Thank you for your interest in our school. CGS has been a special place to start for so many children, and their families, since it was founded in 1986. We pride ourselves on getting to know each child and becoming their champion through their early and critical years of education.
As founding Principal, I have been honoured to work with, and support, a staff that has always been known for their dedication and commitment. As part of the CGS philosophy, each and every student is recognized and celebrated for who they are. CGS teachers deliver an exceptional program while keeping the heart in education.
I encourage you to come and visit us and see first-hand what makes CGS the special place it is. We hope you feel it as soon as you come through our doors! Learn more about my approach to education here.
Co-Founder and Principal
Children’s Garden School
Meet Our CGS Staff
- Grades 1-4
Learn More About CGS
What is the CGS Philosophy?
Whole child. At CGS we believe in a balanced approach to education. Our challenging, personalized academic curriculum is complemented by our excellent arts and physical education programming. We also place a strong emphasis on character and cultural programming. Students are encouraged to look beyond their own community to make connections with the world around them.
Where is CGS located?
Leaside. 670 Eglinton Avenue East (just east of Bayview).
When was CGS founded?
In 1986. CGS is a long-standing, respected member of the Toronto private school community.
Can I visit the school?
Due to Covid-19 in-person tours are unavailable until further notice. To book a virtual meeting, contact Director of Admissions, Wanda Thorne at email@example.com OR 416-423-5017 x 43 or tour online at cgsschool.com.
How does my child qualify for entrance to CGS?
No formal tests are required. Children are admitted to CGS on the basis of their readiness for school and the appropriateness of the match for the child and CGS.
Students are interviewed by way of a school tour conducted by the Director of Admission.
When should I apply?
Sooner is always better. Applications are accepted throughout the year. It is strongly recommended to apply at least one academic year in advance, especially for our preschool program. If you need to make an unexpected change mid-way through a school year that's also fine. If we have space, we are happy to admit students after the school year has begun.
How do I apply?
Apply here. Please note a $100 non-refundable application fee is due at time of application.
Do CGS graduates gain admittance to their schools of choice?
Traditionally yes. CGS students have long been recognized for their academic and social readiness to enter the larger private schools. We have excellent relationships with the larger private schools and are skilled at ensuring our students meet their entrance requirements.
Does CGS follow the Ontario Curriculum?
Yes, and then some. Because our curriculum is enriched, CGS students generally work a grade level above public school students.
What does a typical day at CGS look like?
Busy! In addition to our enriched core curriculum, students study French, music, physical education, visual art, and computer technology. Students also enjoy lots of time outside during recess and lunch hour. *Please note our daily schedule has been modified to accommodate a staggered start due to Covid-19. For more information contact Director of Admission Wanda Thorne.
Preschool (half-day) 8:30 - 11:30am
Preschool (extended mornings) 8:30 - 12:05pm
Preschool (full-day) 8:30 - 3:30pm
JK (half-day) 8:30 - 12:00pm
JK/SK (full-day) 8:30 - 3:30pm
Grades 1-3 8:30 - 3:30pm
What are the ‘extras’ at CGS?
Lots. There are many ways for students to test themselves and discover their special interests and talents outside the classroom. The list is long but some of the highlights include our yearly musical (produced by Arts Express), the Talent Show, the Science Fair, our Public Speaking Contest, before and after school clubs and student government elections. The last Thursday of every month students also host an assembly for their families. Our assemblies provide CGS students with consistent opportunities to perform and build confidence over time.
Is CGS co-ed?
Yes. We believe it is important for children to learn in a co-ed environment in the primary years, especially if families plan on entering a boys or girls only environment in the junior years.
Are classes large at CGS?
No. We are committed to small class sizes at CGS. They enable our students to reach their potential and to contribute to their classrooms everyday.
Early Start 8:1 ratio
JK | SK 12:1 ratio
Grades 1 - 3 15:1 ratio
Do students wear a uniform?
Yes. At CGS we encourage students to take pride in their school and themselves. CGS uniforms are not overly formal and have been designed with student comfort in mind.
Is there a Hot Lunch program at CGS?
