On this page, we cover private schools in the Ottawa area that offer Montessori programs.
For a more complete guide to Montessori education, including a discussion of the Montessori method and philosophy, start with our introductory guide.
There are lots of private Montessori schools in Ottawa. These schools vary in terms of their classroom practices, curricular approaches, program offerings, and special needs support. The schools listed below reflect this diversity. They can be filtered for a wide range of features.
OMS Montessori (est. 1966)
OMS Montessori (formerly Ottawa Montessori School) is an alternative private school that offers programs from 18 months to High School. [View profile]
|Orthodox||$12,864 to $19,260|
The Element High School (est. 2003)
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]
Bishop Hamilton Montessori School (est. 1983)
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]
|Orthodox||$8,870 to $15,120|
For general advice on how to choose and evaluate private schools, check out our choosing a school guide. For advice on choosing Montessori schools (including preschools), see our main Montessori school guide.
Private school expos are a great starting point for finding a school. Our annual Ottawa private school expo allows you to speak with many private schools, including some Montessori schools—all in one place. The expo is held in the fall.
Another great resource in your school search is the Our Kids parent discussion forum. The forum is an ideal place to discuss options and debate topics related to Montessori schools and preschools. Our community of parents, educational experts, school officials, and alumni can help answer your questions and stimulate your thinking.
Attending open houses is a great way to learn more about schools. For general advice on open house visits, check out our guide on school visits.
The cost of Montessori schools in Ottawa tends to be lower than the cost of other private schools in Ottawa. In fact, Montessori schools are usually on the lower side of private school tuition in general.
Private school tuition can range from $5,000 to over $30,000 per year for day students. There are no public Montessori schools in Ottawa, though some public schools use certain Montessori principles and materials.
Many schools offer needs-based financial aid, such as bursaries or tuition relief. Other schools, though not as many, offer scholarships, which are given based on merit—for instance, in academics or athletics. You can learn more about need- and merit-based financial aid in our dedicated guide.
Below, you’ll find the range of costs for Montessori private schools in Ottawa:
Average class size
Special needs support
|OMS Montessori||Montessori||Student-paced||Supportive||Moderate||Light integration|
|The Element High School||Montessori||Student-paced||Supportive||Mild difficulties||Heavy integration|
|Bishop Hamilton Montessori School||Montessori||Student-paced||Supportive||High||Light integration|
Montessori schools, in Ottawa and other cities, often have large mixed-age classes with high teacher-to-student ratios. They also tend to have lots of interaction, student-to-student teaching, and group and independent work.
Below, the Montessori philosophy and teaching approach is discussed in more detail. For more comprehensive coverage, see our main Montessori school guide.
The Montessori philosophy of education is unique. Some of the main principles of this philosophy are the following:
Student-centred: Students are free to move around the class, choose their own work, and determine the pace of their studies. This can make for a dynamic learning environment. Kids often choose work that’s engaging and stimulating, in this setting, which can give rise to a love of learning.
Uninterrupted work time: Montessori schools give kids lots of uninterrupted work time, especially at the elementary level. In many schools, they’re given at least one 3-hour, uninterrupted work period to focus on their chosen work, free of interruptions. Uninterrupted work periods are believed to improve children’s concentration, self-discipline, and work habits.
Concrete learning: Similar to Waldorf and Reggio Emilia, Montessori learning tends to be concrete and hands-on. At the preschool and elementary level (and sometimes at the secondary level), kids work with lots of different concrete materials, including “manipulatives”—or self-correcting puzzles. They also work with blocks, rods, spindle boxes, and many other materials. Concrete learning engages many of the senses. And, research has shown that it can speed up learning, especially for younger kids.
No external rewards: In preschool and elementary school, kids aren’t given tests or assignments, or graded on any of their work. Kids also aren’t praised very much, and when they are praised, it’s for effort—not outcome. Progress is assessed informally, through observation and developmental rubrics, rather than formally, through grades or report cards.
Montessori teachers rarely provide direct instruction. They almost never stand at the front of the class and lecture to all the students. And when they do lecture, the lectures are usually short, interactive, and engaging.
More often, though, teachers move around the class, and give lessons to or guide students. They usually work with students one-on-one or in small groups. They often encourage students to repeat and practice activities, and they plan projects to meet each student’s learning needs. Their primary role is to connect students with their work, rather than to impart knowledge to them. Teachers are thus viewed more as “guides” or “mentors” than “teachers” in the traditional sense.
Montessori schools, in Ottawa and other cities, have mixed-age classes, with kids aged 0-3 (toddler), 3-6 (primary), 6-9 (lower-elementary), 9-12 (upper elementary), and so on. The mixed-age classroom informs the teaching approach and learning environment.
Most Montessori classes have lots of group work. Kids work together in small groups on projects and tasks, with some guidance from the teacher. Kids help each other, and older kids often mentor their younger classmates, by helping with them with their work and modelling appropriate behaviour.
This can reinforce knowledge and skills learned in the classroom, for both older and younger kids. It can also be an effective approach for children with advanced learning needs.
Ottawa Montessori schools focus on the development of the whole child by applying the Montessori method of self-directed learning. Each of the schools under the umbrella of Montessori, use the principles differently, with different emphases.
Montessori schools in Ottawa are no different from the Montessori system around the world in that not all these schools strictly follow the Montessori method or philosophy. So, be sure to fully investigate the school with a visit or interview, so that you fully understand how teachers will educate your children.
Montessori schools in Ottawa have a history dating back at least 40 years; the province of Ontario was, in fact, home to the first Montessori school in all of North America. The Montessori school curriculum is focused on providing stimulation and moral development opportunities to children aged 18 months to the mid-level grades and higher.
Graduates of these programs look back on their teachers and education with fondness. Montessori students benefit immensely from the multi-age class. As these schools are often smaller than public schools, they also tend to have a close-knit environment and a warm community feel.