In September 2021 Westmont will be celebrating as grade 12 is offered for the first time, making it one of only two schools on Vancouver Island offering Montessori preschool through high school. Overall school enrollment grew by 10% in 2020 with many families joining to take advantage of the expanded nature-based program where students spend up to 50% of their time learning in the forest or at the seashore.
The Montessori high school learning approach that guarantees students will experience academic vigor, a sense of community, and engages students in an inquiry process that has them take control of their learning. High school courses also leverage learning opportunities and facilities outside of the classroom, while also mining the tremendous breadth of knowledge and experience that members of the school and local community can bring to specific courses. There are many unique aspects to how this is done, but 3 key ones include:
- Flexibility: the program allows students large blocks of uninterrupted work time to independently choose material based on interest and/or timelines.
- Independent inquiry – students have ample opportunities to explore curricular content that interests and motivates them as it relates to the Big Ideas in curricular areas.
- Hands-on learning – like all Montessori programs at Westmont, the high school program continues to offer an abundance of experiential learning opportunities that provide invaluable life lessons; these help students to learn how to problem-solve, work with others, and take new perspectives.
Maria Montessori designed the Montessori method over 100 years ago in Italy and proved its power to unleash the unique strength of students in many countries. Today there are over 20,000 Montessori schools worldwide with 500 in the US as public schools.
Some interesting people you may recognize have come from a Montessori background including Beyonce, Google founders Larry Brin and Sergey Page, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Sean P Diddy Combs who said about his Montessori experience, “I feel like I was nurtured into wanting to be somebody special.”
COVID has challenged us all to think and act differently. In 2020 Westmont welcomed new families from much farther afield than in previous years as remote work and a more spacious, island lifestyle prompted some to re-evaluate where they live. From the UK to Singapore, Florida, Quebec, Calgary, Vancouver and New York, Westmont is grateful to have these diverse families joining the community.
“We wanted our son to attend a Montessori school for as long as possible. There are so few schools that do Montessori through high school and we decided to just go for it when a slot opened at Westmont!” Apryl Dyer, new parent from Brooklyn NY who will come to Vancouver Island for the first time in September.
As modern life accelerates, competition becomes global and technology changes all the rules of yesterday, resilience, compassion, independence and self-awareness are becoming essential skills for young adults to thrive. Yes Montessori high school students excel at academics, but Westmont is even more focused on developing the whole person in an atmosphere of trust, safety, love and respect. When a young person stands solid in their power and authentic self, the challenges of tomorrow are mostly opportunities.
To learn more about Westmont programs and a limited number of merit-based scholarships available for new students in fall 2021, please visit www.west-mont.ca and follow us on Facebook. Enrolments for new students opens on Feb. 1, 2021.