History & Philosophy

History & Philosophy

Quick Facts:

  • Founded in 1993
  • Independent day school
  • Grade 1 - 12
  • Average class size: 12
  • Girl-centred program
  • Enriched curriculum
  • Innovative teachers

Founded in 1993 by Diane Goudie and Eleanor Moore, Linden is the only school in Canada created to incorporate cutting-edge research on girls' educational needs, from primary to secondary school. The school's academically challenging program and unique girl-centred philosophy ensure that girls and young women feel empowered to discover their intellectual curiosity, take risks, and develop the confidence to find their voice.

In its development, The Linden School's pedagogy and philosophy were influenced by prominent educators and theorists working for women's equality and social change at that time. Our school is based on Carol Gilligan's concept of an “ethics of care," which entails a recognition that learning is not simply intellectual, but deeply relational. We know from decades of research on gender and learning, that girls flourish in a collaborative learning environment, and we foster this through our pedagogy and a strong sense of community. Our curriculum helps students view the world through multiple lenses to uncover the complex intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability. We educate girls to take on leadership roles in local, national or international arenas. Our goal is not only to have our students gain the confidence, knowledge and skills it takes to be leaders in their chosen realms; but also to help them develop the critical lens through which to question the structures and assumptions of the realms they will occupy.

Innovative teaching philosophy

Girl-centred approach that fosters engaged learners

Linden’s approach to teaching is girl-centred, incorporating the most current research about how girls learn best throughout their development. We recognize that every Linden student is unique. Our teachers vary their lessons to reach all types of learners – visual, auditory and kinesthetic. At Linden, students learn to take ownership of their own learning experiences. Teachers are experts in their fields, who act as facilitators and coaches rather than the ultimate authority. Lectures from the front of the classroom are rare; instead, teachers encourage discussion, debate, and collaborative, hands-on activities.


Intellectual risk-taking that increases competence

Linden girls build confidence and competence by learning to take risks and explore new ideas – in the classroom, on the sports field, in a school club, or as a volunteer in their community. We help girls feel comfortable taking risks by creating an environment where a mistake or a project gone awry is a learning experience, not a failure. We help students ask themselves, “What would I do differently next time?” When girls know that making a mistake is not the end of the world, they gain the confidence to expand their boundaries.


Strong voices that develop confident leadership 

Linden students build their confidence by taking on daily challenges and regular leadership opportunities. We have no student council or “Head Girl.” Instead, we empower all students to find their voices – the strength to speak up, speak out, and become empowered to write their own stories. 


Meaningful relationships that emphasize social inclusivity

Our small student population fosters the development of meaningful relationships between girls of all grades, faculty, and staff. Students are on a first-name basis with their teachers, and it is not uncommon to see a student talking, playing or reading with a girl several years older or younger.

Social justice focus that informs community activism

These connections extend beyond Linden’s walls into the greater community. Our curriculum has a strong emphasis on social justice, incorporating gender, equity, and diversity issues into class work, field trips, and school-wide activities. During their time here, Linden students come to recognize the social justice issues we face today and their power to make a difference in our future.