Where Do Our Teachers Find Inspiration?

As a principal and former teacher, I often get asked where inspiration comes from when setting up a classroom. Over the summer we saw several teachers come in on their spare time to move furniture, purchase materials and set up their classroom. Every teacher has a different approach to creating the perfect Montessori environment, however they all share common elements. Classrooms around the world have child-sized shelving, large windows and teachers have found a balance between nature and education. Many of Kendalwood’s teachers visit neighbouring schools to collaborate with other educators in an effort to create a welcoming space.

Below, are some of my favourite Montessori classrooms (other than Kendalwood’s of course) from around the world.

Starting Elementary School – A Critical Transition for Your Child

It’s the time of year when our Casa students begin the exciting transition into the Kendalwood Elementary Program. In line with the Montessori Method, the new classroom is introduced to our up-and-coming Elementary students in a well-planned and orderly way. Keeping in mind that children at this age have a very familiar and secure school setting where they have grown over the previous three years with a consistent environment and educator, it is important to provide an early introduction and a slow transition period.

Transition from Casa to Elementary

The transition from Casa to Elementary is a big change!

Our Casa students moving up to Elementary begin to visit their new environment every June in anticipation of full immersion in September. The Casa child is moving from an environment where they are the eldest and well versed in acting as a role model, into a classroom environment where they are now the youngest and least experienced. This can be a big adjustment and a slow transition ensures students are eased into the Elementary program at a pace that respects their developmental stage. Children have the opportunity to begin new or develop deeper relationships with current elementary students who will be their peers and role models in the upcoming year. Similarly, children can begin to form bonds of trust with their new teachers.

The transition phase provides practical insight into how the Elementary classroom differs from their Casa experience, specifically how their development will shift from home based learning to broader world based learning. Casa students discover the classroom schedule and routines, minimizing any potential for fear or anxiety due to a sense of the unknown.

Early introduction to the Elementary classroom enables students to observe what their work and materials will look like in September. Teachers use the transition period as an opportunity to begin learning more about their new students, gaining insight as to their individual needs and current academic level. As a result, productive learning can begin right at the beginning of the new school year in September.

The slow transition for 6 -7 year old students into this critical next phase of their education is a wonderful advantage of Montessori education. A carefully planned transition from Montessori Casa to Elementary sets students up for individual success during a period of significant change. The gentle classroom changeover, a chance to develop critical relationships and a long term view individual needs makes Montessori a great choice for the Elementary years!

 


Kendalwood Montessori & Elementary School is Durham Region’s first fully accredited Montessori school. At Kendalwood, we believe that our job is to inspire children to become the best students they can be. With a curriculum that focuses on developing the intellect as well as nurturing self-esteem, academics are taught, curiosity is cultivated and respect is fostered. Our approach creates an environment where students flourish and develop a lifelong love of learning.

Summer Camp Adventures in Whitby!

It may not feel like camp season is around the corner, but summer sunshine is on the way! Once again, Kendalwood Montessori in Whitby will be offering weekly summer camp adventures for children of all ages in 2016. With the addition of our Infant Program last fall, campers can now join us starting at the age of 12 months! Our Elementary and Montessori Renaissance summer program has plenty to offer the older set for those up to the age of 14 years.

Summer Camp Whitby OntarioPlenty of friendly faces from the academic year will be on hand during the summer months. Campers will also enjoy alumni Kendalwood Staff and special guests throughout the camp season.  Any parents looking for a summer camp for younger children can rest assured that their little ones are in very capable hands as Kendalwood Montessori is licensed under the Child Care & Early Years Act for our Infant, Toddler and PreCasa programs. Our summer camp team is made up of accredited teachers and qualified counselors.

Camp Kendalwood Weekly Adventures

Mad Scientist Mondays  Discovery and experiment is the focus of our Monday program, where campers will enjoy hands-on learning in a variety of science topics.
Tasty Tuesdays  The kids will be cooking up all kinds of culinary treats every Tuesday as they hone their food preparation skills – and taste the results!
Wet & Wild Wednesdays  It wouldn’t be summer without lots of water play. Each Wednesday campers will enjoy water in one way or another.
Thematic Thursdays  A new theme each week to guide daily games, crafts and more. Who knows what will happen on Thursdays!
Fieldtrip Fridays  Adventure awaits each Friday as campers journey to a new destination or host a special guest at Camp Kendalwood.
Camp hours: 9:00am – 4:00pm. Extended care available from 7:00 – 9:00am & 4:00 – 5:30pm.

