Inspired Girls. Empowered Women.

From the moment a student enters St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School, a leading independent school for girls in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12, she begins a journey of discovery to emerge empowered to challenge and transform the world.
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Experience Our School

List of 4 news stories.

  • Addressing the Dream Gap: The Role of All-Girls Schools in Shaping Girls' Futures

    I recently came across a powerful video created in support of Mattel’s Barbie Dream Gap Project, a global mission dedicated to closing the gap that’s created - and perpetuated - by typical gender stereotypes and biases. The video is a strong call to action for all of us to be champions and role models in the lives of girls and to create the kind of environments that allow girls and young women to reach their full potential.

    As the video highlights, the Dream Gap does not derive from a lack of confidence, skill, desire or drive in girls. Rather, the Dream Gap exists because of the stereotypes and biases that exist even in today’s modern world. To me, this is the true value of a girls’ school - a girls’ school provides the girls-can-do-anything environment from the very beginning of a young women’s learning journey and keeps nurturing that mindset as she continues to learn and grow.

    Critics argue that the all-girls environment does not reflect the real world, and therefore limits girls’ experiences and readiness for life after school. I challenge that by addressing the significant advantages in reaching girls early and often - before the dream gap can even begin to take hold in their bright, young minds. 

    With built-in opportunities for role modeling and mentorship, girls schools naturally and easily create a positive environment that is conducive to high aspirations and lifelong success. At SMLS, the senior students and our active network of alumnae all over the world serve as direct sources of inspiration and examples of success, and we know from research that when young girls see themselves and their lived experiences represented in the workforce, that is when they begin to believe that they can be, and can do, anything. 

    This is important and directly relevant to addressing the dream gap that exists in today’s world. Consider that most of the graduating classes at SMLS in recent years have seen at least half of the students going on to study STEM-related programs - fields of study such as engineering, computer science, and business. These are fields, which, on average, lead to better outcomes in the labour market including employment, job matching, and earnings. More women in these fields, earning as much, or more, than their male counterparts is how we close the gaps in access to opportunity, wage disparity, and girls’ ability to turn their dreams into reality. 

    Closing the dream gap requires a collective effort and systemic changes to be sure. Instilling confidence, fostering mentorship and championing diverse pathways to success are all part of the collective work toward gender parity. This is the work that girls’s schools take on every day, delivering it straight to the people it benefits most - the young women of today, and the future leaders and trailblazers of tomorrow. 
  • The Solar Eclipse: An Unmissable Learning Opportunity

    As a school known for championing STEM education among girls and specializing in real-world education, SMLS seized the opportunity recently to take the once-in-a-century solar eclipse and harness it into a unique teaching moment.

    With safety precautions and a live-stream in place, our community enjoyed a multifaceted exploration of the solar eclipse, including reading eclipse stories from around the world, discussing the size of the earth and moon in small groups, studying how our location and its significance to this celestial event, and learning about eye and sun safety.

    Beyond the classroom, the solar eclipse has been an opportunity for SMLS to foster a spirit of curiosity and wonder among students with a newfound sense of awe and appreciation for the mysteries of space. Through hands-on activities, collaborative projects, and guided discussions, SMLS has long cultivated a culture of scientific inquiry, empowering young women to pursue their interests in STEM fields with confidence and enthusiasm. 

    Using the world around us as a guide for learning, the solar eclipse is simply one more way we are feeding our students’ interests and reminding ourselves of the boundless opportunities for learning that surround us every day.
  • SMLS Announces 2023-24 Community Award Winners

    Each year, SMLS is proud to recognize members of our school community who have gone above and beyond in their contributions to our school, their professions, and the greater community. This year we recognize three such individuals.

    The Nadine Farran-Gatti Distinguished Service Award celebrates and honours SMLS volunteers for their significant contributions to our school community over many years. This year’s winner is Jackie Maunula. Since 2016, Jackie has been an enthusiastic volunteer and leader. She has held countless roles through the Parent Association including Gala Co-Chair, and Learning Commons Convenor where she is broadening our Library’s inventory of books for current and future students to enjoy. Through her extensive contributions and unwavering dedication, Jackie has been the driving force behind many of our community events and initiatives, including Millie Christmas, Movie Night, Parent Socials and Junior School Bingo, just to name a few. Her passion for our school community is infectious and her efforts have brought joy and cherished memories to the entire SMLS community. Jackie and her husband Ryan have two daughters at SMLS.