Yes. We are very proud to be working with Real Food for Real Kids. Meals are hot, healthy and locally sourced. Please visit rfrk.com for more information.
Does CGS offer before and after school care?
Yes. Hours are 7:45 - 8:30am and 3:45 - 5:30/6:00pm. Parents may use the program everyday or casually.
*Before Care - $10/day (JK-Grade 3 only)
After Care - $15-20/day
Parents are invoiced at the end of the month.
*Unavailable due to Covid-19.
What is the homework policy at CGS?
Reasonable. Homework is required, in some form, beginning in JK. The amount and nature of homework assigned is at the discretion of the classroom teacher. Homework at this young age is not meant to be burdensome. Our goal is to foster solid, independent work habits to prepare students for the rigors of future schools.
What are the fees at CGS?
Moderate. Unlike many other private schools we do not charge a registration fee. See schedule of fees here.
Are there additional costs at CGS?
Just a few. CGS tuition continues to be very competitive and covers your child’s academic school year and materials. Some additional costs include:
CGS Foundation Donation - $500/year (tax receipts issued)
Uniforms - approximately $500/year
Hot lunch program - $6.60/day (optional)
Before and After School Care - up to $30/day (optional)
Field Trips - approximately $200/year (depends on grade level)
Physical Education (Grades 1-3 only)
- Skating (8 sessions), approx $225
- Swimming (10 Sessions), approx $115
- Skiing (2 days), approx $80
"My husband and I made the decision to move our two boys to CGS because of COVID and all its associated unknowns."
CGS was exactly what we were looking for in a school, both during these tumultuous times and in general: a warm, welcoming and nurturing educational environment. Our boys’ transitions to Senior Kindergarten and Grade 3 were seamless. Within days, it was as though they’d never been anywhere else. We couldn’t be happier with the exceptional protocols CGS put in place for our children to safely return to in-class learning. We are so appreciative of the community and security offered by CGS, and look forward to many more years at this wonderful school."
~ The Hamilton Family
Not only does the school offer a strong academic program, its whole person approach enables each and every student to shine in his/her own way. The school community is very close and welcoming, which we have benefitted from tremendously over the years. While it's time for us to move on this year, we know that CGS will always be a special place in our children's hearts. Thank you CGS!"
“We trust this school immensely with the well-being, learning and development of our child."
Children's Garden School has truly exceeded our expectations for our son and daughter. The teachers love each and every child and have an incredible ability to bring out the magic in each one of them. The school goes above and beyond in so many aspects of academic life, and on top of that, there is a strong focus on character development in terms of respect, integrity, compassion and service. I know my children will graduate from CGS as confident, powerful and loving young people. What a gift. Thank you CGS!"
~ The Chandarana Family
"After just one year at CGS, we cannot believe the progress our son has made."
He has not only learned a ton, but he has developed into a more confident and independent boy. We credit the amazing teachers and staff at CGS who deeply care about each child. We are so grateful to have found such a wonderful school. Thank you.
~ The Gomes Family
"We have been thrilled and impressed with all aspects of the school."
Our son attended CGS before moving on to UCC and our daughter is currently enrolled in Grade 2. We love the science and technology component of her weekly classroom work, CGS House activities and team building events. We especially love the monthly assemblies. These events provide children with the opportunity to work together and build exceptional confidence through the year. The staff and faculty at CGS are incredible. They provide a warm and supportive environment while also challenging the children and encouraging them to achieve new goals. We are so grateful for the wonderful experience that our children have had at CGS.
~The Parsons Family
"Now in Grade 2, my once tiny CGS preschooler is devouring chapter books, spelling like a champ and loving math."
As a CGS parent going on 5 years I have, with each passing term, looked back in wonder at what children are capable of when provided a rigorous curriculum, structure and enriched programming in a perfectly nurturing environment. Now in grade 2, my once tiny CGS preschooler is devouring chapter books, spelling like a champ and loving math. From the enriched programming and extracurricular activities he confidently auditions for the school musicals, has been exposed to philanthropic outreach programs and gets up on stage to deliver speeches to the students and parent-body. The staff are incredibly warm and loving and because of the small class sizes, they truly get to know your child and the nuances of their individual personalities and learning styles. My second child is now in the Early Start (preschool) program and my husband and I cannot wait to see all of the wonderful experiences that await her through her years as a CGS student.
