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THE OUR KIDS REPORT:
North Star Academy

Grades 7 TO 12 — Laval, QC (MAP)

North Star Academy:
THE OUR KIDS REPORT
REPORT CONTENTS:

Pages in this report:

  • Grades
    7 — 12
  • Gender
    Coed
  • Class Size
    10 — 18 students
  • Tuition
    $13,150 to 20,900/year
  • Language of instruction
    English, French
  • Associations
    AP
  • Enrolment
    150 day students, 0 boarding students
  • Curriculum
    Traditional
  • EBROCHURE
    View eBrochure

School address

  • 950 Élodie-Boucher, Laval, Quebec, H7W 0C6 (MAP)
  • Busing available (View details)

School Busing:

North Star Academy Laval offers bus transferring. Service options offered are regular rider.

The regions North Star Academy Laval offers busing from are:

  • Laval
  • Blainville

Our Perspective

How we see North Star Academy


In some senses, North Star is the very definition of a liberal arts education, namely one that intends not to educate students to the vocations, but to educate them to engage creatively, thoughtfully, and respectfully with the world around them. While not tiny, North Star is on the smaller end of the school spectrum, and it benefits from its size through an ability to provide an individualized approach to the delivery of the curriculum. Likewise, the students enter a community that is close-knit and personal, where they are known and celebrated for what they bring to the environment. Development is important, including the adoption of new classroom techniques and tools, and values are as well, including an appreciation of diversity, and allowing both a local and international perspective on the course material. The ideal student is one able to thrive in a challenging, vibrant, and values-based learning environment.  

School's Perspective

How North Star Academy sees itself


The school administration answered our questions

Who are you, as a school?

"We are dedicated to the academic and creative potential of our students. Small class sizes provide individualized attention and an interdisciplinary approach focusing on 21st century competencies. A school vision where we bring the world to our students and our students to the world through community projects, volunteering and travel. Parents are partners in their child’s education, and ongoing communication with teachers and staff is a key part of our day-to-day. We teach not only for school but for life!"

  • Building positive relationships
  • Varying the curriculum to meet advanced learner’s
  • Setting goals to focus our learning
  • Keeping class sizes small
  • Signature Programs, Activities and Community Connections
  • Innovating our approaches to always offer the best
  • Connecting with community through real-life experiences
  • Customized learning and programs for every students’ needs
  • Using technology to enhance our teaching and learning
  • Providing opportunities to grow locally and internationally

What do you do differently and uniquely well?

"We believe that students should experience real life learning and we place importance on bridging the gap between theory and practice. NSAL has developed Signature Programs, such as the Signature Community Connections, for experiential learning opportunities where students can develop their skills, increase their tacit knowledge, clarify values and develop their capacity to contribute to their communities. We teach not only for school but for life."

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

"The reason parents choose North Star Academy Laval over and over for their children is because they know that NSAL prioritizes each student, each day. We are always innovating our approaches to deliver the best and use differentiated learning to meet our student's needs. At NSAL the "Circle of Success" is a key ingredient, where students, parents, teachers and the administration unite to help each student reach their full potential."

What might families find surprising about your school?

"Families are enthralled by the various opportunities presented by the Academy. Whether it be an academic contest, educational outing, guest speaker or volunteer initiative, NSAL is always encouraging students to try something new; "the more you do, the more you become!". Parents also value NSAL's Grade 12 Pre-University program that can be completed in 1 year as they apply to some of the bets Universities in Montreal or anywhere in the world!"

What aspect of your school is underappreciated?

"NSAL is the only English private high school in Laval. Situated directly off highway 13, we are only 16 minutes from Fairview Pointe-Claire, 13 minutes from Centropolis and 15 min from Place Vertu. Knowing your child is in good hands in high school is the peace of mind parents look for in a school."

What five facts about your school tell your story?

This information is not available.


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 North Star Academy


Video reviews of North Star Academy

Alum, Riwa Jaafar (2022)

Watch our alum interview with Riwa Jaafar to learn about the unique experience of attending North Star Academy.

Alum, Thea Sakr (2021)

Watch our alum interview with Thea Sakr to learn about the unique experience of attending North Star Academy.

Alum, Shan-Li Sauvé (2020)

Watch our alum interview with Shan-Li Sauvé to learn about the unique experience of attending North Star Academy.

Written reviews of North Star Academy

(5)

Alumnus, Shan-Li Sauve (2019)

My overall experience at North Star Academy was incredibly life-altering. The environment of the sch...

(4.8)

Parent, Joseph Sorella (2018)

My child has enjoyed and benefitted from the small class sizes and the extra personal 1 on 1 attenti...

School leadership

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


Interview with key leadership

Watch our North Star Academy leadership interview with Josée Pepin to learn about the academics, culture, and values of the school.
Watch the interview

Message from school leadership

Josee Pepin, Head of School

Josée Pepin continues to thrive and innovate as Head of School of North Star Academy Laval, the only English private high school north of Montreal. Josée’s vision for an English private education stemmed from a desire to provide opportunities for teens and their families looking for a niche school with small student-teacher ratios and engaging programs, providing a personalized educational experience, right in their own neighbourhood. “A place where each teacher knows each student’s name, their family and their strengths. We work as a team to educate the whole student,” are the emphatic words of Pepin regarding her school’s approach. Well-known in local and international communities for her engagement and volunteerism, Mrs. Pepin provides students with endless opportunities to learn from and give back to the community, making learning meaningful and real for her high school students. Situated in one of the most culturally diverse and growing sectors of the province, and with no certificate of eligibility required, NSAL welcomes students from various local regions as well as those from around the world. North Star Academy’s success lies in its academic programs, sports concentrations, and extensive extra-curricular activities, which round out an education that attracts some of the brightest students to the school. Since its inception, a unique integrative Community Connections approach has allowed Josée to bring her students into the world and the world into the school through partnership projects and career exploration opportunities that help students grow and learn about their unique competencies and interests – all while making learning engaging and meaningful and academically competitive. Under  Josée’s visionary leadership, students bring their own technology devices as learning tools, teachers receive ongoing professional development, remaining at the forefront of best practices, and parents are involved through incredible committee work that supports the students and the NSAL Foundation. North Star Academy Laval is growing and innovating, a true gem of the north! 

Evaluate North Star Academy for your child

Answer just to supplement this page with our expert insight into the FIT between North Star Academy 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 North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    If you’re considering a small school for your extroverted child, make sure it offers plenty of social opportunities, including the ability to seek out and interact with different peer groups. Since smaller schools have smaller and less diverse student populations than big schools, it can sometimes be more challenging for your child to find a like-minded group of friends—friends with similar interests, values, etc. 

    “It’s important to look at the social makeup of the school,” says Ruth Rumack of Ruth Rumack's Learning Space. "Is there enough variety that your child will have a group that they feel connected with? Because you want to have friends that are like-minded and you want to be in a social situation where you feel honoured and respected. Variety can also be found in extracurriculars, leadership programs, and sports activities, which tend to have kids with a wide range of personalities.”

    Also, make sure a school’s teaching and learning approach is suitable for your social child. “For instance, a school focusing on individual learning instead of group learning may not play into your child’s strengths,” say Ann and Karen Wolff, Toronto-based education consultants at 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.”

  • Language immersion school

    If you’re considering a language immersion school for your extroverted child, make sure it offers a wide range of social opportunities, including the ability to interact with kids outside of class. Since most of your child’s learning won’t be in their mother tongue, they may find it challenging at times to negotiate the complexities of social interaction in the classroom. This makes it especially important to ensure the school offers extensive extracurriculars—such as volunteering, sports teams, and arts programs—which will help your child satisfy their need to interact and make friends.

  • Boarding school

    At a boarding school, your extroverted child will likely enjoy seeking out and interacting with peer groups from different backgrounds, away from home. In fact, studying and living with other kids for an extended period of time, as many alumni tell us, provides the unique opportunity to form close relationships that can last well beyond the school years. Many boarding schools also have large student populations and more extracurriculars—including activities like student council, team sports, and arts programs—which will give your outgoing child a broader scope of opportunities to feed off the energy of others, and possibly even become a leader, in a dynamic environment.

    Keep in mind, though, “Being an extrovert can be a catalyst for getting involved in lots of activities, which can sometimes be hard to manage,” says Joanne Foster, Toronto-based education consultant and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids. “For instance, a particularly extroverted child may try to end up juggling too many people and activities. While they still may thrive at a boarding school, it helps to know your child and how much social interaction they can handle comfortably.”

How Introverted kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools often have small classrooms and tight-knit communities, which can make it easier for your introverted child to come out of their shell, make friends, and feel like they belong. Since they’re less socially overwhelming, your child should find it easier to navigate their social environment. And since they’re conducive to group work, small classes often have plenty of interaction, which can help your child develop critical interpersonal skills. 

    Of course, small schools normally have a less diverse student population than big schools, which can sometimes make it more challenging to find a group of like-minded peers—peers with similar personalities, interests, values, etc. This makes it especially important to ask a school about its extracurricular programs, which can help your introverted child establish an intimate social circle.

  • Language immersion school

    If you’re considering a language immersion school for your introverted child, make sure it offers plenty of social opportunities, including the ability to interact with different peer groups outside of class. Since most of your child’s learning won’t be in their mother tongue, they may find it challenging at times to negotiate the complexities of social interaction in the classroom. This makes it especially important to ensure the school offers extensive extracurriculars—such as student council, volunteering, and team sports—which can enable your child to connect with peers, make new friends outside of class, overcome their shyness, and develop critical social skills.

  • Boarding school

    At a boarding school, your introverted child will be more motivated (and virtually compelled) to seek out and interact with different peer groups. Away from home and in a new environment, they’re more likely to take the initiative to form close friendships, which can boost their independence and confidence, and help them develop critical social skills.

    "Consider, though, whether your child will be comfortable and confident while living away from home, and while having to navigate the various, and sometimes unforeseen social-emotional experiences, alongside the academic challenges,” says Joanne Foster, education expert and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids. Finally, ensure support systems are in place to promote their social and emotional development, and that your child is willing and prepared to take advantage of them. Your child will often need to advocate for themselves at a boarding school, and they’ll need confidence and perseverance to do so.

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 North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classes often provide more individualized learning and one-and-one support, which can bolster your child’s concentration. The structure and intimacy of smaller classes can help your focused child engage more fully with their studies. Since they’re conducive to group work, small classes also often have plenty of interaction, which can help your child develop critical interpersonal skills.

    Just keep in mind the law of diminishing returns regarding class size. While a class of 12 or 15 students can boost engagement, a class of 4 or 5 can reduce it, since there are too few voices and perspectives to generate much meaningful interaction and discussion.

    Finally, “Small schools often have a family-like feeling, because the class sizes are so small,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “They form a sense of community across the grades. You get these cross-grade friendships, relationships, and mentoring if it gives certain kids leadership opportunities, something they would rarely have in a larger school.”

  • Language immersion school

    The demanding curriculum of language immersion schools, which requires students to learn all or most of their subjects in a second language, is a nice fit for many focused kids, especially those who enjoy the challenge of high-level learning and who are language-oriented. Many focused kids also value the opportunity to work in a structured learning environment with other motivated and studious kids, who may share a passion for learning.

    That said, “Mentally focused children who are curious and unconventional learners may prefer more scope for independent learning than language immersion schools sometimes allow,” says Dona Matthews, education consultant and co-author (with Joanne Foster) of Beyond Intelligence. “For these kids, the best schools are often those that are flexible enough to give them the time and energy to pursue their interests both in and out of school. The added challenges provided by second-language learning can sometimes interfere with this goal and hinder a child’s academic development.”

    Finally, since learning in a second language makes it difficult to negotiate social interaction in class, make sure your child has plenty of time to interact with their peers outside of class—something all kids need.

  • Boarding school

    Many focused kids find the diverse and vibrant student community of boarding schools stimulating. Working and interacting with a group of kids away from home and in a new environment can open up new learning and social pathways. Just make sure to inquire about a school’s teaching and learning approach. For instance, ask how much independent learning and individualized support a school offers, as many focused kids find this beneficial. Also, ask about class sizes, as smaller classes with low student-to-teacher ratios can help ensure your child won’t get lost in the shuffle.

