Access detailed profiles of 79 top Montessori schools in Canada

School NameTypeApproachCost

Alive Montessori & Private School (est. 2014)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Preschool to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (36 students)
50% off the first three months for new elementary students. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox$7,500 to $14,500

Central Montessori Schools - York Mills (est. 1995)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school (700 students)
Central Montessori Schools in Toronto offers instruction from nursery to grade six, with enrolment of 900 day students and tuition starting at $5,900. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox

Clanmore Montessori School (est. 1997)

  • Oakville, Ontario
  • Preschool to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (170 students)
Clanmore Montessori School in southeast Oakville offers a full spectrum, co-ed Montessori program from Toddler to Middle School. Tuition starts at $7,750. CCMA accredited. Member Oakville Independent Schools. Licenced. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Orthodox$7,750 to $16,500

The Element High School (est. 2003)

  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • 7 to 12 (Coed)
  • Day school (100 students)
We nurture focused, engaged and internally motivated students who strive to do their best. The Element High School provides conditions that will put youth ‘in their element,’ in school and beyond. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Moderately non-orthodox$17,448

Forest Hill Montessori School (est. 1996)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school (200 students)
Conveniently located in Midtown Toronto, our Junior and Elementary campuses are a popular choice for families seeking exceptional childcare and the very best education for their children. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Momentum Montessori (est. 2016)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 1 (Coed)
  • Day school (120 students)
Kids from 0-7 absorb multiple languages, music & develop sports skills VERY easily. Momentum Montessori is a multilingual school exposing kids (1.5 - 9 yrs) to multiple languages, sports & music like no other program. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox$10,800 to $18,000

OMS Montessori (est. 1966)

  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 12 (Coed)
  • Day school (300 students)
OMS Montessori (formerly Ottawa Montessori School) is an alternative private school that offers programs from 18 months to High School. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Orthodox$12,864 to $19,260

Royal Cachet Montessori School (est. 2006)

  • Markham, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 3 (Coed)
  • Day school (200 students)
Royal Cachet Montessori School is a Montessori school that offers programs from nursery to grade three in Markham. Its average class size is five to 15 students. [View profile]
  • Montessori

TMS School (est. 1961)

  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
  • Preschool to 12 (Coed)
  • Day school (750 students)
Internationally recognized since 1961, TMS is a not-for-profit independent university preparatory school located in Richmond Hill where students, faculty and staff regularly Go Beyond. [View profile]
  • Montessori
  • International Baccalaureate
$14,075 to $25,440

Toronto French Montessori (est. 2000)

  • North York, Ontario
  • Preschool to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (90 students)
Toronto French Montessori offers programs from pre-school to grade eight in North York. Its average class size is 15 students. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Orthodox$7,320 to $15,090

Westside Montessori Academy (est. 2008)

  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Preschool to 7 (Coed)
  • Day school (100 students)
Westside Montessori Academy, located at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver offers a true Montessori education to children aged 2.5 to Grade 7. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox$5,050 to $10,750

Westside Montessori School (est. 2008)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school (80 students)
An authentic, CCMA accredited Montessori School located in downtown Toronto, offering programs for Toddlers, Casa and Elementary children. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Century Private School (est. 1994)

  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
  • Preschool to 12 (Coed)
Century Montessori Schools in Richmond Hill runs from preschool to grade twelve, with class sizes as low as 12 students. [View profile]
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
Non-orthodox$8,400 to $26,800

Ellington Montessori School (est. 1990)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (225 students)
Ellington Montessori School, in Toronto, offers pre-school to eight grade individualized education since 1990. Small class sizes, lead by dedicated staff ensure that your child's needs are met. [View profile]
  • Montessori
$7,900 to $14,000

Enquiring Minds Montessori Casa (est. 2012)

  • Scarborough, Ontario
  • Preschool to Preschool (Coed)
  • Day school (24 students)
At Enquiring Minds Montessori Casa we have created a unique learning experience that fosters academic and artistic excellence in a caring and challenging environment. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox$4,500 to $11,750

Peel Montessori Private School (est. 1992)

  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • Preschool to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (150 students)
Peel Montessori School offers an enriched, personalized program. Emphasis is on strong academics, and the development of personal excellence (leadership skills, creativity) in a supportive, family-like environment. [View profile]
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
Orthodox$7,500 to $15,000

Rowntree Montessori Schools (RMS) (est. 1969)

  • Brampton, Ontario
  • Preschool to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (400 students)
Rowntree Montessori Schools is a montessori school that offers programs from Pre-kindergarten to Grade 8 in Brampton. [View profile]
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
$4,300 to $11,700

Tall Pines School (est. 1987)

  • Brampton, Ontario
  • Preschool to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (480 students)
Tall Pines School in Brampton provides enhanced Montessori and traditional classes from Infant to Grade Eight, is the longest accredited CCMA Montessori school in Canada, and is a leader in 21st Century education. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Orthodox$7,813 to $17,637

ABC Montessori (est. 1995)

  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 5 (Coed)
  • Day school (140 students)
ABC Montessori is one of Mississauga's premier private schools. The school offers both montessori and traditional school programs from preschool to Grade 5. [View profile]
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
Moderately non-orthodox$9,100

Académie Vaudrin Academy (est. 2005)

  • Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec
  • Preschool to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school (120 students)
This alternative and traditional private school in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec offers grades PS to 6 with a tuition cost of $3,600 to $7,900. [View profile]
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox

Aurora Montessori School (est. 1989)

  • Aurora, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (370 students)
Aurora Montessori School offers toddler to grade 8 with enrollment of 400 day students. Average class size is 18 to 24 with tuition from $9,510. to $15,000. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Avalon Children's Montessori School (est. 2000)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Preschool to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (90 students)
Avalon provides quality programmes from kindergarten to Grade 8 in the heart of the Beach. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox$6,400 to $14,750

École Montessori International de Montréal

  • Montreal, Quebec
  • Preschool to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school (130 students)
Anchored in the community for over 20 years, É.M.i.M`s mission is to awaken each child`s potential. É.M.i.M is a trilingual Montessori environment and we encourage a child's eagerness to discover. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Bannockburn (est. 1993)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Preschool to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school (125 students)
Bannockburn, a Montessori school in Toronto, Ontario offers grades nursery to six, average class sizes of 22 students and tuition from $10,350 to $20,700. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Orthodox$12,350 to $23,700

Beyond Montessori School (est. 2008)

  • St. Catharines, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (80 students)
Located downtown St. Catharines, BMS offers bilingual Montessori programs - Toddler to Grade 8 with class sizes of 5 to 15 students. Tuition from $4,000 to $8,500. Extended Care. Financial-aid for the Elementary Years. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Bishop Hamilton Montessori School (est. 1983)

  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (185 students)
Bishop Hamilton Montessori School is a Christian Montessori school in Ottawa, Ontario, with classes from nursery to grade eight. Tuition starts at $8,870. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Orthodox$8,870 to $15,120

Blaisdale Montessori School - Ajax (est. 1969)

  • Ajax, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school
Blaisdale Montessori School in Ajax runs from toddlers to grade eight. Tuition starts at $4,550. It features two rubberized play areas for younger children. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Blaisdale Montessori School - Bowmanville (est. 1969)

  • Bowmanville, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 3 (Coed)
  • Day school
Blaisdale Montessori School in Bowmanville, Ontario is an English speaking school offering nursery to grade 3 programs. Tuition costs $4,550 to $8,650 and students are required to wear uniforms. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Blaisdale Montessori School - Oshawa (est. 1969)

  • Oshawa, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school
Blaisdale Montessori School in Oshawa-Whitby offers nursery to grade eight in a small, newer school, with tuition ranging from $4,550 to $8,650. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Blaisdale Montessori School - Pickering (est. 1969)

  • Ajax, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school
Blaisdale Montessori School in Pickering offers nursery to grade eight. Tuition starts at $4,550. Curriculum includes a strong arts focus. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Blaisdale Montessori School - Scarborough (est. 1969)

  • Scarborough, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 3 (Coed)
  • Day school (120 students)
Blaisdale Montessori School in Scarborough offers nursery to grade three, with 120 students enrolled. Tuition ranges from $4,550 to $8,650. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Braemar House School (est. 1996)

  • Brantford, Ontario
  • Preschool to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (113 students)
Braemar House School is a not-for-profit elementary school that proves each day that children thrive in a nurturing environment that offers personalized attention. Class cap size is 16. [View profile]
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox$11,813

Central Montessori Schools - Sheppard Campus (est. 1995)

  • North York, Ontario
  • Preschool to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school (180 students)
The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one - the period from birth to the age of six. Choose Central Montessori Schools. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox

Cornerstone Montessori Prep School (est. 1990)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Preschool to 12 (Coed)
  • Day school (130 students)
Cornerstone Montessori Prep School is a Toronto Christian Montessori school with grades from nursery to 12. Tuition begins at $13,500. [View profile]
  • Liberal Arts
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox

Country Garden Montessori Academy (est. 1995)

  • Newmarket, Ontario
  • Preschool to 12 (Coed)
  • Day school (100 students)
Situated on seven acres of rolling parkland and gardens, Country Garden Montessori Academy in Newmarket is a co-ed private day school for students in grades PS-12. The school provides a family atmosphere and is committed the intellectual growth and emotional well-being of students. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Moderately non-orthodox

Dearcroft Montessori School (est. 1968)

  • Oakville, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (170 students)
Offering Montessori programs from Preschool to Grade 8, Dearcroft is accredited by CCMA and staffed by great teachers. Tuition starts at $5,900. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Orthodox$7,750 to $19,200

Dundas Valley Montessori School / Strata Montessori Adolescent School (est. 2002)

  • Ancaster, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 9 (Coed)
  • Day school (210 students)
High fidelity CCMA Montessori. Canada's only land based Montessori Adolescent program. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Durham Elementary, Durham Academy and G.B.M.S

  • Oshawa, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 12 (Coed)
  • Day school (100 students)
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox

Fairview Glen Montessori (est. 2007)

  • Burlington, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school (115 students)
Fairview Glen offers authentic Montessori education for children 18 mo.-12 yrs. The academically driven, collaborative and supportive community, also specializes in French, Music, Visual Arts and Phys-Ed programs. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox

Guiding Light Academy (est. 2007)

  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (100 students)
Guiding Light Academy is a Catholic private elementary school in Streetsville, Mississauga. We offer an enriched curriculum for JK, SK and Grades 1 to 8. We are located just minutes away from the Streetsville Go Station. [View profile]
  • Progressive
  • Montessori

Hatch House Montessori School (est. 2005)

