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THE OUR KIDS REPORT:
The Maria Montessori School

Grades Preschool TO K — Surrey, BC (MAP)

The Maria Montessori School:
THE OUR KIDS REPORT
REPORT CONTENTS:

Pages in this report:

  • Grades
    Preschool — K
  • Gender
    Coed
  • Class Size
    18 — 20 students
  • Tuition
    $2,500 to 4,000/year
  • Language of instruction
    English
  • Associations
    AMI
  • Enrollment
    20 day students
  • Approach
    Montessori
  • EBROCHURE
    N/A

School address

  • 8597 156 Street, Surrey, British Columbia, V3S 3R8 (MAP)

Our Perspective

How we see The Maria Montessori School


For the better part of three decades The Maria Montessori School has provided an important piece within the academic mosaic of Surrey: a fully accredited Montessori program that remains faithful to Maria Montessori’s ideal as developed more than a century ago. One of the hallmarks, in ample evidence here, is a trust in the innate creativity that children bring to the classroom, as well as their natural affinity for repetition, observation, and interaction. Likewise, there is a trust in the value of mentorship among the students, with the older ones sharing with the younger, something that is as charming as it is useful in developing social skills and interpersonal communication. The learning spaces are well organized, well-lit with natural light, and include interfaces with the world outside. Those things, rightly, are no doubt primary draws for the families that enroll here, as is a careful, considered pace within the delivery of the curriculum. Headmistress Rosa van Meel is a well-spoken advocate of the method, and she works to ensure that the program meets all the standards that parents expect of a sound, informed Montessori program. Her interest in imparting her enthusiasm and experience to new instructors gives further strength to the work of the school.

Featured articles

Association Montessori Internationale Schools

In Canada, participation in AMI (Canada’s) MQA program ensures that a school is committed to the principles of Montessori pedagogy.

School's Perspective

How The Maria Montessori School sees itself


The school administration answered our questions

Who are you, as a school?

"The beginning is crucial. The first education experience must enable a love of learning and a joy of exploration and discovery. In our quickly changing world the Montessori Method is ideal as it excels in developing a child's full potential. Since 1991 The Maria Montessori School has brought the joy of learning and the wonder of the world to children through the brilliantly modern, highly relevant and very effective method developed more than 100 years ago - by Dr. Maria Montessori. As effective now as it was then."

What do you do differently and uniquely well?

This information is not available.

Why do families choose you over schools they compare you to?

This information is not available.

What might families find surprising about your school?

This information is not available.

What aspect of your school is underappreciated?

This information is not available.

What five facts about your school tell your story?

This information is not available.


School Facilities

Photo-tour of facilities


Campus


Classrooms


Instructional resources


School leadership

Top-down influence on the school’s direction and tone


Message from school leadership

Mrs. Rosa van Meel, Headmistress
B.Sc. AMI Montessori Diploma (Casa dei Bambini)

Welcome to The Maria Montessori School. Since 1991 our school has introduced preschool and kindergarten children to the wonders of learning through the Montessori Method. It surprises many adults that even extremely young children have a very strong and innate desire to understand the world around them. They want to read, they want to emulate adults, they want to explore, and they want to know. Dr. Maria Montessori's greatest contribution to Early Childhood Education, and the foundation of her Method was the recognition that when given access to the right developmentally appropriate materials all children, even those as young as three can quickly acquire the foundation skills of reading, writing and basic mathematics. Guided by his or her own interests and talent, the progress of a young child can be quite astonishing. Hers was a monumental discovery and our school continues within the educational philosophy and tradition of Dr.Maria Montessori. And - finally - our students love to come to school.

Evaluate The Maria Montessori School for your child

Answer just to supplement this page with our expert insight into the FIT between The Maria Montessori School and your child (BETA).
1. Select category
1. Select category
  • Sociability
  • Mental focus
  • Physical activity level
  • Academic focus
  • Arts-oriented
  • STEM-oriented
  • Gifted
  • Special needs (general)
  • Learning disabilities
  • Social/emotional issues
  • Learning style
  • Learning preference
  • Anxious
  • ADHD
  • Autistic
  • Dyslexic
2. Select child's dominant trait
How outgoing is your child?