We are less than 3 kilometers away from Hwy 401 and the Whitby Go train station, which makes Camp Kendalwood a convenient option for parents who need to get to work during camp season. Our beautiful school surroundings and large outdoor play areas allow us to offer plenty of time outdoors including daily sports & activities. On rainy or extremely hot days, our expansive campus offers shelter with many options for camp activities to move indoors.

New to Montessori?

Durham Region Summer Camp The 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 in our summer camp program for a taste of life at Kendalwood. Siblings, former students and new students and summer visitors often join us for the summer.

Drop in to our Open House on May 18th between 4:30 – 8:00 pm to tour the campus and learn more about our summer camp program or please contact us directly. We would be happy to provide you and your child with a personal tour and answer your questions!

Kendalwood Montessori – Thriving in the Heart of Whitby

Over the last few years, Kendalwood Montessori has gone through tremendous growth and development, both as a school and as an extended family. We are very proud of what we have accomplished together! Our daily efforts to provide an authentic Montessori education to our students inspire us as teachers and as parents. Over the last year, our guiding purpose has been further fuelled with the energy of our campus expansion, the addition of new students and families and increasing awareness of our school in Whitby and greater Durham Region.  It has been an amazing time!

As our school has grown over the last year, we have also experienced a baby boom within our school community. At this time, we have 14 staff children attending Kendalwood from Infant through Renaissance, and there are several new additions on the way! We just love that our Montessori community is enriched with numerous parent and child relationships.

This growth and development extends to the career development of our faculty and staff. They are able to take on new opportunities and expand their Montessori practice through a wider range of experiences within the school as others take time off to be at home with their growing families. Continuity is important, so we always look for ways to ensure our students are able to expand their network of teachers who they trust and rely on in their growth and development. When new parents return to us following a Maternity leave, the Kendalwood community enjoys a happy reunion and often, a new friend joins our Infant program! New connections remain and familiar relationships are rekindled.

Kendalwood is expecting some new students!

Kendalwood is expecting some new students!

Kendalwood Families

Janis Koenders,  Principal – son in PreCasa and a new baby due this spring!

Elena Chavez, Toddler Directress – two sons in Casa & Lower Elementary

Holly Fernandez, Toddler Directress – daughter in PreCasa

Kelly Appleton, PreCasa Directress – daughter in Toddler

Rosie Borges, French Directress – son in Renaissance

Jane Dajka, Kitchen/Aftercare Support Staff – daughter in Renaissance

Kendalwood Montessori in Whitby

Kendalwood Staff Family

Stephanie Marchment, Casa Assistant & Co-ordinator – two sons in Toddler & Lower Elementary

Kate Scotland, Casa Directress – daughter in PreCasa and a new baby due this fall!

Terri Jennings, Casa Directress – two sons in Casa & Lower Elementary

Elisa Sammy, Upper Elementary Directress – son in Infant after recently returning from Maternity Leave

Christine Lauzon, on Maternity Leave – daughter in Toddler and currently awaiting the arrival of her second child due this month!

Kevin Kerr & Lisa Jobe, Ownership Team – son and daughter in Renaissance & Upper Elementary

 

At Kendalwood, we think of ourselves as a Montessori Community and bringing our own children to school with us is a true testament to our philosophy. We have shared our thoughts on the importance of a strong sense of community in Montessori education many times because we feel a supportive community helps students develop confidence as they stretch themselves in new ways, knowing that their Kendalwood family is there to provide guidance both academically and emotionally.

We are looking ahead with much enthusiasm to the joy of new babies and the further expansion to our school community, both as a family and as educators. Congratulations to everyone experiencing growth and development, in one form or another!


Kendalwood Montessori & Elementary School is Durham Region’s first fully accredited Montessori school. At Kendalwood, we believe that our job is to inspire children to become the best students they can be. With a curriculum that focuses on developing the intellect as well as nurturing self-esteem, academics are taught, curiosity is cultivated and respect is fostered. Our approach creates an environment where students flourish and develop a lifelong love of learning.

 

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Kendalwood Montessori in Whitby Expands School Campus!

The learning environment is such an important aspect of a Montessori education. The classroom is prepared with great care to facilitate independent learning and discovery in a beautiful and peaceful setting. Kendalwood has always taken great delight in providing an extraordinary environment on our campus, so we couldn’t be more pleased to share the details of our recent expansion with you!

