“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
~ John Dewey

For age fifteen to eighteen, when the rapid growth of adolescence is slowing, a more rigorous intellectual schedule works, combined with community service and internships in the work world and professional fields meets the needs of teens growing into young adults.

Ontario Secondary School Credit Courses

Starting in 2019, all Ontario Secondary School credit courses, will be offered via online courses. Work will be completed in school with Odyssey Heights teachers coaching each student. Students can work at their own pace - including working though a course at the same pace as one or more of their friends. We have found that our students need a higher degree of flexibility in both attendance and pace of courses than is possible with conventional delivery methods. For example, gifted girls with anxiety and depression need enrichment and the option to work at a faster pace in their courses, but they miss a significant number of school days due to mental health and medical/therapy appointments.

Grades 9-12 credit courses are provided by The Independent Learning Centre (ILC). ILC courses adhere to Ontario Ministry of Education requirements with ILC courses covering all pathways to graduation with the OSSD. ILC courses are offered in English or French immersion, through an independent distance education model.  Student work in ILC courses are marked by ILC teachers with Odyssey Heights teachers as each student’s learning coach. Girls take two Ontario courses at at time which decreases anxiety, and allows for accelerated pacing for gifted students.

OSSD: Ontario Secondary School Diploma

Each Odyssey Heights School for Girls student is guided by her learning coach in wisely choosing and planning courses and completing the other requirements for her Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Montessori Secondary II Curriculum 

“It is the education of adolescents that is important, because adolescence is the time when the child enters on the state of adulthood and becomes a member of society.” ~ Dr. Maria Montessori

Each Montessori Secondary I and Montessori Secondary II course spans three years. The three year time span allows students to choose to work on multi-year projects, and/or to work on many related projects that build on each other. Students of different ages, interests, and abilities are able to work together on projects that interest them by taking on different roles and responsibilities. The interrelatedness and hands-on real world connections of Montessori education helps answer the common questions "Why do I need this?" and "When will I use this anyway?"

Each year students complete a group peace project. At the end of grade 11 each student chooses one Montessori subject that she has great interest in and throughout her grade 12 year works on a special graduation project either independently or with a friend. The graduation project includes: a variety of research types, a written product of 2500 words/student (essay, article, children’s book, script, or book chapter), and a presentation or performance.

Montessori Secondary I and Secondary II Courses at Odyssey Heights:

Big History:

Big History is the history of the universe from The Big Bang until the present. We use the research proven Big History Project (BHP) curriculum - which has many links to the IB middle years curriculum. “BHP delivers a big picture look at the world, and helps students develop a framework to organize what they’re learning both in and out of school. After they finish the course, students will have a better understanding of how we got here, where we’re going, and how they fit in. It’s a place that was 13.8 billion years in the making.”

Peace & Conflict Studies (grades 10-12)

Peace Education is “the process of promoting the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values needed to bring about behaviour changes that will enable children, youth and adults to prevent conflict and violence, both overt and structural; to resolve conflict peacefully; and to create the conditions conducive to peace, whether at an intrapersonal, interpersonal, intergroup, national or international level.”  ~ UNICEF Peace Education Working Group

In their Peace Education courses Odyssey Heights grades 7-9 students learn about Indigenous Peoples, human rights, diversity, communication skills, mindfulness, and global peace organizations including the United Nations. In Peace & Conflict Studies grades 10-12 students deepen their understanding of peace and conflict by studying the history of war and conflicts and the peace and human rights movements. Peace & Conflict Studies curriculum is based upon topics covered in university Peace & Conflict Studies courses, but with grade appropriate work.

Agriculture & the Environment - All our overnight OE3 trips include hands-on learning about our natural environment; horseback riding, visits to farms, and our future community garden give hands-on experience in agricultural ecosystems.

Creative Expression (Visual & Performing Arts) - All Odyssey Heights students learn how to knit, crochet, felt, weave, spin and dye yarn, hand and/or machine sew, quilt, paint, sculpt, and more. The student council can use their budget so all students can see performing arts productions, attend arts workshops, and even plan a custom workshop or workshop series.

Physical Expression (Fitness, Sports, and Outdoor Recreation)

When do students do their Montessori courses?

1) Montessori seminar is held once a week. During Montessori Seminars students focus on one interdisciplinary topic that typically covers curriculum expectations in their Montessori courses, and frequently provides enrichment above what our students experience in their required Ontario Credit courses.

2) Most of our Project Or Going Out (POGO) Days and overnight OE3 trips cover Montessori courses. For example:

  • Peace Education/Peace & Conflict Studies: Students learn about Indigenous peoples by visiting the Iroquoian Village at Crawford Lake, visiting the First Peoples Gallery at the ROM, and attending workshops and lectures. They learn communication skills, conflict resolution, and teamwork on overnight trips, and through their rotating roles on the student council. Mindfulness is learned though daily mediation, yoga, walking the labyrinth by the Eaton Centre, and in mindful arts.

  • Big History - Niagara Escarpment hikes (geologic record), weekly trips to the ROM, hiking and xc skiing in Killarney

  • Agriculture & the Environment - All our overnight OE3 trips include hands-on learning about our natural environment; horseback riding, visits to farms, and our future community garden give hands-on experience in agricultural ecosystems.

  • Creative Expression (Visual & Performing Arts) - All Odyssey Heights students learn how to knit, crochet, felt, weave, spin and dye yarn, hand and/or machine sew, quilt, paint, sculpt, and more. The student council can use their budget so all students can see performing arts productions, attend arts workshops, and even plan a custom workshop or workshop series.

  • Physical Expression (Fitness, Sports, and Outdoor Recreation) - We have a very active program at Odyssey Heights with daily physical activity, many full days spent being active (eg day hiking on the Bruce Trail, horseback riding, trail riding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing), plus our active overnight OE3 trips (eg, skating the 1.3km skate trail at Arrowhead Provincial Park, The Canadian Ski Marathon in Quebec (February 2020), backpacking, snowshoeing, canoeing)