3. See personalized insights
How Extroverted kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    If you’re considering a small school for your extroverted child, make sure it offers plenty of social opportunities, including the ability to seek out and interact with different peer groups. Since smaller schools have smaller and less diverse student populations than big schools, it can sometimes be more challenging for your child to find a like-minded group of friends—friends with similar interests, values, etc. 

    “It’s important to look at the social makeup of the school,” says Ruth Rumack of Ruth Rumack's Learning Space. "Is there enough variety that your child will have a group that they feel connected with? Because you want to have friends that are like-minded and you want to be in a social situation where you feel honoured and respected. Variety can also be found in extracurriculars, leadership programs, and sports activities, which tend to have kids with a wide range of personalities.”

    Also, make sure a school’s teaching and learning approach is suitable for your social child. “For instance, a school focusing on individual learning instead of group learning may not play into your child’s strengths,” say Ann and Karen Wolff, Toronto-based education consultants at Wolff Educational Services. “You want to make sure the social, emotional, and academic realities of the classroom are a match for your child’s personality.”

  • Montessori school

    If you’re considering a Montessori school for your extroverted child, make sure to look into the amount of unstructured social time it provides. Some Montessori schools don’t have recess, and may limit free time, which is often when kids get their most stimulation. While kids spend plenty of time interacting in a Montessori classroom, a very outgoing child might find the lack of unstructured time less invigorating. Note: The more “orthodox” the Montessori environment, the more it tends to limit recess and unstructured social time.

How Introverted kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools often have small classrooms and tight-knit communities, which can make it easier for your introverted child to come out of their shell, make friends, and feel like they belong. Since they’re less socially overwhelming, your child should find it easier to navigate their social environment. And since they’re conducive to group work, small classes often have plenty of interaction, which can help your child develop critical interpersonal skills. 

    Of course, small schools normally have a less diverse student population than big schools, which can sometimes make it more challenging to find a group of like-minded peers—peers with similar personalities, interests, values, etc. This makes it especially important to ask a school about its extracurricular programs, which can help your introverted child establish an intimate social circle.

  • Montessori school

    At a Montessori school, your introverted child will often work independently on their own tasks, e.g., during two-hour-plus uninterrupted work periods, which can boost their focus and concentration. They’ll also often work in small groups with kids of different ages, where they’ll learn from and mentor their peers, which can help them come out of their shell, be more assertive, and learn critical social skills. Ask how much, if any, unstructured social time is provided, since this varies between Montessori schools.

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2. Select child's dominant trait
How mentally focused is your child?

3. See personalized insights
How Mentally focused kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classes often provide more individualized learning and one-and-one support, which can bolster your child’s concentration. The structure and intimacy of smaller classes can help your focused child engage more fully with their studies. Since they’re conducive to group work, small classes also often have plenty of interaction, which can help your child develop critical interpersonal skills.

    Just keep in mind the law of diminishing returns regarding class size. While a class of 12 or 15 students can boost engagement, a class of 4 or 5 can reduce it, since there are too few voices and perspectives to generate much meaningful interaction and discussion.

    Finally, “Small schools often have a family-like feeling, because the class sizes are so small,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “They form a sense of community across the grades. You get these cross-grade friendships, relationships, and mentoring if it gives certain kids leadership opportunities, something they would rarely have in a larger school.”

  • Montessori school

    At a Montessori school, your focused child will often work independently on their own tasks, e.g., during two-hour-plus uninterrupted work periods, which can further enhance their concentration. Since many of these schools don’t have recess, this will also give your child more time to focus on their work, pursue their interests, and absorb knowledge. An additional benefit: in a Montessori classroom, your child will often work in small groups with kids of different ages, where they’ll learn from and mentor their peers, which can help them become more assertive, develop important social skills, and if they’re on the shy side, come out of their shell.

How Distractible kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classrooms often provide more personalized attention and one-and-one support, which often helps distractible kids engage with their studies and sustain their focus. Since they’re conducive to group work, they tend to be more interactive, which your child may find invigorating.