  • Whitby, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school
The Hatch House Montessori School is a very child centered school where each student is respected for his/her uniqueness and is taught accordingly. Ask about our unique, fully bilingual elementary program. [View profile]
  • Montessori

High Park Gardens Montessori School

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school (120 students)
High Park Gardens Montessori School is an authentic quality Montessori program for children ages 12 months to 12 years. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Orthodox$11,800 to $17,300

Home Sweet Home Montessori Academy

  • Caledon, Ontario
  • Preschool to 3 (Coed)
  • Day school (60 students)
Home Sweet Home Montessori Academy offers our students an environment with an array of programming which supports them in discovering their passion within! [View profile]
  • Montessori

Humberside Montessori School (est. 1987)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (338 students)
Humberside Montessori Schools a montessori private school in Toronto. It offers programs from nursery to grade eight. [View profile]
  • Montessori

La Villa Montessori School

  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to K (Coed)
  • Day school
La Villa Montessori School is a private day school in Mississauga, Ontario dedicated to following the Montessori philosophy. The school's mission is to create a safe, stimulating and nurturing environment that fulfills a child's emotional, social, physical and intellectual needs. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Liberty Prep School

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school (140 students)
Liberty Prep offers programs from Toddler - Gr. 6 in downtown Toronto. Our environment combines a beautifully renovated building with well-trained and passionate teachers. Reach out to discover what we do differently. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Maria Montessori School (est. 1975)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school (120 students)
Maria Montessori School is an AMI accredited Montessori school in Toronto that offers programs for children 18 months to twelve years. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Meadow Green Academy (est. 1995)

  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • Preschool to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (150 students)
Meadow Green Academy offers programs from pre-school to grade eight in Mississauga. Its average class size is 12 students. [View profile]
  • Traditional
  • Montessori

Monkey See Monkey Do Montessori (est. 2007)

  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Preschool to SK (Coed)
  • Day school (40 students)
We have offered high quality programs for children ages 2.5-6 since 2007 in Vancouver, B.C. Our students graduate with a solid academic foundation, good problem solving skills, pro-social behaviour and a love of school. [View profile]
  • Montessori
$4,500 to $7,500

The Montessori Country School - Milton Campus (est. 2007)

  • Milton, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school
Montessori Country School has provided a first-class academic experience to students in an environment that is distinguished by its compassion, integrity and unwavering commitment to the individual child. [View profile]
  • Montessori

The Montessori Country School - Nobleton Campus (est. 1988)

  • Nobleton, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school
For over 25 years, the Montessori Country School provides a first-class accredited curriculum for students 12 months through grade 6. The sprawling 10 acre campus offers a unique indoor and outdoor learning experience. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Non-orthodox$16,550 to $17,465

Montessori For Children (est. 1995)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Preschool to K (Coed)
  • Day school (60 students)
Curriculum designed for kids aged 2 1/2 to 6 covers Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math and French. Located near Yonge /St Clair subway station. Please call or email to book a tour. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Montessori House of Children (est. 1974)

  • Brantford, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to SK (Coed)
  • Day school
Located in Brantford, Ontario, Montessori House of Children (MHC) provides excellent programs for grades Nursery to 3 and helps young children reach their learning potential with both independent and self-directed learning. MHC also offers support for students with learning differences. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Montessori Jewish Day School (est. 2000)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (122 students)
MJDS is the unique school of choice where creativity, independence, respect, peacefulness,innovation, a sense of community and joy are fostered guided by the shared values of Judaism and Montessori education. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox$7,900 to $17,900

Montessori Learning Centre of Pickering (est. 1984)

  • Pickering, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (200 students)
Montessori Learning Centre of Pickering is a non denominational school that offers programs from Pre-school to Grade eight. We acknowledge and celebrate religious and cultural events as part of our cultural program. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox

Montessori School of Wellington (est. 1996)

  • Guelph, Ontario
  • JK to 1 (Coed)
  • Day school (47 students)
Montessori School of Wellington is a faith-based school in Guelph. It offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade one. [View profile]
  • Montessori

Northstar Montessori Private School (est. 1996)

  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • Preschool to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (275 students)
Northstar Montessori Private School offers programs from pre-kindergarten to grade eight in Mississauga. Its average class size is 15 to 25 students. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Non-orthodox$8,500 to $13,300

Odyssey Montessori School (est. 2006)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 1 (Coed)
  • Day school
Odyssey Montessori School is a private Montessori day school with two campuses. The Toronto campus provides programming for students 2.5 - 6 years old and programs for students 18 months to 6 years old is provided at the Christie Campus. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox

Prince Edward Montessori School (est. 1995)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to SK (Coed)
  • Day school (100 students)
Prince Edward Montessori School offers programs for various grades in Toronto. Its average class size is ten to 16 students. [View profile]
  • Montessori

River Valley School (est. 1983)

  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Preschool to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school (323 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
Moderately orthodox$7,400 to $13,100

Roots and Wings Montessori School (est. 1985)

  • Langley, British Columbia
  • Nursery/Toddler to 9 (Coed)
  • Day school (120 students)
We aim to create a community to enable children to honour and respect their innate goodness, their joy in learning and their responsibility as caring global citizens and stewards of the earth. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox$4,830 to $12,000

Rotherglen School - Mississauga (est. 1979)

  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • Preschool to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (400 students)
Rotherglen School - MISSISSAUGA is a montessori school that offers programs from pre-school to grade eight. Its average class size is 18 students. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Moderately orthodox

Rotherglen School - Oakville (est. 1979)

  • Oakville, Ontario
  • K to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (600 students)
Rotherglen School - OAKVILLE offers programs from pre-school to grade eight. Its average class size is 18 students. [View profile]
  • Progressive
  • Montessori

Shepherd Montessori Private Catholic School (est. 2000)

  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 1 (Coed)
  • Day school (24 students)
Shepherd Montessori Private Catholic School offers programs for various grades in Mississauga. Its average class size is ten to 15 students. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Non-orthodox$6,500 to $11,000

Star Academy (est. 1997)

  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (75 students)
Star Academy offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade eight in Mississauga. Its average class size is ten students. [View profile]
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
Moderately non-orthodox$12,500 to $16,200

Taddle Creek Montessori School

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Preschool to 6 (Coed)
  • Day school (125 students)
Taddle Creek Montessori provides an authentic Montessori education for children ages 2.5 to 12 years old in the Annex. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Orthodox$11,800 to $17,300

The Mildenhall School (est. 1967)

  • Etobicoke, Ontario
  • Preschool to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (120 students)
The Mildenhall School provides an authentic Montessori education for children ages 2.5 to 14 years old in south Etobicoke. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Orthodox$11,800 to $19,500

Trillium School (est. 1991)

  • Markham, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 12 (Coed)
  • Day school (300 students)
  • Boarding school
Trillium School is a montessori school that offers programs from pre-school to grade eight in Markham. [View profile]
  • Montessori
Orthodox$9,400 to $33,000

Unionville Montessori Private Schools (est. 1987)

  • Unionville, Ontario
  • Preschool to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (1000 students)
Unionville Montessori School offers programs from pre-school to grade eight. Its average class size is 18 to 22 students. [View profile]
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
$7,250 to $13,150

Wheatley School (est. 1986)

  • St. Catharines, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (170 students)
Wheatley School offers programs from nursery to grade eight in St. Catharines. Its average class size is 15 students. [View profile]
  • Montessori
  • International Baccalaureate
Moderately orthodox

Wishing Well Schools (est. 1978)

  • Markham, Ontario
  • Nursery/Toddler to 8 (Coed)
  • Day school (220 students)
Wishing Well Schools offers enriched programs from 18 months to Grade 8 in Markham. Montessori program from 18 months to 6 years old, advanced academic program from Grade 1 to 8. [View profile]
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
Orthodox$12,370 to $12,620

These schools have a Montessori preschool program, along with more conventional programming starting at grade 1. Montessori preschools give young learners plenty of freedom to choose tasks and activities that interest them. They also strongly emphasize concrete learning, where children work with lots of hands-on material, and do practical life activities.

School NameTypeApproachCost

Bond Academy (est. 1978)

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Preschool to 12 (Coed)
  • Day school (350 students)
  • Boarding school (200 students)
This traditional private school in Toronto offers preschool to grade 12 with average class sizes of 15 students. Facilities include a double gym and more. [View profile]
  • Liberal Arts

Caribbean International Academy -St. Maarten (est. 2003)

  • Cupecoy, St. Maarten
  • JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Day school
  • Boarding school (8 students)
Caribbean International Academy provides a world class private Ontario education in the most idyllic of places: The island of St. Maarten. CIA fosters an optimal learning environment for all students. [View profile]
  • Traditional
$9,130 to $32,645

J. Addison School (est. 2002)

  • Markham, Ontario
  • Preschool to 12 (Coed)
  • Day school (200 students)
  • Boarding school (100 students)
Since 2002, J. Addison has provided a stimulating education for students. Located at the corner of Woodbine and Valleywood Drive in Markham, ON, Canada, you will find our state-of-the-art 58,000 sq. ft. facility. [View profile]
  • Traditional
$8,888 to $36,300

Montessori Alberta

  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Preschool to K (Coed)
  • Day school (60 students)
Montessori Alberta is a Montessori pre-school/kindergarten for 3 to 6 year old children located in a bright and spacious facility with easy access to downtown Calgary. [View profile]
    $3,250 to $4,500

    Summit West Independent School (est. 2015)

    • Foothills, Alberta
    • JK to 12 (Coed)
    • Day school (54 students)
    An independent school that offers an individualized self-directed learning approach for tomorrow's leaders. [View profile]
    • Progressive
    Non-orthodox$8,500 to $10,500

    Town Centre Montessori Private Schools (est. 1986)

    • Markham, Ontario
    • Nursery/Toddler to 12 (Coed)
    • Day school (1400 students)
    Town Centre Montessori Private Schools offers programs from pre-school to grade 12/University Prep and is located in Markham. [View profile]
    • Progressive
    • International Baccalaureate

    Yip’s Music & Montessori School (est. 1990)

    • Unionville, Ontario
    • Nursery/Toddler to SK (Coed)
    • Day school
    Founded in 1990, Yip's Montessori Program cater to children from 1.5 to 6 years old. Yip's four campuses are located in Markham, Unionville and Thornhill. [View profile]
    • Liberal Arts
    $6,600 to $10,900

    York Montessori School (est. 2007)

    • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    • Nursery/Toddler to SK (Coed)
    • Day school (120 students)
    York Montessori School in Richmond Hill offers children from 16 months to 6 years old a wholesome Montessori education. Teacher to student ratios of 1:5 - 1:8. [View profile]
      $11,150 to $11,750

      • Montessori education provides a unique alternative to what’s offered in conventional schools. Its progressive classroom policies and curriculum, introduced by Maria Montessori, are used in thousands of schools worldwide.

