We approached Island Montessori 3 years ago when looking for a school for our daughter, who has complex support needs, to attend Kindergarten. We had been on a ‘tour’ visiting all the potential schools our daughter might attend.
It was disconcerting to us that every school we toured was more concerned with our child’s disability than they were about how they were going to support her to be another student in their school.
By the time we got to Island Montessori the question, “What kind of disorder does your child have?” was so common that I was telling people information before they asked. However, something magical happened when I started to tell the principal at Island Montessori about the condition and significance of my child’s disability.
She gently stopped me and said, “This school welcomes students of all abilities, as well as ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds. We have a first come first serve admission policy.” The principal went on to say that each of their students, regardless of whether or not they have a designation, are treated as individuals and as such get as much individualized support as they need to learn and grow and feel confident.
At Island Montessori, inclusion is about everyone. An enormous weight was lifted from our hearts and our daughter began Kindergarten that September.
Our daughter attended Island Montessori for two years. She received the support she needed to participate alongside her peers in the classroom. She started to walk and use meaningful communication while attending Island Montessori.
As a family we never had to worry about whether or not she would get enough therapy or personal support to reach her goals. Island Montessori works very hard behind the scenes to ensure each child has enough funds to reach his/her potential. Our daughter’s learning goals, and the way she did things in the classroom were often individualized, but what she was doing was the same as everyone else.
She was not only included into what other kids were doing, but they were included into what she is doing. This is the kind of true inclusion that creates a more respectful and welcoming world for us all.