True learning – learning that is permanent and useful, that leads to intelligent action and further learning – can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learner.
— John Holt, American author and educator

We have Socratic guides… not teachers
We have mixed-age studios… not classrooms
We have contracts and covenants... not rules
We ask and encourage questions… not lecture
We have badges, portfolios, and exhibitions… not tests and grades
We encourage family time and hobbies after school… not homework
We value creative and emotional intelligence… not solely academic intelligence
We have individualized self-paced learning… not teaching based on the “average”
We focus on 21st-century skills… not 19th-century skills


Acton's young heroes-in-the-making call themselves "Eagles" in honour of the Acton mascot. The founding Eagles from the first ever Acton Academy in Austin, Texas, chose the Eagle for their mascot because, for them, it represented what they wanted their school to stand for: courage, honesty, imagination, peace, and challenge. Today, the school still stands for these values and learners feel inspired by a name that encourages them to reach for the sky.




To inspire each child and parent who enters our doors to find a calling that will change the world.


  • We believe each child has a gift that can change the world in a profound way

  • We believe all children are innately curious and driven to learn

  • We believe in a closely connected family of lifelong learners

  • We believe in learning to learn, learning to do, and learning to be

  • We believe in economic, political, and religious freedoms

  • We believe that asking the right questions is more important than knowing the right answers



We promise, through Socratic guiding and experiential learning, your child will:

  • Begin a Hero's Journey

  • Learn to become a curious, independent life-long learner

  • Discover his/her most precious gifts and learn to use them to solve difficult problems

  • Understand that dedication and hard work are required to realize his/her calling

  • Understand the importance of a strong character

  • Cherish the arts, the wonders of the physical world, and the mystery of life

  • Celebrate political, economic, and religious freedom

  • Value a healthy lifestyle of mind and body


The most important thing at Acton Academy is that the Eagles are having fun and enjoying the learning process. A child who loves learning is a child who will learn quickly, learn deeply, and will learn a lot! We also design our approach to provide:

  • A challenging but rewarding experience, where failing is seen as an important part of the learning process, and hard work and “doing your best” is highly valued

  • A collaborative and social experience where Eagles teach and learn from one another and build authentic relationships

  • An individualized experience, allowing Eagles to master core skills on their own time using the tools that work best for them

  • A respectful and safe experience where all learners feel heard and seen, and can thereby “Explode into learning”

  • An innovative experience, preparing our Eagles for a career in the 21st century 

  • An inspiring experience, where Eagles learn about heroes, walls are covered in inspiring quotes, and guides mentor and motivate instead of lecture

  • An empowering experience where Eagles are trusted to make decisions, self-govern their studio and direct their own learning


We have two separate curriculums at Acton Academy Waterloo. The Montessori Studio follows a Montessori based curriculum or what we call the ‘Montessori Model’. The Elementary Studio follows a curriculum designed by the original Acton Academy in Austin, Texas, we call the ‘Acton Model’. The two models follow many of the same principles, the Montessori Model being specifically designed for our youngest Eagles, who transition to the more project and technology-based Acton Model once they have reached specific milestones, around the age of 7 or 8.


There are no participation trophies allowed at Acton Academy. Instead, our Eagles carry around badges of courage, perseverance and honour etched into their hearts to last a lifetime.
— Acton Academy Guide

Confused about some of the terminology we use and how our approach works? Check out our APPROACH FAQ page to learn more!