Our Montessori Mini Olympics

 “Preventing conflicts is the work of politics: establishing peace is the work of education.”

Montessori  (1992) in Education and Peace

With the Olympics well under way in Rio, there was plenty of discussion about what the tamariki had been watching on TV.  Ada said she watched the “acrobats” and “a girl lost her balance.”  Julius loved to share what he had been watching each day and was particularly taken by the Opening Ceremony and the rowing.

As you can imagine, there was great excitement leading up to our own Montessori Mini Olympics. There was still a week to go and I was already being asked “How many sleeps until we go on the bus?”

As we practiced our songs, the New Zealand National Anthem and Tūtira Mai, I could see this only added to the excitement.  It was great to hear that your tamariki were also sharing their joy and love for these songs with you at home.

On the day, even the rain did not stop the games from commencing.  On our way to the Stadium, the bus stopped to pick up all the tamariki, kaiako and helpers from Kauri Montessori.  Stoke Montessori whānau were already waiting for our arrival.


When we arrived, we all gathered together in our continents to march into the stadium behind the Olympic banner.

Our tamariki were brightly dressed according to their continent group.

Brown – Australasia,

Pink – South America,

Orange – North America,

Red – Europe,

Yellow – Asia,

Green – Africa.

Once seated, we sang the New Zealand National Anthem.

It was then time for the torch bearers to run the circuit. When the torch was handed to Jenny, the co-ordinator from Sports Tasman who helped organise the event, the games were declared open.

Torch Bearing

Tamariki remained in their continent groups to move around the eight event stations. At the station, activities were designed to raise heart rates and improve motor skills in a fun and non-threatening way. The children crawled through tunnels, balanced balloons on rackets and weaved through obstacle courses.

It was now time for the closing ceremony, where we all performed Tūtira Mai with the actions.  The games were then declared closed until 2020

Our tamariki were awarded well deserved medals at the medal ceremony. There was no hiding the wonderful smiles.


 “What did you enjoy about today?”

Paloma replied….”getting the medal” Victoria replied the “bus”.

This event was a wonderful platform to start to explore geography interests and find out more about places and cultures near to and far from NZ.  As we move toward International Peace Day on 21 September 2016 we are reminded of the need to embrace the spirit of togetherness and camaraderie within our communities.  To teach the youngest members of our community to be peaceful and to be kind.

We are lucky to have a diverse international community within our Montessori schools.  When our tamariki and their whaanau are able to share their cultural knowledge and learn about others, they are gaining an understanding that people from different ways of life also have many things in common.  They are learning acceptance of others

I am sure your tamariki will have even more stories to share. Thank you to all the parents who came along and supported this event.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

By Theresa Byrman  and Jane Murray

Working Together at Montessori

“There is among the children an evident sense of community. This rests on the noblest feelings and creates unity in the group.”

– Dr Montessori

Group activites are also not often expected to be seen in Montessori settings and yet we see them every day. A week or two ago we worked together to preserve persimmons when Nissa was gifted a large bag of them. We’ll stir the persimmon paste through our yoghurt for lunch each week over the winter months. Every week we make bread together, kanikani / dance together and share kai together.


Tamariki work together to solve a challenging puzzle, provide help to a younger friend, and play sensorial games. However your tamariki also love to work alongside each other or individually, getting lost in their own work. I think we all love to do this….

Community is what it is all about though and it’s why all but the youngest in our rõpû / group come five days. For not only does the community grow within the classroom, whanau bind together outside. It’s unique to Montessori and, for me, it’s what makes us pretty special.

By Susan Watson

Planting our very own Plum Tree

Today the children helped to plant a bare root stock Omega Plum tree out in our back field.  Henry, our handyman, helped us to dig the hole.  Our old plum tree hasn’t been fruiting so well so Nissa bought us a new one to share with the Bambino class – when it’s up and running.


“I love plums because they are so sweet” said one of the girls in our class. The tamariki helped to dig the hole then they put lots of compost into the hole to feed the roots of the tree.  They helped to stamp down the earth after it was planted and gathered some leaves to put over the freshly dug soil.  We even found a couple of worms which went back into the hole to nuture our new tree. 

