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Westmont Montessori School:
The Our Kids Report > Reviews
Grades Preschool TO Gr. 12 — Victoria, BC (Map)

Westmont Montessori School:

Interview with Westmont Montessori School PARENT, Kristen Manieri

Video Contents

Highlights from the interview

  • The process for choosing the school was well, first, just arriving at the school's website and seeing the amazing campus, that is just what drew us in right away. Our previous school was in the middle of a city. There was a lot of concrete around and buildings and houses. And then when we saw Westmont, it was just like, wow, there's just nothing but trees and hiking trails and the ocean is right there, and all that fresh air and nature completely drew us in. And so we applied, and that was a super easy process.

  • We got a chance to have conversations with what would be our younger daughter's teacher and what would eventually be our older daughter's teacher. We got to meet with the head of the school all over Zoom, of course, but it just felt like we got such great access to who would be part of our new school community if we chose to go to Westmont. So I really appreciated that. It was just like an open door. Come on in: every question, just bring it on.

  • I think for the kids, being welcomed into the Westmont community was instantaneous. They came home in the first days of school and said exactly what a parent wants to hear when they put their kids in a new school and make friends. I like my teachers. Everyone made me feel welcome. I'm excited. I'm engaged. I like what we're learning about. So that was just like a dream come true.

  • Yes, they love it. But I think for Mark and I, we were really welcomed too. The community really goes out of their way to reach out to new families. I made friends right away. I joined the parent committee right away, or we call it Pack. So I immediately found a place for myself. And then you start making friends with the parents of your kids' friends, and it just kind of grows from there. But it felt like home. Like within the first month we felt like, wow, this is where we belong. This is where we're going to stay for a long time.

  • It's different for each of them. For our younger daughter, she loves the way that learning happens. She's got a full day, but it shifts a lot to being outside, to being active, to having quiet time. She loves the mindfulness work that they do. She loves being able to say to her teacher, like, hey, I'm really curious about this.

  • It's such a true Montessori school in that it's letting the student be the guide, or at least guide the teachers of what they're excited about and what they're lit up about. And that doesn't mean that they don't follow standardised standards. They’ve got to make sure they learn this, but they really are invested in creating kids that have a love of learning. And so for our younger daughter, I really see that she loves learning. She loves her teachers. She loves the organisation of the class schedule, all of that.

  • For our older daughter. She's in middle school. She's a 7th grader. It’s a big amount of thoughtfulness and strategy, really, that has gone into having her school experience be very steeped into the social side of things, making friends, learning to navigate relationships, which is what is really the primary driver of her life right now, friends and being social. So the whole middle school program is organised around feeding into that, like having her feel like that matters to the school, too. And so there's a ton of group work, which at first she was very nervous about because she thought, well, I just want to get my work done. But she's learned so much about group dynamics. There's a ton of immersion trips.

  • And so she's not only got a chance to be with her fellow students all day long, but they go off campus a lot, and even overnight a lot. And that has been hugely transformative for her as she learns to become someone who's not so attached to her parents. So that's been really great. And so it's a very thoughtful program. A lot of very smart, insightful strategy has gone into how it's organised.

  • I think what I love most about Westmont is that it's a small big school. And what I mean by that is it's small in that you'll find your people, you'll find your friends, you'll feel like you belong. It's not like this massive school where you'll just be invisible, but it's a big school in that the resources are amazing. Obviously, it's on this extraordinary campus, but it's really connected, some of the learning experiences that our kids get access to because of the connectedness of the school to places like the University of Victoria. I really appreciate that.

  • So it has that intimacy. It feels like family, but it doesn't feel so small that we're kind of lost in our own little world over here. We're very connected to the greater world around us, to the greater Victoria area and beyond. So I like that you get the best of both worlds with this school, because in a lot of Montessori schools, they can be almost a little too small, a little too isolated. And I don't find that here, they've done a really great job of making people feel like family, but also giving people access, giving students access to really extraordinary learning experiences and community experiences.

  • I think the thing that surprised me most about the school is you see the pictures of it, they've got this beautiful aerial view of the school. And you think, oh, my gosh, my kids are going to be in nature all the time. And I don't think I really computed in my mind what that meant until they started going. And I would hear about these hikes, and I would hear about the time they would spend in the forest and I would hear about rain or shine, all this time that they would spend outside doing their PE classes. Like I said, going on hikes, they go at least once a week.

  • Their extracurriculars in terms of off campus experiences are all very forest and nature focused. And where we had been before did not have that at all. So what I can see is the benefit is, of course, it's just lovely to be in nature, but it's actually producing kids that really love being in nature. They love being outside.

  • They appreciate the world around them. They're starting to have a real noticing of beauty and wonder and awe. And I think that in this day and age when we're dealing with huge issues like climate change and we all need to pitch in to start making changes in order to turn this planet around, I think that's got to start with, like, what's in it for me and what's in it for me is like if I'm connected to the world around me, if I see the beauty in it and I value it, then I'm going to value initiatives that would conserve our wilderness, that would do things to clean up our planet. So I didn't know that there was going to be all these extra benefits beyond just like how nice it is to be outside. And that's been really surprising and also really delightful for us as parents.

