New Zealand included in Montessori Centenary World Tour
New Zealand has been included in 89-year-old educator Phyllis Wallbank’s Montessori centenary world tour. Phyllis
trained with Dr Maria Montessori in England in the early 1940’s.
She will lecture in Auckland on Saturday November 24 and in Wellington on Saturday December 1, 2007.
Phyllis, an octogenarian with a life long passion for Montessori education set off from Windsor, England on October 11
for a world tour to lecture about Dr Montessori, the message of the Montessori movement, the developmental stages of the
child and the latest brain research.
This world tour is yet another global event to celebrate the centenary of Montessori education (1907-2007).
Phyllis is also lecturing in Osaka, Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Manila, Adelaide, Melbourne,
Los Angles and Boston.
Phyllis initially worked in the juvenile courts as a children’s officer in England, where she realised that far fewer
children would become delinquent if they could be educated to assume their own personal responsibilities, and so take
their rightful place in society.
She discovered the Montessori philosophy and trained under Dr Maria Montessori in the early 1940s and became, for many
years, a close personal friend. The two worked together, training and evaluating teachers throughout England, France,
Holland and Ireland. In 1948, Phyllis opened the first all-age Montessori school, the Gatehouse Learning Centre in
London, which she ran for 31 years. Gatehouse was described by Buckminster Fuller in the following terms: ‘’So
thoroughly conceived and created that it allows the children to do their own learning while avoiding: 1) their being
shorn of their innate sensitivities, 2) being deprived of their innate genius, and 3) not having their spontaneous trust
In Dr Montessori’s later years, Phyllis assisted Dr Montessori with examining Montessori student teachers and was the
chairperson of the Montessori Association in England and, for many years, vice president of the International Montessori
Association. Phyllis also organised the last International Montessori Congress, which met in London shortly before Dr
In 1996 Phyllis was created a member of the Order of the British Empire, an honour given to her by Queen Elizabeth II.
In the same year Pope John Paul II decorated her with the Benemerenti Medal. She continues to be used by Eton College
when needed to give specialist assistance to individual students. Phyllis has lectured at a wide variety of colleges and
conferences including Oxford University, Lady Margaret Hall; Cambridge; London; Harvard; Yale; Seattle University;
Washington State University; Purdue University; Chicago University; Boston College, Lonergan Workshop; Columbia
University in British Columbia; and Vancouver.
Lectures in New Zealand:
Keys To The World For Our Children: Montessori And Links With Today’s Brain Research
Saturday November 24, 1-3pm
Montessori College of Auckland School Gym • 27 Glanville Terrace • Parnell • AUCKLAND • entry via Papahia Street
Saturday December 1, 1-3pm
Khandallah Church Hall • 11 Ganges Road • Khandallah • WELLINGTON
$10 donation pay at the door