When we were kids, education was easier – it was based on geography and legacy. Draw a radius around your home, and whatever school falls within is yours. And maybe it was your parents’ and theirs, and theirs. It’s how we met our friends, made lifelong connections, and lay the foundation for college and beyond. Schools were how we chose where to live, where to invest in our children, and our collective futures.

And perhaps we are victims of the success of that structure, of generations of communities investing and reinvesting in the locality of education. Because from those institutions came ingenuity and innovation, ambition and evolution. So as we reap the rewards of the way it was, it’s important that we consider what has arrived: A diversity of educational choices that fold into a multiplicity of life paths. Schools now are able to offer educations tailored not to geography or tradition, but rather the needs of your children – specialization that caters to your child’s interests and strengths, affords and attends to their challenges. This generation, more than any other, is being offered the opportunity and privilege to be more prepared for the world than any generation has ever known. Athletics, STEM programs, arts, academics, friendships, and communities are abounding within the walls of Southern Ontario’s most prominent private schools. All that’s left for you and your child is to make a choice and set off for an unparalleled future.

Here are 6 of the top Private Schools throughout Oakville and Mississauga to consider:

1. Appleby College

“Breadth, excellence, innovation, and caring; this is what defines the essence of the Appleby College experience.” – Innes Van Nostrand, Principal

Q | Describe your students.

Appleby College students and families represent a broad and diverse community with students coming from public, separate, and private schools in neighbourhoods throughout Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga and the western GTA, as well as from 52 other countries. Our student body is comprised of 800 students (526 day and 274 boarding) in grades 7 to 12 with the ratio of girls and boys almost split equally at 50:50.

Q | What do you look for in a teacher?

We value original and creative thinkers; teachers who are comfortable and effective in adapting to change; who embrace and promote diversity in all its forms; and, who possess a compassionate and empathetic spirit. 

Q | In an increasingly competitive landscape for entry to postsecondary education and real-world preparedness, how does a private institution set itself apart from other options available to parents?

Smaller class sizes and commitment to educational excellence enables and encourages students to learn and discover independently and collaboratively. Hallmarks of the Appleby experience include our Grade 12 boarding programme, our emphasis on global learning and cultural understanding, and our experiential education programme centred around the S. Bruce McLaughlin Northern Campus in Temagami. 

Q | What does technology—both in resources and STEM courses—offer the contemporary student in a private school?

Appleby’s Technology Classroom offers an innovative space where science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and the arts (STEAM) come together. Students sometimes get frustrated by pursuing studies that they don’t see as having long-term applications. This classroom space addresses this by combining the notions of science with imagination. 

Q | What do graduates tend to remember most from their time at your school?

Whether it is those who graduated this past June or those who left 50 years ago, they talk about the enduring nature of the Appleby experience, powerful bonds of friendship, and preparedness for life.  

Q | What kind of relationship do alumni have with current students?

Appleby’s Alumni Mentors Programme pairs alumni who have recently entered the workforce or are in their third or fourth year of study at a post secondary institution, to work one-on-one with an alumni mentor. Alumni Mentors are established professionals committed to helping those with similar career interests and goals to prepare for the transition to work, further education, assist in strengthening their understanding of their chosen field, and help to expand their professional networks. 

Q | What role does athletics serve on your campus?

Appleby offers 65+ competitive and instructional teams in sports. Through this wide range of offerings, our students are not only establishing the basic fundamentals of sport, and the value of active living, but they are also exposed to the importance of sportsmanship, reflection, support and overcoming challenges. 

Q | What is Round Square and how does it benefit your community?

Round Square is an internationally diverse network of 200 schools in 50 countries on 6 continents that collaborate to offer world-class programmes and experiences in developing global competence, character, and confidence in students. Students have the opportunity to attend international conferences/exchanges and participate in International Service Projects which encourage personal development and responsibility in students.

540 Lakeshore Rd W, Oakville, ON L6K 3P1
905.845.4681 | info@appleby.on.ca

2. Holy Name of Mary College School

“The moral compass that she will gain and develop works to not only help shape her mind, but also her heart.” – Carrie Hughes-Grant, Head of School

Q | Describe your students.

Holy Name of Mary College School provides a high achieving, university preparatory programme to girls in grades 5-12. Families who turn to HNMCS are looking for strong academics and the ideal student is one who shares our core values, will thrive within a challenging academic atmosphere, and is preparing for post-secondary education. Our students come from across the GTA including Mississauga, Milton, Oakville, Brampton, Etobicoke, North York, Toronto, Woodbridge, and Richmond Hill.

Q | What do you look for in a teacher? 

