Arrowsmith School transforms the lives of students with learning difficulties. By applying principles of neuroscience, Arrowsmith targets and improves cognitive ability, rather than relying on compensations or accommodations. Students engage in programs that strengthen capacities responsible for academics as well as problem-solving, understanding, memory, and communication. With emerging strengths, students create a new reality. Enrolment options include in-person full-time, part-time, summer, and online programs.
Builds and strengthens cognitive processes necessary for more efficient learning
Trains visual and auditory memory, attention and concentration
Improves the fine motor skills necessary for writing
Strengthens executive functions
Builds capacity for both verbal and non-verbal thinking, reasoning and problem solving
What learning looks like now: Arrowsmith School Toronto will be opening its doors to students this upcoming 2020-21 school year in September. In addition to offering in-person classes at our Arrowsmith School Toronto School, Arrowsmith School Online opens its virtual doors, providing access to our individualized cognitive programs to students, at-home, online, working with a trained cognitive teacher.
Students who come to Arrowsmith School Online have been struggling in school – some are just starting their schooling but their experience has already shown a pattern of learning problems. Others have been finding school a challenge for years.
Arrowsmith Program cognitive exercises offered at our school, strengthen fundamental aspects of learning such as attention, comprehension, working memory, communication, reasoning, numeracy, social-emotional intelligence, and wellbeing. The Program has been transformative for individuals with specific learning difficulties including dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, processing speed, attention difficulties, working memory, and executive function issues.
Learn more about Arrowsmith School Online at the link below:
The Arrowsmith School was founded in 1980 by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young to provide support for struggling learners. The school has been an object of interest ever since, due to the concept that Arrowsmith-Young built her program around. "If we look at a lot of special education programs, the majority assume the learner is fixed," she said. "What my program is saying is that we can change the learner so they can learn." While there are many things that set the school apart, that sense of what is possible is prime among them. The Arrowsmith School works closely with students to develop their strengths, address weaknesses, and build academic, social, and vocational competence. That the method works may be evidence of neuroplasticity, and science may yet underscore that. In the meantime, daring to dream —as well as creating a supportive, caring, understanding environment —can itself provide what many students need in order to succeed, and that's what the Arrowsmith school principally addresses.
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 Arrowsmith School: Traditional
Arrowsmith School has a Traditional approach to Curriculum (as opposed to Liberal Arts, Progressive, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf approach).
[Show: About Traditional?]
Traditional curricula tend to be very content-based and rooted in the core disciplines. It is a structured approach that involves the teacher delivering a unified curriculum through direct instruction. Students usually learn by observing and listening to their teacher, studying facts and concepts in textbooks, and completing both tests and written assignments - which challenge students to not only demonstrate their mastery of content but their ability to analyze and deconstruct it critically. Class discussions are also used to create critical dialogue around the content of the curriculum.
Curriculum at schools on OurKids.net
Traditional - 15%   Liberal arts - 17%   Progressive - 17%   Montessori - 17%   Reggio Emilia - 17%   Waldorf - 17%
What Arrowsmith School says: Arrowsmith School is a privately owned co-educational and non-denominational day school that is dedicated to helping students with specific learning difficulties. Students who come to Arrowsmith School have been struggling in school - some are just starting their schooling but their experience has already shown a pattern of learning problems. Others have been finding school a challenge for years.
Each new student is assessed at Arrowsmith School so that we may identify his or her individual learning profile and then design a program of cognitive exercises for that student. Our program has been of benefit for students having difficulty with reading, writing and mathematics, comprehension, logical reasoning, problem solving, visual and auditory memory, non-verbal learning, attention, processing speed and dyslexia. Our goal is for our students to become effective, confident and self-directed learners for life and to enable them to achieve their goals of academic and career success.
These math programs feature an equal balance of “Traditional” and “Discovery” methods.
Mathematics at schools on OurKids.net
Equal balance - 65%   Traditional math - 30%   Discovery math - 5%
What Arrowsmith School says: Blended learning amidst cognitive transformations, amplify the Math Education at Arrowsmith School. Cognitive strengthening combined with online mathematical connections and classroom correlations, deliver a hybrid educational experience. Within this model, students learn how to regulate their learning more easily and become amply aware of their daily performance with verbal and numerical feedback. The small classroom size provides occasions to collaborate with peers, while their virtual learning gives opportunities for autonomy. Students increase their motivational levels and take more ownership of their own learning, as the processes foster critical thinking skills, self-reflection and confidence.
Textbooks and supplementary materials: JUMP Math
Calculator policy: Calculators are vital in our technological enhanced society. Students are encouraged to formulate a numerical estimation proceeding the use of their calculator, to ensure reasonable and accurate results.
