On this page, we cover private and independent schools in British Columbia (BC) that offer Montessori programs and support. This includes schools in Vancouver, Victoria, Surrey, Burnaby, and Richmond.
For a more comprehensive guide to Montessori education, including a discussion of the Montessori school curriculum, method, and philosophy, start with our introductory guide.
There are lots of private Montessori schools in British Columbia. 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.
Westside Montessori Academy (est. 2008)
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]
|$5,175 to $11,000|
The Maria Montessori School (est. 1991)
Authentic Montessori Preschool. Students completing our 3 year program at The Maria Montessori School test extremely well. We balance academics, exploration and skills guided by your child's natural interests. [View profile]
|Orthodox||$2,500 to $4,000|
For general advice on how to choose and evaluate private schools, check out our choosing a school guide and expert advice guide. For advice on selecting Montessori schools (including preschools), see our Montessori choosing guide. You can also read our preschool choosing guide.
Private school expos are a great starting point for finding a school, at any level. We have annual private school expos in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, and Halton-peel. These expos allow you to speak with lots of private schools in Canada, many of which are Montessori schools, all in one place. Find a Montessori school near you.
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 British Columbia tends to be lower than the cost of other private schools in British Columbia. In fact, Montessori schools are usually on the lower side of private school tuition in general.
Private and independent school tuition can range from $5,000 to over $30,000 per year for day students. There are no public Montessori schools in British Columbia, though some public schools use certain Montessori principles and materials.
Many schools offer needs-based financial aid, such as bursaries or tuition relief. Other schools, though not as many, offer scholarships, which are given based on merit—for instance, in academics or athletics. You can learn more about need- and merit-based financial aid in our dedicated guide. You can also read our guide to preschool costs.
Below, you’ll find the range of costs for Montessori private schools in British Columbia:
|Tuition (day school)||Students receiving financial aid||Grade eligibility for financial aid||Avg. aid package size (annual)|
Average class size
Special needs support
Westside Montessori Academy
|Montessori||Student-paced||Supportive||No support||Light integration|
The Maria Montessori School
|Montessori||Student-paced||Supportive||18 to 20||No support|
Montessori schools, in British Columbia and other provinces, have unique classroom practices. Some of the main ones are the following (for more comprehensive coverage, see our main Montessori school guide):
Self-directed work: Kid do lots of independent work. While the learning environment provides some structure, kids often choose their own tasks and learning materials. With some guidance from the teacher, they also determine the pace of their studies. This allows kids to do work they find stimulating and that they’re likely to complete. It can also lead to a love of learning, sometimes a long-lasting one.
Concrete learning: The main focus is on concrete learning, rather than abstract learning. Especially at the primary and elementary level, Montessori students work with lots of different concrete materials to learn important skills and concepts. Concrete learning engages many of the senses. And research has shown that it benefits many kids.
No tests or grades: Similar to Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools, Montessori schools almost never test students or give them assignments. Moreover, student work isn’t graded, except in high school (and sometimes middle school). Instead, student progress is informally assessed through observation and developmental rubrics. The belief is that kids should be intrinsically motivated—by doing meaningful work they enjoy and find fulfilling—rather externally motivated (by grades, report cards, and the like).
Individualized curriculum: Montessori schools focus heavily on academics, even sometimes at the primary school level (3-6). Kids must master the basics in math, science, the language arts, and other subjects. They can then move on to more advanced work.
The curricular focus and pace, though, will differ between children. Each child will move at a different pace and study subjects in different ways, depending on their specific learning needs and interests. Each student will also have their own individualized learning plan, one that’s arrived at by both the student and teacher.
In Montessori schools in BC and other provinces, subjects are almost never taught in isolation. Typically, several subjects are taught together, as part of an “integrated curriculum.”
For instance, biology or chemistry aren’t taught as single subjects, except possibly in high school (and maybe middle school). Rather, they’ll be taught as part of an integrated unit. To this end, a teacher might deliver a “great lesson” on the beginning of life, where kids learn about biology, chemistry, history, religion, and other subjects.
An integrated curriculum can be very rewarding for students. It encourages them to make connections between ideas and concepts from a variety of disciplines. It also can lead to positive learning outcomes, such as a broadening of knowledge and a wider range of interests.
Unlike traditional schools, though, Montessori schools don’t deliver this curriculum through direct instruction. Teachers rarely, if ever, give long lectures or lessons. When lessons are given, they tend to be shorter and more interactive and engaging than lectures given in traditional schools.
Instead of lecturing, teachers tend to work with individuals or small groups of students. Their main role is to be a facilitator: they provide the necessary support and guidance for students to complete their work.
Sometimes, though, teachers will just sit back and observe kids work. Often, this will be group work, where small groups of kids come together (of their own accord) to work on different tasks and projects. The belief is that classmates often do a better job of teaching than the head teacher. In particular, older kids can excel at teaching and mentoring their younger peers, and modelling appropriate behaviour to them. The teacher, in these situations, will intervene or provide guidance only when absolutely necessary.
Maria Montessori developed her system of education in the early 1900's. Her philosophy calls for free activity within a prepared environment. The educational environment is tailored to basic human personality and to the specific characteristics of children of different ages.
Your son or daughter's teachers do not merely tell students what he or she must know, but self-directed learning is the core aspect of Montessori education. The teacher acts more like a mentor or observer who directs when needed and assists when called upon. Montessori education emphasizes independence, freedom, and respect for a child's natural psychological development.
There are great Montessori schools in British Columbia, such as in Vancouver. These schools are much less concerned with number or letter evaluations than other types of schools are. Instead, they focus on the holistic development of your child.
Modern Montessori teacher training centers and schools are very well developed in British Columbia. The Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA) helps schools implement the most innovative and effective education strategies or tools.
The Montessori method of education serves the needs of children of all levels of mental and physical ability, as they learn together in a group-oriented environment. The Montessori practice is dynamic because the meeting of needs is continual and tailored for each student.
At a Montessori Casa preschool, your child will be part of practical living activities (i.e. zipping, sweeping, dusting, buttoning, brushing) in a classroom that is intended exclusively for preschool children. In addition, Montessori students are often in classes with different age groups. This way younger children learn from older children and older children learn how to be mentors.