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Turnbull School:
The Our Kids Report > Academics
Grades JK TO Gr. 8 — Ottawa, ON (Map)

Turnbull School:


Curriculum Traditional

[Show definition of Curriculum]

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

Curriculum approach at Turnbull School: Traditional

Turnbull School 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
  Traditional - 40%
  Liberal arts - 13%
  Progressive - 33%
  Montessori - 11%
  Reggio Emilia - 1%
  Waldorf - 2%

What Turnbull School says about their overall curriculum and approach:

Since 1992, Turnbull School’s small classes and exceptional teachers have provided a comprehensive and enriching academic program, where emphasis is placed on caring and excellence. Our well rounded curriculum ensures a balance between all subject areas, and students enjoy the application of the content to cross-curricular activities and projects, so what they learn has more relevance and application. We value our parents as collaborative participants in their child’s education. Regular communication is a given and the staff all recognize the importance of keeping parents well informed. Accountability and accessibility are key attributes of every member of the faculty and leadership team. From a young age, Turnbull students are taught the essential learning skills of study strategies, time management and organizational techniques. As a result, our students learn to take responsibility for their academic work and to exercise the perseverance that together lead to future success.



Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics

    Equal Balance

    Mathematics approach at Turnbull School: Equal Balance

    Turnbull School has an Equal Balance approach to Mathematics (as opposed to Traditional Math, Discovery Math approach).

    [Show: About Equal Balance?]

    These math programs feature an equal balance of “Traditional” and “Discovery” methods.

    Mathematics at schools on
      Equal balance - 68%
      Traditional math - 26%
      Discovery math - 6%

    What Turnbull School says:

    Our mathematics program goes well beyond the Ontario Ministry of Education’s curriculum and provides students with an advanced program that covers greater breadth and depth of concepts and reasoning skills than is normally experienced or expected. With specialized teachers and small classes, every Turnbull student can be enriched, yet help is readily available if concepts need additional reinforcing. More frequent and meaningful teacher-student interactions result in immediate individual feedback. The approachable nature of our teachers and that personal connection with every student is a huge factor in student engagement in the learning process. Our “spiral curriculum” approach to mathematics ensures a continual review of previously taught concepts so students are revisiting and retaining the material while moving on to new areas. In this way, they develop strong mathematical competence and see the relevance of one topic to the next.

    Textbooks and supplementary materials:

    The Nelson Mathematics program is the main resource used. Jump Math is a major supplement used in Grades 1 through 8. Other problem solving and critical thinking resources are also used.

    Calculator policy:

    Calculators have a place in the upper grades when numeration is not the main objective of a topic being studied. When a child struggles with numeration skills, and a calculator can be used as a tool to help, he/she will not be left behind when working within another strand.

  • Early Reading

    Balanced Literacy

    Early Reading approach at Turnbull School: Balanced Literacy

    Turnbull School has a Balanced Literacy approach to Early Reading (as opposed to Phonics-intensive, Whole Language approach).

    [Show: About Balanced Literacy?]

    Balanced reading programs are typically Whole Language programs with supplementary phonics training. This training might be incidental, or it might take the form of mini-lessons.

    Early Reading at schools on
      Balanced literacy - 57%
      Phonics-intensive - 41%
      Whole language - 2%

    What Turnbull School says:

    At Turnbull School, we believe that for children to become proficient readers, they need to develop a wide range of knowledge and skills. These include a strong base of oral language, a strong general knowledge background, an understanding of print concepts and knowledge of letters and words. Children also need to learn comprehension strategies and higher order thinking skills, such as the ability to infer meaning from texts. We incorporate activities to develop all of these competencies on a daily basis in our overall literacy program. A balance of direct instruction, guided instruction, independent learning and practise are important elements of our early reading program. We also value frequent assessment and evaluation of reading levels and skills, and use the DRA-2, Developmental Reading Assessment to track each child’s progress.