What Arrowsmith School says: Most students at Arrowsmith School receive one period of English each day. There are typically between four to ten students in a class, and classes are either 35 or 40 minutes in length depending on the period when they occur. Students are grouped according to their abilities so that there are usually students from multiple grade levels in any one class.\n\nThe focus of each class will depend on the needs of the students in it. Typically, students reading well below their grade level are placed in a class where the focus tends to be on decoding. In other classes, students read and discuss novels, short stories and non-fiction articles. They also often engage in independent reading comprehension exercises. Additionally, students work on developing their writing skills, learning basic paragraph structure and how to apply it to the composition of short essays. Students also work on revision and editing skills.\n
DIBELS Testing: This school periodically uses DIBELS testing to assess reading progress.
What Arrowsmith School says: A reading placement test is given in September and formal, standardized tests are administered at the end of the year.
The systematic approach to teaching beginner writing focuses on directly imparting explicit sentence construction strategies, along with planning, revising, and editing skills. Students are asked to learn these explicit strategies and skills and practice them before applying them in more holistic writing assignments. Grammar and parts of sentences tend to have a central role in systematic writing instruction.
What Arrowsmith School says: Most students at Arrowsmith School will receive one period of English each day. There are typically between four to ten students in a class, and classes are either 35 or 40 minutes in length depending on the period when they occur. Students are grouped according to their abilities so that there are usually students from multiple grade levels in any one class.\n
In traditional literature programs students focus on decoding the mechanics of texts: plot, characterization, and themes. These texts tend to include a balance of contemporary and “classic” literature. When studying a past work, students investigate its historical context -- but only insofar as this adds understanding to the work itself. Past works are therefore studied “on their own terms”, and not merely as historical artifacts to be deconstructed: traditional literature programs are firmly rooted in the humanities, and carry the belief that great literature can reveal fundamental and universal truths about the human condition. These programs emphasize class discussions and critical essay writing, and aim to develop in students critical thinking, communication skills, and a cultivated taste and ethos.
Literature at schools on OurKids.net
Traditional - 20%   Social justice - 3%   Equal balance - 77%
What Arrowsmith School says: The focus of each class will depend on the needs of the students in it. Typically, students reading well below their grade level are placed in a class where the focus tends to be on decoding. In other classes, students read and discuss novels, short stories and non-fiction articles. They also often engage in independent reading comprehension exercises. Additionally, students work on developing their writing skills, learning basic paragraph structure and how to apply it to the composition of short essays. Students also work on revision and editing skills.
What Arrowsmith School says: Each Division receives 50 minutes of Gym every Wednesday. When the weather is nice we utilize the Parks near the school and during periods of inclement weather, we book space across the road at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church. Gym is an opportunity for students to have a period of sustained physical activity and to, most importantly, have a lot of fun.
Sex and health education approach at Arrowsmith School: Not Ontario curriculum
Arrowsmith School 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
Arrowsmith School has a approach Mostly value-neutral (as opposed to Fairly value-based approach).
[Show: About Mostly value-neutral?]
By and large, students are taught about sex free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. The school doesn't impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on students when teaching sex and related issues.
What Arrowsmith School says: This information is not currently available.
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 Arrowsmith School: Student-paced
Arrowsmith School has a Student-paced approach to Curriculum Pace (as opposed to Standard-enriched, Accelerated approach).
[Show: About Student-paced?]
The main curriculum pace is non-standardized and is HIGHLY responsive to the pacing of individual students, (via differentiated instruction, differentiated assessment, etc). In theory, some students outpace the default/normalized curriculum, while others spend periods "behind schedule" if they need the extra time.
What Arrowsmith School says: Every student has a specific schedule of exercises to be completed during the course of a day. The exercises for each student differ depending upon that student’s unique learning profile, and include written, visual, auditory and computer exercises. Programs are modified on a yearly basis, depending upon year-end assessments.
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 Arrowsmith School says about flexible pacing: This information is not currently available.
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 Arrowsmith School: Supportive
Arrowsmith School has a Supportive approach to Academic Culture (as opposed to Rigorous approach).
[Show: About Supportive?]
A school with a “supportive” academic culture focuses more on process than short-term outcomes: academic performance is a welcomed side-benefit, but not the driving focus. This does not mean the school lacks standards, or has low expectations for its students: a school can have a supportive academic culture and still light the fire of ambition in its students. It does mean, however, the school provides a less intensive culture than schools with a “rigorous” academic classification, and is focused more simply on instilling a love of learning and life-long curiosity.
Academic Culture at schools on OurKids.net
Supportive - 50%   Rigorous - 50%
What Arrowsmith School says: At Arrowsmith School, school-age students attend Math and English classes daily in addition to completing their cognitive exercises. Students are grouped based on ability rather than age-appropriate grade and receive the supports necessary in order to meet with success in an academic setting.
