one support, which can boost your child’s engagement.

    Also, ensure a school’s teaching approach is suitable for your focused child. “For instance, a school emphasizing group learning over individual learning may or may not play into your child’s strengths,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “You want to make sure the social, emotional, and academic realities of the classroom are a match for your child’s attention skills and personality.”

  • International Baccalaureate school

    IB schools focus heavily on group work, and provide plenty of collaborative and social learning, which many mentally focused kids find stimulating. Just make sure this is the right environment for your particular child, since different kids learn in different ways. For instance, if your child prefers individual to group learning, make sure the school provides plenty of opportunities for your child to work on their own. Or, if they’re likely to benefit from personalized teaching and enrichment, make sure these options are available.

How Distractible kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If you’re considering a big school for your distractible child, look into its classroom sizes and teaching and learning approach. Distractible kids often do better in smaller classrooms with plenty of individualized learning and one-on-one support, as this can help them sustain their concentration.

    Also, “Ask what strategies a school has in place to engage and motivate students,” says Stacey Jacobs, Toronto-based education consultant at Clear Path Educational Consulting. “For instance, do they have flexible seating and innovative furniture?”

    Bigger schools tend to have a wider range of extracurriculars to choose from, which can help your child to pursue an interest or develop a passion. And, “Research shows that when students have something to look forward to after school, they’re often better able to focus during the day,” says Janyce Lastman, Toronto-based education consultant at The Tutor Group. “This can really help them renew their energy and recharge their batteries.”

  • International Baccalaureate school

    The IB’s heavy focus on group work, and its highly social and collaborative learning environment, can help your child sustain their focus. That said, some distractible kids may need more individualized learning and one-on-one support than some IB schools offer. “Since different IB schools have different teaching and learning approaches,” says Dona Matthews, Toronto-based education consultant and co-author (with Joanne Foster) of Beyond Intelligence, “talk to IB school directors and staff to determine whether your child is a good fit.”

Select a trait in Step 2 to receive child-customized insights about this school. Create a child profile to save your child trait selection.
2. Select child's dominant trait
How physically active is your child?

3. See personalized insights
How Very physically active kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Big schools tend to provide an especially wide range of opportunities for your physically active child to use their energy in productive ways, such as individual and team sports, hiking, and nature walks. In most big schools, they’ll also be given plenty of breaks throughout the day for physical and gross motor activities, such as outdoor recess in the playground. Since different kids enjoy different kinds of physical pursuits, find out exactly what activities a school offers, both in class and out.

    Also, ensure a school’s teaching and learning approach is suitable for your active child. “For instance, a school focusing on individual learning instead of group learning may or may not play into your child’s strengths,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “You want to make sure the social, emotional, and academic realities of the classroom are a match for your child’s personality and energy level.”

  • International Baccalaureate school

    Throughout the continuum—from the Primary Years Programme to the Diploma Programme—the IB offers plenty of group work, projects, and activities, which can be great for physically active kids, who tend to dislike sitting down at desks all day and often enjoy social and collaborative learning. Given the demanding curriculum and heavy workload of the IB, ensure any prospective school has ample unstructured social time, so your child can get out, stretch their legs, and use their energy in productive ways. Also, ensure there are a wide range of social and physical opportunities at the school, including the ability to interact with different peer groups, both inside of class and out.

How Less physically active kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If your child is looking to get more physically active, they’ll benefit from the wide range of extracurriculars at big schools, such as sports and nature walks. In addition to improving their physical and mental health, these activities can help them broaden their horizons and come out of their shell.

    Just make sure any prospective school, no matter the size, provides the right academic and social environment to help your less active child focus on their work and feel like they belong. This is especially important at big schools, which sometimes have bigger classes (with less one-on-one support) and can be more socially overwhelming. That said, the bigger the school, the more diverse the student body (in terms of personalities, interests, etc.), which can make it easier for your child to find a group of like-minded peers. 

  • International Baccalaureate school

    If your child is looking to get more physically active, IB schools offer plenty of opportunities to do this. From PYP (Primary Years Programme) to DP (Diploma Programme), the IB offers a robust physical and health education program that promotes physical activity and holistic health, through sports, exploration, interaction, skills, and knowledge. 

