Authentic Montessori methods rewarding
With two pre-schools already in Christchurch, Sancta Maria Montessori is poised to open its third authentic Montesssori pre-school in the early part of 2018.
Owned and operated by husband and wife, Roshan and Jayanthe Rayen, the pre-schools are based upon authentic Montessori teaching methods that focus on the development and education of the whole child.
“The uniqueness of the Sancta Maria Montessori pre-schools is that we also teach the Christian faith in all our pre-schools,” says Roshan.
“That is something that my wife always wanted and there are lots of parents in New Zealand who are also wanting to embrace it. I believe we are the first Montessori school in New Zealand to incorporate the Christian teachings.”
He says that while the Christian faith is a key part of an authentic Montessori school, all families with children aged between two to five are welcomed to the schools.
If a parent requests their child not be included in set prayer times, other teachers will spend time with their child doing alternative activities.
The couple immigrated to New Zealand about ten years ago from Sri Lanka, where Jayanthe had previously obtained a Diploma in Montessori from one of the founding Montessori AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) institutes there.
“New Zealand didn’t recognise the Diploma, so she studied Early Childhood Learning at the New Zealand College of Early Childhood. The two years she had studied in Sri Lanka were cross credited reducing her course time.”
Since completing her course in New Zealand, Jayanthe and Roshan have opened a Sancta Maria Montessori pre-school in Curletts Road and one called Villa Maria Montessori in Papanui.
The new Sancta Maria Montessori pre-school will be opened in Sherborne Street with an expected roll of forty children and at least five Montessori trained teachers.
The purpose built pre-school is now in its final stages of completion and awaiting Council sign-off before Early Childhood licensing is applied for.
“It’s a beautiful school with modern facilities, authentic Montessori equipment, natural light and timber linings on the walls to make it a calm nurturing environment and acoustic ceilings absorbing noise.”
Roshan explains that the pre-schools follow the traditional Montessori philosophy in regard to the child’s bonding time with its mother from birth to two. For that reason the school roll is open to children between two to five years of age.
“From two to about five years the child’s brain is like a sponge. That’s the time that you lay the foundation with words, letters, numbers, and that’s the time the child will never forget for the rest of their life.”
Montessori’s solid foundation well equips the child as they transition from pre-school to primary school.
He says that primary school teachers are frequently complimentary about how advanced the children are when starting school, possessing the ability to read and write and understand basic numeracy.
“When our children go to primary school they are miles ahead already.
“Most of the time they are promoted to a higher grade when entering primary school because they know so much more.”