The top independent school in Atlantic Canada, Sacred Heart School of Halifax (SHSH) teaches the whole child — mind, body, spirit. Our iconic campus in the heart of Halifax offers co-ed education for JP-Grade 6 and single-gender education for Grades 7-12. With a global network of schools around the world, a rich and proud history, and a strong and unique set of core values, we offer not just an education but an experience that is unparalleled in this region.
Advanced academics in the Senior School, including the Advanced Placement (AP) Program.
Single-gender education in Grades 7-12 because we know boys and girls learn & develop differently.
A robust offering of athletics, arts, debate, and extra-curricular activities at every level.
As part of a network of Sacred Heart schools around the world, we offer global exchange programs.
As part of our mission, social justice and social action programs are considered a priority.
Our incredibly rich heritage provides us with ceremonies and traditions unique to us.
We offer an early years bilingual program and core French class for older Elementary students.
Our High School curriculum includes Core, which helps students navigate complex social issues.
Students are provided with a university prep game plan that includes classes and counselling.
We are accredited by both CAIS and SHCOG.
Learning at Sacred Heart School of Halifax during COVID-19
What learning looks like now: Sacred Heart School of Halifax has its full schedule of in-person, on-campus classes in place for the 2021-21 Academic Year. Working with Nova Scotia Public Health and our own consulting physicians, we have implemented a number of COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of our students and staff. In addition to advanced cleaning protocols, all entrants to the School are required to sanitize their hands upon entry, and wear a mask. Masks must be kept on in all common areas like hallways, washrooms, and playgrounds, but are not required in classrooms where we have enough space for requisite social distancing. We are following Public Health guidelines for gathering and are currently able to host extra-curricular clubs and activities, including sports, music, robotics, karate, yoga, running and many others. Visitors are required to register in advance, complete health screening, and leave immediately after their appointment.
The school describes its campus as iconic, and to be sure, it really is. The school was founded in 1849, and the campus shows its age in all the best ways. The location is iconic as well, in the heart of Halifax and across from the historic public gardens. As those things signal, Sacred Heart is a part of the historical culture of the city, and arriving here each day delivers its own frisson of excitement. As with any school of this vintage, much has changed, and today the program is iconic in other ways. The provision of single gender education through Grades 7 to 12 is one of them, offering the best of both worlds. As a member of a global network of schools, the gaze is international, with emphasis on social justice and social action. While there are many longstanding traditions and events, the school also distinguishes itself as cutting edge, both in the curriculum it offers—the broad Advanced Placement offering, for one—but also through its delivery, with lots of hands-on, project oriented, collaborative learning. That said, the biggest draw for many is simply the spirit of the school. There is a keen desire to get students involved in a wide range of activity, including a robust program of service learning, while also engaged within the daily life of the school. Sacred Heart has a proven ability to deliver all of it.
Central to your child's school experience is the underlying curriculum taught in the classroom. "Curriculum" refers to both what is taught and how it's taught. When considering the different curricula outlined in the next few pages, keep in mind that few schools fall neatly into one category or another. Most schools' curricula comprise a blend of best practices drawn from multiple curriculum types. Having said that, most schools do have a general overall curriculum type. These are identified for each school on OurKids.net.
Curriculum approach at Sacred Heart: Traditional
Sacred Heart has a Traditional approach to Curriculum (as opposed to Liberal Arts, Progressive, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf approach).
[Show: About Traditional?]
Traditional curricula tend to be very content-based and rooted in the core disciplines. It is a structured approach that involves the teacher delivering a unified curriculum through direct instruction. Students usually learn by observing and listening to their teacher, studying facts and concepts in textbooks, and completing both tests and written assignments - which challenge students to not only demonstrate their mastery of content but their ability to analyze and deconstruct it critically. Class discussions are also used to create critical dialogue around the content of the curriculum.
Curriculum at schools on OurKids.net
Traditional - 44%   Liberal arts - 17%   Progressive - 27%   Montessori - 10%   Reggio Emilia - 1%   Waldorf - 1%
What Sacred Heart says: Students develop a strong foundation of academic excellence, through good study habits, solid organizational skills, critical thinking, and self-confidence. We also use an Advanced Placement (AP) program in Senior School.