    IB schools also give your less active child the opportunity to learn and interact with a bright, motivated, and ambitious group of kids who may have interests similar to them. Due to the IB’s heavy focus on group work, the programme offers a highly social and collaborative learning environment, which can help your child get to know their peers well, interact more, and hone their social skills. Given the IB’s focus on social learning, just make sure your child will get enough time on their own, in and out of class, to replenish their energy.

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2. Select child's dominant trait
How focused is your child on school and academic achievement?

3. See personalized insights
How Intensively academically-focused kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Many big schools offer high-level courses as well as subject-specific enrichment and acceleration opportunities, which some academically-focused kids find stimulating. Most also have plenty of academic diversity in the classroom, where your child will find many opportunities to challenge themselves in groups with like-minded peers. “Many academically-focused kids enjoy competition in the classroom: they like to measure themselves against peers with high academic aspirations,” says Janyce Lastman, Director of The Tutor Group. “They’re more likely to find this in big schools with big classes.”

    Also, “Due to their large numbers of students, bigger schools offer more opportunities for reflection and collaboration with one’s peers, and to learn from the perspectives of different students, in class and out,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. Having a larger and more diverse pool of students can be a catalyst for intellectual and creative progress (and even breakthrough insights!).

    That said, make sure your child will be able to register for their desired courses in a big school. While big schools often have a wide range of core and specialist courses on their docket, sometimes logistical issues—such as scheduling and timetables—make it challenging for them to run some courses or for your child to enrol in them.

  • International Baccalaureate school

    The IB is a demanding programme with advanced learning and rigorous coursework, which provides the right kind of challenge for many intensively academically-focused kids. Students who enjoy subject-specific enrichment will relish the opportunity to take Higher-Level (rather than Standard-Level) courses, which provide more in-depth learning. Ask a school whether it offers these courses.

    That said, since their curriculum is restricted to eight prescribed subject groups, IB schools will offer your academically-focused child fewer specialist courses to choose from than most traditional schools. This can be less than ideal for independent and curious learners, who enjoy carving out their own educational paths and pursuing their own interests in school.

How Less academically-focused kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If you’re considering a big school for a less academically-focused child, look into its classroom sizes and teaching and learning approach. Smaller classrooms with plenty of individualized learning and one-on-one support can help kids really engage with their school work, regardless of their level of academic interest.

    Bigger schools normally have a wide range of specialist subjects to choose from, which can help your child pursue an interest or develop a new one. Just make sure your child will be able to register for their desired courses in a big school, since sometimes logistical issues—such as scheduling and timetables—make it challenging for these schools to run some courses or for your child to enrol in them.

  • International Baccalaureate school

    The IB programme’s high-level academics and heavy workload can be a tall test for less academically-focused kids. Some of these kids may also need more individualized learning and one-on-one support than some IB schools offer. Of course, “Since different IB schools have different teaching and learning approaches,” says Dona Matthews, Toronto-based education consultant and co-author (with Joanne Foster) of Beyond Intelligence, “talk to IB school directors and staff to determine whether a particular school offers the right academic setting for your child.”

    That said, many kids, including less academically-focused ones, find the IB’s heavy focus on social and collaborative learning engaging. This can inspire a love of learning and sometimes begin to unleash a child's academic potential. 

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2. Select if applicable
Is your child passionate about the arts?

3. See personalized insights
How Arts-oriented kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If you’re considering a big school for your arts-oriented child, make sure it offers them plenty of opportunities to explore their creative impulses. Ideally, it will have some smaller classes with plenty of individualized teaching and learning, since this will give your child more flexibility to pursue their interests and get one-on-one support to refine their skills.

    Since big schools have larger student populations, they often have more arts programs, classes, productions, and staff than smaller schools. They also tend to offer more supplementaries, like after-school musical theatre classes or field trips to art museums.

    Finally, “Due to their large numbers of students, they offer more opportunities for reflection and collaboration with one’s peers, and to learn from the perspectives of different students, in class and out,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “This also allows kids to understand the contributions they can make to the larger student community, such as being a musician in an orchestra, an actor in a play, or a dancer in an ensemble.”

  • International Baccalaureate school

    Throughout the continuum, the IB programme provides plenty of opportunities for your child to pursue their interests in the arts, explore their creative passions, and develop their skills and knowledge. In fact, how we express ourselves is one of the central themes running through the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP). And, the Middle Years Programme (MYP) provides a rigorous education in myriad artistic spheres, including visual art, music, dance, and drama.

