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About Us

About Our School

Tyee is a Montessori alternative program school, committed to providing a rich
learning environment for all its students based both on Montessori principles
and on fulfilling the expectations of the Ministry of Education for all schools.
An established application process is followed in admitting new

There are approximately two hundred students registered in Kindergarten through Grade Seven in multi-age groupings. Students take responsibility from an early age, making decisions about how their time is spent on the learning tasks they choose under the teacher's guidance. The Montessori approach supports continuous progress, as children work on personal goals and academic challenges. Students learn to work independently, in small groups, and as members of a class. Since Tyee's beginning in the mid-1980's, parents have made a conscious choice to enroll their children in this program and are highly involved in making the school's program a success.

Pre-school is run by C.A.M.P. (Community Association of Montessori Parents). Seats are limited. Information of fees and registration is available at 604-874-4622.

An Out of School Care program is offered by Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House and is run at our site. Call 604-874-4231.

School Curriculum

Each school follows the Ministry of Education's provincially-prescribed curriculum. As well, students' educational needs are supported through a variety of services and programs including locally developed initiatives, school resource centres, learning services teams, counsellors, learning assistance centres, English as a Second Language assistance, and access to educational psychologists and speech-language pathologists.

School Highlights

The Montessori environment at Tyee offers integration of the arts, sciences, geography, history and language that stimulate a child's learning. Academic achievement is high, and many students show their entrepreneurial spirit in individual and group projects to support social and environmental causes. Links to high school programs and to community activities enrich school life. Students make use of a variety of information sources in their project work, including technology, print and human resources. They participate in intermural sports teams and Grade Six/Seven band, and showcase their science and cultural learning at annual open house events. A significant number of students attend district gifted programs to extend their learning.

The students of Tyee are a community of learners, exhibiting the responsibility and respect described in our Mission Statement. They make an effort to solve their own conflicts and work as Peer Helpers and monitors to assist others. Student Council and class meetings give them regular opportunities to discuss issues and find solutions.

In keeping with the school's philosophy, there is no recess bell to interrupt the work cycle during the morning. Students take a break when they are ready. Reporting to parents is done through anecdotal reports and student-led conferences rather than through letter grades, and student self-evaluation is essential.

Parent Involvement

In order to realize a successful Montessori Program, active parental involvement is encouraged. Parents are urged to assist in whatever way they can to support the program and asked to communicate with the teacher on a regular basis regarding the progress of their child. It is strongly recommended that the parents of interested in this public alternative program familiarize themselves with some of the many books by and about Dr. Maria Montessori. Such references are available from the Tyee's Parent Library,
the Vancouver Public Library, or via your local bookstore.

Tyee Handbook

The Montessori Program


  • Fosters competent, adaptive, responsible citizens who are life-long learners and problem solvers.
  • Promotes inquisitive learners in a cooperative environment.
  • Involves a hands-on approach to learning.
  • Emphasizes respect for self, others, and the environment.

Characteristics of a Montessori Program at Tyee:

  1. Our Montessori program is child-centred and based on the interests and needs of the learners.
  2. Attention is paid to children’s sensitive periods for learning. These are periods of development when the desire to learn is so strong that a child will persist in a task until satisfied.
  3. In our program, except for Kindergarten, students generally stay with their teacher from two to three years.
  4. Children are encouraged to be self-motivated, monitor their own educational achievement and continue to behave with grace, courtesy and respect towards themselves, others and the environment.
  5. The child chooses from among several educational opportunities and often pursues those until her/his need is satisfied. This encourages the child to take ownership of his/her learning. The child is allowed to move freely in the classroom and to speak with other students in a modulated voice.
  6. Within the children’s reach are specialized self-correcting sensorial materials - for example, the moveable alphabet, the binomial and trinomial cubes, and the golden beads. Many of these materials and activities are designed to allow for self-correction, a feature that leads towards the child’s independence.
  7. Within the classroom, various activities are taking place at the same time - one child might be working on an art project, while another works with materials to solve a math problem.
  8. An atmosphere of respect is built between pupil and teacher. (Teachers shake hands with students in the morning at arrival time and in the afternoon when the student leaves.) The intrusive noise of loud buzzers is kept to a minimum and the child’s attention is gained by the soft ringing of a small, hand-held bell.
  9. As well as their education degree in teaching, teachers have also been trained in the philosophy and methodology of Montessori education.
  10. The teacher’s role is to facilitate. This is done through observation, guidance and by providing a variety of learning opportunities.
  11. Part of the Montessori philosophy includes the opportunity for parents to be involved in their child’s education.
  12. The environment is prepared to meet the interests and academic requirements of the students - for example, interest centres, and students’ work are attractively displayed.

