Durham Region Summer Camp at Kendalwood Montessori

soccer fieldEach summer, Kendalwood offers an 8-week Summer Camp Program full of creative and engaging activities for children in Durham Region. The summer break offers an opportunity to combine the nurturing Montessori environment with an authentic summer day camp experience designed for children between 18 months and 12 years old.

Focusing on sports, arts & crafts, songs, nature and science, Kendalwood offers a program that is fun, educational and enriching. Camp follows our Montessori ideals through a well prepared environment, peer mentoring and mixed-age groups while exploring hands on learning with a nod to traditional summer camp programming.

Weekly themes add to the fun and take advantage of our wonderful outdoor environment at Kendalwood including playgrounds, adjacent soccer field and expansive paved lot now complete with a basketball net. We also venture into the community for exciting field trips to visit variety of Durham Region attractions and other select venues which support our learning themes.

playgroundCamp is led by our energetic and qualified Kendalwood staff including teachers, assistants and may also include appearances from former staff members who are always welcomed!  Occasionally we will host have University/College students currently enrolled in Teacher training, Early Childhood, and or Montessori teacher training. Your children will be sure to thrive over the course of a Kendalwood summer!

New to Montessori?

toddler yardThe summer season offers a wonderful opportunity to explore what Montessori education has to offer your child. Families from Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa are welcomed to join current students in our summer camp program for a taste of life at Kendalwood. Siblings, former students and new students often join us for the summer. If you would like to learn more about summer camp, please contact us. We would be happy to provide you and your child with a tour of the campus and answer your questions!

Montessori Mathematics

Montessori curriculum is supported through a series of concrete materials designed to help students conceptualize abstract ideas, particularly in math.  Dr. Montessori believed that “the hands are instruments of the brain” and by using our hands in the learning process, we are better able to internalize information. Further, using a kinesthetic process aids in overall engagement and concentration.


“He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.”

–          Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind



Tyler works independently with the Stamp Game

The Stamp Game is a Montessori material designed for learning and reinforcing knowledge of the four key math operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) and it is an integral part of the mathematics progression.

It is important to mention that math materials are progressive, and it can be difficult to speak of one Montessori material without referring to all those that have come before.  Each material prepares for the next and builds on the concepts that have been mastered.

The Stamp Game is first presented in Casa, after the child has learned place value (units, tens, hundreds, and thousands) with the Golden Beads.  Prerequisites to using the stamp game are understanding the concepts of large and small numbers, simple exchanges of 10 units equaling one 10, and the child must know how to count using concrete materials (not necessarily with number symbols).

The Stamp Game employs the hand and engages the mind to absorb concepts much more fully than working only with pencil, paper and worksheet, as is the norm.  The child can use this material to understand all operations, making it something they can return to again and again. It prepares the child for pencil and paper work in a more holistic manner.

The material consists of small wooden squares in common place value colours (green for units, blue for tens, red of hundreds and green for unit of thousands) that are used throughout the mathematics progression. The place value they represent, 1 (units), 10 (tens), 100 (hundreds) and 1000 (thousands) are written on them (1, 10, 100, 1000).

Using this distinctive material, the child begins moving in the direction of abstraction where they will be able to complete an equation without use of the manipulatives, although this remains a far way off.

Interested in learning more about our Mathematics program? Contact us!


Concerned About Class Size?  

Class size is an important topic in education, one which has significant impact on students. Parents often share concerns over class size with us, citing it as one of the key influencers on their decision to pursue a Montessori education for their child.

 When students have frequent and reliable access to their teacher for one-on-one interaction, engagement increases, individual needs are better met and outcomes are improved. It is this opportunity for individualized attention that makes class size is such a significant factor in student success. We know that the more students in a traditional classroom with a single teacher, the less likely those students are to receive individualized attention. Classroom management takes on a leading role, detracting from learning and reducing student engagement.

 Naturally, smaller class sizes afford more opportunities for one-on-one interaction between teachers and students which lead to higher quality learning. However, smaller class size alone does not guarantee quality education. Effective learning strategies and a stimulating school environment must work in tandem with class size in order for lower ratios to be helpful. If you are concerned about class size, the Montessori approach offers a robust solution.


The Montessori Advantage

Teacher time is a limited resource in a traditional classroom, as a great deal of time is spent instructing the class as a whole. In a Montessori classroom, teachers rarely address the entire class for a single lesson. Since Montessori classrooms include children of multiple ages at varying stages of development, teachers frequently work with small groups of students. This approach to teaching frees up teacher time and enables more intimate interactions throughout the classroom. Small groups or pairs receive lessons tailored to their degree of readiness. Students are also free to work independently, in pairs or small groups within the “prepared environment” where a wide variety of work is available to choose from and mentorship abounds.