    That said, “There’s some variation in the way IB programmes are run and what resources they have,” says Stacey Jacobs, Director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “If you have a child who’s passionate about the arts, make sure, then, to tour the school, and ask about its arts programs (music, visual, and drama) and the resources and time dedicated to them.”

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2. Select if applicable
Is your child passionate about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)?

3. See personalized insights
How STEM-oriented kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since big schools have larger student populations, they often have more STEM programs, classes, and specialty teachers than smaller schools. They also tend to offer more STEM-oriented supplementaries, like after-school robotics classes or field trips to science museums. And, “Due to their large numbers of students, they offer more opportunities for reflection and collaboration with one’s peers, and to learn from the perspectives of different students, in class and out,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. Having a larger and more diverse pool of students can make it easier to produce valuable insights and have creative breakthroughs.

    Ask prospective schools about their class sizes. Smaller classes with plenty of individualized teaching and learning give students more flexibility to pursue their interests in STEM and get one-on-one support to refine their knowledge and skills.

  • International Baccalaureate school

    Throughout the continuum, the IB programme provides plenty of opportunities for your child to pursue their interests in STEM and develop their skills and knowledge. In fact, how we explore and understand the world is one of the central themes running through the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP). And, the Middle Years Programme (MYP) provides a rigorous education in myriad scientific spheres, including physics, biology, and chemistry. Since many students also relish the opportunity to study these subjects in more depth by taking Higher-Level (rather than Standard-Level) IB courses, ask whether a school offers them.

    That said, “Many IB schools are highly academic and can generate significant pressure to excel,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “Some students may find their passion for STEM recede in this setting.”

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2. Select if applicable
Does your child have gifted learning abilities?

3. See personalized insights
How Gifted kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Some big schools provide learning environments that explicitly address the needs of gifted students. These can include dedicated gifted classes, part-time withdrawal classes, enrichment opportunities, acceleration options, and in-class adaptations. Big schools also usually have a wider scope of curriculum options and extracurricular activities that can provide gifted learners with the challenge and stimulation they need across a range of topic areas. Finally, they tend to have more academic diversity in their student bodies, helping your child find like-minded peers as well as opportunities to challenge themselves with other intellectual, curious, and high-ability learners.

  • International Baccalaureate school

    The IB programme is designed to be demanding, well-rounded, and rigorous, and it can provide a great challenge for many high-ability students. Gifted students may also relish the opportunity to take Higher-Level (rather than Standard-Level) courses, which provide more in-depth learning. Ask whether an IB school offers these.

    That said, if your gifted child is an unconventional and independent learner, they may find some IB schools don’t give them enough flexibility to pursue their own interests. “Of course, different IB schools have different teaching and learning approaches,” says Dona Matthews, gifted education expert and co-author (with Joanne Foster) of Being Smart about Gifted Education, “meaning you should talk to their directors and staff to determine whether your child is a good fit.”

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2. Select if applicable
Does your child have special needs?

3. See personalized insights
How Special needs (general) kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with special needs require special attention, ensure any prospective school has small- to medium-sized classes with plenty of structure, individualized learning, one-on-one support, and properly trained special education staff. Also, ask exactly what kinds of special needs support a school provides. For instance, while it's unlikely to provide modifications to the curriculum, does it offer accommodations, and if so, for which special needs?

    Some big schools provide learning environments that explicitly support students with special needs. These can include dedicated special needs classes, integrated classes, and regular classes with in-class adaptations and breakout groups. Many also provide a range of out-of-class resources to promote your child’s academic and social development, such as robust guidance departments, academic and psychological counselling, social work, tutors, and faculty advisors. And some have designated resource/learning centres for students with special needs, as well as various in-house support staff, like speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and reading specialists.

  • International Baccalaureate school

    The heavy workload of IB schools can be difficult to manage for some students with special needs. Also, due to their unified curriculum and focus on collaborative learning and group projects, not all IB schools can provide the kind of structure, individualized learning, and one-on-one support many of these kids need.

    That said, the IB organization requires authorized schools to have specially trained staff in both IB education and in meeting the needs of different learners. But, “What this looks like and how students are supported varies between schools,” says Stacey Jacobs, Director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “Ask what specific programs and policies they have in place to support your child’s learning.”

