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Montessori schools in Alberta

Find the top Montessori schools and programs in Alberta.

On this page, we cover private schools in the Alberta area that offer Montessori programs and support.

For a more detailed guide to Montessori education, including a discussion of elementary school options, start with our introductory guide.

Table of contents

  1. List of Montessori schools in Alberta

  2. Choosing a school

  3. Tuition at Alberta Montessori schools

  4. Compare Montessori schools

  5. A primer on Montessori education
  6. Further resources


Montessori schools

There are lots of private Montessori schools in Alberta. These schools vary in terms of their classroom practices, curricular approaches, program offerings, and special needs support. The schools listed below reflect this diversity. They can be filtered for a wide range of features.

  • River Valley School
  • Summit West Independent School

School NameTypeApproachCost

River Valley School (est. 1983)  

  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Preschool to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school (325 students)
RVS offers programs for the Early Learning & Elementary years in Progressive, Montessori & Arrowsmith environments. Specialists teach fine arts, physical education and French language. [View profile]
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
$7,400 to $13,100

Some schools aren't Montessori schools, but use a Montessori approach for their preschool or daycare program. This approach gives young learners plenty of freedom to choose tasks and activities that interest them, which promotes their independence and confidence. It also strongly emphasizes concrete learning, where children work with lots of hands-on materials, and do practical life activities. Children usually work independently or in small groups in these programs.

School NameTypeApproachCost

Summit West Independent School (est. 2015)  

  • Foothills, Alberta
  • K to 12 (Coed)
  • Day school (55 students)
An independent school that offers an individualized self-directed learning approach for tomorrow's leaders. Bursary programs available to qualified applicants. JK to Grade 12, Alberta Curriculum. [View profile]
  • Progressive
$8,925 to $10,750

For general advice on how to choose and evaluate private schools, check out our choosing a school guide. For advice on choosing Montessori schools, see our main Montessori school guide. If your child is younger, check out our preschool choosing guide.

Private school expos

Private school expos are a great starting point for finding a school, at any level. We have annual private school expos in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, and Halton-peel. These expos allow you to speak with lots of private schools in Canada, many of which are Montessori schools, all in one place. Find a Montessori school near you.

Parent discussion forum

Another great resource in your school search is the Our Kids parent discussion forum. The forum is an ideal place to discuss options and debate topics related to Montessori schools and preschools. Our community of parents, educational experts, school officials, and alumni can help answer your questions and stimulate your thinking.

Open house events

Attending open houses is a great way to learn more about schools. For general advice on open house visits, check out our guide on school visits.

School nameDateLocation
Summit West Independent SchoolFebruary 14, 2018 9:00 amSummit West Independent School
178003 112 St W Foothills Alberta T1S 0V8
Summit West Independent SchoolMarch 14, 2018 9:00 amSummit West Independent School
178003 112 St W Foothills Alberta T1S 0V8
Summit West Independent SchoolApril 11, 2018 9:00 amSummit West Independent School
178003 112 St W Foothills Alberta T1S 0V8
Summit West Independent SchoolMay 16, 2018 9:00 amSummit West Independent School
178003 112 St W Foothills Alberta T1S 0V8
Summit West Independent SchoolJune 13, 2018 9:00 amSummit West Independent School
178003 112 St W Foothills Alberta T1S 0V8

The cost of Montessori schools in Alberta tends to be lower than the cost of other private schools in Alberta. In fact, Montessori schools are usually on the lower side of private school tuition in general.

Private school tuition can range from $5,000 to over $30,000 per year for day students. There are no public Montessori schools in Alberta, though some public schools use certain Montessori principles and materials.

Many schools offer needs-based financial aid, such as bursaries or tuition relief. Other schools, though not as many, offer scholarships, which are given based on merit—for instance, in academics or athletics. You can learn more about need- and merit-based financial aid in our dedicated guide. You can also read our guide to preschool costs.

