REVIEW OF Enquiring Minds Montessori BY parent, Lisa Wayment
- Date of Review
July 26, 2023
- Child 1
Preschool - Gr. 6 (Female, Current Day Student)
- Child 2
Preschool - Gr. 4 (Male, Current Day Student)
(5) Student Experience
Since the very first day that both my children began at Enquiring Minds, their educational journey has been incredible. They have both had the opportunity to learn and experience opportunities that cover a broad spectrum of knowledge not only focused on the basics of maths, language, and science but also artistic opportunities such as music and cultural arts. The teachers and teacher assistants at this school are phenomenal and their own knowledge about childhood development and how to tailor their approach to ensure that your child is truly absorbing and implementing the skills that they are developing to a level far beyond their age category is fantastic. Enquiring Minds Montessori is truly outstanding as a scholastic facility. My children have been very fortunate to have a fabulous educational journey thus far.
(5) School Leadership
The leadership at Enquiring Minds is truly a group that is solely focused on the best learning opportunities for their students. They are responsive and clearly very engaged in ensuring the best experience for their students. Whenever I have had a question or concern I have never had an issue with reaching the administration and they have always been very good about ensuring that they loop back to confirm that the resolution has been satisfactory. The leaders are also very open to change and certainly are consistently engaged with others to ensure that the school environment maintains itself at the highest caliber level. I am also impressed with the communication and engagement with the parents including a weekly newsletter and multiple parent/teacher events offered throughout the year which enables one to truly be kept up to date on what is happening within the school and with your own child.
I have never encountered the caliber of teachers that I have met since my children began at this school. They have all been extremely knowledgeable individuals that clearly have a strong love of learning and impart that to the students. They have all been very passionate about providing learning opportunities for their students not only about just the basics but also about life skills that will carry them forward for years to come. The teachers also challenge their students to truly work to achieve the best that they can do and balance that with the recognition of their efforts on a regular basis. They provide on a monthly basis parent education nights which demonstrates the curriculum and I will say I have also learned from these events.
Enquiring Minds has a very diverse academic program that focuses on both science and arts. The focus truly is on allowing the child to help self-regulate through structure choices in learning development. The Montessori method truly enables children to embed the concepts into their brains which allows them to progress quite rapidly within a variety of subjects. The culture is truly focused on the children developing initiative and planning skills to help set the pace for their day of learning. The program also includes creative arts such as photography, violin, dance, and painting to name a few which is incredibly important to balance a child's knowledge development. The academics at the school have truly prepared both my children for the next levels of learning that they will be engaged with for years to come.
As this is a smaller school at the present time there are no extracurricular activities in the form that most would describe however during the academic day there are a variety of activities that would support learning outside of the basic academics. Children have the opportunity to learn how to play the violin and are practicing at the Royal Conservatory level including completing the examination process. They have acrobatics and tap lessons which again are within accredited programs and the children again complete examinations for their specific levels. There is a variety of artistic mediums including painting, sculpture, and photography that further expands the artistic side of the child. Although the field trips that are taken are not extracurricular they again are thoughtfully planned activities that provide a broad life experience for the children including the ROM, Symphony, and Art Gallery to name a few. These are not experiences that other children necessarily have the opportunity to attend.
This is a very small school which I believe has created a lovely community between parents, teachers, and students. It is truly amazing to watch how the students all work together and in fact, the older students are encouraged to help out their younger colleagues when the opportunity presents itself. My children have formed really strong relationships with their peers and that leads to them continuing interactions outside of the academic environment. It is apparent that the students know each other well and bonding is clearly encouraged which is demonstrated in the school concerts where often you see the older children helping to shepherd the younger children to their spots or participation. I have also not had the sense that there is a building of cliques or bullying amongst the student population which again is rare to be heard these days. When conflict between students is recognized the teacher takes the opportunity to work with the students to enact positive coping skills to address the conflict that they are facing. Thus again teaching basic life skills for their future.
(5) School Life
Both of my children are thriving at this school. There is a real sense of community and even from just entering the building they are greeted warmly and assisted to organize themselves for the day. They are encouraged at the elementary level to organize their week in a journal so that they develop the skills to acknowledge the tasks that are required of them and how to prioritize their work so that they achieve all that is required for that week. The school is set up so that they mix the various grade levels that develop the student's ability to also take leadership accountability and learn skills of helping others all at the same time. The school itself is incredibly well designed and very much built to accommodate small and large students comfortably including appropriate tables and chairs. At this school lunches and snacks are provided. The lunches are all very much varied and introduce the children to a palette of tastes and textures. The field trips constantly combine learning and an element of fun all in one. The productions that the children put on at various points in the year are truly incredible to watch. Every month there is a parent-teacher evening that focuses on a specific subject so that the parent is also aware of what their child is learning. I couldn't ask for a better elementary school for my children.
When my daughter began at the school the student population was quite small. This truly created a unique experience that bonded the parent community at that time and the activities planned such as productions, and parent/teacher evenings truly engaged everyone within the school community. The resulting pandemic certainly had an impact on this engagement but as life has slowly returned to normal this engagement is starting to return. I think the school provides a number of opportunities for parents to be involved within the school and yet at the same time, there is no pressure felt if one is not able to attend an event or meeting with recognition that many parents are tackling multiple priorities at the same time. I truly appreciate being able to enter into the school and the administrative team along with the various teaching staff are able to recognize and say hello to me. It truly is a small thing that makes a world of difference.
(5) School Location
The school is very self-contained and for the age level of my children, that is something I truly value. It is a very diverse neighborhood but the reality of today is that there is no community that is "safe". The school has established process and procedures that actually give me the confidence that my children's safety and security is ultimately at the top of their priority list. There is a very strong sign-in/out process that ensures that students can't just "wander" off and the school is secured throughout the day so that strangers just can't "wander" in.