Celebrating 100 years, Waldorf is a global name in holistic, arts-enriched education. Our approach integrates experiential learning with academic depth and rigour. We place a premium on thinking imaginatively: turning challenges into possibilities so graduates emerge with a strong sense of purpose, ability to solve problems and the courage to meet the world. Nestled beneath majestic Casa Loma, Waldorf Academy provides a world-class education that centers your child amidst beauty, meaning, inclusivity and wonder.
International Waldorf curriculum in downtown Toronto
Comprehensive enriched academic programme
Integrated drama, music, visual arts, woodwork, handwork, and movement
Strong middle school athletic programme
Encourages creativity, social awareness and moral thinking
What learning looks like now: All classes have resumed in person. We adapted our delivery to limit cohorts. Each grade is taught by a 2 teachers co-leading. French is an exception but teaches behind plexiglass or outside. The middle school also has a math specialist behind plexiglass.
Our periods are longer this year and many of the large gatherings have been reduced to simple social affairs. Parent evenings take place on zoom. We created a re-entry e-book for families outlining the staggered starts and dismissals to eliminate the chance of cohorts crossing paths. We hired a Covid-10 Compliance Officer to work part-time and oversee screenings. Touchless taps and paepr towels were installed. Grade 3 and up are required to wear masks as are all of our faculty. Outside time has been increased to offer students the opportunity to learn without their masks. Prior to school commencing a social worker worked with the faculty to explore the mental health and well being of the students, faculty and families. We are committed to providing a safe environment for everyone and to ensure contact tracing is accurate and efficient.
Our graduates attend the following high schools: UTS, TWS, Abelard, UFA, ESA, Rosedale, Greenwood, Havergal, St.Michael's and more. Alumni regularly return to speak to grade 8 students, parents and provide ongoing feedback to the faculty and administration regarding programming and their experiences.
One of three yard spaces. Designed by Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds
Movement and theatre complete with baby grand piano
The front of the Childcare Centre on Spadina Rd
1 of 3 yards for students to play and explore
The front of the main school on Madison Ave
Grade 7: students still have their crochet seat cover from grade 2, name tags made in art class.
Childcare room 1/5 rooms
Kindergarten- Stargarden- large rooms for painting, baking, building and circle
Garden Plots Kindergarten and Grade 3
Community Room: Library, Aftercare, Kitchen for lesson, Parent & Child
Insider Reviews and Perspectives
Our Take: Waldorf Academy
We often consider the ideal student for a certain educational setting, though with Waldorf schools, it's important to also consider the ideal parent. Instruction student directed; benchmarks are less important than engagement. Multiple intelligences, multiple-sensory learning, cross-curricular instruction, visual learning—it's perhaps the epitome of what we think of as alternative education: constructivist rather than didactic. Waldorf Academy is one of the first of its kind in Canada, and was created when a group of parents decided to come together to create the kind of school that they wanted for their children. It's grown since then, and the organization and infrastructure has been formalized as well, including the creation of a purpose-built learning environment. Nevertheless, the core concept remains. The successful student is one who thrives in an interactive, transactional, arts-enriched setting. The ideal parent is one who sees the value in a constructivist approach, narrative-based assessment (letter grades are given in Grade 6 and up) and who prizes a considered and careful approach to the use of technology.
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 Waldorf Academy: Waldorf
Waldorf Academy has a Waldorf approach to Curriculum (as opposed to Traditional, Liberal Arts, Progressive, Montessori, Reggio Emilia approach).
[Show: About Waldorf?]
Waldorf schools are available from preschool to Grade 12, though they are most popular at the younger ages. Waldorf schools are unmistakably "progressive". Rudolf Steiner, their intellectual forefather, believed the educator's first task should be to help students develop an aesthetic appreciation for life and learning. Sometimes incorrectly conflated with Montessori schools, Waldorf schools focus on developing the "whole child" - emphasizing collaborative, hands-on learning, along with the arts and music, which are integrated into other areas of study.
