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Types of schools

Montessori Schools

Montessori classrooms encourage individual growth and allow children to direct their own learning. It is a student-centered approach that encourages creativity and curiosity and leads children to ask questions, explore, investigate and think for themselves as they acquire skills. As a method, Montessori teaching focuses on the child’s experience, characterized by a focus on self-directed activity, where the teacher’s role is more observational than what might be considered traditional or typical. The teacher is sometimes called a guide in the Montessori philosophy. In Montessori education, the environment is adapted to the child and his or her development. Seatwork is downplayed in favor of physical activity and interaction.


  • Maria Montessori
  • Montessori Philosophy
  • Choosing a Montessori School for Your Child

Academic Schools

The unique feature of academic schools is the belief that all students are capable of pursuing university studies upon graduation. This belief is embedded in the school’s culture. Focused on academic preparation for post-secondary studies, these schools are often smaller in size (commonly having between 400 to 700 students in a kindergarten-to-graduation program).

Advanced Study

Advanced study programs can be a great way to help students develop critical thinking skills and earn valuable transfer credits that can be applied towards their post-secondary educations. In Canada, the two common advanced study programs are Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB). There are several other programs that also offer academic and personal benefits to participants. We take a closer look.

Advanced Placement (AP)

Students at private schools that take AP can get an edge by pursuing college-level courses in 22 subject areas ranging from culture and Italian language to chemistry

Recognized by universities and colleges, the program allows students to start post-secondary school with first-year course credits under their belt

International Baccalaureate (IB)

A rigorous university entrance program that focuses on liberal arts, theory of knowledge, community service and practical learning

Embraces a “curriculum without borders” approach that equips students to become responsible citizens and critical, compassionate thinkers who are ready for universities worldwide

AP vs. IB

AP takes an à la carte approach, and allows students to choose which AP subjects they would like to enrol in. “With AP, students can work to their own strengths, whether those are singular or multiple,” says Lynda Robinson, associate director of AP Canada.

IB programs are more comprehensive. Students are required to take all IB courses, and must complete 150 hours of extracurricular CAS activities (Creativity, Action and Service), which can entail anything from music to sports to volunteer work. They can choose different levels within the IB courses, depending on their strengths in particular subjects.


Faith-Based Schools

By providing strong academic learning along with spiritual guidance, faith-based schools provide a balanced education. For many of these schools, integrating faith-based principles into everyday life can range from fostering a respectful, tolerant environment to encouraging students to participate in community service projects.


Waldorf Schools

Waldorf schools, like any other school – private or public – educate and socialize children while they are in their formative years to become an individual healthily functioning within society. Unfortunately, many typical educational institutions focus solely on academic improvement and disregard the development of other aspects of a child’s makeup. Waldorf schools take an alternative view of children’s development.

Learning takes place through a series of unique activities that target the advancement of mind, body, and soul in whatever academic and non-academic subject taught. In each grade, teachers instill a sense of enthusiasm for learning, allowing students to initiate and achieve greater success in their education. To facilitate the learning process, teachers use the most suitable techniques in their repertoire that consider the age of their students’ physical and mental being. For example, elementary students at Waldorf Schools aged 7 to approximately 14 years old learn through artistic mediums such as drawing. Once they reach high school, the focus shifts to more direct intellectual stimulation.