REVIEW OF Rowntree Montessori Schools (RMS) BY Alum, Zayne Thawer
- Date of Review
June 14, 2018
Preschool - Gr. 8
- University (major)
University of Toronto
(5) Overall Experience
I was a student at Rowntree Montessori Schools for almost 10 years, and in that time the biggest feeling that has stayed with me is the sense of being part of not just a supportive community, but a caring family. Every teacher, administrator, and staff member worked tirelessly to ensure all the students had an enriching school experience where we felt safe, valued, and, above all, like we belonged to a family. Rowntree Montessori Schools provided me with the foundation I needed to succeed academically, socially, and athletically along my journey through high school and university. One specific example of this is when I transitioned from RMS to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme in grade 9, and while I heard that this would be a very difficult academic transition, I did not find it difficult at all because of how well RMS trained me academically. From personal experience, I can confidently say that RMS gave me the tools and resources to reach my full potential, and as a prospective student, you can expect the same!
(5) School Leadership
Reflecting back on my time at Rowntree Montessori Schools, I can never forget how much we students looked up to the school leadership and administration. From the receptionists to the vice-principal to the principal to the owners, the school leadership always provided us with role models who we could aspire to become. They were very involved with not only school events but also took the time to get to know individual students through initiatives such as Student of the Month, Mini Olympics, Bake Sales, Book Drives, and many more. Another thing I appreciated about them was that they got to know our parents and guardians, and showed genuine care about our well-being not only the well-being of the school at large.
Of all the benefits of a Rowntree education, one of the biggest advantages is the quality of teaching. Every teacher I had from Mrs. Botros in grade 1 to Mrs. Abbey in grade 3 to Mrs. Chaudary in grade 4 to Mrs. Jones in grade 5 and 6 to Mrs. Donoso in grade 7 and 8 left a lasting positive impression on me from the way they got to know me as an individual, the way they taught advanced academic material using easy-to-understand methods, and the way they made me feel right at home inside and outside the classroom. I still maintain good relations with all my teachers long since I have moved on from RMS when I visit for social events including Family Fun Day and my own initiative Aerospace Education Day. The advice they gave me over the years have shaped the person I am today, and I will always be thankful to them for that!
Rowntree Montessori Schools prides itself in being one of the top-tier private schools in the country by virtue of its academic prowess. Students are taught a wide breadth of material in a range of subjects with rewarding and practical assignments and projects that fully prepare them for life beyond RMS. The academic culture at Rowntree is one of success where students, including myself, consistently place at or near the top in numerous national academic categories and competitions such as the GAUSS and Canadian National Math League (CNML) events due to the efforts of teachers that go above beyond to prepare students. As I mentioned before, the rigor of an RMS education in terms of the homework and assignments prepared me very well for an IB education that consisted of a heavy and difficult workload. My success in the IB Programme, including graduating with a 98% average and acquiring numerous scholarships to post-secondary institutions, can be mainly attributed to the educational foundation I established at RMS.
While I was a student at Rowntree Montessori Schools, I was very heavily involved in extracurricular activities ranging from sports to Model UN to academic competitions. The opportunities to join such activities were plentiful, and they ranged slightly on the side of being more for fun and learning new skills, rather than being super competitive. These extracurriculars allowed us to engage with our fellow classmates and our teachers in a less formal environment and learn outside-the-classroom skills such as teamwork and communication.
The student body at Rowntree Montessori Schools is relatively small, which creates an environment where most of the students know all the others. In terms of the general atmosphere of the student body, there was always a sense of being part of a tight-knit community that shared similar values, such as responsibility, hard work, humility, and respect. These values were demonstrated and advocated for by the school leadership, and taken to heart by every student that attended the school. As a result of Rowntree being a private school, the socio-economic background of students tended to be upper-middle class or above, however the ethnic backgrounds were very diverse. On the whole, the student body got along very well with there being nearly non-existent instances of bullying and disrespectful behaviour.
(5) School Life
I personally loved going to school at Rowntree Montessori Schools because I truly enjoyed spending time with my classmates, learning new material from my teachers, and being involved in everyday school life. As a result of the small class sizes, I never felt alone or isolated because there was always someone around to spend time with, and my teachers all knew me and made efforts to ensure I felt like I was valued. Since I moved on from RMS, the school has implemented many new technologies inside and outside the classroom to make school life even more engaging for the students, such as SmartBoards, projectors, and Chromebooks. On the whole, I found that students were happy to be at RMS and understood how lucky we were to be getting an amazing education in an incredible environment surrounded by wonderful people!
Rowntree Montessori Schools is currently attempting to strengthen its alumni engagement efforts, which I very much appreciate because I would love to stay involved in this community. With respect to parental engagement, I can confidently say there is no better school than RMS for having parents involved in the day-to-day and long term activities and goals of their children. Teachers and school leadership ensure to personalize every relationship they maintain with the parents of their students to ensure parents feel like they are right there alongside their children through their educational journey. Rowntree Montessori Schools also has a Parents' Association, the RMSPA, that organizes events for students and parents alike to increase the sense of community and provide forums where parents can interact with teachers and other parents.
(4.5) School Location
Students are not permitted to leave the campus premises between the time they are dropped off in the morning and when they are picked up in the afternoon. However, just so you can have an idea of the surrounding area, the Academy campus in particular is located in a residential neighbourhood just off Bovaird Drive near Hurontario Street right across from the Walmart plaza. The area is extremely safe, with the only problem being that having a major street next to school can get noisy at times.