What is a play-based preschool?

The main features and benefits of play-based preschools

Find a list of schools

Most preschools aim to prepare your child for the school years, by teaching them social and academic skills. While preschools sometimes are sometimes similar to nursery schools, daycares, and even kindergartens, they often have a different approach than these other options. Read more


List of play-based preschools

 
FILTERS:
Type
Grades
 

Prestige School - Richmond Hill Campus


Richmond Hill, Ontario
Major MacKenzie Dr. W/Bathurst St.
 
Add to shortlist

"Prestige School offers individualized programs from pre-school to grade twelve in Richmond Hill with an average class size of twelve students.

  1. We are ministry inspected and a proud member of the Ontario Federation of Independent Schools.
  2. Our curriculum exceeds Ontario guidelines as a result of our individualized, accelerated learning.
  3. Our code of conduct promotes self-discipline and responsibility.
  4. We provide extracurricular clubs, sports and supervised after school tutorial assistance.

—From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $15,000 to $18,000
 
Add to shortlist
Prestige School - Richmond Hill Campus 15000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed

Banbury Crossroads School


Calgary, Alberta
Crowchild Trail/Flanders Ave
 
Add to shortlist

"Choose to Succeed, at Banbury Crossroads School. We offer a truly unique learning experience, with self-directed, collaborative, tutorial-style classrooms that average 10:1 students per teacher.

  1. Exceptionally small class sizes averaging 10:1
  2. Learning to mastery
  3. Founded on mutual respect and communication
  4. Individualized instruction based on interest and pace

—From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate Candidate
  • $16,800 to $18,800
 
Add to shortlist
Banbury Crossroads School 16800 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed

Havergal College


Toronto, Ontario
Lawrence Avenue West/Avenue Road
 
Add to shortlist

"Havergal has been preparing young women to make a difference since 1894 through its innovative curriculum and future-ready programming with a focus on wellbeing and student agency.

  1. Beautiful 22-acre campus in the heart of Toronto.
  2. Innovative curriculum and future-ready programming for students.
  3. Small class sizes with a focus on wellness and student agency.
  4. Award-winning Art, Music and Drama departments.

—From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Girls)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $39,450 to $74,365
 
Add to shortlist
Havergal College 39450 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls

St. John's-Kilmarnock School


Waterloo Region (Breslau), Ontario
 
Add to shortlist

"SJK offers an enriched environment of exploration and experiential learning. Through its IB curriculum, SJK provides exciting experiences and guides students to discover their talents and passions. Go beyond at SJK.

  1. Accredited IB World Continuum School
  2. Experienced, passionate, professional teachers
  3. Project-based, design-thinking experiential learning
  4. Extensive co-curricular programs in athletics, arts, leadership and community service

—From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $20,490 to $75,840
 
Add to shortlist
St. John's-Kilmarnock School 20490 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed

Montcrest School


Toronto, Ontario
Danforth Ave/Broadview Ave
 
Add to shortlist

"Montcrest is a welcoming community that specializes in cultivating incredible young people. With small class sizes and unparalleled student-teacher relationships, Montcrest helps children become who they’re meant to be.

  1. Founded in 1961
  2. Small class sizes
  3. 21st century skills - inquiry, technology & critical thinking
  4. Inquiry-based learning

—From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $30,000 to $46,675
 
Add to shortlist
Montcrest School 30000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed

Branksome Hall


Toronto, Ontario
Bloor Street East/Mount Pleasant Road
 
Add to shortlist

"Branksome Hall is Toronto’s only leading International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for girls in JK-Grade 12, developing the leaders of tomorrow through the nurturing of curiosity and critical thinking at every age.

  1. Picturesque 13-acre urban campus
  2. Athletics and Wellness Centre that prioritizes healthy food and living
  3. IB programs: JK to Grade 12
  4. Leadership opportunities for all grades and students

—From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Girls)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $38,990 to $78,600
 
Add to shortlist
Branksome Hall 38990 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls

Upper Canada College


Toronto, Ontario
St Clair Ave W/Avenue Rd
 
Add to shortlist

"Located in the heart of Toronto, UCC provides transformational learning experiences in a supportive, caring environment. Our highly sought-after graduates are awarded International Baccalaureate and OSSD diplomas.

