What is the origin of Montessori?

Dr Maria Montessori (1870-1952) began her work in education at the turn of the century and went on to dedicate her life to the cause of the child.

She believed that education begins at birth and that the first six years of life, being the most formative, are the more important both physically and mentally.

It is during this time that a child’s powers of absorption are highest and attitudes and patterns of learning that will last for life are formed. Dr Montessori went on to expand her ideas into a fully articulated education programme.

What is the history of the school?

Cameragal Montessori opened in February 1976 and is the second oldest Montessori school in New South Wales. The school was set up by a committee of parents with the initial venue being at the current site of the Lavender Bay campus.

By 1979, the school required more space and a second classroom opened at Amhurst Street, Cammeray bringing student numbers to 45.

In 1986, the two classes were moved to Forsyth Park and expanded to three classes. In 1992, as numbers required, one class was moved back to Lavender Bay.

In 2013, demand from current parents for a local Montessori primary school led Cameragal to expand, and a primary classroom catering for 6-9 year olds opened 100 metres from the Lavender Bay campus in North Sydney.

And then in 2021, an upper primary class for 9-12 year olds was opened next door to the 6-9 site.

The school now educates students aged from under 3 to 12 years of age across four locations on the Lower North Shore.

Where does the name come from?

The name “Cameragal” derives from one of the two bands (or clans) of Aborigines that inhabited the North Shore of Sydney when the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Cove in 1788.

The two Aboriginal Bands, the Cammeraygal and Wallumedegai were part of the Kuringgai Tribe. They lived along the foreshores and in the bushland, cliff and rock shelters in an area that stretched from Mosman to Northbridge and north to Warringah, prior to the arrival of the Europeans.