Experience Richland

“Congratulations to Richland for winning best private school. I’m not surprised, Richland was a wonderful experience for my children. I owe it to Richland for all their time management and organization skills. To this day both my kids still have the same color code of binders for each subject like they did at Richland. Thank you all for providing my kids with a wonderful and memorable time at Richland.” – L.P. (Richland Parent) 
​We are committed to excellence, which resonates through the work of our students and teachers.  Our rich and challenging curriculum ensures we deliver a solid academic foundation, which is enhanced by our comprehensive Arts programming. With the majority of our students working a year ahead, the Ontario Curriculum Guidelines and Expectations are not simply met, but are exceeded and enriched through our progressive approach to learning.  To measure our academic excellence we utilize an external measurement of success.  Richland Academy students’ attainment is measured annually, through the Canadian Achievement Test (CAT), with student scores typically two years above the National Average.

As a 21st Century learning community, and the first private Early Years to Grade 8 school in York Region to embrace the Reggio approach to inquiry learning. Our nurturing community offers a sense of belonging for our students, staff and families, and differentiates us from others.  Our child-centered, experiential and intellectually-stimulating environment fosters life-long learning skills and attitudes, where our students and staff feel connected, capable and counted in our community. We support every student in developing the mindset, cognitive and academic skills vital for success by giving them the tools they need to be adaptable, and by instilling in them the ability and desire to love learning.


Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”  – Plato



Richland students are kind, happy, confident and responsible.  As a community we foster relationships with each other and our environment, based on respect and understanding.


“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” – Aristotle

Message from Head of School

When we founded Richland Academy over a decade ago, we had a clear vision as educators of what was and was not working in childhood education.

We envisioned a learning environment that did not tether our children to a rigid curriculum, but rather guided and inspired them to learn. While recognizing young learners need a solid foundation in all aspects of academics; intellectual development, a questioning mindset in pursuit of excellence, coupled with the confidence and courage to thrive in tomorrow’s world, are equally relevant.

Our Faculty and Staff have since created an environment that allows students to uncover their passions through hands-on inquiry, emergent, and experiential learning that builds creative, critical, team building and life management skills. We were early adopters of the 21st Century Learning model to develop and implement new approaches to learning, which draw upon insights into the human brain, child development, functioning of societies and learning as a community.

As countless graduates and their parents will attest, Richland Academy has expanded and enriched the lives of our students with it’s solid curriculum, innovative teaching methods, character enrichment and leadership initiatives.

At the same time, we are forging ahead on our journey to create the most extraordinary learning environment for our community. Our commitment to developing students who are deeper thinking, confident, and world ready is entrenched in the internationally recognized Reggio-inspired Inquiry approach to learning.  We recognize children as competent, resourceful, curious, imaginative, inventive, and possessing a desire to interact and communicate with others.

As educators, we are excited each day as our students astound us with their talents and accomplishments, their capacity for learning, and their desire to make sense of the world around them. We would be delighted to be a part of your child’s educational journey.

“The principle goal of education is to create individuals who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done.”  – Jean Piaget

Marlina Oliveira


Our Philosophy 

As a school community we prepare our students to thrive in a world of great possibilities by being deeper thinkers, confident and world ready.

Our Vision

To be a centre of excellence for learning innovation.

Our Mission

Redefining education for a changing world so that our students are deeper thinking, confident and world ready.

Our Values

“Nothing without Joy” Loris Malaguzzi

Our values are connected to our relationships with ourselves, each other, and our environments. We place value in…

  • Relationships: We develop meaningful connections and strive to be of service to others. This commitment enables us to learn and better ourselves, our school, and communities near and far.
  • Natural, built and social environments: We take active roles in these environments to cultivate respect, adaptability, independence, compassion and leadership.
  • Communication, collaboration and dialogue: We learn, solve problems, and understand and develop new ideas and perspectives. We allow the time necessary to explore our thoughts, make connections and share ideas.


  • Well-being: We recognize the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle; and develop the positive attitude necessary for a joyful and meaningful life.
  • Excellence: We foster a spirit of perseverance, resiliency, reflection and improvement to develop performance and moral character – the pathways to excellence and ethical behaviour. Students are encouraged to strive for mastery of subject and knowledge through high levels of work and play.
  • Individuality: We focus on each individual. Their perspectives, abilities, needs and interests guide our teaching.
  • Innovation: We nurture imagination, curiosity and interest. The process of inquiry is supported through research, practice and experimentation. Our students take risks in our safe learning environment, resulting in wonderful ideas becoming reality.
  • Creative and Critical thinking: We adhere to the learning models of inquiry, emergence and constructivism. Deep engagement in the learning process creates experiences that are engaging, challenging, authentic, and reflective for our students.
  • Success and Failure: “(We) understand the role of challenge and hardship in life, and know that success is measured through effort rather than grades, test scores, or life status. Children grow intellectually and emotionally when they overcome obstacles, learn from mistakes, and experience the valleys as well as the pinnacles of success.” Marilyn Price-Mitchell.
  • Empathy, Compassion and Caring: We develop a mutual respect for each other and the world we live in that is founded in trust and understanding. Our commitment to mentor and support others transcends our community.

