Preschool and Childcare

Daily life in the Montessori Classroom

The classrooms for children between the ages of 2 ½ and 6 years are carefully prepared learning environments, filled with concrete, manipulative Montessori activities, which encourage children to learn and discover individually, at their own pace.

Dr Montessori believed that children in this period of their lives had “absorbent minds;” that they could take in impressions and information from the environment just as a sponge soaks up water. Montessori teachers learn to carefully observe each child, watching to see what they are most interested in and to then connect them with the activities which will support this interest. Because the child is encouraged to follow their interests they quickly become focused, engaged and demonstrate a joyful love of learning.

Initially children in both the Cedar and the Arbutus rooms at Shawnigan Lake Montessori are shown activities in the Practical life area.

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These activities mirror much of what the child will have seen at home; they will learn how to pour, in order to help themselves to drinks from the snack shelf, to wipe tables as they take care of spills, to sweep and tidy up when the grains of rice or beans they are pouring fall on the floor etc. Here they can also practice art and craft skills; cutting, gluing, painting and sewing.

The children also learn how to care for the living things in and around the school; to plant seeds and bulbs, grow vegetables, to water and care for the classroom plants, to feed the goldfish and wild birds. The children learn through experience how to be kind and gentle and to respect all living things. The children’s experience of respect is expanded as they learn how to solve their conflicts with one another, how to act politely and how to help one another. The multi age classroom allows younger children to have role models as the older children become mentors and guides. The teachers support and gently help this process, demonstrating with love and respect how to create a peaceful and cooperative environment.

As the children progress in experience, they can experiment with sensorial materials that educate their visual, auditory and tactile senses.

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They can play vocabulary sound games, sing and listen to stories. Once the child is ready and interested, phonetic sounds and letter symbols can be introduced. The child progresses at their own pace through a stepped language program, as they learn how to read and write.


Numbers are introduced in concrete, hands on ways with manipulative materials which enable the child to make connections and to see patterns in the activities used. All of this the child learns at their own pace and in their own time, moving from understanding quantities and symbols from 1 to 10 and then through the decimal system.


The world around is brought into the classroom through the Montessori cultural materials which introduce the child to geography, history, science and biology. The children have the opportunity to learn from globes and maps about the continents, oceans and the people and animals that live all over the Earth.

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The children have time to play in the garden each day and to go for walks in the grounds of Shawnigan Lake School. Regular opportunities to explore their immediate surrounding world, helps to enhance a child’s natural sense of awe and wonder.

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Next steps:

Please review the enrollment page and set up a school visittoday.

Set up a school visit now!

or call 250-758-8979