ADVERTISEMENT

On now. Don’t miss it.

Must attend event for parents & students

  • Meet with all the top schools in just one day.
  • Attend info seminars with education experts.
  • Consult with school heads and admissions teams.

What is a play-based preschool?

The main features and benefits of play-based preschools

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


Featured Open House Events:   View all events


List of play-based preschools

 
FILTERS:
Type
Grades
 
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Leslie/York Mills
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $12,500 to $26,800

La Citadelle's Excellence in Bilingual Education and academically advanced curriculum develop successful global citizens through IB & AP programs and a holistic approach where students achieve their highest potential.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
La Citadelle International Academy of Arts & Science 12500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Danforth Ave/Broadview Ave
  • JK to 8 Coed
  • $25,000 to $39,975

Montcrest School offers programs from JK to Grade 8. Its average class size is seven to 18 students. Montcrest offers an exceptional academic experience with balanced opportunities in leadership, the arts, and athletics.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Montcrest School 25000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bloor Street East/Mount Pleasant Road
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $33,630 to $66,805

Branksome Hall is Toronto’s only all-girls, all-years International Baccalaureate (IB) World School.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Branksome Hall 33630 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    St Clair Ave W/Avenue Rd
  • SK to 12 Boys
  • $33,300 to $61,860

Located in the heart of Toronto, Upper Canada College is the oldest independent boys' school in Ontario. Our IB graduates are highly regarded by top universities and post-secondary institutions worldwide.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Upper Canada College 33300 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Boys
  • Oakville, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $18,000 to $28,430

Oakville's SMLS continues to be a premier independent school for girls Preschool to Graduating Year since 1891. "Millie" graduates take on the world with confidence and the knowledge that they can do anything.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School 18000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Waterloo Region (Breslau), Ontario
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $17,415 to $64,750

St. John's-Kilmarnock School, in Waterloo, offers enriched educational programming for students from JK – Grade 12 through its accredited International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. Its average class size is 17.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
St. John's-Kilmarnock School 17415 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Summerland, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $16,150 to $51,500

The Unisus School is the Okanagan’s most innovative independent school, offering a pre-K through 12, inquiry-based education that is tailored to each student’s unique abilities and interests.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Unisus School 16150 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Erin Mills Parkway/Argentia Rd
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $19,590 to $66,850

Oakwood Academy is a special education private school in Mississauga. It offers programs from pre-school to grade 12. Oakwood also offers a unique 6 week summer camp focusing on social skills and emotional development.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Oakwood Academy 19590 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    York Mills Road/Bayview Avenue
  • JK to 8 Coed
  • $21,500 to $40,000

The Junior Academy offers programs for junior kindergarten to grade eight in Toronto. Its average class size is 10 to 14 students.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Junior Academy 21500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge/St. Clair
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $16,800 to $22,600

The Linden School provides a challenging academic program for girls from JK - Grade 12. We create opportunities to discover the joys of learning and foster the development of critical thinking and physical well-being.

  • Day
  • Progressive
The Linden School 16800 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Maple Ridge, British Columbia
    240th Street/Dewdney Trunk Road
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $22,500 to $32,500

Meadowridge is an IB Continuum World School that supports the development of the whole child in a safe, supportive and challenging environment.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Meadowridge School 22500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $12,610 to $18,885

Our school has two programs: Academy, for students with learning difficulties who have yet to consistently perform at grade level, and Collegiate, for students at or above grade level and looking for new challenges.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Calgary Academy & Calgary Collegiate 12610 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $12,900 to $18,500

Rundle College is a university preparatory school from Kindergarten-Grade 12 in Calgary, Alberta. Our small class sizes of 12-16 students, gives our students the advantage of and enriched and personalized education.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Rundle College 12900 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Dufferin/Eglinton
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $17,152 to $19,860

Lycée Français de Toronto is a French school that offers programs from nursery to grade 12. Its average class size is 17 students.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Lycée Français de Toronto 17152 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Leslie Street/York Mills Road
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $12,900 to $23,400

The Giles School is a French immersion private school in Toronto for children age 2 (Pre-K) to Grade 8. Open Admissions through Grade 1, small classes, and Mandarin introduced as a third language in Grade 1.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
The Giles School 12900 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Fisher Ave/Baseline Rd
  • JK to 8 Coed
  • $19,350 to $21,300

Turnbull School is dedicated to academic excellence in a caring environment. We offer highly qualified teachers, small class sizes, well rounded and enriching programming, and variety in athletics, science and the arts.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Turnbull School 19350 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • North Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $19,100 to $22,200

Brockton School is an independent, co-ed, non-denominational, IB World School. Brockton hosts an Early Learning Years program, a Junior School, and a Senior School, with students from Junior Kindergarten to grade 12.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Brockton School 19100 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $7,900 to $15,100

Calgary French & International School graduates will be active global citizens with a foundation for life-long success, and our school will be the leader in French immersion and international education.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Calgary French & International School 7900 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
    17th Ave SW/Richmond Road SW
  • K to 9 Boys
  • $7,000 to $12,000

North Point School for Boys is a Kindergarten to Grade 9 independent school in which curious and energetic boys are challenged and motivated, developing into young men of integrity with a genuine love of learning.

