Classroom Community

Whereas adults work to change their environments, adolescents use their environment to change themselves.  A safe and just environment is essential for optimal growth of an individual of this age.  Adolescents are very critical of themselves and others, and constantly feel judged.  They are vulnerable to hurt and humiliation and identify very strongly with their peers.  A sense of belonging is critical during this plane of development.  The ideal conditions for growth are created when students become contributing members of their community. 

Students are afforded opportunity and encouraged to get involved in the school and local community, continuously finding out more of who they are in the local and global world.  The WWJH program has a number of components aimed at creating class community.  These involve teamwork, a leadership program, class meetings, seminars, committees and activities aimed at building interdependence.  This strong sense of community can inspire students to become active participants in the world by instilling a sense of compassion and responsibility. 

Harkness Table

A prime feature of our designed-for-learning WWJH classroom is the celebrated Harkness Table. Uniquely designed and fashioned from solid American Ash, this oval shaped wooden table allows the whole class to sit together.  The premise in the design of the table is that it enables everyone seated at it to see the eyes of everyone else at the table, thus including all students in conversation.  Discussion of thoughts and ideas provides an excellent foundation for knowledge of topics, as well as encouraging a collaborative environment.  Harkness trained teachers guide and participate in classroom discussions, demonstrating to the students how to learn, rather than simply what to learn. Students experience both giving and receiving help by learning together, gaining confidence with discussion skills that will serve them well in future careers.  Their talent and self-esteem flourish when they become comfortably open to debate, see a spectrum of intellectually diverse opinions and are able to entertain different points of view. For the history of this design and more information visit our links section.

Off-site Learning

A fundamental component to our adolescent programs is the opportunity for students to venture out of the school for learning.  Off-site activities vary from short experiences to several days at a time.  In addition to appealing to adolescents’ need of diverse human experience, trips allow students to have real world involvement that supports and expands their curriculum and exposes them to the adult world.  Longer trips also allow students to develop a sense of independence and a set of skills necessary for their future that cannot be replicated in the classroom.  Field trips include volunteering in the community, career days, and destination trips related to session topics.   Students are encouraged to attend all field trips.  As the trips are part of the curriculum, students unable to attend are generally given an assignment equivalent in nature.

Our more extensive trips vary each year and are picked to enhance the curriculum.  Generally the school year consists of a fall bonding excursion, a trip to celebrate winter, and an Expedition Education experience.  Examples of our trips include:

Fall Bonding Trip:

  • History/Geography based trips in Kingston/Prince Edward County, Niagara and Midland/Georgian Bay
  • Leadership/Environmental retreats at KiWa-Y (Kitchener-Waterloo) and Royal Botanical Gardens (Burlington)

Winter Celebration Trip:

  • Temagami, Algonquin Park, Ottawa, Quebec City

Expedition Educaton:

Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN):

    • Offered every third year, our students attend the MMUN conference in New York City.  This remarkable initiative brings students together from all over the world to act as country delegates and debate on international issues.  Students use consensus to create a final resolution that is shared with the UN Secretary General.  Recent visits have seen our student delegates represent Italy and Egypt in wonderful memorable conferences that highlighted the preparation and skills of our students.


dearcroft / westwind
45 years...

pix pix pix pix pix pix pix pix



West Wind originated as the senior campus of Dearcroft Montessori School (est. 1968), and acted as an independent preparatory day school program offering Senior Elementary (grades 4 – 6) and Junior High (grades 7/8).  In 2008, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Dearcroft Montessori, we combined as a single campus.  Our program is now fully operated from the Dearcroft campus at 1167 Lakeshore Road East, Oakville. 

Read more »

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding our programs or would like to know more about West Wind, please feel free to contact us. You may email us at: or contact our office by telephone for further information.

Address: 1167 Lakeshore Road East
  Oakville, Ontario
  L6J 1L3
Telephone: (905) 844-2114
Fax: (905) 844-3529
Directors: Lynda Phippen, B.A., AMI, AMS
  Gordon Phippen, B.Sc. AMS
Administrator: Catherine DeBorba, B.A.A.