La Maternelle

The Gift School has two maternelle (Pre-K) classes, one for 3-4 year olds and one for 3-5 year olds. The younger class also welcomes a few 2 1/2 year old children. All classes at the Gift School are limited to a maximum of 18 pupils.

Every child has two teachers, a French teacher and an English teacher. A bilingual assistant is also present in the maternelle classes, every day of the week.

The Gift School adheres to the principles of holistic education which seeks to address all of a child’s needs (mind, body and spirit).

Gift School teachers use sophrology, yoga and mindfulness teachings and methods to help children learn to identify and manage their emotions as well as develop their ability to concentrate.

The Gift School team is trained in positive education and emotional intelligence according to the Filliozat method, and namely with Célie Dabry, therapist specialized in parent-child relationships. This approach which cultivates respect for each child and takes into account their emotional well-being, fosters a healthy and nurturing learning environment. It is especially important for Pre-Kindergarden children to begin learning emotional intelligence as this lays the groundwork for both their social and individual development. Thus, from a young age, children feel heard, understood, and encouraged to explore the world around them with curiosity and confidence.

Nature is an essential element of the maternelle classes. Whenever possible, teachers organize activities outdoors, as close to nature as possible. Every spring, each class designs and develops their own fruit and vegetable garden in the school’s vast garden.


The idea that a child would be “toilet-trained” denotes some form of teaching. From the Montessori perspective and in practice at the Gift School, we do not believe in “teaching,” but in observing a child’s needs (whether physical, psychological or emotional) so that we can determine the best way to assist them on their path to independence,

In light of this, we do not require that children be able to use the toilet independantly, when they start in our school.


Sleep is an essential part of a young child’s day – key to a healthy lifestyle and to the child’s ability to learn, process information and feel comfortable in her or his environment. After lunch, a calm reading time is organized every day in the youngest class, and each child’s need for an individualized bedtime ritual is fully respected. Cuddly toys and pacifiers are welcome and parents can provide pillow cases from home, to use on the child’s own individual bed.

There are absolutely no age limits imposed by the Gift School, for naptime. Children of any age are welcome to naptime.