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About Us

Our history


Julia Simon founded Alive Montessori in 2001, and she remains very much the head and hands of the school today. She established the school as a means of delivering the Montessori principles, prime among them being the provision of a family-like atmosphere in which to learn. Families who enroll here are drawn to the small size of the school, allowing students to gain a heightened sense of their place within the life of the school. Instruction is personal, with pacing cues taken from the individual students, and a close attention to the talents, perspectives, and interests that they bring with them to the school each day. Students are encouraged to have a voice, and to use it in their daily lives. Numeracy and literacy are important, though passion is, too, something that Simon has rightly built the Alive program around. 

Alive Montessori Preschool

Julia Simon

Owner and Principal

Julia Simon was born in Szeged, Hungary, a small town near Budapest. No doubt encouraged by parents who were both professional educators, her interest in education was cultivated at an early age.

Her father was a renowned Hungarian philosopher, historian and linguist who taught at the college level. (Before his college career, he taught high school and had great success teaching gifted students for academic competitions and university entrance.)

Julia’s mother was a schoolteacher who later became the principal of a large inner-city elementary school. By focusing on art, she was able to engage the many disadvantaged children under her charge and turn their education and lives around. Julia’s early interests included athletics (she was an accomplished gymnast and swimmer),dance, art, music, writing and, of course, teaching. After High School, she attended Teachers’ College where she graduated with an Elementary School Teachers Certificate. She also earned diplomas as a Librarian and Swimming Instructor.

During her tenure as a teacher in Hungary, she came to deplore the heavy state control over education under the Communist government then in power. It was this lack of intellectual freedom that prompted her to seek a new life in the West, and, after a brief residence in Germany, she moved to Canada in 1987.

Having to learn a completely new language, Julia gained a unique perspective on the

difficulties in learning how to read and write English. (Unlike Hungarian, the spelling patterns in English are so varied that they form a singular challenge in learning to read and write.) With her own experience as a backdrop, and knowing that reading was the most important ability in all subsequent learning, Julia vowed that she would find and use the best methods for teaching children how to read and write.

Subsequently, she earned her Early Childhood Education Diploma from George Brown College in Toronto in 1990. It was shortly after this that Julia set up her first pre-school. After a divorce and with no other financial support, she was forced to develop a strong work ethic in order to raise her three children as a single mother. This meant working very long hours at additional jobs on top of her demanding work at the school.

With several years experience in teaching young children behind her, Julia immediately recognized the potential benefits to the children when she came upon the Montessori method of teaching. After a year studying, she earned her Montessori Pre-School Diploma in 1995 from the International Montessori Training Centre in London, England. In 2001, Julia started her first full-fledged Montessori school when she opened the Montessori Pre-School Academy in north-west Toronto. Two years later, with parents of pre-school children about to enter the public school system clamoring for a better education for their children, she added an Elementary school program.

In 2011, she was forced to move her established school when the Toronto District School Board did not renew her lease. It was at this time that Julia renamed the school as Alive Montessori & Private School, which is now operating at a more central location in the Forest Hill United Church at 2 Wembley Road, one short block north of the Bathurst and Eglinton intersection.

By making learning fun, and by giving the basic subjects of reading, writing and arithmetic the prominence they deserve, Julia’s students can excel in their education and establish a strong foundation for their future careers.



Meet our wonderful team

Ms. Gaya

Supervisor & Events Coordinator

Ms. Hamna

Preschool Teacher



Ms. Cristina

Preschool Teacher


Ms. Rose

Preschool Teacher


Communication with teachers

Communication with teachers is through one of the following ways:


  • HiMama” application, message directly
  • In- person during drop off or pick up time


We are confident that by having honest, respectful communication we will be able to achieve meaningful connections with our families.


At Alive Montessori School, we work hard to ensure that each child has individual attention and that their learning needs are met. Our parents are a huge part of this process which is why our teachers work so hard to ensure that everyone is aligned and working together to support our students every step of the way.


Here are some guidelines for safe communication:


  • Be Considerate. Please do not overwhelm your teachers with daily messages as their main priority is to make sure the children are well looked after.
  • Be Patient. Your teachers have many students and they will try their best to answer right away. If your issue has not been addressed within 1 business day, let the principal know right away.
  • Be positive. Please be respectful and conscious when writing messages to your teachers. Same applies vice versa.
  • Any issues / concerns MUST be sent to alivemontessori@gmail.com first to the school principal.
  • Open Door Policy - Please call the school (416) 602- 1151 or make an appointment with you Principal to resolve any arising concerns. An open-door policy helps increase collaboration between administrators, teachers, and parents, as well as promote mutual trust and respect.
  • Be Proactive. Don't wait for problems to arise, let your teacher know if you have any questions right away to avoid any issues.