Vincent Massey Academy logo

THE OUR KIDS REPORT:
Vincent Massey Academy

Grades Nursery/Toddler TO Gr. 6 — Etobicoke, ON (MAP)

Vincent Massey Academy:
THE OUR KIDS REPORT
REPORT CONTENTS:

Pages in this report:

  • Grades
    Nursery/Toddler — Gr. 6
  • Gender
    Coed
  • Class Size
    13 — 15 students
  • Tuition
    $15,000 to 21,800/year
  • Language of instruction
    English
  • Associations
    N/A
  • Enrolment
    230 day students
  • Curriculum
    Progressive
  • EBROCHURE
    View eBrochure

School address

  • 68 Daisy, Etobicoke, Ontario, M8W 1S1 (MAP)
  • 432 Horner Avenue, Etobicoke, Ontario, M8W 1S1 (MAP)
  • Busing not available

Our Perspective

How we see Vincent Massey Academy


Vincent Massey Academy couples a strong school community—one built over the course of more than three decades—with individualised instruction in settings that reflect, in all the best ways, the communities that they sit within. The program has grown considerably since the early days, which is always a good sign, and now operates two campuses. The interior spaces are bright, uncluttered, and inviting—the school understands that environment is important, and it shows. Instruction is cross curricular, and driven by student directed inquiry, in many ways very purposefully drawing on the best practices of the Reggio Emilia approach. The quality of the before and after care programs are a draw, so much so that a long roster of area schools have partnered with them in order to serve their own parent populations.

School's Perspective

Compare with:  

How Vincent Massey Academy sees itself


The school administration answered our questions

Who are you, as a school?

"A staple in Etobicoke for over 30 years, Vincent Massey Academy (VMA) has developed a long-standing reputation in the community for excellence in early education. VMA offers a Reggio-inspired environment for students in Kindergarten to Grade 6, where our mission is to support our students in discovering their individual potential through a balanced education. We believe that young minds deserve an education that reflects our changing world, where they can develop, achieve, learn, and explore fearlessly."

  • Small class sizes that allow students to progress through the curriculum self-paced
  • Individualized learning for each student to ensure students are challenged daily
  • Whole child development through a balanced approach to education
  • Focus on soft skills such as collaboration, social-emotional learning, and growth mindsets
  • Project-Based Learning to allow e real-world application and cross-curricular learning
  • Large, open classrooms designed to bring our student's learning to life and share self-expression
  • Social Justice and Global Citizenship exploration through community involvement and engagement
  • Regular connections with nature to deepen sustainability practices, and environmental stewardship
  • Social Emotional Learning to support emotional regulation and personal wellbeing

What do you do differently and uniquely well?

"In a class size of 13 students for Kindergarten and 15 students in our Grade 1-6 classrooms, our students are provided with a space that allows for individualized learning, strong relationships between teachers and students and between peers, and learning that is built around the needs and interests of the students in our classes. Our classrooms celebrate diversity and individuality and take careful efforts to allow our students to be heard, seen, and understood at an individual level."

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

"By ensuring intimate class sizes, VMA offers students an educational space that celebrates individuality and considers all avenues of developing the whole child. Our student's voices are heard and reflected in the learning that they take part in. Their voice and autonomy in their learning guide them in becoming confident and competent global citizens, and supports them in seeing themselves and how they fit into the changing world around them."

What might families find surprising about your school?

This information is not available.

What aspect of your school is underappreciated?

"VMA is located in the hub of our community and has access to many local resources and community personnel. As part of our approach to developing the whole child, our programs frequently head out into the community to help our students draw real-life connections to the learning taking place in their classroom. Our programs visit local food banks, the library, local restaurants for cooking programs, and parks to extend their classroom learning experiences."

What five facts about your school tell your story?