~ The Ferris Family
"The level of education and attention at CGS is unparalleled and we are so glad we made the switch early on."
We have two children at CGS, one of whom started out in the public system. We tried the local JK for our oldest son but realized early on that we needed to make a change. His transition into CGS mid-way through the first term was very smooth. CGS has a true family feel and teachers go above and beyond to meet the needs of their students. When we need to communicate any concerns to our sons’ teachers, they are accessible and open to collaboration. We also love the field trips and special events/programs at the school. The swimming program is a particular bonus for busy working parents. The multiple opportunities for performance have brought our youngest out of his shell and made our oldest into a strong and confident performer. Thank you CGS!
~ Sandra & Andrew Lipkus
"The balance of a high quality education and a focus on character development has transformed our son."
Our son has been at CGS for the last two years and we couldn't be happier with the results. Marie's focus on public speaking brings young kids out of their shells and adds the confidence necessary for later life. We have, and will continue, to recommend CGS to all parents.
~ Brad & Nancy Hotson
“From the moment our family stepped in the doors of CGS, we knew it was the best school for our children."
We love CGS because it has a wonderful nurturing environment, a close parent and family community who share similar values, and an incredibly strong school spirit. This is where our son and daughter learned to 'love to learn'! Every day, CGS instills strong character traits for our children such as treating everyone with kindness and respect and valuing people's differences. Our children are encouraged to explore, learn and define their own personality under the guidance and incredible care of the CGS community. Strong academics, values-based daily school life, plentiful opportunities for public speaking and performances as well as teachers who teach from their head and their heart were among the top characteristics of the CGS environment. We have watched our kids mature into well-rounded and respectful young people with a strong love of learning and a real sense of caring about others and the world around them. We feel incredibly fortunate to have found Children's Garden School for our children, and know that they have had the best start to their education.
~ The Lewis Family
“We couldn’t be happier with our choice of school for our son!"
"As first time parents and our son’s first experience with school, we were being very choosy about what preschool we sent him too. Yes, we wanted a school that offered a good education, but equally important to us was a school that offered a supportive, caring and safe environment. CGS has it all and then some! Our son is learning in leaps and bounds and is loving every moment of it.”
~ The White Family
“This is our first year at CGS and it has been fantastic."
"Our daughter is registered in the Early Start programme and can’t wait to get to class first thing every morning. As parents of only one child, it was difficult deciding on the best school for our 3 year old daughter. CGS made that decision very easy and we’re so happy that Zoe is able to attend a school with such focus on social, academic and creative excellence. At such a young age, she’s already learning a new language (French), taking music and physical education classes, and building the fundamental skills she will require to achieve greatness in the years to come. The small classes and wonderful teachers allow our daughter to connect one-on-one in an environment that promotes kindness and respect for all in the classroom.”
~ A. Petrou
“My husband and I wished to find a school for our children that would provide a more intimate and nurturing environment than the local public school."
"We visited several private schools in the area and were fortunate that one of them was CGS. When we entered the school, we immediately got a sense that this would be the right place for our son and daughter. The warmth, caring and joy that emanated from the staff was palpable. As Kelly showed us around the school, we saw engaged and happy students, and teachers who were attentive and enthusiastic. We had no doubts whatsoever, and decided that day to enrol at CGS. We are thrilled with the academic programmes and extremely pleased that our children are exposed to varied subjects and effective methodologies. Even more important to us, is that on a daily basis, he is exposed to adults who model kindness, patience, tolerance and respect.”
~ The Aitken Family
“I wanted to let you know how delighted we are that we found CGS!"
"When we decided to relocate from London, England to Toronto one of our main concerns was finding a school for our eldest daughter – who was then 5. When we toured CGS we knew at once that this was the right school for us. The CGS teachers and support staff display such a kind, caring and nurturing attitude that our daughter made the transition to school in Canada with ease. Small class sizes and dedicated, exceptional teachers mean that the academic programme at CGS is very strong. In addition there are plenty of extra-curricular activities which our daughter enjoyed, and which also helped develop skills such as leadership, social responsibility and creativity.