    Just keep in mind the law of diminishing returns regarding class size. While a class of 12 or 15 students can boost engagement, a class of 4 or 5 can reduce it, since there are too few voices and perspectives to generate much meaningful interaction and discussion.

    The intimacy of smaller schools and classes can also help your child connect with the student community. “Small schools often have a family-like feeling, because the class sizes are so small,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “They form a sense of community across the grades, with cross-grade friendships, relationships, and often, leadership opportunities.”

  • Montessori school

    At a Montessori school, your child will often work independently on their own tasks, e.g., during two-hour-plus uninterrupted work periods, which can benefit kids who get distracted by too much stimulation. Also, independent study time can boost a child’s ability to concentrate and sustain their concentration, as professor of psychology and renowned Montessori researcher Angeline Lilard points out in Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius.

    That said, since some kids with shorter attention spans will find it more challenging to work independently for long periods of time, carefully weigh the pros and cons of this learning environment for your child.

    Finally, if you’re considering a Montessori school for your distractible child, make sure to look into the amount of unstructured social time it provides. Some Montessori schools don’t have recess, and may limit free time, which is often when kids get their most stimulation and which gives them a chance to renew their energy. This is especially important if your child is social, energetic, and enjoys physical activities.

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2. Select child's dominant trait
How physically active is your child?

3. See personalized insights
How Very physically active kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    If you’re considering a small school for your physically active child, ensure it offers plenty of unstructured social time, such as outdoor recess, during which they can let loose. Since some small schools have fewer supplementals, you should also ask about after-school activities like sports and dance, which can give your child more opportunities to channel their energy in useful ways. Since different kids enjoy different physical activities, ask school staff what’s available, what your child is eligible for, and how they can get involved.

  • Montessori school

    If you’re considering a Montessori school for your active, energetic child, make sure to look into the amount of unstructured social time provided. Some Montessori schools don’t have recess, and may limit free play, which is when young kids tend to be most physically active. While Montessori environments give kids plenty of time to interact inside the classroom, a very active child might find a lack of unstructured time challenging to cope with. Note: The more “orthodox” the Montessori environment, the more it tends to limit recess and unstructured playtime.

How Less physically active kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    If your child is looking to get more physically active, make sure a small school offers plenty of opportunities to do this. This makes it especially important to ask about a school’s extracurriculars—such as team sports—which can improve your child's physical fitness and enable them to broaden their horizons.

    Smaller schools often have small and intimate classrooms, where your less active child can work independently and in small groups, allowing them to focus on academics in a peaceful, structured, and supportive environment. With tight-knit, less intimidating communities, small schools can also help your child come out of their shell.

  • Montessori school

    At a Montessori school, your less active child will often work independently on their own tasks, e.g., in two-hour-plus uninterrupted work periods, during which they can pursue quieter learning activities. Since many of these schools don’t have recess, this will also give your child more time to focus on their work, pursue their interests, and absorb knowledge. Another benefit for your child: they’ll sometimes work in small groups with kids of different ages, where they’ll learn from and mentor their peers, which can help them become more assertive and confident, learn critical social skills, and come out of their shell.

    If your child is looking to get more physically active, just make sure a school offers plenty of opportunities to do this.

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2. Select child's dominant trait
How focused is your child on school and academic achievement?

3. See personalized insights
How Intensively academically-focused kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    If you’re considering a small school for your academically-focused child, ensure it offers enough enrichment and acceleration opportunities to challenge them. Make sure it also has plenty of academic diversity in the classroom, where your child can work with, be challenged by, and even measure themself against other academically-focused kids.

    Of course, “Smaller schools give kids opportunities to be the ‘big fish in a small pond,’ where their successes and abilities are truly highlighted,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “Some kids enjoy this, and this can be a valuable opportunity to develop their confidence and self-esteem.”

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools offer highly individualized learning, allowing your child to move through the curriculum at their own pace and focus on tasks of interest (with some teacher guidance), which can strengthen their love of learning. Also, during two-hour-plus uninterrupted work periods, your academically-focused child will have the opportunity to work independently on their own tasks, which can bolster their focus and concentration. And, since many Montessori schools don’t have recess, this will give your child more time to key in on their work, pursue their interests, and absorb knowledge. 