"1. We were founded in 1985
2. We are a Reggio-inspired school
3. Our class sizes are never higher than 15 students
4. Our programs ensure individualized learning for each student
5. Our classrooms focus on social justice, environmental stewardship and global citizenship on a regular basis"


School Facilities

Photo-tour of facilities


Campus


Classrooms


School leadership

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


Message from school leadership

Amber Halcovitch , Day School Director
B.PHE, B.Ed, OCT, M.Ed

Our goal in opening the Day School is to continue to question what it means to learn as a young student; to truly observe and understand what types of skills and knowledge aid us as we advance through life. Our approach to learning strives to consider how we learn in all avenues of life and replicate that in our classrooms. Education is no longer about the answers; it is about the path and perspectives we take to get there. Now more than ever, we want to support our students in communication and collaboration, as we ask real questions about the world around us. To know is one thing, but to build their own understanding allows young minds to apply their knowledge to everyday life.

In part of this approach, we recognize the importance of collaborative support between teachers and families. With that, we hope to foster an environment that welcomes parent involvement, ongoing open communication, and a sense of community. Our teachers and management alike, are a team of passionate educators that are in this field to bring out the best in each and every one of our students, and we are excited for the opportunity to work together to support our students in exploring their own paths to success.

We are looking forward to having all of you a part of the journey with us. Your support and trust in us give us all the faith in knowing that we will always continue to provide the highest level of education for your children.

Evaluate Vincent Massey Academy for your child

Answer just to supplement this page with our expert insight into the FIT between Vincent Massey Academy and your child (BETA).
1. Select category
1. Select category
  • Sociability
  • Mental focus
  • Physical activity level
  • Academic focus
  • Arts-oriented
  • STEM-oriented
  • Gifted
  • Special needs (general)
  • Learning disabilities
  • Social/emotional issues
  • Learning style
  • Learning preference
  • Anxious
  • ADHD
  • Autistic
  • Dyslexic
2. Select child's dominant trait
How outgoing is your child?

3. See personalized insights
How Extroverted kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Most big schools provide your extroverted child with plenty of social opportunities and the ability to interact with different peer groups with a wide range of personalities, interests, values, etc. A larger student population and more extracurriculars—including activities like team sports, arts programs, and debate—will give them a broader scope of opportunities to participate in events that scratch their interpersonal itch. “This may also give them the opportunity to hone certain skills,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “For instance, they might run for student council to develop leadership and public speaking skills and learn to be a voice for other students.”

  • Reggio Emilia school

    Through extensive group work, projects, and activities, Reggio Emilia schools provide the kind of social and collaborative learning environment many extroverts crave. Since it’s believed children learn well through social interaction, they’re given plenty of time to interact, listen to each other, ask and answer questions, and work on their communication skills. This can nurture their curiosity and imagination, improve their social skills, and enable them to form close and fulfilling friendships. While most Reggio Emilia schools also give kids quite a bit of unstructured social time, make sure you ask about this.

How Introverted kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Make sure any prospective school, no matter what size, provides the right social environment to help your child feel at home, make friends, and develop confidence. This is especially important at big schools, which are sometimes more socially overwhelming and challenging for an introvert to find their bearings in. Of course, “Because larger schools usually have a more diverse student population, introverted kids are more likely to find a small group of people like them, a peer group they can relate to and find acceptance from,” says Dona Matthews, Toronto-based education consultant and co-author (with Joanne Foster) of Beyond Intelligence.

    Bigger schools often have a broader scope of extracurricular activities, which is another way to help your child meet the right group of friends. “This may also give them the opportunity to develop certain skills,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “For instance, they might run for student council to develop leadership and public speaking skills and learn to be a voice for other students. Remember, though, each child is different—so what works for one may not work for another.”

  • Reggio Emilia school

    In Reggio Emilia schools, teachers consider each child’s relationship to one another and aim to promote positive connections between them, a blessing for introverted kids (as it is for extroverted kids). The warm, community feel of the Reggio classroom—which is set up to promote lots of interaction—can enable your child to feel at home, connect with classmates, and overcome their shyness. Given the social and dynamic environment of the Reggio classroom, make sure your child will get enough time on their own, in and out of class, to replenish their energy and psychological resources.

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2. Select child's dominant trait
How mentally focused is your child?

3. See personalized insights
How Mentally focused kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If you’re considering a big school for your mentally focused child, look into the size of its classrooms. Many kids, including focused ones, do better in smaller classes, which not all big schools have. Smaller classes often provide ample individualized learning and one-on-one support, which can boost your child’s engagement.

