The Montessori unit at Berhampore Primary School in Wellington opened in April 2000, thanks to the efforts of a group of dedicated preschool parents who wanted their children to continue to benefit from Montessori education through the primary years. Though it started with just 10 children and one teacher, the unit has since flourished and now forms a substantial part of the school, catering for children aged 6-12 through the primary school years 2-8.
The unit is housed in a dedicated Montessori environment with trained Montessori teachers, and operates as classes of special character within Berhampore School. Children at the unit follow the Montessori philosophy and teaching methods developed by Maria Montessori, which allow them to choose their own work and progress at their own pace in a self-directed environment with teacher support and guidance.
The Montessori unit is integrated into Berhampore School, which is governed by the Board of Trustees and managed by principal Mark Potter. Students from the Montessori learning environment benefit from a range of wider school activities including assemblies, sports, enrichment classes and cultural events. The Montessori classes meet the educational standards and curriculum set by the school and the Ministry of Education.
Additional funding for the Montessori environment is provided by the Pacific Primary Montessori Education Trust (PPMET) which is operated by Montessori parents and funded by Montessori families.