NewsMontessori program expands to west Courtenay SHARE ON: Troy Landreville, staff Thursday, Feb. 6th, 2020 Apple on books. (Pexels.com)Comox Valley Schools are expanding Montessori to the west side of Courtenay.The program is already part of Queneesh Elementary. The second location will be Courtenay Community Elementary.Support of the Comox Valley Montessori Society made the expansion possible. The class will be a kindergarten/Grade 1 combination at Courtenay Elementary with plans to expand the program in future years at that school site.The program will begin at the start of the 2020-21 school year.“This is a fantastic opportunity for our community, one we are very pleased to see come to fruition,” Superintendent of Schools, Tom Demeo, said. “It will allow for a very popular and vibrant program to be more easily accessible to families in this region of Courtenay.”Queneesh principal, Christine VanderRee, said the program helps students learn at their own pace.“You would see small group instruction by the teacher which in Montessori is often referred to as the directorate,” VanderRee said. “So when she feels students are ready for the next steps in their learning, she takes advantage of their curiosity, presents them with their next materials and then they’re encouraged to practise and revisit that learning until they have it mastered and are ready to move on to their next learning.”VanderRee added that the program caters to each student’s strengths and interests.“You might see a Grade 2’er, for example, who is strong and passionate about learning about mathematics and sciences spending a lot of time doing further level at a higher level, at a different pace than you would see in a traditional neighbourhood class.”An information session will be offered at Queneesh Elementary tonight from 5:30 to 7:00pm.Childcare will be provided during the Montessori Open House.About MontessoriMontessori is a publicly funded choice program offered by SD71. Its teachers are B.C. certified and Montessori trained. At Queneesh Elementary, both the provincial and Montessori curriculums are taught in the classroom. The district says the program “values peace education, grace and courtesy, community and liberty in a structured environment. The program recognizes that children have a natural curiosity therefore we focus on hands on learning and teach the children to be independent within a structured, carefully prepared environment.”VanderRee said there are very few publicly funded Montessori programs in B.C.“Many Montessori opportunities are there, provincially, but they are often in a private school setting, with very significant fees, whereas with the support of the (Comox Valley) Montessori Society who has fundraised and purchased the materials, we’ve been able to, through school district support, fund the classroom space and the hiring of Montessori certified teachers.”For more information about the Comox Valley Montessori Society click here.