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Academy of Thought and Industry at Toronto

We are a modern Montessori-inspired middle school, located at 1767 Queen Street East, beside beautiful Woodbine Park and Ashbridge's Bay Park. ATI delivers a powerful education for independence, to develop curious, self-motivated adolescents who thrive in school and in life. Contact us at (416) 703-2582 to learn more or to book a tour.

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Welcome to ATI Toronto

Welcome to ATI Toronto, we are thrilled that you found us! Our team is excited to announce the launch of our Toronto middle school program in Fall of 2022.

Serving grades 7 and 8 in small, personalized classes, our curriculum uses the foundations of Montessori to deliver a rich academic experience. Our learning community is intentionally small, so that we are able to deeply know each student, help them thrive emotionally and socially, and support their individual path to excellence.

We combine a rigorous, intellectually demanding liberal arts education with cultivation of student independence, agency and responsibility. Deep learning consists of both ‘learning’ and ‘doing’—thought and industry. We help each student become a great thinker and a great doer in a way that follows their interests and passions. Each student is supported by their own coach, which ensures personalized fulfilment of their own short and long-term goals.

Our community partnerships with organizations such as Bob Acton Sports and Beyond The Beat round out the program and expose students to potential interests that they may want to develop further.

Whether you are a student, parent, or interested community member, we want to connect with you. We invite you to reach out and get involved in our Toronto opening.

Contact admissions at (416) 703-2582 to learn more or to book a tour - we can't wait to meet you!

Meet the team


Laura McCarthy


Laura is a 2004 graduate of Ryerson University who went on to a successful career in the apparel industry as a buyer. Since shifting focus to raising her 3 boys (aged 11, 8 and 4), she has immersed herself in parenting and education theory. Committing to finding the best education possible, she began a lengthy search for a middle- and high-school that would be true to Montessori principles. After disappointment with various alternatives, both progressive and classical, she found ATI. The key elements that sold her on ATI’s approach are in its very name — “Thought and Industry.” Thought, in the sense that ATI focuses on nurturing each student’s intellectual independence — and thereby build confidence in their ability to make sense of whatever they may encounter in life. And industry, in the sense of an education where students can “play the whole game at a junior level,” in other words, do meaningful, satisfying work while still in school. Laura is now determined to help establish ATI Toronto and develop it into a thriving community. In her free time, Laura is obsessed with all things related to interior design. She is also learning to play the guitar, with the aim of becoming a cottage campfire virtuoso.

Middle School Lead Guide

Hugh Merson

Middle School Lead Guide

Hugh is a passionate and thoughtful educator with deep Montessori roots. He has taught for 14 years at levels ranging from the early years through to adulthood and believes that, at every age, education should be about discovery – that the meeting of effort and curiosity are what propel both academic understanding and personal growth. Hugh’s approach is bolstered by training in facilitation methods, process design and the neuroscience of stress and development. Hugh grew up in the East end of Toronto where he attended a Casa Montessori program from the age of three to six. He reconnected with the Montessori method in early adulthood and has been working as an educator and teacher trainer ever since. When not in the classroom, Hugh enjoys all things basketball, growing bonsai trees in his backyard and adventures - near, far, and imagined - with his wife and daughter.

Math and Humanities Guide

Karen Goos

Math and Humanities Guide

Karen is a native New Yorker who earned her B.A. in Philosophy from Union College. Later she went on to get teaching degrees in special education and mathematics leadership from NYU and Bank Street College of Education. Karen worked teaching Math and Science in New York City and Toronto for 8 years and another 5 years in a part time capacity. Now that her three children are getting older, she is delighted to be back in the classroom. In her spare time Karen enjoys books, travel with her family and her dog, Sunny.

Reimagining adolescent education

Adolescence is a critical period of development. Students are constantly growing in higher-order thinking skills, peer relationships, personal responsibility, and more. They're searching for their place in the world and beginning to form the values that will shape their lives.

Recent studies have shown that enthusiasm for school drops dramatically between fifth and twelfth grade, with nearly 75% of students reporting negative feelings towards school.

Now more than ever, students are tired, stressed, and bored. They need an educational option that is appropriate for their developmental stage, and tailored to their individual needs.

We believe there's a better way.

Experience an education for independence

At ATI, students are given both freedom and support to help them excel beyond their own expectations. Our students don't just study for tests—they become life-long learners. Each step our students take is designed to help them explore their unique passions, inspire their creativity, and develop greater independence.

We don’t offer just one path for academic excellence. We strive to create a total school experience that will unlock each student’s unique potential—to prepare them for the world, and to help them access that world today!

Curriculum overview

Join our community

Our students and guides work together to co-create the school community. We build routines, plan trips, create clubs, write our school constitutions, and decorate our space together. And beyond each school, our students actively engage in their local community, the global ATI network, and the world.

Start your journey with us


Learn about ATI by attending one or more of our upcoming events and virtual info sessions


Consider attending a shadow day on campus to experience a day in the life of ATI


Submit your student application to ATI, which includes financial aid if necessary.


Work with admissions to prepare for your first day of school! We can't wait to have you join our community.

Get in touch with us

Enrollment is now open for September 2022. Get it touch to learn more about our program, admissions and take advantage of inaugural rates.

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“Our son is becoming a great critical thinker and a strong writer while also being 3 years ahead of public school in math. We feel that ATI is not only preparing him for college, but life.” Krista J. ATI Austin, Parent

Experience school on your terms

Join a school community designed to support your education with coaching, small classes, and a commitment to our core values. Engage in deep study and personal exploration as a student at ATI.

Learn more about our:

Visit Higher Ground Education to learn more about our mission to make learner-centered education the mainstream.

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