Schools have specific goals regarding how they want their educate and develop their students. This is part of a school's overall philosophy or vision, which is contained in its mission statement. While they tend have several developmental aims, schools tend to priortize certain aims, such as intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, or physical development.
Primary Developmental Priority: Intellectual
The goal is to cultivate "academically strong, creative and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions."
Secondary Developmental Priority: Social
The goal is to cultivate "socially aware and active citizens, motivated to change the world (or their community) for the better."
What Arrowsmith School says: The goal of Arrowsmith School is to help students capitalize on their improvements and eventually reintegrate into a full academic program at a public or private school at their appropriate grade level following completion of a two-to-four year program of Arrowsmith cognitive exercises. Our goal is for our students to become effective, confident and self-directed learners for life and to enable them to achieve their goals of academic and career success.
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.
Arrowsmith School is a Special needs school
Full-time programming is offered for all students which is exclusively focused on one or more special needs.
What Arrowsmith School says about their special need support: Students in the Arrowsmith Program are typically of average or above intelligence but are experiencing problems in school which may include difficulties with reading, writing, mathematics, remembering, understanding, or attentional issues. Each student is unique in his or her combination of problem areas and our exercise program is individually designed for each student. At Arrowsmith School, we utilize the Arrowsmith Program that is based on the philosophy that it is possible to treat specific learning difficulties by identifying and strengthening cognitive capacities.
Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD:
Summary: At Arrowsmith School we offer a program of intensive and graduated cognitive exercises that are designed to strengthen the underlying weak cognitive capacities that are hypothesized to underlie a range of specific learning difficulties. Each student's program is based on a careful assessment to identify the specific learning difficulties. Our Framework for Results includes a detailed assessment and identification of 19 learning dysfunctions; innovative methods which include specialized exercises and computerized programs; clearly defined and individualized goals; a positive, supportive and structured learning environment; building self-esteem by developing competence; and low student to teacher ratio.
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: This information is not currently available.
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. 12, Arrowsmith School students perform an average of 1.5 hours of homework per night.
What Arrowsmith School 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 Arrowsmith School says:
Flower Stick Club
FIRST LEGO League Robotics Club
Competitive sports: N/A Recreational sports: N/A
Legend: Competitive offered Recreational offered
Track & Field
Arrowsmith School offers 9 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”).
$6,000 / course
What Arrowsmith School says about their tuition: Assessment & Tuition fees vary based on the Program Type (Full-time, Part-time, Enhancement, etc) and Delivery Model (in-person vs online). Please contact us directly, or visit https://arrowsmithschool.org/tuition-assessment-fees/ for details.
Need-based financial aid
Arrowsmith School does not offer need-based financial aid.
Merit based Scholarships
Arrowsmith School does not offer merit-based financial awards.
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.
Gr. 1 to Gr. 12
Gr. 1 to Gr. 12
Average class size
10 to 22
% 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.
The decision as to whether a student who is experiencing difficulty at school may be suitable for Arrowsmith School can usually be made based on discussion by telephone with parents and often with the students themselves.
Where necessary, we can also review school report cards and results of academic and psychological testing. Our experience has shown that most parents can identify with great accuracy the problems that their child is having at school.
Each student enrolling at Arrowsmith is assessed to determine the student’s learning profile and to plan the student’s program. Information about the assessment procedure is in the Assessment section of our web site.
Acceptance Rate: 100%
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)
Type of student Arrowsmith School is looking for:
Students entering Arrowsmith School have ordinarily been experiencing a range of problems including:
Where graduates of a school do their post-secondary studies can be an important factor in choosing a private school. Do you want your child to go to a Canadian university, an Ivy league school in the US, or some other institute? Regardless of your inclinations, take a look at a school’s university placement record, and the services they offer to support university applications and decisions.
Our goal is for our students to become independent, confident, and self-directed learners who are equipped to achieve academic, career, and life success.
Students with learning difficulties and individuals wishing to strengthen their cognitive capacity join Arrowsmith School to engage in a life-changing journey that has the neuroplasticity of the brain and our students’ lifelong success at the forefront of our educational program. The neuroplastic brain, in response to our cognitive exercises, creates and strengthens neuropathways that allow our students to walk the pathway to their preferred future with greater independence and confidence.
At Arrowsmith School, whether attending our Toronto in-person classrooms or our worldly online classrooms, our students engage in a positive school climate that promotes academic success, social connectedness, and overall well-being. We provide an exemplary personalized cognitive program to students of all ages within a learning environment that includes families as a key part of the journey.