Our Story

Mindset, formerly Cabdev Montessori, was founded in 1971 by Don and Judy Nasmith. For over 40 years, we’ve provided the Montessori community with materials of the highest quality.

Our story began when Don developed an interest in Montessori materials arising from his love and appreciation of fine wood products. With 25 years of experience in the wood business, including a position as president of a lumber company, he knew fine woodwork when he saw it. Judy, formerly a children’s wear designer, also had a natural appreciation for creating things requiring great attention-to-detail.

In June of 1970, Don and Judy received a box of Montessori materials as samples from a factory in Sri Lanka and their passion for Montessori was confirmed. They found the exceptional quality of the wooden materials and the noticeable care that went in to producing them inspiring. Don and Judy then did extensive research into the Montessori method of teaching and, after working with the factory in Sri Lanka to perfect the materials, formed Cabdev Montessori in 1971. That fall, their first shipment of Montessori materials arrived. 

Since that day over 40 years ago, we have continued to provide the Montessori community with exceptionally built Montessori materials and supplies. We opened our online store in 2003 and now carry over 600 products covering Toddler, Casa and Elementary. Our products include premium and economy options as well as curriculum and extension materials covering sensory, language, science and math.

In 2013, Cabdev Montessori became Mindset. Though our name has changed, our passion and commitment for crafting exceptional products is the same as the day we first started. We continue to be a recognized and reputable Canadian-based supplier of Montessori materials throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.


Our Materials

Since our inception, the production techniques used to manufacture the Montessori materials we sell have been continuously improved upon. Our Montessori products comply with the requirements of Dr. Maria Montessori's teaching philosophy and are made with precision and durability in mind. The safety of the children who will use our products is of foremost importance to us and accordingly all materials used in the products we sell, for e.g. beech wood, multi layered birch plywood, paints and lacquers etc. are carefully selected and are of the highest quality.  This process enables us to ensure that every item surpasses the high expectations of our customers.

Cabdev stands behind all of its products and guarantees them to be free of defects in materials and workmanship. We also stand behind our customer. If you are not happy with any of your purchases we will gladly accept them back or replace them to your satisfaction (see returns and refunds).



High Quality Materials

Economy Priced Materials

Painted Finishes

More involved process and higher quality paint equals a better overall finish and appearance.

Limited finishing process to reduce cost.  Most like the appearance but the finish will not last as long as HQ materials.

Precision and Weight

Excellent precision and weight - typically superior to low cost alternative in all areas.

Can be quite good in some cases but generally less attention to finer details based on lowest-cost goal.


Longer lasting based on quality of raw materials and a more involved finishing process.  Looks better longer compared to the lower cost alternative.

Less durable than HQ but certainly value for the money.  Lower quality raw materials and less attention to detail in finishing process offers reduced cost.


Individual nylon bead on copper wire.  Copper wire is a slightly stronger gauge than Economy.  Superior smooth finish.

Individual nylon bead on copper wire. Rougher surface/finish when compared to HQ.  Very good value for the money.  Bead cubes and squares use plastic to hold bars together rather than metal like HQ.

Unpainted Materials

Nicer finishing overall.  Dovetailed corners and clean, high end appearance.

Acceptable quality.  Excellent value for price.  We have not noted durability to be an issue.  Satisfactory finish quality serves purpose for classroom.

Maps and Puzzles

High end appearance.  Most are laser-cut and replacements pieces are available.

Dull finish and thinner backing than HQ.  Cut by laser.  Tighter tolerances can make placing pieces slightly more difficult for young students.  Replacement pieces are not available.

Sandpaper Letters/

Thicker, high end sandpaper used.  This will last much longer and not rub off easily.

Serves function:  thinner sandpaper used and rubs off much more easily than HQ.


There are a number of items where it is worth it to spend the extra money. 

A mix of both lines offers the best solution to getting value and quality.

Know What You are Getting

The wood used, the finishing process, the quality of the finish itself, and the precision are all factors that impact durability and price. Do the math:  you get what you pay for when buying a better quality item; and nobody is really selling premium materials at 70-80% off.  Not all suppliers view quality the same way.

Not all discount priced materials are the same either.  You can find quality differences even amongst the low cost alternatives so the lowest price shouldn’t be the deciding factor with these materials.  A good picture on the web is not a quality item … it’s just a good picture of something that’s never been used.


ETC Materials           

What is printed on plastic?

We wanted a material that was flexible and supple like paper, smooth like matte lamination but not as stiff, easy to work with without adding significant weight. However, the most important characteristic had to be that this new material must have the feel of paper yet it needed to be strong enough to stand up to the daily use of a classroom environment.

Durable & Long lasting

Our plastic material is incredibly durable. It is moisture resistant, and a tough material that won't easily break or bend. Water and fluids can't harm a plastic surface. Dust, dirt and other pollutants will also be just shrugged off by the plastic. Resistance to moisture makes this kind of printing a prime choice for many schools who are near water.

Since the materials are printed on plastic, they are also long lasting. One of their best properties is their ability to remain intact for several years and possibly decades.  Our new printing capabilities means that the PVC printed materials will never lose their quality. If you are laminating our materials through your school, eventually you will notice that the lamination will yellow. Unless you are using a UV laminate the colors will eventually fade. This is not a problem with plastic. The color quality will always be as crisp as the day we first printed on them. It is plastic after all.



Our plastic materials are also economical. If you find that you have to replace laminated materials over and over, year after year, you are just throwing away money. Many school laminators are just not equipped to handle the type of lamination that can last.


15% off of the collection GAM Use Coupon Code: GAM15 Expires April 30, 2016.

10% off all orders Use Coupon Code: BREAK Expires March 31, 2016.