Traditional Math typically teaches a method or algorithm FIRST, and THEN teaches the applications for the method. Traditional algorithms are emphasized and practiced regularly: repetition and drills are frequently used to ensure foundational mastery in the underlying mathematical procedures. The traditional approach to math views math education as akin to building a logical edifice: each brick depends on the support of the previously laid ones, which represent mastery over a particular procedure or method. Traditional Math begins by giving students a tool, and then challenges students to practice using that tool an applied way, with progressively challenging problems. In this sense Traditional Math aims to establish procedural understanding before conceptual and applied understanding.
Mathematics at schools on OurKids.net
Traditional math - 28%   Discovery math - 4%   Equal balance - 68%
What Sacred Heart says: This information is not currently available.
Textbooks and supplementary materials: This information is not currently available.
Calculator policy: This information is not currently available.
Programs that balance systematic and process approaches equally likely have an emphasis on giving young students ample opportunities to write, while providing supplementary class-wide instruction in grammar, parts of sentences, and various writing strategies.
Social Studies approach at Sacred Heart: Expanding Communities
Sacred Heart has an Expanding Communities approach to Social Studies (as opposed to Core Knowledge , Thematic approach).
[Show: About Expanding Communities?]
The Expanding Communities approach organizes the curriculum around students’ present, everyday experience. In the younger grades, students might learn about themselves, for example. As they move through the grades, the focus gradually broadens in scope: to the family, neighbourhood, city, province, country, and globe. The curriculum tends to have less focus on history than Core Knowledge programs.
Sex and health education approach at Sacred Heart: Not Nova Scotia curriculum
Sacred Heart has a Not Nova Scotia curriculum approach to Sex and health education (as opposed to Follows provincial curriculum approach).
[Show: About Not Nova Scotia curriculum?]
The sex education curriculum does NOT follow the provincial one taught in public schools - either in terms of structure, pacing, focus, and/or tone.
Sex and health education at schools on OurKids.net
Does not follow prrovincial curriculum - 45%   Follows provincial curriculum - 55%
Approach to sex and health education: Mostly value-neutral
Sacred Heart has a approach Mostly value-neutral (as opposed to Fairly value-based approach).
[Show: About Mostly value-neutral?]
By and large, students are taught about sex free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. The school doesn't impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on students when teaching sex and related issues.
What Sacred Heart says: This information is not currently available.
Preschools and kindergartens tend to have a particular curriculum or curricular approach. This refers to what is taught and how it's taught. Most preschools have a curriculum that comprises a blend of best practices drawn from multiple curriculum types. A preschool's curriculum may or may not, though, reflect its higher-level curriculum (if it's part of a school with elementary or secondary programs)
Preschool/K Curriculum approach at Sacred Heart: Play-based
Sacred Heart has a Play-based approach to Preschool/K Curriculum (as opposed to Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, Academic approach).
[Show: About Play-based?]
Play-based programs are the most common type of preschool and Kindergarten, and are founded on the belief young children learn best through play. Largely open-ended and minimally structured, play-based programs aim to develop social skills and a love of attending school. “Pre-academic” skills are taught, but in a more indirect way than at, say, an Academic program: through children playing in different “stations” set up around the classroom, which children choose on their own volition. Stations often contain an indirect lesson or developmental goal. Play-based classrooms are highly social and active.
What Sacred Heart says: In our JP program, play is encouraged, yet purposeful, and structured learning is enriching, exciting, and fun. We nurture the best in your child while laying the foundation for spiritual, emotional, and social growth.
This refers to the rate at which students move through the curriculum (e.g., topics, textbook material, skills, etc.). Curriculum pace is often defined in comparison to provincial standards.
Curriculum Pace approach at Sacred Heart: Standard-enriched
Sacred Heart has a Standard-enriched approach to Curriculum Pace (as opposed to Accelerated, Student-paced approach).
[Show: About Standard-enriched?]
