ADVERTISEMENT

Welcome to Our Kids.

We’re here to help you find the right school.

We’ve spent more than 20 years working with leading child development specialists, education consultants, and other professionals to gather data and insights into the school-choice process. The result is a robust suite of tools with one goal in mind: to give you all the information you need to choose your best-fit school among the 350+ profiled on our site.

2.6 million families use OurKids.net every year to research and choose private and independent schools.

Think of us as a virtual school-placement consultant: your personal guide to discovering, comparing, and choosing the school that will shape your child’s future.


Let’s get started:
Set up your free Our Kids Account

Welcome to Our Kids

What is a play-based preschool?

The main features and benefits of play-based preschools

Find a list of schools

Most preschools aim to prepare your child for the school years, by teaching them social and academic skills. While preschools sometimes are sometimes similar to nursery schools, daycares, and even kindergartens, they often have a different approach than these other options. Read more


List of play-based preschools

 
FILTERS:
Type
Grades
 
  • Hamilton, Ontario
    Garth Street/Fennell Avenue West
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $8,213 to $50,230

Established in 1901, Hillfield Strathallan College is one of Canada’s leading co-educational independent schools, offering academic programs from Montessori Toddler and Pre-K to Grade 12, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

  • Day/Homestay
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
Hillfield Strathallan College 8213 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Homestay Coed
  • Belleville, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $8,300 to $67,460

At Albert College, every student is an 'A' student. From Pre-K to Grade 12 our students experience all 5 of the 'A’ s; Academics, Arts, Athletics, Active Citizenship and Adventure programming.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Traditional
Albert College 8300 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding 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 Graduating Year 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
  • Toronto, Ontario
    St Clair Ave W/Avenue Rd
  • SK to 12 Boys
  • $34,135 to $66,835

Located in the heart of Toronto, Upper Canada College is the oldest independent boys' school in Ontario. Our IB graduates are highly regarded by top universities and post-secondary institutions worldwide.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Upper Canada College 34135 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Boys
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Danforth Ave/Broadview Ave
  • JK to 8 Coed
  • $25,750 to $42,100

Montcrest is a welcoming community that specializes in cultivating incredible young people. With small class sizes and unparalleled student-teacher relationships, Montcrest helps children become who they’re meant to be.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Montcrest School 25750 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Summerland, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $11,275 to $51,500

UNISUS (IB World) School simply is the most innovative school. We are based on 4 pillars of IB Education, Innovation and Technology, Entrepreneurship and Outdoor Education; also E-Learning Division and Global Partners.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Unisus School 11275 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bloor Street East/Mount Pleasant Road
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $34,650 to $69,850

Branksome Hall is Toronto’s only all-girls, all-years International Baccalaureate (IB) World School.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Branksome Hall 34650 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Waterloo Region (Breslau), Ontario
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $18,094 to $68,275

St. John's-Kilmarnock School offers enriched educational programming for students from Junior Kindergarten – Grade 12 through its accredited International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. Discover the possibilities.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
St. John's-Kilmarnock School 18094 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Leslie/York Mills
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $12,500 to $26,800

La Citadelle's Excellence in Bilingual Education and academically advanced curriculum develop successful global citizens through IB & AP programs and a holistic approach where students achieve their highest potential.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
La Citadelle International Academy of Arts & Science 12500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Erin Mills Parkway/Turner Valley Road
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $20,180 to $68,860

A special education private school in Mississauga offering programs using the Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based (DIR®) Model. Theme-based DIR® March/Summer Camps are also available.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Oakwood Academy 20180 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge/St. Clair
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $16,800 to $22,600

The Linden School provides a challenging academic program for girls from JK - Grade 12. We create opportunities to discover the joys of learning and foster the development of critical thinking and physical well-being.

  • Day
  • Progressive
The Linden School 16800 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Maple Ridge, British Columbia
    240th Street/Dewdney Trunk Road
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $23,500 to $33,500

Meadowridge is an IB Continuum World School that supports the development of the whole child in a safe, supportive and challenging environment.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Meadowridge School 23500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    York Mills Road/Bayview Avenue
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $23,500 to $40,000

Junior Academy offers programs for students from Toddler to Grade Eight, in midtown Toronto. The average class size is 10 to 14 students and it caters to all types of students with different learning profiles.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Junior Academy 23500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Westmount, Quebec
  • K to 11 Boys
  • $19,880 to $25,760