      • Montessori schools are child-centred. They don’t have a pre-planned or one-size-fits-all curriculum. Instead, children’s studies radiate from their core interests into all curricular areas.

      • Teachers capitalize on the way children naturally learn. Children learn in developmentally appropriate ways, and build confidence and self-esteem in doing so.

      • Learning is decentralized. Teachers rarely lecture, and children do lots of self-directed work, mostly at their own pace. Children often do work that interests and stimulates them, either on their own or in small groups.

      • There’s plenty of concrete learning. Children work with a wide range of hands-on material to learn key skills. At the higher levels, though, there tends to be more abstract learning.

      • Classroom policies vary between Montessori schools. Classic schools tend to have high teacher-to-student ratios, large classes, few lectures, and few specialist classes. Supplemented schools are less strict about these things.

      • Montessori education is challenging, and promotes independence, focus, and discipline. Its tailored learning approach is ideal for many students, including those who are motivated, strong on academics, and like to choose some of their own work. It may not be the right fit, though, for students who prefer a conventional approach.

      • We list Montessori schools on this site, and provide tools for comparing those schools. Moreover, our parent discussion forum allows you to discuss options and get answers to your questions.

      Changes in education tend to reflect their time. They often emerge out of a unique social context. For instance, when Maria Montessori was growing up, school was harsh. Classrooms, sadly, were like factories. Students were force-fed knowledge, treated the exact same way, and were doled out cruel punishments.

      Montessori introduced an appealing alternative to the oppressive education of her time. She took the factory model and turned it on its head.

      Montessori insisted we should support rather than punish, encourage curiosity rather than memorization, and ask for ideas rather than provide answers. She also emphasized problem solving over rote learning, effort over outcomes, independence over authority, concrete learning over abstract learning, and choosing rewarding tasks over trying to please others.

      While Montessori schools vary in their details, they all share a commitment to what inspired Maria Montessori. They aim to meet the growing needs of children.

      “Some schools aren’t Montessori schools, but use a Montessori approach for their preschool, kindergarten, or daycare program.”

      On the Montessori philosophy, children aren’t just little adults. They are children, and deserve to be respected in their own way and for who they are. This means, among other things, that they should be given an opportunity to learn in developmentally appropriate ways, and build confidence in doing so.

      Maria Montessori did tonnes of research on children. This sparked several insights about the way they learn. And in time, it led her to the conclusion that children should be placed at the centre of education.

      “We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment. … It is true that we cannot make a genius. We can only give each child the chance to fulfill his potential possibilities. … We must offer the child the help he needs, and be at service so that he does not have to walk alone. … The child is truly a miraculous being, and this should be felt deeply by the educator.” (The Absorbent Mind, 1967)

      Montessori didn’t just pay lip service to the child-centred philosophy. She had specific ideas—for instance, about freedom, structure, and work—which she used to implement it in her original Casa dei Bambini (children’s home) in Rome.

      “Freedom without organization of work would be useless. The child left free without means of work would go to waste. … The organization of the work, therefore is the cornerstone of this new structure of goodness; but even that organization would be in vain without the liberty to make use of it, and without freedom for the expansion of all those energies which spring from the satisfaction of the child’s highest activities. (Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook, 1923) [Emphasis in the original]

      Now, not all of these ideas were new. Steiner (the founder of Waldorf education) and Froebel, like Montessori, also raised concerns with the factory model of education, and offered new models.

      Montessori built on these models and offered her own substantial contribution. She offered nothing short of a blueprint for a child-centred approach to education. This approach is currently offered in thousands of schools worldwide. This includes some schools that don’t call themselves “Montessori.”

      Still, it’s hard for us to appreciate just how influential Montessori’s method was. The education we enjoy today is far more nurturing than what Montessori, Steiner, and company were used to. What distinguishes her method is that she designed a caring learning environment in which children were placed at the centre. This method was in complete opposition to the dominant thinking, and the stark reality, of her times.

      Montessori Schools
      Montessori schools are very child-centred. They’re based on Maria Montessori’s innovative philosophy of education.

      Montessori versus conventional education
      The Montessori philosophy of education is innovative. Its progressive approach is an appealing alternative to the factory model of education dominant in the early 20th century.

      It’s also an interesting alternative to the approach followed by most schools today. In fact, Montessori education, in many ways, is contrary to the approach currently used in conventional or mainstream schools.

      At their core, Montessori schools are student-focused. They provide a learning environment which places students front and centre. In this way, they’re similar to Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools.

      Students, in Montessori schools, work in a decentralized learning environment, usually by themselves or in small groups with peers of different ages. They often collaborate, with each other and their teachers. Since a one-size-fits-all curriculum isn’t in effect, they have quite a bit of freedom to choose their own projects and work at their own pace.

      Today’s conventional schools, on the other hand, tend to be teacher-focused. Teachers deliver lectures to the whole class. These are intended to impart knowledge to students. Students are expected to demonstrate they’ve acquired this knowledge through teacher-administered tests and assignments. With a preset, age-specific curriculum, students have much less opportunity to explore their interests and passions.

      All in all, there are many differences between Montessori schools and the conventional schools of today. Below, we outline some of the main ones. We’ll discuss many of these differences in greater detail throughout this guide.

      Montessori Schools
      Montessori education involves lots of concrete learning, practical life activities, and problem solving.
      Montessori schoolsConventional schools
      • Self-directed learning
      • Individualized curriculum
      • Teacher guides and mentors
      • Freedom to move and work in class
      • Focus on curiosity and problem solving
      • Main focus on concrete learning
      • Focus on the whole child
      • Focus on effort
      • Multi-age classes
      • Motivated by self-development
      • Integrated curriculum
      • Children set their own pace
      • No grades, tests, or assignments
      • Teacher-directed learning
      • Curriculum the same for all students
      • Teacher lectures
      • Assigned seats and set class periods
      • Focus on memorization and acquiring knowledge
      • Main focus on abstract learning
      • Focus on child’s academic progress
      • Focus on outcomes
      • Classes one age (usually)
      • More teacher-motivated
      • Mostly subject-specific curriculum
      • Teachers set pace
      • Grades, tests, and assignments

      Montessori Schools
      The Montessori approach varies somewhat between different schools. All schools, though, provide a caring and supportive classroom environment for children with different learning styles.

      The Montessori philosophy informs its method and classroom policies. That said, schools can vary in their classroom policies and the way they implement them.

      In this section, we discuss Montessori classroom policies. These include common and less common ones.

      Common Montessori classroom policies
      Below, we outline classroom policies that are commonly found in Montessori schools. We also state the rationale for each policy. Remember, though, not all Montessori schools follow these policies, and there’s a lot of variation in how they’re implemented.

      Mixed-age classrooms
      Schools have mixed-age classrooms, often with 3-year age groupings. There are toddler classes from birth to age 3, primary (or casa) classes for ages 3-6, and elementary classes for ages 6-9 and 9-12. At some elementary schools, all six years are combined into one class. Most middle and high schools have mixed-age classes as well. Parents are encouraged to keep their child in school for at least one full 3-year cycle.

      Mixed-age classrooms promote lots of interaction, problem solving, and child-to-child teaching. Children can work with and learn from older peers, who teach, mentor and model behaviour to them, often better than adults do. Older children also reinforce their own knowledge this way. In this setting, children are often stimulated and rarely bored.

      “Our schools,” says Montessori, “show that children of different ages help one another. The younger ones see what the older ones are doing, and ask for explanations. … There are many things which no teacher can convey to a child of three, but a child of five can do it with the utmost ease.” (The Absorbent Mind, 1967)

      Decentralized learning
      Students can roam around class, work on their own tasks, join groups, and work with peers. Teachers rarely provide whole-class lectures. Instead, they observe, guide, and sometimes give brief lessons to small groups of students.

      This creates a dynamic learning environment. Students often work well alone and in groups. Freed from teacher interference, they tend to learn skills and concepts more easily. They also become more independent and confident.

      Self-directed learning
      Students have a lot of leeway to choose tasks and learning materials. While structure is provided, students can often choose tasks they’re interested in and likely to complete.

      When given freedom, students tend to choose work that’s developmentally appropriate and helps them grow. They also often choose tasks that interest and challenge them. This promotes enthusiasm and a love of learning.

      Angeline Stoll Lillard, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, is a renowned expert on Montessori education and childhood learning. In Montessori: The Science behind the Genius (2005), she describes how self-directed learning feeds children’s natural curiosity:

      “People learn best about the topics they’re most interested in…Montessori allows each child to choose what to work on, and when, with occasional limits if a child is not getting to parts of the curriculum. The elementary child invests a great deal of time researching and writing about topics of personal interest. Children’s studies radiate from a core of deep interests into all curricular areas, rather than having all curricular areas delivered in a predetermined array and schedule.”

      Focus on the concrete
      Students work with a lot of concrete learning material. This includes puzzles called manipulatives, which are self-correcting. They also work with blocks, tiles, pink towers, sandpaper letters, golden beads, and other material.

      Concrete learning has a lot of benefits. They include the following:

      This last point is crucial. The more of our senses that are involved in learning, the more our cognition is “embodied.” And research shows that embodied cognition has much to recommend it. For instance, it improves children’s focus and engagement. It also can lead to faster and more efficient learning.

      “When given freedom, students tend to choose work that’s developmentally appropriate and helps them grow. They also often choose tasks that interest and challenge them.”

      Minimal pretend play
      Pretend play is rarely encouraged. Work is emphasized over pretend play. Even in preschool, classrooms don’t have dolls, dollhouses, pretend kitchens or houses, dress-up clothes, or other common playthings. Rather, they have real kitchens, real (child-sized) furniture, work tools, food, cooking utensils, and other practical objects. Below, we provide an extensive list of standard classroom materials.

      The focus on work over play is based on several key claims about children.

      There’s nothing wrong with pretend play, according to Isabelle Kunicki-Carter, director of Foster Hill Montessori School, in Toronto, Ontario. The mistake, rather, is to force-feed it. “Imposing fantasy on children is unhealthy. They should come to it themselves. What’s most important is that children choose their own learning paths.”

      Integrated curriculum
      Subjects are rarely taught on their own. Interdisciplinary learning is a big focus. Even subjects such as science and math are often integrated into other parts of the curriculum. For instance, students may be given what schools refer to as a great lesson on the start of human communication. Here, they’ll learn about science, but also about history, language, and other subjects.

