At St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School, girls from Preschool to Grade 12 experience an enriched academic and co-curricular program, personalized learning, and teachers who are experts in educating girls. We identify each girl’s academic strengths and challenges, to support her in achieving success and confidence in her own abilities. We focus on the social, emotional, spiritual and physical development and wellbeing of every girl from Preschool to Grade 12. Discover how a SMLS education will benefit your daughter.
Signature Programs in Global Studies, STEM & Robotics, Active Healthy Living, Arts & Design
Professional Internship Customized for Each Girl (Grade 11)
Learning at St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School during COVID-19
What learning looks like now: All girls from Preschool to SS12 will return to school five days a week to enjoy a robust academic and co-curricular program, while maintaining physical distancing and cohorting. In addition, a number of new safety protocols and routines have been developed. Please visit our website at www.smls.on.ca to read the full SMLS Re-Entry Plan including videos and the Millie Manual.
The school has a long history, having been founded in Toronto 1891. After a move to Oakville, it later paired with a school guided by Ruth Lightbourn, a renowned teacher who founded a school almost by default—she began as a tutor for the children of John Guest, then headmaster of Appleby College, and her success was of the kind we associate with Nanny McPhee. She became the go-to tutor, and in time founded her own school. That and St. Mildred's formally joined in 1969, combining the traditions and the drive of both under one umbrella. More than anything, the intention is to provide girls with the skills, experience, and esteem that will carry over into academic and professional success. Ample opportunities are provided for students to discover their passions, wherever they may lie, as well as the encouragement to grow within those areas of interest.
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 SMLS: Progressive, Reggio Emilia
SMLS has a Progressive, Reggio Emilia approach to Curriculum (as opposed to Traditional, Liberal Arts, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf approach).
[Show: About Progressive, Reggio Emilia?]
Progressive (sometimes called "in- quiry-based") curricula attempt to place children's interests and ideas at the heart of the learning experience. Instead of lessons being driven by predetermined pathways, progressive curricula are often "emergent", with learning activities shaped by students' questions about the world. Instead of starting with academic concepts and then tying it to everyday experience, progressive methods begin with everyday experience and work back to an academic lesson. Teachers provide materials, experiences, tools and resources to help students investigate a topic or issue. Students are encouraged to explore, reflect on their findings, and discuss answers or solutions.
Curriculum at schools on OurKids.net
Progressive - 17%   Traditional - 15%   Liberal arts - 17%   Montessori - 17%   Reggio Emilia - 17%   Waldorf - 17%
SMLS has a Reggio Emilia approach to secondary curriculum.
Reggio Emilia programs are offered by some schools at the preschool and elementary level. The approach aims to develop curiosity and problem-solving skills through the liberal use of projects (as opposed to activities or lessons): teachers design projects for children around their demonstrated interests. Projects can be geared to an individual student, a small group of students, or the class as a whole. They can last from a few days to the whole year. Art is strongly emphasized and is typically incorporated into every project. Teachers actively participate in projects alongside students, rather than sitting back and observing. The philosophy calls for a high degree of parent involvement as well, particularly when forming curricula and project plans (which happens throughout the academic year).
What SMLS says: SMLS is a dynamic learning environment designed to address the unique needs of girls from preschool to graduation. Our programs focus on the intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual development of girls, and are designed to develop our students to become courageous girls who challenge and change the world.
Programs that balance systematic and process approaches equally likely have an emphasis on giving young students ample opportunities to write, while providing supplementary class-wide instruction in grammar, parts of sentences, and various writing strategies.
Sex and health education approach at SMLS: Ontario curriculum
SMLS has an Ontario curriculum approach to Sex and health education (as opposed to Does not follow prrovincialcurriculum approach).
[Show: About Ontario curriculum?]
The structure, pacing, focus, and tone of the sex education curriculum reflects that of the provincial one, taught in public schools.
Sex and health education at schools on OurKids.net
Follows provincial curriculum - 55%   Does not follow prrovincial curriculum - 45%
Approach to sex and health education: Mostly value-neutral
SMLS 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 SMLS says: This information is not currently available.
Preschools and kindergartens tend to have a particular curriculum or curricular approach. This refers to what is taught and how it's taught. Most preschools have a curriculum that comprises a blend of best practices drawn from multiple curriculum types. A preschool's curriculum may or may not, though, reflect its higher-level curriculum (if it's part of a school with elementary or secondary programs)
Preschool/K Curriculum approach at SMLS: Play-based
SMLS has a Play-based approach to Preschool/K Curriculum (as opposed to Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, Academic approach).
[Show: About Play-based?]
Play-based programs are the most common type of preschool and Kindergarten, and are founded on the belief young children learn best through play. Largely open-ended and minimally structured, play-based programs aim to develop social skills and a love of attending school. “Pre-academic” skills are taught, but in a more indirect way than at, say, an Academic program: through children playing in different “stations” set up around the classroom, which children choose on their own volition. Stations often contain an indirect lesson or developmental goal. Play-based classrooms are highly social and active.
What SMLS says: At SMLS, we use best practices from the philosophies of the Ontario 'Play Based' program, Reggio Emilia, inquiry based learning and direct teaching. We take this approach because we believe that providing a balanced program allows for the development of curiosity and the joy of learning in every child. Our process of instruction educates children in the fundamentals needed to go on to a successful academic career in the primary, junior, middle and senior programs. Our goal is to develop within students the core skills of a lifelong learner.