Selwyn House School provides a well-rounded education of exceptional depth and scope for boys from Kindergarten to Grade 11. It is located in Westmount, Quebec.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
Selwyn House School 19880 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Calgary, Alberta
    Township Road 250/Range Road 33
  • 4 to 12 Coed
  • $17,220 to $18,270

At Edge School, your child succeeds through integrated athletics, academics, and character-building programs.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Edge School 17220 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
    Cambie/Nelson
  • K to 6 Coed
  • $15,500 to $17,500

Claren Academy is a technology & creativity focused independent school located in the heart of Vancouver.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Claren Academy 15500 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
    Burnhamthorpe Road/Kipling Avenue
  • K to 5 Coed
  • $6,800 to $11,400

Founded in 1893, Olivet School is a Christian private school in Etobicoke that offers kindergarten to grade 5. It combines quality teaching with individual attention to help each child achieve their personal potential.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Olivet School 6800 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Montreal, Quebec
    Av de Monkland/Boul Cavendish
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $18,695 to $23,845

Lower Canada College is a coed, K-12 university preparatory school, committed to excellence in teaching and learning. It is the only high school in Montreal offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Lower Canada College 18695 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
    16th Ave/Range Rd 33
  • K to 6 Coed
  • $10,000 to $13,950

Calgary Changemaker School is a new K-8 school opening in September 2020 emphasizing empathetic leadership, social innovation and students spend a significant portion of each day learning outdoors and in nature.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
Calgary Changemaker School 10000 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $7,490 to $14,310

As western Canada's leader in French immersion education, Calgary French & International School students are active leaders and global citizens, graduating with a foundation for life long success.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Calgary French & International School 7490 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • North Vancouver, British Columbia
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $25,600 to $26,600

Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School is a centre of excellence in developmentally informed instruction that empowers children with learning disabilities in a passionate, progressive and inspiring learning environment.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School 25600 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Duncan, British Columbia
    Brownsey Avenue/Government Street
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $13,000 to $61,750

Queen Margaret's School is a co-ed independent day/boarding university preparatory school in Duncan, BC.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Progressive
Queen Margaret's School 13000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $13,300 to $15,100

Clear Water Academy is a private Catholic school that stands ready to meet and expand the minds and passions the brightest students in Calgary and exchange students from around the world.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
  • Montessori
Clear Water Academy 13300 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
    17th Ave SW/Richmond Road SW
  • K to 10 Boys
  • $13,000 to $15,000

North Point School for Boys is a Kindergarten to Grade 10 independent school in which curious and energetic boys are challenged and motivated, developing into young men of integrity with a genuine love of learning.

  • Day
  • Progressive
North Point School For Boys 13000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Fisher Ave/Baseline Rd
  • JK to 8 Coed
  • $19,700 to $21,700

Turnbull School is dedicated to academic excellence in a caring environment. We offer highly qualified teachers, small class sizes, well rounded and enriching programming, and variety in athletics, science and the arts.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Turnbull School 19700 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Don Mill Rd/York Mills Rd
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $18,850 to $28,000

Bayview Glen is a traditional co-ed day school in Toronto, Ontario from Preschool (age 2) to Grade 12, a global member of Round Square and offers Advanced Placement programme. Tuition ranges from $18,850 to $28,000.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Bayview Glen 18850 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $13,500 to $19,175

Rundle College is a university preparatory school from Kindergarten-Grade 12 in Calgary, Alberta. Our small class sizes of 12-16 students, gives our students the advantage of an enriched, personalized education.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Rundle College & Rundle Academy 13500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
    Crowchild Trail/Flanders Ave
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $9,000 to $10,000

Banbury meets individual needs, and helps students to become self-sufficient, innovative and proficient. Banbury feels like a family, where you have the freedom to be yourself, and are seen, heard, and understood.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Banbury Crossroads School 9000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
    Bloor/Shaver
  • PS to 5 Coed
  • $7,000 to $12,000

Kingsley's small classes and personal approach help students reach their unique potential. Each child is seen, heard, and respected. French, music, and phys-ed round out a program which includes plenty of time outdoors.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
Kingsley Primary School 7000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • North York, Ontario
    Dufferin/Lawrence
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $19,000 to $25,000

Magnificent Minds Inc. caters to learners whose needs are not being met in traditional school environments, pursuing academic excellence, and individual greatness.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Magnificent Minds 19000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • North Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $20,400 to $23,800

Brockton School is an independent, co-ed, non-denominational, IB World School. Brockton hosts an Early Learning Years program, a Junior School, and a Senior School, with students from Junior Kindergarten to grade 12.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Brockton School 20400 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $13,240 to $18,885

Our school has two programs: Academy, for students with learning difficulties who have yet to consistently perform at grade level, and Collegiate, for students at or above grade level and ready for greater independence.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Calgary Academy & Calgary Collegiate 13240 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Westmount, Quebec
    Mount Pleasant Avenue/Cedar Avenue
  • K to 11 Girls
  • $19,050 to $22,160

Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School is a Tier 1 school for girls in Kindergarten through Grade 11, located in Westmount, Quebec. For every girl who has a mind of her own, we have a school to nurture it.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School 19050 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Davenport/Dupont
  • JK to 6 Coed
  • $27,230

The Mabin School offers programs from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 in Toronto. Its average class size is 20 students.