Below, you’ll find the range of costs for Montessori private schools in Alberta:

Tuition (day school)Students receiving financial aidGrade eligibility for financial aidAvg. aid package size (annual)
Summit West Independent School$8,925 to $10,75020%SK - 12$3,000

Primary curriculum
Secondary curriculum
Curriculum pace
Academic culture
Average class size
Language immersion
Special needs support
Tech integration
River Valley SchoolProgressiveMontessoriStandard-enrichedSupportive12 to 18HighMedium integration
Summit West Independent SchoolProgressiveStandard-enrichedSupportive13 to 15HighHeavy integration



Learning disorders:
 Auditory processing disorder
 Language processing disorder
 Non-verbal learning disorders
 Visual motor deficit
Development disorders:

Behavioural and emotional:
 Troubled teens
 Substance abuse
 Oppositional defiant disorder
 Cystic fibrosis
 Multiple physical

Montessori classroom practices

Montessori schools, in Alberta and other provinces, have unique classroom practices. Some of the main ones are the following (for more comprehensive coverage, see our main Montessori school guide):

Self-directed work: Kid do lots of independent work. While the learning environment provides some structure, kids often choose their own tasks and learning materials. With some guidance from the teacher, they also determine the pace of their studies. This allows kids to do work they find stimulating and that they’re likely to complete. It can also lead to a love of learning, sometimes a long-lasting one.

Concrete learning: The main focus is on concrete learning, rather than abstract learning. Especially at the primary and elementary level, kids work with lots of different concrete materials to learn important skills and concepts. Concrete learning engages many of the senses. And research has shown that it benefits many kids.

No tests or grades: Montessori schools almost never test students or give them assignments. Moreover, student work isn’t graded, except in high school (and sometimes middle school). Instead, student progress is informally assessed through observation and developmental rubrics. The belief is that kids should be intrinsically motivated—by doing meaningful work they enjoy and find fulfilling—rather externally motivated (by grades, report cards, and the like).

Individualized curriculum: Montessori schools focus heavily on academics, even sometimes at the primary school level (3-6). Kids must master the basics in math, science, the language arts, and other subjects. They can then move on to more advanced work.

The curricular focus and pace, though, will differ between children. Each child will move at a different pace and study subjects in different ways, depending on their specific learning needs and interests. Each student will also have their own individualized learning plan, one that’s arrived at by both the student and teacher.  

Montessori curricular and teaching approach

In Montessori schools in Alberta and other provinces, subjects are almost never taught in isolation. Typically, several subjects are taught together, as part of an “integrated curriculum.”

For instance, biology or chemistry aren’t taught as single subjects, except possibly in high school (and maybe middle school). Rather, they’ll be taught as part of an integrated unit. To this end, a teacher might deliver a “great lesson” on the beginning of life, where kids learn about biology, chemistry, history, religion, and other subjects.

An integrated curriculum can be very rewarding for students. It encourages them to make connections between ideas and concepts from a variety of disciplines. It also can lead to positive learning outcomes, such as a broadening of knowledge and a wider range of interests.

Unlike traditional schools, though, Montessori schools don’t deliver this curriculum through direct instruction. Teachers rarely, if ever, give long lectures or lessons. When lessons are given, they tend to be shorter and more interactive and engaging than lectures given in traditional schools.

Instead of lecturing, teachers tend to work with individuals or small groups of students. Their main role is to be a facilitator: they provide the necessary support and guidance for students to complete their work.

Sometimes, though, teachers will just sit back and observe kids work. Often, this will be group work, where small groups of kids come together (of their own accord) to work on different tasks and projects. The belief is that classmates often do a better job of teaching than the head teacher. In particular, older kids can excel at teaching and mentoring their younger peers, and modelling appropriate behaviour to them. The teacher, in these situations, will intervene or provide guidance only when absolutely necessary.

Montessori schools in Alberta

The Alberta Montessori schools' philosophy is that children have a natural drive that, if given the right tools and settings, they can learn and master the environment they’re in. This is an attempt to create that ideal setting.

Similar to Waldorf and Reggio Emilia, Montessori schools provide a child-centred education, where teachers treat each child as a unique individual. Since every Montessori child is seen as an individual at Montessori schools, they can learn at their own pace.

Unlike a traditional classroom where the teacher is the main focus every day, the Montessori method allows children to direct their own learning. Montessori teachers say their students go from asking “help me to help myself” to “help me to do it myself” and eventually “help me to think for myself”.

Paying for a Montessori school in Alberta

The cost of a Montessori school in Alberta compared to other private schools may vary, so it’s important to research the options you have available. Finding a school that matched your budget is possible, so start searching for options early by looking into bursaries, scholarships or even tax breaks.

For more additional options on how to pay for tuition, check out these 18 tips on covering the cost of private school.