I. Peace and global education are central to the Montessori philosophy. This is achieved through:

  • self-awareness (emotions, thinking, healthy body)
  • community awareness
  • cultural awareness
  • environmental awareness.

II. Extended work periods provide uninterrupted time for work. This gives the children time to build a momentum for work and they may often choose when to stop for their snack break.

III. Multi-grade classes encourage cooperative learning.

IV. Sequin’s three period lesson for direct teaching is used:

  • Period 1: Involves the mental process of IDENTIFICATION and requires a statement such as “This is a trapezoid.”
  • Period 2: Involves the mental process of DISCRIMINATION and requires a command such as “Show me the trapezoid.”
  • Period 3: Involves the mental process of RECALL and requires an answer to the question “What is this?”

V. An integrated curriculum is followed, rather than a timetable approach to specific subjects.

Parent Involvement

Parent Advisory Committee (PAC)

The school has a very active, inclusive and involved parent group which meets monthly. In addition to auxiliary and fundraising functions, the PAC, also referred to as TEMS (Tyee Elementary Montessori Society) takes an active interest in the classroom life of the school and affairs of the district as a whole. 

TEMS would like to take this opportunity to welcome all the students and parents to our school. As parents of children attending Tyee, you are automatically members of the Parent Advisory Committee and you are invited to attend all general meetings. The school principal, teachers and members of the Student Council are also invited to attend PAC meetings. 

Meetings are generally held on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm in the school library. Child minding for Grades K – 6 students is provided by Grade 7 students who have taken a babysitting course. Our present PAC co-chairs are Rebecca Watt and Shirley Madden. There will be an election in October for a new PAC executive. Additional parent education evenings are occasionally held throughout the school year. Minutes are posted on the PAC board in the main hallway to keep all families informed of our activities. We look forward to seeing you.


At the start of the year, the PAC will be sending home information regarding Earthquake Comfort Kits. Comfort kits allow students and staff to have a few personal comfort items at school in the event of a major disaster. Comfort kits are stored in the earthquake bin located by the staff parking lot. They are returned to students each fall for updating. 

We have periodic Fire, Code Yellow/Red/Purple, and Emergency Evacuation drills to familiarize both students and staff with safety procedures. The district-wide “Big One At Two” emergency evacuation drill is scheduled for early May. Where possible, parents will be asked to pick up their child and follow the formal release procedures. We thank you in advance for your cooperation.


Tyee has many volunteer opportunities. Attend a PAC meeting and find out how you can help. Also, a letter is sent home by school staff at the beginning of September to request input re: volunteering. Should you wish to offer an area of expertise or simply lend a helping hand, please complete the form and return it to your child’s teacher. There is also a Business Network Development area on the Parent Bulletin Board in the main hall, which showcases businesses in which our parent community is involved.


Fundraising for the school is done on a limited basis throughout the year. The PAC hosts two major events: one in the fall (generally a dance or silent auction), and one in the spring (our traditional Plant Sale). 

General Information


  • Absentees: If your child is sick or away for any reason, please inform the office. Requests for long absences in unusual circumstances should be made to the principal (preferably in writing).
  • Late Arrivals: In support of our social responsibility philosophy, all students are expected to be on time and to be ready for the start of class. Students who are late either at 9:00 am or 1:00 pm are expected to report to the office upon arrival. Please remember that this is not expected to happen on a regular basis.
  • Illness: If your child becomes ill at school, you will be phoned. Your child will not be able to leave the school until we have contacted you; therefore it is very important that we have your current home and work phone numbers, as well as the numbers for an emergency back-up friend or relative. Also, we cannot administer any medication unless supplied by the parent, with a completed permission form. 
  • Departure/Arrival Outside of Regular Hours: If a parent or designate is taking a student out of school (i.e., dental appointment), they should notify the teacher and the office (as well as Out of School Care, if applicable). Intermediate. Intermediate students are never allowed to go home outside regular dismissal times by themselves, unless a phone call confirms with a staff member that there is a parent or designate there to meet them.

