The Montessori Difference - inspiring creative minds with a love of learning


The Castlecrag Montessori School follows the educational philosophy of Dr Maria Montessori. Montessori based her approach on the belief that real learning occurs through the spontaneous activity of children in a co-operative, non-competitive environment, which promotes a joy of learning and the development of self-disciplined, self-motivated independent learners. The Montessori approach to education is child centred and is based on mutual regard and cooperation; the child is treated with the same respect that adults would show to another adult. Children are appreciated as individuals and nurtured in an atmosphere of acceptance and trust.

The Montessori classroom is a carefully prepared environment that facilitates self-learning; where activities performed at an early age are an indirect preparation for a later skill. 

The Director does not teach in the traditional sense, but observes and guides children’s progress, helping them to help themselves. Montessori education fosters independence and responsibility.

Montessori classes operate in three year ‘cycles’; the child attends the same Montessori classroom for a full three years. Children experience a positive sense of community, develop responsibility for themselves, and respect for others. 

The Montessori program is carefully planned and sequenced over the three year period to give children a solid foundation for future learning. Attendance for the full three years supports the child in becoming a confident and socially aware individual. Extended Day is the final year of the Montessori program. Children are provided with additional program extensions in numeracy and literacy, both individually and in small groups, in addition to group projects on Culture (geography, science, history, zoology and botany), and excursions. Older more experienced children take on the role of peer mentors, reinforcing their own skills, and experiencing the responsibilities of leadership through helping others. Commitment to the three year cycle is therefore essential.



One hundred years ago, Dr Maria Montessori, an inspirational educator, developed a unique method of education, based on research into childhood learning.

The Montessori approach fosters children's love of learning and encourages independence by providing an environment of activities and materials which children use at their own pace. This builds self-confidence, inner discipline, a sense of self-worth and instils positive social behaviour. The approach forms the basis for lifelong learning.

In today's world it is more important than ever that children become motivated individuals able to develop to their full potential. Montessori takes into account the whole child and his place in the community, hence its relevance for today and the future.

The 3 to 6 year old child is undergoing a process of self-construction. The application of the Montessori philosophy and the specifically designed Montessori equipment aids the child's ability to absorb knowledge and continue this path of self-construction.

When Dr. Montessori spoke of 'education for life' she meant preparing a child for the myriad experiences he or she will encounter, both in and outside of school, which of course includes moving from a Montessori primary classroom into high school.

A child who’s been in a Montessori classroom since age 3 has had many years of daily practise in working cooperatively; negotiation with peers; being a leader or a follower, depending on the requirements of the situation; and learning how to learn. Self-reliance and dependability have had the maximum potential to develop as this child made decisions about what to work on, and paced him or herself with the activity. All of these are invaluable skills that will serve the child in high school, higher education, and the workplace.

The Montessori emphasis is on learning for its own sake, for developing knowledge and awareness of the wonderful world around us. It awakens the natural human desire to know and understand. Children aren’t encouraged to compete, or to work simply to achieve a reward or avoid a consequence. Instead, the child has an opportunity to develop internal motivation, another valuable attribute for high school and the years beyond.

Montessori graduates typically say they have been well prepared academically, and have the ability to organise themselves and work independently.