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Montessori at KPS

As part of the wider school, KPS has a Montessori Strand. The curriculum is aligned with the New Zealand Curriculum and follows the KPS local curriculum through a Montessori lens. The principles of Montessori are maintained, including providing a learning community of mixed ages, enabling a child to exercise choice and freedom to follow their interests productively, encouraging freedom with limits, developing intrinsic motivation, teaching the whole child and providing an ordered environment through which students can develop an ordered understanding of the universe.

All staff are trained as Montessori teachers and teacher assistants. This is a priority at KPS as the Montessori method incorporates the use of materials to ensure children understand ideas at a conceptual level through hands-on experience. The timetable operating in this area of the school is different to allow for the three-hour work cycle. During this three-hour period, students are involved in lessons, group investigations and independent exploration. Students develop metacognitive skills through having choices around some of their learning, and time to reflect on what they have gained and what their next priorities are.


Over the 8 years in the programme, students will interact with the Big Ideas of the KPS curriculum, within the context of the Montessori curriculum. The KPS values are taught as part of grace and courtesy, and the pedagogies and practices for effective teaching at KPS are maintained in the Montessori environment. Students in the Montessori strand are involved with all the other aspects of the wider school programme, such as assemblies, elective programmes, school-wide events, technology and student council.

For more information on the Montessori philosophy, click on one of the following links:

Montessori Education in Aotearoa

Grace and Courtesy

Cosmic Education

Montessori for Everyone

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the structure of the day?
    At 9am children meet briefly with their class to share any notices for the day. The Work Cycle begins and runs until 12 o’clock. At 12 o’clock the classes meet for circle time to discuss what has been achieved during the work cycle. Before lunch there is time for Te Ra and Te Marama to get together to share learning, address any issues or have a lesson. Children then have lunch from 12.40-1.40. The afternoon programme over the week involves visits to the library, participation in whole school activities, P.E. and sports, and whole class lessons.
  • What is the work cycle?
    The work cycle in a Montessori classroom centres around the premise that children work best when there are minimal distractions and that the environment is setup to enable students to engage in their learning. Over the three hours children choose learning tasks and are also involved in lessons with the teacher. The prolonged period of time enables students to develop their concentration span as well as learn to self regulate, getting morning tea when they are ready for it, taking a fitness break or changing tasks as they need to. The teacher's’ role is to support and guide children in managing their learning, to take lessons and to observe children’s learning.
  • What is circle time?
    At the end of the work cycle each class meets together for circle time. This is an opportunity to reflect on the productivity of the work cycle and to plan for tasks that need to be tackled or further extended the following day. This is a chance for teachers to check that children are covering a range of curriculum areas during the week.
  • Do children have homework?
    The younger children are able to use a book bag and take home books from their book boxes. Children reading at the early levels will also be given lists of high frequency words to practise reading at home. From time to time there may be an area of learning that needs further development at home but tasks are not set regularly as part of homework. However, it is expected that all our children are involved in learning at home, for example cooking, being involved in making shopping lists and budgeting, caring for pets etc. The acquisition of skills and the development of the work ethic gained through contributing to the home is important within the Montessori philosophy.
  • What are the components of the Montessori Curriculum?
    The main areas of the Montessori Curriculum are Language, Mathematics, Geometry, Sciences (Geography, HIstory, Science). P.E. and the Arts are supporting curriculum areas. The curriculum is presented so that children can understand the interconnectedness of the various disciplines and bodies of knowledge. These curriculum areas fit comfortably alongside the New Zealand Curriculum.
  • What is Practical Life?
    In all Montessori classrooms, including preschool classes, Practical Life activities are included as part of children’s learning. In the younger years activities to support the mastery of pouring liquid and developing a strong pincer grip are included. At primary level children are often involved in cooking, gardening and handcrafts. In Ranginui all children are involved in morning tea preparation over the term. There are a range of Practical Life activities and children are withdrawn in groups for these lessons. Children are also responsible for caring for and maintaining the classroom environment and the materials and this is an important aspect of Practical Life in a Montessori community.
  • How are the Montessori materials organised?
    Materials are carefully presented in an organised and structured manner, collected together on shelves according to their curriculum area; Mathematics, Geometry, Language, and the sciences (The Montessori Curriculum includes History, Geography and the Sciences). In this way the order of the classroom reflects both the wholism and the order of the universe that Maria Montessori sought for children. Materials are always put back in the same place so that everyone in the room can find them, and they are returned so that the activity is ready for the next user to work on.
  • How much freedom do children have in the Montessori classroom?
    Maria Montessori believed that children should have freedom within limits. “To let the child do as he likes when he has not yet developed any powers of control is to betray the idea of freedom.” (The Absorbent Mind xxx). In a Montessori classroom children have many freedoms: the freedom to choose where to work, the freedom to choose some of the content and materials for learning, the freedom to choose to work independently or collaboratively and the freedom to rehearse new learning for as long as it holds their concentration. The purpose of this freedom is to allow the child to develop their own inner discipline and become independent. In the Montessori classroom both the students and the teachers in the room must be aware of what the limits are for everyone, e.g., we are always respectful and demonstrate manaakitanga towards others and the environment. In some cases these limits apply to all.
  • What does parent involvement in the classroom look like?
    Whanau are actively involved in contributing to the life of the classroom and wider community. A Trust, made up of parents, (The Kapiti Montessori Trust) oversees the collection of donations and purchasing of materials. Families are rostered to do the laundry for the classroom, parents are invited to take groups for Practical Life activities and also attend trips within the immediate and wider community.
  • How is Ranginui integrated as part of the school?
    The Ranginui learning spaces are seen as part of the wider school. Te Ra and Te Marama are classrooms within Kāpiti Primary school and join in many events, alongside the other classes. These include sporting activities and competitions, assemblies, camps and Kapa Haka.
  • How is assessment and reporting conducted?
    The same assessments and reporting procedures are carried out with students in both our Montessori and Original Strands. Whanau are welcome to also meet with teachers during the school term to discuss their child’s progress through appointment.
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