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Look on the bright side

Given the right environment, gifted children learn to shine

Find a list of schools

Based on his public school record, you never would have guessed the boy was gifted. "This student's academic record was spotty and teachers expressed disappointment with him," says Mark Young, principal of The Abelard School, a gifted school in Toronto, Ontario. The student, now in Grade 11, handed in assignments late, antagonizing his teachers. When the boy switched over to The Abelard School, Young discovered the delays weren't because the student was struggling with the work; rather, they reflected his perfectionism. What he eventually delivers, Young says, is "remarkable."


One of many common misconceptions about gifted students, administrators of such programs say, is they are straight-A students (although many are). "Gifted doesn't mean the ability to absorb a lot of material," Young says. "It is about bringing a unique and important perspective to a subject, whether it is math or history, and combining it with traditional interpretations."

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Without academic indicators, educators, let alone parents, find it difficult to determine if a child is gifted. Melissa Volekaert, director of lower school and gifted co-ordinator at Fieldstone School in Toronto, says the only accurate test is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), a roughly two-hour oral exam that evaluates a child's independent and abstract thinking. And Young says tests don't always accurately reflect if a child is gifted.

But gifted kids show certain characteristics that can tip off parents and educators. While bright students tend to be obedient, Volekaert says, gifted students "aren't usually the best behaved." This isn't to say gifted kids are troublemakers, or vice versa, but they tend to be more inquisitive than most and possess unique eccentricities that can frustrate teachers.

"They are very oriented towards justice and fairness," Volekaert says. "If something is not perceived as fair, you will get quite a reaction." If a teacher claims information to be accurate when the student suspects it is not, for example, the student may start an argument or essentially "write the teacher off," which can lead to behaviour issues.

And while bright students perform well in most subjects, Young says gifted students generally excel in certain areas and struggle in others - another reason why gifted students sometimes go undetected. Young remembers a former Grade 9 student studying then-OAC (Grade 13) math, but struggling with reading novels at his own level. An instructor worked one-on-one with the student in Grade 9 English, and teachers in subsequent grades were alerted to the math genius' weakness. "By the time he came through the curriculum, he was very strong all around," Young says.

That's what a good gifted program can do: challenge students' strengths, while addressing their weaknesses. Gifted programs generally follow two models: withdrawal, in which students are periodically removed from regular class to study gifted curricula, and self-contained classrooms, where students only attend classes exclusively for them. Abelard's 50 students are not all gifted, but all are exceptionally bright and highly motivated. "These students are all irrepressible and want to be challenged," Young says. "This way each student's voice is heard."

Three hundred students are enrolled in Fieldstone School's academically challenging program, but just 30 take part in its gifted program. The program removes kids from regular classes three times a week: once to interact with their peer group, and twice to work with students from other grades on specific subjects, such as robotics or cryptography. Volekaert believes it's important for gifted kids to remain in regular classes. "Not everyone is gifted,"she says. "They need to learn to work with the kind of people they will work with when they're finished school."

Of course, not every child is ready to be called gifted. "The label is not always helpful because there are certain expectations brought to bear," Young says. Yet both Young and Volekaert say if your child shows characteristics of being gifted - and seems disengaged from regular school - it may be time to investigate a specialized program. "These kids really march to their own drum," Volekaert says.

Read our advice guide on choosing a school for a gifted child and for kids with other traits. To get school-choice advice customized to your child's unique traits, create a child profile through your user account.

 

Read our advice guide on choosing a school for a gifted child and for kids with other traits. To customize 350+ school profiles with insights unique to your child's traits, create a child profile through your user account.

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List of gifted schools and programs

 
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Toronto, Ontario — Prestige School offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade 12 in Toronto. Its average class size is 10 to 18 students. View School Profile.