Recess and Uninterrupted Work Cycle

Tyee Montessori does not have a scheduled recess in support of the “uninterrupted work cycle” within the Montessori philosophy. We try to ensure that students have this uninterrupted time Monday to Thursday mornings. Special events are scheduled for Fridays if possible. 


Lunch is from 12:10 to 1:00 pm. All children who eat lunch at school are expected to remain on the school grounds. Students must be accompanied by a parent or authorized adult if they want to leave the school grounds, or a written notice given to their classroom teacher advising consent. 

Students eat lunch in their classroom.

There are two supervision aides who supervise during lunch. Peer helpers, SSW’s, parent volunteers, and the principal also assist. During rainy lunch hours, these are the options for students:

  • Rainy day games in the downstairs hallway (Peer Helpers)
  • Library (Parent Volunteer)
  • Activity in the gym
  • Outdoor play under the covered area


General supervision is provided on school grounds in the mornings between 8:35 and 8:55 am when the first bell sounds. Please do not drop children off before this time, unless they are enrolled in the Out of School Care program, are attending a team practice or unless prior arrangements have been made. Students only come into school once the bell has rung, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, who remains with them. In inclement weather, they can keep dry/warm in the undercover area or downstairs hallway. After-school supervision is from 3:01 to 3:20 pm. By 3:20 pm, children should have left school grounds, if not supervised by a parent or guardian, unless attending Out of School Care, or a school-sponsored activity. If parents of students have not yet arrived by 3:20 pm, children are expected to report to the office and wait for pick-up. Please remember to advise the Out of School Care if your child is absent or if you pick her/him up early for an appointment or due to illness. Thanks for your cooperation. 

School Supplies Fee

The School Supplies Fee is usually $25/student for Grades 1 to 7, and $12.50 for Kindergarten (a separate request for the yearly school supply fees will be sent home at the beginning of each year). Fees are due by September 30th. This fee covers the cost of supplies used for students’ personal use such as paper, writing tools, rulers, scissors, glue sticks, erasers and exercise books. The Vancouver Board of Education offers this service to parents to purchase supplies in bulk at wholesale prices, at a substantial savings. Since teachers sometimes require additional items for the students, you may be asked for a few specific supplies as the year progresses. Note that the fee will be waived if there is a need due to financial hardship. If you would like the fee waived, please contact the principal either in writing or in person.

If you have more than one child at the school, please send the fee to each of their teachers. This will help us in keeping track of accounts - always a challenge at the start of the year! Your help in this is greatly appreciated. Please come prepared, as the office cannot give change.

Code of Conduct

At Tyee this has been summed up as respect: respect for self, respect for others and respect for the environment. A detailed Code of Conduct brochure is sent home at the beginning of every school year. 

Cell Phone

The use of cell phones in the school is not allowed unless under special circumstances. Students may carry them but they should be turned off. Students who wish to phone their parents should check with their teacher. Cell phones with cameras and cameras/videos should not be used unless permission has been received from school staff.

Internet Policy

Students are not allowed to access the Internet without supervision nor should they have an expectation of privacy to their Internet use at school. Parents and students will once again be required to sign an Internet Agreement. Our policy is explained on the reverse side of the agreement, as well as on the web page. We recommend that parents supervise students’ use of the Internet at home. Please be reminded that Facebook users are expected to be 13 years of age and older.

Dressing Appropriately 

Dressing appropriately in school is a way of showing respect for all those who work and learn at this facility. Just as adults dress in one way for the office or work, and in another for the beach or for parties, we hope that you will help students make good choices that prepare them for a day of active engagement in learning. The policy of the Vancouver Board of Education is a follows:

While it is not the function of the school system to impose or prohibit fashions or styles of appearance, the Board of School Trustees (the "Board") recognizes, as a custom of the elementary and secondary schools of the City of Vancouver, that each student shall attend school clean and tidy in person, and shall refrain from wearing hair styles, clothes, footwear, jewelry, and other articles of personal adornment that are, by reason of extreme styling, a distraction to the student himself/herself or his/her fellow students, or that are otherwise adverse to effective teaching in his/her class.

Children have physical education classes at least twice a week. It is essential for their comfort and safety that they wear runners or shoes, shorts and a T-shirt. It is also recommended that students, especially those in primary grades, have a spare change of clothes at school. 

