Orchard House - A Montessori-based Center for Early Childhood Development

Welcome!

As you navigate our pages, we hope you will get a taste of the true Orchard House experience. You will meet our warm and nurturing teachers, all of whom strive for continued professional growth. You will learn about our curriculum - solid, innovative and based on proven developmental philosophies and recent brain research. You will take a peek into our sunny classrooms and gardens which become a home-away-from-home to each of our young children. We hope that you will like what you see, and that you will come to visit us soon. We would love to meet your child!


Mission

At Orchard House, we are committed to ensuring the smoothest transition from home to school. We strive to implement an innovative curriculum in a warm and safe environment in order to encourage each child to reach his or her fullest potential.


Philosophy

In our schools, you will find highly qualified teachers, a safe and stimulating learning environment, and a strong sense of community. We understand that the first home-to-school transition is central to laying the foundation of future years. We are dedicated to both you and your child in order to ensure Orchard House is the perfect first step in this journey.


History

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Ever since she was nine years old, Yasmine Ghandour knew she would become a teacher of young children. She would tell anyone who would listen what her school would look like and what it would entail. Years later, in 2003, when she was looking for the perfect preschool for her newly born daughter, she opened the doors to the first Orchard House. There, she hoped for a school that would mirror the values she holds dear: one with a calm learning environment, a steady separation process, and a progressive, well-developed curriculum that would engage each child to reach his or her full potential. At Orchard House, she created just that! Over the years, Orchard House has grown into Quebec’s leading establishment for early childhood education.


Philanthropy

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Our Social Responsibility program provides children with opportunities to learn and demonstrate core character traits and moral values which help them to become responsible, caring members of their society. Through a variety of activities, the children explore the importance of giving to help others in need.

We commit to both local and international charity organizations in each school. Our NDG school is a proud supporter of the Heart of Life Foundation (Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation) and the NDG Food Depot. Our Pointe Claire school supports the West Island Mission and the West Island Women’s Shelter.  At an international level, Orchard House as a whole is involved with the organization Free the Children, and has committed to a year-long campaign to raise $10,000 to build a school in Ecuador.

Each of these experiences brings heightened awareness to the children that their actions can produce powerful, positive effects in their neighbourhoods and in the world.


Our Team

A positive parent-teacher relationship contributes greatly to your child’s success at school. It shows your child that the main caregivers in her life are working together.

Founder

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Yasmine Ghandour

Miss Yasmine holds a M.A. in Early & Elementary Education from Columbia University, a M.Ed in Educational Psychology from McGill University (focusing on Inclusive Education) and Montessori Qualifications from the Montessori Center International. She has taught in preschool settings in Asia, the Middle East and North America and has most recently spent a few years as Elementary School Director at Lower Canada College in Montreal. Miss Yasmine is now pursuing her Ph.D. at Concordia University, exploring early intervention measures for executive dysfunctions.



Administrators

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Tina Hillenbrand – Director of Orchard House, NDG

Miss Tina holds a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Social Science, a certificate in Family Life Education as well as Montessori and Daycare Management Certification. She is currently pursuing a certificate in Business Administration at the John Molson School of Business. Miss Tina has taught and directed in preschool settings in the Montreal area for over 20 years.



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Christine Mayers – Administrator, NDG

Miss Christine has a Bachelor of Commerce from Concordia University and has worked in various administrative positions but enjoys preschool environments the most. In her spare time, she likes cooking, skiing, hiking, reading and spending time with her family and two daughters.



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Miss Vicky - Administrative Assistant, NDG

Miss Vicky has been with Orchard House since 2010.   With an extensive background in administration both in university and school settings, Miss Vicky has joined the administrative team at Orchard House after teaching in the classroom for five years. She is very involved in education and holds board positions in a CPE and at the English Montreal School Board.  Miss Vicky enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with her family and two children.



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Miss Victoria – Administrator, Pointe-Claire

Miss Victoria has her Bachelor of Education from McGill University with a minor in her favourite subject… Natural Sciences! She has been working in the daycare and school setting for 12 years now gaining a variety of experiences along the way. She loves promoting a healthy and active lifestyle and teaches fitness classes in the evenings. Her classroom is a fun, engaging and creative place where children can grow and flourish!



Members of our faculty

The teachers at Orchard House are specifically chosen for their warm and nurturing nature, and for their understanding of individual needs. All teachers hold a certificate in Emergency First Aid procedures. With class sizes ranging from 6 to 10 children, teachers create child-centered environments, concentrate on the needs of the whole child and are well-positioned to address social or cognitive issues as they arise.