      There are widely known benefits to this approach. Most importantly, it allows students to connect concepts from many different disciplines, and view them in a wider context. This often makes learning more engaging. And for many, learning the wider applications of a subject is exciting and instills a passion to learn more.

      Uninterrupted work time
      Students are usually given at least one full uninterrupted work period of three hours a day. Some schools have two of these work periods. These periods exclude outside play, group storytime, circle time, music, or anything that takes time away from a chosen task.

      Uninterrupted work time allows students to choose and complete their chosen work, either on their own or with peers. If they’re interrupted when they’re learning something of special interest to them, it can be hard to regain focus and interest. Uninterrupted work time thus nurtures focus, concentration, and a love of learning. These traits are crucial to future success, in school and beyond.

      “Montessori schools,” says Montessori (To Educate the Human Potential, 1948), “have proved that the child needs a cycle of work for which he has been mentally prepared; such intelligent work with interest is not fatiguing, and he should not be arbitrarily cut off from it by a call to play. Interest is not immediately born, and if when it has been created the work is withdrawn (for recess or any other adult-imposed break), it is like depriving a whetted appetite of food that will satisfy it.”

      Elizabeth Hainstock, a renowned Montessori researcher, agrees. She argues, in The Essential Montessori (1997), that every child has a strong desire to see tasks through.

      “He needs to complete what Dr. Montessori called his “cycles of activity”—those periods of intense concentration on a particular task that should be worked to completion. Not to allow this causes the developing child great frustration. It is the inner need that compels him to work so long and hard at a particular task, long after the older child or adult would have lost interest and grown weary.”

      Character education
      While academics are important, this is only part of the focus. Schools aim to educate the whole child: their character, sense of self, and values.

      For instance, students are taught to take care of themselves, each other, and their environment. They do this through tasks such as cooking, cleaning, building, and gardening. They’re also taught to move with grace, be polite, be helpful, and do work in the community, among other things.

      Students thereby grow in key ways, including the following:

      Rachel Meltzer, whose son Kalil attended the preschool program at Taddle Creek Montessori, in Toronto, Ontario, raves about the program’s focus on the whole child. “I love how they emphasize much more than academics, things like character, self-sufficiency, collaboration, and knowledge and skills. The holistic approach is great. Kalil learned a lot more than his letters and numbers.”

      Montessori Schools
      Montessori schools have lots of decentralized and self-directed learning. Children are encouraged to choose work that interests and challenges them.

      Minimal external rewards
      Tests or assignments are almost never given, at least in primary and elementary school. Sometimes they’re given in middle school, but mostly for practice. Usually, though, they’re not graded.

      In high school, tests and assignments are given and graded. But this is mainly done to meet provincial curricular requirements in Canada and prepare students for university. Other than that, grades are not given out.

      Also, students are rarely praised. And when they are, it’s for effort—not outcomes.

      Rewards are rarely given, since they can impede learning and motivation. Instead, students are encouraged to find motivation from within. By choosing their own tasks, learning becomes its own reward. This can inspire a love of learning, sometimes a lifelong one.

      Recent research seems to show some of the costs of the reward systems used in many mainstream schools. In “The Risks of Rewards” (1994), Alfie Kohn discusses some of these costs.

      “Grades in particular have been found to have a detrimental effect on creative thinking, long-term retention, interest in learning, and preference for challenging tasks (Butler & Nisan, 1986; Grolnick & Ryan, 1987). These detrimental effects are not the result of too many bad grades, too many good grades, or the wrong formula for calculating grades. Rather, they result from the practice of grading itself, and the extrinsic orientation it promotes.”

      Focusing on reward systems in general, he adds

      “Studies over many years have found that behaviour modification programs are rarely successful at producing lasting changes in attitudes or even behaviour. When the rewards stop, people usually return to the way they acted before the program began. More disturbingly, researchers have recently discovered that children whose parents make frequent use of rewards tend to be less generous than their peers (Fabes et al. 1989; Grusec, 1991; Kohn, 1990).”

      Minimal homework
      Homework is almost never assigned, even in middle or high school. It’s usually not encouraged either. Some teachers allow students to take work home, if it needs to get done. But when work is taken home, and whether it’s taken home, is normally the student’s call.

      This policy has several benefits. And, it’s supported by some potent claims.

      Minimal technology
      Very little, if any, modern-day technology is used. This is especially true in the early years. Computers, tablets, whiteboards, TVs, and similar devices are rarely used in class. And when they are, it’s typically for a specific purpose, such as a research project.

      It’s believed that too much screen time can interfere with focus and development. For instance, it can lead to shorter attention spans and impede concentration. It can also limit interaction between peers and stunt social development. Overall, too much screen time can prevent a child from becoming what Maria Montessori called normalized: independent, disciplined, focused, and mature.

      Less common Montessori classroom policies
      Below, we discuss some classroom policies used less commonly in Montessori schools. While some schools use them, others don’t (or they may be less strict about them). We also discuss the rationale for these policies.

      High teacher-to-student ratio
      Some schools have a high teacher-to-student ratio, at least at the upper levels. For instance, there may be 1 teacher to 25 or 30 students in middle or high school (or even elementary school).

      Anne E. Laws, coordinator of the Montessori Assurance Program in Canada, considers high teacher-to-student ratios a crucial feature of the Montessori program. According to Laws, this prevents teachers from needlessly interfering with students’ work. It can thus promote focus and engagement. It can also enhance learning.

      “A large group of students can create excitement and a dynamic learning environment. It makes for an active classroom with a lot of collaboration. Children try to discover things on their own, and with the help of their peers. They ask their classmates questions. They don’t rely on adults to solve things.”

      Minimal arts and crafts projects
      Some schools have little, if any, time allotted to arts and crafts. And, they may have no arts and crafts projects. Even in schools with no assigned arts and crafts projects, though, students normally have the option of working on art or creative projects.

      Art projects, it’s claimed, can limit self-direction. Like other assigned work, they interfere with students’ freedom to choose their own work and complete it. Also, students should spend a lot of time on practical work. But some artwork, the claim runs, doesn’t seem practical.

      “The Montessori classroom reflects its unusual philosophy, and provides the basis for its classroom policies.”

      Minimal unstructured activity
      Some schools have little, if any, unstructured time. For instance, they may have minimal or no scheduled recess or time for “free explore.” Even some (though not many) preschools and elementary schools limit free-play time in this way.

      This policy is supported by a few key claims about free-play periods:

      According to Lillard (2005), Maria Montessori believed scheduled recess should not be part of the school day. Montessori’s main rationale is that it interferes with concentration.

      “Recess time could be detrimental in Montessori because for any given child on a given day a clock-imposed recess time might well come at a moment of intense concentration on work. Of course such concentration must be broken at some times, notably at the end of the school day, but Dr. Montessori’s goal was to minimize these interruptions.”

      Few specialist classes
      Some schools have few, if any, specialist classes, such as art, music, gym, or foreign languages. All or most of these classes, in these schools, will be taught by the core teacher, rather than a specialist. Also, some schools may not have a designated period for some of these classes.

      The core teacher, it’s reasoned, knows students the best, and is thus best able to teach all or most subjects. And in general, content should be delivered more through material and short lessons than through direct instruction (for instance, by a specialist teacher).

      Lillard (2005) stresses the second point:

      “In Montessori education, the material and lessons, rather than the teacher, are intended to operate for the child as organizing structures. Rather than an expert teacher providing core principles around which the child can organize his or her knowledge, the material provide those principles. The Montessori materials embody basic principles, and they structure knowledge in each area of the curriculum.”

      Minimal commercial materials
      Some schools have few, if any, commercial materials. For instance, they may have no toys, board games, jigsaw puzzles, or other material often found in mainstream schools.

      The reasoning is that this material is conducive to play, not learning. Moreover, using it can detract from students’ focus on work, even when it’s used during free time.

      Summary of classroom policies and rationales
      The following table lists each Montessori classroom policy, and briefly summarizes its main rationale(s). The policies are divided into “common” and “less common.”


      Common policies:

      • Mixed-age classrooms
      • Decentralized learning
      • Self-directed learning
      • Focus on the concrete
      • Minimal pretend play
      • Integrated curriculum
      • Uninterrupted work time
      • Character education
      • Minimal external rewards
      • Minimal technology
      • Minimal homework

      Common policies:

      • Children teach and mentor each other
      • Children learn best on their own and in groups
      • Promotes independence, confidence, and a love of learning
      • Promotes focused engagement and faster learning
      • Children learn better through work than play, and should engage with the real world
      • Work is more engaging, with wider applications
      • Develops focus and concentration
      • Children learn important traits, virtues, and practical skills
      • Grades impede motivation; motivation should come from within
      • Screen time interferes with focus, concentration, and development
      • Assigning homework interferes with self-direction and family time

      Less common policies:

      • High teacher-to-student ratio
      • Minimal arts and crafts projects
      • Minimal unstructured activity
      • Few specialist classes

      • Minimal commercial materials

      Less common policies:

      • Prevents teacher interference, and promotes independence and collaboration
      • Art projects interfere with self-direction, and often aren’t practical
      • Scheduled free-play time interferes with focus and concentration
      • Core teacher knows students the best; content best delivered through short lessons and material
      • These materials promote play instead of learning

      Related story:
      Benefits of Montessori schools

      Montessori schools share a common approach. They also share a number of core classroom policies and practices. These are based on a unified philosophy and justified by potent claims.

      On the other hand, there’s some variation between Montessori schools in terms of focus. While most Montessori schools agree on philosophy, they sometimes disagree on how to implement or interpret this philosophy. Often, the difference is not one of basic principles, but of how to implement these principles in class.

      Classic and supplemented schools
      Different schools have different interpretations of the Montessori philosophy. And they implement it in different ways. This means there are different types of Montessori schools.

      Some theorists divide Montessori schools into two main groups: classic and supplemented. For instance, Lillard (Preschool children’s development, 2012), adopts this useful classification:

      “The existing literature rarely discriminates Montessori program implementations, but two basic styles can be observed ... : a classic approach that adheres tightly to Dr. Montessori’s original program as outlined in her books (Montessori, 1967, 1989a, 1989b) and a supplemented one in which conventional school activities and materials are added to the core program.”

      Classic schools stick to the original Montessori program, and rarely make changes. According to Chertoff (The Great Montessori Schism, 2012), they tout

      “the continuity of instruction across all … schools, and … resistance to fads. If your child switches instructors [between classic schools], he’ll be taught the same way. If you move, you can be sure that your new school will use the same pedagogy. Short-lived trends in education won’t affect how your kid learns. You’ll know exactly what you’re getting.”

