Montessori Difference
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.
Our School

The school caters for 30 children, aged between three and six years, and has five staff members. The school generally follows the AIS (Association of Independent Schools) school term schedule, and the hours are as follows:

Pre-School: 8.45am to 12.00pm, 5 days a week
Kindergarten: 8.45am 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 years3-6 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.

Karuna Brochure

Karuna’s school brochure gives you a complete overview of all our programs, as well as insight into our school.

Annual Report 2021

KARUNA Annual Report for 2021 Download our Annual Report, this is a statutory report published once a year (usually in August/September). It gives information about Karuna’s activities and financial performance.


School Term

The school generally follows the AIS (Association of Independent Schools) school term schedule. These dates along with other important Karuna events can be found on our calendar.


Mary Batterham

Mary is an Early Childhood Educator of 25 years. Driven by her passion of Montessori Pedagogy, Mary is well placed as an advocate of childrens’ rights and wellbeing. Ms Batterham’s vast experience in teaching and governance of Montessori Schools has taken her from Australia to Indonesia and China. After five years as Deputy Principal of Discovery Montessori School in Hong Kong, Mary has returned home to join our team at Karuna Montessori Preschool as Principal. Mary’s qualifications include a Montessori Diploma (3-6y) from the Associate Montessori International (AMI), a Bachelor of Education (Birth to 5yrs), a Master of Education (Special Ed), and a Bachelor of Nursing. Mary has two grown children both graduates of Forestville Montessori School. Mary joined Karuna Montessori as Principal in August 2015.

Raquel Smith

Raquel has been working with children for 20 years, and is certified as an early childhood educator. She has extensive experience in conventional childcare and has also run family day care, whilst raising her children. Raquel’s exposure to Montessori education began as a parent, with two of her four children having attended Karuna Montessori Pre-school. This experience sparked her interest in Montessori and has resulted in her seeking to learn more about the Montessori education methodology, using Montessori techniques in her own home to raise her own children. Raquel joined Karuna Montessori as Assistant teacher in 2016.


Daisy has been working with children for over 11 years, she studied business at university in Venezuela and went on to study Child Education and Care. Daisy is passionate about children and is excited to continue her Montessori experience at Karuna Montessori.
She moved to the UK over 11 years ago with her family, and at the time assisted her youngest daughter transitioning schools by helping at the school. Daisy went on to work at the school in their pre-school and she went on to study NVQ 2 and 3 in Child Education and Care in the UK.
We are lucky to welcome Daisy to Karuna Montessori in 2019. Daisy has a teenage daughter.

Anna Jones

Anna joined Karuna in July 2020 as Administrator. Anna has strong communication and organisational experience and comes from a legal and media background. She spent 10 years working at Associated Press in London, a not-for profit news agency, as a news producer and account manager. Anna is the first point of contact for parents, new enquiries and the general community. Anna lives locally and is a mother of three children, who is passionate about children’s education, loves to cook and enjoys various sports and outdoor pursuits. She is continually expanding her knowledge of Montessori education through research, online webinars and reading.

Karen Duvenhage

Karen has been a valued member of the Karuna Community for 12 years. After attending an open day with a friend Karen fell in love with the Montessori philosophy – helping children become independent thinkers with a lifelong love of learning! Both her sons attended Karuna and her youngest son was one of the first group of children to attend the Under 3’s program which started in 2010. Karen has been assisting with the Under 3’s program up until 2019 and has recently spent most of her time at the 3-6 program. Karen is a keen gardener and enjoys the outdoors and can often be found tending to our beautiful garden with the children. She is currently working towards her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.