Q & A Dearcroft and West Wind Montessori School

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Q

Where was the idea of Dearcroft Montessori School born?

A
Our school, established in 1968 by Peter & Barbara Phippen, was originally named Centennial Montessori School, commemorating Canada’s hundredth birthday in 1967.  That year, Peter Phippen studied Montessori in Bergamo, Italy under the guidance of Mario Montessori, Maria Montessori’s son.

With the goal of creating a unique, child centered, truly exceptional Montessori school in Oakville, upon their return, the Phippen family opened what is now the longest serving Montessori program in our community.

In 1976, our school was renamed Dearcroft and moved to our Lakeshore Road East campus.  Dearcroft is the third oldest independent school in Oakville and we remain one of Canada’s longest serving Montessori Schools with an international reputation for excellence.

Q

What sets Dearcroft and West Wind Montessori apart of the rest?

A
Our exceptional staff take great pride in offering a warm and engaging learning environment for students in programs from toddler to grade 8.  We empower students to become responsible, productive, and caring citizens with a strong sense of social justice and a comprehensive understanding of environmental stewardship.  Together, our staff, students, and parent community foster a positive environment both in and beyond the classroom.  This develops students who are firmly grounded, with a powerful sense of self, compassion for others and the world in which they live.

At Dearcroft, our Montessori trained teachers are deeply committed to excellence and the continued development of our school community.  Dearcroft Montessori is a CCMA charter member school, and our Director Gordon Phippen has served as both chair and CCMA consultant. Additionally, Gord Phippen and Anna Campbell, our Director of Programming, are both CMTE certified trainers.

At the core of our Montessori curriculum is a strong emphasis on peace education.  This creates an environment of kindness and compassion where students are supported not only by our staff, but also by their peers as well.  In short, a Montessori education creates wonderful opportunities for independence, creativity, and character development.

West Wind Montessori Junior High offers an integrated, experience-based curriculum intended to motivate and inspire!  Our challenging and enriched two-year program is designed to prepare our graduates for a successful transition into the high school of their choice and the world beyond.

For over two decades,  West Wind Junior High  has encouraged academic independence, interaction, character-building, project management, critical thinking, and leadership skills.  Our mission is to help youth discover themselves and their full potential in our unique Montessori environment that inspires excellence, empowering them to engage in and ultimately shape their world.

For 25 years Dearcroft/West Wind has been Canada’s leader in elementary experiential education. Our award-winning Expedition Education Program established in 1996 has been an innovative and exciting extension of our curriculum.  Through an integrated and highly ambitious travel-based experience, our West Wind Junior High students have had the opportunity to explore Canada from Coast to Coast.  Exploring our countrie’s magnificent geography, visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Provincial and National Parks, and world class museums.  From the majestic Pacific beaches of Vancouver Island to magnificent Yukon landscapes, across the vast Prairies and amazing Great Lakes, along the mighty St. Lawrence River through historic Quebec and the Maritimes, to the incredibly rugged,  Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, we have explored so much of Canada’s remarkable geography over the years on these unforgettable journeys of learning.  Additional Expedition Education trips within our continent have also taken us to Alaska, the Everglades and Florida Keys.  Our West Wind Jr. High students have also had the opportunity to participate in the international Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) conferences held in NYC for the past 15 years.  Adventure can inspire us, unlock hidden potential, broaden our horizons, awaken our spirits, and refresh our senses.  No classroom resource can compete with this.

Q

How does a Montessori education differ from traditional learning models?

A
Maria Montessori was a remarkable educator and a woman very much ahead of her time.  Born in 1870, she became Italy’s first female doctor and worked extensively in education. She developed a unique “scientific pedagogy” that is known as the Montessori Method and has now been practiced around the world in thousands of schools for over a century.  Montessori classrooms are carefully prepared learning environments designed to inspire creative thinking and support and encourage individual learning styles.

At Dearcroft and West Wind Montessori, the comprehensive and methodical training of staff, excellent student to teacher ratios and long-term relationships allow us to focus on the individual child’s development in full alignment with Montessori best practices.  All classrooms feature: individualized, child-centred programs, enriched programming tailored to meet the needs of each student; multi-age environments; low student-teacher ratios; hands-on; experiential learning; individual and small group lessons and enriched music and French programing.

Dearcroft and West Wind curriculum goes well beyond Ministry of Education requirements and our high level of academics prepare our students for success.  This level of preparedness helps to ensure our students obtain not only their first high school of choice but also success in their their post-secondary education opportunities and career paths beyond.

Q

How did Dearcroft and West Wind Montessori school respond to the mandated closure last Spring?

