How long has Pear Tree School existed?

Pear Tree Education was founded in 2011. Our school, Pear Tree Elementary, opened September 2016. In 2021, we migrated to the name Pear Tree School as part of our expansion to the middle/high school years.

Is Pear Tree School licensed?

Yes! Pear Tree School is certified by the BC Ministry of Education as a Group 3 Independent School: Certificate No. 3996918.

Does Pear Tree follow the B.C. curriculum?

Pear Tree School’s curriculum is based on the revised B.C. curriculum. However, we take a different educational approach. We do not teach subjects separately. Instead, Pear Tree integrates subjects around relevant and engaging educational themes. Not only is this a natural and captivating way of thinking and learning, but it also means that we can cover the requirements of multiple subjects in less time, which gives our students and teachers more time for deeper, broader, and more meaningful learning.

Pear Tree School extends far beyond the expectations of the B.C. curriculum.

Why do you have combined grade classes?

Children are not homogeneous. Even within one grade, there are significant differences between your child and other children: academically, socio-emotionally (incl. maturity), and physically. In part, this is because of when your child was born, as well as their genetics and upbringing.

There are a number of benefits to combined grade classes:

  • Developing a strong teacher-student connection
  • Teacher-parent relationships are stronger
  • Older students are generally amazing role models for younger students and learn to be much more empathetic
  • We foster a sense of community, not competition
  • With a greater range of abilities in the class, everyone feels they belong, regardless of their strengths and weaknesses
  • Different levels of maturity mean that children naturally make friends with others of different ages than themselves

These benefits are ones we witness all of the time, and are similar to the experiences of the educational community at large. For more, read here.

Are there report cards?

Yes, Pear Tree School provides detailed digital report cards with written feedback on academics, socio-emotional development, and physical development.

However, these report cards are designed to be read in conjunction with the student’s online portfolio and goal-setting document.

How are the tuition fees used?

Tuition fees are for the following:

  • Staff salaries and professional development
  • Technology and classroom supplies
  • Facility costs, maintenance, and improvements
  • Healthy hot lunch program
  • Professional services

Are there anything not included in tuition fees?

  • Uniform costs
  • Field trips (entrances + transportation) at $30-$40/month
  • Outdoor education (overnight field trip)

What sports facilities does Pear Tree have?

We are fortunate to be able to provide students with a diverse range of sports and recreational activities. The school’s location gives it easy access to a number of different recreational facilities.

Like most urban Vancouver private schools, Pear Tree School utilizes public parks and sporting grounds for outdoor sports. Pear Tree has access to Connaught Park, Tatlow Park, and Kitsilano Beach.

For more specialized activities (e.g. ice skating, swimming, climbing), Pear Tree uses private facilities belonging to the organization that provides instruction, as well as other facilities at Kitsilano Community Centre and the University of British Columbia (UBC).

For water-based activities, Pear Tree has access to facilities located at Jericho Beach.

What outdoor spaces are used?

Like the other private schools in our neighborhood, Pear Tree School utilizes Connaught Park public parks for its primary outdoor space for recess. This is a short walk from our school that is supervised at all times by Pear Tree staff.

We are also within easy walking distance of the beach, and a 2-stop bus ride to Pacific Spirit Park!

What about students with special needs?

Pear Tree School prides itself on being an inclusive environment. We attract a tremendous range of families and demographics who all share our common goal for a progressive, whole-child education.

Despite this, we’ve realized from first-hand experience and from consultation with experts that our non-linear, higher-order thinking style of education may be unrealistically challenging for some students with exceptional needs.

We also expect our students to be able to function both independently and in group settings, which is challenging in terms of executive functioning and social skills.

Additionally, as a Group 3 category school, Pear Tree does not receive any government funding, including special needs funding. This means that any specialized or intensive in-class support, which is likely required by a student, must be paid for by the family (in addition to other forms of external specialist support that the child may need, such as speech therapy, ABA training, etc.).

What labels are used? (e.g. “Gifted”, “ADD”, “ESL”)

Labels are generally avoided at Pear Tree School. From Pear Tree’s perspective:

  • Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
  • Everyone has different biological development speeds.
  • Everyone has different personalities and preferences.

While people do not necessarily change completely, we do nevertheless change with time based on biological and external factors. Few things are ever permanent.

Pear Tree School provides a whole-child approach. As such, we do not focus exclusively on a child’s current strengths or their current weaknesses. We aim for all of our students to be well-rounded, so that no matter what path they choose in life, they will be happy and successful.

Where can I see your safety policy?

Every parent is provided with a comprehensive digital handbook upon acceptance of registration.

Pear Tree School has detailed policies for earthquake and fires, as well as emergency lock-downs. Each class conducts regular practice drills.

What is your sex education policy?

Pear Tree School uses an external sex education expert for this aspect of our program – paid for using tuition fees.

Child safety, welfare, and self-empowerment are key reasons for why we teach sex education at all grade levels, including kindergarten. While the age-relevant content of sex ed classes changes as students get older, all students will learn about the human body, tolerance, STDs, myths, (in)appropriate body contact, and responsible decision making.

What is your homework policy?

Pear Tree School limits the amount of homework provided to roughly the following amount:

Grades K to 1 – 15 minutes
Grades 2 to 4 – 30-45 minutes
Grades 5 to 7 – 1 hour

Instead of providing excessive quantities of homework, we believe in allowing for a healthy amount of evening and weekend times for downtime, family, sleep, and recreational activities.

What about high school and provincial exams?

In 2022, Pear Tree School completed an $800,000 expansion, which includes beginning to offer middle and high school grades. This commenced with grade 8 in September 2022.

In summer 2018, the B.C. Ministry changed Provincial Exams to reflect the updated B.C. Curriculum. This means that Pear Tree’s theme-based curriculum is now possible at a high school level.

Not only this, but our educational style is perfectly inline with the demands of the new provincial exams!

How will my child cope with a more traditional education system after Pear Tree?

Pear Tree School’s theme-based learning approach provide our students with a strong foundation of skills, knowledge, and adaptability that will help them succeed in any learning environment.

Our students develop critical thinking skills, collaboration skills, and a love of learning that will serve them well in any academic or professional setting.

Additionally, educators in traditional systems are increasingly incorporating project-based learning and other elements of theme-based learning into their teaching approaches, making the transition smoother for our students – including at a university level.

The challenges that they may face include a different pace of learning (whether faster or slower); learning to rely on textbooks, lectures and a very specific types of standardized tests; limiting focus to a subject; and different evaluation methods.

Despite these potential challenges, our students are able to successfully transition from a theme-based learning system to a more traditional system. Students who have developed strong critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills through theme-based learning are better equipped to adapt to new academic environments and succeed in their future studies.