Programs

School Can be a Rewarding and Enjoyable Experience for ALL Students


“Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create.”
Maria Montessori

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Westmont's programs are rooted in Montessori instructional methods. Montessori instruction requires the active personal pursuit of many different experiences: physical, social, emotional and cognitive. The environment is carefully prepared so that the children can move independently from one area to another. The program is specifically tailored to the child’s development with distinct programs for 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, and 13-14, and 15-18 year olds.

In an atmosphere of calm, students work individually, in a group or with a friend. Freedom within a structured environment enables a student to “built themselves” based upon their interactions with what they find in their environment, being able to work with relevant content that they freely choose, and by being respected as individuals.


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Montessori Philosophy

Montessori education exists because humanity is not living up to its full potential. Most approaches to schooling, which are rooted in the principles of the Industrial Revolution, do not emphasize independent thought and a call to action. Other approaches, such as IB and Advanced Placement, were built primarily for university/college preparation. Though Montessori schools consistently graduate students who excel at getting into and thriving at the post-secondary level, the ultimate aim of Montessori education is much, much grander: to unleash the power of each person’s uniquely creative absorbent mind to become the moral change agent that our world desperately needs.

PROGRAM OVERVIEWS

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Early Years

Early Years is a pre-school and Kindergarten program for children aged three to five years.

80% of a child’s mental development takes place before the child is eight years old, quality education during this period is critical.  In particular for ages 3-5, in the Montessori tradition, the Westmont Montessori Early Primary program:

  • Offers choice of full day or morning-only classes for Early Primary and Kindergarten students
  • Is a prepared environment alive with a wealth of intriguing material
  • Encourages the child to move at his/her own pace through all areas of the room – Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics and Cultural
  • Supports each child as his/her natural development unfolds
  • Is developed to meet the specific and changing needs of the children within the room
  • Allows each child to grow with balance, health and joyfulness
  • Includes French as a second language instruction
  • Includes weekly music instruction
Early Years Program Details
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Lower Elementary

Westmont’s Lower Elementary Montessori Program consists of the mixed age group of Grades 1-3, meeting and exceeding all the British Columbia required curriculum.  The Lower Elementary Montessori curriculum is a three year program which:

  • Inspires students to become independent learners who appreciate and understand their world
  • Expects students to become increasingly responsible for their own learning
  • Allows students to work at their own pace to practice and master goals, using an extensive selection of Montessori materials
  • Begins the move from concrete learning toward abstract understanding
  • Integrates curriculum areas through the Montessori Great Stories
  • Individual and small group presentations are given by teachers
  • Students choose their work in the same manner they learned in the Early Primary program
  • Individualized work plans allow students to set goals, make appropriate choices, and use their time wisely
  • Includes exploration days with activities such as cooking, sewing, drama, art and cultural experiences
  • Specialty instruction in  French and Music
  • Field trips, on-site learning garden and other outdoor experiences
Lower Elementary Program Details
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Upper Elementary

The Upper Elementary Montessori program builds upon the Lower Elementary, and similarly, is a three year program consisting of the mixed age group of Grades 4-6. During the three years, all the British Columbia required curriculum is covered, with extensive enrichment.  The Upper Elementary Montessori curriculum includes all of the Lower Elementary program elements plus:

  • Increased focus on abstract understanding versus concrete learning
  • Greater understanding of the inter-relatedness of all curriculum areas using Montessori’s Great Lessons
  • Individual and small group presentations are given by teachers
  • Students choose their work in the same manner they have in the Early Primary and Lower Elementary Programs
  • Individualized work plans allow students to set goals, make appropriate choices, and use their time wisely
  • Emphasizes the acquisition of community citizenship, virtues and leadership skills
  • Specialty instruction in  French and Art
  • A unique Marimba program in which students learn music appreciation, theory, and performance skills
  • Field trips, on-site learning garden and other outdoor experiences
Upper Elementary Program Details
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Middle School

Westmont's Middle School consists of Grades 7-8. This program of studies is distinctly different to that found in conventional educational settings, but ideally suited to the needs of the adolescent and the world they will eventually be adults in.

  • Grade 7 and 8 students learn together in a mixed age class, and get a clear break from where they have come from in their schooling. They need their own unique space and a chance to have their own identity.
  • Students participate in 5 week cycles with a focus on overarching questions to be answered in the cycle. The BC curriculum is covered as a bare minimum, but the learning goes far beyond what is required at this age level.
  • At the end of each 5 week cycle there is an “out-week” where students relate what they have been working on in school with real world application. The students are intimately involved in the planning process.
  • Students operate a business which teaches valuable skills, with funds earned going towards the out-week costs.
  • The teacher guides the process and provides the safe environment for students to explore and learn in. The teacher gives guidelines on academic standards to be met and appropriate social behaviour, and feedback to students on how they are doing.
  • The students are involved in community work through the “Service Learning” component of the program.
Middle School Program Details
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High School

The goal of the Westmont High School Program (Grades 9-12) is to graduate dynamic, independent, and connected students who are fully prepared for a bright future. Students will have unlimited post-secondary options based on meeting vigorous academic requirements established by Westmont School and the Ministry of Education. Westmont received a commendation from the Ministry of Education for its implementation of the new BC curriculum.

Westmont's High School program is the culminating program for our Montessori students, but is equally of benefit to high school students without Montessori experience who have strong academics and are looking to reach their full potential by experiencing and contributing to a respectful and passionate adolescent community of learners where they can take comfort and pride in being themselves.

Westmont graduates are grounded in who they are, based on engaging in a Montessori Self-Construction strand throughout the 4 years of their high school experience. Vigorous academics built on the foundation of community and self-construction are at the heart of Westmont's high school.

High School Program Details

Praise for Montessori Education

“I benefited from [my] Montessori education, which in some ways gives the students a lot more freedom to do things at their own pace, to discover… Some of the credit for the willingness to go on your own interests, you can tie that back to that Montessori education.”

Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google

"We both went to Montessori school (Sergey Brin and myself), and I think it was part of that training . . . of being self-motivated, questioning what’s going on in the world, doing things a little bit different."
Larry Page, co-founder of Google

“Montessori taught me the joy of discovery… It showed you can become interested in pretty complex theories, like Pythagorean theory, say, by playing with blocks. It’s all about learning on your terms, rather than a teacher explaining stuff to you. SimCity comes right out of Montessori — if you give people this model for building cities, they will abstract from it principles of urban design."
Will Wright, creator of SimCity, The Sims, and Spore

“I do not believe there is a method better than Montessori for making children sensitive to the beauties of the world and awakening their curiosity regarding the secrets of life.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize Winner for Literature

“The Montessori method—learning by doing—once again became my stock in trade…”
Katherine Graham, Former Owner and Editor of the Washington Post

The balance of choice and structure both inspires and empowers students to develop self-responsibility.


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