How Distractible kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classrooms often provide more personalized attention and one-and-one support, which often helps distractible kids engage with their studies and sustain their focus. Since they’re conducive to group work, they tend to be more interactive, which your child may find invigorating.

    Just keep in mind the law of diminishing returns regarding class size. While a class of 12 or 15 students can boost engagement, a class of 4 or 5 can reduce it, since there are too few voices and perspectives to generate much meaningful interaction and discussion.

    The intimacy of smaller schools and classes can also help your child connect with the student community. “Small schools often have a family-like feeling, because the class sizes are so small,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “They form a sense of community across the grades, with cross-grade friendships, relationships, and often, leadership opportunities.”

  • Language immersion school

    If you’re considering a language immersion school for your distractible child, ensure they offer plenty of individualized learning and one-on-one support. Since these schools require students to learn all or most of their subjects in a second language, they can sometimes be taxing for kids who are distractible. This is especially true if they struggle with languages in particular or academics in general.

    That said, if your child enjoys learning languages and is academically-oriented, a language immersion program can help bolster their ability to focus and sustain their concentration. Talk to school directors, education consultants, and others in the know to help gauge whether your child is likely to be a good fit.

  • Boarding school

    Many distractible kids enjoy the vibrant student community of boarding schools. Interacting and working with kids away from home and in a new environment can open up new learning and social pathways, which can be stimulating and can cultivate sustained concentration.

    Just make sure a school’s teaching and learning approach is suitable for your child. “For instance, your child may benefit from extra individualized attention and one-on-one support,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “If so, you’ll want to make sure a school provides these things and implements whatever other educational practices suit their academic profile and personality.”

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 North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    If you’re considering a small school for your physically active child, ensure it offers plenty of unstructured social time, such as outdoor recess, during which they can let loose. Since some small schools have fewer supplementals, you should also ask about after-school activities like sports and dance, which can give your child more opportunities to channel their energy in useful ways. Since different kids enjoy different physical activities, ask school staff what’s available, what your child is eligible for, and how they can get involved.

  • Language immersion school

    If you’re considering a language immersion school for your active, energetic child, make sure to look into the amount of unstructured social time provided. The challenging curriculum of these schools—which requires students to learn all or most of their subjects in a second language—makes it especially important for your child to have time throughout the school day to get outside, stretch their legs, and let loose. Make sure you also find out what activities are offered after school, such as sports and dance, which can provide physical outlets for your active child.

  • Boarding school

    At a boarding school, your physically active child will enjoy interacting with different peer groups drawn from a large student body. Through a wider range of supplementals—such as sports, hiking, and nature clubs—they’ll have the opportunity to feed off the energy of others in a dynamic and active environment.

    Keep in mind, though, “Being active and social can be a catalyst for getting involved in lots of physical activities, which can sometimes be hard to manage,” says Joanne Foster, Toronto-based education consultant and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids. “For instance, a particularly energetic child may try to end up juggling too many activities. While they still may thrive at a boarding school, it helps to know your child and how much physical activity they can handle comfortably.”

How Less physically active kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    If your child is looking to get more physically active, make sure a small school offers plenty of opportunities to do this. This makes it especially important to ask about a school’s extracurriculars—such as team sports—which can improve your child's physical fitness and enable them to broaden their horizons.

    Smaller schools often have small and intimate classrooms, where your less active child can work independently and in small groups, allowing them to focus on academics in a peaceful, structured, and supportive environment. With tight-knit, less intimidating communities, small schools can also help your child come out of their shell.

  • Language immersion school

    The demanding curriculum of language immersion schools, which requires students to learn all or most of their subjects in a second language, is a nice fit for many less-active kids who enjoy the challenge of high-level learning. They’ll be able to focus on their studies in a structured learning environment with studious and motivated peers, who may share a passion for learning.

    Since learning in a second language makes it difficult to negotiate social interaction in class, make sure your child has ample time to interact outside of class, which all kids need. Also, if they're looking to get more physically active, look into how much unstructured social time and what kinds of after-school activities a school offers (e.g., individual and team sports).

  • Boarding school

    If your child is looking to get more physically active, they’ll benefit from the wide range of extracurriculars at these schools—such as sports and nature walks. This can improve their physical and mental health. It can also help them broaden their horizons and come out of their shell. Your child may join one or more of the many non-physical supplementals these schools offer, such as an after-school robotics or book club.

    Ensure, though, that the school will give your child ample downtime to rest and replenish the energy they expend. “Consider, too, whether your child will be comfortable and confident while living away from home, and while having to navigate the various, and sometimes unforeseen social-emotional experiences, alongside the academic challenges,” says Joanne Foster, education expert and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids.

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 focused is your child on school and academic achievement?

3. See personalized insights
How Intensively academically-focused kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    If you’re considering a small school for your academically-focused child, ensure it offers enough enrichment and acceleration opportunities to challenge them. Make sure it also has plenty of academic diversity in the classroom, where your child can work with, be challenged by, and even measure themself against other academically-focused kids.

    Of course, “Smaller schools give kids opportunities to be the ‘big fish in a small pond,’ where their successes and abilities are truly highlighted,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “Some kids enjoy this, and this can be a valuable opportunity to develop their confidence and self-esteem.”

  • Language immersion school

    The demanding curriculum of language immersion schools, which requires students to learn all or most of their subjects in a second language, provides the right kind of challenge for many academically-focused kids, especially those who enjoy languages and may have a talent for them. Many of these kids also value the opportunity to work in a structured learning environment with motivated and studious peers, who may share a passion for academics in general and languages in particular.

    That said, “Academically-focused children who are curious and unconventional learners may prefer more scope for independent learning than language immersion schools sometimes allow,” says Dona Matthews, education consultant and co-author (with Joanne Foster) of Beyond Intelligence. “For these kids, the best schools are often those that are flexible enough to give them the time and energy to pursue their interests both in and out of school. The added challenges provided by second-language learning can sometimes interfere with this goal and hinder a child’s academic development.”

