Pakiri school welcomes Montessori students

Pakiri students learning flax weaving, from left, Indigo Eade, Tilly O’Sullivan, Joseph Cooper and Siri Fox.

Pakiri School’s roll more than doubled at the start of Term 3 following the relocation of the Mahurangi Montessori Primary School.

Mahurangi Montessori Primary was previously located at Matakana School, but has made the switch to Pakiri School following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Pakiri in December last year.

There are about 18 students in the Montessori “learning pathway” supplementing a roll of around 14 students who are taught using conventional methods.

The Montessori students are taught separately in their own classroom, under the guidance of Montessori teacher Kelly Norton.

Pakiri School board chair Howard Cooper says he is excited to have Mahurangi Montessori join the school at Pakiri, saying it gives Pakiri students the opportunity to socialise with a far bigger group of students.

Moreover, it makes it easier for students to transition to college.

“My daughter was at Pakiri and left to go to Mahurangi College. Imagine what it was like to go from a school of just 12, to a class of 30 in a school of 1400,” he says.   

Mr Cooper says for the time being, the Montessori class is being taught in the school library. Ultimately, it’s hoped the Ministry of Education will provide another classroom, but Mr Cooper accepts this may be some years away.

In the meantime, Mahurangi Montessori Primary Trust chair Jacqui Settle says the library in the original schoolhouse has a wonderful atmosphere and a special history.

“Many of the tangata whenua were taught in this building,” she says,

Despite his enthusiasm, Mr Cooper admits bringing in the Montessori school has not been plain sailing.

“It’s a small community and everything that goes on gets questioned, but everyone seems to be on board now,” he says.

Mahurangi Montessori’s Memorandum of Understanding with Pakiri is good for 18 months, at which point the arrangement will be reassessed. 


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