Our Philosophy


Our vision is to create a vibrant learning community that supports whānau to foster the child’s independence and natural development.


Tōtara Hill Montessori is set in a private, rural garden amongst an ancient stand of Tōtara Trees and these forest giants reflect the strength of the owners, kaiako (teachers), whānau (family), and tamariki (children) that make up the Tōtara Hill Montessori Community.

The community is guided by a vision of the development of the whole child – cognitive, social, emotional, physical and spiritual, while valuing the human spirit of each tamariki in their journey to receive a rich Montessori education.


The Matakana region has many stunning geographical features, and the Tōtara Hill Montessori community particularly value and respect the natural environment and appreciate that it enriches and develops tamariki holistically.

The carefully prepared Montessori environment is purposefully set out as a place of learning in which the tamariki are able to explore, discover, and select their own work.


The environment is a living community where tamariki learn to care for plants, animals, and each other. The calm and nurturing nature of the environment promotes learning and independence that empowers the tamariki and encourages their love of learning.


Te Whāriki and the Montessori Philosophy blend together seamlessly at Tōtara Hill. Kaiako carefully demonstrate the qualities of kindness and caring that whānau value. They nurture and inspire human potential, lead tamariki to ask questions, think independently, and to explore the environment using stories and symbols of their own and other cultures. Biculturalism is naturally incorporated in the daily programme, with tikanga Māori and Te reo Māori used daily by the tamariki and kaiako. The kaiako are respectful and constantly seeking to strengthen their commitment to Te Titiri o Waitangi. The cultural identities of all whānau are honoured and celebrated by kaiako, whānau and tamariki. Learning how to work together with others in a peaceful and caring community is seen as important for the social cohesion of the Tōtara Hill Montessori community.


Tōtara trees naturally stand strong together in fertile ground. Tōtara Hill Montessori provides a safe place where kindness, caring, honesty and consideration of others are the affirming values that give strength to the community. The coming together as one, gives strength to meet the developing needs of all tamariki. Tōtara Hill Montessori is a community that aims to develop each child’s self-worth, confidence, independence and self-esteem so that they can take their place in their local community, the wider community and the world.


"How often is the soul of man-especially that of the child-deprived because one does not put him in contact with nature".


Maria Montessori




"The environment itself will teach the child, if every error he makes is manifest to him, without the intervention of a parent or teacher, who should remain a quiet observer of all that happens."

Maria Montessori