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2. Select if applicable
Does your child have a learning disability?

3. See personalized insights
How Learning disabilities kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with learning disabilities (LDs) require special attention, ensure any large school has smaller classes (ideally 15 students or less) with plenty of structure, personalized learning, and individual support. Also, look into exactly what kinds of LD support it provides. “While many big schools provide accommodations, such as extra time for tests or assignments, few provide a modified academic curriculum,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting.

    Some big schools provide learning environments that explicitly support students with LDs. These can include dedicated classes, integrated classes, and regular classes with in-class adaptations and breakout groups. Many also offer a range of out-of-class resources to promote your child’s overall development, such as academic and psychological counselling, social workers, tutors, and faculty advisors. 

  • International Baccalaureate school

    The heavy workload of IB schools can be difficult to manage for some students with learning disabilities (LDs). Also, due to their standardized curriculum and their focus on collaborative learning and group projects, not all IB schools will provide enough one-on-one support for kids with LDs. 

    That said, the IB organization requires authorized schools to have specially trained staff in both IB education and in meeting the needs of different learners. But, “What this looks like and how students are supported varies between schools,” says Stacey Jacobs, Director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “Ask what specific programs and policies they have in place to support your child’s learning.”

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2. Select if applicable
Does your child have a social, emotional, or behavioural issue?

3. See personalized insights
How Social/emotional issues kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with social issues require special attention, ensure any prospective school has small- to medium-sized classes with plenty of structure, individualized learning, one-on-one support, and properly trained special education staff. Also, ask exactly what kinds of support a school provides both in class and out. For instance, does it provide intensive one-on-one counselling for kids with anxiety?

    “Big schools can be challenging for students who experience anxiety or other emotional and mental health issues,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “Their large student population can contribute to anxiety and worries, and may make it more difficult for teachers to monitor their well-being.”

    Some big schools provide learning environments that explicitly support students with social issues. These can include dedicated classes, integrated classes, and regular classes with in-class adaptations and resource support. Many also provide a wide scope of resources to promote your child’s development, such as educational assistants, resource teachers, counsellors, social workers, and support groups.

  • International Baccalaureate school

    Due to their standardized curriculum and their focus on group learning, not all IB schools can provide the structure, individualized learning, and one-on-one support that many kids with social issues need. Also, the highly academic environment of the IB can add extra pressure, which can be difficult for kids with special needs to manage.

    Of course, “Since IB schools vary in their teaching and learning approaches,” says Dona Matthews, education consultant and co-author (with Joanne Foster) of Beyond Intelligence, “make sure you talk to their directors and staff to assess whether your child is a good fit.” For instance, if your child is a hard worker who enjoys high-level academics and group learning (and doesn’t have a severe social or behavioural issue), an IB school may work well.

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2. Select child's dominant trait

3. See personalized insights
How Conventional learner kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Big schools vary in the classroom environments they offer. Size isn’t nearly as important as the teaching and learning approach that individual teachers use in meeting the needs of a conventional learner. 

    Here are some things to look for: 

    • A traditional classroom setup (teacher at the front facing the students) 

    • Whole-class lectures 

    • Plenty of structure

    • Graded work and clear criteria for assessment

    Conventional learners tend to do well in learning environments with all or most of these features. However, since learning preferences differ even among these students, ensure a school provides what your child needs.

  • International Baccalaureate school

    IB schools offer a standardized, prescribed curriculum, with clear criteria for assessment, which can be ideal for conventional learners. They also provide a nice balance of group and independent learning, delivered through rigorous courses, which can help conventional (and unconventional) learners really engage with their studies. 

    That said, IB schools tend to have plenty of reflection, exploration, and diverse experiences. They encourage students to look at questions and issues from many viewpoints, and they have long projects and extended essays. Conventional learners who are type-A  students (i.e., who are intensively academically-focused) often prefer to move through the curriculum more quickly, rather than spend so much time reflecting about various sides of an issue.

How Unconventional learner kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If you’re considering a big school for an unconventional learner, make sure it offers them plenty of independent learning opportunities. Ideally, it will have some smaller classes with lots of individualized teaching and learning, since this will give your child more flexibility to pursue their interests and explore their passions.

