Karuna Montessori School is an independent, professionally operated, non-profit making, non-denominational, community based pre-school established in 1984 by the Northern Beaches Montessori Association. It closely follows the Montessori philosophy with AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) trained Montessori teaching staff. It is registered and accredited with the NSW Dept Education Board of Studies as a school catering for children in Kindergarten, and is licenced by the Department of Community Services (DoCS). Karuna Montessori School is a member of the Montessori Australia Foundation. The school is administered by a Parent Council which is elected each year at an Annual General Meeting. The Council holds parent meetings twice a term.
The school caters for 30 children, aged between three and six years, and has four staff members. The school generally follows the AIS (Association of Independent Schools) school term schedule, and the hours are as follows:
Pre-School: 9.00am to 12.00pm, 5 days a week
Kindergarten: 9.00am to 2.45pm, 5 days a week
Afternoon Care: 12.00pm to 2:45pm, 4 days a week
Ideally Montessori classes have a three-year age range i.e. 0-3 years; 3-6 years; 6-9 years; 9-12 years; 12-15 years and 15-18 years. Children usually start at Karuna in the term after their third birthday and attend only during the mornings for the first two years. When they approach their fifth birthday, depending on their own individual readiness, they are then invited to join the group in the afternoons as well. This third “extension” year is the equivalent to the Kindergarten year in the primary schools, but has the great advantage of excellent child-teacher ratios, with approximately ten children with 1 teacher. The curriculum is recognised by the Board of Studies in the same manner as other primary schools, but the teaching approach is different, building on and extending the skills already learnt in the early years.