Our mission at Casa Vera Montessori preschool is to create an environment for children in which they are encouraged to explore, create, learn, socialize and celebrate their unique talents. We hold the view that all children are competent, capable, curious and rich in potential.
Underlying Maria Montessori's method was a philosophy based on the dignity and spiritual worth of the child. In order to develop children's unique potential, they must have freedom: freedom to explore, freedom to be creative, freedom to choose. This freedom is achieved through order and self-discipline.
The Montessori approach is a system of education which encompasses both a philosophy of the child's growth and a rationale for guiding such growth.
The carefully prepared environment for Montessori childcare guarantees exposure to material and experiences to develop intelligence, as well as physical and psychological abilities. It is designed to take full advantage of the self-motivation process, the unique abilities of children, and to allow them to develop their own capabilities and inner gifts.
"An adult admires their environment; they can remember it and think about it; but a child absorbs it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all in the world about him that his eyes see and his ears hear. In us the same things produce no change, but the child is transformed by them." - Maria Montessori
Our curriculum and learning activities are set up to enhance four developmental areas: physical, social-emotional, cognitive, and creative. The values we respect are freedom, dignity and independence. Children are doing activities for themselves carefully and competently.
This grouping adapts the child's biological clock rather than relying on age as the primary indicator for readiness with instruction. Peer cooperation and tutoring increases achievement and self-esteem in both the older and younger child.
We wish to expose and educate our children about the exciting diversity that makes up our society. The children will learn to embrace and respect the differences within our population today.
It is the expressed desire of the school to create a sense of community within the children through our work in the classroom, education and field trips.
Our goal is to create a stimulating and cooperative environment rather than a competitive environment. It is important for the children to develop joy and enthusiasm for learning.
Our programs cultivate authentic, caring relationships and connections to create a sense of belonging among and between children, adults, and the world around them.
We empower the child to fully explore the path of self-discovery and development in the Montessori environment. The child's environment is carefully planned and organized to enhance learning in a focused, uninterrupted manner following Montessori principles.
We support positive and responsive interactions among children, parents, and staff by communicating, promoting and adhering to our values. We foster children's exploration, encourage interaction and communication by designing environments and experiences that spark curiosity, invite investigation, promote cooperative play and provide challenges.
Field trips to farms, fire stations, local libraries are all part of our program. We also invite police officers for introduction to our children as well as soldiers to provide information on the meaning and history behind Remembrance Day. (Please see Field Trips and Special Events)
We are aware that there are still children living in an environment that does not provide them health, equality, education and protection. Therefore, we proudly support Unicef's Global Parent to help children all over the world and provide them with ongoing medicine, food and shelter, where needed.
With programs to recycle and reduce waste we strive to make a difference in our community as well as create an eco-friendly environment for our children. Together with simple ecology lessons, we recycle throughout the day and the children both observe and participate in these daily routines. (Please see Community)
The engagement and ongoing communication with parents about the program and their children are fostered by having regular Parents' Nights to explain parents the principles of Montessori education and discuss what is happening in the classrooms. We have Parents-Teacher Meetings where the parents can meet and discuss their child's experience with the teachers. Parents can also access their child's teacher by chatting briefly at the door during arrival and dismissal.
We frequently send parents articles about child-related topics and our parents have access to our library on our web page in Parents' Corner where we post announcements, school policies, articles and other information. (Please see Parent's Corner)
To understand Montessori childcare better, our parents are welcome to visit our classes and observe quietly, the caring and loving interaction between child and the teacher.
Our programs nurture children's healthy development and support their growing sense of self. We promote the health, safety, nutrition and well-being of the children by providing healthy meals and snacks in positive eating environments; provide opportunities for children to practice self-help and self-care skills based on each child's capabilities.
Our teachers recognize and support children's developing self-regulation abilities and design environments that are attuned to children’s varied sensitivities.