  • Day
  • Progressive
The Mabin School 27230 Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
  • PS to 10 Coed
  • $15,000 to $25,000

The leading private school and non-profit centre supporting individuals with ASD and their families year-round.

  • Day
  • Progressive
New Haven Learning Centre 15000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    QEW/Erin Mills Parkway
  • JK to 8 Coed
  • $6,500 to $28,700

GlenOak Academy offers an educational experience as EXTRAORDINARY as your child! Our innovative, engaging approach to teaching and learning focuses on positive relationships, character development and academic success.

  • Day
  • Progressive
GlenOak Academy 6500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • 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
Joan of Arc Academy / Academie Jeanne d'Arc 16175 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Girls
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $21,780 to $23,490

West Point Grey Academy is a leading JK-12 coeducational day school on Vancouver's west side. In our supportive, family environment, students cultivate a passion for learning that extends beyond the school day.

  • Day
  • Traditional
West Point Grey Academy 21780 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Dufferin/Eglinton
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $17,700 to $20,200

Our identity and teaching philosophy are based on strong values: teaching excellence & innovation, multilingualism & freedom of expression, responsibility & intellectual curiosity, respect for others & togetherness.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Lycée Français de Toronto 17700 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed

The Study  

  • Westmount, Quebec
    The Boulevard/Place Breaside
  • K to 11 Girls
  • $21,750 to $24,250

The Study, founded in 1915, is one of Canada's premier all-girls' school. Dedicated teachers offer a warm and stimulating bilingual mother-tongue environment from kindergarten to grade 11. The World Needs Great Women.

  • Day
  • Progressive
The Study 21750 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • North Vancouver, British Columbia
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $17,500

Our rigorous, personalized programme and strong teacher-student relationships enable us to cultivate each student's talents, helping them build on strengths and discover the joy of learning.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
Alcuin College 17500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • West Vancouver, British Columbia
    Upper Levels Highway/Cypress Bowl exit
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $17,000 to $25,000

Mulgrave School offers programmes from Preschool to Grade 12 in West Vancouver to all genders. Its average class size is 20 students with teacher to student ratios of 1:8.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Mulgrave School 17000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Vaughan Street/Bertrand Street
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $3,250 to $14,950

Ottawa’s Fern Hill School offers Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary Grades, including extended French. Tuition starts at $2,950.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Fern Hill School - Ottawa 3250 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $25,200

With over 120 years of excellence in all-girls’ education, our rigorous academic program is complemented by strong arts, design technology and athletic programs. Financial assistance is available.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Crofton House School 25200 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Baie-D'Urfé, Montreal, Quebec
    rue Victoria/rue Normandy
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $7,650 to $10,980

The Alexander von Humboldt German International School Montreal is a multilingual (German, English and French), private, co-educational school serving students from preschool to grade 12.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Alexander von Humboldt German International School 7650 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed

Play-based preschools and daycares

Play-based preschools (also called "play school") are based on the belief that young children learn best through play. They offer mostly open-ended activities, with minimal structure. They aim to develop your child’s social and emotional skills, and to promote a love of learning in an interactive environment.

Play-based preschools, like other preschool programs, tend to be child-centred. They mostly let children choose their own activities. They rarely follow a set curriculum, though they usually have a daily schedule.

In these preschools, classrooms are set up to promote interaction, socialization, problem solving, and discovery learning. Often, there are different stations in class where kids can engage in a wide range of activities. For instance there might be a kitchen, building, reading, and sensory area. This allows kids to pursue their interests and learn and interact in different ways.

Play-based preschools typically don’t offer much direct instruction. Teachers rarely, if ever, provide whole-class lectures. They also don’t normally follow a strict curriculum, at least compared to academic preschools. To learn about the differences between play-based and academic preschools, read our guide.

That said, children can learn important skills in a play-based preschool, including social, emotional, and problem-solving skills. They also may acquire knowledge in some core subjects, such as math, reading, and writing (among others).