    Finally, since learning in a second language makes it difficult to negotiate social interaction in class, ensure your child has plenty of time to interact with other kids outside of class—something every child needs.

  • Boarding school

    Many boarding schools have a broad scope of specialist courses for your child to choose from, to pursue their interests and develop new ones. They also tend to have a lot of academic diversity in the classroom, where your child will find many opportunities to challenge themselves with other kids who enjoy school and have high academic aspirations.

    Just make sure to inquire about a school’s teaching and learning approach. For instance, ask what kinds of independent learning and enrichment opportunities a school offers, as many academically-focused kids benefit from these. Also, ask about class sizes, as smaller classes with low student-to-teacher ratios can help ensure your child won’t get lost in the shuffle.

    Finally, since they’ll be living away from home, ensure support systems are in place to promote their social and emotional development, and that your child is willing and prepared to take advantage of them. Your child will often need to advocate for themselves at a boarding school, and they’ll need confidence and perseverance to do so.

How Less academically-focused kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classrooms often provide more personalized attention and one-and-one support, which often helps less academically-focused kids engage with their work more fully. Since they’re conducive to group work, these classes tend to be more interactive and stimulating.

    Just make sure a school provides your child with plenty of opportunities to pursue their passions outside of class—something not all small schools offer. “Research shows that when students have something to look forward to after school, they’re often more motivated and focused during the day,” says Janyce Lastman, Director of The Tutor Group. “This can really help them renew their energy and recharge their batteries.”

    Also, keep in mind the law of diminishing returns regarding class size. While a class of 12 or 15 students can boost engagement, a class of 4 or 5 can reduce it, since there are too few voices and perspectives to generate much meaningful interaction and discussion.

  • Language immersion school

    If you’re considering a language immersion school for your less academically-focused child, ensure it offers plenty of individualized learning and one-on-one support. Since they require students to learn all or most of their subjects in a second language, these schools can sometimes be burdensome for kids who are less interested in academics. This is especially true if they struggle with language learning.

    That said, if your child enjoys and excels at language learning, a language immersion school can help improve their academic focus and inspire a love of learning. Talk to school directors, education consultants, and others in the know to help gauge whether your child is likely to be a good fit.

  • Boarding school

    Many less academically-focused kids enjoy the vibrant community of boarding schools. They’ll be able to interact with a large and diverse student body and participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities, which can help them become more well-rounded.

    Just make sure a school’s teaching and learning approach is suitable for your child. “For instance, say your child can benefit from extra individualized attention and one-on-one support,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “You’ll want to make sure a school provides these things, and implements whatever other in-class practices suit their academic abilities and learning needs.”

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 if applicable
Is your child passionate about the arts?

3. See personalized insights
How Arts-oriented kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Small schools often have smaller classes with plenty of individualized learning and support, which can give your arts-oriented child the freedom to pursue their creative passions with close supervision and guidance. A smaller student community often means more group work and collaboration, which can enhance learning and enliven the creative process. Smaller schools, especially arts-focused ones, are also more likely to integrate the arts into the general curriculum, something many, though not all, artsy kids enjoy.

    Small schools tend to have fewer arts programs, classes, and extracurriculars than bigger schools. Ask what’s available, focusing specifically on your child’s areas of interest and need. For instance, if they’re keen to work on their sculpting skills, find out whether a class is offered during or after school, and whether your child is eligible for it.

  • Language immersion school

    “Many arts-oriented children are curious and unconventional learners, and prefer more scope for creativity than language immersion schools sometimes allow,” says Dona Matthews, education consultant and co-author (with Joanne Foster) of Beyond Intelligence. “For these kids, the best schools are often those that are flexible enough to give them the time and energy to pursue their artistic interests both in and out of school. The added challenges provided by second-language learning can sometimes interfere with this goal and hinder a child’s creative and artistic development.”

    That said, arts-oriented students who enjoy and are good at the language arts often welcome the cognitive challenge and stimulation of learning in a different language, as this allows them to exercise their “language muscles.” If they’re hard workers who enjoy academics, a language immersion school can be an especially good fit.

  • Boarding school

    If you’re considering a boarding school for your arts-oriented child, make sure it offers them plenty of opportunities to explore their creative passions and refine their artistic skills. Often, small- to medium-sized classes with plenty of individualized learning work well, since they give your child the freedom to pursue their interests and carve out a fulfilling developmental path. Ask any prospective school about its class sizes, teaching approach, and arts curriculum, to ensure it’s the right fit.

    With larger student populations, boarding schools often have more arts programs, classes, productions, and staff. They also tend to offer a wider range of extracurriculars for your child to scratch their creative itch. Ask what opportunities are available, focusing especially on your child’s interests and needs: for instance, if they love art history, find out whether the school offers such a class and when.

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

3. See personalized insights
How STEM-oriented kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Small schools tend to have fewer STEM programs, classes, and extracurriculars than bigger schools. Ask what’s available, focusing specifically on your child’s areas of interest and need. For instance, if they’re keen to work on their computer programming skills, find out whether a coding class is offered during or after school, and whether your child is eligible for it. Also, ask how they teach problem-solving, instill creativity and innovation, and use technology.

    Of course, since small schools often have smaller classes with plenty of individualized learning and support, they can give your child the freedom to pursue their interest in STEM with close supervision. A smaller student community often means more group work and collaboration, which can enhance learning and stimulate intellectual and creative insights. Smaller schools are also more likely to integrate STEM learning into the general curriculum, something many STEM-oriented kids enjoy.

    Just keep in mind the law of diminishing returns regarding class size. While a class of 12 or 15 students can boost engagement, a class of 4 or 5 can reduce it, since there are too few voices and perspectives to generate much meaningful interaction and discussion.

  • Language immersion school

    Some students may find it challenging to learn STEM subjects in a second language, as immersion schools usually require. Using an unfamiliar language can interfere with their comprehension and progress in STEM studies, which can be frustrating.

