Frequently asked questions

If you are interested in exploring Clanmore as an option for your family, a good first step would be to attend one of our Open Houses.


If you are interested in exploring Clanmore as an option for your family, a good first step would be to attend one of our Open Houses.

General questions

Are you an authentic Montessori school?

Since Montessori is a word in the public domain, it is possible for any individual or institution to claim to be Montessori. It is important to note that Clanmore is an accredited Montessori school.

CCMA Accredited Member schools have successfully completed an in-depth accreditation process through the Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA). The accreditation focuses on delivery of Montessori best practices and student outcomes. CCMA Accredited Member schools must undertake a reaccreditation process every five years. In addition to Accreditation, CCMA Membership allows participation in professional development, connections with the greater Montessori community and support for the life-long benefits of Montessori education for every child in Canada.

I thought that Montessori schools were just for young children?

Dr. Montessori established her educational theory on the basis of the development of the child from birth through to maturity (0-24). Throughout her life, she wrote many books, created materials and suggested optimal environments for the education of the child at all stages of development. In Canada, many Montessori schools only offer programs until the end of the Casa years (age 6). However, there are greater numbers of schools offering Montessori elementary and middle school programs and some are considering the development of a Montessori High School.

What happens when these kids enter the “real world” of education? How are they going to adjust?

There are a number of researchers who have tracked the outcomes of Montessori students in comparison with other groups of children and as they leave the Montessori environment. Overwhelmingly they suggest that Montessori students are able to adjust with little or no trouble. In fact, research points to the fact that Montessori students are very well prepared for the “real world” and are able to adjust to new and different contexts easily. Please refer to a number of key pieces of research that support this notion including:

  • Biello, David, “Students Prosper with Montessori Method”, Scientific American, September 29, 2006.
  • Hughes, Dr. Steven, “Good at Doing Things”, found at
  • Rathunde, Kevin (2003): A Comparison of Montessori and Traditional Middle Schools: Motivation, Quality of Experience, and Social Context; NAMTA Journal, Vol. 28, No. 3.b.
  • Stoll Lillard, Angeline, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, Oxford University Press, New York: 2005.
Montessori education is so expensive. Is it really worth it?

If one considers that the Montessori approach to education was developed based on the fundamental needs of the child and that it is implemented with an utmost respect for the child, it is absolutely worth it. Additionally, the entire point of Dr. Montessori’s approach is to educate the child for life so that the mature person that emerges has the capacity to contribute their skills, knowledge and talents to the betterment of their communities and the world around them. This makes it all absolutely worthwhile.

Despite this, Clanmore recognizes that it is a difficult financial decision to choose to keep one’s child in a Montessori program into the Elementary and Middle School years. We are continuing to keep our fees competitive to make sure that our programs are accessible to as many as possible.

When was Clanmore Founded?

Clanmore Montessori School was founded in 1997. After one year in St. Jude’s Church in downtown Oakville, the school moved to its current location on Lakeshore Road East.

A first addition to the original building was added in 1999 and a second addition was added in 2013.

What is your ownership structure?

We are a privately owned corporation.

What amenities does Clanmore have?

Clanmore has 10 classroom spaces along with 2 kitchens, a gymnasium/event space, French room, art studio, library, 2 meeting rooms, a staff room, laundry facilities and administrative spaces. Our playground wraps around the building, we have some limited on-site parking, small garden plots and a greenhouse. Access to the lake, Joshua’s Creek conservation area and the Town of Oakville playing fields are all close at hand.

Does Clanmore have transportation/school buses?

Not at this time.

How many students are there?

Clanmore has approximately 180 students in total, from our Toddler program through to our Middle School program. We have one Toddler class, three Casa classes, two Lower Elementary classes, two Upper Elementary classes and one Middle School class.

Admissions questions

If I am interested in exploring Clanmore for my child what is the best way to start the process?