Broadly-speaking, the main curriculum -- like that of most schools -- paces the provincially-outlined one. This pace is steady and set by the teachers and school. The curriculum might still be enriched in various ways: covering topics more in-depth and with more vigor than the provincial one, or covering a broader selection of topics.
Through the collective mindset of teachers, administrators, students, and parents, each school develops and maintains its own academic culture. This generally relates to the norms and expectations created around academic performance. Many parents look to private schools because they want a specific type of culture. Some want a rigorous environment that will elevate their child to new heights. Others want a nurturing environment that will help their child develop a passion for learning.
Academic Culture approach at Sacred Heart: Rigorous
Sacred Heart has a Rigorous approach to Academic Culture (as opposed to Supportive approach).
[Show: About Rigorous?]
A school with a “rigorous” academic culture places a high value on academic performance, and expects their students to do the same. This does not mean the school is uncaring, unsupportive, or non-responsive -- far from it. A school can have a rigorous academic culture and still provide excellent individual support. It does mean, however, the school places a particular emphasis on performance -- seeking the best students and challenging them to the fullest extent -- relative to a normal baseline. High expectations and standards – and a challenging yet rewarding curriculum – are the common themes here. Keep in mind this classification is more relevant for the older grades: few Kindergarten classrooms, for example, would be called “rigorous”.
Academic Culture at schools on OurKids.net
Rigorous - 51%   Supportive - 49%
What Sacred Heart says: This information is not currently available.
Schools have specific goals regarding how they want their educate and develop their students. This is part of a school's overall philosophy or vision, which is contained in its mission statement. While they tend have several developmental aims, schools tend to priortize certain aims, such as intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, or physical development.
Primary Developmental Priority: Balanced
"Equal emphasis is placed on a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social and physical cultivation."
Secondary Developmental Priority: Intellectual
The goal is to cultivate "academically strong, creative and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions."
What Sacred Heart says: This information is not currently available.
Schools offer a wide range of approaches and services to support students with special needs. This may include individualized learning, one-on-one support, small classes, resource rooms, and learning aids. These supports may be provided in a number of different environments such as a dedicated special needs school or class, an integrated class, a withdrawal class, or a regular class with resource support or in-class adaptations.
Sacred Heart offers No support
Sacred Heart offers no/limited support for students with learning difficulties or special needs.
Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
This is a learning disability that can limit a child's ability to read and learn. It can have a variety of traits. A few of the main ones are impaired phonological awareness and decoding, problems with orthographic coding, and auditory short-term memory impairment.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
This is a sound differentiation disorder involving problems with reading, comprehension, and language.
This is a kind of specific learning disability in math. Kids with this math disorder have problems with calculation. They may also have problems with math-related concepts such as time and money.
This is a kind of specific learning disability in writing. It involves problems with handwriting, spelling, and organizing ideas.
Language Processing Disorder
This is characterized by having extreme difficulty understanding what is heard and expressing what one wants to say. These disorders affect the area of the brain that controls language processing.
Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)
These involve difficulties interpreting non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language. They're usually characterized by a significant discrepancy between higher verbal skills and weaker motor, visual-spatial, and social skills.
Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
A characteristic seen in people with learning disabilities such as Dysgraphia or Non-verbal LD. It can result in missing subtle differences in shapes or printed letters, losing place frequently, struggles with cutting, holding pencil too tightly, or poor eye/hand coordination.
Refers to a range of conditions that involve challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, and speech and nonverbal communication. They also involve unique strengths and differences. For instance, there are persons with both low- and high-functioning autism (some claim the latter is identical to Asperger's syndrome).
On the autism spectrum, Asperger's is considered quite mild in terms of symptoms. While traits can vary widely, many kids with Asperger's struggle with social skills. They also sometimes fixate on certain subjects and engage in repetitive behaviour.
his is associated with impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth, and a particular set of facial characteristics.
This is a condition characterized by significant limitations in intellectual functioning (e.g., reasoning, learning, and problem solving). Intellectual disabilities are also known as general learning disabilities (and used to be referred to as a kind of mental retardation).