Having two or more teachers within a Montessori classroom provides flexibility for students. Those requiring more time or assistance will receive it, while students who are ready to move forward in one area can do so without hindrance. Further, stability and consistency is assured within the classroom when students have the benefit of multiple teachers. The rhythm of the classroom is not disturbed if one teacher happens to be away, and the natural flow of activity carries on uninterrupted.


The Kendalwood Approach

We agree that class size matters and structure our classrooms in a manner which provides students with plenty of access to their teachers, along with the added benefit of inspired mentorship and peer to peer learning opportunities. Classrooms are always prepared to meet a sufficient range of personalities in order to develop healthy social skills, which is a key principle in Montessori philosophy.

Are you interested in seeing a Montessori classroom in action? We welcome parents from Whitby and the Greater Durham Region to visit our campus during the instructional day to learn what a Kendalwood Montessori education can do for your child. Please contact us to book a tour.


Developing Writing Skills – A Distinct Montessori Process

Sophia working with the Sandpaper Letters

Sophia working with the Sandpaper Letters

The Montessori child works through many stages in the pursuit of learning to write. Writing skills are separate and distinct from reading or language development in Montessori education. A specific set of materials are involved in learning to write, primarily Metal Insets, Sandpaper Letters, and the Storybook Alphabet.

A child will start to learn the sounds of the letters using Sandpaper Letters. This material is made up of sand glued to cardboard in the shape of the sounds of the alphabet. The material is both sensorial and tactile, encouraging the child to learn through touch. Sandpaper Letters are lightly traced with two fingers to promote muscle memory of the written letter for later movement of pencil on paper. Letter sounds are used instead of letter names to prepare for reading.


Tyler working with the Storybook Alphabet

Tyler working with the StoryBook Alphabet

Once a few sounds are taught, the Storybook Alphabet is presented. Sounds that the child has been working on are presented again in a sequence that makes sense – for instance “c – a – t”.  While learning which sounds work together, preparations are being made for grammar and vocabulary work. Though separation of consonant and vowel is made within the materials by colour, little attention is drawn to the differences at this stage. The preliminary work is being categorized by the child’s mind naturally.

You will have noticed that although the child has worked with two materials in the preparation for writing with the Sandpaper Letters and the Storybook Alphabet, he has not yet put pencil to paper to form these sounds.  This part of the process begins with Metal Insets; metallic geometric shapes that are traced in one colour, while curved lines of varying width are traced inside, in a second colour, from left to right. This material builds control, fine motor movements, and muscle memory learning to write from left to right.


Norah working with the Metal Inset

Norah working with the Metal Inset

It is only once all three of these different materials are working in tandem and the child is comfortable with several sounds, can control the pencil when completing a metal inset, and can build sounds into words, that the child is then given a pencil and paper to begin writing.  At this point, forming the letters on paper seems natural and practiced, even though it may be the very first time the child has ever written.

Developing writing skills is an intricate process for students and takes time. Montessori materials help children make the necessary connections and build the skills required to achieve proficiency with confidence at their own pace.

Kendalwood Montessori – A Caring Community

Kendalwood is much more than just a school; we strive to be a community that nurtures children and supports families. Our community approach helps students feel confident as they stretch themselves in new ways, knowing that their Kendalwood family is there to provide guidance as intellectual abilities and self-esteem are developed simultaneously.

Everyday Involvement

We have always fostered a transparent classroom environment and parents are welcomed to be a part of our everyday school activities or join in for events as they are able. Parent involvement extends the “village” which supports the development of students and provides an opportunity to develop a connected network amongst Kendalwood families.

Parent Connection

Kendalwood Parent Meet-Ups are offered regularly in an effort to provide parents with Montessori insights, parenting discussion, and other topics of interest. These evening are hosted by our Principal, Janis Koenders and Head of Elementary, Nicole Tal. Recent topics have included Technology in a Montessori environment, Anxiety & the Developing Child, and The Kendalwood Music and AIM French Program.

Community Happenings

Special family events are a wonderful way for the entire Kendalwood community to come together. Our Grandparent Tea, Holiday Social and Ice Skating Party are anticipated by families each year. Kendalwood Alumni families often join in!

Parents, friends and extended family members stop in to the Kendalwood Café for coffee and snacks hosted by Kendalwood Elementary students every few weeks. The Café has been a lovely addition to our calendar of events which we all look forward to – the camaraderie felt in the Café is unmistakable! It is also a great way for our older students to practice important life skills which they greatly enjoy. Their hard work will culminate In April as the funds raised support the Upper Elementary camping expedition to Camp Muskoka. We’ll have several parents joining us for the trip!

Being Part of a Community.

Our expectations of students are not only academic. The whole child approach to education requires focus on all developmental areas, including social and emotional. A Montessori environment is an ideal setting to foster the skills necessary to become an active community member. The Kendalwood community is abundant in mutual respect, shared curiosity and an affinity for mentorship amongst students and teachers. This sense of community remains with students as they grow and make their own way as young adults, creating a strong foundation for personal success.