A
Last year, when Dearcroft pivoted to online learning in response to the Covid-19 pandemic school closure, we found a new opportunity to continue providing the highest possible level of education to our students.  Dearcroft was able to transition  quickly to our online learning portal in just a few weeks partnering with Desire 2 Learn (D2L.com), a top rated virtual education platform  and launched our Dearcroft.brightspace.com portal.  This allowed our students to continue learning remotely while maintaining their grade levels and gaining full access to our curriculum as they finished the school year.

This truly outstanding effort was extremely well received and went well above what many students experienced in our province.  Dearcroft teachers provided excellent online learning for all of our students and we received tremendously positive feedback from our parents in this regard.

In fact, Montessori students flourish with online learning as they are already able to be independent, self-directed learners through a guided curriculum.  Montessori students develop a responsibility for their own work, something most students do not learn effectively until their senior years  of high school of even their post secondary education.

Q

In today’s world, how can a child benefit from a Montessori education?

A
One of the greatest benefits of a Montessori education is building real-life skills that carry over when it is time to enter the workforce. Problem-solving, creativity, teamwork, and responsibility run through the veins of a Montessori child.  Collectively, grace, courtesy, empathy, and peace education, coupled with off-site learning opportunities  helps to create independent, self-confident and motivated learners.

A Montessori education consciously designs social communities and educational experiences that cultivate the child’s sense of self-awareness, tolerance and empathy.  Montessori learning environments allow for the respect and celebration of the individual spirit within people of all ages.

Our highly experienced staff takes great pride in offering a warm and engaging environment for their students.  We offer an intimate learning experience within our supportive and close-knit community.  The comprehensive and methodical training of staff, excellent ratios and long-term relationships allow us to focus on all aspects of each child’s development.  Keeping in-line with Montessori best practices, all of our classrooms feature:

  • Individualized, child-centered programs
  • Enriched programming, tailored to meet the needs of each student
  • Multi-age environments
  • Low student/teacher ratios
  • Hands-on, experiential learning
  • Individual and small-group lessons
Q

What makes Dearcroft and West Wind Montessori School unique as an educational institution?

A
A wonderful degree of innovation and natural design have driven the evolution of our school community.  An excellent curriculum that goes above and beyond the public system requirements, where our graduates are positioned to pass entrance exams and be successful along their future learning paths.  Our students have access to specialised programming including drama club, music, French beginning in our Casa program, and, intra-school sports competitions. Located on a stunningly natural, heavily wooded and truly beautiful historic estate short steps from Lake Ontario, Dearcroft’s campus is a remarkably inspiring and special place to grow and learn.

Under the consistent direction of the Phippen family and a highly experienced and dedicated staff for 53 years, Dearcroft is now led by owners Gordon and Lynda Phippen who have been members of the faculty for over three decades.  Within the past several years, Grace and Jamie, the grandchildren of founders Peter & Barbara Phippen, have graduated from Dearcroft and moved on through high school into their university years.  We have a number of second-generation families! Our graduates are grown with families of their own, and they are now sending their own children to Dearcroft.  The vision of our school’s founders continues to flourish at Dearcroft, where countless young children have made the first steps of their exciting lifelong journey of learning for over half a century.

Virtual Curriculum Night – Thursday, November 5th, 2020

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Join us at our  Virtual Open House Curriculum Information Night, we are excited to take you on a virtual tour of our school and highlight our curriculum programs from Toddler to Junior High.

Education is perhaps the most critical component of a child’s development, with a legacy that permeates throughout his/her lifetime. As parents, we want to give our children the best start, and most importantly our children need to feel fulfilled, happy, inspired and nurtured.

One of the greatest benefits of Montessori education is building real-life skills that carry over when it is time to enter the workforce. Problem-solving, creativity, team work and responsibility run through the veins of a Montessori child.

At Dearcroft Montessori School our experienced staff take great pride in offering a warm and engaging environment for students providing programs for toddlers to grade 8.

A Montessori education consciously designs social communities and educational experiences that cultivate the child’s sense of self-awareness and empathy. Montessori learning environments allow for the respect and celebration of individual spirit within people of all ages.

involved learning

At Dearcroft/West Wind Montessori  School the comprehensive and methodical training of staff, excellent student to teacher ratios and long- term relationships allow us to focus on the individual child’s development keeping in-line with Montessori best practices. All of our classrooms feature: individualized, child-centred programs, enriched programming tailored to meet the needs of each student; multi-age environments; low student-teacher ratios; hands-on experiential learning; individual and small group lessons and enriched music and French programming.

To learn more, join us on Thursday, November 5th, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. 

RSVP to info@dearcroft-montessori.com

Thank you for joining our Virtual Parent Information Elementary Session

Thank you for joining our virtual Parent Information Session for our Junior and Senior Elementary Classes. Here is a breakdown of what we went over.

