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New Classroom at Montessori School in Lower Hutt

Media Release
March 14, 2008

Minster of Education to Open New Classroom at Montessori School in Lower Hutt

The Minister of Education, the Honourable Chris Carter will officially open a new Montessori primary classroom at New Zealand’s only state integrated Montessori school on March 20th.

Wa Ora Montessori School opened in 1988 and has a roll of 100 primary students and 75 preschoolers. The opening of an architecturally designed classroom is a huge accomplishment for this small integrated school community.

The principal Jan Gaffney reflects ‘This classroom is two years in the making and is a huge community effort, with the builder, electrician, painter, plumber, data and audio visual people, all parents in the school. We have had to raise the funds for this classroom, and have been very successful in achieving our goals.’

The building is multipurpose and designed to be used also for school community celebrations such as Matariki and Peace Day. It will house the senior children of the school – the 9-12 year olds, and their two teachers.

Montessori communities value ecologically sustainable practices. With this philosophy in mind the building has solar power for the hot water, double glazing for efficiency, passive solar heating through concrete floors and large north facing windows and is made as far as possible, from natural resources.
The principal explains ‘It is a large classroom compared than the standard classroom size. In Montessori schools, children are all working on different things during the day. There is very little whole class teaching, with most students learning in groups of two to four. This allows each child to experience an education that is personalised or their individual needs, abilities and interests. It also means we need more space to allow the children to spread out their work.’’

Esther (11) who has attended Wa Ora Montessori since she was three, says, ‘I am pleased that the Minister of Education will have the opportunity to see how special our school is. Having him come makes the opening of our new classroom more exciting and bigger somehow.

The official opening is on Thursday March 20 at 8.45am.


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