Oak Bay Montessori celebrates 40 years of education

Learning at the site goes back to the early 1900s

St. Christopher’s Montessori School celebrates its 40th year anniversary with fanfare Saturday.

But it’s history goes even beyond those four decades, says Hamish Simpson of Salt Spring Island, one of the parents who renewed the building at the corner of Currie Road and Newport Avenue as a school in 1978.

That year, parents were in search of answers after the Queenswood school run by the Sisters of St. Ann’s opted out of allocating preschool space.

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” Simpson says.

He was among the dedicated parents that organized the Queenswood Montessori Society and found the new location for the school.

The site they found was already steeped in educational history back then, Simpson says. In the early 1900s building was a small primary school. It ran as various school incarnations until one last teacher retired.

“In 1970 the school was closed and nobody wanted to purchase it as a school,” Simpson says.

It spent a few years as an artists home and studio, then sold to a developer, Simpson says, adding Oak Bay council of the time vetoed development in that area of the community.

The land came back on the market in spring of 1978.

“We as a group of parents discovered this and they were very generous in their terms and we were able to continue, or start really, the Montessori school on that site, because it was there and existing,”

While the group was called Queenswood, they changed the school name to reflect St. Christopher’s the historic name of the school.

“The timing was absolutely perfect,” Simpson says. “Ever since the fall of 1978, we were able to move and the school has very good support.”

Four decades later, leaders at the non-profit school hope community will come together to celebrate the anniversary and help raise funds for future playground updates at the school.

“Maria Montessori is one of the great educators of early education,” Simpson says. “There are many Montessori schools in Victoria. Over the years many people have valued quality early education so it has drawn parents, not just from Oak Bay but from Greater Victoria.”

They celebrate the quality education with an event Saturday, May 12 at 7 p.m. at the Victoria Golf Club. Get tickets at www.hello40.ca.


 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

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