About the Method

Maria MontessoriMontessori Education is based on a lifetime of observation and study on the part of Dr Maria Montessori, who was born in 1870 and died 1952. Dr Montessori was one of the first women in Italy to receive a medical degree. She worked in the fields of psychiatry, education and anthropology. She believed that each child is born with a unique potential to be revealed, rather than as a “blank slate” waiting to be written upon. Her main contributions to the work of those of us raising and educating children are in these areas:

  • Preparing the most natural and life supporting environment for the child
  • Observing the child living freely in this environment
  • Continually adapting the environment in order that the child may fulfill his greatest potential – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Dr Montessori revealed the true nature of how children develop and learn, and sought to meet their needs by providing appropriate activities, opportunities and environments.


She defined Four Stages of Development, which roughly correspond to the current school system.

  • 0 – 6 years – Early Childhood
  • 6 – 12 years - Primary
  • 12 – 18 years – Secondary
  • 18 – 24 years – Tertiary

Each stage has particular characteristics and needs, and the environment, activities and programmes vary accordingly. The children are given freedom to choose from a wide range of specially designed activities which help them to acquire concepts, knowledge and skills. The children develop competence, self esteem, self discipline, and caring, and show a deep interest and enjoyment in learning, socially, mentally and spiritually. Worldwide the Montessori Method has been delivered since early in the twentieth century, in families and private and state schools. In New Zealand there have been Montessori schools since the early 1900′s, with a considerable upsurge of interest since the 1970′s. There are now approximately 120 schools throughout New Zealand involving more than 3,000 children. It is a well tried and proven method applicable to children of all cultures, nationalities and social and economic groups, and can lay the foundation for a happy, fruitful and stable society.

About the Authors

Binda GoldsbroughBinda Goldsbrough (1912 – 2008), the Founder of Aperfield Montessori Trust, was a very experienced teacher who trained under Dr Maria Montessori. Her upbringing was very much a Montessori one, her parents being inspired by Dr Montessori’s book, “The Montessori Method” which was published in English in the year which she was born. They lived in Biggin Hill, Kent; England situated in what had been the Manor of Aperfield – hence the name of the diploma! Binda and her two brothers practised Practical Life Activities in the house and the garden, and with their mother explored the rural environment, being encouraged to use all their senses.

Binda trained at the Studio House Montessori Training College, (run by Claude Claremont) at Hampstead, and at Dr Montessori’s International Course in 1931, gaining a Montessori Diploma for children 1 ½ to 12 years, and later at St Gabriel’s Training College, London to obtain a State Primary Certificate. Binda taught in a variety of state and private schools for children from 0 to 12 years in England and New Zealand, and travelled widely (U.S.A., Canada, Holland, Australia), visiting schools and was heavily involved in student training including Assistant Demonstrator at two of Dr Montessori’s International Courses in London.

In 1975 she was awarded an M.B.E. for work with children.

Bobbie KempthorneRoberta Kempthorne was a past Educational Coordinator for the Aperfield Montessori Trust. She held a Diploma of Early Childhood Education, Aperfield Montessori Diploma in Early Childhood Education and taught in Montessori preschools.

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