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Opportuity To Learn About Montessori Education

Opportuity To Learn About Montessori Education

*Media Release Wa Ora Montessori School, Lower Hutt August 30, 2010*

People visiting Westfield Queensgate Mall in Lower Hutt next week will have a unique opportunity to learn more about Montessori education. Children from Wa Ora Montessori School will take their classroom to the mall from Monday 6 September until Friday 10 September.

It will be the first time a Montessori classroom will be placed in a public location in New Zealand. The idea for the classroom came from the Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915, where a glass-walled Montessori classroom created by founder Dr Maria Montessori, was one of the major attractions for thousands of visitors. The mall classroom at Westfield Queensgate will include children from three to 12 years old. The three, four and five year olds will work under the guidance of their teacher, Cathy Wilson, with activities taken from a Montessori classroom. Cathy expects the children will become focused on their chosen work, once they get used to being in a different environment. ‘It will be very different for the children to be in a public place, under the gaze of the shoppers and visitors to Queensgate. However Montessori activities are designed to engage and our children are used to becoming deeply focused on their chosen activity*.’* says Cathy.

Older primary-aged children will interact with onlookers and explain how they work in their Montessori classroom. They will demonstrate specially designed Montessori materials and explain what they are learning.

The children will be in the mall classroom from 10am-12.30pm and 1-2.30pm from Monday 6 September to Friday 10 September.

Wa Ora Montessori School was established in 1988. It has a playgroup for children under three, three preschool classes for three-to-six year olds and four primary classes for six-to-12 year olds. It is the only state-integrated Montessori primary school in New Zealand. The school recently expanded and has students up to Year 10, with plans to offer Montessori education to the end of high school. The school is the largest Montessori school in the country with a capacity of 250 and currently is only taking enrolments for under-three year olds in the playgroup and three year olds in the preschool.

Nearly 4000 New Zealand families choose Montessori education for their children. There are currently 82 Montessori early childhood centres, 27 Montessori primary classes and one high school programme in New Zealand.

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