Kia ora and welcome to The Bays Montessori Schools. We provide authentic Montessori education to children aged ten months to six in the Nelson region across three sites

Nelson, Stoke and Kauri Montessori

We offer:

  • A holistic curriculum that utilises the Montessori method to inspire children to realise their fullest potential.
  • Enriching and beautifully presented classrooms, located across three sites in Nelson and Stoke.
  • A lunch programme which enables children to prepare healthy meals and in this process, learn about nutrition, nature and respect for food.
  • The longest running Montessori school in the Nelson Bays region.


To grow self-sustaining Montessori centres of excellence and innovation that embrace families from all cultures and are supported by the wider Montessori community of Aotearoa (New Zealand).


Core values are attributes that help define our school’s identity and purpose.  At Nelson/Stoke/Kauri, our core values reflect our commitment to Montessori Education and the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa, New Zealand.


  • Children’s House
  • Inviting
  • Sustainable


  • Reflective Practitioners
  • Lifelong Learners
  • Role Models


  • Passionate
  • Responsive
  • Entrepreneurial

Thank you for considering The Bays Montessori Schools to be part of your child’s early years and education.

About Us

“There is a great sense of community within the Montessori classroom, where children of differing ages work together in an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competitiveness. There is respect for the environment and for the individuals within it, which comes through experience of freedom within the community.”

– Dr Maria Montessori

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Nelson Montessori was founded by a community of parents who were passionate about the Montessori philosophy over thirty years ago.

In 1998, Nelson Montessori was bought by Nissa Mowjood. Nissa is an AMI qualified Montessori teacher who trained in Sri Lanka and has called Nelson home since 1991. She taught at Nelson Montessori since 1991 as well.

In April 2003, Nissa established Stoke Montessori with the aim of offering Montessori education to the wider Nelson community.

By 2012, interest in Montessori education in Nelson continued to grow. To serve this need, Nissa established a third school called Kauri Montessori on Tukuka Street.

In 2015, Nelson, Stoke and Kauri Montessoris were collectively grouped under the umbrella name “The Bays Montessori Schools” to convey that the schools are run by the same management and guided by the same vision.

The Bays Montessori Schools adhere to the Te Whāriki Framework (New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum) as well as being a member of the Montessori Association of New Zealand.

Explore the children's recent learning experiences on our blog.


Our Curriculum

“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration.
The child who concentrates is immensely happy”

– Dr Maria Montessori

The Montessori curriculum can be categorised into five main areas. For each area, there are specific Montessori materials which have been created to meet the child’s needs and foster their independence.

The Montessori curriculum is underpinned by an constructivist approach to learning whereby children build their knowledge about the world through active exploration and discovery. Montessori educators view children as curious scientists who are motivated to explore the environment on their own.

Children are offered 2.5 to 3 hour blocks of time to concentrate on the activities they have chosen without interruption.


The five curriculum areas include:

The Exercises of Practical Life
This area consists of real-life practical activities which build a child’s self-efficacy and self-confidence. The child may have seen some of these activities at home and engaging in the Exercises of Practical Life can help the child settle into school routine when they first begin at Montessori. Practical Life activities encourage the development of:

  • Concentration.
  • Hand-eye co-ordination.
  • Gross and fine motor skills.
  • Respect for other children and the environment.

The child absorbs their world through their senses. Through her rigorous observations of young children, Dr Montessori discovered that between the ages of 0 to 6, children experience a sensitive period for the refinement of the senses.

The fine-tuning of a child’s sight, taste, sound, smell and touch become an important part of the Montessori environment. Sensorial activities help a child develop their:

  • Perception.
  • Fine discrimination.
  • Logical thinking.
  • Concentration.

During the early years, children absorb and learn any language they are exposed to effortlessly. This sensitive period for learning language peaks in early childhood and by adulthood, learning languages becomes more difficult.

At Montessori, children indirectly prepare their language skills through mark-making, singing, poetry and listening to stories.

