The Hawthorn Difference

2 Hawthorn School for Girls students wearing their dark blue blazer, white blouse and red tie stand at the podium. One high school student has the microphone in her hand while the other smiles and listens.

Pursuit of Excellence in Education

The commitment to academic excellence results in a program for acquiring knowledge, honing skills, and analyzing the connections of different disciplines and fields of study. In keeping with the tradition of a Classical Liberal Arts curriculum including the Sciences, a Hawthorn education is not limited to the basics of who, what, when and where. Rather, this knowledge acts as a catalyst for determining the fundamental truths of life and our human existence, our place in history and what changes we can affect in the world. Moreover, because Hawthorn’s founding principles are inspired by the Catholic faith and the teachings of the Catholic Church, the human drive towards excellence is directed to the service of others, for the glory and love of God.

Hawthorn strives to build well-rounded young women through a classical liberal arts curriculum that is university preparatory. The three main aims of the academic program are: to build cultural literacy, develop critical reasoning skills, and aid in the growth of virtue. A solid foundation of language arts and mathematics is emphasized in Lower School. In the Upper School, mandatory courses in Philosophy, Latin, Ethics and World History round out the Language, Math, Science, and Arts programs.


Personal Mentorship

The Mentor Program serves as the cornerstone of Hawthorn’s Character Education Program. Students are assigned a mentor from grade 2 to 12. The mentor is a well-trained, experienced, female role model who meets with the student throughout the school year to provide personal guidance.

Mentoring affords each student the opportunity to work with a trusted and experienced mentor on the different things in which she can improve, as she relates to her family at home, teachers, and classmates in school, does her work and deals with the challenges life may present her. Each student is unique, with her own set of strengths and weaknesses. Mentors recognize this and, through mentoring, help each student to determine what they need to do to work well, identify things to be improved on, and develop a stronger character while doing ordinary and everyday things.

In both the Lower and Upper Schools, each student (grades 1-12) is assigned a mentor from among the Hawthorn staff at the beginning of the academic year, with whom she meets regularly. Mentors make every reasonable effort to be available to their mentees when they need assistance or to discuss particular concerns they may have. Parent-Mentor meetings are officially scheduled twice a year, as well as at the parents’ request or as necessary.

In the Junior School, each family (PS, JK & SK) is assigned a mentor from among the Hawthorn staff at the beginning of the academic year. Meetings between Junior School parents and their mentors are also officially scheduled twice a year, as well as at the parents’ request or as necessary.

Partnership with Parents

Parents come first in the life of the school because they will always be the most direct, powerful, and consistent educators in their child’s life. Children learn first from their parents: from their example, their attitudes, their words, and their actions. Mentors and teachers follow parents in our educational priority of persons because it is they to whom parents entrust an important part of their child’s education. Teachers impart knowledge and guide students in acquiring and using intellectual, manual, and moral tools to assimilate and make new connections. With parents and teachers working together, the goal of making a difference in each girl’s life is realized in a very natural and complete way.

Founded by parents in 1989, Hawthorn has been providing a unique academic, character-based education of the whole person and the comprehensive teaching of a child’s set of ‘first’ and ‘second’ decisions that will confidently serve them for a lifetime. Hawthorn recognizes that parents are the primary educators of their children and practices an approach that stresses collaboration in order to provide a consistent effort that will contribute to a girl’s academic and personal success.

Hawthorn is the only independent all-girls school in Toronto offering a Catholic- inspired education and offers unique one-on-one mentorship and individualized education that helps guide each girl through the important decision that will help them flourish as they become the best women they can be.

Leadership through service

Leadership through Service

With the objective of helping our girls become confident women of integrity and faith, committed to the betterment of society, we believe it is essential for our students to see the connection between leadership, service, and social responsibility.

The practice of good moral habits or virtues complements the building of this foundational body of essential knowledge and skills. Together, these inspire the minds of our students to heights of big dreams, grand ideas, and the pursuit of excellence. Hawthorn students are helped to understand that this privileged position bears with it the blessed opportunity and responsibility of helping those around them. It is both a duty and a gift to be of service to others, and to be a leader in this way is to be so, not for the sake of prestige, but for the good of all.

Service projects and other similar initiatives provide opportunities for the students to extend themselves to others by giving of their time and talent generously throughout the school year. Service projects may involve an organized visit to a charitable community organization to help with their work, such as Canadian Food for Children, Good Shepherd Ministries and St. Francis Table. They may also involve smaller opportunities to help out in school with various activities and events, affording Upper School students with the chance to earn service hours, if they wish.

Inspired by teachings of the Catholic Church, leadership roles are recognized as opportunities to be of service to those around us – those who need help the most.

Catholic inspired education

Catholic-Inspired Education

The teachings of the Catholic Church are at the heart of a Hawthorn education.

Hawthorn School provides an education directed to achieving the harmonious development of the whole person: mind, will, heart and body. Through the school’s classical liberal arts curriculum and the interdisciplinary character of our programs, students are led to search, know and love the truth about who they are, the meaning of life, the dignity and respect of every human being as children of God.

Altogether, parents, mentors and teachers, guide and challenge the students to exercise human and Christian virtues, integrating their faith into all areas of their life, so that they might live according to their beliefs and dignity, becoming confident women of integrity and faith.

Students are encouraged to use their reason and ask questions, explore the reasons for their faith and learn to distinguish between essential matters of faith and questions of culture and history. The study of moral theology enables them to discern the morality of human acts and facilitates their search for goodness, truth, love and respect for other human beings.

4 high school girls in uniform smiling and standing in front of their lockers.

All Girls Advantage

As an all-girls school, we are able to focus on the needs of our students, in all aspects of their personhood, helping them to realize the gifts of being truly feminine and the impact they can make in the world as they become responsible and loving women.

Teaching methods and educational practices are tailored to the way girls learn to ensure academic success.

Girls develop the confidence and leadership abilities they need to get involved in curricular and extra-curricular opportunities.

Girls can focus on finding and expressing their true self without the distractions of a co-ed environment.

Girls’ school graduates are more likely to pursue the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in university.

An all-girl school helps students to understand their value and capabilities without worrying on how she looks or whom she dates. Girls feel free to experiment and explore, to try out new things and getting involved in distinct roles. Successfully they follow their dreams and goals without hesitation on how her male counterparts might perceive her.

According to the NCGS (National Coalition of Girls’ Schools), girls who graduate from all girls’ schools have significant advantages over their peers from coed schools, such as:

10% higher confidence in mathematics and computer skills than their coed counterparts.

80% consider their academic performance highly successful.

They spend more time studying or doing homework, talking with teachers, tutoring peers, and studying with others.

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