When our son was old enough to start a preschool programme he joined the CGS Early Start class. He also made a wonderful transition from home to school life, as a result of the kind and caring teachers. We were impressed by the touch math programme that the children were introduced to. Additionally the children benefited from music, French and gym classes.
Our children have had outstanding experiences at CGS. We are thrilled that their formative years have been spent in such a nurturing environment, where they have been encouraged to be the very best that they can be.”
~ J. Mahendran
“Both of my daughters attended Children’s Garden School and it has been the most amazing experience for our entire family."
"Our eldest daughter started at CGS 5 years ago in JK as an extremely shy and reserved child. CGS’ small, family-like atmosphere made it the perfect school for her to adjust to going to school and actually enjoy it!
Over the past 5 years, she has blossomed into a confident, intelligent and kind girl. CGS provided her with so many opportunities to learn and grow - not only with her academic skills - but also with extra-curricular activities. Because of CGS, she has developed a love of theatre and had lead roles in the school play for the past 2 years. When I saw her singing and acting on stage, I couldn’t believe she was my quiet little girl that I had dropped off crying in JK. CGS provided her with leadership opportunities where she was able to help younger students as she got older, and in her final Grade 3 year, she confidently campaigned and was elected mayor of the school.
When it came time to applying to the bigger private schools, CGS made sure both my daughters were prepared. CGS provided my girls with a strong academic background. I constantly have friends and relatives who approach me and say they can’t believe what good readers my girls are, or are shocked that they can speak some French at their age, or that they can do tricky math in their heads. CGS also developed their confidence and oral communication skills through their small classes, which gives all the children the opportunity to speak-up and take on leadership roles. CGS prepared them so well that my daughters got into all the private schools they applied to. In fact, one school only had 2 spots and 12 applicants, and even with the odds against us, we got a spot.
I look back on my 5 years at CGS with such warmth and happiness. It is such a wonderful school. The teachers are so kind and at the same time, able to demand the high academic standards that allowed my children to gain the skills and confidence to be successful in life.”
~ M. Cavelti
“I want to thank CGS for giving my son such a wonderful start on his school journey."
"I am truly amazed at all the wonderful opportunities that he has had at Children's Garden School. Not only has he benefited from the rigorous academic curriculum, but he has had opportunities to express himself through the incredible music, theatre and art programming that CGS offers. I am also extremely impressed with the school’s dedication to raising global awareness and making a difference in other people’s lives. None of this could have happened without such a dedicated, talented and nurturing staff. I am grateful for the commitment, enthusiasm and compassion they have shown throughout our years at CGS. As a result, my son has become a confident and compassionate young man, and I feel he is prepared to take on the challenges that he will face both personally and academically in the years to come as a student and as an adult.”
~ J. Eng
“CGS is an incredibly nurturing, inclusive and highly stimulating environment for our daughter, both academically and creatively."
"The principal, staff and teachers are second to none. Madeleine was 3.5 years old when she entered the Early Start program at CGS, and to date she has been exposed on a weekly basis to a variety of classes such as French, music, dance, yoga, touch math and phonics, as well as participating in assemblies, talent shows and projects with an emphasis on global awareness and social issues. We are thrilled for Madeleine to attend such a progressive school where there is open, professional and transparent dialogue between the teachers, parents and children.”
~ The Cooke Little Family
" I can honestly say that the school has one of the best SK programs in Toronto."
'When my daughter was in SK, I was simply amazed that every child was reading by end of the year. My son is now immersed in their wonderful phonics program and he is starting the process of learning to read right now. It is truly amazing! I also love the way each child is celebrated for their unique personalities - my son truly feels very special in his SK class.”
~ S. Kennedy
“Children’s Garden School has been everything we wanted and expected - an excellent education with small classes, individual attention to our kids’ needs, opportunities to try new things in a safe environment, and a community of parents who believe in the school’s mission."
