THE lighting of candles and a peace ceremony helped mark the end of an era for Beechworth’s Montessori School yesterday.
The school is relocating to a refurbished site in Gilchrist Avenue, Beechworth.
The former Ovens and Murray Aged Care Hostel will be a permanent home for the school, which has been leasing the Mayday Hills site since 1996.
“What we are going to is fabulous,” principal Heather Gerrard told students and parents yesterday.
“Just imagine what we can do with a building purposely renovated for a Montessori environment.”
The refurbishment of the former hostel has been funded by a joint project in which the school was successful in receiving both state and federal government grants.
A Rutherglen company, Ultra Project Services, won the tender to refurbish the site and local architect Rachel Bohm, of RD Design, developed the plans and managed the project.
Montessori education aims to foster children’s love of learning and encourages independence by providing an environment of activities and materials which children use at their own pace.
The school started in 1996, added primary-aged students in 2007 and now has 91 primary students, 60 kindergarten children and a parent and toddler program for children under the age of three.
Ms Gerrard said the refurbishment would allow the service to expand to meet an increasing demand for Montessori education.
“We keep growing, so this will allow us to keep up capacity,” she said.
“This is a new chapter for the school and will consolidate the work we have done.”
Yesterday, students and parents commemorated the school’s closure with an International Peace Day celebration.
Students performed dance items that symbolised what peace meant to them, while parents lit candles for peace.