A Foundation Built on Excellence
The Montessori philosophy and method of teaching fosters a loving, independent environment tailored to the individual needs and development of each student.
The Montessori approach is a student-centred and student-directed teaching method that is offered within a prepared environment, which fosters exploration, experimentation, creativity, and respect. Our Casa programme builds on the foundation of the Montessori Method with extremely popular enhancements and additional learning opportunities for our students in music, science, visual and dramatic arts, and more.
We are very proud of the strong reputation of our pre-school programme which has, for many years, provided children with a solid foundation in academic and life skills all within family-like and supportive classroom environments.
When comparing UMS with other schools, either public or private, parents may ask themselves what is the Casa Difference?
- Academic Excellence: Our structured, traditional Montessori approach helps students at an early age to develop solid foundations in language and mathematics compared to play-based kindergarten class
- Advanced Specialized Teaching: Our structured, traditional Montessori approach helps students at an early age to develop solid foundations in language and mathematics compared to play-based kindergarten class
- Top of the Class Teaching Tools: Classes have been enriched with of instruction on iPads and Smart Board technology enabling our children to learn with 21st century resources
- Parent Communication and Updates: Parents receive regular updates/communications on their children’s development through individualized tracking sheets, newsletters, and more
- Yearly Program Innovation and Investments: UMS takes great pride in continuously improving and taking advantage of the newest approaches to education. We are one of the very few schools that have a full-time research and development department that allows us to follow education innovations around the world
Key Areas of learning in a Montessori Classroom include:
We have significantly enhanced the Montessori programme of education by offering additional opportunities for learning in such areas as French, music, visual arts, technology and computers, library, and physical education. Students participate in these enriching opportunities in small groups with same-aged peers. See the detailed information on our core program below:
Our music curriculum is designed to help students develop an understanding and appreciation of music, as well as practical skills, so they will be able to find in music a lifelong source of enjoyment and personal satisfaction. UMS practices the Orff Shulwerk approach to music, a child-centred way of learning music education in which a progressive development of musical skills and creativity, along with aesthetic awareness, is achieved through working with the elements of music found in speech patterns, songs, poetry, and movement. A heightened awareness of rhythm and melody is developed through playing a wide range of pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments. The Orff program provides a strong foundation and prepares the students for the vocal and instrumental programmes offered in our elementary program.
At UMS, we believe that focusing on the whole child is crucial; this means we must not just focus on developing the children’s minds, but their bodies as well. Regular physical exercise is essential to children’s overall health and development. We have, therefore, incorporated it into the school in ways other than formal physical education classes. During circle times in the classroom, students participate in songs and games that encourage movement, and twice daily students are allotted blocks of outdoor recess times. We offer numerous after-school activities for children to enrol in to be physically active, such as ballet, rhythmic gymnastics, martial arts, and 4-Sports. As part of our enhanced curriculum, students participate in regular Physical Education classes with our specialized teachers. These highly qualified teachers have incorporated the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (OPHEA) curriculum into our school’s Physical Education programme. In physical education classes, not only do the students have the opportunity to be physically active while learning important skills, but they also work on developing self-esteem, learn about good sportsmanship, and develop positive exercise habits while having a great deal of fun! Through monthly themes, such as hockey, yoga, dance and creative movement, gymnastics, and ball skills, students develop spatial awareness and locomotion skills, stability, balance, ball skills (rolling, bouncing, kicking, throwing), safety skills, and they learn about how to work together as a team.
Students at UMS are progressively introduced to French vocabulary over their Pre-Casa and Casa years to develop solid foundations for their future learning. While in class they work towards developing conversational skills learning, for example, how to say hello, goodbye, how are you, I am fine, thank you, etc. During their French classes students learn vocabulary words such as the date, parts of the body, fruits, vegetables, and other foods, as well as colours, numbers, sizes, weather, parts of the house, the seasons, school related words, family members, methods of transportation, and clothing. Students are taught in a fun and interactive manner using stories, props, songs, actions, games, pictures, and activity sheets. UMS French teachers use a unique programme called AIM (Accelerative Integrated Method), which makes language accessible for different types of learners. The basic premise of this method is that students learn and remember better when they associate gestures with the words they are saying. AIM includes defined gestures for 700 essential French words. As this approach is also used in our Elementary programme, it allows our Casa students entering grade one at UMS a smooth transition into our grade one French programme.
