DAS - Our Vision

Our Vision


Downtown Alternative School is a supportive and nurturing community that fosters curiosity, engagement, and a lifelong love of learning to empower students with the core values, skills and knowledge they need to be confident and successful citizens.

Curious. Engaged. Empowered.

Downtown Alternative School (DAS) is a community-based school that employs alternative learning techniques to engage and empower the student body with core values, above and beyond providing students with the tools they need to achieve academic success in the standard Ontario Elementary School Curriculum. Our students, from Junior Kindergarten to Grade Six, live the following core values through supporting programs and activities in and outside the classroom.

  1. Social Consciousness
  2. Parental Engagement
  3. Community Involvement

The core values empower DAS students with a unique and rewarding educational experience, while preparing them for lifelong learning and ongoing success as confident, responsible citizens. Alternative learning techniques at DAS include Child-Led Learning, Arts-Based Learning and Multi-Age Learning. Exposure to alternative learning enhances the standard elementary school curriculum, increases student engagement, and gives them the flexibility for ongoing learning in any environment.



Core Values

DAS focuses on core values aimed at engaging and empowering students by participating in specific programs and activities.

Social Consciousness

Since 1980, DAS has had a legacy of peace-building in the form of peer-mediated conflict resolution. This evolved over time to include a focus on equality and social justice. We continue to foster the development of social consciousness in our students at three levels: (1) respect for themselves, (2) respect for their peers and their school, and (3) respect for their society, their environment and the world at large. The impact of the respect shown by DAS students is palpable when one observes the way the students interact with others -with curiosity, confidence and empathy.

Parental Engagement

DAS strongly supports parental involvement through volunteerism. Volunteering accommodates parents' time, skills, and interests. This contribution can take several forms within your child's grade, or cross-grade:

  1. on-site (i.e. in class, administrative, council),
  2. off-site (i.e. field trips), or
  3. at home (i.e. washing costumes, committee planning).

When DAS parents are involved and engaged, they make a valuable contribution to not only their child's education, but to the greater school community. Parents' expertise and skills are diverse, and their involvement expands the educational experience accordingly. DAS students are empowered and set up to succeed, in the broadest sense, in the systems in which they are educated and beyond. These high rewards come with high expectations.

Community Involvement

Community Involvement at DAS means that we embrace our surroundings to enrich the students' educational experience. This includes participating in activities at local markets, theaters, beaches, parks, libraries, schools, historic sites and sharing with other neighboring facilities, organizations and programming that make up our community.

As a downtown school in one of the more culturally diverse cities, the DAS family strives to be connected to the wider St. Lawrence Market community. Knowing that we all play a part as global citizens, being aware and involved in our community drives us to listen better and value each other more, enabling DAS students to take a "think global, act local" approach.



Alternative Learning

DAS employs alternative learning techniques to enhance the students' educational experience. These alternative learning techniques include:

Child-Led Learning

Child-led learning allows students to take the lead in determining what to learn and when to learn it. Students may supplement materials with a variety of resources, such as books, other reading materials, through interviewing people in their network, or creatively drawing from other elements of their surroundings. At DAS, students play an active role and take ownership of their education, while teachers and parents work to follow their lead, providing support, resources, and instruction, as required.

This type of learning environment nurtures students' naturally inquisitive and curious approach. DAS students are engaged and empowered, and educated in a manner that fosters independent thought.

Arts-Based Learning

Arts-based learning is education enhanced by dance, drama, visual art, and music. At DAS, artistic skills, processes and experiences are used as educational tools to foster learning in non-artistic disciplines and domains. This encourages DAS students to be open to diverse modes of communication, creative thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving.

Multi-Age Learning

Multi-Age Learning partners students of varying ages and ability levels to nurture multiple developmental needs (social, emotional, intellectual and physical). At DAS, this technique empowers students while they learn together and from each other, building confidence, trust, leadership, peaceful intent and cooperation