Here are a few members of our faculty team:


Teachers: Pointe-Claire Teachers: Notre-Dame-de-Grâce
Pointe-Claire
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Mme Diane

Mme Diane a plus de 15 ans d'expérience en milieu scolaire, et elle est reconnue pour sa grande patience et sa douceur. Dans ses loisirs, elle aime la lecture, le yoga et prend un grand plaisir à se ressourcer dans la nature. Elle privilégie passer du temps avec sa famille dont ses trois filles qui sont sa fierté. Son approche avec les enfants fait en sorte qu'ils se sentent tout de suite en confiance auprès d'elle.


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Miss Debbie

Miss Debbie arrived at Orchard House in 2010 with over 15 years of preschool teaching experience and 28 years of mommy experience to her 3 wonderful children. She loves to read, spend time with her family and 3 golden retrievers, snowshoe, and go up to the country. Miss Debbie's classroom is a warm, supportive, and nurturing environment where children can learn, develop, and grow with fun and enriching Montessori-based activities, and plenty of hugs!


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Miss Samantha

Miss Samantha holds a Bachelor of Arts in Child Studies from Concordia University. She has spent over 8 years working with children in different types of environments, including working as an integration aide in elementary schools as well as high schools. Miss Samantha's classroom is a calm, warm, and nurturing environment where children are encouraged to explore their interests, all while having fun! Outside of the classroom, Miss Samantha enjoys reading, baking, and synchronized swimming.


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Miss Allison

Miss Allison has a diploma in Montessori Early Childhood Education and her ECE qualifications from Champlain College. She has been working with children for many years in the elementary and daycare milieu. Her classroom is an environment in which she encourages the children to participate in hands-on learning activities while creating an atmosphere of warmth and open communication. When she is not at work, you can find Miss Allison keeping active with her own two children!


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Miss Lisa

Miss Lisa holds a Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies from Mount Saint Vincent University (‘91) with a focus on special needs. After working for many years, she has remained active in the educational system by volunteering at her boys' school. Reading and laughing with children are her favourite activities!


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Miss Jenn

Miss Jenn has her degree in Early Childhood Education and has been working with young children since 1994. Her warm and secure classroom environment is full of creative and fun learning activities. She enjoys art, music, theatre and dance, and spending time with her two daughters.


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Miss Melanie

Miss Melanie has her degree in Early Childhood Education from Vanier College. She is a confident educator who has tended to the diverse needs of young children since 2000 - working at a number of pre-schools and summer camps in the Montreal area, including Montessori and YMCA programs. Her warm and friendly manner with the children and her creative teaching abilities are a delight. Always equipped with new ways to motivate children to learn and grow, she’s able to captivate their attention and guide them through different learning experiences. She is bilingual, loves arts and crafts, body and movement activities and has great enthusiasm for science. Miss Melanie has an overall love for teaching!


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Miss Kimberly

Miss Kimberly has a degree in Early Childhood Education and a Diploma in Montessori Early Childhood Education. She has many years of teaching experience with children in daycares, community centers, elementary schools and at home with her own two daughters. Miss Kimberly’s classroom is a warm and nurturing space where children learn and grow. When not in the classroom, Miss Kimberly is often outside, running, swimming and taking her dog for walks in the woods. She also enjoys traveling and most of all spending time with her family.


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Mme Kathy

Mme Kathy has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Concordia and she studied Human Resource Management at McGill. She has worked with young children for over 20 years as a gymnastics instructor, a French specialist, a youth program coordinator and as a mom of three darling boys. Her interests include running, reading, event planning, health and wellness.


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Mme Maria

Mme Maria holds a Bachelor degree in Elementary Education from McGill University (‘96) and has over 15 years of teaching experience in preschools and elementary schools. Along with her passion for teaching, she enjoys traveling and is fluent in four languages. Mme Maria also likes cooking, baking, fashion, interior design, science and keeping fit (body, spirit and mind).


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Miss Laya

Miss Laya holds a Bachelor of Nursing degree from Shiraz University, Iran and a Pediatric ICU Certificate from Cape Town, South Africa. Miss Laya has extensive experience working with young children as a Neonatal and Pediatric Nurse and also as a Nursery teacher. She believes that by providing a nurturing and loving environment, all children are able to explore and learn new things. In her spare time, Miss Laya enjoys swimming, yoga, reading books and watching movies. 


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Miss Arleen

Miss Arleen is currently completing her studies in Early Childhood Education. Though she has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, her true passion has always been in early childhood settings. She has worked with young children for over 8 years, and is happiest when she can provide them with all the attention, love and care that they need.


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Miss Jocelynne

Miss Jocelynne has a Bachelor of Science in Information and Computer Science degree. Driven by her passion to work with young children, Miss Jocelynne has also completed a program in Early Childhood Education from Vanier College. She has worked with children since 2005. When not working, Miss Jocelynne enjoys nature walks, baking, beading and photography.


