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Our History

For nearly forty years Westacre Montessori School has been offering high-quality pre-schooling to children around Westacre. 

The school was started in 1982 by Garlinda Birkbeck, with help from her husband Henry. It became the first Montessori school in Norfolk.


Having been AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) trained herself, Garlinda asked Sue Robinson, with whom she had studied at the AMI school in London, to be the first Head. 

Initially the School was based at Westacre’s village hall. The first intake was just three children, one of whom was Garlinda’s oldest son, then aged three. 

When Sue left in 1986, her assistant Rose Charman, also AMI trained, took over as Head of the School and business partner to Garlinda. Rose oversaw the move to The Old Chapel in East Walton in 2002, and ran the school and business successfully until her retirement in 2010, when she handed both over to her long-term assistant Rosie Reynolds, also AMI qualified. 

In 2021 we acquired more garden and have now logs, to clamber on  a fire pit, climbing frame and a fantastic yurt which we use for Yoga , have music or just relax in .

Rosie now leads the school with the support of deputy Rachael AMI qualified and level 3 early years educator and MCI qualified Esmé. 

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“We must help the child to act for himself, will for himself, think for himself; this is the art of those who aspire to serve the spirit.”


Where we are

Westacre Montessori School is located in the Old Chapel set on the common in East Walton, an idyllic rural environment. 

We have one spacious large room accommodating up to 24 children. The space is high and lofty, with abundant natural light. 

All activities are at the children’s height to encourage freedom of movement and choice. The large space allows the children to share the wide range of Montessori materials, enabling them to discover, learn and explore at their own pace. 

The teachers observe the children so that we are aware of when a child is ready to extend their learning and move on to the next Montessori material. Everything is prepared to challenge children and increase their knowledge and abilities. The children can work independently, with their friends or with a teacher, promoting good self-esteem and social skills. 

Parents are involved in the children’s learning and are welcomed into school on a regular basis to view their children’s learning, progress and development. 

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The Roman Arch

The Roman Arch allows children to use and learn Roman engineering principles to build an arch that seemingly defies gravity. An excellent introduction to architecture and gravity, which also teaches following instructions and problem solving.This ingenious representation of a classic design allows the builder to discover the principle of the keystone and its function in the support of an arch.

Download Our School Prospectus

You can read through our prospectus for more in depth information about our school.


Meet Our Teachers

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Rosie Reynolds


Montessori Early Childhood Diploma

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Rachael Durrant


Montessori Early Childhood Diploma

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Esmé Batterbee

Early Years Educator Level 3

Implementing Montessori Practitioner (IMP) 

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