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 SMLS: Standard-enriched
SMLS has a Standard-enriched approach to Curriculum Pace (as opposed to Accelerated, Student-paced approach).
[Show: About Standard-enriched?]
Broadly-speaking, the main curriculum -- like that of most schools -- paces the provincially-outlined one. This pace is steady and set by the teachers and school. The curriculum might still be enriched in various ways: covering topics more in-depth and with more vigor than the provincial one, or covering a broader selection of topics.
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 SMLS: Rigorous
SMLS has a Rigorous approach to Academic Culture (as opposed to Supportive approach).
[Show: About Rigorous?]
A school with a “rigorous” academic culture places a high value on academic performance, and expects their students to do the same. This does not mean the school is uncaring, unsupportive, or non-responsive -- far from it. A school can have a rigorous academic culture and still provide excellent individual support. It does mean, however, the school places a particular emphasis on performance -- seeking the best students and challenging them to the fullest extent -- relative to a normal baseline. High expectations and standards – and a challenging yet rewarding curriculum – are the common themes here. Keep in mind this classification is more relevant for the older grades: few Kindergarten classrooms, for example, would be called “rigorous”.
Academic Culture at schools on OurKids.net
Rigorous - 50%   Supportive - 50%
What SMLS says: We are rigorous in our academic culture, while at the same time supportive of girls of different learning styles.
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: Balanced
"Equal emphasis is placed on a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social and physical cultivation."
What SMLS says: This information is not currently available.
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.
SMLS offers No support
SMLS offers no/limited support for students with learning difficulties or special needs.
What SMLS says about their special need support: Through our Student Success Centre, we provide additional support to students as needed.
Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD:
Summary: SMLS supports the emotional and social development of our students through our Student Success Centre, our social skills/guidance program and our onsite social worker.
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.
Curriculum delivery: Acceleration and enrichment (There is an equal emphasis on acceleration and enrichment.)
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 SMLS says:
Internationally recognized Robotics program
Robust arts offerings (drama, music, etc.)
Competitive sports: 10 Recreational sports: 13
Legend: Competitive offered Recreational offered
Track & Field
St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School offers 26 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”).
DayDay (Half day)
Day (Half day)
What SMLS says about their tuition: This information is not currently available.
Need-based financial aid
Grade range that need-based aid is offered:
Percentage of grade-eligible students receiving financial aid
This school works with Apple Financial Inc. for processing financial applications In order to apply for financial aid, an Apple Financial Services application form must be completed annually. Apple Financial will review the application and provide a report on eligibility to the school’s Financial Aid Committee. The Financial Aid Committee distributes awards as broadly as possible to the most deserving students. The school holds this information in strictest confidence and families are asked to do the same.
The cost to the family for this assessment is $120 and is payable directly to Apple Financial Services. Applications for financial aid are available online through the Apple Financial website at www.applefinancialservices.ca, and should be submitted at the same time that the SMLS application for admission is submitted. For existing SMLS families, the financial aid application must be submitted by January 15th for the following academic year.
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.
Preschool to Gr. 12
Average class size
% 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.
PS - 12
SSAT (out of province)
Day students: October 31, 2021 Offer mid-year entry:
Please see our website: http://www.smls.on.ca/Page/Admissions
Acceptance Rate: 74%
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 SMLS is looking for:
Students applying to SMLS should be prepared to participate in an enriched academic program that balances fundamental skill development with inquiry-based learning. SMLS offers a wide range of co-curricular opportunities and we encourage students to participate widely. Students who are most successful at SMLS are bright and engaged learners who are keen to get involved.
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.
Average graduating class size
Students accepted into post-secondary studies upon graduation
Percentage of students who attend post-secondary institutions outside of Canada
Students who attended a Ivy+ school
Number of students in the past 5 years that that attended one of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, University of Chicago, Oxford or Cambridge (UK)
St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School Graduates’ Post-Secondary Studies:
This information is not currently available.
Aggregate of All Schools’ Post-Secondary Studies:
24% - Liberal Arts and Sciences 25% - Engineering and Applied Sciences 24% - Business/Commerce 4% - Fine and Performing Arts 14% - Applied Health Sciences 2% - Applied Professional Studies (Post-grad certificate / diploma) 6% - Other
Thank you for your interest in St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School.
It is a great privilege and honour to be the Head of School at St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School. I am delighted to be a part of the school's warm and invitational learning community with such a longstanding and rich heritage of more than129 years. SMLS is an all-girls learning environment where girls are encouraged to discover and pursue their personal excellence through a rigorous academic program. Our faculty and staff are deeply committed and dedicated to preparing girls for a strong inspired future as empowered young women.
The entire community celebrates our recent graduates, all of whom are anticipating the start of the next phase of their journey at Canadian and international universities of their choice. For those families who are considering St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School for their daughter, there are a number of virtual opportunities for you to connect and get to know the school, where you will be warmly welcomed.
Get better perspective on St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School
Join the Our Kids roundtable discussion about St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School. Alumni and current parents are answering questions and sharing their insights—about the school’s culture, strengths, and weaknesses.