We are currently accepting applications for younger tamariki turning 3 after April 2025.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Montessori suits all children but it ​may not suit all families.​ ​​It is a very different way of schooling than most of today’s parents experienced and this is why we require each family ​to attend our Information evening and observe in the classes​, before making their decision if a Montessori ​education is what they want for their child.

  • Our Preschool programme is Monday to Friday, and all children attend five days per week which ensures a consistent community and routine for tamariki. You have the option to enrol your child for 1pm or 3pm finishes, or a combination of the two.
  • When your child turns five it is expected that they will attend 8.45am to 3pm five days a week.

When your child starts in a Preschool classroom at Wā Ora, we ask that he/she is out of nappies and toilet trained. Having said that, we understand that your child may still have accidents as they become familiar with the new community. We expect your child should be well underway with the process of toilet ‘learning’. This means that your child should be familiar with the toilet and bathroom areas as well as routines like flushing the toilet and washing their hands after use. We would also expect that your child is wearing cloth undies (no nappies) all day at home and at school. Your child should have practice with (but not necessarily be expert at) taking off wet clothes themselves and putting dry clothes on themselves.

Learning stories are shared with Preschool whānau twice a term using an online website called Educa. These provide a narrative, and photos, and are linked to Montessori lessons and Te Whāriki – the New Zealand early childhood curriculum.

Whānau/kaiako hui (parent/teacher meetings) are held twice a year for all sectors of the school and Area School students receive school reports twice a year.

Teachers email a fortnightly update to let whānau know what is happening in their classroom. This is a general update, not specific to one child.

Additionally, teachers are happy to make appointments to meet whānau at other times.

Yes, we operate before school care from 8am and after school care until 6pm, for Preschool and Primary-aged children.

Wā Ora’s Preschool holiday programme is for our preschool tamariki only. It runs in each of the term breaks, but not during the summer holidays when school is closed. After school care is available from 3 pm to 5 pm during these times.

A young person leaving Wā Ora’s High School programme has the opportunity to have NCEA and University Entrance and be able to attend the university of their choice.

Our leavers attend university or polytechnic, start businesses, enter the workforce and travel or take gap years – like at other schools

While parent help is not used in the Wā Ora classroom, there are many ways that a parent can be a part of the community. Each class has a parent representative who helps with communication between teacher and parents of that class. Parents can support reading with children and are welcome to come in to share special interests, skills and cultural festivals. There is also the option to join our PTA or Board of Trustees. Parents are sometimes asked to accompany classes to events, and to go with Primary children on ‘going out’ trips.

Teachers observe the children frequently throughout the day, so they get an idea of what each child is doing. In the Preschool, this is so they can plan new lessons and see what captures the child’s interest. In Primary school, this happens as well, but the teacher is also watching to make sure a child is spending enough time on different curriculum areas – over a period of time, not necessarily daily. For example, the child might work on a new lesson on fractions for three days (yes it does happen!), then spend the next couple of days working in other curriculum areas, having satisfied their desire to explore and master the new concept. The teacher will track the work over the week or more to be sure the child is balancing their work choices. If the child is – great, if not, the teacher will help the child to manage their work. The degree of help given depends on how much is needed.

We have no uniform, but we do have a dress code, which reflects the importance we place on creating a calm, uncluttered, peaceful and safe atmosphere for everyone at Wā Ora. One area we place importance on is there being no names or images of commercial cartoons, superheroes, media characters and fantasy characters on clothing or belongings. This is to allow ākonga to develop their own identity without being influenced by commercialisation, trends and fads. Clothing must cover the whole torso when sitting down. Clothing and jewellery is to be safe, practical for all activities at school and suitable to the season. Shoes should allow ākonga to run or jump freely and hair is to be kept clean, tidy and off the face. Long hair must be tied when playing sport, or participating in any form of technology. More detailed information is contained in the Dress Code Procedure.

In Preschool, the ratio is mandated by the Ministry of Education. It is 1:10. Given a choice, we would be more likely to have 1:14. This is because children will take more responsibility and more chances if there is not an adult to step in too soon and ‘help’.

In the Primary school there is a teacher and a teaching assistant in the 6-9 (Year 2-4) classes. The 9-12 (Year 5-7) classes have a teacher and a teaching assistant, or two teachers. 

Students’ needs change in adolescence, so in high school the ratios are lower and far exceed the Ministry of Education mandate. Small class sizes encourage closer student-teacher relationships at a time when teenagers are looking for role models outside their immediate family. Our 12-15 (Year 8-10) classes generally have 15 or 16 students, while the 15-18 (Year 11-13) classes might only have 10 or 11 depending on the subject.

There are no computers or other forms of technology available to the children in the preschool. This is because they need to involve their whole bodies in their activities in order to take on new concepts or explore ideas and interests.

In the 6-9 classes, while there is a computer available, we encourage children to use books to gain the information they need for research. This is because books have been through an editing process and don’t need to be vetted, while the vast amount of information available on the internet hasn’t. At this age, they need to learn how to research and incorporate other’s work into their own.

When the child goes into the 9-12 class, there is more technology available and children begin to learn how to distinguish between websites that contain reliable material and those that are opinion.

At the High School, students have the option to bring their own device, and we have a number of chromebooks for use in the classes.

As a state integrated school, we cover the New Zealand Curriculum. In addition, we follow the Montessori curriculum which includes a wide variety of subjects that are not necessarily part of the New Zealand curriculum. While children have to cover the state curriculum and work in those areas, they can choose to follow their interests and take topics that capture their imaginations further. It is exciting to see where children take this kind of learning.

We are a state integrated school and as such have to report to parents and the Ministry of Education on how children are doing against the New Zealand curriculum. Part of this process is testing, however we do limit this to as little as possible. For the most part, the interactions that the teacher has with a child in a lesson, for example, will give an insight into the understanding that the child has on a topic and will guide their next steps and what lessons they are ready for.

All children from Year 1 – Year 10 take Te Reo Māori and Mandarin. In years 11-13 they can choose to study either for NCEA credits.

No. ​We find however, that children moving into our Preschool from the Playgroup transition very easily​​ as the environment and way of doing things is familiar to them.​

We will use and disclose your child’s information only in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020. Under the act, you may request access to, and correction of, the information at any time. Details about your child’s identity will be shared with the Ministry of Education so that it can allocate a national student number for your child which will be used for research, statistics, funding and the measurement of educational outcomes. The information is held at Wā Ora Montessori School, 278 Waddington Drive, Naenae, Lower Hutt.

In the Preschool we provide lunch for all tamariki as part of our programme. Our vegetarian menu is nut-free and egg-free and we use a variety of sources for creating a well balanced menu. We provide fruit and vegetables with every meal and morning snack, and tamariki have access to water to drink. There is continuity and routine in the lunch menu each week. Identified allergies are taken into account when preparing lunches and snacks and, where possible, alternatives are provided. Gluten free bread and dairy free cheese incurs an additional cost.

On birthdays, parents/whānau may bring a healthy snack if they want to send something to share – this means, fruit, popcorn, vegetable sticks etc – not cake or similar foods.

We promote healthy food and nutrition for all ākonga and where we sell or provide food on school premises, healthy options will be available. In the Area School, we encourage all parents to provide low-processed, low-packaged, sugar-free lunch and snack options for their children. Our rules state no soft drinks, no energy drinks, no confectionery and no chocolate bars.

More detailed information is contained in the Food Procedure.

Montessori has no religious base but does teach religious tolerance.