Beyond Boarding: The Residence Curriculum

We exist for girls

The unique residence environment at St. Margaret’s School empowers each girl to reach her full potential. We are a caring and passionate team dedicated to providing opportunities for growth that both challenge and inspire. Our girls become confident, well-rounded, and independent young women. St. Margaret’s boarders develop awareness of and respect for others within our nurturing and supportive community. ~ Residence Mission Statement

After classes are done for the day, the homework is complete, and nutritional needs are met, there is still a whole lot more to the residence experience than a bed to sleep in. Research has shown that participating in extracurricular activities improves academic achievement, and our residence curriculum ensures that girls take part in a well-rounded offering of activities each term.

The residence curriculum is a framework of intentional opportunities for girls to gain the experiences that their parents would typically give them at home. It is designed to develop girls’ social, emotional, and life skills through conversation and activities – both individual and group. Girls also gain perspective from their House Moms, a diverse group of nurturing women. All of these efforts make our residences a home, not just a place where students are housed.

Residence activities include on-campus clubs and events, field trips, community service with local non-profit organizations, and destination travel opportunities. Activities are designed to reflect the goals and values laid out by the school’s strategic plan. Students are required to get involved in all four categories of activity – community building, creative endeavours, active pursuits, and service – as well as participate in goal setting for personal growth.

Community Building and Social Opportunities

Strong bonds between the students and their House Moms build a sense of belonging, connection, and trust from which all girls benefit. Residence activities aim to help girls develop social skills, make friendships that cross cultural borders, bring boarding and day students together outside the academic setting, and provide conversation opportunities for students learning English. Students also enjoy our partnership with our brother school, St. George’s School for boys in Vancouver, and students take turns playing host and participating in chaperoned activities with each other.

Community examples: house contests, movie nights, laser tag, attending professional sports matches like local hockey games, cheering on SMS sports teams, going to theatre performances, joining clubs either residence-specific (knitting, cooking, scrapbooking, etc.) or whole-school clubs and teams.

Creative Endeavours

Creativity isn’t just about artistic ability. All students benefit from developing a creative mindset that nurtures important skills like critical thinking, divergent thinking, and problem solving. Creative outlets also provide enjoyment, stress relief, a non-academic hobby, and even a career path for some.

Creative examples: art club, music lessons, bands, various forms of dance (hip hop, ballet, and Bollywood), knitting, glee club, school play, talent show, performing at international dinners.

Active Pursuits

Great minds need strong, healthy bodies. The links between academic achievement and physical fitness are well documented, and we consider developing healthful habits and an active lifestyle as essential. Access to a variety of sports teams, active clubs, expert coaches, and superior facilities ensures that each girl is able to find a way to make fitness work for her, whether her interest lies in traditional team sports, outdoor recreation, or personal wellness. Our athletics and wellness model focuses on an inclusive model: our goal is fitness for everyone, not just a few star athletes.

Active examples: golf club, intramurals, wellness club, horseback riding, squash, rock climbing, tennis, rowing, yoga, bellyfit, personal training, kickboxing, paddle boarding, Tofino surfing trip, aquatics, cross-country, basketball, rowing, soccer, volleyball.


Service is embedded in our school motto and is a cornerstone of our leadership program. As a residence activity, students may join one of several service-oriented clubs on campus, or may pursue a volunteer role within the school or out in the greater community depending on their interests. The goal is to expose girls to a broader perspective and the rewards of doing something for others less fortunate, developing  confidence in their abilities as leaders and motivating them to create positive change in the world.

Service examples: outreach club, green/environmental club, peer tutors, and volunteer opportunities at the local hospital, library, animal shelter, and retirement homes.

Goal Setting and Life Skills

Girls work one-on-one and in small advisory groups with residence advisors who provide mentorship in goal setting and various life skills that are typically developed by home life. Girls build integrity and accountability by taking responsibility for themselves, their belongings, and the common rooms. They learn to follow through with their commitments, they are encouraged to try new things, and they develop communications skills by making friends from other countries and resolving any conflicts with their roommates.

Skills examples: Budgeting, bike repair, cooking, university guidance, driver’s education, volunteering, personal training, leadership, and more – these are all opportunities available to our students in boarding school.