  • Our curriculum exceeds Ontario guidelines as a result of our individualized, accelerated learning.
  • We are ministry inspected and a proud member of the Ontario Federation of Independent Schools.
  • 100% university placement rate
  • French instruction beginning in junior kindergarten.
  • Dedicated faculty that draw upon best practices
Grades:
PS to 12 (Coed)
Type:
Traditional
Tuition:
$12,000 to $16,500
Living:
Day
Enrollment:
290
Avg. Class:
10 to 18
Prestige School - Toronto Campus 12000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $19,000 to $29,280

Oakville's SMLS continues to be a premier independent school for girls Preschool to Grade 12 since 1891. "Millie" graduates take on the world with confidence and the knowledge that they can do anything.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School 19000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
  • 9 to 12 Coed
  • $68,900

The Gordonstoun’s broad curriculum dedicates itself to delivering to each student a world class education and personal development experiences in a caring and safe environment that instills in each student the knowledge that there is “More in you than you think.”

  • Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Gordonstoun Nova Scotia 68900 HighSchools Boarding Boarding Coed
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    Yonge Street/King Road
  • 1 to 12 Coed
  • $15,500

Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E. is a private school for intellectually gifted students in Richmond Hill, Ontario, from grades 1 through 12. Tuition is $15,500.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E. 15500 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Aurora, Ontario
  • 1 to 8 Coed
  • $2,500 to $12,850

First school of its kind in the world. We are unique in everything we do. It is time for thinking outside of the box and raising a new generation of leaders, innovaters, inventors and entrepreneurs.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Waldorf
Agora Prep 2500 Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Mississauga Road/Eglinton Avenue
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $14,250 to $17,100

Kendellhurst offers students an enriched curriculum with a blend of project-based, traditional and arts-infused curriculum within a seamless technology program. We include school-issued chrome books for grades 5 to 8.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Kendellhurst Academy 14250 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Langley, British Columbia
    Glover/Logan
  • 8 to 12 Coed
  • $4,900 to $19,500

Whytecliff is a safe, empathetic & supportive place for teens with a diverse range of learning needs / personal challenges. Our positive community & high-growth environment pulls each child up to be their very best!

  • Homestay/Day
  • Progressive
Whytecliff Agile Learning Centres 4900 HighSchools Homestay Day Coed
  • Vaughan, Ontario
    407/Dufferin
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $18,500 to $19,500

Balanced Academics, Arts, Athletics & Character Development. We value best practices & evidenced based approaches. University preparatory & 21st Century Tech Rich & Future Proof school. Enriched and rigorous curriculum.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
Delano Academy 18500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge/Eglinton
  • 9 to 12 Coed
  • $12,500 to $14,000

We go beyond curriculum expectations to provide opportunities for students to earn admission into their choice of university using our AP accreditation, staff expertise and individual goal setting in small classes.

  • Day/Homestay
  • Progressive
OAT - Ontario Academy of Technology 12500 HighSchools Day Homestay Coed
  • Sherbrooke, Quebec
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $26,500 to $69,000

Bishop's College School is an English boarding and day school for students in grades 7 through 12. Small in size and culturally diverse, BCS is an IB World School offering the IB DP and course certificates.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
Bishop's College School 26500 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Highway 417/Greenbank
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $16,628 to $18,128

Acadecap International School ( Académie de la Capitale), an IB school, offers bilingual and/or English programmes from Pre-K to Grade 12. Students thrive in a culture of academic excellence and real-life learning.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Académie de la Capitale 16628 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • JK to 8 Coed
  • $10,000

Guiding Light Academy is a Catholic private elementary school in Streetsville, Mississauga. We offer an enriched curriculum for JK, SK and Grades 1 to 8. We are located just minutes away from the Streetsville Go Station.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
Guiding Light Academy 10000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
    Lakeshore Road East/Bel Air Drive
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $9,900 to $23,900

Offering Montessori programs from Toddler to Grade 8, Dearcroft is accredited by CCMA and staffed by dedicated teachers.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Dearcroft Montessori School 9900 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Unionville, Ontario
    Kennedy Road/16th Avenue
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $8,000 to $15,250

UMS offers year advanced programs from pre-school to grade eight. Our hallmark is a clear focus on high expectations blending academic success with the character development of the individual child.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
Unionville Montessori Private Schools 8000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Caledon, Ontario
    The Gore Road/Old Church
  • 3 to 12 Coed
  • $17,900 to $33,000

The King's College experience develops in students responsibility, accountability, and ownership of their own learning and a passion for making a difference. Students can attend in person, online, or a mix of both.

