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Balwin School has a number of unique learning opportunities build around our belief in Student Driven Learning.


Junior High Cogito

Cogito programming is designed for students who are willing to work to achieve a high level of academic excellence in an environment that emphasizes structure and order. Cogito is available for Division 3 students. 


  • Develop academic skills to achieve excellent results
  • Demonstrate diligence and self-discipline


  • Improved reading and writing skills
  • Improved math and critical-thinking skills 
  • Improved work ethic, study habits and organizational skills
  • Preparation for a wide range of future academic, professional and skilled employment opportunities


  • Teacher-led instruction that focuses on students learning and progressing through the curriculum together 
  • Structured classroom environment
  • Regular homework
  • Recitation, memorization and practice exercises to improve learning
  • Early reading instruction in phonics--understanding letters, sounds and syllables 
  • Second language instruction introduced in Grade 1
  • Additional opportunities to study core subjects in-depth
  • Uniforms or a dress code requirement
  • A high level of parental support and commitment

English as an Additional/Second Language (EAL/ESL)

English as an Additional/Second Language (EAL/ESL) supports students who are learning English. These students speak a first language or additional languages other than English and need to develop their English language skills to be successful in the classroom. EAL/ESL is available for Division 3 students.  


  • Develop English language and literacy skills
  • Develop an understanding of Canadian culture and customs  


  • Improved ability to speak, read and write in English
  • Improved ability to achieve at their grade level in all subject areas
  • Confidence communicating opinions, thoughts and ideas
  • Development of skills and strategies to support ongoing English language learning  


  • Flexible instruction that meets students’ needs, abilities and goals
  • Practice speaking in English with other students  
  • Gradual integration into a regular classroom as language skills progress and improve
  • Partnerships with community organizations to provide services for newcomer students and their families

The R2 Resilience Program

About the R2 Program

Each day, classes commit some time to the R2 Resilience Program.

R2 is a program built on promising practices that have been shown to enhance wellbeing among individuals experiencing stress and adversity. It integrates the principles of a social ecological approach to resilience developed by Dr. Michael Ungar and his colleagues from all around the world who are part of the Resilience Research Centre.

R2 builds resilience by strengthening two types of factors:

Rugged protective factors are changeable internal qualities, such as our level of selfesteem, optimism, mindfulness, and our ability to set goals and think critically. Resources can include experiences of control, meaningful relationships with others, access to services and supports, structures and routines, and a positive peer group at work.




Balwin School has a commitment to building mindfulness practices with the school community. Many students and families come from difficult backgrounds and can have their learning impact by events outside of the school. Our mindfulness practices seek to teach students, staff members and community members skills regulating their feelings, being present in the moment and engaging in their studies.

Each day, classes commit time to practice guided mindfulness and staff participate in Professional Development on this topic. 



Career and Technology Foundations

Balwin School believes in providing extraordinary learning to our students by engaging them in their interests. Division III students get to choose two subjects areas to develop their skills and knowledge in. These options allow students to explore a subject in greater depth and to become experts in a variety of areas. Choices include:

  • Music
  • Media Arts
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Culinary Arts
  • Construction
  • Athletic Leadership
  • Coding and 3D Printing 
  • Ceramics 
  • Photography 
  • Graphic Design
  • Art 
  • Indoor Games 
  • Leadership

Students can also use this time to engage in a deeper understanding of the core subjects through creating and completing projects related to those core subjects.

Balwin is a school that engages its students.