Each child has a spark of genius waiting to be discovered, ignited, and fed.
— Jeff Sandefer, Acton Academy Co-founder

Launching Fall 2020, Acton Academy Waterloo, a private school located in Waterloo Region, Ontario, joins a growing network of Acton Academy Schools worldwide that are building on the success of the original Acton Academy in Austin, Texas. There are over 100 Acton Academy’s around the globe (with 50 more scheduled to open in the next 18 months), including three in Canada - London, Mississauga, and Ottawa, ON. 

Acton Academy is a one-room schoolhouse for the 21st century, a micro-school that offers a fresh approach to education. We call it “learning turned upside down” - because really, that’s what it is. Acton Academy strays away from the traditional lecture-based model of education and focuses on developing real-world skills, while at the same time ensuring academics are mastered through a learner-driven, self-paced approach.

Our school model includes Socratic questions to hone deep thinking, apprenticeships for real-world learning, and state-of-the-art online learning for mastering the basics of reading, grammar, and math. Hands-on projects designed with game theory-incentives deliver opportunities for young people to dig into the arts, sciences, world history, and economics. The end goal of learning isn’t to get a good score on a test or an “A” from a teacher, it is to solve real problems, analyze a moral dilemma, make difficult decisions, persuade an audience, and create innovative opportunities for the world. The physical environment of our school is designed like the one-room schoolhouse, mixing ages so that peers can learn from and teach one another.

At Acton, we don’t solely focus on academics, we invite children to explore the essential questions of "Who am I? Where am I going? How do my passions and talents connect with the world around me? How can I serve a great need and even change the world?". Our approach is unique and transformational, attracting attention and praise from thought leaders, press, and parents from all around the world.

Acton co-founders Jeff and Laura Sandefer opened the first Acton in Austin Texas almost 10 years ago to create a more robust education for their two sons. Jeff and Laura created more than a school though, they created a revolution that is spreading like wildfire.

Acton Academy is accredited by the International Association of Learner-Driven Schools and is a member of both the Alliance for Self-Directed Education and the Alternative Education Resource Association. Acton Academy Waterloo is currently in the process of being registered with the Ontario Board of Education.

To find out more about how Acton Academy came to be and what it’s all about, we encourage you to read Courage to Grow by Laura Sandefer. It’s an inspiring, heartwarming and fast-paced book that may just change how you feel about the future of education and what children are capable of. A trailer for the book can be found below.

“Courage to Grow is the intimate origin story of Acton Academy, one of today's most innovative schools with a model quickly spreading around the globe. If you have ever wondered if there are more powerful ways for young people to learn, step aboard for a behind the scenes tour of how Acton Academy unlocks the genius in every child, while embracing personal accountability and forging young characters.”