Curriculum & Programs
Welcome to Mildenhall Montessori Schools, where we pride ourselves on our standards, tradition, and reputation. Please take a look a our curriculum and programs below. We have programs all the way from Toddlers to Middle School. Take your time and if you have any questions please contact us or any school directly, we would be more than happy than to guide you in the right direction as well as have you over for a tour.
Follow the Child - Maria Montessori
Young Peoples Community
The Montessori Young People's Community (Toddler) curriculum is focused on four primary areas: Movement, Sensory, Practical Life, and Language.
Movement Essential to brain development and an understanding of space and physical body, the movement specific aspects of the environment include stairs and a platform to climb and master; floor mats on which to roll and stretch; a push cart to practice walking and core strength; and increasingly challenging materials to explore visual coordination including puzzles, blocks, large beads and string.
Practical Life Central to the Montessori philosophy is the development of skills related to Practical Life - children are deeply interested in the activities that surround them, including caring for their environments. The YPC practical life environment deliberately provides materials for sweeping, serving snack, washing clothing and dishes, arranging shelves, caring for plants, even repairing broken items.
Sensory Through exploration with materials to isolate specific sensory concepts, such as size, colour, shape, sound, and texture children begin to understand their world and the physical properties that assist in categorization.
Language Children develop language so organically yet in observable stages and gains. At this age, language enrichment is facilitated through naming exercises, books, art and music, with a focus on vocabulary.
“Education of even a small child does not aim at preparing him for school, but for life.” - Maria Montessori
2-6 years old
The Montessori Casa classroom is organized into five main curriculum areas: Language, Math, Practical Life, Sensorial, and Culture.
Practical Life Children are intensely interested in purposeful activity, and through real activity such as pouring, polishing, preparing food, sweeping, and washing the children learn to care for themselves, for the environment and for others.
Sensorial Young children engage all their senses to make order of the world. For example, by using prepared materials that are designed to appeal to a child’s desire to touch, manipulate, and move, children develop perceptions of size, space, and volume. This is the foundation for an understanding of geometry, mathematical concepts, and physics.
Language Inspired by the presented materials, basic skills in writing and reading are developed allowing children to link sounds and letter symbols effortlessly progressing to expressing their thoughts through writing and experiencing the world through reading.
Mathematics At this stage of development, children are concrete thinkers who are establishing order on the world. Again, specialized materials are designed to appeal and support understanding of concepts such as quantity and patterns. Using these materials, even the young child works with concepts of operations, squares and cubes, fractions, and geometry.
Cultural Initiated by the child’s own curiosity, the cultural domain of the classroom introduces individuals and small groups to geography, botany, zoology, science, art, and history.
"The child who concentrates is immensely happy." - Maria Montessori
The Casa Program at Mildenhall Montessori offers young children a friendly and inclusive environment that promotes discovery, self initiation, and concentration. The activities available to the children are intentionally designed to build skills and understanding through exploration, repetition, and practice.
Guidance is provided to individual and small groups of children by experienced teachers and assistants. Through mindful speech and deliberate physical movement the teacher and assistant clearly demonstrate expected classroom and interpersonal behaviours.
Your child selects her activity, prepares her workspace, and completes the lesson at her own pace, moving on only when she is ready. Developmentally appropriate tasks and activities allow your child to explore properties of size, quantity, volume, weight, and proportion. Other tasks build recognition of letters, sounds, and language. Still others build fine and large motor skills. All activities have built in opportunity for social interaction, care of self and others, and care of physical space. The wide reaching curriculum is described in more detail here.
Lengthy work cycles enable children to make independent choices about activities and develop and experience deep concentration. Through success they build confidence and self esteem. Through sharing with peers they build leadership and collaboration skills.
Mixed-age classrooms create a social environment that is dynamic. One in which leadership, cooperation, empathy, and kindness inherently exist. Younger children are inspired by the activities of their older peers. Older children begin to work on small group projects, building social and relational skills.
Through success they build confidence and self esteem. Through sharing they build leadership and collaboration skills.
