Kristen Rae and her son Noah. Kristen is looking to launch a Montessori home schooling Co-Op in Byron Bay.
Kristen Rae and her son Noah. Kristen is looking to launch a Montessori home schooling Co-Op in Byron Bay.

Mum plans Montessori school co-operative

A MOTHER who recently relocated to Byron Bay is looking to launch a homeschooling co-operative based on the Montessori education method.

Kristen Rae’s son, Noah, had been attending a Montessori school in their former home community in Sydney for three and a half years.

Montessori learning works within the guidelines of state curriculums but in a “child-led learning environment”.

“He’s in his first year of primary now,” she said.

She’s now hoping to launch a co-op for other students in the six to nine age bracket.

“It was just during Covid that we started to home school him,” she said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Noah has been home schooled with the help of tutor Julia Motoomull. But with no Montessori school for his age level in the Byron Shire, and long waits for local Steiner schools, this situation is looking to have been the start of a new educational community here.

“I’m looking at this as being a really beautiful training ground to see how the community feels about having a Montessori school here,” she said.

“It’s an education that embraces the whole child and it’s child-led learning rather than teacher-led learning.

“It allows the child to have some autonomy over what they work on throughout the day. They learn to be responsible for their own learning and their own work.”

Ms Motoomull is originally from the Philippines, where she previously taught at Montessori school. Her own childhood education came in a mainstream form, but she said she’d found great value in the method. She came to Byron Bay to undertake yoga teacher training, which she’s still completing while teaching Noah and working on plans for the co-op.

She has studied psychology and childhood education.

“There’s real beauty in having a child-led form of education,” she said.

She said the method drew on the idea from its founder, Maria Montessori, of a “cosmic education” and the idea children are “given the keys to unlock the universe” through their education.

The method considers the notion of three pillars: the child, a “prepared environment” which involves tactile materials to assist learning, and the “guides”, being trained parents or teachers.

Ms Motoomull said they’d already had inquiries from some parents wanting to be involved with the co-op. There will be options for students to attend up to three days a week and eventually they hope to open a full-blown Montessori school.

“It’s magical for me that everything is coming together,” Ms Motoomull said.

“I’m very passionate about it. I just feel like it’s a type of education that can be beneficial for the community and to children.”

To inquire about the co-op, find Byron Montessori on Facebook at 100971431625766, email or call Ms Rae on 0432 646 882.

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