Q: Who is Maria Montessori?
A: Maria Montessori (1870-1952) became the first woman in Italy to take the degree of Doctor of Medicine. After graduating Dr. Montessori was appointed as assistant doctor at the Psychiatric Clinic in the University of Rome where she had the opportunity to work with intellectually handicapped children. It was at this stage that she started to develop her Approach, through her observation and interaction with these children.
After undertaking further studies in education, philosophy and psychology she was invited to direct a day care centre in a housing project in a slum area in San Lorenzo. She had 60 children aged between three and seven. The room was bare and the only equipment was the sensorial apparatus she had used with her intellectually handicapped children.
It was as a result of her observations of these children, her interaction with them and her studies that she began to develop her Approach to Education. Maria Montessori died in the Netherlands in 1952 receiving in her later years honorary degrees and tributes for her work throughout the world.
Q: Is Montessori about pushing children academically?
A: Children want to learn and follow their curiosity. We introduce them to as broad a range of experiences as possible in order to allow them to discover where their talents and interests lie.
Q: Is Montessori about giving children no boundaries?
A: Montessori is about giving children freedom is balanced with responsibilities. For example, children have the freedom to play outside, but are responsible for wearing a hat.
Q: What about other cultures?
A: Our curriculum reflects Te Whāriki – the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum which acknowledges our bicultural heritage and introduces children to basic Te Reo. New Zealand is a multi-cultural society and our school community reflects this. Families are invited to share their own cultures, language, and customs.
Q: Does the Montessori Primary Class meet the state curriculum requirements?
A: State and Montessori curriculum are integrated. Learning requirements and outcomes are met, with the state curriculum underpinning the Montessori curriculum.
Q: What does it cost to attend the Casa?
A: We operate as a parent owned and administered association. While our school does attract government funding, it is not sufficient to provide the staffing levels and resources needed for a Montessori School such as ours. The Casa School fees are set by the school council according to the availability of government funding and the needs of the school. Please contact us for details.
Q: When should I enrol my child, and when can they start?
A: As early as possible. Many of our enrolment are made by parents when their child is well under two years. Children start around three years old (between two years nine months through to three years three months). There is more information on our enrolment process here.