We host a Saturday Open House each October, which is a great first step. Information about the date is typically available by mid-September.  You can also contact the school through our website or requesting to be put in touch with our Program Representative for the level you are interested in. They will likely suggest that you attend our Open House if this is convenient for you. Next steps will follow thereafter.

When are admissions decisions made?

Our currently enrolled students (and eligible siblings) have until the end of January annually to complete the reenrolment process. Thereafter we are able to offer any remaining spots to outside applicants who have an active application in our wait pool. To apply to any of our programs, it is necessary to first go through our intake process. Applications are available at the end of this process. Please email intake enquiries and questions to

Do you offer sibling discounts or scholarships/bursaries to applicant families?

Not at this time.

When is the deadline to apply to Clanmore?

Completed applications (including the deposit) which are received by mid-January will be considered for offers of admission extended in February. Applications received after mid-January will also be considered if suitable spots become available after offers of admission in February have been made and if there is no existing waitlist for those spots.

Do all programs follow the same process for admission?

Our Elementary and Middle School programs follow a very specialized intake process, and it is recommended that interested applicants reach out to the school directly for further information.

Are fees refundable?

Deposits are non-refundable once written confirmation of admission is given by Clanmore. Thereafter, tuition is also non-refundable, regardless of absence, transfer or withdrawal.

How do the Toddler/Casa Programs wait pools/waitlists work?

We do not operate on a first-come first-served basis, rather we encourage interested families to take the time to really explore Montessori education in general and Clanmore more specifically to see if we are indeed a good fit philosophically. All applications are considered for suitable spots available after our internal re-enrolment deadline passes. These applications are considered to be in our waitpool. After offers of admission are made, any remaining applicants can be moved on to our waitlist, if desired, in the event that additional spots open up. 

What are your hours and fees?

Our fee schedule details all of our fees and includes the hours of our programming.

Do you have a Parent Association?

Yes, and we encourage all interested parents to get involved for as much or as little time as they have available. Clanmore is a community of students, staff, and parents, and a strong partnership between the school and our families is essential.

How often do parents meet with the teachers?

Parent-teacher conferences are held twice a year. Additionally, we strongly encourage parents to attend our curriculum evenings. Additional conversations and meetings can happen at any time based on parental and/or teacher request, and parents will see one of their child’s teachers daily at drop-off and pick-up. Formal daily reporting however, is not something we are able to provide. The teachers focus during the school day is directly on their work with the children and supporting them in their continuous development.

Do you have cameras for parents to view the classrooms remotely during school hours?

No, but we do offer parents the opportunity to join us for in-person classroom observations. This provides a weath of information about not only about your child but about the classroom community as a whole. The staff are happy to follow-up with conversation if there are questions.

Do you provide lunch and snacks?

Lunch is made in-house and enrolment in the lunch program is required by law for full day students who are 4 and younger. For students 4 and up our lunch program is optional. Small, healthy snacks are available for the children morning and afternoon.

Do you offer subsidized child care?

The CWELCC (Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care) system provides subsidized child care in centres that opt in to the program, as well as funding for wage increases for ECEs (Early Childhood Educators). This new system will be helpful to many day care centres, but in our case, the fee cap would mean we would not be able to afford to pay our qualified Montessori teachers a competitive wage in the Montessori teaching market.

All of our staff, including ECE’s, are already paid well above the wage goal that the government is setting with this new program. The program may be helpful to some licensed day care programs, and perhaps some smaller Montessori Schools that are not able to pay their staff as well as we do. In our case it would negatively affect the quality of what we offer.

Do you offer summer programming / summer camp?

We currently offer a 4 week hybrid of summer programming/summer camp for children who are 4 years and older at the start of the summer. The remaining weeks, the school is closed.

Kids ask, students answer

Is there a school bus? How will I get to school?

No, there is not a bus so parents drive, but if you live close enough you can walk or bike.

It is a private school. Will I wear a uniform?

Yes there is a uniform and you get used to wearing it even if you are new.

Do the children at Clanmore Montessori School sit at desks to do their work?

