Airdmhor Montessori viewed from the road outdoor play area abc's writing 123's toys


"I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination."

We believe that children are endowed with special powers to absorb the culture in which they live. Our aim is to work in partnership with parents to provide a safe, creative and loving environment, built on the principles of Maria Montessori, where each child is nurtured and their individuality is acknowledged and enhanced. If the adults in this environment value and model respect for others, independence, collaboration, wonder at the world, a sense of joy, and peaceful relationships, these are what young children will absorb. These will be the ropes they will have to adjust their sails to reach their destination.

Elaine Low.

The History of Airdmhor

"Airdmhor holds within its walls, a century of history. Now upgraded and improved, this wonderful home welcomes children through its doors to learn."

On Halswell Road in the suburbs of Hoon Hay is a 2 storey wooden house. This was named "Airdmhor" and was built in 1902 on Edwardian lines for Peter Duncan. Peter Duncan, founder of the implement firm P and D Duncan, arrived in 1862 from Perthshire. In 1880 he built a two storey house on five acres of land leased from the Church of England. This was named "Kinnaird" after a castle near his Brechin birthplace. It adjoined "Airdmhor" to which he later moved.

Imagine our excitement when Peter Duncan's Grandson arrived unannounced at the front door on July 12th and said, "My Grandfather built this house and I was born in that room upstairs 72 years ago last week!" Les Bennetts and his wife Julia had no idea that the family homestead which he lived in until he married was having a new lease of life. He was stunned when he drove past and saw the sign, "Airdmhor Montessori." He called in to find out what was happening and gave us a few history lessons while he was here.

We have been gifted copies of photographs from the early days of Airdmhor. They are displayed throughout the centre and provide a visual learning opportunity to teach the children the history of ‘their’ preschool.

Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School and became interested in education through her work as a doctor, treating what are known today as children with 'special needs'. When she went on to establish schools for the disadvantaged children of working parents in Rome she approached their education as a scientist, using the classroom as her space for observing children and finding ways to help them to achieve their full potential. It soon became apparent that Dr Montessori had developed a highly effective method of teaching which could be used with great success with each and every child.

She began to travel the world, establishing schools, lecturing about her discoveries and writing numerous books and many articles right up to her death in Holland in 1952 at the age of 82. Dr. Montessori left to the world the legacy of a method of education which combines a philosophy of freedom and self-development for children with a practical approach. Her Children's Houses, as she termed them, provided a safe, carefully planned and structured environment for children to work in. She believed that all children want to learn and can absorb knowledge without effort if they are given the right kind of activities at the right time of their development by teachers who are trained to observe carefully and respond to their individual needs.

The philosophy underpinning her work is one of respect and care for all children; the ideal Montessori teacher is gentle, sympathetic and always looking for the best in any child. Dr. Montessori also believed that her children's houses should teach peace, cross-cultural understanding and care of the environment. Although the approach was developed almost a century ago, her ideas are at the forefront of current educational thinking and remarkably well suited to a time when the need for excellent nursery education provision for all children has at last been recognised.

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