Someone committed to an all-girls education, innovative teaching techniques, a life-long learner, and committed to the whole girl’s growth. Someone who will offer creative and diverse programming, and will challenge the girls of HNMCS to think critically, while taking risks and developing resilience. 

Q | In an increasingly competitive landscape for entry to postsecondary education and real-world preparedness, how does a private institution set itself apart from other options available to parents? 

Learning is inquiry-based, and faculty are encouraged to look beyond the campus for instructional and experiential opportunities, all of which effectively expand the campus and the programs, often into real-world settings; from service experiences to on-site guidance, to all-girls leadership teams and robotics, through academics and our co-curricular program. 

Q | What does technology—both in resources and STEM courses—offer the contemporary student in a private school? 

In recent years, roughly two-thirds of the graduates have gone on to math, science, and engineering and technology programs at university. Events like the Engineering Career Night, launched by the Robotics Club mentored by physics teacher Dr. Karen Kozma, who is a professional engineer and alum, brings engineers, both men and women, in to speak with students. It cements the idea that these careers are options—and very real options—for them. 

Q | What do graduates tend to remember most from their time at your school? 

For most of our graduates, the time spent at HNMCS is one that encompasses a myriad of experiences. Among those that stand out are leadership opportunities, the connected community at HNMCS, and of course their teachers. One of the big highlights is undoubtedly the time spent at overnight outdoor camps. On polling our graduates, some of the things they take with them to university are the connections and friendships they’ve made as well as the skills gained that will take them to the next steps on their journey to achieving their academic and career goals.

Q | What kind of relationship do alumnae have with current students? 

Our alumnae love to drop by for a visit, to reconnect with teachers and friends. They do lunch and learn sessions, take part in panels about university, help with admissions initiatives, come to young alumnae events. They are also mentors to current students, working with our University Guidance Office.

Q | What is the benefit to your students of being an independent Catholic school for girls? 

Co-founded by the Felician Sisters and Basilian Fathers, two icons of Catholic education, HNMCS is guided by a mission to educate young women to their full potential, through a morals-based, positive and supportive education for the development of the whole student. We are a school that lives by our values: Justice, Respect, Compassion, and Transformation. The girls work together to solve challenges and we teach religion from grades 5-12. They know they are supported by all staff and that they have a connection through faith to each other.

Q | What advantages does your relationship with St. Michael’s College School offer? 

We partner with St. Michael’s for our students in social engagements, student government, our teachers and staff visit their school and learn with their staff, the heads of school collaborate. The Basilian Fathers participate in the celebration of masses, reconciliation, prayer services, and joint school activities with St. Michael’s College School including international community service initiatives. 

2241 Mississauga Rd, Mississauga, ON L5H 2K8
905.891.1890 | admissions@hnmcs.ca

3. Linbrook School

“There was a need to create a new style of school; a school that exudes positive energy and offers a physical environment that suits boys so they love being there.” – Amber Way, Founder

Q | Describe your students.

Our students are predominantly local boys from the Southeast Oakville area. There are also students from Mississauga, Burlington, and from many different countries. We are fortunate to have 180 boys in Grades JK – 8 from many cultural backgrounds that reflect the diversity of Canada.

Q | What do you look for in a teacher? 

We look for teachers who are kind, strong at engaging the students in all aspects of school life, and proficient at building relationships with the boys. Teachers also must be curriculum experts and have a passion for the subject matter they teach. 

Q | In an increasingly competitive landscape for entry to postsecondary education and real-world preparedness, how does a private institution set itself apart from other options available to parents?

A Linbrook graduate is prepared for anything that comes his way thanks to a balanced education that allows him to explore his interests and discover his talents within academics, the arts, and athletics. A well-rounded education with access to an abundance of resources and a challenging academic program ensures our boys are ready for the competitive landscape that awaits them.

Q | What does technology—both in resources and STEM courses—offer the contemporary student in a private school?

In addition to regular STEM and coding (Javascript and Python) lessons, students also participate in school-wide STEM days, use OSMO and Sphero robots, 3D printers, the G-Suite applications, including Google Docs and Drive, to share documents, files and video content. 

Through the use of our digital learning system, students are able to access lesson materials, submit assignments and find content for all subject areas. We’ve incorporated the latest tools in technology to ensure our boys’ learning is supported in a fun and engaging way. Each boy in the school is provided with an Apple device that is managed by a technology specialist.

Q | What do graduates tend to remember most from their time at your school? 

Our students remember the relationships they’ve formed, the high-quality education they’ve received that has prepared them for high school, the variety of activities and sports in which they were able to participate, and the kindness and compassion shown to them by every member of the faculty and staff. 

