The Nest Montessori is owned and operated by Alison Potter, Registered Early Childhood Educator and a graduate of the Montessori Teacher's College in Toronto, specializing in Montessori Education for Infants and Toddlers. Alison has three of her own young children, and has been a passionate advocate for children and families her entire adult life. Opening a Montessori toddler school and creating an inviting and inspiring space for young children and their parents has been a long-time dream of Alison's. The Nest is that dream come true!
During the process of creating The Nest, we identified a set of core values and ideals that became the foundation for our school, programs, and business practices. We consider these core values to be our guiding principles, and strive to make these principles visible in everything we do. The Nest is committed to: being an authentic Montessori environment; collaborating with and supporting our local community; modelling environmental stewardship; being supportive and accepting of families and parenting practices; and being mindful of the development of the whole person. Read more about each of our guiding principles below.
The Nest is dedicated to providing a thoughtful, intentional and authentic Montessori Infant/Toddler environment and program to our children and families. A Montessori classroom is comprised of many parts, but most notably, it should be a reflection of the children's current developmental needs and abilities, carefully designed to support each individual physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually. Embracing each child's abilities in the moment and allowing them to be independent and successful, a Montessori environment has a few distinct characteristics that set it apart from other classroom models: Montessori classes feature a mixed-age group of children, allowing the older children to act as role models for the younger children; shelves lined with enticing and natural learning materials that invite hands-on exploration; and a Montessori teacher, trained specifically in the age that she or he is guiding. As such, a Montessori toddler environment should be distinct and different from a Casa (preschool) room, since the needs and developmental goals of toddlers are not the same as that of an older age group. From the tiny table and chairs, sized specifically for toddlers, to the materials on the shelf, to the height of the artwork hanging on the walls, every detail of the Montessori classroom is created with the children and their stage of development in mind. The child is free to explore and discover the classroom and materials at his or her own pace, while being respectfully guided by a teacher who will help them navigate the challenges of learning how to interact with others in a group environment.
The Montessori Method emphasizes each child's potential while working to protect the importance and value of each age and stage of childhood. The Nest embraces Montessori's image of the child as naturally peaceful, joyful, capable of independence, and intrinsically motivated to learn. For more information on Dr. Montessori and the Montessori Method, please see this lovely little write-up here.
We believe that small, community-based businesses are essential to the well-being of any town or city. Being a locally owned and operated program means we can both reflect the unique families that live here while supporting the community around us. From the furniture in our classroom to the food on our menu, to the flowers decorating our tables, to the sign on the front of our school, The Nest works with local craftspeople, food producers and business owners whenever possible to create a beautiful learning environment that is as unique as our community.
As a school, we see ourselves as a natural gathering place - a part of the proverbial "village" that it takes to raise a child. We bring Peterborough into our school, introducing our children to local artists, musicians and skilled professionals who can share their talents with us.
"The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth." ~Maria Montessori
A sense of caring and responsibility for the world around us begins at the very youngest age, as children notice even the most subtle actions and attitudes of those around them. As a school, The Nest aims to tread lightly on the planet, and models care for the environment wherever possible in our daily practices. The children are involved in our organic garden, backyard compost, and efforts towards being a low- or zero-waste classroom. Our snack menu changes with the seasons, reflecting local, organic ingredients year-round. Only natural, non-toxic cleaners are used in the school.
We believe that when a child has a positive connection with the natural world, they will grow up caring for and protecting the earth. We spend time outside daily, in our own yard or on walks at the park or along nearby walking trails, exploring our natural environment and fostering a deep-rooted love for the world around us.
It is said that the parents are a child's first and most important teacher, and as a school we want to support and respect this precious role. We see ourselves as a partner and resource to the parents of the children at our school, working together to create a joyful, healthy and enriched start to childhood for our infants and toddlers. The Nest is a gentle "first step" transition between home and school, providing many opportunities for parents to be involved in their child's experiences here.
Education is more than academics - it is the growth and development of the whole person as he or she grows toward their full potential. Young children learn through their experiences in the environment around them, so that environment must be inspiring - igniting their curiosity and inviting exploration and discovery. They must be given the opportunity to discover new things while revisiting familiar skills and knowledge; they should have the chance to interact with others or to spend time alone; their bodies must be fuelled with good food and peaceful rest; and their emotions and spirit must be acknowledged, valued and nourished. When a person is cared for inside and out, they are receptive to learning and taking on challenges. They are free to grow and become everything they are meant to be. The Nest cherishes our role in not only igniting a passion for learning, but in providing an environment that cares for each child socially, emotionally and spiritually too.