There are tables in place of desks and you can move around freely and even work on the floor. We are also given the option of whom to sit and can choose a different seat every day.

Who will be in my class?

At Clanmore, students are grouped into classes with other aged students. Upper Elementary has kids in year 4, 5 and 6. The older students know how things work in the class and they are helpful in getting new students used to routines and things throughout the year.

Do you have to ask a teacher when you need to leave the class to go to the washroom?

No, we can go to the washroom when we need to.

Do the children at Clanmore participate in Fundraising events?

We actually get to decide on what to fundraise for and we can work together as a group to plan and run the fundraisers.

How long do we go to school for and how does the day start and end?

8:30 to 3:45 everyday We are dropped off in the line and teachers greet us as we walk into the school and to our classrooms independently. At the end of the day, we gather in the school yard and wait for our names to be called and our teachers take us to our parents who are waiting in the car line up for us.

Are there both boys and girls at Clanmore?


Is there a gym at Clanmore? How often do we have gym class?

Yes there is a gym. When the weather is nice we use the fields around the school and have gym class outside. We have gym with our gym teacher once a week. Everyone in Upper Elementary also gets to go to the cross country meet in the Fall and do track and field in the Spring with a group of other private school children.

Do I need to bring lunch and snacks to school?

There is a hot lunch program that your parents can sign you up for, or you can pack a lunch. The school provides snacks every day that you can enjoy when you are hungry.

What kind of extra things do the children do?

We get to go out, take the city bus, and visit seniors in a seniors residence, we have a class pet to take care of, we get to go for brisk walks in the woods, we get to go on class trips to places like the AGO and McMichael art gallery, We get to plan and participate in fundraisers. We get to do silent reading for a set time each day in class.

Are there any jobs that the children need to do?

Yes, we work together to keep our classroom tidy and organized. We help with the whole school laundry, clean the shelves, care for plants and any pets in the classroom and generally help to keep our space clean.

How old are the kids that come to Clanmore and how many children would be in my class?

Children start as young as 18 months in the toddler class and can stay at Clanmore until they are in year 8. There are 15 toddlers in one class, three Casa classes with 24 kids in each class, 18 to 28 students in each elementary class and up to 18 in middle school.

Is there homework at Clanmore?

In Elementary you only have homework if you waste your time during class or if you ask for it.

Is there Art class at Clanmore?

We get to go to Art Studio in the art room at Clanmore every 2 weeks and have so much fun creating really cool projects all year.

How are the children treated at Clanmore?

We are treated with respect and kindness. We get lots of choice in our work and play. When we run into social problems we have a great program called Restitution that helps us work through the problems and get on with everything else.

What is it like at Clanmore?

Cool, independent, awesome, so much fun, we get to learn things in different and interesting ways.

Is there a school library and librarian?

There is a school library with many more books in our class. There is no librarian but our teachers are pretty great at helping us find what we might need.

How many recesses are there?

At Clanmore we have one recess with all the Elementary children everyday that lasts 45 minutes before lunch. We also get to go on brisk walks in the woods a few times a week..

Do you get to use technology like IPads at Clanmore?

The Upper Elementary class has a computer that we are able to use for research and projects. We also spend a lot of our time using resource books for projects and really interesting Montessori materials to learn math and science.

Preschool: Toddler program

What is Montessori education for Toddler students?

The Montessori approach to education is based on the ground-breaking work of Dr. Maria Montessori. In its essence, Montessori education, at all levels, supports the child’s learning based on age-specific developmental needs and aiding in independence.

At the Toddler level, learning is hands-on. Children are sensorial explorers and have what Dr. Montessori calls an “Absorbent Mind”. It is the richest period of brain growth and development. At this stage the child’s strong sense of order is evident.

The Toddler classroom is a wealth of sensory experiences encompassing practical life activities, which are an extension of the home environment. Language is a focus, with the acquisition of vocabulary, pronunciation, the powers of expression, and communication. Music, movement, and art are explored in the Montessori environment.