A child's day includes indoor and outdoor play time, active play, rest time, quiet time and group discussion time. We have a large, and well equipped outdoor playground which provides regular daily opportunities for children to be physically active and explore the world around them in safe and stimulating manner. (Please see School Photogallery)
Our programs provide environments and experiences to engage children in active, creative, and meaningful exploration, play/work, and inquiry.
We plan for and create positive learning environments and experiences in which each child's learning and development is supported by using the international Montessori curriculum and materials that have been proven through research to be effective with children from all socio-economic and cultural groups.
We foster the children's exploration, play and inquiry by having fully equipped Montessori play/learn environments, which includes multiple activities:
Children understand where everything is kept and they are able to choose and return things independently as well as with their friends.
We provide child-initiated and adult-supported experiences. All Montessori materials are introduced to a child by a teacher or by another child, and while the Montessori teachers are always observing children to see what support each child might need, they are very sensitive to allowing children their own initiative as this most often results in children being deeply engaged and peaceful in what they are doing.
Our program has been enriched with French language, Young Kids Explorer Club, child yoga, creative drama and chicken hatching. (Please see Curriculum Enrichment)
As we believe each child is extraordinary and talented individual, we also offer extra curriculum programs such as Music lessons, Art/Drawing and Pottery/Clay classes). Each child can find an area where their natural gifts and talents can be nurtured and explored. We also strongly encourage physical fitness and recreational activities. Besides the regular daily playground time and yoga exercise, we offer dancing and swimming courses. (Please see Extra Curriculum Programs)
Our programs foster communication and expression in all forms.
We encourage the children to interact and communicate in a positive way and we support their ability to self-regulate by having mixed-age Montessori classrooms. This provides many opportunities for interactions with children older and younger than themselves, and with adults.
Teachers continuously seek new ideas to facilitate student’s exploration and understanding of the world around them. They provide children the time and materials to encourage expression through activities such as visual and creative arts. Teachers foster communication by being attuned and responding to child’s cues as well as engaging in an authentic reciprocal manner with children.
Teachers facilitate communication between students by helping them listen and express themselves to one another in a variety of situations and activities.
We are working together in partnership with The Macaulay Child Development Centre in order to intensify and support the successful inclusion of children with special needs. This can include developmental delays, social, emotional, behavioural and physical challenges.
In order to provide better support for children with special needs, our principal successfully completed the course Autism Interventionist and presently is enrolled in an Autism and Behaviour Science Course (both at Seneca College).
In case we have enrolled a child who has any difficulties and special needs, parents may apply for support from the professionals at Community Living Toronto. Support includes a child psychologist, speech therapist, behavioural specialist (among others). An individualized support plan is developed in consultation with a parent of the child and any regulated health professional.
We are proud that our teachers are enthusiastic and devoted professionals with outstanding experience in child education. They embrace the Montessori philosophy with a depth of knowledge and a genuine desire to encourage all children to develop a positive attitude towards learning and education. All head teachers completed Montessori courses and posses recognized certificates/diplomas. They are knowledgeable, caring, reflective and resourceful professionals, often going beyond the required qualifications and continuously expanding their professional knowledge. Please see more details under "About teachers".
We constantly reviewing and assessing the impact of all of our strategies through regular discussions with teachers, principal/supervisor and parents.
At the beginning of each year, our staff also sets goals for themselves in discussion with the principal. We plan for how to support them in the achievement of those goals. We have two professional development days each year to attend Montessori conferences organized by The Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators and The Canadian Association of Montessori Teachers.
We meet as a whole staff and in smaller groups to review our work and plan for improvements. Our principal walks around the school regularly, observing classes and then engaging the staff in conversation about their observations. We frequently discuss ongoing issues or topics of particular interest. Staff members are encouraged to visit other schools at least once a year to observe other classes.
We document and review the impact of the above strategies on the children and their families through observation, conversation, meetings, surveys, etc. A child’s progress and development is observed, monitored and recorded in child progress books and progress report cards.
We are very proud that our students are competent, capable of complex thinking, curious, rich in potential and able to build on their strengths and abilities.