The Classroom

One of the distinguishing characteristics of a Montessori School is the total preparation of the classroom to the needs of the growing and learning child. The school itself is designed as a “developmental aid” in which materials, furnishings, and decorations are selected to offer the child an orderly yet stimulating setting for exploration. Specially designed and tested materials are arranged to attract the child’s interest to a broad range of practical life exercises, sensory skills and academic fundamentals. As the child progresses, these materials serve to build a lasting framework of knowledge based on touching, seeing and hearing. This framework is quickly filled with true understanding of the concepts required for a lifetime of learning as the fundamentals of Mathematics, English, and French language skills, Science and Geography, Art and Music are revealed.

Learning in a classroom setting
child spelling with wooden letters

The Curriculum

At Bayside Montessori School, the children are often found scattered around the room, working alone or with other students. While it may seem unorganized to some, it is actually quite the opposite and has a tremendous impact on the child. They tend to become so involved in their work that we can not help but be immeasurably impressed by the peaceful atmosphere within the classroom.


Art provides a variety of open-ended art activities that include; stamping, cutting, college activities, colouring, tracing, painting, crayon rubbings, etc. many of our crafts are designed so that the children can work on following instructions and following steps. Each masterpiece is the child’s interpretation of the initial art presentation. Also, we provide the children with opportunities to work with and learn from artists within our local arts community.
Culture allows the child to explore the natural world around them and includes:

  • Geography (continents, landforms, earth layers, solar system),
  • Zoology (classification, physiology of animals),
  • Botany  (ecology, classification, physiology of plants),
  • History (timelines, using a calendar),

The cultural area is clearly identifiable by globes, puzzle maps, flags and perhaps images or materials from other cultures or from nature.

It is important for young children to learn about history, their environment, nature and science to help them understood their place in the world and spark their curiosity about the world itself. As in all areas of the Montessori classroom, Culture and Science materials and concepts are presented in the most natural, life-like, or realistic way possible. For example, we will place real caterpillar and sometimes an egg, with food in a butterfly cage to observe the lifecycle of the butterfly in addition to reading about it and discussing what is happening. We will use puzzles to learn the classification of animals and plants. The children will work on both individual and group projects involving historical and/or scientific facts.

Science and Nature Extensions
This part of the Culture & Science curriculum is where the children can feel like scientists and have plenty of opportunities to try new experiments, explore an assortment of nature items, use a magnifying glass, work with magnets, and experiment with the sink and float activity. Throughout the year we provide our students with new and exciting things to study and enjoy.

Bayside Montessori offers a unique early French program for our students who have been with us for at least one year, who can spell and read phonetically in English and can demonstrate the maturity to attend French class. Our children receive French instruction, from a certified Montessori French teacher, two afternoons per week for approximately 1 hour. French materials are available to these students during regular classroom time as well.  Many of our students have gone on to French immersion programs, successfully integrating all that they have learned from this early exposure.

The Montessori philosophy allows our young students to rapidly develop fluency skills. The class is designed to parallel a first language learner’s natural language acquisition. All types of learners are supported as there is an emphasis on kinesthetic, auditory, and visual acquisition of the language through the use of hands-on experiences. As a result, in the French class, the students are active participants, engaged, and proud of their accomplishments.

Language is based on phonetic awareness. Children work through specific hands-on and tactile language materials such as the sandpaper letters to the moveable alphabet. Language is not an isolated topic but runs through the curriculum. The spoken language is the foundation for writing and then reading.

Exposing children to a literacy-rich environment begins with reading aloud. Reading aloud to children, especially with enthusiasm and inflection of the voice, facilitates children’s readiness for formal reading instruction in four areas: oral, cognitive skills, concepts of printed words, and phonetic awareness. A Montessori language arts program combines phonics with the whole language. Phonics is defined as a method of teaching children to read, write and pronounce words by learning the phonetic value of letters, letter groups and syllables. The whole language indicates that children will learn to read and write by being immersed in a world of spoken and written words.

We utilize the Balanced Literacy reading program to complement the Montessori materials, which contains both approaches. In addition to reading activities like reading aloud, our students have the opportunity to foster language arts skills through speaking in a circle, telling a story about pictures and experiences, seeing printed labels, tracing, colouring and, eventually, writing their very own thoughts and stories down in a journal.

Books and Story Time
As part of the Montessori Language Arts curriculum, we visit the public library and borrow books to share with the children at circle time.  We base our book choices on current topics being discussed in our classroom or for a relaxing, kick-back- silly time.