Our curriculum evenings help parents better understand the experiences and materials their children are exploring and why. We would be happy to guide you to resources as you explore Montessori education and if it might be a good fit for your family.

How many classrooms do you have and what is the age eligibility?

We have one classroom that has 15 children within the age range of 18 months to 3 years of age. Children need to be 18 months as of their September start date and we run during the academic school year from September to June.

How many adults are in the classroom?

We have three teachers in our toddler environment so there is a 1 to 5 ratio.

Can children join the Toddler program mid-year?

Toddler children complete the year with their peers; therefore we do not have any open availability mid-year.

Do you offer part-time programming?

Children attend the Toddler program 5 days a week, with a two week break in December/January, another in March, and again we break during the summer.

A half-day option is available for children.

Do your students wear uniforms?

At the Toddler level students do not wear uniforms. We ask that children wear clothing that they can easily learn how to put on and take off independently when ready.

Preschool: Casa program

What is Montessori education for Casa students?

The Montessori approach to education is based on the ground-breaking work of Dr. Maria Montessori. In its essence, Montessori education, at all levels, supports the child’s learning based on age-specific developmental needs. At the Casa level, learning is hands-on. Concepts, even more abstract ones like geometry, exist in concrete form to be physically explored.

The Casa classrooms are a wealth of sensory experiences encompassing language, math, geography, music, art, and other areas which are unique to Montesori classrooms such as practical life and the sensorial materials. Our curriculum evenings help parents better understand the experiences and materials their children are exploring and why. We would be happy to guide you to resources as you explore Montessori education and if it might be a good fit for your family.

How many classrooms do you have and what is the age eligibility?

We have three Casa classrooms, each of which has a mixture of children who are 3 by December 31st of the year in which they start, and not yet 6 by December 31st of the year in which they complete the program.

We aim to have approximately 8 children in the first year of the three-year program, 8 children in the second year of the three-year program and 8 children in the third-year of the three-year program. Each of our three classrooms therefore has 24 students who stay in our Casa proram for three years before moving into our elementary program.

How do I know if my child is ready for the Casa program?

Children entering the program need to be able to use the toilet independently, including recognizing when the need to use the toilet arises. Washrooms are directly attached to the classrooms, the children are oriented at the start of the year as to how to use them. They are free to go at any time. We do understand that on occasion accidents may happen, and have a selction of extra clothes on hand.

Can children join the Casa program who are past the age of 3?

Yes, this is a possibility, but only if a spot opens up as a result of attrition. The enrolment expectation is generally that children will complete the three-year Casa program before moving to another program within our school, or elsewhere.

Do you offer part-time programming?

Children attend the Casa program 5 days a week, with a two week break in December/January, another in March and again during the summer. A half-day option is available for children in their first year of the program.

Do your students wear uniforms?

Yes, at the Casa level the students wear uniforms. You may select uniform pieces which work best for your child.

Elementary program

What is Montessori education for Elementary students?

The Montessori approach to education is based on the groundbreaking work of Dr. Maria Montessori. In its essence, Montessori education, at all levels, supports the child’s learning based on age specific developmental needs.

At the elementary level, working and learning involves lots of movement, hands-on experience and conversation around the question why? The developmental needs being met are intellectual, social and moral. The children are developing from concrete experience to abstract understanding over the period of these six years.

How many classrooms do you have and what is the age eligibility?

We have four elementary classrooms,  two lower elementary classrooms of 24 to 26 children of 6 to 9 years of age and two upper elementary classrooms of 18 to 21 children of 9 to 12 years of age. Two teachers are assigned to each class.

What is Restitution?

Restitution is a system which aids social development and contributes to a safe living and learning environment at school and beyond.  Restitution was originally designed by Diane Gossen from Saskatchewan.  The Clanmore environment is set up to allow children optimal academic and social growth.

We create the conditions, ie. we lay out our beliefs, state our needs and try to align them to be met everyday. When mistakes are made, with the help of restitution and guidance by the teachers, the children take the time to fix their mistakes and return to the group strengthened.

