School History


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.

Taddy Beyleveld Knysna Montessori School

The Knysna Montessori School began as ‘Tootletown’ in 1989, in a packing shed on a farm in Eastford. 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, Tootletown moved to the current premises in 1995 with 45 pupils, three staff members, and 2 teachers.

Taddy officially founded the Beyleveld Montessori Trust in 1997, officially opened the Junior School, and registered with the Department of Education.

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 KMS 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 KMS has proudly maintained its one hundred percent pass rate to the present day.

As the forerunner of Montessori High School education in South Africa, KMS 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 Preschool moved into a new building in 2013 and the old preschool 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, KMS staff, invited colleagues from other schools, as well as parents, trust members, and Founder Member Taddy Beyleveld.

Over the years the School has pioneered many aspects of education, the biggest achievement thus far being the proud Forerunner of Montessori High School Education in South Africa.

STATEMENTS

VISION:

Knysna Montessori offers an inclusive and holistic education to all children based on Montessori philosophy and teaching methods in preparation for life.

MISSION:

Knysna Montessori develops the whole child so that the child strives to achieve independence, self-discipline, self-confidence, self- knowledge, decision making and problem solving abilities and as a South African and global citizen, learns to respect and tolerate others and their cultures.

VALUES:

Our commitment as teachers and parents is to endeavor 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.