  1. High-achieving, all-round students
  2. Challenging but rewarding IB program
  3. First rate academics, athletics and arts
  4. 19 different sports and 80+ clubs

—From the school

  • Gr. SK to 12 (Boys)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $38,600 to $75,200
 
Add to shortlist
Upper Canada College 38600 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Boys
Ottawa, Ontario
Buena Vista Road/Springfield Road
 
Add to shortlist

"Elmwood School is Ottawa's pre-eminent school for girls from PreK to Gr. 12. Our high academic standards, small class sizes and safe, supportive environment ensure that each girl is inspired to reach her full potential." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $16,970 to $32,800
Add to shortlist
Elmwood School 16970 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
Toronto, Ontario
York Mills Road/Bayview Avenue
 
Add to shortlist

"Junior Academy offers programs for students from Toddler to Grade Eight, in midtown Toronto. The average class size is 10 to 14 students and it caters to many types of students with different learning profiles." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $10,000 to $32,000
Add to shortlist
Junior Academy 10000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed

"Crestwood School in Toronto offers JK to grade six, with an enrolment of 350 students. Class sizes average 15 students and tuition starts at $21,000." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 6 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $21,000 to $34,000
Add to shortlist
Crestwood School 21000 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
York Mills/Leslie
 
Add to shortlist

"Learning is not one to many. It's many to one. From the teachers to the principal to the coaches and beyond, learning at WillowWood is a team approach." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 12 (Coed)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $20,600 to $26,350
Add to shortlist
WillowWood School 20600 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Calgary, Alberta
17 Avenue SW/69 Street SW
 
Add to shortlist

"Rundle students enter their post-secondary schools of choice thanks to our enriched academics and character, leadership, and wellness pillars. We proudly live by our values, Together: Be Kind, Be Curious, Be Well." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 12 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $16,800 to $21,800
Add to shortlist
Rundle College 16800 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Ottawa, Ontario
Iris St/Woodroffe Ave
 
Add to shortlist

"Empowering girls from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8 through bilingual education." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $17,400
Add to shortlist
Academie Jeanne d'Arc 17400 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Girls
Toronto, Ontario
Avenue Rd/Bloor St W
 
Add to shortlist

"RDS is a downtown co-ed school that fosters future-ready leaders by honouring the unique character and potential of each child. We offer small class sizes and access to top-tier facilities like UoT, the ROM and the AGO." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $29,190
  • Day school
  • 170 students
Add to shortlist
The Rosedale Day School 29190 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Add to shortlist

"Calgary French & International School's immersive French language learning environment and enriched curriculum for children aged 19 to grade 12 inspires a deep curiosity, respect and exploration of the world around them." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $9,200 to $18,570
Add to shortlist
Calgary French & International School 9200 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Lawrence/Don Mills
 
Add to shortlist

"Brighton is the leading private school in Toronto for students with academic and/or social challenges. We offer curriculum-based and remedial Elementary programs; and credit, pre-credit and non-credit Secondary streams." —From the school

  • Gr. SK to 12 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $27,750
  • Day school
  • 65 students
Add to shortlist
Brighton School 27750 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Montreal, Quebec
Av de Monkland/Boul Cavendish
 
Add to shortlist

"Lower Canada College is a gender-inclusive, K-12 university preparatory school, committed to excellence in teaching and learning. It is the only high school in Quebec offering both the IB MYP and DP." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 12 (Coed)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $25,365 to $27,660
  • Day school
  • 890 students
Add to shortlist
Lower Canada College 25365 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Mississauga, Ontario
Erin Mills Parkway/Turner Valley Road
 
Add to shortlist

"A special needs education private school in Mississauga offering programs using the Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based (DIR®) Model. Theme-based DIR® March/Summer Camps are also available." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $21,945 to $74,675
Add to shortlist
Oakwood Academy 21945 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Riverview, New Brunswick
 
Add to shortlist

"Focusing on balancing academic and intellectual growth with physical and mental well-being, we engage students in a culture of collaboration and wellness through our world-class academic program." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $15,900
  • Day school
  • 33 students
Add to shortlist
Eastgate Academy 15900 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Queen/Silver Birch
 