What about testing and homework? My child won’t manage in the real world if he/she doesn’t have experience with testing and homework.

While it may seem that within a Montessori classroom, testing does not take place, it actually does. Dr. Montessori built self-testing into the use of her materials so that when a student uses the materials in an incorrect manner, they are able to detect the error and may then self-correct. Additionally, the teacher guide in a Montessori classroom is constantly observing each student, taking notes and assessing the student’s progress and need for additional presentations or work. The guide knows the child’s work so intimately from this experience that they can assess first hand whether the student has mastered the piece of work or area of knowledge and is ready to move on. This happens every day in a Montessori classroom.

Additionally, while traditional forms of testing are not implemented in a Montessori school, we recognize that eventually our students will have to take tests as they move on to high school or college/university. Montessori curriculum at the middle school level provides seminars in test taking and exam preparation so that students will be prepared for the process of taking a test or an exam. Anecdotally, students who leave Montessori education fair well when they are required to test. Recently, a year 6 (grade 6) student who had never taken a test before was required to write an entrance exam for one of the most prestigious private schools in Oakville. Without test preparation, that student scored above a Grade 12 level in areas tested. Despite the absence of traditional forms of testing during the student’s Year 1 – 6 experience at Clanmore, this student excelled.

Without things like a rotational schedule of classes and homework, how will my child learn about time management?

In a Montessori classroom, time management is encouraged from an early age. In Year 3 (and sometimes earlier depending on the child), each child is introduced to a journal that they use to record their daily and weekly work, plan for the week ahead and outline what work remains to be completed. Students are responsible for completing this each week, and in doing so, time management becomes second nature to the child at a very young age.

My child needs more technology and sports in his school environment. Why doesn’t a Montessori classroom offer these key subjects?

At Clanmore, technology is introduced when it is developmentally appropriate. While today’s technological society requires us to be knowledgeable and adept at using technology, there is a specific time for this to be introduced to the child so that they can engage it in an appropriate way. Additionally, because technology changes at such a rapid pace, we need not be worried that our children will be unable to catch up. What is critical is that they have the tools that will allow them to learn to utilize technology effectively and safely when it is developmentally appropriate for them to do so.

At the Elementary level, technology is introduced to support the acquisition of keyboarding skills as a path toward the utilization of the computer to complete work reports/presentations. Technology is more fully integrated into the program at the Adolescent level, because this age group requires the technology to complete and present their in-depth study. Additionally, because adolescents are fundamentally learning what it means to be an adult in society, we must provide students with an understanding of the role of technology in our society and how we most effectively use it for the betterment of our world. Seminars on technology are introduced at this level.

In terms of sports, Clanmore offers students instruction in individual and team sports as well as non-competitive and competitive sport. Clanmore students regularly take a 30 minute “brisk walk”, an informal experience of nature that physically works the growing body. With respect to a more formal physical education program, we utilize our beautiful gymnasium for pick-up basketball, floor hockey, and other indoor sports.  The school also uses the adjacent wooded area, as well as the outdoor soccer field and baseball diamond for instruction and training. Furthermore, each year, the students in Years 4 – 8 compete in the Private School Athletic Association (PSAA) Cross Country and Track & Field meets. 


Middle school program

From their perspective, were your students well-prepared for high school?

Montessori Adolescent Programs aim to blend academic preparedness and the adolescent need for self expression, deep work, and practice with independence.

Graduates from Clanmore often tell us that their transition into high school environments have been smooth. Graduates regularly find that they are able to complete their school work without feeling overloaded, advocate for their needs directly with their teachers, and manage their time well between extra-curriculars, family obligations, and social interests. We like to host a Grad Panel event about every three years for our families to hear directly from our graduates.

From university students to new freshmen, Clanmore students are invited to join us and answer questions about their experiences. Please keep an eye out for this special event!

How do community and social work help your students in the moment and in the future?

