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ARC Studio School is an innovative micro-school for kind, curious, and courageous kids.

Located in Manor Park, Ottawa, for ages 4-11 years

Imagine a school...

... that believes that every child has the potential to change the world. A school that speaks up to children, not down, and empowers each to drive their own learning. Through Socratic mentorship and complex, real-world challenges, learners are inspired, equipped, and engaged.

Imagine a school that prioritizes relationships: relationship with oneself, with others, and with the natural world. A school that values diversity, curiosity, experimentation, and reflection; where failure is embraced and celebrated as an inevitable stepping stone in learning. A school that ultimately sets its sights on the future, prioritizing 21st century skills -- curiosity, creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and character -- over standardization, memorization, conformity, and consumption.

Welcome to ARC Studio School: An Acton Academy, where we are reimagining education for a generation of thinkers, innovators, and collaborators.

Check out this award-winning video about Acton Academy

We're all about self-directed learning.

Small by design, ARC is redesigning education for the 21st century. An affiliate of Acton Academy, an international network of learner-driven schools, ARC is built on educational best practices and dedicated to inspiring and equipping each child for a lifetime of learning.


Our learning design is composed of signature learning experiences that provide daily opportunities to make choices, explore, collaborate, and reflect. In addition to building a strong academic base, these key curricular pieces support children in learning to learn, learning to do, and learning to be; they develop curiosity, agency, critical thinking, voice, character, and a deep love of learning.  

We seek to create a culture of learning. We begin with building a desire to learn, through safety, curiosity, and exploration. As children face challenges and learn to choose the tough road over the easy, they develop the resourcefulness needed to eventually take full control over organizing their learning. As true self-directed learners, they take initiative, plan, seek guidance as needed, reflect, iterate, and persevere. At ARC, we believe that it is this capacity to self-direct, rooted in curiosity and a love of learning, combined with the skills and mindset of a lifelong learner, that will equip children to find their passions and purpose, and ultimately, change the world. 

We're creating a close-knit community of learners.

ARC will open its doors in January 2023 with two Studios serving learners ages 4-11 years (roughly pre-K through grade 6). An additional year will be added each fall, allowing for growth into a third and fourth Studio. The focus of each Studio is unique, corresponding to the developmental stage of its learners.

Each Studio is a communitiy unto itself comprised of mixed-age groups of learners who support each other and collaborate daily. Studios are designed to be learner-led; learners create a "Contract of Promises" each year establishing the agreements they make to one another and commit to upholding every day. This environment fosters a culture of respect, where learners are empowered to find the ways in which they learn best while also learning about the impact of their choices on the community as a whole. 


Studio 1(4-7 years) is driven by playful inquiry. Through story, the arts, and free play, learners explore and discover the world around them, growing curiosity, confidence, social-emotional skills, and a desire to learn. Studio 1 builds the foundations of reading, writing, and reflection -- independent learning skills that prepare kids to soar in Studio 2.

Studio 2 (8-12 years) challenges learners to set goals, work collaboratively, and experiment with what excites them, learning to face a challenge and persevere. Individual challenges and collaborative learning labs help learners master core skills; Socratic discussions and real-world problems engage learners by putting them in the shoes of another, challenging them to think critically and collaborate effectively; and learning to live together through the experience of self-governance develops problem-solving skills and teamwork.

The learner experience is unlike any other.

Learners at ARC drive their own learning. Curiosity, risk, failure, reflection, and iteration are all part of our daily experience of learning.

Learners create and maintain covenants and contracts and set goals to complete meaningful work. Daily Socratic discussions develop critical thinking and perspective-taking. With time, learners develop a deep understanding of who they are, what matters most to them, and how their passions intersect with the needs of others, giving them a sense of purpose to guide them on their next great adventure.

Mixed-age classrooms allow all learners to reach new heights, irrespective of their age or grade; learners offer mentorship and are mentored by one another, all while working to contribute to their collective knowledge. Every day they are engaged in reasoning, creating, and doing, rather than simply consuming. 

The school year is organized into seven 4 to 6-week long sessions, each followed by 1 to 2 weeks off to refuel or for holidays. During each session, learners dive deep into a real-world problem; through research, experimentation, creation, and mentorship, learners come to recognize themselves as problem-solvers and change-makers, all the while building communication skills and teamwork. Every session culminates in a learner-produced Exhibition, showcasing the work and learning of the Studios.

At ARC, there are no tests, no grades, and no homework. Guides are facilitators who Socratically guide learners with thoughtful questions, empowering them to discover their own answers. Guides collaborate with both learners and parents to track learner growth, which is evidenced through portfolios, exhibitions, self-reflection, and peer feedback.

ARC Studio School Nondiscriminatory Policy

ARC Studio School admits qualified students of any race, colour, national and ethnic origin, sex, gender identity, religion, creed, sexual orientation, or disability, to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at ARC Studio School.  ARC Studio School does not discriminate on the basis of race, colour, national and ethnic origin, sex, gender identity, religion, creed, sexual orientation, or disability in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, or athletic or other school-administered programs.

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