    Also, ensure a school’s teaching approach is suitable for your focused child. “For instance, a school emphasizing group learning over individual learning may or may not play into your child’s strengths,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “You want to make sure the social, emotional, and academic realities of the classroom are a match for your child’s attention skills and personality.”

  • Reggio Emilia school

    In Reggio Emilia schools, teachers consider each child’s relationship to one another and aim to promote positive connections between them, which can be great for highly focused kids (as it can be for less focused kids). The Reggio classroom is set up to promote lots of interaction and group learning, which helps focused kids engage even more fully with their work.

    That said, make sure any Reggio Emilia school provides the right balance of learning opportunities for your child. For instance, if your child prefers individual to group learning, make sure it provides plenty of opportunities for them to work on their own.

How Distractible kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If you’re considering a big school for your distractible child, look into its classroom sizes and teaching and learning approach. Distractible kids often do better in smaller classrooms with plenty of individualized learning and one-on-one support, as this can help them sustain their concentration.

    Also, “Ask what strategies a school has in place to engage and motivate students,” says Stacey Jacobs, Toronto-based education consultant at Clear Path Educational Consulting. “For instance, do they have flexible seating and innovative furniture?”

    Bigger schools tend to have a wider range of extracurriculars to choose from, which can help your child to pursue an interest or develop a passion. And, “Research shows that when students have something to look forward to after school, they’re often better able to focus during the day,” says Janyce Lastman, Toronto-based education consultant at The Tutor Group. “This can really help them renew their energy and recharge their batteries.”

  • Reggio Emilia school

    In Reggio Emilia schools, teachers consider each child’s relationship to one another and aim to promote positive connections between them, which can often help distractible kids stay engaged in class. The warm, community feel of the Reggio classroom—which is set up to promote lots of interaction—can help your child feel invigorated, focus on their work, and be more productive.

    Just make sure any Reggio Emilia school isn’t too stimulating: know your child and how much stimulation they can handle. And more generally, make sure the school provides the right overall environment for your distractible child: for instance, if they’re likely to benefit from plenty of individualized learning and one-on-one support, ensure this is provided.

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2. Select child's dominant trait
How physically active is your child?

3. See personalized insights
How Very physically active kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Big schools tend to provide an especially wide range of opportunities for your physically active child to use their energy in productive ways, such as individual and team sports, hiking, and nature walks. In most big schools, they’ll also be given plenty of breaks throughout the day for physical and gross motor activities, such as outdoor recess in the playground. Since different kids enjoy different kinds of physical pursuits, find out exactly what activities a school offers, both in class and out.

    Also, ensure a school’s teaching and learning approach is suitable for your active child. “For instance, a school focusing on individual learning instead of group learning may or may not play into your child’s strengths,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “You want to make sure the social, emotional, and academic realities of the classroom are a match for your child’s personality and energy level.”

  • Reggio Emilia school

    Through extensive group work, projects, and activities, Reggio Emilia schools provide the kind of social and dynamic environment many physically active kids thrive in. Since Reggio educators believe children learn well through social interaction, they’re given plenty of time to interact, play, and explore their environment together.

    Some Reggio Emilia schools also have a nature focus, which can enable your active child to get outdoors, learn about their surroundings, and take part in activities like gardening. Note: since Reggio schools aren’t based on a strict and unified set of principles, be sure to ask any prospective school about its focus on nature, the outdoors, and physical activity in general.

How Less physically active kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If your child is looking to get more physically active, they’ll benefit from the wide range of extracurriculars at big schools, such as sports and nature walks. In addition to improving their physical and mental health, these activities can help them broaden their horizons and come out of their shell.

    Just make sure any prospective school, no matter the size, provides the right academic and social environment to help your less active child focus on their work and feel like they belong. This is especially important at big schools, which sometimes have bigger classes (with less one-on-one support) and can be more socially overwhelming. That said, the bigger the school, the more diverse the student body (in terms of personalities, interests, etc.), which can make it easier for your child to find a group of like-minded peers. 

  • Reggio Emilia school

    If your child is looking to get more physically active, most Reggio Emilia schools offer plenty of opportunities to do this. They tend to offer plenty of unstructured social time as well as exploratory field trips and activities (e.g., in nature).

