Frequently asked questions about Montessori

Q. What is a Montessori learning centre? How is it different from regular childcares?

Montessori is an educational philosophy based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the teacher offers age-appropriate activities to guide the process.

The Montessori curriculum focuses on the holistic development of the child, emphasising cognitive and social development. The environment and specialised equipment are designed to engage the children in the learning process, encouraging and promoting self-management and self-confidence. Through carefully planned indoor and outdoor activites and experiences children will learning the skills of day to day life while exploring and discovering with each of the five senses.

Q. Is the Montessori programme applicable to children under 3 years also?

While the under 3 curriculum is not strictly Montessori, some elements will be included and children between 2-3 years will be introduced to some of the activities and experiences as they transition to the Montessori preschool.

Q. Are you a member of Montessori New Zealand?

Yes - the centres at 431 Great South Road, Papatoetoe and 479B Ormiston Road, Mission Heights are both registered with Montessori New Zealand. For details visit

Q. Do you still follow the principles of the national early childhood education framework, Te Whariki?

The Te Whariki framework underpins the curriculum at our centre and sits comfortably alongside the Montessori philosophy. Te Whariki acknowledges that “different programmes, philosophies, structures and environments will contribute to the distinctive patterns of the whāriki” and notes Montessori as one of the philosophical influencers to this distinctive pattern.

Q. If I bring my child over from a regular childcare – would he be able to fit in the Montessori environment?

Your child will be supported to transition smoothly into the Montessori classroom. The critical elements of a Montessori classroom are respect for the child, individualisation of the programme to the child and the fostering of independence. It provides a carefully prepared environment to meet the needs of each child. Children are attracted to the environment which helps them to settle quickly and effortlessly.

Q. Will my child learn to read and write? Do you focus on education?

The curriculum contains practical life, sensorial, oral and written language, mathematics, geography, history, science, art, music and development of motor skills. In all of area the Montessori presentations build from simple to complex and concrete to abstract. By the time your child is ready for the school they will be beginning to read and write. Your child will also develop an understanding of basic addition and subtraction, and will have gained a basic understanding of geography, history, science etc. As the curriculum is individual and follows the personal interests of children, learning progress is unique to each child.

Visit for more information on the Montessori programme. Or contact us on 0800 479 ORMISTON – we will be delighted to talk you through it.