Being Reggio-Inspired

​The Reggio Emilia approach dates back to post-war Italy, in the northern region of Reggio Emilia.  The people of Reggio Emilia came together to develop a meaningful way to educate their children, and to create a better future for their community. The Reggio Emilia approach to learning engages children in questions that they develop and investigate. Just like the community of Reggio Emilia, the image of the child as a capable, curious and creative learner is at the heart of all we do at Richland Academy.

To learn more about the Reggio Emilia Approach, please visit the Reggio Children website and CNN News Report on Reggio Emilia Italy Early Childhood Schools
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”  ~ Plutarch

Reggio’s Guiding Principles

Image of the Child

  • Children are respected as capable, innovative, and full of potential
  • Children are valued as individuals with unique ways of learning
  • Children develop a shared sense of ownership of the world and their place in it, along with abilities that exceed the curriculum benchmarks

Environment as the Third Teacher

  • The environment is stimulating, dynamic, and designed to pique children’s interests, and engage them in the learning
  • The environment promotes a sense of well-being, exuding beauty and displaying children’s work to demonstrate the value of their ideas and abilities
  • The environment values relationships, the learning process and aesthetics

Thinking Made Visible through Documentation

  • Documentation is crafted to determine how each child learns, and to plan ways to further enrich the curriculum
  • Documentation is displayed that describes the group’s investigations, learning experiences in progress, children’s ideas and theories, and reflects profoundly on the learning process
  • Documentation is developed to make learning visible for parents and for the children themselves, who use it to revisit their feelings, ideas and understanding

Teacher as Researcher

  • Teachers support and enrich students’ work, empowering them to also follow their interests, and seek understanding
  • Teachers use multiple strategies – visual, auditory, kinesthetic – to engage different styles of learners and help every child reach their full potential
  • Teachers are committed to reflecting on their work and regularly collaborate to share information and mentor one another

Parents as Partners

  • Parents are respected as collaborators and advocates for their children
  • Parents are valued as part of the team responsible for preparing every child for the future
  • Parents are given meaningful opportunities for engagement

Key Differentiators to Montessori

When exploring educational options for children, families often inquire about the distinctions between Montessori and the Reggio Emilia approach to learning.  Both philosophies are child-centered; and both engage children as active participants in their learning, allowing them to make many independent choices throughout their educational journey.

Montessori is a set approach to curriculum designed at the beginning of the 20th Century.  The Reggio approach is a sophisticated method of teaching and learning, evolving with current educational research, and indeed contributes to latest research into how a child learns in the 21st Century.

The advantages of a Reggio-inspired education:

  • Mastery of academic content, achieved through experience and application
  • Divergent thinking, with an ability to ask open-ended questions, solve problems, and offer new solutions
  • Mindset of excellence
  • Rich vocabulary resulting from in-depth inquiries and conversations
  • Development of creative and critical thinking skills
  • Each child is capable and competent, developing their character positively, through perseveranceempathy, and personal well-being
  • Small class sizes foster nurturing relationships with teachers and contribute to meeting the individual needs of each child
  • Ability to work collaboratively with others, as well as independently – becoming self-directed learners
  • Effective communication through oral, written and digital expression
  • Supportive partnership between home and school
  • Citizenship is nurtured
  • An environment designed to inspire and engage children in creativity, exploration, and discovery
  • Time devoted to play and outdoor learning, enhancing the development of oral and narrative understanding,             self-regulation, social negotiation and a positive approach to learning
  • Documentation showing the path of a child’s development
  • Graduates destined to be Global Leaders


“Within the first 6 months of attending Richland, we have seen our son transform from cautious to brave, from “walk me inside” to kiss and ride.  We have seen a significant increase in his confidence, his independence, his coping skills and his relationship building.  Additionally, he is more caring and empathetic particularly towards other children.  No longer does he require me to be his intermediary in dealing with his teachers, as he is very comfortable communicating on his own.  His senses are more alive, his curiosity enhanced, his deductive reasoning skills are formidable.  His negotiating skills well honed.  This all speaks to Richland’s commitment to develop children who are  “deeper thinking, confident, world ready.” – Grade 1 Parent