Our tamariki are learning about the cycle of food production.  Although we used bought compost to plant the tree, we do make our own.  Some of our older children will remember picking the plums from our old tree.  It’s an investment for the future to plant a tree.  Maybe some of these children’s younger siblings will get to enjoy the fruits of their labour!  Pun intended!!

There are always opportunities to get involved with gardening at Kauri.  We harvest vegetables to use in our lunches, weed and mulch.  In our back garden at the moment, mustard, lupins and grains are all sprouting at the moment.

By Jane Murray.

Matariki at Montessori

Waiti, waita, waipuna-rangi, tupu-a-nuku, tupu-a-rangi, ururangi me Matariki

These are the names of the stars in the Matariki cluster and they have kept our attention for some time. With art activities, exploration of our solar system and the constellations within it.


We were super excited to have over sixty whanau members join in with this uniquely New Zealand festival. Shortly before six everyone started to appear out of the dark; some bubbly and excited others still shrouded in sleep. Max was barely roused from sleep as his mum lifted him from his bed still encased in a toasty warm sleeping bag.

One by one the lanterns were lit in the crisp winter air.

Once everyone had arrived we got underway with ngã waiata me ngā kupu whakatau / songs and words of welcome. Thanks so much to Paloma’s siblings Tiaki and Amelie for sharing their reo / language, connecting us all with this time and place . 

 To hear the excited laughter and chatter from the rõpû was such a delight and it highlights the value of holding these extra-curricular activities at Montessori. For me there is something very special about being out under the stars sharing the experience as a community.

That same sense of community spilled over into parakuihi / breakfast. No sooner had we stepped into the whare and people were asking me what they could do to help; Holger, Craig and Priti jumped into the kitchen with several others quickly following suit. The same happened at the end of the morning with kitchen angels rapidly dispensing with the dishes.


After parakuihi / breakfast the impromptu dancing was the highlight for several tamariki who declared “it was the best dancing ever!”

As I left at the end of my day on Friday I spotted a (non-Montessori) mum over by the whetu we had created on the path. I overheard her talking to her tamariki “they must be Matariki stars”, “can we make some too” they asked her. And so the story continues…..


By Susan Watson

Multicultural Day at Nelson Montessori


Preparation for any event at Montessori always begins several weeks prior, and in this case the mention of Multi-Cultural Day resulted in an explosion of activity in the geography area. The flag books were in constant use and at times a queue formed for some of the puzzle maps!

The children’s awareness of where their friend’s families had connections soon became audible. “I want to do the flag of Greece because that’s where Leo comes from,” declared one child! “Connor’s from Samoa,” said another.

Yesterday Kirsa and the children were delighted to welcome a friend of Max’s, Christiane, visiting from Germany. She brought along some gorgeous foliage and shared her skills and mõhiotanga/knowledge on making German wreaths. It poured with rain throughout but this in no way dampened the children’s enjoyment of the experience. The wreaths were then used to decorate the classrooms for today. Tênã koe Christiane, the children were delighted with their creations.

Wreath making. jpeg


This morning your tamariki arrived with an air of anticipation and announcements of who was coming for lunch. Connor proudly showed his necklace from Samoa, Rose had her “sparkly” clothes of India and Rune was delighted with his ‘Sweden’ t-shirt with the pirate on it.

Boy in Sweden T Shirt

Throughout the morning the weather played havoc with our decision to have the celebration outside. A sudden down-pour decided it for Shiranga (who was the lead person on this celebration) and we moved everything inside.

As each person arrived the collection of shoes outside the classroom grew and we learnt more about each other. Amongst our community are whanau from the United States, Sweden, France, Australia, Germany, Mexico, England, Wales, Netherlands, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Greece, China and of course Aotearoa / New Zealand.

crowd photo

Whanaungatanga / relationship building brings an increased understanding and appreciation of each other. Kirsa shared a delightful metaphor for a rich multi-cultural community as a ‘fruit salad’. While it is one dish it is comprised of many different fruits, each visible and wonderful in it’s own right.

Taking time to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity in our community is part of our Montessori philosophy. Tolerance and respect with an awareness that every individual is valued is woven through everything we do, this was very evident today. With such a large community in a relatively small space the virtues that underpinned the day played out with such grace and good humour.

