Fairbridge Village’s Montessori Connection

The residential component for the first ever AMI Montessori 12-18 Diploma to be offered by SMTC will be in Fairbridge Village near Pinjarra in Southwest Western Australia.

This venue has an interesting history with a Montessori connection. It once was known as The Valley Independent School which opened in 1985, as an early attempt to establish a Montessori Erdkinder, a community for adolescents based on Dr Montessori’s principles.

One of the school’s founders, Dr Anna Alderson (27 April 1945 – 5 July 2016), at the time also a lecturer in Education at Curtin University, was interviewed by Luz Byrski for an article in the Stirling Times on 2 August 1988:

“Allowing 27 people aged between 12 and 16 to take responsibility for their own education and behaviour may sound like a formula for chaos. But what I saw at the Valley Independent School at Fairbridge Village was not chaos but co-operation. Not madness and mayhem, but maturity and mindfulness, and a group of young people learning a range of skills designed to give them a head start at coping with life in a rapidly changing world.”

Students at the Valley Independent School boarded at the school for four days and undertook work experience for one day. Their time included non-competitive physical activity, and they undertook considerable responsibility for much of their work. The school was hailed as a truly noble experiment in alternative education by some, especially with its early success with students who have not been successful in mainstream schools.

The Fairbridge Village learning environment established on Montessori principles, make it an ideal venue for SMTC’s adolescent educator training.

(Information from Montessori: The Australian Story Edited by Susan Feez)