About AMS: Facilities
When you visit the AMS facilities, you will notice an environment that is stimulating and filled with warmth and love. The school’s facilities are a product of the research, experience, and historical vision of the school’s founder, Sharon Kashani, who dedicated a great part of her life to teaching and working with children.
AMS has over 30,000 square feet of learning space, all of which is open to our children and has been adapted to stimulate their learning and development. This interior space is combined with fourteen acres of exterior space that students use for supervised exploration and outdoor activities. True to the spirit of Maria Montessori, we take full advantage of our outdoor facilities and the exterior grounds have also been specifically tailored to provide an array of educational and extracurricular benefits for our students. The north end of the property includes the AMS Children's Village, developed specifically for field activities and learning. Our village consists of animal shelters, a wetland area, and an amphitheatre, all of which are used for both learning activities and to develop the inner potential of each child.
When you visit each classroom at AMS, you will notice bright and open learning spaces. Our facilities also include areas specifically designed for extra curricular activities that help generate a sense of curiosity, inspiration, exploration, and creativity within the young learning minds of our students. The school’s washrooms, drinking fountains, lockers, desks, chairs, and storage cubbies are just some of the school’s features that have been designed specifically for the Toddler, Casa, and Elementary group children. Our facilities also includes a modern gymnasium, music and art room, as well as a computer lab, all of which are designed to assist our students in developing and exploring different spaces, while learning to thrive in all academic faculties.
The AMS Children's Village
At AMS, we believe that every student should have safe spaces to explore and nurture their individual sense of curiosity. Combining this with the hands-on experience of our teachers and staff is a process that encourages and supports learning at the fundamental level. Our learning spaces facilitate the engagement of each student’s independent understanding; allowing them to have a personal area to develop their own skills in relation to these activities. This philosophy is the inspiration behind the development of the Children's Village, also known as the Pioneer Village.
The Children's Village expands over a range of eight acres on the north side of Aurora Montessori School. The focus of this area is to provide a space for each child to discover and explore the universe. The Children’s Village also includes a small animal shelter, wetland area for birds, and a butterfly garden. These areas have been designed especially for children, so that they may have an engaging experience when studying the sciences and various aspects of biology. We offer hands-on lessons pertaining to botany, zoology, and ecology. Students will have the ability to understand concepts of science, such as food chains, animal life, pond life, and the growth of fruits and vegetables. We have also designed a specific area within the Village for an enhanced and engaging set of lesson plans for students to study Canada’s heritage, specifically with a focus on Pioneer and Native People. Using the outdoors to relay concepts about this culture allows children to have a stronger understanding of the history of this area.
The enhancement of student learning through this outdoor area engages them in independent and hands–on activities with the sciences and social studies. The outdoor amphitheatre provides a space for students to find a sense of inspiration and creativity through dramatic and artistic productions. This are also has an oversized chessboard built into the design of the floor. Not only does the unique opportunity to play chess and checkers with life-size pieces make these games more fun to learn, it also allows students to develop an understanding of strategy and critical thinking.
At AMS, we believe that every student should have the opportunity to explore the outdoors. The playground equipment and various areas have provided our students with a place to run, play, and exercise. Moreover, we have designed a unique and innovative area for younger students to enjoy. The space provided to students has been developed with safety and security as the main aim. The circular design that has been built is architecturally innovative and is considered to provide a natural sense of security.
Building and Security
The security of our children is of utmost importance. Since the beginning of our development of AMS, safety has been our main concern with respect to the design of our facilities. At AMS we have safety procedures in place for emergency situations; including fire and lock down drills. These are carried out on a consistent basis to familiarize students and staff with standard procedures used to remain safe in any situation. All property and facilities at AMS have live and taped video surveillance, which are in place in order to ensure that all students and staff remain safe and secure. All doors to the school remain locked. Parents and visitors are required to buzz at the front door to be granted access into the school. All guests will be monitored during their visit to AMS.
Regulations for Visitors:
Upon entering the school, all adult visitors are required to check in with the office and wear a visitor badge while they are in the building.
The entire AMS facility is monitored by our staff at all times. Students who wish to explore the outdoors will be able to do so during scheduled outdoor time. For younger students and toddlers, an enclosed courtyard is available for safety and security while playing outside.