In 2015, we acquired an additional 3000 square feet within our current location to expand the campus. The new space has allowed us to expand our licensed programming, including growing our Toddler community to meet growing demand and introduce an Infant program to our school.  The additional classrooms include:

- New Infant Classroom (Children 12 – 18 months) Kendalwood also considers infants under 12 months of age who are determined to be developmentally ready for the program.

- Additional Toddler Classroom (18 months – 2.5 years)

- Additional PreCasa Classroom (2.5 – 3.8 years)

We are thrilled to expand our campus to accommodate our growing Montessori community in Whitby! With the recent introduction of the Child Care Early Years Act, our renovations have enabled Kendalwood to welcome more families looking for quality licensed care in Durham Region. And it’s only the beginning – this is phase one of a four year expansion program that will see us take over the entire building! With our convenient location and expanded campus, combined with our status as Durham Region’s first fully CCMA accredited Montessori school, we are proud to offer the best in quality Montessori education to Whitby families.

View the gallery below for a peek at our new classrooms!

How to Spot a Montessori Student

Would you recognize a Montessori student amongst a group of school aged children? At work or play, students brought up through the Montessori Method tend to exhibit a number of definitive traits, making them easy to spot. These skills and behaviours are quickly recognizable by teachers in a classroom environment.

We recently spoke with a number of Elementary School teachers and asked them if they can tell when a former Montessori student joins their classroom. Here’s what they had to say!

SHARED TRAITS OF MONTESSORI STUDENTS 

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Montessori students take great pride in caring for their classroom environment.

Time Management Skills – Montessori students are observed as being consistently able to manage due dates, meet timelines and manage their work time in class efficiently.

Order & Organization – Children coming from a Montessori background have a noticeable respect for their environment: their belongings, the belongings of their classmates, as well as the classroom in general. They demonstrate a strong sense of order, willingly returning items to their proper place without prompting or reminders from the teacher.

“… nature endows a child with a sensitiveness to order. It is a kind of inner sense that distinguishes the relationships between various objects rather than the objects themselves. … Such an environment provides the foundation for an integrated life.” – Maria Montessori

Problem Solving Skills – Montessori students tend to be tremendously resourceful. They seek solutions on their own as a first step, and if they are unable to solve a problem independently they have the confidence and desire to ask a teacher for help. These students feel it is important to find a solution and seldom give up or concede unless they have exhausted all resources.

Life Skills – The whole child approach of Montessori education is evident in the self-advocacy and self-regulation observed in students. These children are well equipped to to resolve conflicts with their classmates, as they are able to verbalize their needs and use expressive language to aid understanding. They also know when they need to escalate and ask for help from an adult or teacher.

An early start in a Montessori environment provides students with long- lasting benefits that help them along their educational path, and eventually in their lives and careers as adults.  While not all students are able to remain in a Montessori classroom for the duration of their Casa and/or Elementary education, parents choosing Montessori for the early years should feel confident that the skills and traits gained during this influential time period will remain with their child for many years to come.


Kendalwood Montessori & Elementary School is Durham Region’s first fully accredited Montessori school. At Kendalwood, we believe that our job is to inspire children to become the best students they can be. With a curriculum that focuses on developing the intellect as well as nurturing self-esteem, academics are taught, curiosity is cultivated and respect is fostered. Our approach creates an environment where students flourish and develop a lifelong love of learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Teachers & Parents – Partners in Education

A strong sense of community is a key element of a Montessori education. At Kendalwood, our approach to fostering a close-knit community extends beyond our campus to involve the entire family.  We make an effort to provide parents with many opportunities to participate and be involved in the school on an ongoing basis. Here’s a glimpse into how we do it!

A Family Montessori Experience

We welcome parents within our school as part of the regular daily routine. Our families enjoy having the opportunity to enter the school together in the morning and say their goodbyes as students are settled. Parents are invited to come inside, say hello to teachers and friends which allows for ongoing communication. The door is always open to our families.

Parent Education & Connection

During the academic year Kendalwood hosts a series of Parent Meet-Ups. These bi-monthly sessions are an opportunity for Kendalwood families to get to know one another while we explore topics related to Montessori education, child development and parenting. Our Meet-Ups offer a venue where parents can ask questions and learn more about Montessori while building their network of like-minded parents.

Open Communication 

We feel that the best way to educate a child is through parental involvement and this means two way communications. We strive to share and inform parents, and we ask parents to do the same. When there are changes happening at home or other matters which may impact a child at school, it is helpful for our faculty to be aware.  Montessori education looks at the whole child and all of these aspects contribute to student success.