Q | What kind of relationship do alumni have with current students?

Our alumni come back to coach, volunteer at many events and after-school clubs, and present at weekly assemblies. 

Q | How does a boys-only school benefit the growth of a young man?

All boys’ schools understand and celebrate boys and firstly seek to build good men. The boys enjoy being a part of competitive sports teams, a dynamic intramurals program, three recesses, diverse musical ensembles, leadership opportunities, a variety of extra-curricular clubs and programs, as well as whole school concerts, weekly assemblies and special event days. 

Q | What does Linbrook find important about its numerous charitable initiatives? 

As a not-for-profit and registered charity ourselves, we understand the importance of supporting the community and other local charities.  Our boys have consistently raised funds to support a variety of charities, food banks and programs to support families in need. 

1079 Linbrook Rd, Oakville, ON L6J 2L2
905.844.BOYS (2697) | info@linbrook.ca

4. MacLachlan College

“This historic building in the heart of Oakville is much more than a place where your child goes to school, it is an active hub for learning and development.” – Michael Piening, Head of School

Q | Describe your students.

MacLachlan is a day school offering Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12. Our students are primarily from Oakville, Burlington, and Mississauga. We also welcome international students each year who benefit from our exceptional English as a Second Language program. One of the distinguishing characteristics of MAC is our diversity and beginning with our youngest students, our educational philosophy of international mindedness is cultivated. 

Q | What do you look for in a teacher?

All MacLachlan teachers are highly qualified Ontario Certified Teachers (OCT), many with additional Master’s degrees in their subject specialties. They are experienced, dedicated and passionate about their profession and their students fostering a growth mindset at all grade levels. The recent necessity to pivot to remote learning magnified their commitment to leadership, academic excellence, collaboration, and innovation that allowed MAC students to successfully complete their school year with high achievement. 

Q | In an increasingly competitive landscape for entry to post-secondary education and real-world preparedness, how does your school set itself apart from other options?

We focus on instilling the love of learning and discovery in our students at all grade levels. Beyond a solid academic foundation, we offer opportunities for students to discover underlying talents and passions and foster creativity, resilience, communication, and problem-solving skills. This holistic approach to learning empowers students to be confident and accountable individuals. These skills transcend into all educational, social and professional landscapes.

Q | What does technology—both in resources and STEM courses—offer the contemporary student in a private school?

As an active learning school, we incorporate the use of technologies into most of our lessons at all grade levels. In Grades 1-5 there is an iPad for every student to complement learning and facilitate a dynamic learning environment. Students have innovation classes built into their units of inquiry where planning and collaboration are integrated to teach them about the design process. Whether tasks are focused on coding, building structures, 3D printing or building water filtration systems with Maker Cart supplies,  students nurture and develop their problem-solving skills.

Q | What do graduates tend to remember most from their time at your school?

Our graduates value the friendships they formed, the relationships with their teachers and school community, the comradery through school extracurricular activities and ultimately, gratitude for an education that allowed them to achieve their post-secondary goals. Some may reflect on experiences through outdoor education adventures through the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award programme, many will have memories from international travel and service trips, others may remember debate and public speaking competitions, and it is guaranteed that many still hold rivalries from our incredibly popular floor hockey intramurals.

Q | What kind of relationship do alumni have with current students?

Each year our alumni return to MacLachlan to provide information sessions to our Grade 12 students who are preparing to enter post-secondary. They provide mentoring and sound advice for students excited about their university experience. Some of the relationships continue over decades in that we have several alumni who have a unique perspective since they were once MAC students and now have returned as teachers at MacLachlan. 

337 Trafalgar Rd, Oakville, ON L6J 3H3
905.844.0372 | info@maclachlan.ca

5. St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School

“Our deeply committed and dedicated faculty prepare girls for a strong, inspired future as empowered young women.” – Nancy Richards, Head of School

Q | Describe your students.

As a day school, the majority of our students come from Oakville and the surrounding areas, including Toronto, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Burlington, Hamilton, and Milton. We offer a busing program for girls in JK to Grade 12, including both door-to-door and express services. Our student body is made up of approximately 550 girls from Preschool to Grade 12.

Q | What do you look for in a teacher?

When recruiting for teaching roles, we seek candidates who are enthusiastic, articulate, and creative. They must be able to support different learners and engage in innovative and diverse programming; a critical thinker who demonstrates initiative, integrity, and attention to detail; and flexible and adaptable to changes in the daily needs of a classroom. 

Q | What does technology—both in resources and STEM courses—offer the contemporary student in a private school?

