Board OK’s Uplands Montessori expansion

To cheers and clapping from around 20 parents in the audience, Langley board of education agreed to expand Uplands Montessori program from K to Grade 6.

Uplands is the only public school in Langley offering Montessori. There are several private schools offering the individualized learning program.

“It’s a hidden gem in our district,” said Claire Guy, assistant superintendent of schools who gave a presentation about the program to the board of education Tuesday night.

“Montessori is a popular program throughout the province,” said Guy. There is currently a waiting list for Kindergarten with 44 children registered for September at Uplands. Students are coming from neighbouring Surrey and from private schools. Some are coming from the neighbourhood.

But the school is small, with only 135 students and three empty classrooms.

However, expanding the program to Grade 6, (it used to only go to Grade 5) will increase the population, Guy said.

Montessori offers individualized learning, hands on, with teachers acting as facilitators not standing up in front of a class teaching. A global curriculum is taught and students are put in mutli-age groupings of three years, with the older students mentoring the young.

“But, because of the three year groupings, students were leaving the school and going back into private schools to finish the grouping to Grade 6,” said Guy.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the program at Uplands.

The board will review the success and costs of expanding it to Grade 6 with a report back from staff next spring. Staff are also looking into expanding the Montessori program to Grade 7 and 8.

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