    In Reggio Emilia schools, teachers consider each child’s relationship to one another and aim to promote positive connections between them, a blessing for less active kids (as it is for more active kids). The warm, community feel of the Reggio classroom—which is set up to promote lots of interaction—can help your child feel at home, connect with classmates, and develop important social skills.

    Given the social and dynamic environment of the Reggio classroom, just make sure your child will get enough time on their own, in and outside of class, to replenish their energy and psychological resources.

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2. Select child's dominant trait
How focused is your child on school and academic achievement?

3. See personalized insights
How Intensively academically-focused kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Many big schools offer high-level courses as well as subject-specific enrichment and acceleration opportunities, which some academically-focused kids find stimulating. Most also have plenty of academic diversity in the classroom, where your child will find many opportunities to challenge themselves in groups with like-minded peers. “Many academically-focused kids enjoy competition in the classroom: they like to measure themselves against peers with high academic aspirations,” says Janyce Lastman, Director of The Tutor Group. “They’re more likely to find this in big schools with big classes.”

    Also, “Due to their large numbers of students, bigger schools offer more opportunities for reflection and collaboration with one’s peers, and to learn from the perspectives of different students, in class and out,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. Having a larger and more diverse pool of students can be a catalyst for intellectual and creative progress (and even breakthrough insights!).

    That said, make sure your child will be able to register for their desired courses in a big school. While big schools often have a wide range of core and specialist courses on their docket, sometimes logistical issues—such as scheduling and timetables—make it challenging for them to run some courses or for your child to enrol in them.

  • Reggio Emilia school

    The Reggio Emilia classroom is set up to promote lots of interaction and group learning, which many academically-focused kids find engaging. Also, “Since it has an individualized approach to learning, a Reggio school will ensure your child can pursue areas of interest and acquire important skills and knowledge,” says Stacey Jacobs, Director of Clear Path Education.

    If, however, your academically-focused child prefers individual to group learning, ensure the school provides plenty of opportunities for them to work on their own. And more generally, make sure the school offers the right overall learning environment for your child: for instance, if they’re likely to benefit from enrichment and acceleration opportunities, confirm these are provided.

How Less academically-focused kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If you’re considering a big school for a less academically-focused child, look into its classroom sizes and teaching and learning approach. Smaller classrooms with plenty of individualized learning and one-on-one support can help kids really engage with their school work, regardless of their level of academic interest.

    Bigger schools normally have a wide range of specialist subjects to choose from, which can help your child pursue an interest or develop a new one. Just make sure your child will be able to register for their desired courses in a big school, since sometimes logistical issues—such as scheduling and timetables—make it challenging for these schools to run some courses or for your child to enrol in them.

  • Reggio Emilia school

    In Reggio Emilia schools, teachers consider each child’s relationship with one another and aim to promote positive connections between them, which can help many kids engage with the curriculum, including less academically-focused ones. The warm, community feel of the Reggio classroom—which is set up to promote lots of interaction—can help your child feel invigorated, focus on their work, and develop a love of learning

    Just make sure any Reggio school isn’t too stimulating: know your child and how much stimulation they can handle. And more generally, make sure the school provides the right overall learning environment for your less academically-focused child: for instance, if they’re likely to benefit from plenty of individualized learning and one-on-one support, ensure this is provided.

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2. Select if applicable
Is your child passionate about the arts?

3. See personalized insights
How Arts-oriented kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If you’re considering a big school for your arts-oriented child, make sure it offers them plenty of opportunities to explore their creative impulses. Ideally, it will have some smaller classes with plenty of individualized teaching and learning, since this will give your child more flexibility to pursue their interests and get one-on-one support to refine their skills.

    Since big schools have larger student populations, they often have more arts programs, classes, productions, and staff than smaller schools. They also tend to offer more supplementaries, like after-school musical theatre classes or field trips to art museums.

    Finally, “Due to their large numbers of students, they offer more opportunities for reflection and collaboration with one’s peers, and to learn from the perspectives of different students, in class and out,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “This also allows kids to understand the contributions they can make to the larger student community, such as being a musician in an orchestra, an actor in a play, or a dancer in an ensemble.”

