Venta Preparatory School opened in 1981 and was the realization of a long-standing dream of Dr. Agatha Sidlauskas to create an environment where children could receive guidance and protection from distracting forces in order to develop to their fullest potential. To this end, Venta provides an enriched and engaging curriculum to sustain motivation and help our students to establish a strong work ethic and appropriate basic skills.
Dr. Agatha Sidlauskas (“Doc”) was born in Lithuania and completed all of her undergraduate and Masters level studies in her home country at the University of Kaunas (M.A. Philosophy,1936). Sidlauskas then moved to Milan, Italy as a scholarship student, to begin her Ph.D. programme in Psychology at Catholic University of the Sacred Heart. In June 1939, with just her Ph.D. thesis to complete, she returned to Lithuania and was immediately caught up in the chaos that preceded the beginning of World War II. There were no jobs in her field so by then fluent in Italian, she was hired by the Italian Embassy in Kaunas, which was then the capital of Lithuania. In 1940, Lithuania was occupied by the U.S.S.R. and the round up of Lithuanian intellectuals, which continued almost unabated until the 1970’s, made it very dangerous for her to remain in her homeland. With the help of the Italian ambassador she was able to escape Lithuania in August 1940 and return to Italy. She did not set foot on her native soil again or see any members of her family until 1970.
(Photo Credit: Luther-Photo-Video)
In 1943 she was awarded her Ph.D. in Child Psychology in Milan. She remained in Italy, teaching at the university until 1948 when she immigrated to Canada as a ‘Displaced Person’. She worked in Montreal as a domestic for two years, spent one year as an Honorary Fellow at the University of Minnesota, and in 1951 accepted a full time University of Ottawa Child Studies
After her retirement from the University of Ottawa in 1979 Sidlauskas held the positions of Clinical Director of the ‘Canadian Association of Learning Through Listening’ in Aurora, Ontario and also Consultant Psychologist to Toronto Montessori Schools and the North York Board of Education.
In 1981 Dr. Sidlauskas founded Venta Preparatory School. The 50 acre rural property that was once the home of the University of Ottawa Child Study Centre summer camp was renovated and became what is now Venta.
Sidlauskas remains very much involved in the operation of the school as Psychologist and she also sits on the school’s Board of Directors.