Curriculum at schools on OurKids.net
Waldorf - 2%   Traditional - 42%   Liberal arts - 17%   Progressive - 28%   Montessori - 10%   Reggio Emilia - 1%
What Waldorf Academy says: The essence of Waldorf can be thought of as follows:
The use of art and creative play across the spectrum of subject areas brings out a child’s imagination and the joy of learning. Our interdisciplinary approach to mastering subject areas across the academic spectrum encourages children to make connections and deepen learning. Waldorf Academy’s E.Q. approach is designed to enhance a child’s sense of connection to the world and to grow spiritually. We stress hands-on, experiential, inquiry-based learning that carries with it the ability to take risks, reach beyond our comfort zones and test our mettle. We work with a child’s natural tendencies to encourage their curiosity and figure out answers their own way. Sometimes they fail the first time, but then they learn how to get back up and see it through.
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.
Inquiry-based science emphasizes teaching science as a way of thinking or practice, and therefore tries to get students “doing” science as much as possible -- and not just “learning” it. Students still learn foundational scientific ideas and content (and build on this knowledge progressively); however, relative to expository science instruction, inquiry-based programs have students spend more time developing and executing their own experiments (empirical and theoretical). Students are frequently challenged to develop critical and scientific-thinking skills by developing their own well-reasoned hypothesis and finding ways to test those hypotheses. Projects and experiments are emphasized over textbook learning. Skills are emphasized over breadth of knowledge.
These literature programs draw in equal measure from “Traditional” and “Social Justice” programs.
Literature at schools on OurKids.net
Equal balance - 77%   Traditional - 19%   Social justice - 4%
What Waldorf Academy says: The first Waldorf school that opened in 1919 was based on social justice. Social Justice is embedded in the curriculum and the school structure. It is important to note that we build meaningful relationships with cultures when the children are younger through implicit strategies and then look at it critically in the middle school.
The Thematic approach organizes the curriculum around certain themes or cultural universals. Students might spend time focused on food. Then they might focus on transportation or government, and so on.
Computers are used in the classroom from time to time, but integrating technology into everything students do is not a dominant focus. Digital literacy is understood to be a legitimate skill in the 21st century, but not one that should distract from teaching the subject at hand, or more fundamental skills and literacies. The idea is today’s students, being “digital natives”, are likely exposed to computers and new media enough outside the classroom: the role of the school, rather, should be to develop competencies that may otherwise get missed.
Computers and Technology at schools on OurKids.net
Light integration - 19%   Heavy integration - 33%   Medium integration - 48%
What Waldorf Academy says: We offer cyber civics in middle school. We teach the base number system in grade 8 and students build a basic computer using the binary code.
Sex and health education approach at Waldorf Academy: Not Ontario curriculum
Waldorf Academy has a Not Ontario curriculum approach to Sex and health education (as opposed to Follows provincial curriculum approach).
[Show: About Not Ontario 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
Waldorf Academy 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 Waldorf Academy 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 Waldorf Academy: Waldorf
Waldorf Academy has a Waldorf approach to Preschool/K Curriculum (as opposed to Play-based, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Academic approach).
[Show: About Waldorf?]
Highly group-oriented and with a strong emphasis on creative and imaginative play, Waldorf preschool and Kindergarten programs have very little to no emphasis on academics. A Waldorf environment will often feel more like a home than a traditional classroom -- the goal being to instill comfort and and a sense of predictability in students’ day. This emphasis on comfort and predictability also manifests through a heavy use of repetition: for example, teachers might read the same story multiple days in a row. Waldorf schools ask parents to refrain from offering children TV or computers at home, and aim to develop in children a connection to the natural world. If you want to learn more about Waldorf education, check out our comprehensive guide.
What Waldorf Academy says: Early childhood programs are based on child development and imitation. Science, numeracy and literacy are fostered through real experiences in cooking, nature walks, building and art as well as storytelling, poetry, singing and recitation. Movement and self directed play as well as emotional intelligence are high priorities. There are group activities as well as small group and individual activities. Healthy physical development of the child is a critical prerequisite for proper mathematical and scientific education. Self directed play promotes questioning, problem solving, higher level thinking skills, discovery, self-directed activity and speech.
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 Waldorf Academy: Standard-enriched
Waldorf Academy 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.
What Waldorf Academy says: We do not follow the Ontario curriculum. Waldorf pedagogy is based on child development and can be applied universally regardless of where you live. The Waldorf curriculum is accredited through the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).
Flexible pacing style
Flexible pacing style
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
What Waldorf Academy says about flexible pacing: The elementary class teacher travels with one cohort through the grades for many years. This allows the teacher to understand how each child is learning and to ensure their needs are met.
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 Waldorf Academy: Supportive
Waldorf Academy 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 OurKids.net
Supportive - 51%   Rigorous - 49%
What Waldorf Academy 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: Social
The goal is to cultivate "socially aware and active citizens, motivated to change the world (or their community) for the better."
What Waldorf Academy 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.
Waldorf Academy 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 Waldorf Academy says about their special need support: We assess each child on an individual basis. We do not have EA's the class so we determine a balance in the class and the capacity of the teacher. We can offer two sessions of resource support a week for a limited number of students.
Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD:
Summary: All applicants are considered based upon the capacity of the class as a whole and the capacity of the teacher.
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: 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.)
What Waldorf Academy says: The students create their own text books and as a result are encouraged to deepen the content. Through independent projects they are also guided to deepen their scope. Often gifted children require strengthening in other areas such as movement, social skills and the arts. Here, at Waldorf Academy the focus is to provide a well rounded educational experience that ensures healthy relationships as well as academic rigour.
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.
In grade Gr. 8, Waldorf Academy students perform an average of 1 hour of homework per night.
What Waldorf Academy says about their flipped classroom policy: 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.
What Waldorf Academy says:
Aftercare Program: This program focuses on meaningful social engagement, outdoor and artistic activities, quiet focused time and occasional guest programming/visits.
Programming balances rhythm to ensure that children have an opportunity to rest and digest their school day.
Outdoor activities include outdoor play and camp skills
Indoor activities include chess and board games, reading, instrument practice, painting, woodwork, and crafts.
Competitive sports: 4 Recreational sports: 8
Legend: Competitive offered Recreational offered
Track & Field
Waldorf Academy offers 6 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”).
DayDay (Half day)
Day (Half day)
$4,160 / program
What Waldorf Academy says about their tuition: Covid-19 considerations are available. Please refer to our website for fees and tuition assistance. The childcare centre is monthly and there are 2, 3, and 5 day options from 8am to 6 pm. There is a half day preschool option as well that offers 2, 3 or 5 mornings.
Kindergarten has an extended day program as well.
Need-based financial aid
Grade range that need-based aid is offered:
JK to 8
Percentage of grade-eligible students receiving financial aid
This school works with Apple Financial Inc. for processing financial applications Confidential and transparent process. Based on latest T4 assessments only and number of applicants to pool funds. 50% max of tuition only.
Covid-19 considerations are on a per family need basis via the finance committee.
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.
Preschool to Gr. 8
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.
Grade school students must complete a 3 day visit after a family interview.
Kindergarten requires a family meeting and visit in the morning if senior kindergarten.
Acceptance Rate: 80%
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)
16 - 18 (90%)
8 - 10 (90%)
2 - 3 (80%)
5 - 8 (80%)
3 - 5 (80%)
3 - 4 (80%)
5 - 8 (80%)
2 - 4 (80%)
Type of student Waldorf Academy is looking for:
We want children to feel free to become themselves and we will guide them along the way. We are building intrinsic motivation, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and a love of community.
Bachelor of Health and Physical Education and her Bachelor of Education at the University of Toronto. As well, she has completed her Principal Qualification Program at OISE.
“I have been asked, “Why did I decide to move to Waldorf Academy?”. The answer is a simple one; Waldorf education is the ‘art of awakening’ that aims to inspire life-long learning in all students and to enable them to fully develop their unique capacities. At the core of my educational philosophy is the belief that we must embrace creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, authentic assessments and deep inquiry to awaken a passion for lifelong learning. And through this belief, is the reality that it is no longer about asking students what they want to be when they grow up, but instead, we challenge and ask them what problems they would like to solve.”