"We are particularly excited because CGS continues to understand and emphasize a global experience, exposing children to global diversity, cultures and relationships that are very important in today’s world. It is important to us that our children have had the opportunity to learn from, experience and enjoy children and faculty from all walks of life. Our children have absolutely loved CGS, they responded well to positive feedback as well as constructive criticism. As a result they gained the confidence to be involved in all aspects of school life including The Principal’s Club, student government, the school play, sports clubs and leadership. Our eldest son just started at UCC and we really credit CGS with preparing him incredibly well for the transition.”
~ A. Engel
CGS graduates are currently thriving at all of the top private schools in Toronto (see below). They are widely acknowledged by the admissions community for their academic readiness and social skills.
- St Clement’s School
- Upper Canada College
- The Bishop Strachan School
- Crescent School
- Branksome Hall
- The York School
- Sterling Hall School
- Havergal College
- Greenwood College School
- Montcrest School
What some of the top schools have to say…
“Crescent is thrilled to have forged a strong relationship with CGS over the years."
"We find CGS students to be happy, curious, creative and well prepared academically."
~ Dave Shaw, Director of Enrolment and Financial Aid,
“CGS is a fabulous school."
"CGS prepares their students well to transition into our program. Keep up the great learning!"
~ Elena Holeton, Director of Admission, St. Clement's School
“We have had the pleasure of welcoming CGS students to UCC for many years."
"They arrive ready for the academic and social environment of a larger school. We always look forward to the many ways CGS boys will contribute to our community."
~ David McBride, VP Enrollment Management,
Upper Canada College
“Branksome Hall values its relationship with CGS."
"Students who have come out of CGS into Branksome are extremely well prepared and make a smooth transition into our learning environment.”
~Kimberly Carter, Director of Admission, Branksome Hall
“CGS students are a pleasure to teach."
"Royal St. George's College has been very fortunate to admit a number of students from CGS over the years. We find the graduates to be well prepared with strong academic and social skills."
~ Tom Stevens, Director of Admission, Royal St. George's College
CGS families may also choose to enter the public system at the end of their time at Children’s Garden School, confident that their children have acquired the necessary skills before moving on. Neighbourhood schools like Bessborough, Blythwood, Rolph Road or Maurice Cody are common destinations for CGS graduates.
Preparing for entrance into the larger schools can be a challenging process for some children so we work with students to ensure they are feeling confident and excited about what lies ahead.
CGS has been in the Leaside community for over 35 years. There are a lot of Alumni out there!
The Children's Garden School Parent Association plays a very important role in CGS life. It is also an excellent way for parents to become involved in their school community. All parents are automatically members and meetings are held six times a year.
This dedicated group of mothers and fathers hold small scale fundraisers throughout the year and are also responsible for friend-raising events including our Fall Family Fun Night (pictured above), Bingo Night and Olympic Day. The funds raised each year by The CGS PA sponsor wonderful, curriculum enhancing events and workshops in the school every term.
Past PA sponsored events include, Drumfit workshops, Mad Science, African dance workshops, Anti-Bullying and Mindfulness presentations for students, staff and parents, amazing trips to Tree Top Trekking, theatrical presentations, visits from Pawsitively Pets and much more. The PA is always looking for ways to support the curriculum and bring unique learning opportunities to the students.
See a little of what the PA is up to here.
What is the CGS Foundation?
The Children’s Garden Foundation is a private, non-profit, charitable organization, established in 1999. It is run by a volunteer board of CGS parents on behalf of all parents at CGS. Thanks to the continued support of CGS parents and their fundraising efforts, the Children’s Garden Foundation is able to fulfill its mandate “to provide facilities, equipment, furnishings, teaching aids and supplies to enhance the education of the students at CGS.” The support of The Foundation is an integral part of maintaining the high standards and progressive learning environment at CGS.
Recent Foundation contributions include the ongoing 2019/20 Stage Refurbishment Project, ongoing replacement of classroom furniture with Natural Pod pieces, the 2017 Playground Enhancement Project (including an outdoor teaching space), a high-tech performance gym floor, our iMac Computer Lab, SMART Boards for Grades JK-3, iPads for all grade levels, gymnastics and tennis equipment, alternative classroom seating and an in-class exercise bicycle to facilitate focus in the classroom. New cubbies throughout the school and an upgraded intercom system are also compliments of the Foundation. (The music on Dance Party Fridays now comes through loud and clear, along with the morning announcements made by our Grade 2 and 3 students!)