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term used to describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy. These may include growth deficits, facial anomalies, and damage to the central nervous system, which can lead to cognitive, behavioural, and other problems.
roubled teens tend to have problems that are intense, persistent, and can lead to quite unpredictable behaviour. This can lead to behavioural and emotional issues, such as drug and alcohol abuse, criminal behaviour, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.
This is a mental health disorder also called "major depression." It involves persistent feelings of sadness, loss, and anger. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms are usually severe enough to cause noticeable problems in relationships with others or in daily activities, such as school, work, or one's social life.
This is a mood disorder involving intense, relentless feelings of distress and fear. They can also have excessive and persistent worry about everyday situations, and repeated episodes of intense anxiety or terror.
This involves persistent thoughts about ending one's life.
Drug and alcohol abuse
This involves the excessive use of drug and/or alcohol, which interferes with daily functioning.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
This is a disruptive behavioural disorder which normally involves angry outbursts, often directed at people of authority. This behaviour must last continuously for six months or more and significantly interfere with daily functioning.
This is a condition of the central nervous system. It affects the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. Symptoms can include fatigue, loss of motor control, memory loss, depression, and cognitive difficulties.
his refers to a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. CP is caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture.
Muscular dystrophy is a neuromuscular disorder which weakens the body's muscles. Causes, symptoms, age of onset, and prognosis vary between individuals.
This is a condition present at birth due to the incomplete formation of the spine and spinal cord. It can lead to a number of physical challenges, including paralysis or weakness in the legs, bowel and bladder incontinence, hydrocephalus (too much fluid in the brain), and deformities of the spine.
Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
This is a Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Also known as "sensory integration disorder," it affects fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. It may also affect speech.
Visual impairment is a decreased ability or inability to see that can't be fixed in usual ways, such as with glasses. Some people are completely blind, while others have what's called "legal blindness."
Hearing impairment, also known as "hearing loss," is a partial or total inability to hear. The degree of hearing impairment varies between people. It can range from complete hearing loss (or deafness) to partial hearing loss (meaning the ears can pick up some sounds).
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited genetic condition, which affects the body's respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. It affects young children and adults.
Accommodating a wide range of physical conditions and disabilities.
Schools support students with gifted or advanced learning abilities in a several ways. Whether they offer a full-time gifted program or part-time support, they normally provide some form of accelerated learning (delivering content at a faster pace) or enrichment (covering content more broadly or deeply). Many schools also offer a wide range of in-class adaptations to support advanced learners, such as guided independent studies, project-based learning, and career exploration.
Dedicated gifted programs:
Full-time gifted program (parallel to rest of school)
Part-time gifted program (pull-out; parallel to rest of class)
Curriculum delivery: This information is not currently available.
While all schools measure individual progress and achievement in students, they have different ways of doing this. For instance, many traditional schools gauge progress through report cards, which give students lettered or numbered grades. Other schools, meanwhile, measure progress in other ways, either in addition to or instead of giving grades. For instance, they may offer prose-based feedback (i.e, comments), academic achievement reporting, habits and behaviour reporting, and parent-teacher meetings. In choosing the right school for your child, take a close look at its policy for measuring the individual progress of students.
While academics remain the priority for most private schools, many also place a strong focus on a well-rounded education and encourage participation in extracurricular activities such as sports, music, arts, or clubs. Involvement in extracurriculars helps stimulate students in their studies, makes them more motivated to learn, and can make school more enjoyable and fulfilling. Extracurricular activities can also provide students with a much-needed break from the stresses of academics, while helping them to develop skills and allowing them to take part in valuable social situations.
Competitive sports: 7 Recreational sports: 6
Legend: Competitive offered Recreational offered
Track & Field
Sacred Heart School of Halifax offers 12 clubs and extracurricular programs.
This can depend on a number of factors, including the type of school, living arrangements, what’s included in tuition, school location, resources, and facilities. Many private schools in Canada have tuition that ranges between $6,000 and $12,000 a year. While some schools, such as schools which provide room and board, can be more expensive, many of these schools provide ways to defray the costs of tuition. For instance, they may offer merit-based scholarships or needs-based financial aid (often referred to as “bursaries” or “subsidies”).