Music, art, French, and physical education activities are integrated into the curriculum on a daily basis. In addition, children in the Casa program receive small group instruction in these enrichment subjects.
The primary program is for ages 2 1/2 to 6 years of age. Children younger than 5 can attend on a half day basis; children 5 and older must attend the full day program.
Suitability for transition to full day is assessed by the classroom teachers in consultation with the principal and the parents. Many children transition by adding lunch and recess to their mornings. All children are expected to attend five days a week.
Our teachers don't just talk the talk - they walk the walk
6-9 years old
“The elementary child has reached a new level of development. Before he was interested in things: working with his hands, learning their names. Now he is interested mainly in the how and why...the problem of cause and effect.” - Maria Montessori
The foundation in self initiation, concentration, intrinsic motivation, creativity, and academic skill laid in the early years is built upon with amazing effect during the elementary grades. Your child can continue his or her education within environments that are as equally carefully prepared and shaped to match developmental needs and abilities as in the primary classes.
Instead of “teaching to the middle” (the education practice of teaching to the average student level in the class, resulting in boredom for those who are more experienced and frustration for those who are less experienced with the subject), the students receive individual lessons targeted at helping the child reach the next step in his or her own development. Students are assessed on an ongoing basis to determine comprehension of concepts, level of skill, and the appropriate progression for that individual child.
Academic subjects are presented to our children with an emphasis on the interrelatedness of life. Through the annual repeated presentation of the Five Great Lessons, the elementary child is introduced and reintroduced to concepts as large as the Beginning of the Universe, the Timeline of Life, the Coming of Humans, the History of Writing, and the Story of Numbers. More detailed description of the academic curriculum can be found here. These Great Lessons form the basis for further exploration, which is initiated by the child.
The curriculum and environment - designed to be completed over a three year period - is carefully structured and designed for children to experience both challenge and success at all levels. In addition to the benefits gained from the individual and small group instruction, the three year work cycle enables all children to work at their own pace, directed by personal interests.
Students receive individual lessons targeted at helping the child reach the next step in his or her own development.
At this stage, the development of practical life skills related to time management, organization, seeking help as needed, and personal responsibility are emphasized. Children are encouraged to start to be responsible for their assignments, to prioritize choice of activities, and to engage in social problem solving and resolution.
"The child who concentrates is immensely happy." - Maria Montessori
9-12 years old
“Our aim therefore is not merely to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his inmost core.” - Maria Montessori
Our oldest students have consolidated the earlier skills and begin to move towards abstraction, reasoning, and continued experiential learning, during this three year cycle. An ongoing emphasis on independence and responsibility supports the development of life skills that were initiated in earlier years. Through frequent conferences with their teacher, the students monitor their own progress and guidance is provided towards achieving academic balance.
Our children work for understanding and learning, not graded results. They are creative problem solvers, who can persevere and take responsibility for themselves and others.
Active participants in their classrooms and with their peers, our children continue their social, intellectual, and moral development. They have been well prepared by their earlier experiences to approach a challenging curriculum of advanced ideas in literature, history, science, mathematics, and language. A combination of individual and small group lessons, discussion, collaborative problem solving, and guided instruction support the Upper Elementary students in increasing their skills and abilities.
As in the Lower Elementary level, our program takes an alternate approach to the “teaching to the middle” practice common in more traditional environments (the education practice of teaching to the average student level in the class, resulting in boredom for those who are more experienced and frustration for those who are less experienced with the subject). The students receive individual lessons targeted at helping the child reach the next step in his or her own level of development. Individual students are assessed on an ongoing basis to determine comprehension of concepts, level of skill, and the next step that is appropriate for that individual child.
At the conclusion of the full elementary sequence, our children are confident individuals who possess not only a love of learning but the skills to initiate and complete independent work. Our children work for understanding and learning, not graded results. They are creative problem solvers, who can persevere and take responsibility for themselves and others. Our students go on - to the schools of their choice - with skills that enable them to adapt and succeed in a range of educational and future professional environments.