      Supplemented Montessori schools, meanwhile, have a different approach. While they’re faithful to Montessori principles, they supplement them with more modern curricular approaches and materials. For instance, they might have lower teacher-to-student ratios and more specialist classes than classic schools.

      The main rationale for this approach is that schools must evolve to meet the needs of children. As our understanding of science, society, the environment, psychology, and other important areas of study evolves, so does our understanding of children’s needs. Our teaching practices, it’s urged, must in turn adapt.

      “Here’s the problem, as some Montessori teachers saw it, even in the 1950s: Sometimes those short-lived trends aren’t short-lived, and sometimes they are not trends. As we discover more about learning, or as the times change, does the way we teach kids have to change as well?” (Chertoff, 2012) [Emphasis in the original]

      In fact, according to some theorists, support for the supplemented approach can be garnered from Maria Montessori’s work. Montessori’s research, writings, and observations, it’s claimed, support supplementing her teaching methods, in some cases.

      “Dr. Montessori adjusted and adapted her educational system to better serve children’s needs, and well-functioning Montessori classrooms typically share many features reflecting those adjustments.” (Lillard, 2005)

      Given their different outlooks, it’s not surprising that classic schools often have different classroom policies than supplemented schools. Below, we outline some of the possible differences.

      A warning about the term “Montessori”

      “Montessori” isn’t a trademarked term. This means any school can call itself “Montessori,” even if it doesn’t follow any Montessori principles.

      As a parent, you should ensure that any prospective school follows Montessori principles. You should also look closely at its policies, to get a sense of its approach and decide whether it’s the right fit for your child.

      Classic Montessori schools Supplemented Montessori schools
      • Three-year age groupings
      • Few, if any, whole-class lectures
      • High teacher-to-student ratio
      • Minimal unstructured activity
      • Minimal pretend or fantasy play
      • Three-hour uninterrupted work periods
      • Less specialist classes and teachers
      • Minimal commercial materials
      • Minimal arts and crafts projects
      • Minimal modern-day technology
      • Two-year age groupings
      • More whole-class lectures
      • Lower teacher-to-student ratio
      • More unstructured activity
      • More pretend or fantasy play
      • Shorter uninterrupted work periods
      • More specialist classes and teachers
      • More commercial materials
      • More arts and crafts projects
      • More modern-day technology

      The scale from classic to supplemented
      Of course, almost no school falls neatly into either of these categories. Few schools are strictly classic or supplemented. Most have both classic and supplemented classroom policies, as well as some policies that fall somewhere in the middle. And naturally, each school will have its own unique culture, character, and feel.

      In truth, then, the distinction between classic and supplemented schools (not to mention the above table) is simplistic. Most Montessori schools are really on a scale from classic to supplemented. Where they fall on the scale will be based on how they interpret the Montessori philosophy, and how this is reflected in their classroom policies.

      Moreover, the policies are themselves on a scale from classic to supplemented. For each policy, there are a wide range of ways it can be implemented, on this scale. For instance, a school might have three-year age groupings in all its classes (classic), most of its classes (moderately classic), a few of its classes (moderately supplemented), or none of its classes (supplemented).

      It can be helpful to see where a school’s policies fall on this scale. This can give you some much-needed perspective when considering different Montessori schools.

      In the end, though, what’s most important is to focus on a school’s policies themselves, rather than where they rank on the scale from classic to supplemented. For any school, you should take a close look at its classroom policies (among other things), and gauge whether they’re a good fit for your child.

      Montessori Schools
      Montessori schools don’t use a one-size-fits-all curriculum. Teachers tailor the curriculum to the unique learning needs of each child.

      Montessori has a unique philosophy. It also has progressive classroom policies that contrast with those of conventional schools.

      The Montessori classroom reflects its unusual philosophy, and provides the basis for its classroom policies. Below, we look at three features of this classroom: the classroom setup, learning materials, and role of the teacher.

      Further down the page, we outline some benefits of Montessori education, and provide a table looking at what types of students might be suitable for it. Even further down, we offer advice on choosing a specific school, including questions to ask yourself about your child. Near the end, we provide tools for comparing Montessori schools in terms of their academics, tuition, and financial aid.

      The Montessori classroom has an unusual setup. Unlike most schools, no desk is at the front. And, the teacher is often found in some part of the room with a small group of children, discussing their work or giving a lesson.

      Classrooms are usually large, open spaces, with low shelves, different sizes of tables that seat one to four children, and child-sized chairs. They have different areas, divided by low shelving. Each area has learning material for subjects such as language, music, science, math, and culture. Material is also grouped by area of interest and in order of increasing difficulty.

      The Montessori classroom is often quiet, even at the lower levels. For instance, in an elementary class at Forest Hill Montessori, in Toronto, Ontario, students could be seen working calmly. They were also well behaved, had good manners, and had a strong rapport with the teacher and each other.

      Since the students weren’t assigned seats or desks, they moved freely about. Most of them worked at tables, but some worked on the floor on small rugs. Some students worked alone, but many worked in groups—asking and answering questions, observing, and helping each other. So, while the class was calm and orderly, it was also lively and dynamic.

      Classrooms, in most schools, are quite neat. Extra materials are kept out of sight in a closet and brought in and out of class, based on students’ needs and interests. Each material has its place on the shelves, and students must return them when they’re done. There’s no limit, though, to how long they can work with any material.

      Below, you can view a Montessori classroom in action. You’ll also get the inside scoop from a Montessori teacher and administrator.

      Video: Inside Montessori schools

      Most Montessori schools don’t have textbooks, assignments, or tests. They do have many other learning materials, though. The norm is one of each material, with students expected to wait their turn. (This is thought to promote patience and respect.)

      Elizabeth Hainstock, in The Essential Montessori (1997), divides Montessori learning materials into four main groups. Keep in mind, not every school has all or even most of these materials. And, some are used only at certain levels.

      Motor educationSensory educationLanguageMath
      • Dressing frames
      • Polishing shoes
      • Washing hands
      • Pouring rice/water
      • Sweeping, dusting, folding
      • Setting table
      • Sorting, twisting
      • Scrubbing, peeling, polishing
      • Washing and drying dishes and tables
      • Cutting and pasting
      • Walking a line
      • Grace and courtesy


      • Rough and smooth boards
      • Fabrics
      • Mystery bag
      • Baric tablets
      • Thermal bottles

      • Visual

      • Knobbed cylinders
      • Knobless cylinders
      • Pink tower
      • Broad stair
      • Long rods
      • Colour tablets
      • Geometric tablet
      • Geometric solids
      • Constructive triangles
      • Binomial and trinomial cubes

      • Auditory

      • Sound cylinders
      • Bells
      • Silence game

      • Gustatory

      • Tasting bottles

      • Olfactory

      • Smell bottles
      • Sandpaper letters
      • Metal insets
      • Movable alphabet
      • Phonetic words
      • Initial consonants
      • Objects and words
      • Phonogram booklets
      • Parts of speech
      • Singular and plural
      • Positive, comparative, superlative
      • Grammar symbols
      • Books
      • Workbooks
      • Number rods
      • Sandpaper numbers
      • Spindle box
      • Golden bead material
      • Bead frames
      • Fraction insets
      • Sequin boards
      • Charts and boards for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division

      Some schools have other material as well. You’re more likely to find the following material in elementary and secondary schools. You may also find it in more supplemented Montessori schools.

      Community materialModern-day technologyScience and culture
      • Whiteboards or blackboards
      • Kitchen
      • Physical education equipment
      • Community meeting space
      • Lockers or other student storage
      • Material for care of the environment
      • Printer
      • Projector
      • Video camera
      • TVs
      • Computers
      • Tablets
      • Interactive whiteboards
      • Globes
      • Maps
      • Flags
      • Pictures
      • Poetry
      • Art materials
      • Art history books
      • Lab equipment
      • Test tubes
      • Botany material
      • Zoology material

      The American Montessori Society (AMS) provides a more comprehensive list of classroom materials. It divides these materials by age level and subject. You can also check out Montessori services.

      In class, the teacher’s main role is to connect students with the right tasks, so students can pursue their own learning. They also prepare the classroom to provide structure for students and protect their freedom.

      Teachers guide and direct learning. While aware of all the students, they move around the class, giving lessons to individuals or small groups. They also allow students time to repeat and practice work. And, they help plan work for students.

      Teachers don’t give many lectures, at least to the whole class. Nor do they try to impart knowledge to students. Thus the term “guide” is used in some schools instead of “teacher,” to highlight students’ role in their own learning.

      “In class, the teacher’s main role is to connect students with the right tasks, so students can pursue their own learning.”

      Unnecessary help is thought to hinder growth. Helping a student with something they can do on their own leads to too much reliance on adults. When students seek help from peers, on the other hand, this can spark insight and lead to excitement.

      Pat Payne, mother of Jasmine (age 10) at River Valley school in Calgary, Alberta, sees the value of the Montessori teaching method:

      “There’s lots of focus on personalized learning. Kids really become engaged in their work when they help choose it themselves. Jasmine loves working both with her friends and by herself. She loves asking lots of questions, and trying to solve problems with a group.”

      Yet, she sees the teacher’s role as pivotal:

      “The teachers are interested and attentive. They really care about the kids. They treat them as individuals, and make sure they find special learning opportunities.”

      In most Montessori classes, teachers don’t give students tests or assignments. Nor do they grade work, except in high school (and sometimes middle school). Instead, they guide and monitor the progress of students.

      Each student’s progress is tracked by following them for around three years. Teachers gauge progress by the handling of materials, accuracy of written work, ability to transfer concepts to new situations, and in other ways.

      Sometimes teachers have a non-teaching assistant. The role of the assistant is to observe the class and assist students who need help. Assistants are meant to support teachers and allow them to give lessons and engage students in tasks.

      Teacher-to-student ratio: it’s the law

      In the past, the teaching ratio in many classes was 1 trained Montessori teacher (and perhaps 1 non-teaching assistant) to 25 or more students. Due to government regulations in Canada, the teacher-to-student ratio has been lowered in Montessori preschool (toddler rooms and primary school). In toddler rooms (ages 0 to 3), there must be 1 teacher for every 5 students. In primary school (ages 3 to 6), there must be 1 teacher for every 8 students.

      Teacher-to-student ratios for elementary, middle, and high schools (unlike preschools) aren’t mandated. In these schools, the teacher-to-student ratio tends to be higher, such as 25 or 20 to 1, for each class.

      Like its classroom policies and learning environment, the Montessori curriculum is unique. For most subjects, the focus is on concrete and experiential learning. Below, we outline the Montessori teaching method for math, science, reading, writing, and language.