    Big schools normally have more extracurriculars for kids to probe different areas of interest, from painting to robotics to creative writing. Also, due to their large numbers of students, they offer more opportunities to find a group of like-minded peers to learn and grow with, in class and out.

  • International Baccalaureate school

    IB programmes can sometimes be a struggle for students who resist a traditional curriculum. Since they follow standardized course syllabi and use prescribed evaluation schemes, IB schools leave less room for the kind of flexibility unconventional students normally crave. Also, since their curriculum is restricted to eight main subject groups, IB schools offer fewer specialist courses to choose from to explore individual interests. 

    That said, IB schools tend to have plenty of reflection, exploration, and diverse experiences. They encourage students to look at questions and issues from many viewpoints and have long projects and extended essays. Some unconventional learners love this kind of collaborative, open-ended approach to learning.

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How Independent learner kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Make sure a big school offers your child plenty of independent learning opportunities. Ideally, it will have some smaller classes with individualized teaching and learning, giving your child more flexibility to pursue their interests and develop their skills. With more classes and student cohorts, big schools can often accommodate a wide range of learning styles, including independent learning. Some also offer greater access to guidance and resources to help students subject choices and independent pursuits.

    Since big schools have larger student populations, they often have more extracurriculars and after-school programs. Whether it’s art, STEM, or coding, your child will have more opportunities to continue their unique learning path outside of class.

    Finally, “If your independent learner is a competitive student who likes to measure themselves against their peers, they’re more likely to find this in a big school,” says Janyce Lastman, Director of The Tutor Group. “Since they have diverse student bodies, it will be easier for your child to find peers with high academic aspirations to compete with.”

  • International Baccalaureate school

    IB programmes, from the primary years (PYP) to the high school years (DP), offer lots of group work, projects, and activities. This can be challenging at times for kids who prefer to work independently, completing tasks by themselves or in their own way. On the other hand, “Collaborative endeavours can be valuable learning experiences for kids who might otherwise avoid such tasks,” says Joanne Foster, education consultant and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids. Since different IB schools are run in different ways, talk to school directors and staff to gauge whether your child is likely to be a good fit.

How Collaborative learner kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Big schools vary widely in their learning environments and approaches. While some stress collaborative learning and provide lots of group activities, others don’t. That said, with many classes and diverse student cohorts, big schools can often accommodate and nurture a wide range of learning styles, including collaborative learning.

    Since big schools have larger student populations, they often have more extracurriculars and supplementals for students to pursue group learning activities like debate and student government. Also, “Due to their large numbers of students, they offer more opportunities to find a group of like-minded peers, in class and out,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services.

  • International Baccalaureate school

    Throughout the continuum—from the Primary Years Programme (PYP) to the Diploma Programme (DP)—the IB offers plenty of group work, projects, and activities, which collaborative learners tend to love. Also, “Since they have a strong emphasis on community service and activism, your child will have many opportunities to harness their collaborative learning style,” says Stacey Jacobs, Director of Clear Path Education. Finally, IB schools give your child the unique opportunity to interact and spend time with a bright, motivated, and ambitious group of kids who may have interests similar to them.

    That said, the IB programme’s high-level academics and heavy workload are demanding. If your child is less academically-focused or needs lots of one-on-one support, they may find it a tall order. Since IB schools are run in different ways, talk to directors and staff to determine whether your child is likely to be a good fit.

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How Anxious kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with anxiety require special attention, ensure any prospective school has small- to medium-sized classes with plenty of structure, individualized learning, one-on-one support, and properly trained special education staff. This is especially true if your child has a diagnosed anxiety disorder.

    “Big schools can be challenging for students with anxiety,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “Navigating a large student population and lots of relationships can compound issues with anxiety. And it’s sometimes more difficult for teachers and administrators to monitor students’ well-being in this setting.”

    That said, many big schools provide a wide scope of resources to support anxiety (and other mental health issues), such as educational assistants, resource teachers, psychologists, social workers, and support groups. Ask exactly what kinds of support a school provides, both in class and out. For instance, does it provide counselling for kids with a social anxiety disorder or selective mutism?

  • International Baccalaureate school

    Due to their standardized curriculum and focus on group learning, not all IB schools can provide the structure, individualized learning, and one-on-one support many anxious kids need. Also, the highly academic environment of the IB can be a source of intense pressure for kids with anxiety, especially those with severe anxiety.