  • Reggio Emilia school

    Reggio Emilia schools have an individualized approach to learning, which will give your child the freedom to pursue their interest in the arts and explore their creative passions. These schools also tend to integrate art and creativity throughout the curriculum via their focus on the expressive arts. “Reggio Emilia schools strongly encourage students to express themselves and their ideas through a wide variety of media,” says Stacey Jacobs, Director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “This is how they learn to communicate their understanding of the world around them.”

    Since different Reggio Emilia schools operate according to different teaching and learning principles, inquire about a school’s approach to arts education. For instance, ask if they have an experience-based approach to teaching art (and if so, what this looks like), whether they offer any direct instruction in the arts, and how, if at all, they integrate the arts with the rest of the curriculum.

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

3. See personalized insights
How STEM-oriented kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since big schools have larger student populations, they often have more STEM programs, classes, and specialty teachers than smaller schools. They also tend to offer more STEM-oriented supplementaries, like after-school robotics classes or field trips to science museums. And, “Due to their large numbers of students, they offer more opportunities for reflection and collaboration with one’s peers, and to learn from the perspectives of different students, in class and out,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. Having a larger and more diverse pool of students can make it easier to produce valuable insights and have creative breakthroughs.

    Ask prospective schools about their class sizes. Smaller classes with plenty of individualized teaching and learning give students more flexibility to pursue their interests in STEM and get one-on-one support to refine their knowledge and skills.

  • Reggio Emilia school

    Reggio Emilia schools’ individualized learning approach gives students a lot of flexibility to explore their interests in different subjects such as STEM. Their approach to teaching science, math, and other STEM subjects is inquiry-based and involves lots of hands-on learning and exploration, which many kids find engaging.

    That said, the experiential approach to STEM learning doesn’t work for all kids. Some kids may prefer more direct instruction and theoretical analysis in STEM than some Reggio Emilia schools provide. Since Reggio Emilia schools vary in their approach, talk to school directors and staff to gauge whether your child is a good fit.

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Does your child have gifted learning abilities?

3. See personalized insights
How Gifted kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Some big schools provide learning environments that explicitly address the needs of gifted students. These can include dedicated gifted classes, part-time withdrawal classes, enrichment opportunities, acceleration options, and in-class adaptations. Big schools also usually have a wider scope of curriculum options and extracurricular activities that can provide gifted learners with the challenge and stimulation they need across a range of topic areas. Finally, they tend to have more academic diversity in their student bodies, helping your child find like-minded peers as well as opportunities to challenge themselves with other intellectual, curious, and high-ability learners.

  • Reggio Emilia school

    Reggio Emilia schools’ individualized learning approach enables gifted students to move ahead in the curriculum or pursue more in-depth studies, to keep them challenged and engaged. Also, their classrooms are set up to promote lots of interaction and group learning, which some gifted learners find academically and socially stimulating.

    If, however, your academically-gifted child prefers individual to group learning, ensure the school provides opportunities for independent activities and pursuits. And more generally, make sure the school offers the right overall learning environment for your child, e.g., whether that’s experiential or more traditionally academic.

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Does your child have special needs?

3. See personalized insights
How Special needs (general) kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with special needs require special attention, ensure any prospective school has small- to medium-sized classes with plenty of structure, individualized learning, one-on-one support, and properly trained special education staff. Also, ask exactly what kinds of special needs support a school provides. For instance, while it's unlikely to provide modifications to the curriculum, does it offer accommodations, and if so, for which special needs?

    Some big schools provide learning environments that explicitly support students with special needs. These can include dedicated special needs classes, integrated classes, and regular classes with in-class adaptations and breakout groups. Many also provide a range of out-of-class resources to promote your child’s academic and social development, such as robust guidance departments, academic and psychological counselling, social work, tutors, and faculty advisors. And some have designated resource/learning centres for students with special needs, as well as various in-house support staff, like speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and reading specialists.

  • Reggio Emilia school

    Reggio Emilia schools’ special focus on personalized learning and support can be a blessing for kids with special needs. Instead of a one-size-fits-all curriculum, these schools help guide kids through the curriculum according to their own abilities, tailoring it to their strengths, weaknesses, and interests. This makes it less likely your child will fall behind or get lost in the shuffle.

    Just make sure Reggio Emilia schools’ emphasis on group and experiential learning is the right fit for your child. Some kids may require more direct instruction and one-on-one support than some of these schools provide.