    Another concern: “Consider curious and independent learners,” says Dona Matthews, education consultant and author of Beyond Intelligence. “They often prefer more scope for exploring their interest in STEM than language immersion schools sometimes allow. For these kids, the best schools are often those that are flexible enough to give them sufficient time to pursue their passions both in school and out. The added challenge of second-language learning can sometimes interfere with this goal and hinder a child’s intellectual and creative development.”

  • Boarding school

    With large student populations, boarding schools often have more STEM-oriented programs, classes, and specialized staff. They also tend to offer a wider range of extracurriculars for your child to explore their passion for STEM.

    Ask what opportunities are available, in class and out, focusing especially on your child’s interests. For instance, if they’re interested in engineering, find out whether the school offers such a class and when. Also, inquire about a school’s class sizes and teaching approach. Often, small- to medium-sized classes with plenty of individualized learning work well, since they give your child the freedom to pursue their interest in STEM with close supervision.

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 if applicable
Does your child have gifted learning abilities?

3. See personalized insights
How Gifted kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Small schools are sometimes more flexible in meeting gifted learning needs. Make sure a school is willing and able to provide the right learning environment to directly address your child’s learning needs, whether it’s through a segregated gifted class, a part-time withdrawal class, or in-class adaptations such as acceleration or enrichment opportunities.

    If your child enjoys learning and competing with other high-ability learners, confirm this opportunity is available. Also, find out whether a school has extracurricular programs your child will find challenging and stimulating.

    Finally, “Smaller schools give kids opportunities to be the ‘big fish in a small pond,’ where their successes and abilities are truly highlighted,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “Some kids enjoy this, and this can be a valuable opportunity to develop their confidence and self-esteem.”

  • Language immersion school

    Gifted students often welcome the extra challenge provided by language immersion schools, where they’ll learn all or most of their subjects in a second language. However, these schools aren’t an ideal fit for all gifted learners. “Consider, for example, a child whose strengths are her reasoning skills and conceptual mastery and who thrives on high-level discourse,” say Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster, gifted education experts and authors of Being Smart about Gifted Education. “In a French immersion program, it will take years before her knowledge of the French language is sufficiently developed to keep pace with her ideas and concept formation… This can make her school experience frustrating and boring, rather than stimulating and challenging, especially for the first few years of this kind of program.”

    Or, “Consider curious and independent learners,” says Matthews. “They often prefer more scope for exploring their own interests than language immersion schools sometimes allow. For these kids, the best schools are often those that are flexible enough to give them enough time to pursue their passions both in school and out. The added challenge of second-language learning can sometimes interfere with this goal and hinder a child’s intellectual and creative development.”

  • Boarding school

    Many boarding schools provide learning environments that directly address gifted students’ learning needs, such as dedicated gifted classes, withdrawal classes, in-class adaptations, etc. They also often have a wide range of extracurricular programs to challenge and stimulate gifted learners and enable them to pursue areas of interests. For instance, they might have an after-school Spanish discussion or reading group for students with a special interest in or talent for language and literature.

    “Consider, though, whether your child will be comfortable and confident while living away from home, and while having to navigate the various, and sometimes unforeseen, social-emotional experiences, alongside the many academic challenges,” says Joanne Foster, gifted education expert and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids.

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How Special needs (general) kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classes normally provide lots of individualized teaching and learning and one-on-one support, giving them the flexibility to accommodate students with a wide range of special needs. Some also provide learning environments that directly address special learning needs, such as segregated classes, part-time withdrawal classes, and integrated classes.

    However, “Keep in mind that some small schools only provide support for one special need,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “Ask which special need(s) a school supports, how it supports it, and whether it has teaching staff with the right training and expertise to provide this support.”

    Finally, since small schools tend to have fewer resources, ensure they have whatever’s needed to foster your child’s academic, social, and emotional development, such as guidance departments, academic and social counsellors, educational assistants, and assistive technologies.

  • Language immersion school

    Some special needs, such as learning disabilities involving language, can make it extremely difficult to learn all or some of one’s subjects in a second language, which can impede the acquisition of literacy skills. “For example, a child with dyslexia in a French immersion program would struggle to read in both English and French without adequate intervention,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. Unfortunately, few language immersion schools have on-site specialists to support kids with language-based and other kinds of learning disabilities that can interfere with the literacy skills needed to thrive in this program.

    That said, students with special needs who enjoy and are good at the language arts often welcome the cognitive challenge and stimulation of learning in a different language, as this allows them to exercise their “language muscles.” If they’re hard workers who enjoy academics (and they don’t have a language-based learning disability), a language immersion school can be a nice fit.

  • Boarding school

    Some boarding schools provide learning environments that directly address special needs, including dedicated classes, integrated classes, and part-time withdrawal classes. Many also provide a range of resources to cultivate your child’s overall development, such as academic and psychological counselling, social workers, faculty advisors, and tutors.

    Just make sure any prospective school has small enough classes to provide the structure, individualized learning, and one-on-one support your child will likely require. Also, since they’ll be living away from home, inquire what support systems are in place to keep them on the right track—academically and socially. For instance, if your child has an auditory processing disorder, ensure the school has an on-site specialist to provide them with the help they need.

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How Learning disabilities kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classes normally provide lots of personalized learning and one-on-one teaching. This gives them the flexibility to support students with a wide range of learning disabilities (LDs), and to actively monitor their progress and development. Some also provide learning environments that directly support LDs, such as segregated classes, part-time withdrawal classes, and integrated classes. 

    However, “Keep in mind that some small schools only provide support for one type of learning disability,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “For instance, they may only support dyslexia or language-based learning disabilities." Ask which learning disability (or disabilities) a school supports, how exactly it supports it.” Finally, make sure a smaller school has out-of-class resources to support your child’s development. For instance, if they struggle with decoding language, ensure they have a reading intervention specialist on staff. 

  • Language immersion school

    Some learning disabilities (LDs), such as those involving language, can make it extremely challenging to learn all or some of one’s subjects in a second language, as immersion programs require. “For example, a child with dyslexia in a French immersion program would struggle to read in both English and French without adequate intervention,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “It’s thus important for parents to be aware of early signs of phonological decoding issues—or processing or reasoning issues, for that matter—since most language immersion schools do not offer intervention or support in these areas, and unfortunately this can lead to literacy difficulties in both languages.”