    That said, keep in mind that most Montessori schools don't assign grades at the primary level. If your child is fixated on academic achievement and measuring themselves against their peers, they'll likely find this practice challenging.

How Less academically-focused kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classrooms often provide more personalized attention and one-and-one support, which often helps less academically-focused kids engage with their work more fully. Since they’re conducive to group work, these classes tend to be more interactive and stimulating.

    Just make sure a school provides your child with plenty of opportunities to pursue their passions outside of class—something not all small schools offer. “Research shows that when students have something to look forward to after school, they’re often more motivated and focused during the day,” says Janyce Lastman, Director of The Tutor Group. “This can really help them renew their energy and recharge their batteries.”

    Also, keep in mind the law of diminishing returns regarding class size. While a class of 12 or 15 students can boost engagement, a class of 4 or 5 can reduce it, since there are too few voices and perspectives to generate much meaningful interaction and discussion.

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools offer highly individualized learning, allowing your child to work at their own pace and choose tasks of interest, with teacher guidance. This can help motivate and inspire them, and cultivate a love of learning.

    That said, since some less academically-focused kids may find it difficult to work independently for two or more consecutive hours each day, during Montessori schools’ uninterrupted work periods, carefully weigh the pros and cons of this learning environment for your child.

    Finally, if you’re considering a Montessori school for a child with less interest in academics, make sure to look into the amount of unstructured social time it provides. Some Montessori schools don’t have recess, and may limit free time, which is often when kids get their most stimulation. This is especially important if your child is social, energetic, and enjoys physical activities.

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2. Select if applicable
Is your child passionate about the arts?

3. See personalized insights
How Arts-oriented kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Small schools often have smaller classes with plenty of individualized learning and support, which can give your arts-oriented child the freedom to pursue their creative passions with close supervision and guidance. A smaller student community often means more group work and collaboration, which can enhance learning and enliven the creative process. Smaller schools, especially arts-focused ones, are also more likely to integrate the arts into the general curriculum, something many, though not all, artsy kids enjoy.

    Small schools tend to have fewer arts programs, classes, and extracurriculars than bigger schools. Ask what’s available, focusing specifically on your child’s areas of interest and need. For instance, if they’re keen to work on their sculpting skills, find out whether a class is offered during or after school, and whether your child is eligible for it.

  • Montessori school

    If you’re considering a Montessori school for your arts-oriented child, make sure to look into its policies regarding the arts and creativity. The Montessori approach is not known for encouraging certain kinds of creative pursuits: for instance, many Montessori schools don’t include fiction in the curriculum or offer dedicated art classes (though they do encourage creativity in other ways). If your child is highly interested in the arts and various forms of creative expression, they may find these particular schools less engaging than schools with more of an arts focus.

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2. Select if applicable
Is your child passionate about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)?

3. See personalized insights
How STEM-oriented kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Small schools tend to have fewer STEM programs, classes, and extracurriculars than bigger schools. Ask what’s available, focusing specifically on your child’s areas of interest and need. For instance, if they’re keen to work on their computer programming skills, find out whether a coding class is offered during or after school, and whether your child is eligible for it. Also, ask how they teach problem-solving, instill creativity and innovation, and use technology.

    Of course, since small schools often have smaller classes with plenty of individualized learning and support, they can give your child the freedom to pursue their interest in STEM with close supervision. A smaller student community often means more group work and collaboration, which can enhance learning and stimulate intellectual and creative insights. Smaller schools are also more likely to integrate STEM learning into the general curriculum, something many STEM-oriented kids enjoy.

    Just keep in mind the law of diminishing returns regarding class size. While a class of 12 or 15 students can boost engagement, a class of 4 or 5 can reduce it, since there are too few voices and perspectives to generate much meaningful interaction and discussion.

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools’ child-centred, self-directed focus gives kids the flexibility to pursue their interests and dive deeply into STEM subjects. Their interdisciplinary and experiential approach to STEM learning will also appeal to many kids. That said, “Ensure any prospective school doesn’t allow students to focus on these subjects to the detriment of others—e.g., focusing on science or math disproportionately, while leaving other academic areas by the wayside,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. 