AMS prides itself on offering a variety of music and arts programs that enhance every student’s abilities. We understand that music and the arts allow children to develop in several areas. Our music and artistic enhancement programs focus on:
• Developing the ability to express feelings and ideas
• Learning more about self and society
• Recording historical events
• Cognitive development through musical and artistic expression
The programs offered through AMS include a discovery of all aspects of music, including an understanding of how music affects us. Children learn through listening and discussing, as well as through playing various instruments. There are several performances that are presented by students throughout the year, within several locations in the school where their productions take place. The music facilities developed at AMS have an open and natural environment that is brightened with natural sunlight. This has been developed to offer a creative and natural setting that provides an inspirational space for children.
Our music programs are designed to facilitate students in their exploration of music and the instruments that interests them most. We pride ourselves on using quality-manufactured instruments for our band, such as Yamaha products and new sound equipment that is used to enhance children's voices and instrumental sounds. Our musical instruments include a range of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. We also encourage students to learn responsibility by teaching them about their instruments and how to care for them.
At Aurora Montessori, we understand that the use of computers in today's world is essential to the success of each student. Developing an understanding of basic skills in a child's educational life is one that facilitates growth long after graduation. This will help students in every facet of their life, specifically because the use of computers is in every aspect of today’s society. The vital need to understand computers has been developed through our school by providing access to computers, both in the homeroom and in the Computer Laboratory. This gives students countless opportunities to manipulate, interact with, and process information quickly and easily. Our Computer Lab has been designed to offer students with a pleasant and comfortable working environment in which they can learn efficiently. We use modern Dell computers to ensure there are available resources to facilitate each student’s studies and research. Each computer is equipped with a CD ROM drive, and sufficient room on the network server to allow students to save their work.
There are several courses that are designed to help students understand computers at every level.
***Computer courses include:
1. Keyboard and word processing competence: Students will learn how to keyboard properly, and most important, safely. This includes methods such as stretch techniques, which help prevent some of the ailments associated with poor keyboarding habits.
2. Computer software programs: Students will learn the components of a computer; explore the many uses of a word processor, and other Office software including slide shows, spreadsheets, databases and internet programming. Programs are available to help the students practice and consolidate skills in many subject areas.
3. Internet use and competence: Under the guidance of classroom teachers, computers are used to access the World Wide Web and offer excellent means of gaining valuable information in all areas of study. Students will learn how to research on the Internet, gain skills in searching correctly, and learn about the different elements of the Internet, such as the meaning of a URL. Senior students will learn how to make a web site using tools, and coding in HTML.
Different curricula have been developed for the Computer Lab, which are also integrated into other classroom assignments. While students learn to work with computers, they also learn how to develop teams and delegate responsibilities within teams. This in turn assists children in their development of leadership skills and how to process information in a logical manner. Presentation techniques are also an integral aspect of our computer classes, which builds confidence while enhancing each student’s ability to communicate information to others.
The many computerized systems that children deal with today are often varied and complex. By learning computing techniques and logic at an earlier age, students will be able to apply more skills for their future.
Each year, all Elementary students attend an Internet Safety Program provided by the AMS computer teacher. AMS parents are also invited to attend an internet safety program scheduled each year during the evening.
The Aurora Montessori School Art Program introduces a variety of media (drawing, painting, sculpture and three-dimensional work, printmaking and mixed media). Our focus is to provide a space in which students can develop unique expressive skills through their creation of the arts. The arts curriculum offers ways for students with differing learning styles and abilities to find their own voice.
Our art program complements and enriches other areas of our curriculum. Experience with the arts transfers to and strengthens basic thinking skills in a variety of areas, for instance, spatial-temporal thinking for higher level mathematical reasoning, and the language and analytical thinking needed for verbal thinking and communication. Our art program begins with art history. This plays an important role in introducing students to cross-cultural studies and communication, and is incorporated throughout the program.
We also offer after school clubs for our junior and senior students where they are encouraged to explore the medium of their choice.
Science is all around us and is part of our everyday life. From the study of reproductive cycles of animals, to insects in our Casa classrooms, and the natural ecosystems built and studied in our elementary classroom environment, our students truly learn by being involved. The science programs offered by Aurora Montessori School begin with our interactive experience in the Children's Village. This space includes over eight acres of wetlands, gardens, and an animal shelter. This area is designed to help children understand zoology, biology, ecology and life processes that are essential to learn. The hands – on experience is one that is unique to the understanding of scientific elements that surround us.