      Keep in mind, though, Montessori curricular approaches vary between different levels. To learn how the Montessori approach evolves through the years, read our guide to Montessori curriculum.

      Math learning is very concrete and hands-on. There’s little direct instruction in math. Instead, teachers guide and counsel. This is similar to the discovery approach to math instruction, and unlike the traditional approach.

      Students work with many concrete materials to learn skills and concepts. They use self-correcting manipulatives, which allow them to find and correct their own mistakes. They also use sandpaper numbers, number rods, spindle boxes, golden bead material, bead frames, fraction insets, and sequin boards.

      Montessori math starts with concrete learning. For instance, in arithmetic, students learn the names of the numbers by identifying numerals and objects. They then move on to more abstract and complex concepts.

      The content for math is divided into categories that allow students to grasp increasingly challenging concepts. And usually, brief lessons cover these categories in a special order. But most work is done independently or in groups. And the pace of study varies between students.

      Science learning, similar to math, is experiential. It’s very concrete and hands-on, with little direct instruction. This is similar to the inquiry approach to science instruction, and unlike the expository approach.

      Students are rarely taught scientific subjects on their own. Instead, there’s an interdisciplinary focus: students learn several subjects (scientific and non-scientific) at once. For instance, they might be given a great lesson about the beginning of the world, where they’ll learn about science, history, and theology.

      Students are free to explore in and out of the classroom. They learn about the world through problem-solving and trial and error.

      In secondary schools, some science lectures are given. There also might be some textbook learning at this level. This is especially true in high school, where provincial curricular requirements must be met.

      Reading is also very concrete, with little direct instruction. It combines two common approaches: phonics and whole language. The phonics approach is far more of a focus, though.

      Teachers take advantage of the sensitive period for reading—between the ages of three and five—during which children are more able to learn how to read. Children first learn to read (and write) through concrete material and sensory activities. For instance, they learn to trace sandpaper letters, and how to hold a pencil and control its use. This allows them to develop fine motor skills, and learn through many of their senses.

      When children have learned some letters, they use what’s called a “movable alphabet.” These cardboard or wooden letters allow children to construct words, phrases, and sentences.

      This sets the stage for phonics: sounding out letters and joining them together to form words. Children begin to distinguish sounds, and phonetically read words, phrases, and sentences.

      As part of the whole language approach, children are then given reading cards. These allow them to practice matching words with objects and pictures. There’s also a lot of focus on comprehension. Children are given special material to learn the meanings of words and sentences and the basics of grammar.

      After they’ve learned the basics, children are given books to read (usually non-fiction books). Often, many illustrated books about the real world are provided. Most schools also provide plenty of reading activities related to special topics of interest.

      Children learn to write before reading. They start writing between the ages of three and four. During this sensitive period, they’re thought to be attracted to the order of writing, and can easily learn this skill.

      Writing, like reading and math, isn’t taught by direct instruction. The focus is on practising writing and doing engaging exercises. This resembles the process approach to writing instruction, and is unlike the systematic approach.

      Children first work with moveable alphabets. They then learn how to hold a pencil, practice different strokes, and learn about pencil pressure. This improves their fine-motor skills and builds up their finger and hand muscles.

      Special writing exercises are also given. These allow children to realize writing is not just “making marks.” This also helps them improve their handwriting. They then learn to write creatively, and express themselves in unique ways.

      There are several aspects of language. These include spoken and written language, reading, and spelling. These skills are taught together.

      The Montessori classroom is designed to promote language skills. Language use is encouraged in the classroom, partly by giving students plenty of freedom to speak with their peers. Students also speak with teachers a lot. Oral language skills are refined through songs, games, poems, and stories.

      In the language area of the classroom, vocabulary is enriched in many ways. Precise names are used for all objects. Object classification and matching exercises are also used to improve comprehension and vocabulary.

      Students mostly move at their own pace in learning to speak, read, and write. There’s no strict time frame for developing these skills, unlike in many mainstream schools. Teachers do, though, take advantage of the sensitive periods for learning these skills.

      Sensitive periods

      Sensitive periods refer to periods of time where children’s developmental needs are pressing. Paula Polk Lillard (1972) describes them as “blocks of time in a child’s life when he is absorbed with one characteristic of his environment to the exclusion of all others.”

      Examples of sensitive periods are the development of walking, talking, and the interest in detailed objects and people (Lillard, 1972). Teachers use these periods to cultivate core skills, such as reading, writing, and math.

      Montessori Schools
      Montessori classrooms are very social and collaborative. They have lots of interaction and student-to-student teaching.

      We’ve looked at different types of Montessori schools and their classroom policies. We’ve also looked at the Montessori curriculum and teaching methods. And, we’ve discussed many of the benefits of this approach.

      Below, we go into the benefits of Montessori education in far more detail. In particular, we describe many, though not all, of the academic and social benefits it can have for your child.

      To learn about the research behind some of these claims, read our Montessori benefits guide.

      • Early academics: There’s an early focus on developing cognitive skills. This can lead to positive learning and academic outcomes, such as getting a head-start, good grades, and positive attitudes about school.

      • Flexible learning: Learning is quite flexible. This means advanced students can move more quickly through the curriculum, feeling challenged and engaged. It also means students who struggle can move more slowly, avoiding frustration and disengagement.

      • Concrete learning: The focus on hands-on learning, especially in the lower levels, can lead to better focus and engagement. It can also lead to more efficient learning.

      • Student-to-student teaching: Older students teach and mentor younger students. This helps both master material and move through the curriculum more quickly.

      • Increased concentration: Recent research in neuroscience (Lillard, 2005) shows uninterrupted work periods can boost children’s focus, concentration, and discipline. This can reap huge rewards down the line.

      • Love of learning: Students have a lot of freedom to choose their work. This can lead to a long-term love of learning, both in and outside of school.
      • Social skills: The structure of the class and the guidance of the teacher allow students to develop key social skills. These include communication, respect, cooperation, and sharing. Such skills are also modelled and reinforced by older peers.

      • Independence and responsibility: Students are taught at a young age to take care of the classroom, clean up after themselves, and practical skills, such as cooking. This promotes independence, confidence, and responsibility.

      • Moral education: Students are morally educated by the teacher (through short lessons and guidance) and peers (through interaction and modelling). There’s also focus on contributing to society and becoming better citizens of the world.

      Montessori education has a lot of benefits for students of different ages and learning styles. Yet, like other approaches, it’s encountered criticism. As far back as the early 20th century, the American philosopher and educator John Dewey, and his student William Heard Kilpatrick, denounced the Montessori approach. In fact, Kilpatrick went on a crusade against it, attacking it in a popular pamphlet.

      More recently, Chattin-McNichols and Weiss (1998), and Lopata, Wallace, and Finn (2005) have critiqued Montessori education. While they don’t dismiss it outright, they raise a number of concerns with it.

      Below, we look at some of the concerns raised by critics of Montessori education. We’ll also discuss potential responses to these concerns, as well as some controversial questions that call out for further study.

       ConcernPossible responsesRemaining questions
      • Learning is introduced too early. This leaves little time for free play. There’s some support for the value of play-based learning.
      • Some free-play time is allowed in preschool and elementary school, such as recess. Also, it’s not clear whether free-play time is conducive to learning.
      • What is the value of play-based learning? Can some things be learned in free-play time that can’t be learned in class?
      • Concrete learning isn’t effective for high-level studies. Some lecturing and textbook learning is needed for this.
      • Short lectures are sometimes given. And most middle and high schools have less concrete and more abstract learning. Also, it’s not clear how effective lectures and textbooks are.
      • How effective are lectures and textbook learning? Are they essential in elementary, middle, or high schools?
      • Some students don’t do well without a conventional classroom structure. They learn better when sitting at desks and facing the front of the class.
      • Students tend to learn better independently and through interaction. Once they get used to a decentralized classroom, they thrive in it.
      • What are the benefits of a conventional classroom? Do some students do better in this setting than a decentralized one?
      • Some students have trouble going from a conventional to a Montessori classroom, and vice versa.
      • This may be true, but it’s quite rare. When it occurs, teachers, support staff, and family can help with the transition.
      • What kinds of issues can arise when making these transitions? Can the issues that occur mostly be dealt with quite smoothly?
      • Pretend play isn’t encouraged. But, it enables children to act out and imagine different possibilities. This can nurture creativity: in the arts, writing, music, and other areas. It also can improve language skills.
      • Pretend play is sometimes allowed and rarely discouraged (especially in preschool). Also, it’s not clear whether pretend play nurtures creativity. Finally, children need and prefer to do things in the real world.
      • What’s the value of pretend play? Does pretend play detach children from reality (in a harmful way)?
      • All or most subjects are taught by core teachers. Some subjects, though, are best taught by specialist teachers. These may include foreign languages, art, music, and gym.
      • Some classes are taught by specialist teachers. This is common in elementary and secondary schools. And, core teachers have the skill and knowledge to teach many subjects at the lower levels.
      • Do many teachers have the ability to teach a wide range of subjects? If so, what level should they do this up to?
      • Students aren’t formally assessed or graded. But, this is needed to track their progress and motivate them.
      • Progress is tracked through observation, reports, and developmental rubrics. Also, students are best motivated by choosing tasks that interest them.
      • Are reports and developmental rubrics enough to assess progress? Are all students best motivated by choosing their own tasks?
      • Computers, interactive whiteboards, and tablets are rarely, if ever, used. This prevents students from acquiring digital literacy.
      • Young children don’t need much screen time; in fact, this impedes learning and development. Older children are sometimes allowed to use computers or tablets for specific things, like research. Also, digital literacy can (and likely will) be learned outside of school.
      • What amount and kinds of screen time are harmful? How important is digital literacy, and should it be taught in school?
      • Young children need plenty of supervision and instruction to develop proper social skills and behaviour. Due to high teacher-to-student ratios, this often isn’t provided.
      • Many programs now have a low teacher-to-student ratio (due to legal requirements and other factors). These programs teach proper social skills and behaviour. Also, proper behaviour is modelled and reinforced by older peers and teachers.
      • How are proper behaviour and social skills best learned? Is much direct instruction by an adult necessary? Should older peers play a big role here?
      • Children don’t get enough free-play time (such as recess). They thus don’t have enough chances for spur-of-the-moment fun. They also may not get enough exercise.
      • Preschools and elementary schools usually have one or two daily recesses. Also, children can do fun things in class. What’s more, they get plenty of exercise from moving around in class so much.
      • Do children get enough exercise in class? Is free play the best way to excite and enliven young children?