    That said, students with LDs who are language-oriented often enjoy the stimulation of learning in a different language, as this allows them to exercise their “language muscles.” If they work hard and enjoy academics (and they don’t have a language-based LD), a language immersion school can be a nice fit.

  • Boarding school

    Some boarding schools provide learning environments that explicitly support learning disabilities, including dedicated classes, integrated classes, and part-time pull-out classes. Many also provide a range of resources to promote your child’s academic, social, and emotional development, such as robust guidance departments, counsellors, psychologists, social workers, and faculty advisors

    Just make sure any boarding school has small enough classes to provide the structure, individualized learning, and one-on-one support your child will likely require. Also, ensure it has the resources and staff to address your child’s specific challenges. For instance, if they struggle with visual processing, ask whether properly trained staff are available to help them with reading, math, maps, charts, symbols, pictures, and the like.

    Finally, “Ensure your child has a strong understanding of their learning challenges and what kind of support and accommodations they need,” says Stacey Jacobs, Director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “At a boarding school, kids will need to advocate for themselves, and they’ll need the knowledge and confidence to do this.”

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Does your child have a social, emotional, or behavioural issue?

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How Social/emotional issues kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classes normally provide lots of individualized learning and one-on-one support, giving them the flexibility to accommodate students with a range of social issues. Some also offer learning environments that directly address these kinds of special needs, such as segregated classes, part-time withdrawal classes, and breakout support groups. 

    “Students with behaviour/emotional/social issues often thrive in smaller school settings,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “These students often feel a sense of comfort and ease in knowing that all of the staff know them and understand their challenges. They can be supported in a trusting environment and have to navigate fewer social relationships, both with their peers and adults.”

    However, keep in mind that some small schools only provide support for one or two social or emotional issues, such as clinical anxiety or depression. Ask which issues a school supports, how it supports them, and whether it has teaching staff with specialized training to provide this support. Finally, since small schools tend to have fewer resources, make sure they have whatever your child needs, such as an on-site psychologist to help them with their impulse control, if this is an issue.

  • Language immersion school

    Some social issues can make it extremely difficult to stay on track in a language immersion program. For example, a child with severe anxiety may struggle to stay focused enough to keep pace with his or her peers in a French immersion program. If the school doesn't offer intervention or support for this disorder, which many immersion schools won’t, this can lead to ongoing academic (e.g., literacy) problems, and potentially compound the emotional issue.

    That said, kids with social issues who enjoy and are good at the language arts often enjoy the cognitive challenge of learning in a different language. If they’re hard workers who are strong academically (and they don’t have a severe social or emotional disorder), a language immersion school can be a nice fit.

  • Boarding school

    Some boarding schools provide learning environments that directly address social issues. For instance, some provide dedicated classes (or are dedicated schools) for "troubled teens," who may struggle with alcohol or drug addiction or who may suffer from an anxiety or eating disorder. 

    “Many parents feel that a boarding school is the best environment for their child with behavioural challenges,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “For one thing, they may believe it’s in the best interest of their child to be away from their community and possibly those who might be a ‘bad influence.’”

    Just make sure a school has small enough classes to provide the structure, individualized learning, and one-on-one guidance your child will likely need. Also, since they’ll be living away from home, ensure support systems are in place to keep them on the right track and that your child is willing and prepared to take advantage of them. Your child will often need to advocate for themselves at a boarding school and they’ll need confidence and perseverance to do so.

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How Conventional learner kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Some small schools, especially alternative ones, have smaller classes with a student-centred curriculum and an individualized approach to learning. While this benefits many kids, conventional learners often prefer a more traditional environment, with pre-planned units, teachers who deliver whole-class lectures, and lots of structure.

    That said, many schools with smaller classes, especially those which offer individualized learning, have the flexibility to accommodate a wide range of learning styles. For instance, if your child prefers direct instruction, textbook-based learning, and graded work—as many conventional learners do—a small school may be able to offer these things.

  • Language immersion school

    Most language immersion schools cater to conventional learners, offering plenty of structure, teacher-led instruction, and clear criteria for assessment. They also enable your child to work with peers who are often motivated and studious–an environment conventional learners can thrive in. 

    That said, for conventional learners who are less academically-focused, a language immersion program—which requires students to learn all or most subjects in a second language—can be taxing. This is especially true if languages aren’t a strength for your child.

  • Boarding school

    Boarding schools can be a nice fit for conventional learners, who tend to prefer whole-class lectures, direct instruction, textbook-based learning, and graded work. While some boarding schools offer more alternative approaches—e.g., student-centred, inquiry-based, and individualized learning—these are more the exception than the rule. Asked detailed questions about a school’s teaching approach to ensure your child’s academic needs will be met, bearing in mind that learning preferences vary even among conventional learners. 

How Unconventional learner kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Small schools tend to have smaller classes with plenty of individualized learning and independent and small group work. This can enable your unconventional learner to pursue their interests in an engaging and sometimes collaborative environment. It’s also often easier for smaller schools to set up classes of special interest for certain students—such as art history or microbiology—allowing them to pursue unique learning paths.

    Small schools normally have fewer extracurriculars for kids to explore passions and develop skills outside of class. Ask what’s available, focusing specifically on your child’s areas of interest.

  • Language immersion school

    “Many unconventional learners prefer more scope for independent learning than language immersion schools sometimes allow,” says Dona Matthews, education consultant and co-author of Beyond Intelligence. “For these kids, the best schools are often those that are flexible enough to give them the time and energy to pursue their own interests both in and out of school. The added challenges provided by second-language learning can sometimes interfere with this goal and hinder a child’s academic development.”

    That said, unconventional learners who enjoy and are good at languages often welcome the extra challenge of learning in a different language. If they’re hard workers who enjoy academics, a language immersion school can sometimes be a good fit.

  • Boarding school

    If you’re considering a boarding school for an unconventional learner, make sure it offers them plenty of opportunities to pursue their interests. Often, small- to medium-sized classes with lots of individualized learning work well, since this gives your child the freedom to carve out a fulfilling academic niche. Ask a school about its class sizes, teaching approach, and amount of individualized learning, to confirm whether it’s the right fit.