Add to shortlist

"The Cole Academy welcomes students of all genders and orientations and their families. Using stories of under-represented communities, TCA prepares students socially, emotionally, and academically for future schooling." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $25,000
Add to shortlist
The Cole Academy 25000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Yonge/St. Clair
 
Add to shortlist

"The Linden School's transformative teaching and socially-progressive values inspire academic excellence, wellness, and civic engagement, empowering students to become changemakers ready to take on complex global issues." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $21,850 to $29,450
Add to shortlist
The Linden School 21850 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
Victoria, British Columbia
Quadra Street/Burdett Avenue
 
Add to shortlist

"Our students learn in a progressive, authentic, inspiring, welcoming, nurturing and in a safe, child-centred environment. Our small size, with one class for each grade, gives a sense of being part of a close-knit family." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $8,196 to $16,950
Add to shortlist
Christ Church Cathedral School 8196 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Duncan, British Columbia
Brownsey Avenue/Government Street
 
Add to shortlist

"Queen Margaret's School is a gender inclusive independent day/boarding university preparatory school in Duncan, BC that focuses on preparing young trailblazers...no two journeys are the same." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $7,000 to $68,780
Add to shortlist
Queen Margaret's School 7000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Homestay Day Boarding Coed
Add to shortlist

"Academy is strengths-based and remediation-focused. Collegiate is for those learning at or above grade-level. Blended+ is personalized for Grades 9-12 that empowers them to learn in-person, hybrid, and off-campus." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 12 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $14,600 to $18,980
Add to shortlist
Calgary Academy & Calgary Collegiate 14600 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Westmount, Quebec
The Boulevard/Place Braeside
 
Add to shortlist

"The Study, founded in 1915, is one of Canada's premier all-girls' schools. Dedicated teachers offer a warm and stimulating bilingual mother-tongue environment from Kindergarten to Grade 11. The World Needs Great Women." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 11 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $26,200 to $29,380
Add to shortlist
The Study 26200 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
Belleville, Ontario
 
Add to shortlist

"At Albert College, every student is an 'A' student. From Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12, our students experience all 5 of the Albert 'A’ s: Academics, Arts, Athletics, Active citizenship and Adventure programming." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $21,400 to $85,500
Add to shortlist
Albert College 21400 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
QEW/Erin Mills Parkway
 
Add to shortlist

"GlenOak Academy offers an educational experience as EXTRAORDINARY as your child! Our innovative, engaging approach to teaching and learning focuses on positive relationships, character development and academic success." —From the school

  • Gr. SK to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $24,500 to $61,900
Add to shortlist
GlenOak Academy 24500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools eSchool Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
 
Add to shortlist

"Aurora Alternative Micro School has created a curriculum that combines academic and creative experiences , engaging a child's head, heart and hands in an environment that is supportive, nurturing and rich in growth." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $1,100
Add to shortlist
Aurora Alternative Micro School 1100 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Upper Levels Highway/Cypress Bowl exit
 
Add to shortlist

"By inspiring excellence – the continuous pursuit of personal best - in education and life, Mulgrave strives to equip lifelong learners to thrive in a diverse and interdependent world." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $26,850 to $30,290
Add to shortlist
Mulgrave School 26850 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Calgary, Alberta
17th Ave SW/Richmond Road SW
 
Add to shortlist

"In addition to academics, our focus on mentorship, hands-on learning in and outside the classroom, and character development, will allow our students to thrive academically and personally as they discover who they are." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 12 (Coed/Girls/Boys)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $14,000 to $16,000
Add to shortlist
North Point School 14000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Coed Girls Boys
Toronto, Ontario
Wilson Avenue/Avenue Road
 
Add to shortlist

"Glen Briar Academy provides hands on programs and student centered teaching strategies that shape life long learners." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $12,750 to $28,500
  • Day school
  • 65 students
Add to shortlist
Glen Briar Academy 12750 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Etobicoke, Ontario
Bloor/Shaver
 
Add to shortlist

"Kingsley's small classes and personal approach help students reach their unique potential. Each child is seen, heard, and respected. French, music, and phys-ed round out a program which includes plenty of time outdoors." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 5 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum; Reggio Emilia
  • $7,500 to $13,000
Add to shortlist
Kingsley Primary School 7500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
North Vancouver, British Columbia
 
Add to shortlist

"Brockton is a coeducational IB World School where every student matters, every family matters, community matters, and learning for life matters." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $27,200 to $30,600
  • Day school
  • 345 students
Add to shortlist
Brockton School 27200 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
St. Catharines, Ontario
Ontario St./Welland Ave.
 
