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Ridley College: A unique and global independent School

“The boarding environment makes you independent, but you also have to learn to take responsibility for that independence. That’s been very rewarding to me.” – Darcy, Grade 12, Ridley College

Since 1889, Ridley College has been an institution built upon Canadian values. Defined by a rich and innovative learning approach for both Lower School (ages 4 to 13) and Upper School (ages 14 to 18) students, this coeducational boarding and day school is both elite and forward-facing.

The school’s diverse community – with 700 students from over 50 different countries – and creative learning culture has earned a reputation of universal standing. As the only International Baccalaureate (IB) Continuum in Canada, and one of only three in North America, Ridley has cemented its position as an elite K-12 institution.

Created for students aged three to 18, the IB framework encompasses three distinct segments: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP), empowering students through knowledge and insight at every critical learning stage.

“IB is meant to teach students how to think from a very young age,” says Ed Kidd, Headmaster of Ridley College. “Rather than a curriculum – although we are still using the Ontario K to 12 curriculum and offer an optional Ontario Secondary School Diploma – IB is an approach to learning, a pedagogical philosophy that incorporates the best of 21st century education.”

Here, staff understand that life does not begin and end with the experience at Ridley. The world beyond the campus gates can be a challenge to say the least, but this school strives to grant the awareness and attitude needed to flourish in any future to which students aspire. Equipped with the expert advice of the Guidance and University Counselling Department – a congregation of three dedicated counsellors with international experience in higher education – Ridley’s students enjoy acceptances into their university of choice.

Through a traditional house system similar to that of Great Britain schools, every individual becomes a member of the Ridley family. Students find comfort in this close group of supportive mentors and like-minded peers, encouraged by the warm and inclusive atmosphere seen from day one.

The school’s open, green, 90-acre campus nestled in the region of Niagara, Ontario, is a factor that undoubtedly sets it apart. Ridley is rife with landscapes and architecture that are nothing if not truly stunning; from its grand, stately entrance to its huge, rolling fields, this picturesque learning hub is peaceful and idyllic. Unique facilities, such as a dedicate ice-hockey arena, robotics lab and state-of-the-art theatre help make Ridley the ideal place to learn, engage and excel.

Powered by a mission to inspire flourishing lives and transform our globe, the school provides a wholesome, comprehensive education that enriches every aspect of the self.

Last year, for example, the College decided to shift the morning start from 8.15am to 9.15am, urging students to get those heartrates pumping and kick-start a day of well-being and productivity. “Really, if you want the kid to get the biggest bang for their physical buck, they need to be doing it before school starts,” says Jay Tredway, Ridley’s Director of Athletics. This decision to move to a later start time was informed by student data as well as scientific evidence relating to the impacts of physical activity, sleep and nutrition on the teenage cognitive process.

“Just going for a brisk walk before school starts can make a huge difference in your awareness or recall memory,” adds Jay. “More than half looked at this opportunity and said there is something here for me and I want to do it.

But it’s not just in terms of sport and athletics that Ridley students are able to grow. Earlier this year, student groups embarked on a transformative trip to some of the world’s developing countries. This is a school that greatly emphasises global service (with a motto of, Terar Dum Prosim ­– May I be consumed in service) and perspectives, and these empathetic, impressionable minds opted to trade their summer in the name of helping those less fortunate than themselves.

Our students travelled to Malawi, Guatemala or El Salvador, working together to provide solutions to pressing challenges within impoverished global communities.

This institution also firmly believes in bringing service back home, promising diversity, equality and accessibility to high-quality education. Every year, Ridley gives out a staggering CAD$2.6 million in Financial Assistance and Scholarships, ensuring every student can gain admission to the knowledge and experience they all truly deserve.

As evidenced in these strategies, Ridley presents an educational experience that feeds mind, body and spirit. All these factors – and so many more – contribute to Ridley’s status as the first Visible Wellbeing Foundational School in North America, inspired by the school’s consistent ability to produce well-rounded, worldly graduates.

With the high demand for admission to Ridley College, prospective students and parents are encouraged to reach out to the School’s Admissions Office, or otherwise submit their application as soon as possible to avoid the competition for the 2018-19 academic year.

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