Editorial Team

Kingsway College School (KCS) is a JK to Grade 12 co-ed private independent school founded in 1989. It is a CAIS (Canadian Accredited Independent Schools) accredited school. The KCS Mission is to be a defining force in developing lifelong learners, one that inspires students and staff to reach their ultimate potential. The school offers a rich program centred on The Four Doors to Learning Program which focuses on academics, arts, athletics and citizenship as well as the Habits of Mind, Body, and Action. Students learn to identify and exercise the Habits from the youngest ages, helping them better articulate and understand how to approach and respond to new learning and experiences. The school also has a long record of collaboratively building a curriculum that is as optimized as possible for each student, both for their time at KCS and as a foundation for the entire future before them.

“When students arrive at KCS, whether they start in Junior Kindergarten or join Senior School in Grade 9, they begin to see the world around them differently,” shares Derek Logan, Head of School, KCS.

Developing Leaders in Learning since 1989

KCS was founded in 1989 by a group of determined parents, members of the St. George’s on-the-Hill Church, who felt a strong need for a great school, one that nurtured the values of compassion and making the world a better place, in Etobicoke. KCS opened with fifty students in three classes – a full Grade 1, a split 2/3 and a split 4/5. Each year thereafter a grade was added until the school offered a full elementary program with one class of each in Grades 1 to 8.

Starting in 2001, each grade added a second class. In 2013, KCS amalgamated with a nursery school that was on the same property, making it a Junior School K to 8 with close to 400 students located on Dundas Street West in The Kingsway area of Etobicoke. In 2021, a Senior School was launched on Lake Shore Boulevard West in west Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Today, KCS is a JK-12 school. The phase 1 of the Senior School was completed in September 2022, and the Final Phase is planned to be finished in the 2024-2025 academic year.

Enrichment at KCS: Taking Learning Above and Beyond

At KCS, the core curriculum of all classes begins with the Ontario Ministry of Education’s curriculum.  The school offers more depth, by challenging learners to venture further, deeper and more elaborately into topics and subjects. It offers more breadth, by asking students to make connections between, within, and across subjects and to make connections to the real world. Likewise, KCS offers more novelty, by encouraging students to build meaning in an individualized way.

KCS also provides more integration, by combining the point of view, skills and content from different subjects, an approach that helps students gain a richer and more complex view of what they are studying. The school offers more acceleration, by increasing the speed of learning, introducing more advanced content, developing skills to a higher level and providing more sophisticated resources. In addition to all of this, KCS teachers also gradually accelerate the Ministry curriculum to help their students make a very successful transition to the Senior School.

Integrating the Habits of Mind, Body, and Action into the Curriculum & School Culture

“In Junior School, the Habits of Mind, Body, and Action are directly taught and regularly referred to in class and beyond,” explains Matina Mosun, Head of Junior School, KCS. For instance, in grade 1, students learn about empathy and what “Act with empathy” looks like and sounds like. “Respect, manners, and try your best” are the founding school rules and every Junior School student learns about them from their first day at KCS. Further developing the founding rules and Habits in the Junior School are a wide array of practices including project-based learning in all grades, outdoor education in all grades, service learning in all grades, student leadership in all grades, SEL/well-being/mental health instruction and related practices in all grades, rich club and athletics offerings, electives offered to support student voice and choice in learning in grades 6 to 8, entrepreneurship opportunities in clubs and even infused in some subjects from grade 5 to 8, engagement with external experts, experiential learning, cross-curricular and cross-grade learning and community-building, and many more.

In Senior School, KCS uses a curriculum planning framework designed to realize its values and principles; distilling the Habits into more adolescent-friendly language; and creating two distinct co-curricular programs that further ensure all students grow into thoughtful learners and leaders. The school’s enriched curriculum framework includes three elements: developing capacity (all the knowledge, skills, work habits, and core traits required by the Ministry of Education and KCS enrichment expectations), student agency, and a record of impact. The school has also created innovative solutions to infuse regular engagement with external experts and place-based learning at the Senior School.

