Montessori school growing

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Montessori students, from left, Evelyn Williamson, 6, Tara Maxwell, 6, Lily Bethwaite, 6, and Flynn Maxwell, 6.

By CLOE WILLETTS

Six months after opening, Kapiti's first Montessori primary school classroom has doubled in size.

Kapiti Primary School's Montessori classroom, which opened in October last year, has grown from 19 to 27 students in three terms.

To cater to the number of enrolments, a wall was knocked down between the class and a spare room, allowing for extended learning space.

Montessori teacher Liz Williamson said students had adapted well to the classroom and its unique style of learning, derived from Dr Maria Montessori.

The style of education, introduced to New Zealand in 1912, puts importance on the interests of the child and has a strong focus on self-discovery.

Like the rest of the school, the Montessori classroom is run as multi-level.

"Children's learning is going to be driven when they have more control over it, when they're choosing how they do it, and we're fanning their natural curiosity" Ms Williamson said.

Some of the highlights so far, she said, had been group projects selected as a result of the children's own enquiries.

"For example, some were investigating the needs of a dog and they went to interview a vet, and others were interested in the design process of large buildings, so they went to speak with an architect. Once they've learnt about their chosen topic, they present their work to the rest of the class."

Principal Martin Hett said the Montessori classroom corresponded with the school's ethos of being "collaborative and interest driven".

He invited people to attend a parent evening meeting to discuss the Montessori philosophy on Thursday, June 22, from 7pm.

"Parents wanted the Montessori room on the coast, and it's been a really good initiative. "Now we're at the stage where we can say we're here to stay."

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