    DIBELS Testing: This school periodically uses DIBELS testing to assess reading progress.

    What Turnbull School says:

    We use the DRA-2, Developmental Reading Assessment to track each child's reading progress, along with other important related skills.

  • Writing

    Equal balance

    Writing approach at Turnbull School: Equal balance

    Turnbull School has an Equal balance approach to Writing (as opposed to Systematic approach, Process approach approach).

    [Show: About Equal balance?]

    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.

    Writing at schools on
      Equal balance - 78%
      Systematic approach - 10%
      Process approach - 12%

    What Turnbull School says:

    Primary students use the Six Traits Writing model, where they learn and practise using the six traits of effective writers. Students learn to write personal and expository texts, poetry and report writing. They also learn basic editing skills. Junior students continue to expand on their understanding and use of the Six Traits of Writing model. Students learn to write personal and expository texts, poetry and report writing. They complete formal spelling and grammar lessons on a regular basis, develop editing skills and learn to use the writing process as a tool to fine tune their writing skills. Senior students focus on the importance of following the writing process: brainstorming, planning, organizing, revising and editing. We emphasize both creative and expository writing along with the ability to develop and express ideas in clear and effective prose. Students are also given a strong grounding in grammar.

  • Science

    Equal Balance

    Science approach at Turnbull School: Equal Balance

    Turnbull School has an Equal Balance approach to Science (as opposed to Expository, Inquiry approach).

    [Show: About Equal Balance?]

    Science programs that balance expository and inquiry learning equally will likely have an equal blend of tests and experiments; direct, textbook-based instruction and student-centred projects.

    Science at schools on
      Equal balance - 69%
      Expository - 5%
      Inquiry - 26%

    Teaching approach:

    Children best acquire scientific knowledge through experimenting, manipulation and exploration with science materials. We promote children’s natural curiosity for the scientific world through interactive, hands-on learning, offering many opportunities for experiments, labs and exploration. We go far beyond what is normally expected in the Ontario curriculum. Turnbull students graduate very motivated and with the advanced competence to pursue sciences.

    Treatment of evolution:

    Evolution as consensus theory
    Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
    Evolution is not taught

    Topics covered in curriculum:

  • Literature


    Literature approach at Turnbull School: Traditional

    Turnbull School has a Traditional approach to Literature (as opposed to Social Justice, Equal Balance approach).

    [Show: About Traditional?]

    In traditional literature programs students focus on decoding the mechanics of texts: plot, characterization, and themes. These texts tend to include a balance of contemporary and “classic” literature. When studying a past work, students investigate its historical context -- but only insofar as this adds understanding to the work itself. Past works are therefore studied “on their own terms”, and not merely as historical artifacts to be deconstructed: traditional literature programs are firmly rooted in the humanities, and carry the belief that great literature can reveal fundamental and universal truths about the human condition. These programs emphasize class discussions and critical essay writing, and aim to develop in students critical thinking, communication skills, and a cultivated taste and ethos.

    Literature at schools on
      Traditional - 22%
      Social justice - 3%
      Equal balance - 75%

    What Turnbull School says:

    Our students experience a very enriching literature program of novels, poetry and short stories, but we also emphasize the importance of developing strong basic skills of grammar, decoding, spelling and technical writing. Our students are set up for success beyond their time at Turnbull School, as they learn to communicate well both orally and in writing, and develop strong critical reading, creative writing and research skills.

  • Social Studies

    Core Knowledge

    Social Studies approach at Turnbull School: Core Knowledge

    Turnbull School has a Core Knowledge approach to Social Studies (as opposed to Expanding Communities, Thematic approach).

    [Show: About Core Knowledge?]

    Usually focused on teaching history and geography at an early age, the core knowledge approach uses story, drama, reading, and discussion to teach about significant people, places, and events. Breadth of content and knowledge is emphasized. The curriculum is often organized according to the underlying logic of the content: history might be taught sequentially, for example (as students move through the grades).