How KCS Builds a Better Student

KCS has a long record of realizing student potential. The KCS Learning Community Program is an extension of this promise, offering students a unique opportunity to meet external experts, learn about the world outside school, explore their curiosities, discover new passions, and be better prepared for the world ahead. It connects students to external learning and mentors. Students attend a spectrum of events and workshops, experience 1-on-1 mentorships, and engage with authentic, real-world challenges. Ultimately, this program helps students apply theoretical knowledge to the practical world and realize opportunities on the road ahead.

Likewise, the place-based learning that happens regularly allows students to see their subjects in action and learn about post-secondary opportunities by engaging in learning at their institutions. Entrepreneurship builds a mindset prepared to identify opportunities and deliver solutions. In addition, two special co-curriculars, the KCS Path Program and the KCS By Design Program, uniquely nurture within students the intrinsic motivation, resourcefulness, initiative, and mindset to thrive wherever life takes them.

KCS Path Program

The KCS Path Program is designed to develop students as intrinsically motivated, creative, and impactful learners and leaders. Beginning in Grade 9 and extending through to Grade 12, students will be given time and support to pursue learning in areas of interest. They are challenged to learn about their topic from five perspectives: academic, artistic, athletic, citizenship, and offsite. In grade 11, they have the added challenge of completing a Creative Impact Project and an extended essay on their creative learning journey. Grade 12 engagement with the KCS Path Program will include guidance in pursuing post-secondary options.

Student Leadership in Learning

All Senior School students engage in authentic leadership by following a design thinking process each week in the KCS By Design co-curricular program. By joining committees in areas such as academics; arts; athletics; citizenship; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and social and event planning, students play a lead role in building the school experience. This process includes open-ended brainstorming, research that includes seeking various perspectives, creative ideation, and the launch of a pilot or prototype with an expectation of iteration. Undoubtedly, KCS’ first Senior School graduating class in 2025 will be ready to thrive in post-secondary and beyond thanks to an experience that builds uncommon awareness of the world, the role each can play in shaping it, an extensive record of intrinsically motivated learning, and a legacy of creative impact.

“Most significantly, we will invite students to help shape the KCS Senior School experience. There will be room for student-initiated clubs, teams, and events. Their ideas will help our school evolve. We will all roll up our sleeves to make this the school we want it to be. Our model is a framework on which remarkable learning and growth for all, students and teachers, will take root,” states Andrea Fanjoy, Head of Senior School, KCS.

A Myriad of Unique & Fun Extra-Curricular Activities

KCS offers over 100 different clubs and teams each year. Each term KCS teachers at the Junior School run over 40 clubs and teams for Senior Kindergarten to Grade 8 students. Students are given the opportunity to choose from activities such as Jazz Band, Lego Robotics, Boot Camp, Newspaper Club, Ultimate Frisbee, Book Trailers, Tech Blazers, Science Club, Lacrosse, Computer Coding, Running Club, House Captains, Community Service Club, T-Ball, iPad Art Club, Yoga Fit, and many more.

At the Senior School, club and team offerings are rooted in the options of interest expressed by KCS students. All faculty as well as interested students play a lead role in a wide array of options in academics, arts, athletics, and citizenship. Examples of offerings include Basketball, Track and Field, Ultimate Frisbee, DECA, Investment Club, Coding Club, Service Club, the Student-Led Café, and more.

Engaging with the Local Community

At KCS, engaging with the local community for learning and service has a long history. The school always had partnerships that allow it to leverage facilities and greenspaces external to its property, as it is known that learning outside of the classroom and in the community is beneficial for students academically and otherwise. The school’s commitment to service has further added to these engagements. Long-standing examples include commitment to the Terry Fox Foundation, Campfire Circle (a camp for children with cancer), the George Hull Centre (supporting families struggling with housing and necessities), and the Get Ahead Program (supporting township schools in South Africa).