    With larger student populations, boarding schools often have more extracurriculars for your child to explore their passions outside of class. Ask what opportunities are available, focusing especially on your child’s interests and needs: for instance, if they love computer programming, inquire whether the school offers an after-school or lunch program to boost their coding skills.

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How Independent learner kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Small schools often have smaller classes with plenty of individualized learning, which can give independent learners the freedom to pursue their interests and explore their passions. It’s also often easier for smaller schools to set up classes of special interest, such as evolutionary biology or musical theory.

    Small schools tend to have fewer extracurriculars and supplemental learning options than bigger schools. Ask what’s available, focusing specifically on your child’s areas of interest. For instance, if they’re eager to work on their painting skills, find out whether an after school or lunch program is offered and whether your child is eligible for it.

  • Language immersion school

    “Independent learners prefer more scope for working on their own than language immersion schools sometimes allow,” says Dona Matthews, education consultant and co-author (with Joanne Foster) of Beyond Intelligence. “For these kids, the best schools are often those that are flexible enough to give them the time and energy to pursue their interests both in and out of school. The added challenges provided by second-language learning can sometimes interfere with this goal and hinder a child’s academic development.”

    That said, independent learners who enjoy and are good at the language arts often welcome the challenge of learning in a different language. If they’re hard workers who enjoy academics, a language immersion school can sometimes be a good fit. “It can also sometimes lead to interesting and gratifying learning experiences where kids get to use and practice an acquired language in different contexts,” says Foster.

  • Boarding school

    If you’re considering a boarding school for your independent learner, make sure they’ll have ample opportunity to explore their passions. Often, small- to medium-sized classes with plenty of individualized learning work well, since they give your child the freedom to pursue unique learning pathways. Ask a school about its class sizes, teaching approach, and curriculum, to ensure it’s the right fit.

    With larger student populations, boarding schools often have more extracurriculars and supplemental learning options. Find out what’s available, focusing especially on your child’s areas of interest: for instance, if they love robotics, ask whether the school offers such a program. 

    Also, “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 boarding school,” says Janyce Lastman, Director of The Tutor Group. ““Since they have diverse student bodies, it will be easier for your child to find academically-focused peers to compete with.”

    Finally, “Boarding schools also promote self-reliance and resourcefulness since students live away from home, and these are valuable attributes for independent learners and other kids to have,” says Joanne Foster, education consultant and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids.

How Collaborative learner kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Small schools with smaller classes offer more opportunities for the kind of group work collaborative learners enjoy. Whether it’s discussion groups, project work, or peer-to-peer teaching, they tend to offer plenty of group activities in an inclusive environment.

    Also, “Small schools often have a family-like feeling, because the class sizes are so small,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “They form a sense of community across the grades. You get these cross-grade friendships, relationships, and mentoring if it gives certain kids leadership opportunities, something they would rarely have in a larger school.”

  • Language immersion school

    The demanding curriculum of language immersion schools, which requires students to learn all or most of their subjects in a second language, can sometimes be restrictive for collaborative learners. Some of these schools don’t provide enough time for the types of group learning activities collaborative learners crave. Also, learning and speaking in a foreign tongue can make it difficult for your child to communicate and interact with their classmates, which can be frustrating.

    That said, collaborative learners who enjoy and are good at the language arts often welcome the challenge of learning in a different language. If they’re hard workers and enjoy conversing, networking, and practicing the language they’re studying with others, then a language immersion school can be a good fit.

  • Boarding school

    Boarding schools have a wide range of learning environments. While some prioritize collaborative and group learning, others don’t. Of course, since they often have more classes and bigger student cohorts, they can normally accommodate a broad scope of learning styles, including both collaborative and independent learning.

    Since boarding schools tend to have larger student populations, they often have more extracurriculars which involve group or collaborative learning, such as debate and student government. Also, “Due to their large numbers of students, they offer more opportunities to find a group of like-minded peers,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. This can give your child the opportunity to explore interesting and dynamic social learning opportunities, in and out of class.

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Is your child anxious?

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How Anxious kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Many small schools have smaller classes with lots of one-on-one support and close supervision to support kids with anxiety (and other emotional issues). 

    “Students with anxiety often thrive in smaller school settings,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “These students often feel a sense of comfort and ease in knowing that all of the staff know them and understand their challenges. They can be supported in a trusting environment, and they won’t have to navigate as many social relationships with kids and adults.”

    However, some small schools don’t support kids with certain anxiety disorders, especially severe ones. Ask what kinds of anxiety issues a school supports and how it delivers this support. Finally, make sure your child has access to resources they may need in class or out, such as on-site counselling.

  • Language immersion school

    Anxiety can make it challenging to stay on track in a language immersion program. For instance, a child with severe generalized anxiety may lack the emotional resources and focus to keep pace with their peers in an immersion program. If a school doesn't offer intervention or support for this disorder, which most immersion schools won’t, this can lead to ongoing academic (e.g., literacy) problems and potentially exacerbate your child’s anxiety.

    That said, kids with less severe anxiety who enjoy and are good at languages often welcome the cognitive challenge of learning in a different language. If they’re hard workers who are strong academically, a language immersion school can be a nice fit.

  • Boarding school

    Make sure any school you’re considering has small enough classes to provide the structure and one-on-one support your anxious child needs. Also, since they’ll be living away from home, ensure support systems are in place to keep your child on the right track, academically and emotionally, and that they’re willing and prepared to take advantage of them. For instance, if your child has a social or generalized anxiety disorder, weekly visits with an on-site psychologist may be in order. 

    Also, “Consider whether your child will be comfortable and confident while living away from home, and while having to navigate the various, and sometimes unforeseen, social-emotional experiences, alongside the many academic challenges,” says Joanne Foster, education expert and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids.

    Of course, boarding school can be a great way for some anxious kids, especially those with milder anxiety, to develop confidence, independence, and resilience. Having to manage schedules and routines and advocate for oneself can be emboldening.

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Does your child have ADHD?