Past contributions include risers for the choir, theatrical lighting for the stage, a professional sound system, outdoor hockey equipment, robotic lego, African drums and a fully renovated resource centre.
Teachers also receive $500 every year to upgrade and refresh the learning materials in their classrooms. Purchases include books, science equipment, toys and furniture.
How Does the Foundation Raise Money?
“Reach for the Stars” Campaign
The “Reach for the Stars” campaign is the Children’s Garden Foundation’s ongoing program of annual giving. Donations are made when you register your child.
CGS parents have enthusiastically supported this program since it began in the spring of 1999. The campaign is run during each fiscal year to help the Foundation realize its' yearly objectives. Parents are asked to make an annual donation of $500 to the Foundation for each child enrolled at CGS. All donations are acknowledged with an official tax receipt. Funds raised are not saved for projects far in the future*, they are spent the year your child is enrolled to ensure value for all families. (*Larger projects, that require more planning, may be executed the following school year. Eg. the stage, playground and gym floor projects.)
This biennial event is an opportunity for the CGS Foundation and parent body to raise money to target larger capital projects in the school. Our last Gala, was held on April 27, 2019 and was a huge success. The monies raised are funding our 2019/20 Stage Refurbishment Project. The children continue to enjoy our 2017 Gala funded playground and 2015 Gala funded gym floor. We look forward to our next Gala in 2021.
At CGS, we have an inclusive policy. We do not have rigid guidelines regarding what kind of a learner a child has to be. We require that all of our students are able to manage the CGS curriculum and daily activities. If your child has a specific learning issue, we may be able to meet your family's needs. We believe that classrooms and students can benefit from varied experience and that students learn valuable life lessons from a non-homogeneous classroom. At CGS, we are here to create a successful environment for all of our students.
In order to assess whether or not a student can be successful at CGS it is extremely important that parents give us as much information as possible. If your child will require extra support, the admission process can be a little different. We may request that your child spend more time at CGS in order for CGS staff to make an educated decision about the readiness of your child.
Days at CGS are busy and full of transitions. Students are required to sit for short periods of time in order to complete desk work and students must be able to respect their fellow students and the school environment. Our goal at CGS is to create balanced classrooms and guarantee a quality learning environment for all of our students.
We have had incredible success with many ‘outside the box’ students and have seen impressive social, academic and artistic progress in these students over the years.
For parents who may be concerned about the presence of an unconventional learner in their child’s classroom, CGS is always mindful of the needs of the group and no child’s learning will be compromised by the needs of one student. It is an integral part of the CGS philosophy that all students deserve a chance to thrive. Tolerance, acceptance and openness are vital qualities in the world and at CGS we aim to lead by example.
2021 / 2022
|September 9, 2021||First Day of School, Term 1 Begins|
|September 9 - 10, 2021||Staggered Start for Preschool Students|
|October 8, 2021||Terry Fox Walk - Early Dismissal at Noon|
|October 11, 2021||Thanksgiving Day - School Closed|
|November 12, 2021||Midterm Break - School Closed|
|November 15, 2021||Midterm Break - School Closed|
|December 15, 2021||Last Day of Term 1|
|December 16, 2021||First Day of Winter Break - School Closed|
|January 3, 2022||PD Day for CGS Staff - School Closed|
|January 4, 2022||First Day of Term 2|
|February 18, 2022||Family Day Weekend - School Closed|
|February 21, 2022||Family Day - School Closed|
|March 10, 2022||Last Day of Term 2|
|March 11, 2022||First Day of March Break - School Closed|
|March 28, 2022||First Day of Term 3|
|April 15, 2022||Good Friday - School Closed|
|April 18, 2022||Easter Monday - School Closed|
|May 20, 2022||Victoria Day Weekend - School Closed|
|May 23, 2022||Victoria Day - School Closed|
|June 15, 2022||Last Day of Term 3 - Early Dismissal|