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Does your child have gifted learning abilities?

3. See personalized insights
How Gifted kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Small schools are sometimes more flexible in meeting gifted learning needs. Make sure a school is willing and able to provide the right learning environment to directly address your child’s learning needs, whether it’s through a segregated gifted class, a part-time withdrawal class, or in-class adaptations such as acceleration or enrichment opportunities.

    If your child enjoys learning and competing with other high-ability learners, confirm this opportunity is available. Also, find out whether a school has extracurricular programs your child will find challenging and stimulating.

    Finally, “Smaller schools give kids opportunities to be the ‘big fish in a small pond,’ where their successes and abilities are truly highlighted,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “Some kids enjoy this, and this can be a valuable opportunity to develop their confidence and self-esteem.”

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools vary greatly. Some allow gifted students to accelerate their studies. Since students are given leeway to determine the focus and pace of their learning, gifted learners may choose to move quickly through their academic activities and into areas they find challenging and engaging.

    Other Montessori schools, however, are reluctant to move kids too quickly through the curriculum or to move them to a higher age-level class. These particular schools may be a poor fit for some students—especially those who test higher than the 98th or 99th percentile in terms of their learning abilities. “Because Montessori schools are not all alike, it’s important to avoid making assumptions about them. It’s prudent to check out whether the educational environment will provide a suitable learner-learning match for your child, and to keep monitoring that if you choose to enrol your child in this form of schooling,” says Joanne Foster, gifted education expert and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids.

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Does your child have special needs?

3. See personalized insights
How Special needs (general) kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classes normally provide lots of individualized teaching and learning and one-on-one support, giving them the flexibility to accommodate students with a wide range of special needs. Some also provide learning environments that directly address special learning needs, such as segregated classes, part-time withdrawal classes, and integrated classes.

    However, “Keep in mind that some small schools only provide support for one special need,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “Ask which special need(s) a school supports, how it supports it, and whether it has teaching staff with the right training and expertise to provide this support.”

    Finally, since small schools tend to have fewer resources, ensure they have whatever’s needed to foster your child’s academic, social, and emotional development, such as guidance departments, academic and social counsellors, educational assistants, and assistive technologies.

  • Montessori school

    Students with special needs can benefit from Montessori schools’ unique emphasis on individualized learning. Since students are given the freedom to determine the focus and pace of their studies, with teacher guidance, the curriculum will be tailored to their abilities, interests, strengths, and weaknesses. This can allow a child to work on a specific area of need, such as organization or impulse control.

    That said, not all Montessori schools provide the right environment to meet the learning needs of kids with exceptionalities. “Some don’t provide the explicit, teacher-directed instruction that some research indicates is beneficial for students who learn differently,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “Students with weak executive functioning or other learning exceptionalities, for instance, may not have the independent work skills necessary to thrive in some Montessori environments.”

    Of course, since different Montessori schools have different approaches, speak to school directors and staff to gauge whether your child is likely to be a good fit.

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Does your child have a learning disability?

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How Learning disabilities kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classes normally provide lots of personalized learning and one-on-one teaching. This gives them the flexibility to support students with a wide range of learning disabilities (LDs), and to actively monitor their progress and development. Some also provide learning environments that directly support LDs, such as segregated classes, part-time withdrawal classes, and integrated classes. 

    However, “Keep in mind that some small schools only provide support for one type of learning disability,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “For instance, they may only support dyslexia or language-based learning disabilities." Ask which learning disability (or disabilities) a school supports, how exactly it supports it.” Finally, make sure a smaller school has out-of-class resources to support your child’s development. For instance, if they struggle with decoding language, ensure they have a reading intervention specialist on staff. 

  • Montessori school

    Many kids with learning disabilities (LDs) will find the calm and quiet learning environment of most Montessori classrooms peaceful. They can also benefit from Montessori’s special focus on individualized learning: since students can help choose their tasks, with teacher guidance, their work should be tailored to their abilities and interests. 