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How ADHD kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classes normally provide lots of individualized learning, structure, and one-on-one support, which students with ADHD tend to require. Some also offer learning environments (and special education staff) that directly support ADHD, such as segregated classes, part-time withdrawal classes, and breakout groups. 

    “Students with ADHD often thrive in smaller school settings,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “These students may feel a sense of comfort and ease in knowing that all of the staff know them and understand their challenges. They can be supported in a trusting environment, and they won’t have to navigate as many social relationships with their peers and adults.”

    However, keep in mind that some small schools don’t have the resources to accommodate kids with ADHD, especially if it’s severe. Ask what kind of support is available, both in class and out, and how it will be delivered. For instance, “do you have an in-house psychologist to work with my child on their focus and organization?”

  • Language immersion school

    Students with ADHD sometimes find it challenging to stay on track in a language immersion program. For example, students with severe inattention issues may struggle to learn all or most of their subjects in a second language. If a school doesn't offer targeted intervention or support for this issue, which most immersion schools won’t, this can lead to ongoing academic (e.g., literacy) problems, and potentially exacerbate some of your child’s challenges.

    That said, kids with milder ADHD who enjoy and are good at the language arts often enjoy the cognitive challenge of learning in a different language. If they’re hard workers who are strong academically, a language immersion school can be a nice fit.

  • Boarding school

    Make sure any boarding school has small enough classes to provide the structure, individualized learning, and one-on-one guidance kids with ADHD need. Also, since your child will be living away from home, ensure support systems are in place to keep them on the right track, and that they’re willing and prepared to take advantage of them. Your child will often need to advocate for themselves at a boarding school, and they’ll need the confidence and perseverance to do so.

    Finally, “Evenings can be challenging for kids with ADHD,” says Stacey Jacobs, director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “If your child is on medication, it may sometimes wear off at night, which can make completing homework and falling asleep challenging. Ensure boarding supervisors and dons are well-equipped with strategies to support kids with ADHD.”

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Is your child autistic?

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How Autistic kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classes normally provide lots of individualized learning, structure, and one-on-one support, which students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often need. Some also offer learning environments (and special education staff) that directly support autism, such as dedicated classes, part-time withdrawal classes, and classes with breakout groups. 

    “Students with autism tend to do well in smaller school settings,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “These students may feel a sense of comfort and ease in knowing that all of the staff know them and understand their challenges. They can be supported in a trusting environment, and they won’t have to navigate as many social relationships with their peers and adults.”

    However, keep in mind that some small schools won’t be able to accommodate kids with autism, especially if a child is on the higher end of the spectrum. Ask what kind of support is available, both in class and out, and how it will be delivered. For instance, “do you have an in-house psychologist to work with my child on their communication and interaction skills?”

  • Language immersion school

    Autism can sometimes make it difficult to learn all or most of one’s subjects in a second language, as language immersion programs require. For instance, autistic children with poor executive functioning skills may struggle to keep up with their peers in this setting. If a school doesn't offer targeted intervention or support for this issue, which most immersion schools won’t, this can lead to ongoing academic (e.g., literacy) problems and potentially compound some of your child’s challenges.

    That said, kids with mild autism who enjoy and are good at the language arts may welcome the cognitive challenge of learning in a different language. If they’re strong academically and have strong enough executive functioning skills, a language immersion school can be a nice fit.

  • Boarding school

    Make sure any boarding school has small enough classes to provide the structure, individualized learning, and one-on-one support kids with autism need. Also, since your child will be living away from home, ensure support systems are in place to keep them on the right track, academically and socially, and that they’re willing and prepared to take advantage of them. Your child will often need to advocate for themselves at a boarding school, and they’ll need the confidence and perseverance to do so.

    Finally, “Consider whether your child will be comfortable and confident while living away from home, and while having to navigate the various, and sometimes unforeseen, social-emotional experiences, alongside the many academic challenges,” says Joanne Foster, education expert and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids.

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Is your child dyslexic?

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How Dyslexic kids fit with North Star Academy Laval's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classes normally provide lots of personalized learning and one-on-one guidance. This gives them the flexibility to support students with a range of learning disabilities (LDs), including dyslexia, and to actively monitor their progress and development. Some also provide learning environments that directly support dyslexia, such as segregated classes and part-time withdrawal classes. 

    “Keep in mind, though, that not all small schools provide support for kids with dyslexia,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “For instance, a school may only support kids with LDs involving math or numbers (like dysgraphia).” 

    Ask whether a school supports dyslexia, and if it does, how it delivers this support. Finally, make sure a smaller school has out-of-class resources that meet your child’s needs. Since your child struggles with decoding language, they may need regular visits with an on-site reading intervention specialist.

  • Language immersion school

    Dyslexia can make it extremely challenging to learn all or most of one’s subjects in a second language, as language immersion programs require. For instance, “A child with dyslexia in a French immersion program would struggle to read in both English and French without adequate intervention,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “It’s thus important for parents to recognize early signs of phonological decoding issues—or processing or reasoning issues, for that matter—since most language immersion schools do not offer intervention or support in these areas, and unfortunately this can lead to literacy difficulties in both languages.”

    If you’re considering a language immersion school for a child with dyslexia, make sure it offers the intensive support your child requires. For instance, since your child will likely need to work closely with a reading intervention specialist on their phonic decoding, ensure one is on staff.

  • Boarding school

    Make sure any boarding school has small enough classes to provide the structure, individualized learning, and one-on-one support your child needs. Also, confirm it has the resources and staff to support your child’s reading disorder. For instance, since they struggle with phonic decoding, ask whether a reading specialist is on staff. 

    Finally, “Ensure your child has a strong understanding of their learning challenges and what kind of support and accommodations they need,” says Stacey Jacobs, director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “At a boarding school, kids will need to advocate for themselves, and they’ll need the knowledge and confidence to do so.” 

    Keep in mind that some boarding schools provide learning environments that explicitly support dyslexia, including dedicated classes and part-time pull-out classes. Many also provide a range of resources to promote your child’s academic, social, and emotional development, such as robust guidance departments, counsellors, psychologists, social workers, and faculty advisors.

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