At one point I stood to the side taking it all in and in amongst the laughter and hurly burly of the classroom, were several children quietly going about their work. Emptying scraps into the compost bin, placing dishes on the bench and their place mats in the washing basket. I also saw one young friend offering a glass of water to an adult and another child bring a tissue to someone who had hurt themselves. Peace in the making.

We all hope that you enjoyed the celebration as much as we did.

“Peace is what every human being is craving for, and it can be brought about by humanity through the child.”- Dr. Maria Montessori

by Susan Watson

The Great Vegetable Harvest

children in field

“Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi”

With your basket and my basket the people will live

This whakatauki refers to co-operation and the combination of resources in support of community.

At the beginning of Term 1 our eldest 13 tamariki/children and whānau/family went to a local farm, 185 Hope, to harvest tomatoes and capsicums. This is the second year we have planned this expedition and it is now permanently on our annual calendar.

While our aim is to provide ngā tamariki with a view of food production on a scale that extends beyond our school and home gardens, we also hope to engage our community in a picking and preservation process that supports our sustainability goals by engaging in an activity that ultimately feeds us over the winter. We hope to instill a lifelong value of viewing our selves as kaitiaki/guardians and protectors of Earth’s resources. Our objective is to make visible to the children the ability we have collectively to contribute to our community. And…it is fun!

After congregating, we set out in rōpū iti/small groups into the fields behind the wharau/shed to harvest tomato and capsicum. The abundance of food on the plants astounded me. We began picking and a rhythm developed, occasionally a head would pop up, look around and then back to our task. After about half an hour, we washed hands, had a drink and enjoyed a refreshing slice of watermelon before heading off to Berrylands for an ice cream and a little relaxation.


The next day we washed and counted and divided tomatoes into smaller portions for freezing for our soup. Inside, sorting our ingredients, chopping tomatoes and capsicum, cutting basil and onions was a sensorial extravaganza and fostered whanaungatanga/collective experiences!


All of these learning experiences are just part of ‘living’ in our environment as a community member engaging in purposeful activities from which we all benefit.



This……………………………………………………… to this!!! Nearly 40 litres of pasta sauce!!

girl sticking label

Kia ora mo o awhina koutou! Thanks everyone for your help and support.

We look forward to our trip next year!

by Kirsa Rhone

Purple Cake Day Fundraising Bikeathon

“The child is capable of developing and giving us tangible proof of the possibility of a better humanity… We have seen children totally change as they acquire a love for things and as their sense of order, discipline, and self-control develops within them…. The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.” (Montessori, Education and Peace)

Dr. Montessori proposed that education has a higher purpose than simply imparting knowledge and facts. Through education, children gain a respect for the interdependence of all living things and develop holistically so that they can act responsibly to themselves and toward others.

child puttting arm around other child-2
Vertical grouping in Montessori classrooms fosters a community spirit as older children act as role models for their younger peers.

Purple Cake Day is a wonderful opportunity for children to fundraise for other children who live in countries like Nepal, Kenya, and Haiti. As a Montessori Preschool, we felt Purple Cake Day was a meaningful opportunity for our children to experience first-hand how their actions could make a difference to the lives of other children.

To fundraise for Purple Cake Day, we had an action packed week with various events including art activities, stories, and lots of discussion about children from different cultures.

Friday arrived and the banners were put up, the flags were flying. It was Purple Cake Day Montessori Bikeathon. What a great start to the day!  Jack (Billie’s dad) kindly organised the traffic diversion for the event so that we could have the freedom to bike around the circuit.  We were also lucky to nab him for a few other wee jobs.

parent help
Thanks Jack!

All of the tamariki arrived, full of enthusiasm and keen to share stories about what their bikes/scooters looked like.  Helmets were brought into Montessori where a safety briefing was given, particularly outlining that this was not a race and finishing the circuit safely was the top priority.

And then they were off!

banners up

on your marks

Theyre off

kids on bikes

A total of 16 laps were achieved by some of the tamariki, with others participating at their own level.  The final fundraising tally was $595.55 – great effort everyone!

Click here for more inspiring Purple Cake Day adventures.

By Kaylene Simmiss