Lost and Found

Veterans of Tyee will attest to the incredible volume of items found regularly in our lost and found. Lots of clothing, packs, lunch kits, lunches, etc. are contributed on an ongoing, daily basis. These items are placed in the school lost and found area in the main hallway and are on display until notice is provided in the newsletter. Any unclaimed items are added to our periodic Clothes Drives, and are then forwarded to a local charity. We recommend that all articles be well labeled with your child’s name, so that we can help with the appropriate return. It is always amazing to note how many quality items are lost and unclaimed. Please take the time to label your child’s belongings and to pass by our Lost and Found periodically. 


“Safety over Convenience”

Take special care around the school and observe the no-parking areas. Cars may not be parked in the alleyway beside the school (no matter how briefly). If you plan to come in, please park on Dumfries St. or along 20th. Allowing students to walk a block or two to the school might help to lessen the congestion. 

Bicycles / Skateboards / Inline Skates / Scooters

Students who come to school on roller blades, skateboards, scooters or bicycles must dismount on school property. Please lock bikes up at the bicycle racks outside of the main school entrance. Students are requested to walk their bicycles on and off the school grounds. Please help us reinforce safety by ensuring your child uses a helmet… whether it seems cool or not! We appreciate that your personal guidelines may differ from ours, but please try to support our attempt to keep your child safe while on school grounds during school hours


To alleviate the disappointment of lost, stolen or broken toys – and to avoid distraction in class – our policy is that toys remain at home, where they can be safe and ready for play after school.


Reporting to Parents

We believe that open and frequent communication is an essential aspect of effective schooling. Teachers are available before and after school to chat with parents. Please respect teaching time and make appointments when a longer conversation is necessary. Also, please note our academic reporting times: 

First Term: Reports sent home on December 7th

Conferences on October 20 and 21.

Second Term: Reports sent home on April 11th

Student Led Conferences on March 8th and 9th

Third Term: Reports sent home on the last day of school, June 29th

No letter grades are assigned at Tyee Montessori. However, final term letter grades are recorded on the computer system. Should a parent wish to see their child’s letter grades for the present school year, a request is made to the child’s teacher. Should a parent be making this request in subsequent years for past letter grades, a request is made at the school office. 


If parents have any concerns or questions regarding practices or activities occurring in their child’s classroom, they are invited to discuss these concerns directly with the classroom teacher. 

Should you have any concerns, here is the protocol to follow:

  1. Phone and book an appointment with the teacher involved.
  2. Talk privately with the teacher (most concerns should be solved at this point).
  3. If not solved or if still dissatisfied, arrange to meet with the principal.
  4. Talk privately with the principal. Is new information available to solve the concern?
  5. If not, principal will meet with the teacher.
  6. Meeting will be held with all parties (only in extreme situations would it be necessary to go beyond this point).
  7. If resolution is not reached, contact the Director of Learning (604-713-4448).
  8. Area Associate will confer with the principal.
  9. Resolution is reached.
  10. If not satisfied with the resolution, parents can proceed with a Section 11 Appeal of School Decision.
  11. Resolution


The Tyee School Newsletter is sent home bi-weekly with your child and e-mailed to families on our Tyee Families e-mail list (should you not be receiving e-mails and wish to be added, please e-mail A concerted effort is being made to e-mail the newsletter to most families and provide a hard copy only to those who request it. The newsletter is also posted on our website, which has more details and photos of many school and class events.


Assemblies are held as needed, usually on a Friday morning. The purpose of these assemblies is to promote school unity, share information and allow children and visiting performers to make presentations. These assemblies are coordinated by staff and led by students. Parents are encouraged to attend assemblies. Assembly dates are posted in the newsletter. 

Messages from Home 

We encourage you, as parents, to telephone the school or write a note to your child’s teacher or principal to share information which is important for your child’s well-being. While teachers are not usually available to come to the telephone during class hours, they are pleased to return your phone call when time allows.

Use of School Telephone

Demand on the use of telephones is high. Student use of the office telephone is restricted to essential use (phoning home due to illness, unforeseen circumstances – not for planning play dates). During class time, if students are required to use the phone, the teacher will give your child permission to use the school phone. We only have one outgoing line that is shared throughout the school. We appreciate your cooperation in planning for after-school activities ahead of time at home. 


Tyee will also be providing student planners for all intermediate students at a cost of $8.00. (some classes prefer to use class blogs). These will be sent home during the first or second week with an accompanying letter. Parents can also communicate through the agenda and have a good sense of project deadlines and student workload. Please regularly review planners/the blog with your child.

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