    Social Studies at schools on
      Core knowledge - 39%
      Expanding communities - 29%
      Thematic - 32%

    What Turnbull School says:

    The goal of our social studies program is to educate students about their local, national and international communities, and their place within these societies. Combining the disciplines of geography and history, we help students develop into informed citizens in a culturally diverse and interdependent world, while instilling an understanding and appreciation of our unique Canadian identity and experience. Through these studies, students acquire broad-based skills that are vital to future success. These skills include identifying and solving problems, critically evaluating different points of view, making informed decisions on a variety of issues, and engaging in articulate expression and debate. By exploring various points of view and evaluating a variety of evidence, students practise achieving a balanced perspective when making decisions on issues relevant to their world.

  • Humanities and Social Sciences

    Equal Balance

    Humanities and Social Sciences approach at Turnbull School: Equal Balance

    Turnbull School has an Equal Balance approach to Humanities and Social Sciences (as opposed to Perennialism, Pragmatism approach).

    [Show: About Equal Balance?]

    These programs represent an equal balance between the perennialist and pragmatic approach to teaching the humanities and social sciences.

    Humanities and Social Sciences at schools on
      Equal balance - 81%
      Perennialism - 8%
      Pragmatism - 11%

    What Turnbull School says:

    Grade 7 history covers Canadian history from the earliest inhabitants to the War of 1812. As well as covering the factual material, the students have opportunities to research elements of our past. In geography, the Grade 7's learn about earth sciences and the physical geography of Canada. In the Grade 8 program, students learn about the history of Canada from the War of 1812, through the important events surrounding Confederation, and ending with World War I. Their geography course continues the citizenship strand, exploring the nature of world human geography.

  • Foreign Languages


    Foreign Languages approach at Turnbull School: Communicative

    Turnbull School has a Communicative approach to Foreign Languages (as opposed to Audio-Lingual, Equal Balance approach).

    [Show: About Communicative?]

    The communicative method of language acquisition emphasizes the use of the target language in authentic contexts. The approach commonly features interactive group work, games, authentic texts, and opportunities to learn about the cultural background of the language. Drills and quizzes may still be used, but less frequently than with the audio-lingual method.

    Foreign Languages at schools on
      Communicative - 34%
      Audio-lingual - 3%
      Equal balance - 63%

    What Turnbull School says:

    Turnbull School strives to graduate students from Grade 8 with a strong level of conversational and every day, pragmatic French, while also achieving solid skills in French reading, writing and grammar. In addition, the students will have the desire and confidence to pursue further French studies beyond the basic requirements of high school. The achievement of this goal is dependent on the number of years the student is at Turnbull School, as well as the language aptitude and motivation of the student. There is a French only environment in French class, with an exception for students newer to French. Motivation and enjoyment of French always drive and enhance our program objectives.

  • Fine Arts


    Fine Arts approach at Turnbull School: Creative

    Turnbull School has a Creative approach to Fine Arts (as opposed to Receptive, Equal Balance approach).

    [Show: About Creative?]

    Creative arts programs are studio-driven. While historical works and movements may still be taught to add context to the program, students mainly engage in making art (visual, musical, theatrical, etc). The goal is use the actual practice of art to help educate students’ emotions, cognition, and ethos.

    Fine Arts at schools on
      Creative - 33%
      Receptive - 2%
      Equal balance - 65%

    Program offers:

    Graphic Design
    Visual Arts

    Visual studio philosophy:


    What Turnbull School says:

    Music, drama and visual arts are all recognized as essential elements of a child’s development at Turnbull School.Weekly fine arts classes are taught to students in Grades 4 to 8 by teachers who have specialized training in these disciplines. The Turnbull School Concert Band has been in existence since 2005. As an extracurricular ensemble, students from Grades 5 to 8 have the opportunity to further explore their love of music beyond their regular music classes with woodwind, brass and percussion instruments. The members enjoy the chance to gain performance experience through playing for special events at the school and in the community. They are often sought after by community groups due to the high calibre of their performances. Interested junior and senior students may also decide to audition for a role in the annual school production.