Almost any school program available will be able to offer families interesting academic challenges for their students. At Clanmore, we try to balance academic preparedness with the teenage need for connection to the adult world in safe, guided ways.

Roughly, about 60% of our weekly time at school is spent on academic classes. The remaining time is dedicated to community work and creative expression. Cooking lunch and eating together help develop mature palates and curiosity about the cultures around us. Care of our environment, such as tidying a classroom, setting up tables for an activity, or cleaning the kitchen, helps students take ownership of their spaces and to practice organization skills side-by-side with their peers. Microeconomy work, the hosting of a weekly cafe for parents and staff, along with seasonal markets, help students practice long-term planning while having real-world connections.

Our program also includes time for community meetings, discussion of goals and the practice of restitution, the continuation of grace and courtesy, group assignments and planning, and outlets for individual creative expression.

How does the academic experience differ between your Middle School program and High School?

Although High Schools offer a wide variety of experiences, the most common difference we have noticed is our focus on longer projects.

With a limited community size, our academic classes have the time and staffing to give students the opportunity to delve deeply into a subject area. Like most other programs, our core classes include math, language, French, each of which introduce testing and small projects.

However, we have two large academic classes, Humanities and Occupations which do not run concurrently. In these two classes, students stay on one unit topic for about four weeks. This time is divided into hands-on activities, the development of various skills (such as note-taking or research), and discussion in the first two weeks, with the last two weeks devoted to an I.S.P., or Independent Study Project. The goals of I.S.P.’s vary between units, but students are able to dig deeply into a relevant topic of their choice during this time.

Many of our graduates have mentioned that they miss this time, as courses tend to move more quickly in the later grades.

Who thrives in Clanmore's Middle School Program?

Because this program is intended to not only help students prepare academically for future challenges, but address their developmental and social needs, students who are able to be present for the duration of the program, who are personally interested in developing their independence and responsibility, who are ready to tackle more complex obligations, who have an interest in the community around them, and who have families that are willing to support these needs are well-suited to join this program.

Both the parents and teen are required to complete an application of interest for the program because we believe a dialogue must exist between the school, the parents, and their teen.

What is the biggest adjustment for parents?

In Montessori lingo, teenagers are considered “social newborns” because they now have an interest in the wider world of adults. However, they’re not yet ready to head off on their own.

The guidance of teens can be a tricky path for parents and teachers alike. Parents who are joining the Middle School program should expect to have frequent communication with their teens to both know what’s happening in their schedule, and to help with forward planning. We strongly recommend the adoption of a family calendar and regular family meetings to begin building an open sense of communication with their teen.

Learning how to listen and how to support a teenager is the practice of sharing some of the authority you have as a parent. Teenagers want to be independent and responsible, and to help that develop, they need to have a voice and a choice.

What is the biggest challenge for your students after leaving the Middle School Program at Clanmore?

Experiences vary between individuals depending on a variety of factors. Some graduates have been nervous moving from such a small community to a much larger one. For this reason, we often encourage students to join a variety of clubs and activities to get to know their new classmates right away.

Some graduates have expressed that the academic work in High School can be not as interesting or as challenging as they would have hoped. In our program, each student receives an advisor who helps students find the language they need to advocate for themselves. We hope this enables them to feel more comfortable approaching their future teachers to request more challenging work or alternative approaches.

Adolescence is often a time of doubt, so our program is designed to help students navigate that feeling and figure out how to move forward with confidence.

Do your graduates recommend Clanmore's Middle School program to others?
We have been delighted to receive an array of testimonials for our program over the years. You many find these here.

While the vast majority of our graduates have reflected fondly on our program, it goes without saying that due to the specialized nature of the program and the demand for commitment to the variety of projects, activities, and conferences, the program may not be suitable for all families.

Each fall, Clanmore hosts an Open House. If you are curious about the Middle School, you are warmly invited to join us for a tour to learn more about the particulars of the program. Our goal is to help you decide if this is the right program for your family, not to convince you that our program is the only right choice.