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What are the different types of Independent and Private Schools in British Columbia?

Back to School, Education
7 min read

With all that’s going on in our ever-changing world, so many families seem to require extra support these days in their children’s education. Luckily our province is rich with options for both private and independent schools that look and function in many different ways.

Students who attend these enriched schools can be more academically challenged, exposed to clearer value systems, given greater access to teachers, and may simply feel safer. Some features parents look for when they turn to the private system include a specific educational approach, such as Montessori or Waldorf; a particular religious or cultural setting; a strong academic setting or a program for children who are gifted; the ability to accommodate special needs; the flexibility to accommodate special scheduling required by art, music or sports training.

Every family has different reasons for considering what school best suits their child’s needs, but nearly all agree that both independent and private schools provide their children with:

  • Smaller classes and more structure
  • Preparation for post-secondary studies
  • A shared philosophy and approach to education
  • Enriched and focused academic setting
  • More emphasis on specialties like art, music, athletics and extracurricular activities
  • Many chances for parents to get involved and more accountability to parents

Today we offer you some very enriched environments to learn about – from nature-based to project-based schools, fine arts programs, to strong academic preparatory schools with International Baccalaureate (IB) programs  we are happy to bring to you a collection that offers a lot of extra support and enrichment for your family.

Arrange a Tour or attend an Open House with any of these leading independent or private schools to find out more.



2294 West 10th Ave Vancouver, BC 604 736 5575 

For over 40 years, Fraser Academy has celebrated the unique strengths of individuals with dyslexia and language-based learning differences, empowering children and youth with choice and opportunity. We value personalized learning by supporting the courage to persevere, demonstrating respect, empathy, and openness, innovation in teaching and learning, and utilizing personal strengths and resources to support excellence in delivery and standards.




 #100-688 West Hastings St., Vancouver, BC 604-416-0386

HongDe Elementary School is a BC Independent Ministry of Education certified not-for-profit Kindergarten-Grade 5 school.  HongDe Elementary School uses the BC Curriculum to provide a Mandarin (40%) / English (60%) Bilingual Program. The school’s mission is to foster students’ love for learning about traditional Chinese and Western cultural values, in addition to promoting virtues, or character strengths considered important in society. 




2064 West 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC 604-499-7303

At Madrona, we know gifted and bright children. Our students have an intense curiosity, deep need for knowledge, passion projects, the desire to both understand and be understood, in-depth and breadth of emotions, quirks of asynchronous development, and often a remarkable sense of humour! Our staff love to teach, learn and laugh alongside the students while guiding them to reach their full potential.



The International School of Vancouver


2330 Cypress Bowl Lane, West Vancouver  |  604-922-3223

Mulgrave is a gender inclusive, secular IB World School. As an independent day school with a reputation for academic excellence and for providing a broad, holistic education, we offer the International Baccalaureate curriculum to students from preschool to Grade 12 in a spectacular West Vancouver setting. The deadline for application for the 2024-25 school year is December 1, 2023 (February 1, 2024 for preschool for 3 year olds).




Suite 215 – 2678 West Broadway, Vancouver BC  604 355 2155

At Pear Tree School, our mission is to guide young people in discovering their true calling through a unique theme and project-based learning approach. We cultivate academic excellence, socioemotional intelligence, physical well-being, and a strong sense of ethics. Our students acquire skills, knowledge, and a mindset to overcome challenges and become ethical leaders. Join us in nurturing well-rounded, purpose-driven individuals who positively impact the world.




Locations include South Surrey, Richmond City Center, Richmond Garden City and White Rock

Belonging is a fundamental human need. At Rothewood Academy every child is valued as a whole person. Each child brings their own unique gifts, their own strengths, and their own challenges. All children are invited to join our inclusive community of learners, to share and collaborate with their peers, to learn to the best of their ability and at their own pace. We have created a warm and welcoming space where each child is celebrated for who they are, through strong relationships and meaningful, joyful experiences.




1390 West 22nd North Vancouver, BC  778-838-0335

Saplings Nature School on Vancouver’s North Shore fosters students’ intimate daily interactions with the natural world combined with the full BC curriculum. Indoor and outdoor classrooms embed hands-on experiences suffused with observations, inquiry, critical thought, and active citizenship. Saplings supports students in developing meaningful and life-long relationships with the earth, themselves, and those around them and aims to grow with students throughout their school years.

Photo by Tilly Nelson



5239 Joyce St.Vancouver, BC 604-437-1312

St. Mary’s Elementary is a Catholic independent school in Vancouver.  It is an exciting and thriving community nestled in the heart of the Collingwood neighborhood conveniently located by the Joyce Skytrain Station.We are a school that embraces innovation and is open to taking risks to meet the diverse needs of our students. Visit our website to see our range of programs being offered and take a 360 tour of our facility.  Our online registration form is available for the 2024-25 school year.  

school kids



5550 Fraser Street Unit 300, Vancouver, B.C. 604-434-9611

Westside Montessori Academy is proud of our spacious new home at the northern edge of Vancouver’s Sunset Community at 41st and Fraser. After 15 years at the Italian Cultural Centre in East Vancouver, WMA celebrates the same ‘love of learning’ in a custom-designed, child-centred building. Join us Nov. 30 to hear more about our K-7 classrooms.


UWC National Committee of Canada


650 Pearson College Drive, Victoria, BC  1-778-726-2176

UWC (United World Colleges) is a global educational movement with 18 schools on four continents. We believe that education is a force to unite people, nations and cultures, to build a better future. We bring together courageous and optimistic young people aged 16-19 who would otherwise never meet from over 150 countries. Learn how to apply:  www.ca.uwc.org



(Vancouver Independent School for Science & Technology)


200 – 1490 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC 604-566-7836

VISST is Vancouver’s first and only dedicated, non-profit STEM high school. Covering the full BC curriculum and beyond with enriched and accelerated content, top teachers, smaller class sizes, and project-based learning that supports strong student portfolios for use after graduation, VISST is high school reimagined. Students are empowered at VISST to be involved in school governance and to help build a school that they feel ownership in.

group study

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