    The Outstanding Alumna Award recognizes alumnae for significant achievement in their field and positive impact on the local, national or global community while upholding the principles and values of SMLS. This year’s winner is Miranda Plant Byers ‘03. Miranda is an award-winning actress, and producer of theatre and film. Her work centers around stories created by women which promote equality and diversity, and advocacy of women in the arts. She works with several not-for-profit organizations and amongst being the recipient of several grants for women in film, she was also recognized with the "Editha Award for Women's Empowerment" in 2021 by the Hudson International Film Festival. She has been a judge for several film festivals including the 2021 Emmy Awards, and mentors aspiring artists with StateraArts. As an alumna, Miranda has remained connected and supportive of SMLS and her fellow alumnae. She is the mom of two boys, William and Andrew, and currently lives in New York City with her husband Todd.

    The Life Governor Award is the school’s highest honour and recognizes the extraordinary lifetime achievements and contributions of individuals who have been leaders in service to the school, as visionaries and/or ongoing ambassadors for SMLS and as positive role models in our local communities. This year’s winner is Daniela Hampton-Davies ‘89. Daniela joined SMLS as a student in 1977 and has been an active member of our school community ever since. Daniela is an executive coach and governance professional with an outstanding record in business development, advisory and culture transformation. As the Principal and Co-Founder of Balsam Advisory Group, she provides advisory services for investor relations, capital markets and governance.  Daniela has held senior executive roles globally in both corporate and governance settings, has built dynamic and high-performing teams, and developed and executed strong strategic growth plans. At SMLS, Daniela was an active and long-time volunteer through our Board of Directors and Parent Association. Daniela brings an impressive and extensive list of community contributions including former Board Chair of Sheridan College and Oakville Senior Citizens Residence, and former Board Member at Start2Finish and the Oakville Community Foundation. Daniela and her husband Blake remain active members of the SMLS and Oakville community and are proud parents of four children, including one who currently attends SMLS and two who have graduated from SMLS in the past. 

    SMLS is thrilled to recognize the incredible accomplishments of Jackie, Miranda and Daniela and we invite you to join us as we celebrate them at the following upcoming school events:

    Volunteer Appreciation Celebration 
    Monday, April 15 at 9:00 a.m.
    Recognizing the Nadine Farran-Gatti Distinguished Service Award and Life Governor Award Winners

    Alumnae Brunch and Reunion
    Saturday, May 4 at 11:00 a.m.
    Recognizing the Outstanding Alumna Award Winner

    We continue to be impressed by the quality of nominations put forward and the accomplished and caring people who make up our community. We invite and encourage all members of the SMLS community to consider nominating a worthy candidate for next year’s awards. Submissions for 2024-2025 will open in November 2024. Learn more about the SMLS Community Awards.
  • Student Reflections on Global Citizenship Experiences

    During the recent March Break, several of our students and faculty embarked on Global Citizenship experiences in far off countries. One group of Senior School students visited Japan, learning about how the country balances its fast-paced technological advancements with spiritual practices and a connection to nature, while another group were in Fiji, planting coral, studying sustainable agriculture techniques, and meeting with local change-makers who are innovating to bolster access to Fijian’s most basic necessities, such as food.

    SMLS’s Global Citizenship experiences engage students with the world beyond the walls of our school.  Our program immerses students in authentic, real-world experiences that include optional trips like these recent ones as well as more local volunteering, cultural exchanges, experiential trips closer to home, and built-in leadership opportunities on campus. All of the experiences are specially designed for girls and in ways that enrich their academic knowledge and have application across their current studies and the lives beyond their education. 

    What students are saying about their experiences...

    "The Fiji March Break Experience allowed me to grow in several different areas:
    • being able to immerse myself in the vibrant Fijian culture, experiencing traditional dances, music, and rituals firsthand
    • learning about environmental conservation efforts and the importance of preserving Fiji's fragile ecosystems, such as coral reefs and mangrove forests, and being inspired to contribute to global sustainability initiatives,
    • developing a greater appreciation for the privileges and opportunities in my own life, as well as gratitude for the warmth and hospitality of the Fijian people who welcomed us into their communities with open arms
    • creating cherished memories that I'll carry with me for years to come, reminding myself of the transformative power of travel and the importance of embracing new experiences with an open heart and mind" - Katie H., Grade 11

    "[I]n Kyoto, we visited the most ancient head shrine of Kami Inari, Fushimi Inari shrine. Seeing all the torii gates from centuries ago and learning more about Japanese history is truly astonishing and magnificent. Observing all the shrines and temples along the way made me reflect more on my personal experiences, viewing them from a different perspective. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to participate in this trip to Japan." Isabella C. Grade 11
    "My highlight...was the traditional tea ceremony. Sipping on authentic matcha tea, we learned about its significance in Japanese culture, feeling honoured to partake in such a cherished tradition." - Daisey W., Grade 9

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