“The teacher must derive not only the capacity, but the desire, to observe natural phenomena. The teacher must understand and feel her position of observer: the activity must lie in the phenomenon.” Maria Montessori
Our teachers are our school’s greatest assets. We are very fortunate to work with such gifted educators, both in our classrooms and in the larger school environment. Here is a bit of background on each.
After completing her B.A. in Literature and Classical Studies, Melody began her career in Early Education in 1990. For the past 22 years, she has worked with children from infancy to school-aged in university and college lab-schools, literacy groups and Montessori schools. In addition to teaching and guiding children, Melody was a college instructor in Early Education. She has also enjoyed designing and facilitating early literacy programs for young children and their families as well as Montessori enrichment and remedial programs to support children from all educational backgrounds in language and mathematics. In her spare time, Melody combines her love of literature, creative expression and children to write novels and storybooks for young children.
In 2004, Melody earned her Association Montessori Internationale Casa teaching certification from the Foundation for Montessori Education. This evolution in her career was the result of a growing frustration with traditional early education programs and philosophies and an increasing awareness of alternative educational theories and outcomes garnered through her extensive travels and research.
Melody has practiced and refined her skills in an effort to create an environment that honours and embodies Montessori theory, materials and practice but also extends into the arts and the community at large, representing a true Montessori spirit of peace and respect for all children. This is the impetus for The Orchard Montessori School.
Holly studied English, Psychology and Social Work and has worked for many years in advertising, design and editorial illustration. Her daughter’s experience in Montessori proved transformative and in 2012, Holly co-founded The Orchard with Melody, acting as its administrative lead before completing her Elementary training in 2015. The school began with only seven students in the front room of Holly’s home and has grown to over sixty students with programs serving children from ages 2-12 years in a school building on Dovercourt. The mission in founding The Orchard was to provide families with a traditional Montessori education that reflected the interests of the community of children it serves. This has evolved to include key emphasis on the arts and natural sciences in a bilingual environment. The elementary program at The Orchard, which Holly co-teaches with Katherine, stands out for its cosmic scope. Children are encouraged to make deeper, inter-curricular investigations that find expression in novel ways. Most importantly, they are challenged to pause to consider the impact of their engagement with the world around them.
Diane received her Association Montessori International diploma in 2006. She has since observed, with pleasure, the cognitive and emotional growth of her students through their casa years and in many cases, on into Elementary Montessori.
Prior to teaching, Diane was an Interior Designer but pursued her passion for working with children as a part time figure skating instructor and choreographer. She had the pleasure of working with children from beginner to national levels of competition and eventually steered her passion for motivating children into teaching full time. As a Directress, much like a skating coach, Diane encourages children to gain confidence, strive to make a difference, and find what speaks to them in their quest for personal best.
As the mother of a 14 year old daughter who benefited from a Montessori education, Diane has also seen, through a parent’s eyes, the amazing results that can be achieved through the Montessori philosophy, materials and pedagogy as a whole.
As a life long learner, Diane has an insatiable love for nature, animals and the great outdoors. She also enjoys many evolving passions including history, architecture and design, yoga, meditation, painting and drawing, embroidery, hiking, golf, tennis, and the pursuit of happiness.
Katherine has worked with children in various settings for 35 years. She began her career as a camp counsellor and later camp director at a residential camp for developmentally challenged children. After completing her Bachelor of Social Work at Ryerson University, Katherine took her AMI Primary diploma at the Foundation for Montessori Education followed by her Lower and Upper Elementary diplomas and eventually, her Master Teacher certificate. She has been devoted to Montessori education for the past 26 years and has taught all levels from casa through grade 12. She also ran her own school for ten years.
Working with Dr. Daniel Jutras as a Master Teacher, Katherine prepares elementary candidates at the Canadian Montessori Teacher Training Institute on a part time basis.
Katherine and Holly co-teach the Elementary program at Orchard.
In her spare time, Katherine cultivates a keen interest in beekeeping.
Maude has extensive experience working with children in Quebec and Ontario. After moving to Toronto, she completed her Montessori teaching certificate in 2010 and worked exclusively within the French Montessori system before joining Orchard’s bilingual program. Maude is passionate about supporting and guiding children. She helps develop and teach the French curriculum for the elementary and after school programs while also providing administrative support for Holly and Melody.
When Maude is not teaching, she can be found taking nature walks, kayaking and enjoying the outdoors. She also loves to cook and takes pleasure in trying out new foods and discovering the city.
French Assistant Teacher, Art Instructor
Thessa is one of the French Assistants in Casa West. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honours in Fine Art from London, UK where she also co-curated exhibitions. At Orchard, she also teaches art to the Elementary class and the afterschool art programme to Orchard and community children. This builds on Thessa’s previous work experience teaching visual art in London in both schools and community centres, where she focused on the creative development of children of all ages, from early years to teenagers, using a wide range of disciplines. Thessa’s broader experience includes teaching Seido karate to children in London and English language to elementary to school aged children in France.
Frank holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Communication and has worked with children and youth as a coach in sports settings at the school and community level in France. In addition to his work as the French Assistant in Casa East, he is helping students build co-ordination, balance, posture and confidence in their athletic fitness in the after school sports program. Frank also teaches drama in French to elementary aged children from both Orchard and local public schools. Prior to working with children, Frank worked as a journalist in Paris.
Casa Assistant Teacher, Limon Teacher
Emily is a MACTE accredited Lower Elementary teacher. She also has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honors Degree in Dance and is a certified Hatha Yoga instructor. During her time in University she pursued her senior thesis under the study of creative freedom in children under the age five. Emily is also a certified Limon teacher and will be offering after school classes this year. She believes in the blending of Montessori philosophy with the creative arts. Orchard is sponsoring Emily’s casa teacher training this year as well which will support the work she has begun as an assistant teacher in Melody’s casa.
In her spare time, Emily is involved in a number of collective dance projects and also enjoys reading and attempting to learn the ukulele.
Nick has an extensive background in music education and is delighted to lead Orchard’s music program with voice, percussion and instrument training for elementary students aged 6-12 years. Nick also offers private lessons after school in ukulele, piano and guitar on Monday afternoons.
Rose of Shaolin Temple Quanfa Institute
Rose, under the guidance of Shi Chang Dao of the Shaolin Quanfa Temple Institute, leads the children through various physical postures in the practice of kung fu which call attention to the six Shaolin virtues of compassion, focus, strive, perseverance, respect, and leadership. STQI represents an ancient 1,500 year culture called Shaolin. Its mission is to teach the ancient arts of kung fu martial arts, qi gong, and meditation so that people can lead healthier lives.
Julianne of 123 Kids Yoga
Julianne teaches story-based guided yoga to our younger children each Monday. Following a story enables them to visualise and execute traditional yoga postures.
Ira of PTL Tennis League
Ira teaches two different age groups in our after school tennis group. The children work on flexibility, coordination and balance while learning the basic skills and rules of tennis.
Lenni of Little Music
Lenni Jabour is a Suzuki Early Childhood and Suzuki Piano teacher. On Thursday mornings, Lennie teaches the very youngest members of our school community in her early childhood classes, suitable for parents and babies aged 0-2 years. She has a lot of fun specializing in the study of neurocognitive effects and benefits of early music learning, and is the mother of two young children. You may register for one of her class series directly at www.littlemusic.ca