Consistency

At Kendalwood, we work with parents to ensure consistent expectations between the classroom and home. We feel it is important that teachers and parents demonstrate a united front when it comes to classroom expectations, learning criteria and work requirements. When needed, Parents are consulted in order to support consistency between school and home.

Kendalwood is much more than just a school – it is a community that nurtures children and provides support to families. Drop by our Open House on December 9th between 4:00 – 8:00 pm to learn more about the Kendalwood Difference!


Kendalwood Montessori & Elementary School is Durham Region’s first fully accredited Montessori school. At Kendalwood, we believe that our job is to inspire children to become the best students they can be. With a curriculum that focuses on developing the intellect as well as nurturing self-esteem, academics are taught, curiosity is cultivated and respect is fostered. Our approach creates an environment where students flourish and develop a lifelong love of learning.

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Montessori Mathematics – A Hands-On Learning Experience

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

 

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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!

 


Kendalwood Montessori & Elementary School is Durham Region’s first fully accredited Montessori school. At Kendalwood, we believe that our job is to inspire children to become the best students they can be. With a curriculum that focuses on developing the intellect as well as nurturing self-esteem, academics are taught, curiosity is cultivated and respect is fostered. Our approach creates an environment where students flourish and develop a lifelong love of learning.

Developing Writing Skills – A Distinct Montessori Process

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 & Elementary School is Durham Region’s first fully accredited Montessori school. At Kendalwood, we believe that our job is to inspire children to become the best students they can be. With a curriculum that focuses on developing the intellect as well as nurturing self-esteem, academics are taught, curiosity is cultivated and respect is fostered. Our approach creates an environment where students flourish and develop a lifelong love of learning.

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Choosing Montessori: Why Parents Opt Out of the Public System

As Montessori educators, we often speak with parents assessing or reconsidering the educational path for their child. We share in the priority of your child’s growth and development and understand the many questions parents have about alternatives to the public school system.

If we could share one concept to help illustrate the unique Montessori philosophy to inquiring parents, it would be that Montessori is child-centred. This means that the student is the heart of the learning process and rather than receiving instruction, a Montessori learner will have the freedom to use discovery and exploration to gain insight and understanding. A child-centred approach ensures each child’s needs are treated individually and supported, and students are able to reach their potential more readily.

At Kendalwood, our curriculum focuses on developing critical thinking skills while fostering independence, confidence and self-esteem. Learning how to learn is an essential skill set gained through active questioning, exploration and self-expression. Independence is the hallmark of Montessori education and we help our students to “do it themselves” at every stage of their development.

This time of year we find ourselves meeting with parents looking for options following a discouraging September start, frequently as a result of class size, rigid curriculum that is not meeting their child’s needs or a lack of classroom support. If you feel that Montessori may be a better fit for your child, the following comparison of some of the key differences between Montessori and public school may be helpful as you work through the alternatives.

New families are welcome to tour and observe our classrooms during the instructional day to get a better sense of how Montessori education works and learn more about our school. Drop in or book a tour to see us in action! We are located in Whitby, Ontario in the heart of Durham Region.

Kendalwood Montessori Public School
Class Composition   Classrooms enjoy 3 year mixed age groups. Students are placed based on level of readiness. Students are placed based on date of birth.
Teacher to Student Ratio 1:15 max for Casa and up. Each classroom has a qualified & experienced Montessori teacher and a dedicated assistant. Full day kindergarten classrooms are not subject to a hard cap on class size.
Curriculum Individually developed for each student based on their individual progression. Mandated set curriculum does not provide for variation.
Learning Materials Students learn through a wide variety of resources and experiences both in and outside of the classroom. Peer mentoring and 1×1 learning is frequent and common. Rooted in lecture style and textbook lessons.
Student Assessment On-going throughout the year. Teachers constantly observe and assess students and share with parents. Open and on-going dialogue. Set to Government mandated requirements. Primarily test based.
French Language Introduced at the toddler age and provided on a daily basis. Introduced at grade 4 – once/twice a week
Extracurricular   Lunch and afterschool programs are included in cost of tuition,  offered to families at NO additional cost Extracurricular may be inconsistent (based on individual school administration), programs are often canceled year to year

Kendalwood Montessori & Elementary School is Durham Region’s first fully accredited Montessori school. At Kendalwood, we believe that our job is to inspire children to become the best students they can be. With a curriculum that focuses on developing the intellect as well as nurturing self-esteem, academics are taught, curiosity is cultivated and respect is fostered. Our approach creates an environment where students flourish and develop a lifelong love of learning.