The Best Independent Schools in Simcoe County
If you’re a parent of young children and have been browsing homes for sale Barrie and surrounding area, chances are one of the first questions that comes to your mind is about the quality of the education you’re shopping in.
Simcoe County is well known as an outstanding place to live and raise a family. Education is a key factor in training and teaching the younger generation so parents looking to move are always interested in schools in any given neighbourhood. According to 2016 Census statistics, approximately 50% of students pursue post-secondary education. Whether hitting the workforce straight out of high-school or developing a foundation for college and university, establishing a strong foundation in elementary and high-school experience is critical.
Simcoe County has more than trails and beaches to offer – many prestigious and notable independent and private schools can be found here as well. Here are a few of Simcoe County’s finest:
2145 Innisfil Beach Rd, Innisfil
Kempenfelt Bay School (KBS) takes pride in being Simcoe County’s premier independent school with a mission to provide, “an exemplary education that empowers students to embrace their personal potentials as productive and responsible global citizens.”
“At KBS, every student is known and loved,” says Christopher White, Head of School at KBS. “We offer academic rigour with support and our parents are highly committed. We set high standards for both academics and character.”
Founded in 1999, KBS is a co-educational values-based school for students in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8, thriving as a university preparatory school. They are the only school in Simcoe County recognized by Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS). Students receive a quality education with a balance of specialty programming in the arts, music and French.
KBS has developed a pillar of excellence focused on the four Cs: confidence, competence, character and community. These traits drive students to be courageous and confident members of society and foster lifelong learning. Offering an award-winning curriculum, the school teaches the independence and values that create successful and respectable leaders. Students consistently score in the 90thpercentile or better on the Canadian Achievement Test.
Acquiring land near the YMCA in Innisfil, KBS built a beautiful new school building and moved to this location in 2017. Small class sizes allow students to experience streamlined and independent delivery of programs along with a healthy dose of physical education and co-curricular activities that take students on learning adventures throughout the province.
Reaching exemplary status, KBS has won awards and accolades throughout recent years including the Top Choice Award Mark of Excellence for 2016 and 2018; Best of Barrie Winner for 2015, 2016 and 2017; the Barrie Advance Reader’s Choice Award Recipient for 2015 and 2017; and countless student-level achievements at independent school competitions in athletics and public speaking.
Differentiating themselves as an independent school, KBS is a self-funded and a not-for-profit registered charitable organization guided by a volunteer board of directors. The yearly tuition ranges from $17,500 for JK, $19,200 for SK and $20,750 for Grades 1 to 8. KBS also offers a financial assistance program if required for families dedicated to their child’s education and social upbringing.
11521 Hwy 26 W, Collingwood
Founded in 1998 and nestled in the heart of the Georgian Triangle, Pretty River Academy (PRA) offers tailored, individualized learning to meet each student’s abilities, founded off of the motto “everyone has a genius within them.” Their 47-acre campus offers students from pre-kindergarten age three, to Grade 12 superior education both inside and outside of the classroom, fostering character-building and accountability to family, the school, society, and the environment.
Governed by and aligned with the Ontario Ministry of Education, PRA offers a full range of elementary subjects and high-school courses. However, learning is delivered in a creative and positive environment which supports independent thinking, teamwork and leadership. From an early stage, students are encouraged to create vision boards which enable them to set goals and checkpoints for their educational journey.
“In addition to education, PRA offers a wellness program supporting healthy bodies and healthy minds,” says Judy Osmond, Headmaster at PRA. “Students can participate in morning meditation, yoga or fitness; eat nutritious snacks and lunches; participate in a Bike Through Time session learning the history of the region, and learn through a hardwired technology system which eliminates electromagnetism.”
PRA is a registered charitable organization. Tuition ranges from $9,215 for the pre-kindergarten program and up to $17,500 for the high school program per year. These fees include wellness offerings as well as additional leadership developmental. Students receive etiquette and conversation training, after-school study clinics with educational leaders and can participate in after-school fitness activities.
Students often excel in science fair and robotics competitions at the independent school level. As well, students are often rewarded with acceptance to their top post-secondary institution choices with some receiving scholarships to competitive colleges and universities worldwide, including the Loran Scholarship and the Engineering Ambassador Scholarship, both awarding more than $100,000 to the recipient.
4073 4th Line, Cookstown
Founded in 1980, Thornton Academy began as a single building schoolhouse and has evolved over the years into South Simcoe’s premier private school. Their campus is situated on 100 acres just north of Cookstown offering an opportunity for enriched learning within a natural environment. Programs for kindergarten to grade 12 encourage students to be socially and environmentally conscious, life-long learners, thinkers and creators.
Aligned with the Ontario curriculum as an educational foundation, specialized teaching is designed to motivate inquiry, achievement, and both independent and collaborative thinking. Small class sizes allow for educational leaders to emphasize each student’s strengths and learning styles.
This beautiful, sprawling campus features a pool, full-sized gym, science lab, computer lab, art room, resource centre, full track, baseball diamond, and outdoor playground.
Tuition to attend Thornton Academy is $11,000 per year for middle school students and $12,500 for high school. Discounts are available for multiple student families and returning students.
190 Cook St, Barrie
At Sevenoaks Academy, “every child matters and should be offered the opportunity to thrive and learn at their own pace.” This private school for junior kindergarten to grade eight students offers small class sizes and programs nurtured to each student’s learning aptitudes. Following the Ontario curriculum, a specialized focus is offered in the areas of reading, writing, spelling and grammar.
Sevenoaks Academy takes pride in educational excellence and a defined framework around manners and respect for others. Finding the strengths in each student, they build a foundation for intellectual, physical and social development.
Tuition ranges from $6,000 for three full kindergarten days to $12,000 for full-time students.
750 Essa Rd, Barrie
Timothy Christian School (TCS) has developed a Christian education philosophy, offering programs for students in junior kindergarten to grade eight. This inspirational teaching method is a faithful response to God’s instructions about the care and training of His children. Offering a positive and Biblical-based foundation, along with nurtured relationships in school and in the community, children are able to study every aspect of God’s world and become citizens of His kingdom.
The concept for a Christian education school in Simcoe County was first envisioned in 1956. In 1963, a three-room schoolhouse was built and opened its doors that fall. Over the years, the school building was expanded but demand for attendance exceeded growth. As such, TCS acquired land and built its present-day school building on Essa Rd which opened in May 2005. The school supports both knowledge-based and physical education programs featuring a large gymnasium and expansive schoolyard with playground.
Attendance at TCS costs approximately $15,045 per full-time family or $9,690 per part-time family.
TCS is accredited for their reputable faith-based education with two of the school’s teachers recently listed among the top three nominees for the John Rozema Award for Teacher Excellence, an Ontario-wide Christian school award system.
*Tuition fees and programs in the above-noted schools are as of data available on April 11th, 2019 and may be subject to change.
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