Toronto, ON | Grades PS - 6 | Shortlist
Before we came to Alive Montessori & Private School, my son disliked school. He dreaded every morning and as soon he entered the playground he would shut down. On his first morning at Alive he was timid and I left him at school with tears in his eyes, little did I know this was the last time he would have this reaction to school ever again. When I ask him what he loves most about his school he always tells me the same thing. He tells me how much he loves the variety that the school offers. They make learning fun and cater to what interests him while focusing on the core fundamentals of literacy and numeracy. He loves that he is able to express himself emotionally without judgment in a space that encourages and truly attempts to understand the emotional intelligence of the child.
The staff at Alive are the most caring group of individuals that I have ever encountered. They take the time to get to know your child and you as a parent. They have an open-door policy for any concerns that you may have with your child. We are contacted for special events, field trips and daily activities through pictures and small messages that make you as a parent feel as if you are with your child. If problems arise they do not hide behind newsletters, emails, or notes; the issue is addressed privately and is personable with finding a solution that will always be in the best interest of your child and family.
The school is conveniently located in a neighborhood with beautiful trees and you feel safe walking with your child. It is accessible by public transportation and is walking distance to many outside resources such as the library, skating rink, and track field. The children spend plenty of time outside in better weather and get to know the neighborhood they see on a daily basis.
The parent community at Alive is welcoming to all. The parents are encouraged to share their stories of what brought them to Alive and how their child has changed since coming to the school. I have met many parents and although they are not in my son's grade - have gotten to know them well. Parents are always encouraged and accepted with open arms at the school and participating in any way they would like. If there is a subject or special request that you have an interest in and would like to share with the school they go out of their way to accommodate it into the school schedule. I have always felt that they go above and beyond to put parents at ease and are always willing to teach the children diversity.
My son adores going to school. He thinks every day is an adventure and is always eager to share his outside experiences with his teachers and peers. He feels confident in his comments and loves sharing what he learns with everyone he encounters. The teachers at Alive foster his curiosity of the unknown by researching his interests and making sure he understands that he is heard and respected. They will incorporate the interest your child has into the curriculum. Alive Montessori aims to make everyone feel included and heard, they are a small community of individuals who truly care about your child. They will never make you feel like an outsider or that your concerns are not being heard.
The teachers at Alive Montessori & Private School are well-rounded. The teachers are all very knowledgeable in the subjects they teach and ensure that if they do not know something to ask for support from someone else. The school focuses on your child's understanding of the fundamental of literacy and numeracy, through these skills they are able to grasp new concepts faster. The school does not only focus on academics but also on life skills. They learn the importance of cooking, cleaning, manners, and hygiene. The children bake, care for animals and are given duties that help strengthen their confidence and independence. Alive is great at exposing your child to the real-world environment by having community clean up days and bringing in different cultures and religions to the classroom. Outside resources are brought in to aid the teachers in enriching the children's experiences. Just to name a few of the instructors encountered are a professional Russian ballerina, actress, artist, singer, and martial arts instructor.
Alive Montessori has a Montessori, Waldorf approach to Curriculum. Waldorf schools are unmistakably "progressive". Rudolf Steiner, their intellectual forefather, believed the educator's first task should be to help students develop an aesthetic appreciation for life and learning. Waldorf schools focus on developing the "whole child" - emphasizing collaborative, hands-on learning, along with the arts and music, which are integrated into other areas of study. Particularly popular in the younger grades (preschool to elementary), Montessori schools offer an alternative vision to the standard lesson format of most classrooms. Instead of listening to whole-class lessons, Montessori classrooms allow students to choose which "tasks" or activities interest them. A strong emphasis is therefore placed on lessons being concrete and rooted in practical experience, along with students developing a sense of self-sufficiency, confidence, and curiosity.
The schools curriculum incorporates extracurricular activities into school life. The children learn various instruments, chess, computers, cooking, dancing (Salsa) and those are just to name a few. The variety of subjects your child is exposed to creates a well-rounded child. The school does not engage in competitions with other schools because they are a smaller school but the amount of attention and time your child has to master these skills is extremely beneficial. I feel the school provides the right context to help the student develop a well-rounded character.
The student body at Alive Montessori & Private school is a caring, smaller sized community. The children learn to care and respect one another despite their age differences. The older children act as leaders and mentors to the younger ones and help develop their sense of independence through gaining confidence. The children enjoy the company of their peers and love birthdays at Alive. The school and students ensure every child feels important especially on their birthdays. The class sizes are small which allows the students to receive individual attention and support when they need it. The children that may posses stronger skills in one area jump at the opportunity to help those that might need help. The most important thing the student's possess is their sense of respect for another and the emotional intelligence they have developed.