Curiosity, Exceptional Activities, New Horizons
12-14 years old
The Mildenhall Montessori Middle School is presently located in the far wing of our school building at 35 Ourland Ave. Situated on a large unique property, the one level school building includes dedicated music, art, and French classrooms, a library, and gymnasium. There are also wide expanses of playing fields and student built organic vegetable gardens.
The Middle School space will initially be housed within one large, brightly lit classroom with a dedicated entry. The program will have full use of the kitchen as well as an open community room intentionally used for large presentations, workshops, and meetings. The students will prepare their outdoor space, with gardens, space for quiet outdoor work and reflection, and recreation.
Located in Mimico, Etobicoke (recently named one of the top 10 neighbourhoods in Toronto by Toronto Life Magazine), the school is conveniently situated near public transit by bus and subway, streetcar directly to downtown, and even the GoTrain for out of town exploration. It is also within short walking distance or quick bike rides to the local business communities on Royal York Rd., and the Lakeshore. Mimico Waterfront Park is a kilometre-long green space with pockets of wetland habitats, and boardwalks along the shore that connect to the waterfront trail. Essentially a location of refuge within a busy metropolis that allows for the best of both worlds: space and a slower pace, and easy access to all the benefits of the urban setting.
The Montessori philosophy emphasizes that adolescence is a time during which childhood ends and adult life begins. As a result it is necessary for you to begin to participate in real, adult-like work and begin to understand your role in society. This is an ENORMOUS task and, precisely for this reason, the single classroom is no longer sufficient. The prepared environment for the adolescent must include the real world, which can provide opportunities vital to your development as a human being.
For the students in the Mildenhall Montessori Middle School, their city, TORONTO, is the perfect “laboratory of real life” in which to engage in a multidisciplinary study of that which makes us human, and as a result prepares for adult life.
Elements of the Montessori Middle School Curriculum
Opportunities for creative expression are provided in every aspect of the curriculum. Students have formal classes in Art, Music and Physical Education. These specialty areas will be guided by our current staff, with a new emphasis on expanding these experiences outside of the classroom and grounding them in real life opportunities. In addition, particular workshops will be guided by professionals in a range of subject areas, such as architecture and building, gardening, woodworking, fine arts, cooking, business, and technology. These workshops will be selected based on the students’ interests and spark curiosity to inspire further work in the area. This program also provides mentoring that is inspirational for young people.
Psychic (Cognitive-Emotional) Development:
Math, French and Writer's Workshop classes focus on skills to be applied to all aspects of the curriculum. Participation in the Micro-economy - a student run business - allows opportunities for production and exchange, which addresses the adolescent's vital need for economic independence. Community Service and Sexual/Emotional Education foster in the students a sense of social justice and a sense of personal dignity, both of which are particular sensitivities of the adolescent.
Preparation for Life:
Montessori identifies three main components in the preparation for life. These are: the study of the earth and living things, the study of human progress and the building up of civilization, and the study of the history of humankind (humanity). A focus on these allows the adolescent to see his or her own place in humanity and fosters in them a knowledge and respect for the earth and all its inhabitants. Generally considered humanities, literature, and sciences, the curriculum is presented as interconnected historically and contextually, providing the adolescent with a growing understanding of his or her place in space and time.
Students meet regularly in small advisor groups to address the concerns of the individuals and of the group as a whole. Often the agenda for these groups will include items such as time management, grace and courtesy, conflict resolution, peer interaction, and evaluation procedures. These groups are intentionally diverse in age, gender, strengths and challenges.
The prepared curriculum follows an intentionally sequential presentation of lessons from which students design their own individual projects, follow up presentations, and practice schedules. The program advisor meets with each advisee on a regular basis to assist in the support/challenge aspect of the young adolescent’s development. It may mean that the advisor checks the study calendar, examines a goal setting follow-up or a daily schedule, or simply offers the affirmation and support necessary for progress. The role of the advisor includes consulting with parents as well.
Students receive feedback on their progress by means of a variety of assessments, including rubrics, marks, self evaluations, peer evaluations and conferences. Formal report cards are given yearly.