REVIEW OF Kanata Montessori BY parent, Lisa MacLean
- Date of Review
September 22, 2021
Gr. 11 - 12
(5) Student Experience
My daughter excelled personally and education wise at Kanata Montessori. I feel the educators prepared her well for post secondary education as my daughter had great success in her first year at university. Kanata Montessori is a welcoming, inclusive and professional learning environment. The educators and administration communicated very well. They also encouraged my daughter to contribute to the school clubs and extracurricular activities which greatly contributes to positive and valuable high school experiences. In a larger public school my daughter found it hard to join groups. My daughter thought all the educators were great and so knowledgeable, especially Haley in English and Carolyn in History. I feel as a parent, private tuition paid to this school was a great investment in my daughter’s future.
(5) School Leadership
The school administrator principal, Michelle Skene took an incredible individual approach to guiding my daughter in university applications. We personally had no boundary issues. My daughter appreciated the school and was not into pushing any boundaries. Good safety rules with regard to student drivers. Not allowed to drive other students at lunch, etc. The administration also put on a lovely covid safe graduation ceremony with many personal touches. I always had the sense the educators were treated well by the administration.
The educators encouraged and taught my daughter how to write well and think critically. Now after one year complete in University, I am so impressed how she can efficiently and creatively write an essay and repo md to assignments. Outstanding educators where Dave, Haley and Carolyn in Science, Outdoor Ed, History, and English. I also heard impressive reviews of Math and other Science educators. The educators I dealt with all had more than one advance degree. Mostly importantly my daughter felt valued and encouraged by her educators. All the wellness and encouragement helped her develop into a confident young woman. At the Grade 12 graduation all the students had personal thank you for their personal educators that were genuine. So many graduates were starting post secondary in a wide range of field of studies including STEM.
By second term Grade 11, my daughter’s 2nd term at the school, her language arts skills dramatically improved. The educators also provided necessary support to cope with learning disabilities like dyslexia allowing our daughter to not fall behind her peers in university. Hayley taught and guided my daughter in developing life long skills in writing which is now very evident in her university essays and papers. All the educators applied similar teaching skills in all writings from Environmental Science in Grade 11 to Classical Civilizations to History from the 15th Century in Grade 12. Environmental Science included lots of hands on experiential learning opportunities. Grade 12 Challenge and Change sociology course was interesting and also rigorous with lots of papers. We felt the educators and principle, Michelle Skeene had a strong understanding of the expectations of university studies. Critical thinking skills were taught to ensure success at university level. Particularly in our university experience with Social Sciences and Humanity programs.
My daughter greatly enjoyed kayaking at Kill Bear Provincial Park in Georgian Bay, Ontario with Grade 11 Outdoor Education. She also enjoyed two trips to Montreal, first to History Museum in Grade 11 and then entrepreneurship conference in Grade 12. As well philanthropy and Model UN Conference in New York City as part of Grade 12 university level credit. The pandemic lead to cancelled June 2020 to Greece incorporating ancient history sites. My daughter help organize and participate in Canadian Improve Games with lots of after school practices in Grade 11 and 12. Some of these trips were part of classes but evening outings such as Broadway Musical, dinners and camp fires made them extra special incorporating learning and fun.
The student body was small with each grade cohort having between 10-20 students. The atmosphere was relaxed but professional with regard to education. In the high school building, there were ping pong tables, chess, lounging sofas, news papers that my daughter read each morning, and visiting teacher dogs that added to friendly and kind environment. The students respected their individual hobbies like hockey, improve theatre, sailing, debate and chess. At the theatre production gala, many if not all junior and senior students participated in a wide array of tasks resulting in an impressive event. The students all seemed focused on the job at hand but also very much enjoying themselves. The event was both slick and professional but also sweet and fun. The students I knew personally all spoke so well of the educators. By the end of Grade 12, my daughter seemed to know all the educators on a personal level and spoke highly of them.
(5) School Life
KMS found ways to include all students in events such as large theatre production gala, Annie, with served dinner. Students helping with production, music, hosting and guiding the audience and serving the dinner. I was very impressed with how professional the students carried out their assignments at the gala. I witnessed the younger students in elementary grades and high school grades very engaged in music performances. KMS Mr Beaty and Haley Irvine were amazing talented resource for KMS. The Casa kindergarten level students seemed very happy, engaged and well attended to. My daughter and her school friend remarked to me how calm and well behaved the classroom of young students were moving through the halls (much different than their personal public school experiences). At the high school level there were the usual friend groups but students seemed very respectful towards each other. Each students skills and talents were publicly recognized in an encouraging manner.
KMS held engaging curriculum sessions each year and post secondary planning information nights. I very much appreciated the KMS sessions over public school large auditorium events. I personally did not participate in parent council or board of director meetings as I was not able available to attend. The students did impressive fundraising and donation drives for the Cancer Society and local food bank. The principle and educators were very accessible to me as parent with any concerns. I had no situations requiring discipline but heard of situations that were handled well like no students in cars with other student drivers. My daughter as part of a personal school project had the opportunity to expand the charity initiative by meeting with City of Ottawa municipal government councillors.
(4) School Location
The school is located in Kanata, Ontario, a suburb of Ottawa. The school is within walking distance of parks and shopping malls with places to go with lunch. The senior students had autonomy to leave the school for lunch. Near by parks were used for large school events like Canadian Cancer Relay for Life event. The KMS elementary school building had a lovely fenced in yard with trees, open areas and a stage. The KMS high school building also had grass, trees, parking and picnic tables.
The admission application was a meeting with Kanata Montessori with school principle Michelle Skeen with both parents and my daughter. We left the meeting, held in August, very interested and engaged. We were provided a tour amongst ongoing summer renovations. The admission meeting was not stressful in any way. We mulled over paying tuition after years of public schools. I also spoke to Michelle initially by phone to inquire and ask questions. In the end we were very happy with our decision and investment in our daughter’s education. I recall there were only about 3 student places left so we only took about 10 days to make a final decision. Shortly thereafter there was a wait list. My advice to other parents to ask lots of questions focussing on their child’s needs such as social and learning environment, education expertise and lastly graduating student successes.
(5) University placement and counselling
The school administrator principal, Michelle Skene took an incredible individual approach to guiding my daughter in university applications as well as course selection to successfully achieve the required Ontario high school credits. A nice touch of KMS senior year was the bell rung each time a student received a post-secondary offer. Late May and June was exciting time for graduating student. I recall Michelle started the student advice and recommendation in Grade 11. Younger grades would also hear the message about planning to help get them thinking about post-secondary education well in advance of having to make final decisions. The educators also shared their personal university experience and work experience. I recall some professionals from the parent and general community were brought in to speak to the students which also helped the students to start making post-secondary plans.