  • Computers and Technology

    Medium integration

    Computers and Technology approach at Turnbull School: Medium integration

    Turnbull School has a Medium integration approach to Computers and Technology (as opposed to Light integration, Heavy integration approach).

    [Show: About Medium integration?]

    Effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy through the curriculum. However, this is not a dominant focus.

    Computers and Technology at schools on
      Medium integration - 51%
      Light integration - 18%
      Heavy integration - 31%

    What Turnbull School says:

    Every student has regular computer classes and a curriculum which reinforces a variety of skills through cross-curricular assignments that deepen their learning. These include Internet safety, research, web animation, graphic design, video editing, publishing, graphing and keyboarding. In addition, students participate in a number of coding courses in Grades 3 through 8 which helps develop their logic skills. Our primary students have an additional computer class a week in French, using French websites and educational software to enhance their acquisition of this second language. Having access to enriching and engaging technologies, such as two state of the art computer labs, four portable iPad labs, SmartBoards, scan-and-project devices, eInstruction’s Classroom Response System, and a wide range of educational software are only a few ways in which we deepen the learning activities for our students.

    Program covers:

    Computer science
    Web design
  • Physical Education

    What Turnbull School says:

    All students at Turnbull School take part in daily physical education classes taught by physical education specialists. Our program focuses on participation, skill development, fair play and healthy living. These objectives are met by providing the students with the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of sports and activities.

  • Sex and health education

    Ontario curriculum

    Sex and health education approach at Turnbull School: Ontario curriculum

    Turnbull School has an Ontario curriculum approach to Sex and health education (as opposed to Does not follow prrovincialcurriculum approach).

    [Show: About Ontario curriculum?]

    The structure, pacing, focus, and tone of the sex education curriculum reflects that of the provincial one, taught in public schools.

    Sex and health education at schools on
      Follows provincial curriculum - 61%
      Does not follow prrovincial curriculum - 39%

    Approach to sex and health education: Mostly value-neutral

    Turnbull School 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 Turnbull School says:

    Turnbull School uses aspects of the Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum for Grades 1 to 8. For certain topics, lessons have been adapted to meet our school community's comfort level. Nurses from Ottawa Public Health visit classes in Grades 4 through 8 to help deliver more sensitive information.

Preschool/K Curriculum Play-based

[Show definition of Preschool/K Curriculum]

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 Turnbull School: Play-based

Turnbull School 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.

Preschool/K Curriculum at schools on
  Play-based - 25%
  Montessori - 24%
  Waldorf - 2%
  Reggio emilia - 7%
  Academic - 42%

What Turnbull School says about their preschool/K curriculum approach:

Every child is deserving of a safe, nurturing environment to express and develop his/her unique interests, creativity and abilities. It is in Kindergarten where Turnbull students first learn to respect and care about each other, to feel unique and special, but to see others that way too. The junior and senior kindergarten curriculum reflects the importance of early literacy and numeracy activities, as well as self-initiated inquiry-based pursuits. Our broad program also includes daily physical education, French language classes, as well as science, creative arts and computer time.

Language English

Learn about Turnbull School's languages of instruction and enrolment.

Turnbull School offers English as the primary language of instruction.

Language of enrolment include: English

Curriculum Pace Standard-enriched

[Show definition of Curriculum Pace]

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 Turnbull School: Standard-enriched

Turnbull School 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.

Curriculum Pace at schools on
  Standard-enriched - 58%
  Accelerated - 18%
  Student-paced - 24%

What Turnbull School says about their curriculum pace:

Given our small groupings, along with the nature of our students, Turnbull teachers are able to create engaging and challenging opportunities for all children that broaden and deepen their learning. We offer enriching programs at all grade levels, creating authentic and stimulating learning experiences for every student.

