Montessori School of Maui
Receives LEED Certification!

Front Page Maui News: Dec.23, 2009

MAKAWAO - Two new buildings at the Montessori School of Maui have been built incorporating LEED Sealenvironmentally friendly features that have won the school certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

LEED is the nation's leading program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings, according to a news release announcing the certification

The new buildings' features include electric generation from solar panels and irrigation with captured rainwater.

John Bendon, principal at Green Building LLC, a LEED-accredited professional and project manager for the Montessori expansion, said he sees improvements at the Makawao campus as an example for other schools and institutions.

Photo by: Ron Dahlquist"By demonstrating the commitment to green building through the accomplishment of a LEED certification, Montessori shows both the kids and greater community that going green is a core value of the school," he said. "For the kids, having daily experiences within that cultural framework will ultimately help shape the way they view these issues and will hopefully provide benefits to Maui Nui as they grow up."

The $8 million school expansion provided two new buildings for students to attend theMontessori school, with its curriculum emphasizing a respect for nature and the environment.

"To be taught in a building powered by the sun and to play in gardens watered by captured rain is to instill conservation at the heart of each child's awareness," the certification award announcement says. "Enjoying substantial electricity cost savings, the solar-powered Montessori classrooms are working demonstrations for sustainable living. Students can now live what they are learning in ecology science classes."

One of the new buildings is a large multipurpose building with two auxiliary classrooms. A second building houses three additional classrooms. The expanded Montessori campus will serve up to 270 students and will be available to the community as a meeting and event venue. Current enrollment is approximately 225 MPBstudents in preschool through middle school.

The building methods for the school's expansion followed specifications from the U.S. Green Building Council, which provides standards for environmentally sustainable construction. The LEED certification includes a green building rating system developed by the council that inspects and certifies buildings based on energy use, water consumption, indoor air quality, eco-friendly materials and sustainable strategies.

Montessori Head of School Cynthia Winans-Burns said on-campus water management reflects the school's philosophy to respect the environment.

"We feel that the water issue is so important that our children need to know you have to think about water and the use of water," she said. "So the more visible this is the easier it will be for them to understand the role water plays in our environment and for all living things."

Montessori students are learning values they take on with them into adulthood.

"Most of us adults say this is what could be, and talk about what might be possible," Winans-Burns said. "Our children are growing up saying, 'This is what we do.' That, I think is the shift. Our children are leading the way in the curriculum studies."

She said one example is the student-run environmental committee that is helped by adult guides. During construction of the new buildings, students raised money from their recycling campaigns and donated the funds to purchase a solar hot water heater and photovoltaic cells for the campus.

"If you look at it as an inter-related experience, the operations of the school, curriculum and the buildings, are all entwined with each other. It's a system that's organic," Winans-Burns said.

The Montessori School of Maui was founded in 1978 in a Quonset hut rented from St. Rita's church in Haiku. In 1994, the school moved to its current location on Baldwin Avenue, a mile below Makawao town. In December 2001, with a gift from the Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation, the school was able to purchase the leased property, along with an adjacent parcel that brought the campus to nine acres.

Major funding for the recently completed campus expansion came from the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation, the Root Family Foundation, individual donors, the school community and a bond issue. Flansburg Associates of Boston was the architectural firm for the project.

CONGRATULATIONS To all of our past and present, Board Members, Families and Staff!


We could not have done this without your support!

The Montessori School of Maui is a non-profit organization.  We are a non-denomination, co-educational school enrolling and providing education to children without regard to race, nationality, gender, ethnic origins or religious beliefs.