  • Day
  • Progressive
North Point School For Boys 7000 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $13,300 to $15,100

Clear Water Academy is a private Catholic school that stands ready to meet and expand the minds and passions of some of the brightest students in Calgary, and exchange students from around the world.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
Clear Water Academy 13300 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Montreal, Quebec
    Av de Monkland/Boul Cavendish
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $18,695 to $23,845

Lower Canada College is a coed, K-12 university preparatory school, committed to excellence in teaching and learning. It is the only English school in Quebec offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Lower Canada College 18695 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • North York, Ontario
    Dufferin/Lawrence
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $19,000 to $25,000

Magnificent Minds Inc. caters to learners whose needs are not being met in traditional school environments, pursuing academic excellence, and individual greatness.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Magnificent Minds 19000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Iris St/Woodroffe Ave
  • JK to 8 Girls
  • $15,750

In our all-girls environment, academic achievement in both official languages is the norm. A Joan of Arc Academy bilingual education prepares the women leaders for the challenges of tomorrow. Come and see the difference.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Joan of Arc Academy / Academie Jeanne d'Arc 15750 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Girls
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $21,780 to $23,490


  • Day
  • Traditional
West Point Grey Academy 21780 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    QEW/Erin Mills Parkway
  • JK to 8 Coed
  • $6,500 to $28,700

GlenOak Academy offers an education as EXTRAORDINARY as your child! We build positive relationships with our students and take an outside-the-box approach to teaching and learning.

  • Day
  • Progressive
GlenOak Academy 6500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Don Mill Rd/York Mills Rd
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $18,375 to $27,290

Bayview Glen is a traditional co-ed day school in Toronto, Ontario from Preschool (age 2) to Grade 12, a global member of Round Square and offers Advanced Placement programme. Tuition ranges from $17,000 to $26,500.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Bayview Glen 18375 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Vaughan Street/Bertrand Street
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $3,250 to $14,950

Ottawa’s Fern Hill School offers Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary Grades, including extended French. Tuition starts at $2,950.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Fern Hill School - Ottawa 3250 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
    Township Road 250/Range Road 33
  • 4 to 12 Coed
  • $17,220 to $18,270

At Edge School, your child succeeds through integrated athletics, academics, and character-building programs.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Edge School 17220 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Baie-D'Urfé, Montreal, Quebec
    rue Victoria/rue Normandy
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $7,450 to $10,700

We offer a sound, internationally recognized academic foundation. Our students gain fluency in three languages and achieve mastery of biology, chemistry and physics.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Alexander von Humboldt German International School 7450 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
  • PS to 5 Coed
  • $12,000

For the past 36 years Kingsley Primary School offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade five in Etobicoke. Its average class size is eight to 12 students.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
Kingsley Primary School 12000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
    West Broadway/Stephens Street
  • K to 7 Coed
  • $16,125 to $19,350

Small and intimate by design, progressive by choice, and innovative by necessity, Pear Tree Elementary is redefining what it is to teach and learn in the modern world.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Pear Tree Elementary 16125 Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Duncan, British Columbia
    Brownsey Avenue/Government Street
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $4,800 to $49,300

Queen Margaret's School is an independent day/boarding university preparatory school in Duncan, BC.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Progressive
Queen Margaret's School 4800 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Boarding Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Davenport/Dupont
  • JK to 6 Coed
  • $26,450

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

  • Day
  • Progressive
The Mabin School 26450 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • West Vancouver, British Columbia
    Upper Levels Highway/Cypress Bowl exit
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $19,980 to $24,820

Mulgrave School offers programmes from Preschool to Grade 12 in West Vancouver. Its average class size is 20 students with teacher to student ratios of 1:8.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Mulgrave School 19980 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
    Cambie/Nelson
  • K to 5 Coed
  • $15,500 to $16,500

Claren Academy is a technology & creativity focused independent school located in the heart of Vancouver.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Claren Academy 15500 Elementary Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
    Crowchild Trail/Flanders Ave
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $8,000 to $10,000

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

  • Day
  • Progressive
Banbury Crossroads School 8000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Westmount, Quebec
  • K to 11 Boys
  • $19,880 to $25,760

Selwyn House School provides a well-rounded education of exceptional depth and scope for boys from Kindergarten to Grade 11. It is located in Westmount, Quebec.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
Selwyn House School 19880 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
    Burnhamthorpe Road/Kipling Avenue
  • PS to 5 Coed
  • $4,300 to $10,800

Founded in 1893, Olivet School is a Christian private school in Etobicoke, offering PS-Gr5. Olivet School combines quality teaching with individual attention to help each child achieve their personal potential.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Olivet School 4300 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $22,900

With over 120 years of excellence in all-girls’ education, our rigorous academic program is complemented by strong arts, design technology and athletic programs. Financial assistance is available.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Crofton House School 22900 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Westmount, Quebec
    Mount Pleasant Avenue/Cedar Avenue
  • K to 11 Girls
  • $18,763 to $21,417

Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School is a Tier 1 school for girls in Kindergarten through Grade 11, located in Westmount, Quebec. For every girl who has a mind of her own, we have a school to nurture it.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School 18763 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls

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, a Waldorf school, 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 Program) coordinator at Académie de la Capitale, in Ottawa, Ontario

Series: Preschools

Advertisement

In the spotlight:

Tickets on sale now: Private School Expos.

  • Meet with all the top schools in just one day.
  • Attend info seminars with education experts.
  • Consult with school heads and admissions teams.

Latest Articles



June 12, 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

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

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


Our Kids The Trusted Source
Our Kids The Trusted Source

Disclaimer: 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. See Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. Our Kids ™ © 2019 All right reserved.

Sign up to receive our exclusive eNews twice a month.
You can withdraw consent by unsubscribing anytime.
Name
Email
verification image, type it in the box
Our Kids From Our Kids, Canada’s trusted source for private schools, camps, and extracurriculars.