Kendalwood Elementary Life – A Glimpse Inside

The Kendalwood upper elementary classroom is always full of cheerful activity. Our eldest students are an inquisitive and imaginative bunch and the elementary program strives to provide them with an inspiring learning environment which builds upon the Montessori foundations acquired through the Casa experience. Physical Montessori materials used in the Casa classroom have done the job of illustrating abstract concepts which can now be applied through advanced technology and other more complex applications. The elementary classroom is an accumulation of the Montessori experiences our older students have amassed – it is a remarkable place.

As elementary students begin to explore more abstract concepts and ideas, a great deal of classroom discussion and debate is stimulated. At this stage in the child’s development, we move beyond the classic Montessori tenet of “help me to do it alone” towards “help me to think by myself”. It is so rewarding to see it in action!

Self-exploration and character building are important aspects of helping students to grow into independent thinkers. Every morning, elementary students take part in a character lesson. The Magnificient Me lesson asks children to name one of their key attributes by completing “I am” statements. An explanation of the statement follows.

 Magnificent Me Examples Magnificent Me


Statement: I am loving.

Explanation: I greet each day with an open and giving heart.



Group discussion is an important element of this character lesson. Once students complete their “I am” statements and explanations we talk about our impressions, what these statements mean to us individually and how we can incorporate them into our daily life.  Following group discussion, students write a reflection on their thoughts.

This daily practice provides children with an opportunity for quiet contemplation. They can think about the kind of person they want to be and what they want to strive towards as they grow into young men and women.

Character education extends throughout the campus and our upper elementary students have an important role to play within the Kendalwood Community. They take great pride in their daily responsibilities. Older children can be found raking leaves in the school yard, managing their Café fundraiser or acting as a reading buddy for a Casa student. These children are growing into young leaders through emphasis on acting as role models for younger students and contributing to care of the Kendalwood environment.

The Kendalwood Difference

A sense of purpose. A feeling of belonging. An understanding and compassionate family environment. Older children reaching critical stages in personal development need a supportive community where they can make sense of their expanding world. Kendalwood focuses on meeting the unique needs of these students.  Our elementary program is a place for young minds to discover, creativity to flow and responsibility to take root.

If you would like to learn more about our elementary program, we would be happy to talk with you personally. Contact us or drop in to our Open House on December 8th.

Montessori Accreditation – A Measure of Quality

Maria Montessori’s methodology has been widely used by her followers since she opened the first Casa dei Bambini over a century ago. Her innovative approach to education was never trademarked, a conscious decision made by Montessori before her passing. Over time, many of those who followed her philosophies adapted and modified Montessori’s methods. As a result, the approach found in Montessori ‘inspired’ schools can vary greatly.

In Ontario, the Ministry of Education does not oversee or ensure the quality of education in private schools.  As the term Montessori is in the public domain, any organization is free to declare themselves a “Montessori School”, regardless of their regard for genuine Montessori philosophy. The well respected Montessori name, together with the lack of regulation for its use, presents a challenge for parents seeking the best education for their child. Choosing a private school requires careful consideration. How can parents’ best assess and weigh the options?

A Measure of Quality

As a Montessori parent, or as a parent considering Montessori for your child, you may be familiar with the Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA).  This organization promotes standards of excellence in Montessori education through accreditation. By achieving CCMA accreditation, authentic Montessori schools are able to identify themselves and demonstrate their commitment to the original Montessori principles and the strict standards set by CCMA.

“The primary objective of an accreditation is to make good schools better. “

–  Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators


Durham Region’s First Fully Accredited Montessori School

Kendalwood Montessori and Elementary School is very proud to be the first fully Accredited Montessori School in Durham Region, having achieved accreditation in 2011. It was important to us to complete the CCMA accreditation for several reasons:

_DSC1586Accreditation reflects our deep commitment to authentic Montessori education.

Accreditation attracts the best Montessori  teachers – those who have received Montessori Teacher training from a MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education) certified institution and who want to practice their craft in a school of the highest standards.

Accreditation supports ideal learning environments and outcomes for students.

We encourage parents considering a Montessori education for their child to ensure the selection process includes accreditation. Ask the right questions to gain insight into this key criterion. It’s the only existing safeguard parents have to secure a true Montessori provider.


Our Promise to Our Students

We will teach you according to the Montessori ideals created and developed by Maria Montessori. We will be your aid to life. We will help to ignite the fire for a lifelong love of learning.


Discover the Kendalwood difference. Book your personal tour or check our school calendar for our next open house.