    That said, not all Montessori schools offer the right environment for kids with LDs. “Some don’t provide the explicit, teacher-directed instruction that some research indicates is beneficial for students who learn differently,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “Students with weak executive functioning or other learning exceptionalities, for instance, may not have the independent work skills necessary to thrive in some Montessori environments. Also, progress monitoring and assessment tend to be qualitative and observation-based, which can be challenging for parents who prefer to track their child’s progress through more measurable data.” 

    Of course, since Montessori schools vary in their approach, speak to school directors and staff to determine whether your child is a good fit.

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Does your child have a social, emotional, or behavioural issue?

3. See personalized insights
How Social/emotional issues kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classes normally provide lots of individualized learning and one-on-one support, giving them the flexibility to accommodate students with a range of social issues. Some also offer learning environments that directly address these kinds of special needs, such as segregated classes, part-time withdrawal classes, and breakout support groups. 

    “Students with behaviour/emotional/social issues often thrive in smaller school settings,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “These students often feel a sense of comfort and ease in knowing that all of the staff know them and understand their challenges. They can be supported in a trusting environment and have to navigate fewer social relationships, both with their peers and adults.”

    However, keep in mind that some small schools only provide support for one or two social or emotional issues, such as clinical anxiety or depression. Ask which issues a school supports, how it supports them, and whether it has teaching staff with specialized training to provide this support. Finally, since small schools tend to have fewer resources, make sure they have whatever your child needs, such as an on-site psychologist to help them with their impulse control, if this is an issue.

  • Montessori school

    Many kids with social issues will find the calm and quiet learning environment of the typical Montessori classroom soothing. “The degree of self-direction and individualization in a Montessori school can be ideal for a child experiencing mental health issues,” says Una Malcolm, Director of Bright Light Learners. “Its close-knit, supportive environment is sometimes empowering and reassuring for an anxious child, for example, who may feel more comfortable taking risks.” 

    That said, not all Montessori schools provide the right environment to meet the needs of kids with social issues or disorders. Some kids may need more supervision and one-on-one support than some Montessori schools are able to provide. “Students with severe behavioral issues, for instance, may not have the independent work skills necessary to thrive in some Montessori environments,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. Of course, since different Montessori schools have different teaching approaches and classroom environments, speak to school directors and staff to gauge whether your child is likely to be a good fit.

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2. Select child's dominant trait

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How Conventional learner kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Some small schools, especially alternative ones, have smaller classes with a student-centred curriculum and an individualized approach to learning. While this benefits many kids, conventional learners often prefer a more traditional environment, with pre-planned units, teachers who deliver whole-class lectures, and lots of structure.

    That said, many schools with smaller classes, especially those which offer individualized learning, have the flexibility to accommodate a wide range of learning styles. For instance, if your child prefers direct instruction, textbook-based learning, and graded work—as many conventional learners do—a small school may be able to offer these things.

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools’ decentralized, individualized learning environment often works well for unconventional learners. Many conventional learners, however, tend to prefer more whole-class lectures, teacher-led instruction, textbook learning, and graded work than Montessori schools tend to provide. 

    That said, since not all Montessori schools are alike, inquire about the learning environment and approach a school provides. For instance, ask if it offers whole-class lectures (and how often), direct instruction, and textbook learning.

How Unconventional learner kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Small schools tend to have smaller classes with plenty of individualized learning and independent and small group work. This can enable your unconventional learner to pursue their interests in an engaging and sometimes collaborative environment. It’s also often easier for smaller schools to set up classes of special interest for certain students—such as art history or microbiology—allowing them to pursue unique learning paths.

    Small schools normally have fewer extracurriculars for kids to explore passions and develop skills outside of class. Ask what’s available, focusing specifically on your child’s areas of interest.

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools offer highly individualized learning, allowing your child to move through the curriculum at their own pace and and focus on areas of interest (with teacher guidance), which most unconventional learners love. Also, during two-hour-plus uninterrupted work periods, your child will have the opportunity to work independently on their own tasks, which can enhance their engagement and cultivate a love of learning. Another benefit: in a Montessori classroom, your child will sometimes work in small groups with kids of different ages, enabling them to learn from and mentor peers. 