      There are plenty of reasons to pursue a Montessori education. And, many students are a great fit for it. But is Montessori for everyone? Maybe, but it’s worth looking more closely at this question.

      Below, we outline which students may be suitable for Montessori education. Just keep in mind: there’s far more to deciding whether Montessori is right for your child than the points below. This table is meant to stimulate your thinking, not replace it. Also, note that your child might display traits from both columns.

      Montessori education may be suitable for students who: Montessori education may not be suitable for students who:
      • Are independent
      • Are intrinsically motivated learners
      • Are good at taking directions
      • Have good work habits
      • Enjoy concrete learning
      • Enjoy self-directed learning
      • Enjoy project-based learning
      • Have strong academic skills
      • Have good social skills
      • Enjoy plenty of imaginative play
      • Are externally motivated
      • Prefer a conventional classroom structure
      • Prefer a standardized curriculum
      • Prefer lectures

      Bear in mind, this table doesn’t focus on specific schools. What’s most important is to look at the school itself, to see whether it’s the right fit for your child. Much further down, we provide advice for choosing a school.

      To find a Montessori school near you, see our list. You can also compare schools by their academics, tuition, and financial aid.

      Assuming Montessori is right your child, you’ll want to find a school that’s a good fit. In your search for the right school, it’s important to consult with teachers, educators, and (often) your child.

      Start looking at schools early, as much as a year before applying. You can research them here on this site (starting with our list of schools), on individual school websites, at open houses, during on-site visits, at our annual school expos, and other venues.

      You’ll need to reflect on several questions during this process.

      Consider exactly what you’re looking for in a Montessori school, and why. Your focus should not just be on the school, but on the fit between the school and your child. It’s important, then, to be clear about your child’s personality, learning style, and academic abilities.

      Here are some questions to get you started:

      Then you need to put some thought into the following:

      You want to have some idea of the kind of environment your child will thrive in academically, socially, physically, and emotionally. With this in mind, you can make the best decision for your child.

      There are some standard questions to ask schools when investigating them.

      Beyond those, there are also specific questions to ask Montessori schools. These include:

      Montessori Schools
      The Montessori teaching method is innovative. Teachers provide guidance and short lessons, but rarely give whole-class lectures.
      Preschool (toddler and primary)Elementary and secondary schools
      • Do you have indoor and outdoor free-play time, and if so, how much?
      • Do you offer play-based learning?
      • What is your approach to developing social skills?
      • How strong is your focus on academics?
      • Do you have arts and crafts projects?
      • Do you have uninterrupted work periods, and if so, how long are they?
      • How do you assess the progress of students?
      • What kind of training do your teachers have?
      • Is your school accredited, and if so, by what agency?

      Print this list
      • What is your teacher-to-student ratio?
      • How do you group students by age?
      • Do your teachers provide whole-class lectures, and if so, how often?
      • How long are your uninterrupted work periods, and do you have more than one per day?
      • Do you have specialist classes and teachers, and if so, what kinds?
      • Do you have tests or assignments?
      • Do you grade any work, and if so, what kind and how often?
      • If not, how do you assess student progress?
      • Do you assign or encourage homework?
      • Do you use any modern-day technology, and if so, what kinds and in what ways?
      • What kind of training do your teachers have?
      • Is your school accredited, and if so, by what agency?

      Print this list

      To learn more about the Montessori preschool approach, read our guide to Montessori preschools and comparison of Montessori to other preschools and daycares. To learn about preschools in general, read our guide to preschool, kindergarten, and daycare. If you’re interested in Montessori primary and secondary schools, check out our guides to Montessori elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.

      When it comes to choosing a Montessori school, you’ll want to look at its classroom policies. You’ll also want to consider its culture, philosophy, learning environment, and developmental aims, among other things.

      There’s no such thing, though, as the best Montessori school. What’s important is the fit between the school and your child (and family). Yet, there are some things you should look for, in any Montessori school, to find the right fit. They include the following:

      If you want more advice on choosing the right Montessori school, see our Montessori choosing guide and checklist for Montessori education.

      There is a formal application process for most Montessori schools. The application materials required will be similar to those required for any private school. These may include:

      In some cases, though, they may also include:

      The application process varies widely for different Montessori schools. Most schools, though, focus a lot on in- and out-of-class observations of your child (especially if they’re coming from a non-Montessori school). They aim to get a full picture of your child’s academic and social/emotional profile. This helps them decide whether they’re a good fit for your child.

      The right outlook to have is that the school is working with you, not against you. For more general advice on applying to private schools, see our “getting in” guide. For more information on private schools in general, see our private school basics guide.

      The role of teachers

      The quality of any Montessori program is closely linked to the quality of the teachers running it. Teachers with proper training and strong abilities can often provide the right learning environment for your child. On the other hand, teachers without this expertise often can’t.

      It’s important, then, to inquire about the training and credentials of teachers. You should ask school officials whether teachers have specialized Montessori training, as well as what other training and education they might have. You should also ask whether teachers are offered any form of ongoing professional development, such as classes, workshops, or seminars in Montessori education.

      When choosing a Montessori school, cost can be a factor. You want to find a school that’s a good fit for your child. But you also need a school that’s at a price you can afford.

      Private Montessori schools tend to be reasonably priced. And, they’re typically on the lower side of private school tuition in general. They can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $30,000 per year.

      Pricing will vary based on several different factors. For instance, the size, location, level of schooling, and resources can affect the cost of tuition. And of course, boarding schools will tend to be more expensive than regular day schools.

      In general, though, there are plenty of affordable Montessori schools in Canada. And keep in mind, if a school provides you with childcare, this may be tax deductible. The amount that is deducted is based on the part of the day devoted to childcare, such as after school supervision.

      Many Montessori schools, like other private schools, offer funding to families. The two main kinds of funding are needs-based and merit-based financial aid.

      Needs-based: If you can demonstrate need, some schools will help finance your child’s education. They might offer you a bursary to help you cover tuition and possibly even room and board (if your child is in a boarding school).

      Merit-based: Some schools also offer merit-based financial aid. Based on certain criteria, such as academics or athletics, your child may be offered a scholarship that helps pay for their schooling.

      Scholarships are less common than bursaries. They also tend to provide less support. But every little bit helps. So, don’t be afraid to apply. On OurKids.net, we list scholarships offered by private schools in Canada.

      Montessori Schools
      Montessori schools and programs are a great fit for students who are independent, enjoy concrete learning, and like choosing some of their own work.

      Not all Montessori schools are accredited, but many are. And sometimes this can factor into your decision about which school is the right fit.

      There are many accrediting centres for Montessori schools in Canada, the United States, and elsewhere. Below, we list of some of the main ones. Some of these centres align to some extent with a classic or supplementary approach.

      Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators: The Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA) is a Canadian, not-for-profit centre. The CCMA “provides a unified voice in negotiations with government and other agencies.” It’s an accrediting centre and provides teacher training programs. The CCMA is the dominant accrediting centre in Canada. There are 91 CCMA-accredited Montessori schools in Canada, most of which are in Ontario.

      On the CCMA website, you can find the criteria for becoming a member school. You can also find a list of accredited CCMA member schools.

      Association Montessori Internationale: The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) was established by Maria Montessori and her son, Mario, in 1929. Its main headquarters are in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. AMI schools often have a classic curriculum, with three-year age groupings, large classes, and high teacher-to-student ratios. They also often have few lectures and less free-play time. There are 11 AMI Montessori schools in Canada (8 in Ontario, 1 in Quebec, 1 in British Columbia, and 1 in Alberta).

      American Montessori Society: In the late 1960s, Nancy McCormick Rambusch, an AMI Montessori trained teacher, founded the American Montessori Society (AMS). She believed the Montessori method had to be modified to adapt to the culture in North America. In AMS schools, the Montessori curriculum is supplemented with resources, materials, and ideas used in more mainstream schools. Examples include the use of specialist teachers and classes, arts and crafts projects, commercial games and puzzles, and computers. AMS only accredits schools in the United States.

      Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education: The Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) is an internationally recognized, standards setting, and certifying body for Montessori teacher education. MACTE certifies teachers but not schools. It also provides teacher training.

      International Montessori Council: The International Montessori Council (IMC) is a global community of Montessori schools, teacher education programs, school administrators, educators, trustees, parent leaders, and friends of the Montessori movement. Members of the IMC are dedicated to “enriching the lives of children and adults through Montessori education by promoting Maria Montessori’s insights to the general public.” The IMC is an accrediting institution. It doesn’t have a teacher training program, though.

      As mentioned, teachers play a huge role in Montessori programs. They really impact their value. The quality of teachers can sometimes make the difference between an effective and an ineffective program. You should look closely, then, at the credentials of the teachers of any school you’re considering.

      There are many Montessori teacher training centres. Some also accredit schools, including AMI and AMS.

      Some Montessori training centres don’t accredit schools, though. The main one in North America is MACTE. In Canada, most teachers are trained by AMI or MACTE, though some are trained by AMS (which is affiliated with MACTE).

      The main AMI training centres in Canada are the Foundations for Montessori education, in Toronto, Ontario, and the Montessori Training Centre of BC, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Both these training centres have strict standards of evaluation. These are sanctioned by a governing body: Montessori Quality Assurance (Assurance Qualité Montessori).

      Different training centres use different approaches to train teachers. There are also different training courses for each level of education. Oral and written exams are required by most training centres.

      The standard Montessori training is a full year of graduate work for each of the main three age-levels: 0-3, 3-6, and 6-12. There’s a wide range of teacher preparation, though.

      Some teachers take intensive, year-long graduate courses. For instance, this is standard for AMI Montessori teachers.

      “When it comes to choosing a Montessori school, you’ll want to look at its classroom policies. You’ll also want to consider its culture, philosophy, learning environment, and developmental aims, among other things.”

      Sandra Girilato, director of training at Montessori Quality Assurance (MQA), sets the record straight. As she points out, MQA ensures that AMI-trained teachers are well prepared. “All AMI-trained teachers in Canada must take a full-time, 9-month training course which employs strict criteria of evaluation sanctioned by MQA.”

      Of course, some teachers have less rigorous training. In fact, some have simply read some of Maria Montessori’s books and applied some of her ideas in a school setting.

      Due to the variance in teacher training, the quality of Montessori teachers and schools also varies widely. It’s important, then, to inquire about the expertise of teachers. This can help you decide whether a school is the right fit for your child.

      Teaching: it's elementary

      Elementary school teachers, in addition to regular training, should have a solid foundation in many different subjects. The goal isn’t for them to be experts in everything, but to be guides. As Paula Polk Lillard writes (Montessori Today, 1996), they should be “... a Renaissance person: knowledgeable enough to get, and keep, children interested in a given subject to help direct them to find the answers to their questions independently.”

