What is Montessori?

Montessori encompasses a philosophy by which children are allowed to develop naturally and fully, each at his or her own pace. Under the guidance of a certified Montessori Directress, in a specially prepared environment and using carefully formulated materials, children are given the opportunity to learn in the best ways – by choice and by discovery. The dual qualities of independence and a love of learning, natural tendencies for the children are nurtured in such a way that both competence and confidence result. These competent and self-confident young people have the necessary tools for successful future learning and living.

Why should you choose a Montessori education for your child?

Between the ages of two and one-half and four and one-half is when most of your child’s intelligence and social characteristics will be formed. This is also when your child is most receptive, curious and excited about exploring the world around him or her. A Montessori classroom nurtures that excitement and curiosity by offering a variety of materials to stimulate and intrigue your child. The Montessori Directress is trained to recognize when your child is ready to learn a new skill, and to foster his or her natural instincts and abilities. Your child is valued as an independent thinker and encouraged to make choices on his or her own. A Montessori education provides students of all ages with information in a way they can understand and enjoy. Learning is fun, empowering and custom-fit to suit your child’s individual learning style.

What do you have to offer that my child can’t get at more traditional preschools?

You will notice the difference the minute you walk into one of our classrooms. The materials used to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, science, music and social studies are all unique to the Montessori classroom. Classroom materials developed for our youngest students, for example, take abstract ideas and put them in a concrete form that makes sense to their developing minds. Unlike other schools, your child will also share his or her Montessori classrooms with older and/or younger students. This way, students learn from their peers, and respect their own and each other’s ability to be a teacher as well as a student. Finally, Directresses observe their students, stepping in when they see a child is “stuck” or ready to learn a new skill.

What kind of child attends Montessori?

The Montessori method is an international approach to learning with no distinctions of class, culture or intelligence. This academic expertise coupled with the happy, interested, confident and organized demeanor these children present, singles them out among children who have not had the same educational advantages. Most people develop and use but a small portion of their potential; Montessori children seem brighter because they are exposed to more. Montessori education allows your child to progress towards whatever he can become, as it focuses on the whole child, addressing intellectual, aesthetic, physical, emotional and social needs as well.

How will my child adjust to public schools after a Montessori school?

Whether the child attends private school or goes on to public school, Montessori education provides an excellent background for traditional education. Studies show that Montessori children adjust well and are generally among the better students. They spend their time more productively because of their self-direction and positive attitudes toward learning. Many of our children have also very successfully entered French Immersion at the Grade One level.

What is different about Island Montessori?

No two Montessori schools are exactly alike as each school reflects the unique personalities and styles of the professional Staff. Therefore, each program should be judged individually. Our school is well-equipped, offering your child hundreds of fun and educational activities each day. Our Directresses are all certified by a national Montessori affiliation, ensuring hundreds of hours of training and instruction. Because of our high expectations, we have quality professionals, providing your child with a quality program throughout the year. As well, the diverse group of children in our school provides an especially enriching environment for everyone.

If my child is left to choose his own projects, won’t he do the same thing day in and day out, or do nothing at all?

Our Directresses are trained to observe children as they work. When a child has mastered a skill, the Directress will give the child a lesson that is more challenging, giving special attention to the age and interest of each child. And because the environment is so stimulating and exciting, children seldom “do nothing.” There are hundreds of prepared lessons for the child to choose from every day.

I’ve heard Montessori is too individualized and does not allow socialization. Is this true?

While it is true that many of the activities are individualized, this is important so that children can work at their own pace without feeling competitive or frustrated about their own progress. However, there are several activities that do involve group participation. Also, during the day, children participate in circle time together, eat lunch together and play outside together. One of the principles of the Island Montessori program is to help your child develop socially so that she can achieve a respect of others and work well together within a group environment.

As a parent, can I be involved in my child’s Montessori education?

Parents have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of educational, social, and support activities at Island Montessori. The school is operated by an incorporated, non-profit society whose membership is made up of the parents of our children. A Board of Directors is elected from this society of parents, providing even more opportunity to be closely involved with the school.

May I visit the school before enrolling?

Open houses are held in January and May, providing an opportunity to meet the directresses and get acquainted with the classroom. To arrange for an observation or a classroom visit at any other time please call the school (250-592-4411).

I’ve heard that I practically have to register my child from birth to be able to attend Island Montessori – is that true?

While this is not always the case, our morning and full-day programs are very popular and we recommend applying as early as possible.