As Maureen Myers, executive director at Sprouts, a preschool in Toronto, Ontario, says "We don't sit down and teach by rote or repetition, but the ideas and concepts of letter recognition, language, math, and sciences are learned by very hands-on activities."

Play-based preschools normally have lots of indoor and outdoor physical activity. Boys and girls run around a lot, dance, play hide-and-seek, sports, and other fun activities. They might also play board games and do jigsaw puzzles. And they'll likely do lots of arts and crafts, such as drawing, painting, and colouring.

An example of a play-based preschool is Waldorf. While Waldorf preschools provide some focused work time, they also allot plenty of time for free play and play-based learning. They also place a big focus on pretend or imaginative play.

Play-based preschools have some appealing features.

Benefits of play-based preschools

To learn about the differences between play-based and academic preschools, read our guide. You can also read articles comparing different preschool approaches: Montessori to WaldorfMontessori to Reggio EmiliaWaldorf to Reggio EmiliaMontessori to academic, and Montessori to play-based preschools. If you want to compare specific schools one-to-one, visit our compare hub.

 

Preschool questions (read our in-depth answers)

 

Answers to the question “What is a play-based preschool?” from school officials

“There have been numerous studies that conclude young students learn best through play. Children develop a good sense of self in an environment rich in language, play experiences, music, and gross motor development. They learn independence by developing their self-help skills and self-regulation. The many social interactions in a preschool environment help develop important emotional skills and foster a child’s larger perspective of the world.

Play is what makes learning meaningful and fun. A vibrant and successful classroom is rooted in daily activities that develop critical thinking through problem solving as children explore, predict, and investigate elements in the world around them.” Corina Gill, assistant head of the lower school at Bayview Glen Independent School, in Toronto, Ontario

“Play is how children learn—it is inquiry for young children. Learning in preschool is through play. There should be large blocks of uninterrupted time for children to play in the preschool’s schedule. There is a spectrum of play. Some play can be directed by the teacher with specific learning expectations in mind. Some play should be representative of the children’s own interests, with limited teacher interference. Some play should be completely unstructured and freely directed by the students.

Albert Einstein said that ‘play is the highest form of research.’ Young children also benefit from small increments of teacher-directed instruction. A balance of play-based learning and teacher-directed activities is ideal, with the emphasis being on play. ” Vanessa Sjerven, teacher at Elmwood School (the early years program), in Ottawa, Ontario

“We emphasize the importance of child-initiated play. Children play with natural, open-ended materials. A safe, secure, and gentle space is created where they can explore and evolve with their play, with as little interference from the teacher as possible. The teacher will only interfere when necessary in the free play of the child. In this way, the child is the master of their own activity, promoting feelings of confidence and trust in their own abilities.” Jennifer Deathe, head of admission at Waldorf Academy, in Toronto, Ontario

“Children learn more in one day of play than many of us learn in a week of hard work. When presented with the proper, enriched environment and opportunities for learning, your child can flourish. We do not expect any child to learn classroom material/content in a standard, regimented form. Our educators are there to help guide and lead your child to his or her best sense of self.” Paula Carrasco, director of Kendelhurst Academy, in Mississauga, Ontario

“My point of view: children can play and learn in preschool. One does not preclude the other. Play is an integral part of learning ‘academics.’ Through play, children investigate the world through their inquisitiveness and sense of discovery and develop a positive self-image. They also develop intellectually, socially, physically, emotionally, and acquire self-management skills.” Nora Ibrahim, preschool teacher and IB PYP (Primary Years Programme) coordinator at Académie de la Capitale, in Ottawa, Ontario

Series: Preschools

Advertisement

In the spotlight:

Latest Articles



June 12, 2019
The Earlier Education Begins, the Better
Research shows the period when a child is five months to five years of age is a very critical time for early learning

May 30, 2019
Preschools in Canada
The benefits of attending preschool go much deeper than simply better school performance

May 7, 2019
Questions to ask preschools and daycares
Some key questions to ask when you’re considering a preschool for your child


Our Kids The Trusted Source
Our Kids The Trusted Source

Disclaimer: Information presented on this page may be paid advertising provided by the advertisers [schools/camps/programs] and is not warranted or guaranteed by OurKids.net or its associated websites. See Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. Our Kids ™ © 2019 All right reserved.

Sign up to receive our exclusive eNews twice a month.

You can withdraw consent by unsubscribing anytime.

Name
Email
verification image, type it in the box
Our Kids From Our Kids, Canada’s trusted source for private schools, camps, and extracurriculars.