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Miss Sarah

Miss Sarah began her studies in Early Childhood Education at Bishops University, and went on to complete an International Montessori Teaching Diploma from NAMC. Miss Sarah has 8 years of experience working with children in various settings. Her classroom is a nurturing environment where children are encouraged to be led by their own curiosities. In her spare time, Miss Sarah enjoys horseback riding, baking, and playing outside with her beloved dog, Henry.


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Miss Rhiannon

Miss Rhiannon has a B.A. in linguistics, with a minor in Education. She has worked with children for the past ten years and is passionate about teaching toddlers. This enthusiasm and nurturing character is reflected in her classroom. Whenever Miss Rhiannon is not teaching, she enjoys reading and baking. 


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Miss Angie

Miss Angie has a DEC in Early Childhood Education from Vanier College. She is also a certified yoga instructor for both children and adults. Her yoga experiences have been published in a variety of local newspapers, Canadian Living Magazine and CTV News Montreal. Miss Angie brings this passion into the classroom, and uses it to explore new perspectives when working with young children. Her teachings allow her to take children’s individual development into consideration, including those with special needs. Miss Angie is also a mother of two teenaged boys, an avid reader and marathon runner.


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Miss Maureen

Miss Maureen has a B.A. in Economics at Concordia University but her real passion is dance as she studied ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop at the renowned Les Amis de la danse dance company. She has transferred this passion over the years by teaching all these types of dances to children of various age groups. Miss Maureen also has several years’ experience working with young preschoolers and kindergarten children in daycare and elementary school settings as well as with her own three children.


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Miss Krista

Miss Krista studied Advertising Management before switching into Early Childhood Education at Vanier College. She loves building on the interests of the children and creating her personal program based on their needs. Miss Krista has mixed her two passions of traveling and working with children by venturing to teach in Turkey, Guinea and Wemindji. When she's not at school, Miss Krista loves to play beach volleyball, read, listen to music and spend the day hanging around the city.


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Mme Martine

Mme Martine is a certified educator who has worked with children in a variety of settings (swimming instructor, camp counsellor, after-school care and daycare educator). Along with raising her own two children, Mme Martine enjoys reading, traveling and photography.


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Miss Samantha

Miss Samantha’s love of teaching began at a very young age, when herself attended a Montessori based pre-school at the age of 3! Miss Samantha has completed her Bachelor’s degree from Concordia University in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She is currently completing her Master’s degree at McGill University in Educational Psychology focusing on Inclusive Education. Miss Samantha believes that each child is unique, and that with proper guidance and support, they can reach their full potential. When Miss Samantha is not busy teaching or studying, she enjoys baking, reading and arts and crafts!


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Miss Vero

Miss Vero has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Major in Child Studies from Concordia University. She has a compassion and respect for early childhood education. Miss Vero values diversity and encourages her students to celebrate what makes them unique! Together, the individual traits of each child contribute to the classroom community – one that is warm and welcoming. When she is not teaching, Miss Vero enjoys oil painting, playing softball and scuba diving.


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Miss Carly

Miss Carly has a B.A. in Early Childhood Education (with a focus on Special Education and Child Psychology). She has been teaching young children since 1999, along with 8 years of experience as an ABA therapist.  Miss Carly is a flexible, caring, and nurturing teacher who strives to meet the needs of her students.  In addition to being a teacher, Miss Carly is also a mom of two children who have taught her so much more about what it truly means to be a teacher.


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Miss Shari

Miss Shari has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Major in Child Studies from Concordia University. She has extensive experience working with children in a variety of settings. She recognizes the uniqueness of each child, the need to develop creative and inquiring minds and is committed to providing an atmosphere of warmth, respect, consistency and trust. Her children are her greatest success and have inspired her in all aspects of her life.


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Mme Annie

Mme Annie détient un Baccalauréat en Éducation de l’Université du Québec à Montréal. Elle a longtemps travaillé auprès d’enfants, et notamment en intervention précoce auprès de petits ayant des retards de développement et/ou des défis particuliers. L’unicité des enfants, leurs curiosités, leurs sens de l’humour et leurs évolutions respectives l’émerveillent quotidiennement. Par ailleurs, elle aime beaucoup s’informer sur ces sujets, et ainsi, poursuivre ses apprentissages. Mme Annie se passionne aussi pour les voyages, la mode, les arts et pour son petit chien!


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Mme Valerie

Mme Valerie has a degree in Early Childhood Education, and certificates in Childhood Intervention and in Psycho-education. Mme Valerie believes children are masters of their development and that the educators can act to guide them as they explore their world. Mme Valerie’s experience has ranged from various day camps, an elementary school, a bilingual preschool in Yellowknife until she finally found a home here with us! Mme Valerie loves working with young children and this shines through her smile and her spontaneity. When she isn’t at work, she does Crossfit to keep healthy, and goes on little adventures - especially those that involve fruit picking!