    That said, if your unconventional learner is arts-oriented, make sure to look into a school’s policies regarding the arts and creativity. The Montessori approach is not known for encouraging certain kinds of creative pursuits: for instance, many Montessori schools don’t include fiction in the curriculum or offer dedicated art classes (though they do encourage creativity in other ways). Some artsy kids may find these particular schools less engaging than more arts-focused schools.

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2. Select child's dominant trait

3. See personalized insights
How Independent learner kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Small schools often have smaller classes with plenty of individualized learning, which can give independent learners the freedom to pursue their interests and explore their passions. It’s also often easier for smaller schools to set up classes of special interest, such as evolutionary biology or musical theory.

    Small schools tend to have fewer extracurriculars and supplemental learning options than bigger schools. Ask what’s available, focusing specifically on your child’s areas of interest. For instance, if they’re eager to work on their painting skills, find out whether an after school or lunch program is offered and whether your child is eligible for it.

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools offer highly individualized learning, allowing your child to move through the curriculum at their own pace and focus on areas of interest (with teacher guidance), which independent learners love. Also, during two-hour-plus uninterrupted work periods, they’ll work independently on their own tasks, which can boost their engagement and foster a love of learning. One more benefit: in a Montessori classroom, your child will sometimes work in small groups with kids of different ages, where they can learn from and teach their peers. This can help them become more confident, develop critical social skills, and, if they’re on the shy side, come out of their shell. 

    That said, “Ensure any prospective school doesn’t allow students to focus on specific subjects to the detriment of others—focusing on geography, say, disproportionately, while leaving other academic areas by the wayside,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners.

How Collaborative learner kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Small schools with smaller classes offer more opportunities for the kind of group work collaborative learners enjoy. Whether it’s discussion groups, project work, or peer-to-peer teaching, they tend to offer plenty of group activities in an inclusive environment.

    Also, “Small schools often have a family-like feeling, because the class sizes are so small,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “They form a sense of community across the grades. You get these cross-grade friendships, relationships, and mentoring if it gives certain kids leadership opportunities, something they would rarely have in a larger school.”

  • Montessori school

    Montessori schools have a child-focused educational approach with lots of individualized learning. For some schools, this includes uninterrupted independent work periods of up to three hours a day, which can be daunting for some collaborative learners.

    That said, most Montessori schools, from preschool to the secondary level, provide kids with plenty of opportunities to work in small groups on specific tasks and projects. Classrooms are also normally divided into three-year age groups, which will enable your child to both learn from and mentor their peers, something collaborative learners tend to love.

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Is your child anxious?

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How Anxious kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Many small schools have smaller classes with lots of one-on-one support and close supervision to support kids with anxiety (and other emotional issues). 

    “Students with anxiety often thrive in smaller school settings,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “These students often feel a sense of comfort and ease in knowing that all of the staff know them and understand their challenges. They can be supported in a trusting environment, and they won’t have to navigate as many social relationships with kids and adults.”

    However, some small schools don’t support kids with certain anxiety disorders, especially severe ones. Ask what kinds of anxiety issues a school supports and how it delivers this support. Finally, make sure your child has access to resources they may need in class or out, such as on-site counselling.

  • Montessori school

    Many kids with anxiety will find the calm and quiet learning space of the typical Montessori classroom soothing. “Its close-knit, supportive environment can be empowering and reassuring for anxious kids,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “Montessori schools’ focus on self-direction and individualized learning can also enable them to feel more comfortable taking academic risks.” 

    However, some anxious kids may need more supervision, structure, and one-on-one support than some Montessori schools provide. Students with severe generalized anxiety, for instance, may not have the emotional resources needed to thrive in some Montessori environments, at least without extra support. Of course, since different Montessori schools have different approaches and environments, speak to school directors and staff to gauge whether your child is likely to be a good fit.

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Does your child have ADHD?

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How ADHD kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classes normally provide lots of individualized learning, structure, and one-on-one support, which students with ADHD tend to require. Some also offer learning environments (and special education staff) that directly support ADHD, such as segregated classes, part-time withdrawal classes, and breakout groups. 

    “Students with ADHD often thrive in smaller school settings,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “These students may feel a sense of comfort and ease in knowing that all of the staff know them and understand their challenges. They can be supported in a trusting environment, and they won’t have to navigate as many social relationships with their peers and adults.”