Add to shortlist

"Heuristic & autodidactic, inspired by Sudbury & democratic models. Students are self-directed, and holistically empowered. Voluntary attendance, year-round calendar, agency, & consent inspire free learning. Also Forest" —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 12 (Coed/Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $57 to $10,000
Add to shortlist
Agate Private School 57 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Homestay Day eSchool Boarding Coed Girls
Baie-D'Urfé, Montreal, Quebec
rue Victoria/rue Normandy
 
Add to shortlist

"The Alexander von Humboldt German International School Montreal is a multilingual (German, English and French), private, co-educational school serving students from preschool to grade 12." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $9,950 to $12,950
Add to shortlist
Alexander von Humboldt German International School 9950 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Summerland, British Columbia
 
Add to shortlist

"Looking for an education that's out of the ordinary? Unisus School is a Pre - K to Grade 12 day and boarding school in Canada's Okanagan, offering the International Baccalaureate program + the B.C. Diploma (Dogwood)." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $12,945 to $56,500
  • Day, Boarding
  • 130 students
Add to shortlist
Unisus School 12945 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
Kitchener, Ontario
 
Add to shortlist

"Carmel New Church School provides a loving, peaceful place with indoor and outdoor classrooms where students are taught to become productive and caring people, both in this life and the next." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $2,000
Add to shortlist
Carmel New Church School 2000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Ottawa, Ontario
Vaughan Street/Bertrand Street
 
Add to shortlist

"Ottawa’s Fern Hill School offers Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary Grades, including Core & Advanced French. Tuition starts at $3,250." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 8 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $3,250 to $14,950
Add to shortlist
Fern Hill School - Ottawa 3250 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Scarborough - Toronto, Ontario
Ellesmere Rd/Warden Ave
 
Add to shortlist

"The Sathya Sai School promotes human excellence through a value-based curriculum. The integration of academic excellence and character development lays the foundation for socially responsible future leaders." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $9,000
Add to shortlist
Sathya Sai School of Toronto 9000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
North York, Ontario
Bathurst/Wilson
 
Add to shortlist

"Magnificent Minds Inc. caters to students whose needs are not being met in traditional school environments, pursuing personal best through a balanced approach to education." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $20,000 to $26,000
  • Day school
  • 30 students
Add to shortlist
Magnificent Minds 20000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Ottawa, Ontario
Kirkwood/Laperriere
 
Add to shortlist

"Revel Academy is a learner-driven micro-school that utilizes adaptive and mastery-based technology, Socratic discussions, hands-on projects, and real-world apprenticeships in an innovative, character-forging community." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $15,250
Add to shortlist
Revel Academy 15250 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Bloor St. West/Windermere St.
 
Add to shortlist

"Erudite School offers individual learning maps to meet the needs of each child. Our curriculum highlights: English, French, and optional Russian, the Arts and STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $15,540
  • Day school
  • 40 students
Add to shortlist
Erudite Private School 15540 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Maple Ridge, British Columbia
240th Street/Dewdney Trunk Road
 
Add to shortlist

"Our practices in teaching and learning are exemplified by our outstanding academic results and are achieved through the active engagement of the head, heart, and hands." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $28,400 to $38,400
Add to shortlist
Meadowridge School 28400 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Etobicoke, Ontario
Burnhamthorpe Road/Kipling Avenue
 
Add to shortlist

"At Olivet School, we focus on building the "whole child". We create a warm, caring environment for our students through small class sizes and integrating Christian values and character development into all that we do." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 5 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $7,880 to $13,240
Add to shortlist
Olivet School 7880 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
Add to shortlist