STEMR education and technology at SMLS helps prepare girls for a technologically advancing world, and inspires them to pursue further STEMR learning and careers. Every girl in Grade 7 to Grade 12 acquires a personal MacBook Air to support her learning. The school continues to introduce new technologies regularly, including 3D printing, virtual reality, and digital design. Our STEM & Robotics Signature Program introduces girls to robotics and coding as early as Grade 1. Our Senior Robotics Team, SWAT771, is internationally renowned for its achievements.

Q | What do graduates tend to remember most from their time at your school?

  • Global Students international experiences that have expanded their world-perspective, such as cultural trips to India, Bhutan, Japan, China, Australia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Argentina.
  • Working with employers in our unique Professional Internship Program. Every Grade 11 Millie has the opportunity to explore her personal career interests in a 4-week work placement that is customized to her personal career interests. 
  • When speaking about the school and its impact, graduates frequently express gratitude for the friendships they made at the school and the continued importance of these friendships in their lives. As our alumnae like to say, “once a Millie, always a Millie.”

Q | What kind of relationship do alumnae have with current students?

As part of our Grad Seminar Program, alumnae return to the school throughout the school year to speak with graduating students about the university experience, specific programs of study and interesting post-secondary opportunities, as well as career choices. Annually, SMLS hosts a Speed Mentoring workshop where alumnae speak with girls in Grade 10 about their career pathways. Students have the opportunity to interact with alumnae in small groups and ask their specific questions about their career choices. 

Q | How does an all-girls school benefit the growth of a young woman?

In 129 years we’ve gained many insights into the world of teaching girls. One of the most important is this: girls in single-sex schools are more positive about their own abilities and their control over their lives, have less stereotyped gender role attitudes, and hold higher aspirations for the future. We have found that Millies pursue careers beyond the gender-specific stereotypical professions.

1080 Linbrook Rd, Oakville, ON L6J 2L1
905.845.2386 | contact@smls.on.ca

6. Walden International School

“Our motto, Imagine Explore Achieve, speaks to the potential that we seek in our students.” – Daphne Perugini, Head of School

Q | Describe your students. 

Our student demographic is quite diverse, composed of students local to Oakville. Approximately 25% of our students are from abroad. Countries include but are not limited to Australia, the Balkans, China, Columbia, Dubai, Korea, the Netherlands, Pakistan, and the United States.

Q | What do you look for in a teacher?

We value faculty and staff who are caring, compassionate, and curious; and, especially those who are willing to embrace the unknown and take informed risks as we work collectively towards transforming education.

Q | In an increasingly competitive landscape for entry to postsecondary education and real-world preparedness, how does a private institution set itself apart from other options available to parents?

Smaller class sizes enable students and teachers the opportunity to collaborate and learn from each other. There is often greater autonomy with respect to governance, programme objectives and delivery, and hiring practices. 

Q | What does technology—both in resources and STEM courses—offer the contemporary student in a private school? 

Technology is often used as a fundamental tool for the contemporary student. It can provide the necessary assistance for students that require additional learning support, and be the gateway to information for students. 

Q | What do graduates tend to remember most from their time at your school?

Graduates often tell us that they miss the smaller classes and overall family feel of the school. They also mentioned specific events that defined their graduating year; most notably, our Senior Kindergarten Graduation Tie Ceremony. Grade 8 students mentor and help younger students with literacy, numeracy, and social skills during the school year which culminates with the symbolic passing of their school tie to graduating kindergarten students.

Q | What kind of relationship do alumni have with current students?

Through formal and informal “Grad Panels”, alumni have returned to give current students support with the transition to high school. Many have also volunteered their time with helping out with our intramural program, varsity sports teams, and school musical, as well as assisting in classrooms.

Q | What role does being an International Baccalaureate World School play in the school’s pedagogical approach?

The framework of the IB Programmes aligns nicely with our constructivist, inquiry-based and collaborative approach to learning. The IB Learner Profile attributes and PYP Attitudes directly support our school’s values and intention of Making Good People and the development of positivity towards others, learning, and the environment.

Q | How does volunteerism engage with your school’s philosophy?

Service-learning is an integral aspect of our programme. Through our House System, our students research, identify, commit to, and raise awareness and money for causes that are community-based and meaningful to their respective houses. Our promotion of student agency, action, and reflection throughout our programme authentically supports the purpose of service and, in turn, fosters meaningful volunteerism that will hopefully resonate well beyond our students’ years at Walden.

2035 Upper Middle Rd E, Oakville, ON L6H 7G6
905.338.6236 | oakvilleinfo@waldenschools.com


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