      Is a public Montessori school right for your child? Maybe, but there aren’t many in Canada.

      There are a few such schools in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta. They usually start in kindergarten or grade 1 and continue until at least grade 6. They also must be licensed by the Ministry of Education and meet provincial requirements. This means that they normally have two-year, instead of three-year, age groupings. It also means they tend to have smaller classes and more direct instruction than private Montessori schools.

      Almost all Montessori schools in Canada are private. Unlike public schools, private schools don’t need to meet provincial curricular standards. They usually do meet them, though, and often surpass them.

      Most private Montessori schools in Canada are accredited through the Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA), headed by Katherine Poyntz. The CCMA requires that these schools meet very strict criteria, related to curriculum and teaching. Here’s how the CCMA describes their accreditation role on their website:

      “The Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA) is an authority and voice for Montessori Administrators in Canada. Accredited member schools and applicant schools are accountable to CCMA for ensuring that qualifying programmes meet the standards and criteria established by the Council. CCMA recognizes teacher training institutes that meet the standards of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and/or the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE).”

      Montessori Schools
      The Montessori approach can be effective for students of many different ages. Its teaching approach is frequently used in preschool and elementary school. It’s also sometimes used in middle and high school.

      If you can’t afford a private Montessori school (and there’s no public one in your area), teaching Montessori at home might be an option for you.

      Affordable Montessori materials can be bought or made. And many Montessori activities and lessons are adaptable.

      For more on this, see Elizabeth G. Hainstock’s Teaching Montessori in the Home: The School Years (1997). You can also attend local workshops to learn how to adapt the method to your child’s needs.

      There is no cut-and-dry method for teaching Montessori in the home. But the American Montessori Society (AMS) suggests a few basic principles.

      Create an ordered environment: Have a place for everything, on a child-friendly scale. Children should know where to find what they need, and where to put it when they’re done. This allows for better focus and fewer distractions.

      Teach real-life skills: Take the time to teach your child to wash tables, organize shelves, prepare meals, and assist younger children. Tasks should be age appropriate.

      Young children, for example, can peel vegetables, fold their clothes, match their socks, and care for pets. Older children can sort the mail and take out the recycling. And, adolescents can make dinner, read to their younger siblings, help with computer and home repair, and manage their own bank account.

      Promote concentration: You can help develop your child’s concentration by observing what interests them. Set your child up with the means to explore their interests, and let them work without interruption.

      While your child’s work should be free from distraction, it doesn’t have to be away from the family. Some children prefer working at the kitchen table or reading in a corner of the living room to working alone. Observe your child’s response to various environments, ask questions, and make changes as needed.

      Nurture inner motivation: Children are most willing to apply themselves when they enjoy and see value in their work. Don’t use external rewards as motivation. And, praise should be given for effort only—not outcomes.

      Many parents believe that a Montessori education is the greatest gift you can give your child.

      Montessori schools, as we’ve seen, are child-centred. They provide a unique learning environment tailored to children with different interests and abilities. And, this can begin as early as preschool or kindergarten.

      “We see it as an individualized approach to education from toddlers to high school,” says Katherine Poyntz, executive director of the Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA). “It’s sort of a buzzword in education now, but this is an approach that encourages curiosity and leads children to ask questions and think for themselves, and that’s central to Montessori.”

      The child-centred approach, introduced by Maria Montessori, is highly effective. Like the Waldorf and Reggio Emilia approach, it tends to produce students who are mature and well rounded. These students tend to have advanced intellectual, social, and practical skills. It also often produces students who are curious, have a love of learning, and are great critical thinkers and problem-solvers.

      It should be no surprise, then, that graduates of Montessori schools have gone on to great things. Many have become world leaders in the arts, culture, business, technology, media, and other sectors. These graduates include:

      What’s more, Montessori education has become more popular over the years. Since the middle of the 20th century, the number of schools has steadily increased worldwide. A rough estimate is that there are 20, 000 schools in the world, 4,500 in the United States, and 500 in Canada. While some of these schools are Montessori in name only, the vast majority are firmly committed to the Montessori philosophy and implementing it in the classroom.

      Montessori Schools
      Montessori schools, similar to Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools, aim to educate the whole child. In addition to academics, they focus a lot on practical skills, moral education, and social development.

      Primary curriculum
      Secondary curriculum
      Curriculum pace
      Academic culture
      Average class size
      Language immersion
      Special needs support
      Tech integration
      Alive Montessori & Private SchoolMontessori10 to 16High
      Bond AcademyLiberal Arts15High
      Central Montessori Schools - York MillsMontessori15 to 24Limited
      Clanmore Montessori SchoolMontessoriHigh
      The Element High SchoolMontessoriMild difficulties
      Forest Hill Montessori SchoolMontessoriLimited
      Momentum MontessoriMontessori15 to 30Mild difficulties
      OMS MontessoriMontessoriModerate
      Royal Cachet Montessori SchoolMontessori3 to 8Limited
      TMS SchoolMontessoriInternational BaccalaureateLimited
      Toronto French MontessoriMontessori15Limited
      Westside Montessori AcademyMontessoriLimited
      Westside Montessori SchoolMontessori10 to 24Mild difficulties
      Century Private SchoolProgressiveMontessori12 to 20High
      Ellington Montessori SchoolMontessoriHigh
      Enquiring Minds Montessori CasaMontessori8 to 24High
      Peel Montessori Private SchoolProgressiveMontessoriHigh
      Rowntree Montessori Schools (RMS)ProgressiveMontessori8 to 18Limited
      Tall Pines SchoolMontessori15 to 18High
      ABC MontessoriTraditionalMontessori12Limited
      Académie Vaudrin AcademyProgressiveMontessori8 to 18High
      Aurora Montessori SchoolMontessori18 to 24Limited
      Avalon Children's Montessori SchoolMontessori12 to 15High
      École Montessori International de MontréalMontessori9 to 15Limited
      BannockburnMontessori12 to 20Limited
      Beyond Montessori SchoolMontessori5 to 15Mild difficulties
      Bishop Hamilton Montessori SchoolMontessoriHigh
      Blaisdale Montessori School - AjaxMontessoriMild difficulties
      Blaisdale Montessori School - BowmanvilleMontessoriMild difficulties
      Blaisdale Montessori School - OshawaMontessoriMild difficulties
      Blaisdale Montessori School - PickeringMontessoriLimited
      Blaisdale Montessori School - ScarboroughMontessoriMild difficulties
      Braemar House SchoolTraditionalMontessori12 to 16Moderate
      Caribbean International Academy -St. MaartenTraditional5 to 15Limited
      Central Montessori Schools - Sheppard CampusMontessori15 to 24Limited
      Cornerstone Montessori Prep SchoolLiberal ArtsMontessori10 to 15High
      Country Garden Montessori AcademyMontessori10 to 15High
      Dearcroft Montessori SchoolMontessori10 to 20High
      Dundas Valley Montessori School / Strata Montessori Adolescent School Montessori15 to 30High
      Durham Elementary, Durham Academy and G.B.M.SProgressiveMontessori8 to 15Limited
      Fairview Glen MontessoriMontessoriHigh
      Guiding Light AcademyProgressiveMontessori5 to 16Limited
      Hatch House Montessori SchoolMontessoriLimited
      High Park Gardens Montessori SchoolMontessori15 to 24Mild difficulties
      Home Sweet Home Montessori AcademyMontessoriMild difficulties
      Humberside Montessori SchoolMontessoriLimited
      J. Addison SchoolTraditional8 to 16Limited
      La Villa Montessori SchoolMontessoriLimited
      Liberty Prep SchoolMontessori10 to 26Mild difficulties
      Maria Montessori SchoolMontessoriLimited
      Meadow Green AcademyTraditionalMontessori12High
      Monkey See Monkey Do MontessoriMontessori20Limited
      Montessori Alberta15 to 25Limited
      The Montessori Country School - Milton CampusMontessoriHigh
      The Montessori Country School - Nobleton CampusMontessoriHigh
      Montessori For ChildrenMontessori16 to 24Limited
      Montessori House of ChildrenMontessori8Limited
      Montessori Jewish Day SchoolMontessori8 to 24High
      Montessori Learning Centre of PickeringMontessoriLimited
      Montessori School of WellingtonMontessori22 to 24Limited
      Northstar Montessori Private SchoolMontessoriLimited
      Odyssey Montessori SchoolMontessori15 to 24Limited
      Prince Edward Montessori SchoolMontessori10 to 16Limited
      River Valley SchoolProgressiveMontessori12 to 18High
      Roots and Wings Montessori SchoolMontessori8 to 20High
      Rotherglen School - MississaugaMontessori18Limited
      Rotherglen School - OakvilleProgressiveMontessori18Limited
      Shepherd Montessori Private Catholic SchoolMontessori10 to 15Limited
      Star AcademyProgressiveMontessori10High
      Summit West Independent SchoolProgressiveHigh
      Taddle Creek Montessori SchoolMontessori16 to 24Mild difficulties
      The Mildenhall SchoolMontessori16 to 24Mild difficulties
      Town Centre Montessori Private SchoolsProgressiveInternational Baccalaureate15 to 24Mild difficulties
      Trillium SchoolMontessoriModerate
      Unionville Montessori Private SchoolsTraditionalMontessori18 to 25High
      Wheatley SchoolMontessoriInternational Baccalaureate15 to 18Moderate
      Wishing Well SchoolsTraditionalMontessori15Mild difficulties
      Yip’s Music & Montessori SchoolLiberal Arts5 to 12High
      York Montessori SchoolLimited

      Tuition (day school)Students receiving financial aidGrade eligibility for financial aidAvg. aid package size (annual)
      Alive Montessori & Private School$13,500 to $14,50020%JK - 8$2,000
      The Element High School$17,448
      OMS Montessori$12,864 to $19,260
      TMS School$20,250 to $25,440K - 12
      Ellington Montessori School$7,900 to $14,0005%1 - 8$3,000
      Avalon Children's Montessori School$13,100 to $14,7505%1 - 8$10,000
      Beyond Montessori School$8,50020%1 - 8$5,000
      Bishop Hamilton Montessori School$11,740 to $15,120Nursery/Toddler - 8
      Montessori Jewish Day School$14,000 to $17,90020%1 - 8$5,000
      Summit West Independent School$8,500 to $10,50020%JK - 12$3,000
      Yip’s Music & Montessori School$10,550 to $10,900

      To discuss Montessori education, visit the Our Kids discussion forum.

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