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Auburn House, founded over 30 years ago, has been a flagship Montessori school and training centre in South Africa. It is nationally known for representing a consistently high standard of Montessori philosophy in early childhood and elementary education, and as a centre that provides top-level professional teacher training as well as practical development courses. In the early 2000s, the school also ran a tutorial-based secondary education programme.

Montessori education in the Western Cape started with a Montessori nursery school opening in 1979. Parents responded with enthusiasm to the publicity about this novel educational approach and by 1981, it was filled to capacity with 70 children. The school attracted families from differing cultural backgrounds, as well as some with children with special educational needs. By mid-1982 over 100 names were on a waiting list for the following year alone, and the school encouraged parents to join forces to create schools in Bellville, the City, Claremont, Constantia and Hout Bay. All 5 schools opened in October 1983!

By the end of 1983 a group of families which supported the strongly developing multi-cultural character of the school broke away to become the founding parent body of Auburn House School. On 1st May 1984 the constitution was signed in the boardroom of BP in Cape Town by Ian Sims (then Chairman of BP, SA) who chaired the fledgling Auburn House Board for a further 4 years. Enrolment in the pre-primary increased to 50 and the focus was on equipping and establishing the new school.

In 1986, to make additional use of the school environment and resources, an extra-mural curriculum enrichment programme was launched for primary children from local schools. This paved the way for the school to step into full-time primary education soon afterwards, when under pressure from families, the school formally opened a 6-9 years class in 1988, with just 6 children! This primary stream grew steadily over the years, into the 9-12 years stream. After the change in government in 1994, Auburn House made its formal application to the Department of Education for registration as a primary school.

By 2000, some of the senior primary group were pushing into secondary school work ahead of time. Options were explored for them and the Cambridge University’s external studies curriculum was adopted (International General Certificate of Secondary Education). This tutorial-based programme continued until South African regulations changed South Africans were required to complete studies through the SA matriculation Board.

Auburn House children do well in both Government and Independent secondary schools and have flourished in their tertiary education.art7

In addition to holding to the tenets of Montessori philosophy, the founding head’s interest in classical philosophy encouraged the School of Practical Philosophy in Cape Town and the Education Renaissance Trust in the UK to give valuable practical support to Auburn House for several years. Auburn House has also been connected to the St. James Schools network worldwide, which promotes universal values through fine education.