Knysna Montessori School comprises a Pre-School,  Primary School and High School.  The High School offers an IEB Matric,  as well as boarding for both weekly and termly boarders.

Knysna Montessori School was formed in 1997 under the auspices of the BMS Trust when founder, Taddy Beyleveld, extended Montessori Methodology and Philosophy from a Pre-School into a 6-9 year old Primary School Group. The Trust operates as a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO 005/940).  Today KMS offers a comprehensive Montessori education, where a child can begin at age 2 in the Pre-school, and emerge at 18 from the High School with an IEB Matric.

Knysna Montessori School is registered as an Independent School with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). The KMS Curriculum covers the requirements of the National Curriculum Statements, using an integrated approach to attain the outcomes and assessment standards set by the Department of Education.

As a leader in the South African Montessori community, the Knysna Montessori School and teachers are registered both with the  South African council for Educators (SACE).

Knysna Montessori School (KMS) is a close-knit, vibrant and passionate school. We observe, guide and encourage each child towards independent learning, through balancing freedom of choice with responsibility, within a prepared environment. The result is empowered individuals realising their full potential. The school lies on the outskirts of Knysna, nestled between forests and natural vegetation in the picturesque village of Narnia.


Knysna Montessori offers an inclusive and holistic education to all children based on Montessori Philosophy and Teaching Methods.


Knysna Montessori aims to develop the whole child, so that he/she may strive to achieve independence, self-discipline, self-knowledge, decision-making and problem-solving abilities, and as a South African and Global Citizen, to learn respect and tolerance for others and their cultures.


  • Our commitment as teachers and parents is to endeavour to be life-long learners, consistently challenging ourselves, adapting and changing to fulfil the needs of the child and the school environment.
  • Our commitment as teachers and parents is to instil and uphold the values of respect encouraging good manners, courtesy, and grace.


What are our Montessori Educational Goals and how do they benefit our children and prepare them for life?

  • Our commitment is to inspire the love of learning where the emphasis is placed on the process of learning. When the child masters this process, the full potential of the child is reached.
  • Our emphasis is on emotional and academic development. It is essential through guidance, inspiration and mentorship to develop the will of the child fostering concentration and self-discipline.
  • Our goal is to encourage respect for self, others and the environment.
  • Our goal is to develop innate self discipline through choice and freedom with clear boundaries.
  • Our goal is to encourage decision making, problem solving and critical thinking.



Our teachers (called “Directresses” and “Directors”) are all fully qualified to teach in the environments in which they have been placed and are all registered with SACE (South African Council for Educators). Our staff are aware that learning never ends and are always refreshing and updating their knowledge through on-going courses. In-house Montessori Training does take place, but traditionally qualified teachers are encouraged to complete training and practical experience in Montessori Methodology through accredited training institutions.


The Knysna Montessori School began as ‘Tootletown’ in 1990, in a packing shed on a farm in Eastford. K.M.S. founder Taddy Beyleveld, and her first employee Johanna Meintjies (who still works at the school), taught and cared for a dozen children each day. With the development of Narnia Village three or four years later, Tootletown moved to the premises where K.M.S. is now situated and continued to operate until 1997, when Taddy officially founded the Beyleveld Montessori Trust. In this year, the Junior School for 6 – 9 pupils started.

As the school grew and developed, a 9 – 12 class was opened in 1999 and in 2000 the second storey of the Junior School was built. As a main school fundraising initiative, The Friday Market was established. With a wide variety of delicious foods, drinks and crafts on offer, this market has been a favourite get-together venue for locals, as well as national and international visitors. With a need to develop the school further, the debenture system was implemented and with debenture payments from parents, further land was bought for a tennis court and an open-air amphitheatre. Staff and office blocks, as well as sports fields, were developed.

After a short visit to several United States Montessori schools in 2003, Taddy returned to K.M.S. to open a Grade 7 and 8 Middle School and hostel, based on Maria Montessori’s concept of an Erdkinder programme for teenagers. An Occupation Area where the Middle School students ran their own Farmyard and Businesses was established. The Middle School proved to be as popular and successful as the Junior School and subsequently another house was bought to provide further dormitories and staff accommodation. With help from Friday Night Market funds, the swimming pool and deck area were built. Eventually in 2008, the first Montessori matriculants wrote their IEB examinations and K.M.S. has proudly maintained its one hundred percent pass rate to the present day.

As the forerunner of Montessori High School education in South Africa, K.M.S. was honoured to host its first SAMA (South African Montessori Association) conference in 2007, and a roof was built for the open-air amphitheatre. The second SAMA conference took place in 2012 and saw the full enclosure of the amphitheatre with windows.

The Pre-School moved into a new building in 2013 and the old Pre-school became more classrooms for the 15-18 High School students. In the years between 2015 and the present, the Middle School Occupation Area where the students learn to develop entrepreneurial skills in a variety of businesses (cement making, animal farming, gardening, seed cultivation, kitchen crafts, woodwork etc.) was relocated. The latest addition is a Technology outdoor classroom where students create furniture, baboon-proof dustbins etc.

2017 is the twentieth anniversary of the Knysna Montessori School, and in celebration, the amphitheatre and the foyer have been fully upgraded to create a perfect conference venue. This was opened by the mayor at a cheese and wine function attended by Rotarians, Head Directress Sonia Heaton, K.M.S. staff, invited colleagues from other schools, as well as parents, trust members, and Founder Member Taddy Beyleveld.

From humble beginnings, and following the needs of the students and the community, Knysna Montessori School celebrates twenty one years of achievement. Thank you to parents, colleagues, students and staff members, and to the local broader community of Knysna for sharing in our ongoing journey.    

Please Visit Our FAQ Section

We highly encourage parents to read our FAQ. Here we discuss common questions about the Montessori education program.