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Miss Courtney

Miss Courtney holds a Bachelor of Psychology and Linguistics from Concordia University, a Certificate in Inclusive Education from McGill University, a Masters in Early Childhood Education, and a Masters in Early Childhood Special Education, both from Fordham University in NYC. She has much experience working with typical learners, as well as students who have special needs. Miss Courtney is also trained in Applied Behavior Analysis, and has many years of experience providing ABA services to children who have autism. Miss Courtney’s philosophy emphasizes the importance of following the child’s lead regarding their own learning, while providing guidance, support, care, safety, respect, and of course a fun learning environment! Miss Courtney strongly believes in the importance of play and exploration to encourage learning and growth in young learners. I am looking forward to a great year working and learning alongside your children!


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Mme Véro

Mme Véro holds a B.A. from Grenoble École de Management and a degree from the NAMC (North American Montessori Centre). Passionate about the Montessori philosophy, she strives to create a calm and respectful atmosphere in her classroom, where each child can feel safe and nurtured. In her free time, she loves to bake, ski, and travel to her native France!


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Mme Christine

Originally from Corse, France, Mme Christine completed a Bachelor of Arts in Business before immigrating to Canada. She has since completed her certification as an educator and continues her studies at UQAM in Soutien Pédagogique. When Mme Christine is not teaching or studying, she is passionate about tennis, swimming, cycling, cooking and painting.


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Mme Danielle

Trained in psychology and graduate of the A.M.I. (Association Montessori Internationale), Mme Danielle has extensive experience working with children in a Montessori environment. She favors learning by movement, exploration and experimentation. Her classroom is always bustling with activities. Meditation and Tai Chi are an important part of her life, as are swimming and biking.



Our Helping Hands

All members of our Helping Hands team support us in our efforts to maintain a clean and hygienically safe learning environment.

They also help the children with their diapering and toilet training needs.

Most importantly, they offer on-going operational support around the school.

We could not do our jobs as well as we do, were it not for the hard but discrete work of our Helping Hands!

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Miss Celia

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Miss Kaye

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Miss Marissa

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Miss Susan

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Miss Yolanda


Testimonials



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Mother of Sarah

“I can say with 100% certainty that Orchard House has positively shaped my daughter. When I tell friends and family that my daughter is attending preschool at 2 years old, they think it`s just a fancy way of saying she is going to daycare but that just isn't true! Orchard House is a cut above any other educational institution for children between 2-5yrs. I believe that the experience that Orchard House offers is irreplaceable and crucial during an important transition from toddlers to young children, preparing them for a lifetime of learning. I had high expectations sending my daughter to Orchard House and I can happily say the experience has exceeded my expectations”

Parents of Henry

Our son walks regularly hand-in-hand up the stairs of this nurturing place with the friends that he has made and he is always happy to go to school. We feel also that the staff of Orchard House have walked hand-in-hand with us in seeing and then professionally bringing out the confidence and trust of our child. He will benefit for the rest of his life from these foundational years at Orchard House and we are grateful to the staff for their caring and professional commitment to the well-being of Henry.

Parents of William

All three of our children have benefited enormously not just from the Orchard House Montessori curriculum, but also from the friendly, nurturing teachers they all grew with.

Their years there significantly helped them to be ready and confident for school.

Thanks so much!

Parents of Tory and Bryce

I have visited many preschools and daycares during recent years and had my 2 older children attending public daycare prior to beginning kindergarten. Having had children go through the public system I wasn’t sure I really needed anything more though I was ready for a change. Having done the rounds of local preschools yet again Orchard House stood out to me since it was conveniently located and it had a “real” school feel. Orchard House has far exceeded all of my expectations in a preschool environment and I feel great knowing that my children are receiving the social, emotional and academic backbone necessary for their future. The teachers are all so happy to be there every day. They truly take the time to give every child the individual attention they require.

I could not ask for a better place to send my kids.

Parents of Katie and Jack

Orchard House is more than a preschool. For our family, it is truly a home away from home - an extension of our family, where our children spend each day feeling safe, secure, and loved... Where they learn both confidence and compassion... Where they are taught with both enthusiasm and with patience... Where their individuality is nurtured with the utmost care.

We are so very grateful for the dedication of the Orchard House team, and most of all, for the smiles on our children's faces at the start and end of each and every school day...

With much love and appreciation,

Parents of Zoe

"Choosing Orchard House as a preschool has been one of the best decisions we’ve made for our daughter. It has become a second home for all of us. Our daughter has been nurtured, encouraged and surrounded by love and we feel everyone there really cares and wants her to flourish. Not only has the Montessori program given her the confidence and drive to learn but she’s made strong emotional ties with her classmates, her teachers and the staff. We would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone."