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Wildwood Academy

Grades Gr. 2 TO Gr. 8 — Oakville, ON (MAP)

Wildwood Academy:

Pages in this report:

  • Grades
    Gr. 2 — Gr. 8
  • Gender
  • Class Size
    4 — 8 students
  • Tuition
  • Language of instruction
  • Associations
  • Enrolment
    60 day students
  • Curriculum

School address

  • 2250 Sheridan Garden Drive, Oakville, Ontario, L6J 7T1 (MAP)
  • Busing not available

Our Perspective

How we see Wildwood Academy

Wildwood was founded in 2002 in order to serve primary and middle-grade learners who require more support than they would find within a traditional classroom. The environment—both physically and pedagogically—was designed to address the needs of students with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, dyslexia, and autism Spectrum Disorder. In some senses, that describes quite a range of students and abilities, including those who may function both above and below their peers. While the classroom setting and extra-curricular activities provide opportunities for social development, the pace of instruction is individualized. The intention is to prepare students for high school, developing a personalized suite of strategies and skills necessary for them to make the most of academic life once they leave Wildwood after grade 8.

School's Perspective

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How Wildwood Academy sees itself

The school administration answered our questions

Who are you, as a school?

"Wildwood Academy is a charitable, not-for-profit school specifically designed to meet the needs of students with exceptionalities and students who require extra support to upgrade their academics. Through research based teaching and positive reinforcement, we close gaps in student knowledge and build students' confidence in their own ability to learn. Wildwood Academy offers all academic subjects from Grade Levels 2-8, as well as Emotional Intelligence classes, clubs, field trips, and extracurricular activities."

  • Small class sizes (1:1-10:1)
  • Mastery-based learning
  • Successful teaching methods
  • Specializes in support for exceptionalities (examples: Learning Disabilities, ADHD, etc.)
  • Chromebooks
  • Caring, professional staff
  • Bright, spacious environment
  • Fully equipped gymnasium
  • Research Based and Validated Direct Instruction Programs for Teaching
  • Emotional Intelligence Classes

What do you do differently and uniquely well?

"Wildwood academically groups students based on their needs and level of learning, not their age. Students have individualized schedules, so in every class they are in they are neither bored nor frustrated. The teacher does not need to modify curriculum, and can teach more to the students in the class.

Wildwood uses Direct Instruction Programs to teach academics. Direct Instruction Programs are scientifically based and validated by research. They are proven to be effective in closing academic gaps and teaching more to students in less time. These programs offer repetition, explicit linking of concepts, high frequency of student participation, and continuous monitoring of student progress.

Wildwood Academy has Emotional Intelligence Classes where students explicitly learn self-regulation and social skills. Based off monthly Character Education and the PEERS program for making and keeping friends, students learn skills they need for social success."

What tradeoffs has your school made to serve families in this way?

"Wildwood Academy uses Direct Instruction, an explicit and prescribed method of teaching for academic classes (Math, Reading, Writing and Spelling). This style of teaching is not play-based , and students are learning from the teacher not their own exploration. At Wildwood, we have had a huge amount of success with Direct Instruction, which is proven to give students a strong academic base. Teachers bring their joy and personality to classes, and make these lessons fun and engaging for students. We make up for the more structured lesson time with 5 minute body breaks at the end of every class, 3 recesses a day, 3 free choice club blocks a week, and incorporate exploration based learning into our lessons in Arts, Physical Education, and Emotional Intelligence."

What key junctures in your school's history have most shaped its present?

"In 2002, Wildwood Academy was founded by two parents who could not find a suitable education for their son. Wildwood began with 6 students, and has grown to 60."

What type of student is a good fit for your school?

"Wildwood best supports students who need extra support in their learning, or who are learning at dramatically different grade levels in different subjects. For example, if a student is working at a grade 3 level in reading, but a grade 6 level in math, they would be placed into those classes. Students all have individualized schedules and move around the school to the classroom reflecting the curriculum best suited to their level and learning style. We find the perfect balance between boredom and frustration where optimal learning can take place. Students who get the most out of their time at Wildwood tend to benefit from small class sizes and explicit instruction to master concepts."

Under what conditions would you advise a family against choosing your school?

"Wildwood has a large campus, but a small student body. With only 60 students, and class sizes between 4-14 (ratio maximum 10:1), students get to know the whole school and make close social connections. We combine students with other groups for social, sporting, and free-choice clubs. Students who wish to be in large groups all the time may find Wildwood's small size too small. Some families participate in out of school clubs for more social connections.

Wildwood is a member of the Private School Athletic Association (PSAA), has a fully equipped full-size gymnasium, basket ball courts, a soccer field, and a recreational field. Wildwood participates in 2-4 PSAA events and competitions with other schools per year. Due to our smaller size, we do not participate as a school in more than 4 competitive sporting events per year. Many of our students with special sports interests (example: hockey or baseball) participate on teams outside of school."

To your knowledge, why do families choose your school over others?

"Wildwood is a wonderful environment for students who are having challenges learning in the typical classroom environment. Whatever the barrier to learning may be: attention and focus, gaps in knowledge, learning disability, processing speed, etc., Wildwood's small class sizes and personalized student schedules can make a huge difference. We work with families to create individualized learning goals for each student. Goals are different for every student, but may include: catching up to grade level and rejoining their previous school, learning to read, closing gaps in knowledge, developing tools to manage dyslexia, etc.

Students that need more support at Wildwood can participate in our Education Assistant (EA) Program. Their EA is dedicated specifically to them to shadow and assist them throughout their day. This can be beneficial for students who need extra breaks, support managing their belongings, or support learning in class."

How would you characterize your school's image amongst the public?

"We are well-known for closing gaps in student understanding, support students with exceptionalities, catching students up to grade level, and supporting students who need individualized schedules. For academic subjects, we group students based on the level and style of their learning, not their age level. When students are surrounded by others working at the same level, their self-confidence and their participation in classes improve. If students are above grade level in one subject, and below in another, they will be placed in classes that meet their learning needs. Students with a gifted/LD profile benefit from this type of flexibility in student grouping."

What aspect of your school is underappreciated?

"Wildwood Academy offers two Emotional Intelligence Classes per week. During these classes, students work with their homeroom on self-regulation, social skills, and conflict resolution. These classes utilize teacher created lessons, the PEERs program for making and keeping friends, and a Character Education Program. Students learn skills they need to navigate social and emotional situations in their future. This ties into our philosophy of educating students holistically."

What might families find surprising about your school?

"Parents are often surprised how happy and engaged students are in classes. Many students who have typically not liked school in their past have found their place at Wildwood and are now happy to attend school."

What improvements or changes has your school made recently?

"In 2023, Wildwood received a generous donation and was able to upgrade all of our projector technology and provide every student with their own ChromeBook. Students utilize Google Classroom to complete and submit assignments. We have two computer and STEM classes where students utilize these for skills such as typing, coding, and building their skills for Google Sheets and Slides."

How will your school change in the next 5 years?

"Wildwood will continue to provide individualized schedules and education to students who need more support in their learning. We will continue to improve every year through Professional Development, new technology, and new ways to reach students."

School Facilities

Photo-tour of facilities

Athletics facilities

Arts facilities



Instructional resources

Shared spaces

Insider Perspectives

How people from the school’s community see Wildwood Academy

Video reviews of Wildwood Academy

Parent, Mylène Tomkin (2021)

Watch our parent interview with Mylène Tomkin to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to have a child attend Wildwood Academy.

Written reviews of Wildwood Academy


Parent, Kimberly Bell (2019)

My daughter struggled in the public system with dyslexia and was not receiving enough support. It w...

School leadership

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

Message from school leadership

Robert Hamilton, Principal

I joined the Wildwood team in the fall of 2021.  Before coming to Wildwood, I worked as a teacher for 12 years and then became a Vice Principal with the Halton District School Board.  After 3 years as a VP, I became a Principal, a role I enjoyed for 17 years.  Throughout my 32 years in public education, I had the pleasure of working in 3 different school boards.  I opened a new elementary school in Milton and also worked as a System Principal.  Each role and opportunity allowed me to learn and grow so I could better serve the needs of my school community.  After retiring from public education, I worked for a teacher recruitment company in London, England. This was a very different experience and I felt privileged to visit teacher’s colleges across Canada and help new teachers find teaching jobs in the U.K.  In 2021, at a time when we were finally enjoying relaxed restrictions with COVID, I was given an opportunity that turned out to be the highlight of my professional career.  I received an email from a colleague who shared that Wildwood Academy was looking for a Principal.  Feeling unsure if this was the right move for me, I came for a visit to learn more about the school and its philosophy. After 10 minutes, I was sold.  This school’s “raison d’etre” re-ignited my passion for working with children, especially those who struggled to succeed or feel safe at school. This was my chance to serve the needs of students who are often underserved in mainstream schools.  Seeing these children come to school with a smile and leave each day feeling successful was enough to put my retirement plans on pause.  This school does what all schools should do: make students feel that, regardless of their past experiences and challenges, they are valued and respected and, like everyone else, they can be successful.  My only regret is I didn’t start this role earlier.  I am proud to be part of the Wildwood community.

THE OUR KIDS REPORT: Wildwood Academy

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