Below you will find an interview with the students who are new to DVMS’s Upper Elementary program this year. They gave their thoughts on starting school, what it’s been like so far, and what being a Montessori student is all about, in their opinions.
Be sure to read the Upper West update to hear from Kathleen and Terrence on how they, as Montessori guides, determine how to deliver their curriculum.
On how the first few weeks have gone:
It’s been really fun.
On their initial impressions of Dundas Valley Montessori School:
Really fun. When I visited for one day [each student and family did a tour, observation, and visitation day last year], when I got home, I said to my mom, “I haven’t had that much fun at school since kindergarten.”
I think it’s really cool and fun because, just, like, the concept of the school, how there’s three different classrooms attached to each other and I like how you can just walk to the other classroom. And, at my old school we didn’t have class pets so it’s a new experience having three class pets — oh yeah, four, because we have two geckos.
And we want to get another guinea pig and call it Potato, because the other one’s name is Meat, so we could have Meat and Potato.
I really like how they’re teaching; it’s really interesting and it’s really nice.
I kinda switched back and forth between Montessori and public, I never went to Catholic, and public was… they teach differently than Montessori. This place teaches Montessori and I think that’s better.
I like how you have so much freedom and the kids organize most of the stuff, and if you want to do something, like a project, you can pretty much do it on anything.
I like how you don’t have to sit in a desk through boring lessons. At my old school we had a schedule for the week and we did that, like, through the whole year and it never changed.
I like it better because you have freedom and you can do what you want.
On their time spent at The Luna Project:
They’re really nice; they’re really naturistic, and I think that we’ll be going back there. [Upper students have one more week at Luna].
There’s just so much cool stuff there.
The vegetables there taste a lot lot better than the ones from the grocery stores. They’re so delicious and juicy, especially the carrots.
At Luna, lots of things are amazing there. We were going to the bathroom and we opened up the door and there were two baby snakes and we went “Janice! Janice! Janice! Come get the snakes out of the bathroom, and she was like, “I don’t wanna touch those snakes!” And we found a couple of salamanders, and I just like being outdoors. And we always get really dirty there.
When I come back from Luna my mom says, “You’re dirty. Awesome!”
Luna’s awesome. You see a lot of nature. You see so much stuff you don’t see around here.
On being nervous to start at a new school:
My mom told me so many good things about this school so I wasn’t very nervous to start even though I didn’t know a lot about the school.
This school’s different than my last school and I was nervous because it’s harder. At my last school we stopped at division and now I’m doing long division and long multiplication. It’s a really new experience.
At first I was a bit nervous because the last school I went to was nice but I wasn’t as happy. I’m really happy even though I’ve only been here for a little while.
I came here for one day, and that’s when I was a bit nervous, and when I came again I was also a bit nervous.
I was a bit nervous to start, just going to a new school, but after the first day I was fine. I really like how the classroom looks like a living room.
I wasn’t nervous because when I came here for a visit last year I made tons of friends the first day.
On the difference between what they imagined DVMS would be like and what it’s actually like:
I thought it was going to be hard and everyone was going to be, like… But when I actually came here and had my first day and we did all of our work, I can zoom right into this and it’s not that hard like I imagined it would be.
I came for a trial day and my mom said that it was a really good school — my mom had previously come to visit the school, on another occasion before we moved to Dundas. My friend’s mom owns a Montessori school and she said she has met the owner and it was a really good school.
I thought it was going to be, like, “Ok, let’s do high square root,” which I don’t even know yet for grade four, and I would be so far behind, and the big difference is you adapt to what they’re doing; you might be a few minutes behind but you’re still adapting to what they’re doing.
Last year, we did multiplication and all of the stuff grade fours should do, but then this year, normally in grade five you start learning long division and I’ve already learned all the long division just in the first two weeks I’ve been here. I’ve also learned quick calculation with some of the grade sixes. I’ve learned way more than I did last year.
I thought it would be good, and it turned out to be good, and better than I expected.
I thought everybody had a place that they were supposed to sit, but no. You can move around to different spots as you wish. You can go from that room to a spot over there or to this chair; I like that.
And finally, on what it means to go to a Montessori school and to be a Montessori student:
I think it’s nice to be a Montessori student because you get better learning skills, and it’s just more of what you need to do.
I think it means that, basically, you have freedom. At my old school you had to just sit down in a chair, listen, and then write, but here, if you don’t want to do something you can just go to the next subject and keep on switching if you want to.
Day one there’s this and that and this and that, and then day two is different, and every single day is different at Montessori and there’s no day like the day before.
It’s really different from other schools.
I’m thinking that sometimes, some Montessori schools don’t do stuff correctly… this [DVMS] is all freedom and that’s what Montessori, I think, would be.
I didn’t really enjoy going to school; I never wanted to go to school. I went to school, obviously, but not happily, and now I actually enjoy school and I never thought I would enjoy school.
You feel special when you’re a Montessori student. You feel like you can do anything because you learn way more so it feels like you have a big brain and you know how to do everything.
Remember, DVMS Upper Elementary students have one more week at The Luna Project (Upper East on Thursday, Upper West on Friday); they will all participate in Ultimate Frisbee, at DVMS, on Fridays throughout October. They will also be joining the DVMS Lower Elementary students, as well as Montessori students from Fairview Glen and Dearcroft Montessori schools for a cross country running event at LaSalle Park in Burlington on October 1st. We will bus them to and from the event, which runs from 10:00 – 1:00. Please send a packed lunch and water bottle that day, along with appropriate running attire. Parents are welcome to attend to observe, or to help out guiding students along the route.