Clapham Montessori

Located at St Paul’s Community Centre in Clapham Old Town, Clapham Montessori is surrounded by extensive areas of grass and trees, ideal for exploration and outdoor play. The lovely adjacent Community Garden contains a pond and beehives. Our spacious classroom is attractive and unusual.

First day/settling in process

Please be prepared to stay for about half an hour on the first day. We will suggest that you leave after that, saying goodbye very briefly without any fuss. If your child is still unhappy about an hour after you have gone, we will phone and ask you to collect him/her. In that case please return home after collecting and we will repeat this on the next and following days as necessary until all is well. All children are different and it is very hard to predict how yours will react to your departure.

In some cases we have found that coming every day for a short time – such as one hour- works best. Whatever the process, they all get there in the end!

Some children become distressed at home-time during the first few days at nursery, even if they have been quite settled during the morning.  Therefore, it is worth pointing out that if your child seems tearful when you collect her/him, this does not necessarily mean that s/he has been distressed throughout the whole morning!

It is important that parents feel at ease throughout their child’s process of integration into the wider environment of the Montessori Children’s House.  Whilst we have many years of experience, we acknowledge the fact that each child is unique and so we are more than happy to discuss any concerns with you to be sure of making the transition from home to the Montessori environment as smooth as possible.

Useful Information

We go outside every morning at around 12.00 to run around and play in the Lower Churchyard.

In addition, on Thursday mornings and Tuesday afternoons we aim at spending the whole session outside in the Lower Churchyard. If your child is attending then, please dress him/her in appropriate clothing. It can obviously get very cold in the winter so lots of layers are necessary.

Also please do not put ‘best’ clothes on your child especially on those days. It will be muddy/dusty/wet etc and children should not feel impeded by their clothing. They will have the wonderful opportunity to climb trees, dig in the earth, splash in puddles and explore for worms, snails and spiders. In addition we sow, plant, water, weed and harvest a variety of fruit, vegetables and flowers,and rake up leaves, according to the seasons.

Children who arrive in the morning.
In the mornings, at 9.15, please bring the children to the back door of the building. If you arrive late, and the back door is closed, please ring the bell at the front door.

After much experimentation, we have found it best to enter via the back door. The children go straight upstairs  where they change their shoes, hang up their coats and then choose their activities or join a group. On Thursday mornings they go upstairs, use the loo, and prepare for going outside.

At the end of the morning they will reverse the process and exit via the back door, going down to the Lower Churchyard. Collecting them from the gate there has worked very well and we intend to continue with this. If it is pouring with rain, they may well be inside at 12.15 or 12.30 so collection will be from the back door, rather than the gate.

Two-year old group (Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings)
Please enter the building through the back door, at the same time as the older children, but walk with your child across the Lower Hall and go up the front stairs to enter your child’s classroom via the door at the top, where the adult will be  waiting to welcome you.

Afternoon-only children
Please come to the front door at 1.00, ringing the door-bell if the door is closed.

  • A full set of spare clothes, clearly labelled, in a labelled bag
  • Extra clothing for the ‘bottom half’, which is more likely to need changing.
  • Nappies and wipes, or extra pants, as appropriate.
  • A pair of labelled comfortable indoor shoes.  These should be of a kind that your child can put on and take off by her/himself.  Crocs plimsolls and slippers with adjustable Velcro straps are popular choices
  • If your child has any special dietary requirements/food allergies, please provide a list of foods to avoid. NB we provide cutlery, napkins, plates, cups and drinks, so no need to bring these.
  • A list of ideas and suggestions for lunchboxes is available on our website
  • Both the spare clothes and the indoor shoes will be kept in the classroom.


St Paul’s Community Centre
St. Paul’s Church
Rectory Grove
London SW4 0DX


We welcome children from 2 until 6 years old.

Session Times

2-yr old group
Children from 2 years old (or nearly) until around 2 ½
Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, 9:15-12:15

Main Group
Children 2 ½ years to 6 years.
Mornings  (9.15-12.15 )
Extra morning time (12.15-12.30)
Lunchtimes (12.30- 2.00)
Whole day sessions (9.15-4.00)
Afternoon- only  session (1.00- 4.00)

‘Extra school’ sessions:

Teddy Tennis- Tuesday 12.35-1.05

Wednesday 12.35-1.05

Thursday 12.35-1.05

The child can only develop fully by means of experience in his environment. We call such experience ‘work’.

Dr Maria Montessori