    However, keep in mind that some small schools don’t have the resources to accommodate kids with ADHD, especially if it’s severe. Ask what kind of support is available, both in class and out, and how it will be delivered. For instance, “do you have an in-house psychologist to work with my child on their focus and organization?”

  • Montessori school

    Many kids with ADHD will find the calm and quiet learning environment of the typical Montessori classroom soothing. Its close-knit, supportive setting can be empowering and reassuring for kids with ADHD. The self-directed learning approach may also work well for kids with ADHD, who may be able to hyperfocus on tasks they find engaging and challenging,” says Stacey Jacobs, director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. 

    However, “The self-directed nature of a Montessori classroom can sometimes allow students with ADHD to fly under the radar,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “A child with weak executive functioning skills may not have the independent work skills necessary to be successful in a Montessori environment. Additionally, parents should ask about assessment and progress monitoring. In some Montessori schools, the focus on qualitative observation for assessment can make it challenging for parents to judge how their child is doing and to monitor their progress.”

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Is your child autistic?

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How Autistic kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classes normally provide lots of individualized learning, structure, and one-on-one support, which students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often need. Some also offer learning environments (and special education staff) that directly support autism, such as dedicated classes, part-time withdrawal classes, and classes with breakout groups. 

    “Students with autism tend to do well in smaller school settings,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “These students may feel a sense of comfort and ease in knowing that all of the staff know them and understand their challenges. They can be supported in a trusting environment, and they won’t have to navigate as many social relationships with their peers and adults.”

    However, keep in mind that some small schools won’t be able to accommodate kids with autism, especially if a child is on the higher end of the spectrum. Ask what kind of support is available, both in class and out, and how it will be delivered. For instance, “do you have an in-house psychologist to work with my child on their communication and interaction skills?”

  • Montessori school

    Many kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will find the calm and quiet learning environment of the typical Montessori classroom soothing. “Its close-knit, supportive setting can be empowering and reassuring for kids with ASD,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “‘Montessori schools’ focus on self-direction and individualized learning may also enable them to feel more comfortable taking academic risks.” 

    That said, not all Montessori schools provide the right environment for kids with ASD. Some will require more supervision, structure, and one-on-one support than some Montessori schools provide. For instance, kids with poor executive functioning skills may struggle to function independently in some Montessori environments. Of course, since different Montessori schools have different teaching approaches and resource support, speak to school directors and staff to gauge whether your child is likely to be a good fit.

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Is your child dyslexic?

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How Dyslexic kids fit with TMMS's dimensions:
  • Small school (150 students or less)

    Smaller schools with small classes normally provide lots of personalized learning and one-on-one guidance. This gives them the flexibility to support students with a range of learning disabilities (LDs), including dyslexia, and to actively monitor their progress and development. Some also provide learning environments that directly support dyslexia, such as segregated classes and part-time withdrawal classes. 

    “Keep in mind, though, that not all small schools provide support for kids with dyslexia,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Consulting. “For instance, a school may only support kids with LDs involving math or numbers (like dysgraphia).” 

    Ask whether a school supports dyslexia, and if it does, how it delivers this support. Finally, make sure a smaller school has out-of-class resources that meet your child’s needs. Since your child struggles with decoding language, they may need regular visits with an on-site reading intervention specialist.

  • Montessori school

    Many kids with dyslexia (and other LDs) will find the calm and quiet learning environment of most Montessori classrooms peaceful. They can also benefit from Montessori’s special focus on individualized learning: since kids often choose their tasks, with teacher guidance, their work can be tailored to their abilities and interests. 

    That said, not all Montessori schools offer the right environment for kids with dyslexia. “Some don’t provide the explicit, teacher-directed instruction that some research indicates is beneficial for students with dyslexia,” says Una Malcolm, director of Bright Light Learners. “For instance, some students may need more help with phonic decoding than some Montessori environments are able to provide.” 

    Of course, since Montessori schools vary in their teaching approach, support systems, and resources, speak to school directors and staff to determine whether your child is a good fit.

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THE OUR KIDS REPORT: The Maria Montessori School

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