At the Senior School, KCS place-based learning and Learning Partner Program have been developed to advance student learning and self-discovery. Science students partner with local water charities to engage in water analysis. Civics students engage with charities to learn first-hand about homelessness and work to help address food insecurity. KCS has also created a Learning Partner Gallery of external experts who are willing to share some of their time to help students learn beyond what any school can provide alone. This Gallery is visible to staff and students, and all are supported in reaching out as part of courses, co-curriculars, or extra-curriculars as relevant. Whether answering student emails, jumping on a video call, being a guest speaker, serving as a Path Mentor, engaging in a collaborative project, inviting a class to their facility, or more are different ways KCS students engage with members of the broader community.

Parent Network

All families are members of the Parent Network and play an integral role in the culture of KCS. The Parent Network’s mission is to support and advance the KCS culture while building community, both internally (among students, teachers, staff, and KCS families), and externally (among prospective families and local community at large). At the Junior School, the PN executive oversees many portfolios, organizing special events, establishing Class Parents, finding volunteers for school trips/Pizza Lunches/events, leading support of the George Hull Centre community, and much more. Overall, each KCS family volunteers on average 15 hours of their time to the school each year. Similarly, the Senior School PN is involved in many of the same activities, though parents are less often needed to help with events given the student leadership available.

Significant Milestones

In the Junior School, KCS has a highly successful athletic program in both participation and competitive performance, even though it is a relatively small school. A recent notable achievement to mention is the school’s role with peer schools in initiating the launch of a U13 national CAIS girls’ basketball tournament, to run parallel to the already established national boys’ tournament. Prior to this substantial initiative, only male students had this special opportunity. Another notable extra-curricular at the Junior School is the school musical, a performance that involves well over 150 individuals: students, staff, and parents (even alumni parents and students).

At the Senior School, the KCS leadership team is building a remarkable athletic program that includes competitive and non-competitive offerings in traditional and non-traditional areas. Notably, KCS is the only school of east of British Columbia that offers rowing as a physical education course that is also growing into a competitive rowing team for the school. In addition, the school has now partnered with a local lakefront athletic facility to offer a sailing club for KCS students in the fall, with the potential for both competitive and non-competitive offerings.

Another distinct extra-curricular at the Senior School is the student-led café. This is an authentic business venture and part of KCS’ commitment to engaging all students in entrepreneurship to some degree. All grade 10 students were introduced to entrepreneurship and given some decision-making roles on core features of the café. The students running the café each week signed up as part of the school’s extra-curricular program. Duties include financial oversight, food preparation, serving, and more. Profits from the café go towards the KCS Student Entrepreneurship Fund, which provides seed funding for student ventures and programming to support student entrepreneurship.

Ongoing Developments

KCS Senior School is the only CAIS-accredited independent Senior School in Toronto’s West End. The school’s current space from the phase 1 construction includes an art room, fitness room, marketplace (main hall for a wide variety of uses), café/open concept kitchen area, main science lab, Learning Commons and Library, classrooms, meeting rooms, faculty workspace, offices, Reception, and multiple break-out spaces. This current space has already earned two architecture awards – one for interior design and one for the wood features throughout. KCS was also featured in Canadian Architect’s online publication.

Recently, the construction of the final phase began and will end by spring 2025. This phase will provide the remaining complement of specialty rooms, including a communications technology lab; a large assembly hall for gathering, performance, and added physical education options including a large bouldering wall; a Student Services hub for guidance and Learning Strategies; a music room; a multi-media studio; a Prototyping Makerspace; a second science lab; classrooms; meeting rooms; and more breakout spaces.

The leadership team at KCS is therefore focused on completing the construction of the Senior School and building a cross-campus community so that KCS continues growing as “one school – two campuses”. Likewise, KCS’ post-secondary admission preparation has already begun and will continue with dedicated time in grade 12. Senior School admissions will also remain a significant focus until KCS reaches a capacity of about 260 students.

For More Info: https://www.kcs.on.ca/

Image Courtesy: Peter Power Photography Inc.


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