Montessori: Through the Eyes of a Toddler

Each school day, an affectionate hello and handshake start the day for our Kendalwood toddlers as they arrive in the sun filled classroom. The morning handshake is a traditional Montessori practice, which is particularly endearing with our youngest students, and while adorable, it also plays an important role in setting the tone for the school day ahead. The ritual of greeting one another at the beginning of each day marks the transition into the work day and takes the time to ensure each student feels welcomed and valued as a member of the classroom.

Shaking hands with our students is not the only unique characteristic of the Kendalwood toddler experience. The Montessori mantra of “help me to do it alone” guides the careful preparation of our classrooms. The environment reflects a child’s size and perspective to reinforce independence and self-motivation at every opportunity. The Toddler classroom provides opportunities for movement and exploration while simultaneously developing the child’s a sense of order and concentration. This all sounds quite serious, but rest assured our toddlers truly delight in the Montessori method of developing these foundational skills. The goal is to encourage an early enjoyment of learning and our inquisitive toddlers take great joy in the process!

Help me to do it alone.

– These words from Maria Montessori are a daily reminder for all Kendalwood staff, with particular emphasis for our toddler community.

As our young students complete their morning arrival routines and settle into the classroom, work periods begin. Play and work are synonymous for toddlers and the children are able to select materials to work with from the classroom, which has been prepared with their educational needs in mind. A cycle of independent work begins. On other days, toddlers may begin the day with a teacher-led lesson or a hands-on experience. We also have lots of fun through experiential learning, which often includes baking or art during the morning work period.

shane builds the pink tower   georgia (3)  

mr linderman (1)   David

It wouldn’t be a Kendalwood morning without Music with Mr. Linderman who joins the Toddler classroom with his guitar in tow as the children happily and excitedly gather for circle time to sing songs. Following music, the children head outside to run and play! Outdoor time is unstructured recreation, but occasionally includes outdoor lessons or seasonal activities such as raking leaves in the fall or planting in the spring.

mr linderman  Leaves  

After burning off some energy , students return inside where each child takes an active role in setting their place at the table for lunch. They arrange their own place mat, plate, cup and cutlery at the communal table to enjoy a meal with their friends. At the end of the meal, the children once again participate in clean up by removing dishes to be washed and discarding any leftover food from their plate.

care of the environment  logan cooking pancakes

It’s time for a rest! Our toddlers settle for their afternoon nap while their Teachers tidy up, make notes for parents and plan future lessons. After naps and more snacks, Mme. Borges greets the children for daily French during which they happily dance along to songs, gather for a story, and learn many new things each and every day.

Our youngest students have been doing important work as they establish new bonds outside of the home with their teachers and classmates. They are ready to go home!As parents arrive to pickup their children, our toddlers end the day just as it began – with a handshake!

Read more about our Toddler program!

Montessori Education Teaches Valuable Life Skills  

It goes without saying that building strong academic capability ranks high on the priority list for parents and educators.  Research shows there is an additional set of skills with equal, or possibly, greater importance when it comes to fostering individual growth and potential in children – emotional intelligence (EQ). EQ can be described as the ability to be aware of and express emotions, and to manage relationships with empathy. This set of skills impacts much of our everyday behaviour and is a significant factor in our ability to be happy, successful individuals.

The ability to put yourself “in someone else’s shoes” both intellectually and emotionally, is a critical skill that greatly impacts EQ. Kendalwood provides students with opportunities to further develop their emotional intelligence skills in practical ways. One program which supports this important aspect of Montessori education is our community outreach program. Kendalwood elementary students visit Community Care Durham, a Whitby retirement residence not far from the school, once every month during the academic year.

Our community outreach program provides Kendalwood students an opportunity to demonstrate patience, compassion and empathy. Students plan and present a themed activity during each visit to the seniors’ residence which could include a game, sing along or presentation and our music teacher Mr. Linderman brings along his guitar so the kids can sing to the residents. Many of the Community Care residents have vision and hearing challenges and students often show a natural desire to assist. It is heartwarming to see children act as the eyes and ears of those struggling in order that the seniors may participate fully in the planned activities.

Residents look forward to seeing the children each month as they collaborate to plan exciting activities and share their own stories and experiences with the children. Our students are always captivated by the narrative residents share on these visits. Listening to stories from a time not so long ago, yet so very different form our present day, is a wonderful way to learn perspective and to become more sensitive to the needs of others.

To feel for and with others is much more than an admirable quality. Fostering skills to develop emotional intelligence builds compassionate, resilient adults with the capacity to reach their own unique potential in all aspects of their life – something parents and Montessori educators alike want for our children.


Kendalwood Students Play Bingo with Community Care Residents

Kendalwood Montessori Community Service Program