Mathematics is developed with the use of concrete learning materials. The sensorial area is the preparation for mathematics. Hands-on materials are used such as number rods, sandpaper numbers, number boards, spindle box, number tiles, beads, and games. Each exercise builds upon another and the child gradually moves to from concrete to abstract areas such as place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and fractions. Math is taught in this order: numbers through ten, the decimal system, counting beyond ten, memorizing the arithmetic tables, passage to abstraction (working with more symbols on paper and with less of the concrete math material), and fractions. There is overlap amongst the last groups of lessons.

The Practical Life and Sensorial Montessori material prepare a child’s mind for Mathematics. Practical Life work offers sequence, and practice with processes. It appeals to a child’s intellect because it has a purpose and a child completes it with order and precision. Sensorial work is done with exactness. It engages a child’s mind to classify experience and this classifying (using the five senses to discriminate by dimension, weight, smell, etc.) enables a child to draw conclusions. Further, sensorial work lays the foundation for math by preparing the mind for the study of sequence and progression.

Songs, fingerplays, and stories are presented to our students under the direction of our music specialist. Musical studies begin with singing and ear training exercises and continue with the study of instruments, various musical genres, and music vocabulary.

Also, music is beneficial to our student’s development in balance, coordination, self-esteem, and body awareness. Our students are given the opportunity to express themselves through dance and movement to different styles of music.

We love to introduce different genres of music through local musicians.

One concert at the end of the school year is presented to our families.

Physical activity is a vital part of the development of the whole child. Physical activities and instruction are a part of every day at Bayside Montessori. We promote 40 minutes of physical activity every day through the use of the gymnasium, our playground, and various parks and ball fields that surround our school.

Outdoor Play
The children’s outdoor play area provides our students with the opportunity to exercise and socialize. It is a park-like space with a garden, trees and a climbing structure. There is a path along which the students can draw using sidewalk chalk. This Montessori outdoor environment fosters respect and appreciation for nature and there are plenty of opportunities for running, jumping, bubble blowing, and discovering.

Practical life includes life skills to help develop independence, coordination, concentration, self-control, self-awareness, confidence and include:

  • Care of Self (food preparation, dressing, washing),
  • Care of Environment (cleaning, gardening, care of pets, environmentalism),
  • Grace and Courtesy (greetings, manners, social interactions),
  • Control of Movement (refining movements, walking the line, moving quietly).

The purpose of the practical life area is two-fold. The activities are to assist the child in developing social skills and personal independence. Children will learn to respect and to take care of themselves and their environment and to respect others. The second purpose is to develop the child’s gross and fine motor movement that will provide the foundation for every other facet of the learning environment. All Practical Life Activities are uniquely purposeful and calming and may appear simple and repetitive. However, if you were to observe a child as he/she performs such activities, you would notice a high level of concentration; a developing sense of order (putting materials back where they belong); pride in his/her work; taking responsibility for any necessary cleaning; and an increasing sense of independence. Practical Life Activities are designed to encourage competencies in the following categories: Preliminary Activities; Care and Respect for Self; Care and Respect for the Environment; Social Graces and Courtesies; Fine Motor Skills; and Life Skills.

Sensorial activities allow the child to refine each of their senses:

  • Sight (visual)
  • Touch (tactile)
  • Smell (olfactory)
  • Taste (gustatory)
  • Sound (auditory)
  • Stereognostic (kinaesthetic).

Includes the manipulation of specifically designed materials that isolate qualities. Refines fine motor skills, visual and auditory senses, and develops coordination and the ability to order and classify. Materials include Pink Tower, Brown Stairs, Knobbed Cylinders, and Colour Tablets.

Sensorial training provides a basis for learning in an orderly manner, which prepares children’s minds for mathematics. The materials refine the senses and develop cognitive skills such as thinking, judging, associating, and comparing. Activities include visual discrimination by size, colour, shape, etc.; discrimination by audibility, smell, texture, and heat-conducting properties; pattern recognition and sequencing.

Field Trips and Visitors

Every month, we have either a special outing to an exciting place or a fun and educational visitor to the school. For field trips, our mode of transportation is a school bus. Upon your child’s enrolment or at the beginning of the new school year, you will be asked to pay a fee that will cover all field trips for the year. This includes the cost of the trip and the cost of the bus. If a trip that we did not plan on becomes available, we will ask for extra fees.

Field trips include shows at the Grand Theatre, visits to the Cataraqui conservation Area, Waddel’s Apple Orchard and other regional attractions. Past guests have included OSPCA of Ontario, Ottawa Valley Country Music inductee and renowned fiddle player- Kelli Trottier, and Crock-A-Doodle.

Forest Walk