"GIST is the only full-time German school in Toronto offering high-quality education that empowers students to excel as global citizens. Our Character framework strengthens and promotes the best in every student." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 11 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $12,300 to $22,300
Add to shortlist
German International School Toronto 12300 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Eglinton Avenue East/Laird Drive
 
Add to shortlist

"Explore Nature is experiential learning, exploring curiosity for the natural world. Our programs embrace nature connection through meaningful experiences and relationships focusing on personal growth and well-being." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 3 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $5,575 to $13,750
Add to shortlist
Explore Nature 5575 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
Halifax, Nova Scotia
 
Add to shortlist

"With a global network of schools around the world, a rich and proud history, and a strong and unique set of core values, Sacred Heart offers not just an education but an experience that is unparalleled in Nova Scotia." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Girls/Coed/Boys)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $14,370 to $20,130
Add to shortlist
Sacred Heart School of Halifax 14370 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Girls Coed Boys
Toronto, Ontario
Davenport/Dupont
 
Add to shortlist

"The Mabin School offers programs from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 in Toronto. Its average class size is 20 students." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 6 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $33,592
Add to shortlist
The Mabin School 33592 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
Westmount, Quebec
Mount Pleasant Avenue/Cedar Avenue
 
Add to shortlist

"Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School offers a bilingual education for girls from K-11, located in Westmount, Qc. We develop bold leaders and creative thinkers — equipping each girl to be the entrepreneur of her own future." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 11 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $21,800 to $26,380
Add to shortlist
Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School 21800 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
Vancouver, British Columbia
Cambie/Nelson
 
Add to shortlist

"Claren Academy is a future-focused independent school located in the heart of Vancouver. We give students the tools to be creative, competent, and happy in their changing world." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 7 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $19,855
Add to shortlist
Claren Academy 19855 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Calgary, Alberta
Crowchild Trail/Flanders Ave. SW
 
Add to shortlist

"Clear Water Academy is the only private Catholic school in Alberta. We offer a rigorous academic program from Jr. Kindergarten to Grade 12 for students of all faiths. 100% of our students pursue post-secondary education." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Girls/Coed/Boys)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $6,300 to $17,400
Add to shortlist
Clear Water Academy 6300 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Day Girls Coed Boys
Montreal, Quebec
The Boulevard/Côte-des-Neiges Road
 
Add to shortlist

"The Priory School specializes in early childhood education, a place where childhood is cherished, and where meaningful learning takes place in an enriched and nurturing learning environment." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 6 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $20,515 to $22,435
Add to shortlist
The Priory School 20515 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
North Vancouver, British Columbia
 
Add to shortlist

"Our rigorous, personalized programme and strong teacher-student relationships enable us to cultivate each student's talents, helping them build on strengths and discover the joy of learning." —From the school

  • Gr. K to 12 (Coed)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $21,500 to $24,500
Add to shortlist
Alcuin College 21500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed

Play-based preschools and daycares

Play-based preschools (also called "play school") are based on the belief that young children learn best through play. They offer mostly open-ended activities, with minimal structure. They aim to develop your child’s social and emotional skills, and to promote a love of learning in an interactive environment.

Play-based preschools, like other preschool programs, tend to be child-centred. They mostly let children choose their own activities. They rarely follow a set curriculum, though they usually have a daily schedule.

In these preschools, classrooms are set up to promote interaction, socialization, problem solving, and discovery learning. Often, there are different stations in class where kids can engage in a wide range of activities. For instance there might be a kitchen, building, reading, and sensory area. This allows kids to pursue their interests and learn and interact in different ways.

Play-based preschools typically don’t offer much direct instruction. Teachers rarely, if ever, provide whole-class lectures. They also don’t normally follow a strict curriculum, at least compared to academic preschools. To learn about the differences between play-based and academic preschools, read our guide.

That said, children can learn important skills in a play-based preschool, including social, emotional, and problem-solving skills. They also may acquire knowledge in some core subjects, such as math, reading, and writing (among others).

As Maureen Myers, executive director at Sprouts, a preschool in Toronto, Ontario, says "We don't sit down and teach by rote or repetition, but the ideas and concepts of letter recognition, language, math, and sciences are learned by very hands-on activities."

