The Dragon Academy offers an experience-centered, challenging and well-rounded education for a diverse community through discussion and museum based learning. Honouring differences in temperament, talent and learning styles, The Dragon Academy is committed to help each student:
- Learn to think critically and creatively
- Cultivate a passion for excellence
- Master important subject matter and key skills
- Cultivate self-knowledge and confidence
- Celebrate both our cultural differences and our common humanity
- Gain a sense of personal and community responsibility
- Develop a life-long enthusiasm for learning
- In pursuit of this mission, The Dragon Academy follows the principles of progressive education and best practises.
The special character of The Dragon Academy results from a rare combination of qualities:
A DISTINCT APPROACH TO EDUCATION
Our method – unregimented but rigorous – is Socratic, raising crucial questions, encouraging engagement and discussion, rewarding critical analysis, rather than memorization. Our students pursue in-depth studies across the subject fields—literature and languages, mathematics, sciences, philosophy, the arts, the social sciences—and meaningful connection is achieved through complex curricular integration. We respect their intelligence and initiative, and they learn to respect their own potential, to assume responsibility, and to work independently and collaboratively.
Toronto is a vibrant city, a united nations of diverse cultures. Its academic resources are abundant: three of Canada’s finest universities, its premiere art college, an eminent conservatory of music. We have two great libraries, a global author’s festival, a cineaste’s heaven in the new TIFF Bell Lightbox, theatres where performances range from the great traditions to edgy experiment. Our museums house important collections in widely divergent fields. This city provides our faculty and students with a wealth of opportunities, and we exploit them.
A DIVERSE STUDENT BODY
Our students come from all over the city and surrounding areas. They come from a broad spectrum of religious faiths, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Commitment to social justice is a core Dragon principle. Our staff and students respect difference and individuality. We share a commitment to a freer and a better world.
A COMMUNITY OF INDIVIDUALS
Dragon students often talk of the school as a family. Our vibrant, close-knit community is welcoming, inclusive, and safe. Every student is known and cared for as an individual. Dragon teachers take their roles as mentors seriously, work to support each student’s success, encourage creativity and risk-taking, model lifelong learning. We seamlessly accommodate individual strengths and weaknesses, and our small classes facilitate highly individualized work. Our parent community is lively and actively involved in school life. Dragon alumni keep in close touch—we’re very proud of their accomplishments.
The Dragon Academy was founded in 2000 (the year of the Double Dragon in the Chinese calendar) as a progressive alternative to conventional, didactic education. Respecting the individuality, ambition and potential of adolescent learners, Dr. Meg Fox’s experiences as a student, a parent and a teacher, and her extensive research in pedagogy, educational philosophy and developmental psychology convinced her that adolescents were particularly poorly served by conventional approaches to secondary education. The Dragon Academy was founded as a laboratory school, where teachers and students could explore ways of learning and working together which would inspire creativity, freedom of expression, collaboration and a commitment to social justice, the core principles of progressive education. For members of The Dragon Academy community, school is a dynamic experience. We honour the many facets of human intelligence, exploring the treasure trove of knowledge.
From its beginning in a converted house where twelve students across six grades followed individualized programmes, The Dragon has grown to offer a full programme of regular academic classes across six grades (7 through 12), led by a remarkably gifted staff of subject specialists. Dragon graduates are now pursuing doctoral programmes in distinguished universities, from the University of Toronto to Oxford, entrepreneurial careers and public service. We are a coveted placement for students of education at OISE and York University. We have received prestigious grants for our Integrated Progressive Science Programme and our Art of the Twenty-first Century initiative. We are engaged in collaborative educational research projects, including a pioneering study in the integration of art and studies in biology with faculty of the medical school at the University of British Columbia. We are committed to our own ongoing action research, studying ourselves under the mentorship of Dr. Jonathan Silin, of the Bank Street College of Education.
Looking to the future, we are raising funds to purchase and equip our own facilities, to provide leadership in curriculum innovation which will be freely accessible, and to continue expansion of our student body and teaching staff. While we believe that only a small school can deliver the kind of education we value, we anticipate reaching our capacity of 150 students. The Dragon vision includes adjunct activities, including our reading series and publishing ventures. We’re already on the map. We’d like to share what we have discovered.