    Of course, if your child has milder anxiety and is a hard worker who enjoys high-level academics and group learning, the IB Programme can be a nice fit. Speak to school reps about what support systems they have in place before you make your final decision.

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Does your child have ADHD?

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How ADHD kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with ADHD require special care, ensure any prospective school has smaller classes (ideally 15 students or less) with plenty of structure and one-on-one support to help them stay focused on their studies. Also, ask exactly what kinds of support a school provides both in class and out. For instance, “do you have an in-house psychologist who can help my child with their impulse control?”

    “Big schools can sometimes be challenging for students with ADHD,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “Navigating a large student population and lots of relationships can sometimes be a distraction which interferes with the ability to focus in class. And in a big school with bigger classes, it’s sometimes more difficult for teachers to monitor students’ well-being.” 

    The upside is most big schools offer a range of support for children with ADHD (and other special needs), such as educational assistants, resource teachers, psychologists, social workers, and support groups. They also tend to offer many supplemental activities to give your child physical, cognitive, and creative outlets, and to enable them to hyperfocus on areas of interest (which many ADHD kids enjoy).

  • International Baccalaureate school

    Due to their standardized curriculum and focus on group learning, not all IB schools can provide the individualized learning and one-on-one support many kids with ADHD need. Also, the highly academic environment of the IB can add extra pressure, which can be daunting for some kids with ADHD.

    Thus, “It’s important that a child in an IB school stay organized and engaged with the content, especially with independent work and homework,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “With both the depth and breadth of IB-level coursework, it’s important that students have developed the self-regulation and self-monitoring skills necessary to focus in class to avoid falling behind.”

    On the upside: “Many IB schools, especially at the primary and middle school level, offer a fair amount of experiential, inquiry-based learning, where students develop creative and critical thinking skills through real-life, hands-on experiences,” says Stacey Jacobs, director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “This type of learning can sometimes be a great way to engage kids with ADHD.”

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Is your child autistic?

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How Autistic kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) require special attention, ensure prospective schools have smaller classes with plenty of structure and one-on-one support, run by qualified special education staff. Depending on where your child falls on the spectrum, they may need a learning environment with direct support for ASD, such as a dedicated ASD class or a regular class with targeted ASD support. 

    Many big schools offer a wide range of resources to support kids with autism (and other special needs), such as educational assistants, psychologists, and social workers. Ask what’s available, focusing specifically on your child’s needs. For instance, “do you have an in-house psychologist who can help my child with their social skills?”

  • International Baccalaureate school

    Due to their standardized curriculum and focus on group learning, not all IB schools can provide the individualized learning and one-on-one support many kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) need. Also, the highly academic nature of the IB Programme can be daunting for some kids with ASD, especially those with poor executive functioning skills.

    That said, the IB organization requires authorized schools to have specially trained staff in both IB education and in meeting the needs of different learners. But, “What this looks like and how students are supported varies between schools,” says Stacey Jacobs, director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “Ask what specific programs and policies they have in place to support your child.”

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Is your child dyslexic?

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How Dyslexic kids fit with MacLachlan College's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with dyslexia require special attention, ensure any large school has smaller classes (ideally 15 students or less) with plenty of structure, personalized learning, and individual support. Also, ask exactly what kinds of resources it has to support your child. For instance, “do you have a reading intervention specialist to help my child work on their phonic decoding?”

    Some big schools provide learning environments that explicitly support students with dyslexia. These can include dedicated classes and regular classes with in-class adaptations and breakout groups. Many also offer a range of out-of-class resources to promote your child’s overall development, such as academic and psychological counselling, social workers, tutors, and faculty advisors.

  • International Baccalaureate school

    The heavy workload of IB schools can be difficult to manage for some students with dyslexia. Also, due to their standardized curriculum and their focus on collaborative learning and group projects, some IB schools may not provide enough one-on-one support for kids with dyslexia.

    That said, the IB organization requires authorized schools to have specially trained staff in both IB education and in meeting the needs of different learners. But, “What this looks like and how students are supported varies between schools,” says Stacey Jacobs, director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “Ask what specific programs and policies a school has in place to support your child’s learning.”

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