Montessori preschool’s plea

Macedon Ranges Montessori Preschool parents, committee and educators are fighting to save a 40-year legacy.

Parents and educators are racing time to boost enrolments and save Macedon Ranges Montessori Preschool from potential closure.

For almost 40 years the preschool has offered an alternative early education experience but the cost-of-living crisis and state government’s new free kindergarten offering have impacted the not-for-profit organisation.

Preschool committee member Moya Grech said enrolments had dropped and reached crisis point.

“We are trying everything to keep the doors open right now,” she said.

“Enrolment numbers are not where we need them to be and the committee is overworked with members taking on multiple roles as there are now less parents involved.

“It’s so upsetting. It’s not going to make it financially past this year if it continues as it is. We really don’t want to see it closed.”

While other providers have become attractive options in offering the state government’s free three-year-old kindergarten, the preschool is struggling to compete.

Committee member Nicole Paola said the state’s free kindergarten model would require 50 enrolments to be viable for the not-for-profit and therefore was not an option.

“Our kinder is too small to have more than 50 enrolments and other services have different access to funding that we don’t,” she explained.

The preschool’s committee seeks to double enrolments to ensure viability and has until August to make a decision on its future.

However, they are already seeking an early years management service to step in.

“We hope to attract the right early years management team to keep the preschool open as Montessori,” Ms Grech said.

“We didn’t want to give up without people knowing the current situation. There might be someone out there who would like to take it on.”

Located in Riddells Creek, the preschool offers a unique education experience that allows children to learn through their interests at their own pace. Children follow the same state curriculum, they just complete it differently.


Current early childhood teacher / nominated supervisor Taia Ly described the Montessori model as “readiness for life”.

“Our Montessori classroom can be seen as a microcosm of society, the children are a mixed-age, diverse group, which reflects reality,” she said.

“Their experience in it intrinsically builds acceptance into their psyche and they learn to be part of a group with peer-to-peer learning.

“In my years in education, I’ve found this structure the most reflective of how we are as social creatures. So, a child in such a natural, guided and supported environment, they can not only thrive, but have that gift to pass on to others in their later years.”


Jeevanie Mirando was one of the preschool’s founding Montessori educators in 1985. She was devastated to hear its future was uncertain as it approached its 40th anniversary.

The preschool operates from the former Riddells Creek Primary School site. Ms Mirando recalled a passionate community rallying to repair the derelict building to introduce Montessori education.

For Ms Mirando, establishing the new preschool was an exciting challenge. She watched it grow and thrive during her 18 years educating there.

“I would be devastated if it couldn’t continue,” she said.

“In Montessori learning there are so many benefits. Children can learn according to their interests and it’s catered to each individual’s needs. Because the numbers are small, educators can really observe the children and direct them to help reach their potential.”

Jeevanie Mirando was one of the preschool’s founding Montessori educators in 1985.


The current priority for Macedon Ranges Montessori Preschool is to boost enrolments.

Committee members have had some promising enrolment enquiries since putting the call out, but need more. They have also been transparent about future uncertainty.

“The last thing we want to do is scare people away but we have had to tell them to have a back-up option in mind,” Ms Grech said.

The committee continues to seek an early years management service to continue running the preschool into the future and welcomes any interested parties to contact them.

An information session will be held at the preschool on July 25 from 7pm to 8pm. An online option is also available. For more information, contact the preschool.