By Roxanne Henderon, Broker C.I.P.S.
Last month, we posted an article to our blog, “Top Private Schools in the Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo Area” and were pleasantly surprised to see how many people viewed the article. We decided to highlight one school as part of our promoting Kitchener-Waterloo series.
Brooke Goad, Director of Admissions at Sunshine Montessori School (“SMS”) reached out to us after reading our article and invited us in to meet with her and to tour their school.
I am quite familiar with the Montessori style of education ever since my youngest daughter, Samantha, attended the Aurora Montessori School in the late 90s. It was a memorable experience for both of us. We still talk about “CASA” today.
I was delighted to spend some time at SMS. Seeing all of the children working away in their classrooms, dressed in uniforms with lots of smiles coming back us as we send “hello” from the door was so much fun!
Brooke has a real twinkle in her eye. You know almost immediately upon meeting her that she is very passionate about the school. She knows first-hand the impact that a positive, nurturing educational experience will have on a child’s life. While touring the hallways and classrooms she knew every child’s name and they all knew her! In the two hours that we spent with her, I walked away with the feeling that Brooke has a strong sense of conviction and determination to meet the school’s overall mission, which is “To nurture and ignite each child’s curiosity and love for learning in a diverse and enriched environment.”
Brooke works very closely with Cynthia Bradshaw, Head of School on a strategic and day-to-day operational level. We met Cynthia and the founder of the school as well as a number of the teachers that day.
Joanne and Guy McLean of The McLean Education Group purchased the school from Mina Shamji in 2017. Mina founded the school in 1986. The school’s initial enrollment was 12 students. Today, 258 fortunate students are enrolled on a full-time basis. SMS offers programs tailored to children ranging in age from 18 months to eighth grade.
Mina’s name is still proudly displayed above the doors of the auditorium symbolizing their ongoing respect of Mina’s work and vision. Mrs. Shamji still owns and operates the Canadian Montessori Academy in Maputo, Mozambique.
SMS is an accredited school with CCMA or the Canadian Council of Montessori Administration. CCMA promotes standards of excellence for Canadian Montessori educators and programs in order to help children reach their full potential. Not all Montessori schools are accredited with CCMA. SMS standards are very high, such that 100% of their students that apply to the international baccalaureate (“IB”) program are accepted.
SMS offers the following programmes including:
- Toddler | 18-months to 2 ½ years
- Prima Casa | 2 ½ to 4 years
- Casa | 4 to 6 years
- Elementary | Grades 1 to 6
- Junior High | Grade 7 and 8
SMS offers a comprehensive range of services to help parents round out their children’s education including:
- Integrated curriculum
- Character education
- Intrinsic motivation
- STEM learning
- Before & After school care
- Busing & transportation
- Hot lunches
- Summer & March break camps
- Enrichment programmes
I would be remiss if I did not mention that SMS is a member of Round Square, an international network of 200 like-minded schools in 50-countries that connect and collaborate to offer world-class programmes to their students. Brooke is very proud of this alliance. SMS believes that their students benefit greatly from the influence of Round Square by developing their global competence character and overall confidence.
The History of Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian educator, physician and scientist created the Montessori approach to educating children. She opened her first school in 1907, calling the center the Casa dei Bambini or “The Children’s House.” Dr. Montessori offered her program for free to anyone in the world that was desirous of offering her philosophy and approach to educating children.
Montessori is growing on a worldwide basis. In Canada, there are approximately 500 Montessori schools operating in Canada of which 250 are located in Ontario. The U.S. has reported that approximately 5,000 schools are operating across the country and there are thousands more globally.
The American Montessori Society has shared that a number of well-known personalities were students of Montessori including NBA, MVP, Stephen Curry, Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin and the late chef, Julia Child. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, was also an alumnus of Montessori and is so committed to the Montessori approach to education, that in 2018, he launched Day One Academics to provide $1 billion in funding for full-scholarship Montessori inspired preschools for low-income families.
As a parent in today’s society, I would encourage that parents seek out lots of support to help their children succeed in a global world. On a personal note, Montessori offered more than a head start for my youngest daughter. The artistic ability that my daughter displayed at an early age was encouraged, nurtured and rewarded by her teachers. Now at the age of 26, Samantha uses her natural abilities and acquired skill set each and every day in her career as an Interior Designer. I can thus personally attest to the Montessori method of teaching. Seeing her get off the little school bus in her tartan tunic and clip-on tie and billowing with loads of enthusiasm and stories about her day, are great memories to this day.
It’s nice to share my own story with you and hope that you will consider a Montessori style of education for your child.
P.S. I also love their name — Sunshine Montessori School— that tells their whole story!
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