Flexible pacing style

Type Offered
Subject-streaming (tracking)
Multi-age classrooms as standard
Ability-grouping (in-class) as common
Frequent use of cyber-learning (at-their-own-pace)
Regular guided independent study opportunities
Differentiated assessment

What Turnbull School says about their flexible pacing:

Grades 4 to 8 French classes are streamed into three levels per grade. The students working within the highest level of French are working beyond grade level and using Francophone resources. Highly motivated students who graduate from this level may enter French Immersion in high school.

Academic Culture Supportive

[Show definition of Academic Culture]

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 Turnbull School: Supportive

Turnbull School has a Supportive approach to Academic Culture (as opposed to Rigorous approach).

[Show: About Supportive?]

A school with a “supportive” academic culture focuses more on process than short-term outcomes: academic performance is a welcomed side-benefit, but not the driving focus. This does not mean the school lacks standards, or has low expectations for its students: a school can have a supportive academic culture and still light the fire of ambition in its students. It does mean, however, the school provides a less intensive culture than schools with a “rigorous” academic classification, and is focused more simply on instilling a love of learning and life-long curiosity.

Academic Culture at schools on
  Supportive - 50%
  Rigorous - 50%

What Turnbull School says about their academic culture:

Turnbull students learn to take responsibility for their academic work and to exercise the perseverance that together lead to future success. The children make a personal commitment to do their very best to further their own growth. This includes taking responsibility for their work, being prepared, and caring about the growth of others through participation and respect.

Developmental priorities Intellectual

[Show definition of Developmental priorities]

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: Intellectual

The goal is to cultivate "academically strong, creative and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions."

Secondary Developmental Priority: Social

The goal is to cultivate "socially aware and active citizens, motivated to change the world (or their community) for the better."

What Turnbull School says about their developmental priorities:

Turnbull School emphasizes a competence based approach where each student can apply skills, acquire knowledge, develop creative problem solving skills, become an effective communicator, and acquire strong social and leadership skills. Time management and organizational skills are viewed as an integral part of their curriculum and essential to their future success. Turnbull School students also show care for others within and beyond the school. We aim to graduate students who are very well prepared for high school, academically, emotionally and socially.

Special needs support Resource Assistance

[Show definition of Special needs support]

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.

Turnbull School offers Resource Assistance

Students remain in a regular classroom for the whole day, and periodically receive break-out support (individually or in small groups) within the classroom from a qualified special education teacher.

What Turnbull School says about their special need support:

At Turnbull School, we occasionally have students who require some form of accommodation (i.e. ESL). These accommodations may arise from recommendations listed in a psycho-educational assessment. All forms of accommodation are discussed with parents ahead of implementation.

A - Forms of Support
B - Environments
Indirect Support:
Resource Assistance:
Withdrawal Assistance:
Partial Integration:
Full-Time Class:

Special NeedNeed
Forms of SupportA
  • Learning disabilities
    Dyslexia (Language-Based Learning Disability)
    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.
  • Developmental
    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).
    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.
    Down syndrome
    his is associated with impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth, and a particular set of facial characteristics.
    Intellectual disability
    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).
    Williams syndrome
    This is a rare genetic disorder present at birth. It is characterized by intellectual disabilities or learning problems, unique facial features, and cardiovascular problems.
    Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
    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.
  • Behavioral and Emotional
    Troubled behaviour / troubled teens
    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.
    Clinical Depression
    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.
    Clinical anxiety
    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.
    Suicidal thoughts
    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.
  • Physical
    Multiple sclerosis
    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.
    Cerebral palsy
    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
    Muscular dystrophy is a neuromuscular disorder which weakens the body's muscles. Causes, symptoms, age of onset, and prognosis vary between individuals.
    Spina Bifida
    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
    Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited genetic condition, which affects the body's respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. It affects young children and adults.
    Multiple physical
    Accommodating a wide range of physical conditions and disabilities.

