Still buzzing

BEEHIVE Montesorri is bracing itself for middle age when it turns 40 this year, but the kids don’t care and are buzzing for a party.

The Mosman Park school was founded in 1977 with less than 20 pupils, but with the support of parents and founder Renee Taylor, there are now more than 200 children swelling the classrooms and playground.

Beehive was the second Montesorri school to open in WA, after Kingsley Montessori in 1962, and it brought a unique, and at-the-time mysterious education system to conservative WA.

Deputy principal Debbie McCarthy says the perception of alternative schools has changed over the years: “Alternative education was seen as something a bit mysterious or different, something difficult to comprehend by the wider community,” she says.

• Pupils at Beehive Montesorri are getting excited about the school’s 40th birthday.

“Montessori education is now much more sought after…we have had so many graduates who have gone on to other schools and careers very successfully.”

Ms McCarthy, who has been involved with Beehive since 1985, says “very little Montessori education was included in teacher training courses back then…now however teacher training courses include a variety of educational philosophies.”

In the early days of Montessori education in Australia it was not uncommon for teachers to travel to Italy, the birthplace of the teaching philosophy, for training.

Beehive Montesorri was originally located in Shenton Park, but in 1981 it moved to Curtin Avenue in Mosman Park, bringing life to the industrial zone around Leighton Beach marshalling yards.

“Having a location in-between the river and the ocean is very important…things like beach and land rehabilitation are a big part of our teaching,” Ms McCarthy says.

To celebrate the school’s 40th, they will hold a cocktail party in October for teachers, parents and past students, and will also have a series of events for kids.

by JONATHAN CUNNINGHAM

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