Students in our Casa programme are given the opportunity to visit their school library once every six-day cycle. During the library class they are read a story, discuss the story, answer questions about it, and are then invited to borrow a book to take home and read with their families. Borrowing books they must care for and then return, helps children learn about responsibility and trustworthiness. We are pleased to be able to offer the students libraries stocked with many wonderful books to stir their senses, inspire their imagination, and spark a love of reading that will last a lifetime! We believe these classes are essential; reading skills lay the foundation for children’s successes inside, outside, and beyond school. Reading comprehension ensures understanding of written word and opens doors for future successes.
UMS offers students the opportunity to participate in a computer class to develop their computer and technology skills using different games, apps and activities. Initial teaching focuses on mouse control, following instructions, focusing, and sharing. Once in the Casa programme, students progress to learning the parts of the computer and how to operate it, becoming familiar with the keyboard and word processing, grouping and sequencing, responsibility and care of the computer and resources, and exploring the characteristics of multimedia. Students of all ages have the opportunity to work with iPads and a SMARTboard. Benefitting from the small class sizes, students have ample time to work directly with the computers. Consequently, as they progress through the curriculum, students are able to use increasingly advanced programmes, becoming familiar with the many different features and functions of the computer and software. Graduating Casa students then move on to build on their outstanding computer skills in our Elementary Building’s new state-of-the-art IMAC computer lab.
A very important element of our Casa programme is arts and crafts. While engaging in many creative activities, students develop their fine motor skills as well as important sensorial skills, such as colour recognition and learning about shapes, textures, and sizes. Our students also practice essential practical life skills, such as folding, cutting, and measuring.
As part of our Casa curriculum, students have the opportunity to participate in Show and Tell in their classrooms. By participating, students develop self-confidence, have fun being creative, discover interesting facts about a wide variety of topics, and learn more about their fellow classmates. They have the opportunity to do the following:
- Learn how to speak and listen
- Learn how to introduce themselves
- Learn how to be an audience
- Learn how to ask inquiry-based questions
- Learn how to make connections
- Learn how to anticipate and observe
- Learn how to practice critical reasoning skills
- Learn how to practice storytelling
- Learn how to distinguish between similarities and differences
- Learn how to use vocabulary
- Learn how to use descriptive language
UMS has procured access to Learning A-Z websites and resources to help improve reading performance and provide quick and easy evaluation of each student’s progress. Learning A-Z helps our teachers to differentiate their instruction with customized online learning solutions from Casa to grade 5 students. Our teachers are able to benchmark individual reading levels, create individualized solutions, including printable books, worksheets, and lesson plans. Reading A-Z, Raz-Kids for the iPad, and A-Z Science are resources that are available for teachers and students.
Students in their final year of our Montessori programme gain early entry into the Head Start Science programme at Unionville Montessori Private School. Using an inquiry-based approach, the children begin scientific discovery in a state-of-the-art, fully equipped lab under the guidance of our Ontario-certified science teacher. Geared to the capabilities of the children, the programme is designed to be highly engaging, employing hands-on experiments coupled with SMARTboard technology. With Head Start Science, these young scientists will be ready to begin their enriched Grade 1 programme at UMS with enthusiasm and an enhanced set of learning skills.
Children registered in the Casa Montessori programme will experience a unique learning opportunity with access to our elementary school’s Art & Design Studio. Under the professional direction of our resident artist, the children participate in an exciting and creative arts experience. The Head Start Art programme provides a natural vehicle through which students can explore and express themselves and through which they can discover and interpret the world around them. Participation involves development of motivation and confidence and the use of creative ways of thinking.
UMS offers additional opportunities for enrichment in both the Casa and Elementary programmes through a variety of extra-curricular activities and clubs in such areas as the following: Art, Science, Drama, Math, Martial Arts, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Sports, Computers, Skating, Chess, Ballet, Photography, Choir, etc. For a complete list of current activities and clubs, please contact the school.