Elementary:  6 years to 12 years old

The Elementary Program continues to build on the foundation established in Casa, and centres on the Montessori concept of a cosmic curriculum. Aided by a curious mind, developing imagination and ability to absorb large amounts information, the child begins to learn about the universe and his/her place in it. Careful attention is paid to the development of language and mathematical skills. These abilities assist in the integrated areas of history, geography, science, botany, zoology and peace education.

monitor student development

Goals:

  • Our classroom is structured to allow for the students to have consistency
  •  Our students are challenged with individualized programing tailored to their specific need.
  •  During the three- year cycle of their academic development in the classroom, our students gain, confidence, self-esteem and an impressive level of independence and learning.
  • Their maturity, sense of global awareness and overall citizenship is nurtured and strengthened by their multi-aged experience.
  • Both our Junior and Senior Elementary classes participate in a number of experiential education field trips.

hiking, exploration, nature learning, Junior Elementary, Dearcroft Montessori

Virtual Parent Information Night Continued…

 

Each level held their own information session and gave insight into what to students and parents can expect this year.

Casa:

There are five areas within our classroom.

  1. Practical Life: The child will be practicing daily living tasks to develop independence, focus, concentration, a sense of order and their pincer grip for writing.
  2. Sensorial: The child will be learning to compare and contrast by colour, shape, size, sound and dimension.
  3. Math: The child will be developing an understanding of the quantity and corresponding symbol from 0-9, teens, tens, decimal system (operations addition, multiplication, subtraction and division) and memorization of math facts over the 3 years in Casa.
  4. Language: The child will be learning the phonetic sounds letters make and develop an understanding that words are made up of sounds. They will start cursive and create stories over the 3 years in Casa.
  5. Culture: The child will explore the world around them through geography, history, art, zoology and science.

Goals of the Casa Program: 

  • Independence
  • Grace and Courtesy
  • Respect
  • Each child to develop their ability to listen and follow directions, focus, and lengthen their concentration.
  • For each child to think for themselves; become a problem solver.

 

Thank you for attending West Wind Junior High Parent Information Session

 

West Wind Junior High – Grade 7 &8

junior high learning, private middle school, grades 7 and 8

WWJH is a unique combination of Montessori philosophy and curriculum optimizing preparation for traditional High School environments. As an academically rigorous program, students are challenged through authentic, purposeful work projects. Challenging and engaging, it encourages academic independence, interaction and leadership. WWJH’s model fully prepares our graduates for the academic demands of the Ontario High School Curriculum.

small group lessons

Goals of the program:

  • Our curriculum is set using scientific research and time-tested Montessori curriculum, allowing students to access:
  • Interdisciplinary units
  • A focus on action skills (conflict, resolution, project planning, research skills, public speaking, paper writing, project development and management)
  •  Mix of independent and collaborative work
  • French, art, physical education and music classes

Do you want to learn more about our enriched programs from Toddler to Grade 8?

We welcome you to join us at our Virtual Open House Curriculum Night.

We will be holding a Virtual Open House Curriculum Night:

Thursday, November 5th, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.

Please rsvp to info@dearcroft-montessori.com

Thank you for joining our Virtual Parent Information Night

 

Our Fall term is underway and while school is set up differently this year, we are very grateful to be back together on campus.

 

We were so thrilled to welcome our new and returning parents to our Virtual Parent Session for each level. We have such an amazing Dearcroft community, and we loved hearing all of the positive and uplifting feedback from parents.

 

Each level held their own information session and gave insight into what to students and parents can expect this year.

Toddler Program:

The Toddler Program is for children between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old. This is the period when children’s lives are the most formative, such that they absorb impressions from all aspects of their surroundings.

“Help me do it for myself”

Goals of the Toddler Program:

  • To help foster motivation and spontaneous activity
  • To provide sensory education for intellectual development
  • To encourage co-operative learning through social interaction
  • To provide learning opportunities through physical activity and outdoor activity for small and gross motor development
  • To foster confidence and competencies through repetitive concrete exercises and experiences

We work closely with parents in bringing the home environment in sync with the school environment. It is important that all children feel happy and safe in our school community.

 

To be continued…

Together is a great place to be!

Together is a great place to be!

Together is a great place to be! This year brings many challenges to school, for both educators and students. More than ever, it is critical that we help build resiliency with youth. As we don’t know how long these uncertainties may continue for, we are doing our best to continue to include elements of our program that allow adolescents to flourish, including experiential learning and opportunities for independence building.

To kick off our history session this year, our Junior High Teachers organized an outdoor walking with the Oakville  Historical Society.  They provide excellent programming teaching students about Oakville’s rich history. Students will be able to tap into this information as we begin our history.

In the afternoon our students enjoyed Stand Up paddling with Wai Nui  O’Kanaka Canoe Club on the Sixteen Mile Creek, Downtown Oakville.  Our students enjoyed this mindful experience.