Read our guide to special needs schools and special education

Academic support

Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties

Mild but clinically diagnosed learning disabilities

Extra support

What Turnbull School says:

If a student were to exhibit learning difficulties while at Turnbull School, we would proactively work with the parents to develop the best possible outcome for their child.

Additional support

Social skills programs
Occupational therapy
Speech-language therapy

Gifted learner support In-class adaptations

[Show definition of Gifted learner support]

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.

Curriculum Delivery: Enrichment

The main focus is on enrichment. This means that while students may work at a marginally quicker pace than public school peers, the primary aim is to study subject in broader and deeper ways.

In-class adaptations

Program Offered
Custom subject enrichment (special arrangement)
Custom curriculum compacting (special arrangement)
Guided independent study (custom gifted arrangement)
Cyber-learning opportunities (custom gifted arrangement)
Formalized peer coaching opportunities (specifically for gifted learners to coach others)
Custom subject acceleration (special arrangement)
Career exploration (custom gifted arrangement)
Project-based learning (custom gifted arrangement)
Mentorships (custom gifted arrangement)

What Turnbull School says about their gifted learner support:

The main focus of a gifted student’s instruction at Turnbull School is to develop confidence and skills in problem solving, independent study, research, and creative and critical thinking without losing the sense of membership in a class. For this reason, we do not withdraw gifted students from the class for special projects or learning activities. Our approach is inclusive, student-centred and socially appropriate, as the students work with children their own age.

Homework Policy

[Show definition of Homework Policy]

Homework is work that's assigned to students for completion outside of regular class time. There's a long-standing debate over homework. Should homework be assigned to school-age children? If so, in what grades? And how much homework should be assigned? In selecting the right school for your child, it's important to look closely at a school's homework policy.

Nightly homework

In grade Gr. 8, Turnbull School students perform an average of 1.5 hours of homework per night.

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What Turnbull School says about their flipped classroom policy:

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Report Card Policy

[Show definition of Report Card Policy]

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.

How assessments are delivered across the grades

Lettered or numbered gradesJK to Gr. 8
Prose (narrative)-based feedbackJK to Gr. 8
Academic achievement reportingJK to Gr. 8
Habits and behaviour reportingJK to Gr. 8
Parent-teacher meetingsJK to Gr. 8

Extracurricular Activities

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.

Sports offered

Turnbull School offers 8 competitive sports and 10 recreational sports.

  Competitive offered          Recreational offered
all sports]
  • Archery
  • Curling
  • Ultimate
  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Canoeing/Kayaking
  • Cricket
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Cycling
  • Downhill skiing
  • Equestrian
  • Fencing
  • Field Hockey
  • Figure Skating
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Ice Hockey
  • Ice Skating
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial Arts
  • Mountain biking
  • Racquet Ball
  • Rowing
  • Rugby
  • Running
  • Sailing
  • Skateboarding
  • Snowboarding
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Squash
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling

Clubs offered

Turnbull School offers 20 clubs and extracurricular programs.

  Clubs offered           Clubs not offered
all clubs and programs]
  Foreign Language Club
  Habitat for Humanity
  Jazz Ensemble
  Math Club
  Musical theatre/Opera
  Ballet and Classical Ballet
  Online Magazine
  Outdoor Club
  Outdoor Education
  Poetry/Literature club
  Radio club
  Robotics club
  Round Square
  School newspaper
  Science Club
  Student Council
  Art Club
  Astronomy Club
  Audiovisual Club
  Chess Club
  Community Service
  Computer Club
  Dance Club
  Debate Club
  Drama Club
  Environmental Club

What Turnbull School says about their extracurricular activities:

  • Turnbull Concert Band earns silver and gold at the National Musicfest
  • Turnbull student earns gold at the Canada Wide Science Fair

THE OUR KIDS REPORT: Turnbull School

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