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Does your child have a learning disability?

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How Learning disabilities kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with learning disabilities (LDs) require special attention, ensure any large school has smaller classes (ideally 15 students or less) with plenty of structure, personalized learning, and individual support. Also, look into exactly what kinds of LD support it provides. “While many big schools provide accommodations, such as extra time for tests or assignments, few provide a modified academic curriculum,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting.

    Some big schools provide learning environments that explicitly support students with LDs. These can include dedicated classes, integrated classes, and regular classes with in-class adaptations and breakout groups. Many also offer a range of out-of-class resources to promote your child’s overall development, such as academic and psychological counselling, social workers, tutors, and faculty advisors. 

  • Reggio Emilia school

    Reggio Emilia schools’ emphasis on personalized learning can be a blessing for kids with learning disabilities (LDs). Since they don’t have a standardized curriculum, these schools help guide kids through their studies according to their own abilities and interests. This makes it less likely they’ll lose track, get lost in the shuffle, or become frustrated. 

    Just make sure Reggio Emilia schools’ focus on experiential and open-ended learning works for your child. Some kids with LDs may require more direct instruction and one-on-one support than some of these schools provide. For instance, if handwriting and spelling are areas of challenge, ensure they’ll have ample time and support to work on these skills.

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

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How Social/emotional issues kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with social issues require special attention, ensure any prospective school has small- to medium-sized classes with plenty of structure, individualized learning, one-on-one support, and properly trained special education staff. Also, ask exactly what kinds of support a school provides both in class and out. For instance, does it provide intensive one-on-one counselling for kids with anxiety?

    “Big schools can be challenging for students who experience anxiety or other emotional and mental health issues,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “Their large student population can contribute to anxiety and worries, and may make it more difficult for teachers to monitor their well-being.”

    Some big schools provide learning environments that explicitly support students with social issues. These can include dedicated classes, integrated classes, and regular classes with in-class adaptations and resource support. Many also provide a wide scope of resources to promote your child’s development, such as educational assistants, resource teachers, counsellors, social workers, and support groups.

  • Reggio Emilia school

    The warm, community feel of the Reggio Emilia classroom—which is set up to promote lots of interaction—can enable kids with social issues to feel at home, connect with classmates, and make close friends. Many kids will also find Reggio’s individualized learning approach and co-constructed curriculum engaging since it enables them to select activities and tasks of interest. 

    Just make sure Reggio Emilia schools’ emphasis on group learning is the right fit for your child. Also, some kids may require more structure and one-on-one support than some of these schools provide, such as those with severe emotional or behavioural issues like oppositional defiance disorder (ODD).

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How Conventional learner kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Big schools vary in the classroom environments they offer. Size isn’t nearly as important as the teaching and learning approach that individual teachers use in meeting the needs of a conventional learner. 

    Here are some things to look for: 

    • A traditional classroom setup (teacher at the front facing the students) 

    • Whole-class lectures 

    • Plenty of structure

    • Graded work and clear criteria for assessment

    Conventional learners tend to do well in learning environments with all or most of these features. However, since learning preferences differ even among these students, ensure a school provides what your child needs.

  • Reggio Emilia school

    Reggio Emilia schools’ decentralized, collaborative learning environment is often a nice fit for unconventional learners. Conventional learners, however, tend to prefer more teacher-led instruction, textbook learning, and structure than some Reggio Emilia schools provide. However, since different Reggio Emilia schools operate according to different principles, ask a school about its teaching and learning approach to assess your child’s fit.

    Keep in mind, the Reggio Emilia classroom is set up to promote lots of interaction and group learning, which helps students engage more fully with their work. This tends to be a plus for all kinds of learners, including conventional ones.

How Unconventional learner kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    If you’re considering a big school for an unconventional learner, make sure it offers them plenty of independent learning opportunities. Ideally, it will have some smaller classes with lots of individualized teaching and learning, since this will give your child more flexibility to pursue their interests and explore their passions.

    Big schools normally have more extracurriculars for kids to probe different areas of interest, from painting to robotics to creative writing. Also, due to their large numbers of students, they offer more opportunities to find a group of like-minded peers to learn and grow with, in class and out.