  • eSchool/Day/Homestay
  • Traditional
King's College School for Bright and Gifted Children 17900 MiddleSchools HighSchools eSchool Day Homestay Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Church/Bloor
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $20,000 to $25,000

Founded in 1997, the Abelard School is a small independent school for grades 7 though 12, located in downtown Toronto. It offers small class sizes and an enriched, integrated curriculum to bright, motivated students.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
The Abelard School 20000 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Dufferin Street/Lawrence Avenue
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $18,830 to $26,265

As a Cambridge School, we teach a curriculum that sets the global standard for education designed to help students develop an informed curiosity and a lasting passion for learning.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Fieldstone School 18830 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    Major MacKenzie Dr. W/Bathurst St.
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $15,750

Prestige School offers individualized programs from pre-school to grade eight in Richmond Hill with an average class size of ten students. It will soon be expanding its facilities to include full-time high school.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Prestige School - Richmond Hill Campus 15750 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Edmonton, Alberta
    Groat Road/107 Avenue
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $8,950 to $10,150

Progressive Academy's programs inspire students from preschool to grade 12 in Edmonton, Alberta. Wonderful faculty, wide range of experiential opportunities and high expectations ignite a desire to learn.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Progressive Academy 8950 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Aurora, Ontario
    St. John Sideroad/Yonge St.
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $10,900 to $18,350

Aurora Montessori offers an extensive, enriched program for day students to Grade 8 including an Outdoor Ed. Program, an option of an OSSD credit in Grade 9 Academic Math and a bridge to elite private high schools.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Aurora Montessori School 10900 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • London, Ontario
    Richmond Street/King Street
  • 9 to 12 Coed/Girls
  • $21,200 to $26,000

A Canadian Private Secondary Boarding school, located in the heart of London, Ontario. LIA is authorized to grant the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

  • Boarding
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
London International Academy 21200 HighSchools Boarding Boarding Coed Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge/Sheppard
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $15,850

Little Owl Preschool, Elementary and Middle School develops motivated, confident, and happy problem-solving individuals. We invite your child to become a Little Owl student.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Little Owl Private School 15850 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • St. Catharines, Ontario
    Edinburgh Dr/Scott Street
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $6,550 to $14,050

We provide students with opportunities to explore real-world concepts and issues, broadening their sense of responsibility, develop their critical thinking skills, and empower them to take action in a global community.

  • Day
  • Montessori
  • International Baccalaureate
Wheatley School 6550 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Shuter Street/Bond Street
  • 3 to 12 Boys
  • $7,500

St. Michael’s Choir School was founded in 1937 and provides sacred music for services at St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica. Located in downtown Toronto, SMCS is an all boys school from grades 3 through 12.

  • Day
  • Traditional
St. Michael's Choir School 7500 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Iris St/Woodroffe Ave
  • JK to 8 Girls
  • $16,175

In our all-girls environment, academic achievement in both official languages is the norm. A Joan of Arc Academy bilingual education prepares the women leaders for the challenges of tomorrow. Come and see the difference.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Academie Jeanne d'Arc 16175 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Girls
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Riverside Dr./Bank St
  • 1 to 12 Coed
  • $14,500 to $16,500

Astolot Educational Centre is a day school with grades 1 to 12 in Ottawa, Ontario. Classroom teacher-student ratios are 1 to 10. Students have the ability to reach their full potential with Astolot programming.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Astolot Educational Centre 14500 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • 9 to 12 Coed
  • $795 /course

Building on Toronto Prep School's 12 year history of outstanding values-added education, we are pleased to launch Toronto Prep School Online, a premium online High School serving grades 9-12.