  • The values that I see every day, every day at work is a real commitment to two-way communication, to finding the third way. As Stephen Covey would say, there really is an open door policy. They really are the administration. It really is open to feedback and to changing, to making changes when they make sense. And I think this idea of having a school feels like a community, like a family.

  • And there's just something special about that. Like you feel a part of something you feel seen, you feel like you belong. And I don't think you can put a price tag on that. We're going to spend a lot of years interfacing with the schools that we put our kids into, and it's going to be where we have an opportunity to get a deep sense of community and a deep sense of belonging and especially with so many people working from home. And I think we should want to get that from our schools. I think we should expect that from our schools. And so, man, Westmount nails that. I feel like I can speak for myself at least. I feel such a deep sense of belonging and their values around that being so are so evident every single day.

  • The typical family at Westmont can't be categorised as, oh, they're from this industry or they're from this part of Canada because it's so varied. We have such an international school and parents who work in all kinds of different industries. But the thing that binds everyone together, that the common link is that it's parents who really care about their kids, not that other parents at other schools don't. But there is something about Montessori parents and their commitment to a love of learning, to helping their kids become lifelong learners and lifelong lovers of learning. Our kids have been in Montessori school since they were two and three years old.

  • So, you know, they're now 13 and 11. That makes a difference like that. There's something different about parents who are really committed to Montessori education. And I just really feel that like, they're just really loving, really caring, invested, committed, involved parents. So I think that's a big plus.

  • A big win for us as a family was when our 7th grader went on her first multi-night overnight. So they went to Strathcona and spent four nights there. And they came back on a Friday, I believe. And that was huge. She's never been that far away from us without us at that point. Never done like an overnight at a camp like that. It was portaging and hiking and eating food that was cooked on a fire. And we're not a camping family. So that was all new. And I was nervous.

  • I was like, is she going to be okay? Is she going to hate it? Is she going to be miserable? And she came home like 2 feet off the ground. She was so happy, learned all these cool camping songs, and connected with her fellow students. The 7th and 8th graders came home just so connected to each other. And that was right at the beginning of the year. So that was back in October. And I think that set the stage for the whole rest of the year of how connected and bound to each other these kids were going to be. And it doesn't mean that they haven't had challenges and conflicts that they have. But the foundation of their relationship as fellow students and friends really was laid on that trip. And man, I'm so glad that she had that experience. It made such a difference for her.

  • I am constantly blown away at the quality of communication that I get from the teachers that we interface with for our two girls. Everything from just needing to send a quick email to get a quick answer for something to getting report cards that read like a novel. Like, it's just so much information, so much detail. I feel like at any given time I can have a really straightforward conversation, ask questions, and get very thoughtful answers. I've felt from the beginning that the teachers really care about our kids and that they love teaching and they love teaching the kids that they have. And I was just like, that's everything. That's what your kid wants.

  • I think the reasons I would recommend the school to other families is first and foremost just the caring family community. I think the second is that the nature education, the fact that it's on this amazing campus is not just a marketing tool. Like they really do spend that much time out in nature. They really do go hiking and go down to the ocean and do outdoor projects and do outdoor learning.

  • And I guess the third thing is they're learning so much. My kids are getting access to curriculum that would normally fall outside of the standardised curriculum at another school. And yet when they ask for it or they need more help and they need to dive deeper or they just have a curiosity, it's always met with like, yes, let's do it. Yes, let's go there. So the quality of the teaching, the quality of the education is extremely high. Those are the reasons I would recommend Westmount.

  • When I think back to what it was like for us having spent almost ten years at our first school and then going on our search for our next school and how gosh it's stressful looking for a new school for me. I just knew it intuitively. I met with Magnus. I got to meet our eleven year olds teacher, I got to meet our 13 year old’s teacher all on Zoom before we actually sent in all of our paperwork and I just knew. I could just feel these are good people, this is a good school, this is where we belong. So I think using your intuition and following your gut in terms of what just feels right, I think that's an underutilised tool. I think we need to use that more. So yes, my advice is don't over stress about the details. Follow your heart, follow your gut and go with what feels right.


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More written reviews


Parent, Marc Manieri (2022)

We have 2 children at Westmont Montessori, 6th and 7th grade, ages 11 and 13, respectfully. The children absolutely love this school. We just relocated from the States (Orlando, FL). This was a br...


Parent, Michelle McClure (2022)

My children love this school. They adore their teachers and have a sense of pride and ownership of their educational experience. My eldest loves that he gets to choose which work he completes in a d...


Parent, Peter Scott (2022)

At Westmont, my daughters have felt safe, nurtured, and valued as individuals. They appreciate the freedom to explore what they are most interested in and to express themselves and their interests in ...
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THE OUR KIDS REPORT: Westmont Montessori School

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