  • Reggio Emilia school

    Reggio Emilia schools have an individualized approach to learning, which will give your child the flexibility to explore areas of special interest. Also, “Reggio Emilia schools tend to celebrate unconventional learning and thinking,” says Stacey Jacobs, Director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “They tend to really emphasize creative expression—they strongly encourage students to express themselves and their ideas through a wide variety of media.” Finally, the Reggio Emilia classroom is set up to promote lots of interaction and group learning, which many unconventional learners (and conventional learners) find stimulating. 

    That said, if your child prefers individual to group learning, ensure a school provides plenty of opportunities for them to work on their own. And more generally, make sure it offers the right overall learning environment for your child: for instance, if they’re likely to benefit from math enrichment, confirm this is provided.

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2. Select child's dominant trait

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How Independent learner kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Make sure a big school offers your child plenty of independent learning opportunities. Ideally, it will have some smaller classes with individualized teaching and learning, giving your child more flexibility to pursue their interests and develop their skills. With more classes and student cohorts, big schools can often accommodate a wide range of learning styles, including independent learning. Some also offer greater access to guidance and resources to help students subject choices and independent pursuits.

    Since big schools have larger student populations, they often have more extracurriculars and after-school programs. Whether it’s art, STEM, or coding, your child will have more opportunities to continue their unique learning path outside of class.

    Finally, “If your independent learner is a competitive student who likes to measure themselves against their peers, they’re more likely to find this in a big school,” says Janyce Lastman, Director of The Tutor Group. “Since they have diverse student bodies, it will be easier for your child to find peers with high academic aspirations to compete with.”

  • Reggio Emilia school

    Reggio Emilia schools have a child-focused, individualized learning approach, which gives kids the freedom to pursue activities and tasks of interest. Also, “These schools strongly encourage students to express themselves and their ideas through a wide variety of media,” says Stacey Jacobs, Director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. This is a great way to cultivate independent thinking and learning.

    Since Reggio Emilia schools also prioritize group learning, ensure a school provides enough time for your child to work on their own. And more generally, make sure it offers them the right overall learning environment: for instance, if they’re likely to benefit from science enrichment opportunities, confirm these are provided.

How Collaborative learner kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Big schools vary widely in their learning environments and approaches. While some stress collaborative learning and provide lots of group activities, others don’t. That said, with many classes and diverse student cohorts, big schools can often accommodate and nurture a wide range of learning styles, including collaborative learning.

    Since big schools have larger student populations, they often have more extracurriculars and supplementals for students to pursue group learning activities like debate and student government. Also, “Due to their large numbers of students, they offer more opportunities to find a group of like-minded peers, in class and out,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services.

  • Reggio Emilia school

    Reggio Emilia schools enable kids to work alongside their classmates in a variety of contexts. Collaborative learning is a major focus: kids often work in groups on tasks, assignments, and projects, and aim to explore issues and solve problems with their peers.

    In Reggio Emilia schools, teachers consider children’s relationships to one another and aim to promote positive connections between them—a blessing for collaborative learners (as it can be for other types of learners). Classrooms are set up to promote lots of interaction and group learning, which can help your child engage fully with their work and develop key social skills.

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Is your child anxious?

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How Anxious kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with anxiety require special attention, ensure any prospective school has small- to medium-sized classes with plenty of structure, individualized learning, one-on-one support, and properly trained special education staff. This is especially true if your child has a diagnosed anxiety disorder.

    “Big schools can be challenging for students with anxiety,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “Navigating a large student population and lots of relationships can compound issues with anxiety. And it’s sometimes more difficult for teachers and administrators to monitor students’ well-being in this setting.”

    That said, many big schools provide a wide scope of resources to support anxiety (and other mental health issues), such as educational assistants, resource teachers, psychologists, social workers, and support groups. Ask exactly what kinds of support a school provides, both in class and out. For instance, does it provide counselling for kids with a social anxiety disorder or selective mutism?

  • Reggio Emilia school

    The warm, community feel of the Reggio Emilia classroom—which is set up to promote lots of interaction—can enable kids with anxiety to feel at home. It can help them connect with classmates, make close friends, and pursue engaging independent and group projects.