What Sacred Heart says about their tuition: This information is not currently available.
2nd child (sibling)
3rd child (sibling)
Need-based financial aid
Grade range that need-based aid is offered:
1 to 12
Percentage of grade-eligible students receiving financial aid
Private schools come in all shapes and sizes. Some larger schools have enrolment numbers in the thousands, while some smaller schools have only a few dozen students. Boarding schools tend to be on the larger side, while alternative schools, such as Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and Waldorf, are normally smaller. Besides the overall size of school, there are other important facts you’ll want to know about a school’s enrolment. For instance, here you can learn about a school’s enrolment for separate streams (if they have them), such as day and boarding, its average class size, and its average enrolment per grade.
JK to Gr. 6
Gr. 7 to Gr. 12
Gr. 7 to Gr. 12
Average class size
% of international students (total enrolment)
Number of different nationalities within student population
Private schools in Canada have admissions policies. All schools have some required application materials, though these vary between schools. These may include letters of application, application fees, essays, and exams (such as the SSAT). Many schools also require interviews with prospective students, either with their parents, on their own, or both. Schools also have different standards and priorities when evaluating student applications, different acceptance rates (which may vary between grade levels), and target different kinds of students. To improve your child’s chances of acceptance, you should find out everything you can about a school’s admissions policies and how they assess applicants.
Prospective families can complete the online application which is easy, free, and takes very little time. Once the Admissions Department receive the application, they will be in touch to arrange an in-person or online tour, and an appointment for the child’s admissions assessment.
Acceptance Rate: 78%
This is the percentage of applicants typically accepted into the school. So if 50 students are admitted out of 100 applicants, the school has an overall acceptance rate of 50%.
Student Entry Points
This shows approximately how many openings there are likely to be in each grade in a typical year, as well as the estimated acceptance rate for each grade level.
Day Acceptance (Acceptance rate)
Type of student Sacred Heart is looking for:
Sacred Heart students are kind to their peers and teachers, intellectually curious, and socially conscious young women and men who show their school spirit in ways that are relational and constructive. Sacred Heart seeks students who want to be engaged in learning and who seek to develop their unique extracurricular gifts and talents. Becoming who one is meant to be is the key to success at Sacred Heart, and this requires self-awareness, interior listening, kind and constructive feedback, and a global outlook.
Where graduates of a school do their post-secondary studies can be an important factor in choosing a private school. Do you want your child to go to a Canadian university, an Ivy league school in the US, or some other institute? Regardless of your inclinations, take a look at a school’s university placement record, and the services they offer to support university applications and decisions.
Average graduating class size
Students accepted into post-secondary studies upon graduation
Percentage of students who attend post-secondary institutions outside of Canada
Students who attended a Ivy+ school
Number of students in the past 5 years that that attended one of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, University of Chicago, Oxford or Cambridge (UK)
Sacred Heart School of Halifax Graduates’ Post-Secondary Studies:
This information is not currently available.
Aggregate of All Schools’ Post-Secondary Studies:
24% - Liberal Arts and Sciences 25% - Engineering and Applied Sciences 25% - Business/Commerce 4% - Fine and Performing Arts 13% - Applied Health Sciences 2% - Applied Professional Studies (Post-grad certificate / diploma) 6% - Other
Services Offered to Students
What Sacred Heart says:
Virtually all of our graduates go on to a
university education because we develop their game plan
early. In addition to individual counselling and guidance,
students also learn from recent graduates about how to
start preparing for their post-secondary years. In Grade
11, students can write PSAT exams to experience lengthy
multiple choice formats and to obtain a benchmark. Once
in Grade 12, students have weekly compulsory University
Preparation that gives them the tools they need: career
planning, the university application process, scholarship
applications, and resumé writing. Along their Senior
School journey, students are supported as they develop
their strengths and a well-rounded background including
volunteerism and leadership, and are encouraged to
apply for scholarships, bursaries, and awards. Overall,
students leave Sacred Heart fully equipped to engage
in a successful and fulfilling post-secondary academic
experience so they can be agents of change in our world.