  • eSchool
  • Liberal Arts
TPS Online - Toronto Prep School 795 HighSchools eSchool Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Queen St./Ossington Ave.
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $29,300

University of Toronto Schools (UTS) offers a transformative education to high-achieving students in Grades 7 to 12 from all backgrounds. UTS graduates take initiative and innovate as socially responsible global citizens.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
University of Toronto Schools 29300 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Bracebridge, Ontario
  • 1 to 12 Coed
  • $6,400 to $35,000

Dewey’s educational goals follow the philosophies of John Dewey, preparing students through “student-centred learning" and "learning by doing", while emphasizing the cultivation of the "three New Liberal Arts".

  • Day/Boarding/eSchool
  • Traditional
Dewey Institute 6400 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding eSchool Coed
  • Kanata, Ontario
    March Road/Sandhill Road
  • 1 to 8 Coed
  • $16,000

March Academy offers an alternative program for students in grades 1 through 8. Small classes with academic programming includes weekly lessons in the arts, the natural environment and daily physical education.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
March Academy 16000 Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Pickering, Ontario
    Kingston/Altona
  • NS to 6 Coed
  • $8,400 to $17,000

École Montessori is Durham Region's premier French private school dedicated to transforming your child into a BILINGUAL critical thinker with our enriched curriculum that fosters the genius within each student.

  • Day
  • Montessori
École Montessori 8400 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Avenue Road/St. Clair Ave.
  • 5 to 12 Coed
  • $15,950 to $16,150

De La Salle College is a Catholic, co-educational, university preparatory school in Toronto from Grade 5 to 12, with average class sizes of 23 students and tuition at $13,325.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
De La Salle College 15950 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Eglinton Ave W/Ninth Line
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $12,740 to $15,000

Sherwood Heights School offers Enriched Academic Programmes from Kindergarten to Grade 12, in Mississauga. The Programmes are Enriched and Comprehensive, delivered with Extra Attention and Care.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Sherwood Heights School 12740 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Stouffville, Ontario
    Ninth Line/Main Street
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $7,782 to $15,396

Toronto French Montessori offers French and English programs from pre-school to grade 8 in York Region. Its average class size is 15 students.

  • Day
  • Montessori
Toronto French Montessori 7782 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Day Coed
  • North York, Ontario
    Avenue Road/Lawrence Avenue
  • 9 to 12 Coed
  • $17,175 to $22,175

AVRO Academy is an alternative high school in Toronto for grades 9 to 12. Students earn credits while developing skills that best prepares them for post secondary education. We focus on student strength!

  • Day
  • Progressive
AVRO Academy 17175 HighSchools Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
  • JK to 6 Coed
  • $12,600 to $18,900

Oak Learners offers a unique learning atmosphere, inspired by the strengths of our students. Our classrooms apply interdisciplinary and inquiry-based teaching to facilitate an enriched educational environment.

  • Day
  • Reggio Emilia
Oak Learners 12600 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
    Crowchild Trail/Flanders Ave
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $9,750 to $10,750

At Banbury, we teach and mentor each child individually. Students are happy and engaged in learning. We believe in small class sizes with multi-aged groups. 98% of our grads continue with post-secondary education.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Banbury Crossroads School 9750 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
    W 8th Ave/Laurel Street
  • 8 to 12 Coed
  • $7,800 to $19,200

We are an arts-based, hands-on, creative high school in Vancouver (grades 08 to 12) that has already established a record of excellence in getting students admitted to some of the best arts universities in North America.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Canada Royal Arts High School 7800 HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge Street/St. Clair Ave E
  • 1 to 8 Coed
  • $24,500

Esprit Academy is a community and environment that cultivates independence and lifelong learning through individualized experiences that integrates and connects knowledge and skills.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
Esprit Academy 24500 Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed

Series: Gifted Programs

Latest Articles



May 1, 2019
Assessing gifted kids
Gifted children shine in the right environment

March 11, 2019
Schools for Gifted Kids
Gifted Kids

January 31, 2017
Gifted curriculum alternatives
How language immersion, IB, AP, and Montessori programs work for gifted kids

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