Guests at OMS Montessori
Our parents know that OMS Montessori offers an education beyond the ordinary, but this is recognized on an international level as well. Every year, we receive requests from student teachers and institutes interested in visiting, observing and teaching at our school.
This year, we had three student teachers, each of whom visited for a month. We had one from Montessori Northwest in Portland, Oregon, one from the Foundation for Montessori Education in Toronto and one from Institut Supérieur Maria Montessori in Paris. Student teachers generally hear about us through the Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA) and/or the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), who are both very familiar with our school and staff. CCMA is a Montessori accrediting body in Canada and they visit OMS Montessori at least once every five years as we are an accredited school. However, they see and hear about us much more often than that. Our School Director, Pat Gere, is Chair of CCMA and many of our staff have attended various workshops through CCMA. We’ve also had staff lead workshops on their behalf. AMI is an international Montessori organization that trains Montessori teachers, provides workshops and conferences and maintains standards for Montessori pedagogy. Most of our Montessori faculty hold AMI credentials and many are members of AMI professional organizations.
After a thorough application process, we accept student teachers for a variety of reasons. One of the school’s founding missions is be a leader in Montessori and promote the pedagogy. Hosting student teachers is one way to live out our mission. However, when we accept student teachers, the partnership is often beneficial to all involved. Although student teachers learn a lot through observing our experienced teachers in action, they also bring a new perspective to the classroom. We have had many OMS teachers express that hosting a student teacher offers a new perspective that results in helpful ongoing dialogue.
We also promote the Montessori pedagogy by accepting various visitors throughout the year. Every May, we have a growing number of visitors from the Université de Sherbrooke. A course taught by Anne Catherine McConnel, a Montessori specialist, at the university, teaches student teachers in the public system about hands on materials and project based pedagogy. Anne also speaks about the Montessori method, and then the students make the trip to Ottawa to see our school in action. This year, the university brought 22 students who observed at all levels throughout the day. These students were amazed with our school (“Did you see what the Toddlers were doing?!”) and had many questions about the pedagogy.
OMS is also recognized amongst Montessori Schools. This year, we had a group of teachers visit from a French Montessori School in Kingston, Une Ecole Pour Tous. These teachers observed the Toddler, Casa and Elementary Classes at our school.
One comment that we often hear from visitors is how much activity is going on at the school at any given time; both inside the classroom and beyond. OMS is a lively and engaging place to be, and we are happy this is observed by individuals and institutes across the world.