Not only do we provide a scientific playground for children to discover; we also create a scientific curriculum that expands on basic knowledge for those attending AMS.
Students will continuously be able to expand their understanding of science and the development of various laws and theories that are applicable to various topics.
The ability to communicate in French is a valuable skill, especially in Canada. Research confirms that knowledge of a second language strengthens first-language skills, and that the ability to speak two or more languages generally enhances problem solving and reasoning skills, the capacity to think creatively, and promotes a respect for and understanding of other cultures. Knowing a second language also creates a wider range of job opportunities down the road in your child’s future. The French Curriculum emphasizes the development of oral communication skills with gradual introduction to reading and writing.
The Accelerative Integrated Method, or AIM, is a highly motivational, active, and enjoyable program that immediately engages the student and immerses him/her in the French language. It is a highly communicative program that meets and exceeds all provincial requirements. We are committed to increasing the fluency level of all of our students using this approach. The following is a detailed examination of grade level requirements.
Grades 1 and 2
In Grades one and two, the students are introduced to a French program called the Accelerative Integrated Method (AIM). The focus of the program is to increase the fluency level of core French students by teaching high-frequency words with gestures and by adhering to a “French-only” rule in the classroom. The “pared-down language” consists of words that are essential to basic communication in French. The gestured words are then used in context to give them meaning. The vocabulary is constantly recycled through the use of plays, stories, songs and dances. The students learn to perform the plays and later to read the story form of the play. Each activity is scaffolded so that the student will experience success. Eventually the students will learn to answer oral and written questions about the play and to paraphrase the story in written form. The program succeeds because the kinesthetic, oral and visual approach addresses different learning styles. The students take an active role in the learning process and are motivated because it is fun.
Grades 3 to 8
The expectations for the Core French program, called AIM, are to develop basic communication skills in French and an appreciation of French culture. The main goal for all grades is to ensure that students are able to express themselves fluently and confidently in oral and written language communication.
AIM is intended to accelerate the acquisition of French as a second language so that the students are able to communicate in authentic situations.
The key components of the program are:
A. The Gesture Approach
B. Pared-Down Language
C. Exclusive use of French in the classroom
D. Stories, Plays, Music, Dance
E. Language-Manipulation Activities (oral and written)
Students learn to memorize, read and eventually perform the plays/songs/dances once they have completed a series of language manipulation activities. Students learn to write creatively and to edit their work. Grammar is inherent in every aspect of the program. The students are exposed to correct pronunciation and syntax and learn to “hear” their mistakes when correcting written work.
Welcome to the AMS School Library where we encourage our students to explore the exciting world of books. Our library is automated allowing the students to easily search for the books or information that they may need for class or pleasure reading.
Twice each year we hold book fairs where the profits from the fair are used to purchase new materials that enhance our school. Each winter we also invite the students to participate in the Multiple Sclerosis Read-A-Thon.
We encourage parents to read and discuss with their children the books that they bring home. This is a great way to promote literacy at home while further developing the student’s confidence and skills. We ask parents to remind their children to return their books on time.
Toddler Classrooms The Toddler classrooms provide students with a pleasant and bright atmosphere. The rooms all have expansive windows for natural lighting and fresh air. Furniture within the classroom is toddler-sized for comfort and safety. The rooms are equipped with a wide variety of materials and activities for the children to use and explore. Storage cubbies and seating areas are right outside the classroom and provide plenty of room for your child to store their belongings. With permission, a parent will also be able to use a large one-way window to view the classroom activities in private and out of their child’s view. It is a unique experience to watch children in their first steps of independence. A washroom is built into each of the toddler rooms.
Our Casa classrooms all feature natural lighting, custom sized furniture, and low shelves for easy access. Upper windows may also be opened for natural air circulation and all of our facilities are fully air conditioned. Furniture within the classroom is designed with comfort and practicality in mind, and specifically engineered for children in the Casa age group. Each Casa classroom is equipped with a complete set of Montessori learning materials all of which are routinely cleaned with safe cleaning detergents. Storage cubbies and seating areas are also provided and are located directly outside the child’s classroom and provide plenty of room for your children to store their belongings. A large one-way window allows a parent to view the classroom activities in private and out of view of your child. It is a unique experience to watch your child in their first steps of independence.
A washroom is built into each room to minimize accidents and reinforce children to follow responsible hygienic habits.