Play-based preschools normally have lots of indoor and outdoor physical activity. Boys and girls run around a lot, dance, play hide-and-seek, sports, and other fun activities. They might also play board games and do jigsaw puzzles. And they'll likely do lots of arts and crafts, such as drawing, painting, and colouring.

An example of a play-based preschool is Waldorf. While Waldorf preschools provide some focused work time, they also allot plenty of time for free play and play-based learning. They also place a big focus on pretend or imaginative play.

Play-based preschools have some appealing features.

Benefits of play-based preschools

To learn about the differences between play-based and academic preschools, read our guide. You can also read articles comparing different preschool approaches: Montessori to WaldorfMontessori to Reggio EmiliaWaldorf to Reggio EmiliaMontessori to academic, and Montessori to play-based preschools. If you want to compare specific schools one-to-one, visit our compare hub.

 

Preschool questions (read our in-depth answers)

 

Answers to the question “What is a play-based preschool?” from school officials

“There have been numerous studies that conclude young students learn best through play. Children develop a good sense of self in an environment rich in language, play experiences, music, and gross motor development. They learn independence by developing their self-help skills and self-regulation. The many social interactions in a preschool environment help develop important emotional skills and foster a child’s larger perspective of the world.

Play is what makes learning meaningful and fun. A vibrant and successful classroom is rooted in daily activities that develop critical thinking through problem solving as children explore, predict, and investigate elements in the world around them.” Corina Gill, assistant head of the lower school at Bayview Glen Independent School, in Toronto, Ontario

“Play is how children learn—it is inquiry for young children. Learning in preschool is through play. There should be large blocks of uninterrupted time for children to play in the preschool’s schedule. There is a spectrum of play. Some play can be directed by the teacher with specific learning expectations in mind. Some play should be representative of the children’s own interests, with limited teacher interference. Some play should be completely unstructured and freely directed by the students.

Albert Einstein said that ‘play is the highest form of research.’ Young children also benefit from small increments of teacher-directed instruction. A balance of play-based learning and teacher-directed activities is ideal, with the emphasis being on play. ” Vanessa Sjerven, teacher at Elmwood School (the early years program), in Ottawa, Ontario

“We emphasize the importance of child-initiated play. Children play with natural, open-ended materials. A safe, secure, and gentle space is created where they can explore and evolve with their play, with as little interference from the teacher as possible. The teacher will only interfere when necessary in the free play of the child. In this way, the child is the master of their own activity, promoting feelings of confidence and trust in their own abilities.” Jennifer Deathe, head of admission at Waldorf Academy, in Toronto, Ontario

“Children learn more in one day of play than many of us learn in a week of hard work. When presented with the proper, enriched environment and opportunities for learning, your child can flourish. We do not expect any child to learn classroom material/content in a standard, regimented form. Our educators are there to help guide and lead your child to his or her best sense of self.” Paula Carrasco, director of Kendelhurst Academy, in Mississauga, Ontario

“My point of view: children can play and learn in preschool. One does not preclude the other. Play is an integral part of learning ‘academics.’ Through play, children investigate the world through their inquisitiveness and sense of discovery and develop a positive self-image. They also develop intellectually, socially, physically, emotionally, and acquire self-management skills.” Nora Ibrahim, preschool teacher and IB PYP (Primary Years Programme) coordinator at Académie de la Capitale, in Ottawa, Ontario

Series: Preschools

In the spotlight:


Latest Articles

The youngest learners: 18 months to 3 years  
(June 25, 2019)

The Earlier Education Begins, the Better  
Research shows the period when a child is five months to five years of age is a very critical time for early learning (June 12, 2019)

Preschools in Canada  
The benefits of attending preschool go much deeper than simply better school performance (May 30, 2019)

Questions to ask preschools and daycares  
Some key questions to ask when you're considering a preschool for your child (May 7, 2019)

x

By logging in or creating an account, you agree to Our Kids' Terms and Conditions. Information presented on this page may be paid advertising provided by the advertisers [schools/camps/programs] and is not warranted or guaranteed by OurKids.net or its associated websites. By using this website, creating or logging into an Our Kids account, you agree to Our Kids' Terms and Conditions. Please also see our Privacy Policy. Our Kids ™ © 2023 All right reserved.