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New Montessori College Opens On Historic Site

Montessori College Of Auckland
7 March 2006


Montessori College of Auckland, a new Auckland secondary school, has formally opened on a historic site in Parnell. The site is over 100 years old and was formerly occupied by the Queen Victoria School. The opening was marked by a Maori powhiri performed by students of the Montessori College of Auckland and assisted by Ngati Whatua elders Esther Davis and Prince Davis. The tangata whenua of the site is the St Stephen's and Queen Victoria Schools Trusts Board.

Founder Charlene Chan said "It is important that our formal opening pay tribute to and respect the history of the site and the tangata whenua. We are extremely grateful to the Trusts Board for allowing us the opportunity to continue the long tradition of learning on this historic site. We are also grateful to the elders of Ngati Whatua for assisting the students in the powhiri preparations."

The opening ceremony was attended by more than 70 invited guests, including representatives of the Ministry of Education and students from the Montessori unit of Glendowie Primary School. The College has drawn students from all parts of Auckland, including from the North Shore, Waitakere, Karaka, Papakura and Waiheke Island. The College is the first Montessori secondary school in Auckland, and the second in New Zealand. The College teaches the state curriculum using the Montessori philosophy, named after Doctor Maria Montessori, the first Italian woman doctor and three time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. The College is a co-educational composite secondary school.

"The Montessori philosophy focuses on the student as the centre of learning. Students are encouraged to become self starters and independent, critical thinkers. One of the foundations is that all students have an innate desire to learn and that education should nurture this. The College will focus on sustainability and social responsibility, both important Montessori principles" said Charlene Chan.

Charlene Chan said "We are inspired by Anne Frank, a Montessori student before she went into hiding in World War II and began writing what would become The Diary of Anne Frank, one of the most popular books of the 20th century.

The founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were also Montessori students. The Google mantra "do no harm" is drawn directly from Dr Maria Montessori's work."


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