    Just make sure the Reggio Emilia focus on group learning is the right fit for your child. Also, some anxious kids may require more structure and one-on-one support than some of these schools provide, especially kids with diagnosed anxiety disorders. Ask what support is available and how it’s delivered to gauge whether a school is likely to meet your child’s needs.

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Does your child have ADHD?

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How ADHD kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with ADHD require special care, ensure any prospective school has smaller classes (ideally 15 students or less) with plenty of structure and one-on-one support to help them stay focused on their studies. Also, ask exactly what kinds of support a school provides both in class and out. For instance, “do you have an in-house psychologist who can help my child with their impulse control?”

    “Big schools can sometimes be challenging for students with ADHD,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “Navigating a large student population and lots of relationships can sometimes be a distraction which interferes with the ability to focus in class. And in a big school with bigger classes, it’s sometimes more difficult for teachers to monitor students’ well-being.” 

    The upside is most big schools offer a range of support for children with ADHD (and other special needs), such as educational assistants, resource teachers, psychologists, social workers, and support groups. They also tend to offer many supplemental activities to give your child physical, cognitive, and creative outlets, and to enable them to hyperfocus on areas of interest (which many ADHD kids enjoy).

  • Reggio Emilia school

    “Being an active participant, rather than a passive recipient, in learning, as emphasized by Reggio Emilia programs, tends to benefit kids with ADHD,” says Stacey Jacobs, director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. “Engaging in hands-on learning and being encouraged to explore and develop creative thinking is another plus.”

    Just make sure Reggio Emilia schools’ emphasis on group learning is the right fit for your child. Also, some kids with ADHD, especially if it’s severe, may require more structure and one-on-one support than some of these schools provide. Speak to school directors and staff to get a sense of whether your child’s needs are likely to be met.

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Is your child autistic?

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How Autistic kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) require special attention, ensure prospective schools have smaller classes with plenty of structure and one-on-one support, run by qualified special education staff. Depending on where your child falls on the spectrum, they may need a learning environment with direct support for ASD, such as a dedicated ASD class or a regular class with targeted ASD support. 

    Many big schools offer a wide range of resources to support kids with autism (and other special needs), such as educational assistants, psychologists, and social workers. Ask what’s available, focusing specifically on your child’s needs. For instance, “do you have an in-house psychologist who can help my child with their social skills?”

  • Reggio Emilia school

    Some kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), especially those on the higher end of the spectrum, may require more structure and one-on-one support than some Reggio Emilia schools provide. Also, ensure these schools’ emphasis on group learning is the right fit for your child, as some kids with ASD prefer to work more independently. Speak to school directors and staff to get a sense of whether your child’s needs are likely to be met.

    That said, the warm, community feel of the Reggio Emilia classroom—which is set up to promote lots of interaction—can help kids with autism connect with classmates, make close friends, and pursue engaging activities and projects. This is especially true if they’re on the lower end of the spectrum.

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Is your child dyslexic?

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How Dyslexic kids fit with Vincent Massey Academy's dimensions:
  • Big school (151+ students)

    Since kids with dyslexia require special attention, ensure any large school has smaller classes (ideally 15 students or less) with plenty of structure, personalized learning, and individual support. Also, ask exactly what kinds of resources it has to support your child. For instance, “do you have a reading intervention specialist to help my child work on their phonic decoding?”

    Some big schools provide learning environments that explicitly support students with dyslexia. These can include dedicated classes and regular classes with in-class adaptations and breakout groups. Many also offer a range of out-of-class resources to promote your child’s overall development, such as academic and psychological counselling, social workers, tutors, and faculty advisors.

  • Reggio Emilia school

    Reggio Emilia schools’ emphasis on personalized learning can be a blessing for kids with dyslexia. Since they don’t have a one-size-fits-all curriculum, these schools help guide kids through their studies according to their own abilities and interests. This makes it less likely they’ll fall off track, get lost in the shuffle, or become frustrated. 

    Just make sure Reggio Emilia schools’ focus on group and open-ended learning works for your child. Some kids with dyslexia may require more structure, direct instruction, and one-on-one support than some of these schools provide. For instance, to help them with their phonic decoding, your child may require a reading specialist, which most Reggio Emilia schools won’t have on staff.

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