In the classroom, language is presented to the child in a tactile sense and not as a formal tutorial in grammar.  For example, children learn to trace sandpaper letters, write letters in the sand tray or use the “movable alphabet” for early spelling.  This familiarizes the child with the sound and formation of each letter, later enabling them to write their own words and sentences.

Our classrooms have a range of interactive, hands-on materials that assist children grasp the concepts of:

  • Quantities.
  • Number families.
  • Basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.


Knowledge and Understanding of the World

Through their studies of botany, zoology and cultural studies,  children gain an awareness that they are not alone in this world. They develop an understanding of where they fit in their neighbourhood, community, country and the wider word. Through these studies:

  • The child begins to discover similarities and differences in cultures around the world.
  • A respect toward others and feeling proud of their own cultural background.
  • Children also learn Te Reo Maori and Tikanga Maori. Every year, children at Nelson Montessori celebrate Matariki (Maori New Year).
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Te Whāriki

We also ensure that we maintain the four principles of Te Whāriki which is the curriculum framework for the early childhood education sector. The principles of Te Whāriki include empowerment, holistic development, family and community, and relationships.

The Outdoors & Sustainability

“The land is where our roots are.
The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth”

– Dr Maria Montessori

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We offer an Outdoor Programme that enriches our children physically, socially, culturally and spiritually. Children have the freedom to move from the classroom to the outdoor programme throughout the morning. In addition, there are weekly physical education sessions held at each of the sites.

The Outdoor Programme nurtures children to develop a responsible relationship with our land and its resources. Children learn about sustainable practice by:

  • Composting
  • Recycling
  • Use of natural materials in the classroom
  • Collecting rain water
  • Harvesting organic vegetables for snacks and meals


It is part of our strategic plan to achieve best sustainable practice across our sites.  We strive to achieve this goal with the support of the entire Montessori community.

The Outdoor Programme draws from three main threads and it is the interweaving of these threads which gives it its unique character. These threads are:

Kaupapa Maori 
We take a view of ourselves as being kaitiaki (guardians) of the earth and its resources and as being protectors of the environment.

Montessori Philosophy
Maria Montessori saw our natural world as a source of inspiration and learning for children. She believed that fostering a connection with nature helped children develop respectfulness, cooperation, a sense of wonder and a love of learning.

Kiwi Outdoor Values
The outdoors is very important in our culture. It is a place to socialise, to relax, and a setting to develop the core values of reliability, resilience and interdependence.

Spending time in the garden at Nelson Montessori is a significant part of the Outdoor Programme. In the garden, children might be involved in:

  • Tending to the worm farm
  • Identifying plants
  • Planting seedlings
  • Identifying different insects
  • Carpentry and construction
  • Nature inspired artwork

Children at Nelson Montessori regularly make trips to the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary. Trips to the Brook Sanctuary offer children many valuable and interesting learning experiences such as listening to the calls of native birds and mastering walking up bridges, steep climbs and narrow paths.


Healthy Meals at School

“The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say,
‘the children are now working as if I did not exist”

– Dr Maria Montessori

At all three sites, children are served a morning tea and cooked lunch every day. The meals served at The Bays Montessori Schools have been awarded a Healthy Heart Award from the New Zealand Heart Foundation.

Children are actively involved in the preparation and serving of their meals. For example, children peel vegetables and fruit for the meal as well as set up the table with mats and real crockery. They take turns serving the food to their peers.

Before they eat, children recite a Maori karakia (non-religious) to express respect and gratitude for the meal.

Their active involvement during mealtime encourages them to learn a number of life skills. These include:

  • Nurturing fine motor skills by their involvement in food preparation.
  • Learning about hygiene and hand washing practices related to food preparation.
  • Experiencing different foods which they do not try at home.
  • Fostering social skills by sitting and sharing a meal together.
  • Building independence and confidence by washing dishes and setting the table.
  • Developing an awareness of sustainability by disposing of food scraps in the compost.
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To enrol your child or to find out more information



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the bays montessoris, new zealand

Phone us on 03 546 8768

“The classroom has a peaceful atmosphere and children have opportunities to concentrate without interruption, to develop self-control and to explore the things they are interested in”

– Parent Testimonial