Chiang Mai Montessori School was founded in June, 2010, by Nukun (Aer) Techo and Dan Walker with the generous help and support of their families. Aer and Dan met in Chiang Mai in 2003 when Aer was finishing her bachelor degree in English and Dan, a professional massage therapist from London, was in Thailand studying Thai massage. They have been together ever since and have two boys.
The school you see today started, as many ambitious projects do, as a dream. Aer always had a natural brilliance for working with young children and after graduating with high honours in English she became a kindergarten teacher. The schools she worked at in Chiang Mai, however, left Aer feeling unfulfilled; the activities she had to do with the children were uninteresting, there seemed to be little direction or purpose to their learning and the schools’ leadership appeared to be focused on the business than the children.
On a chance visit to Chiang Rai in 2005 Aer visited a Montessori school and was enthralled by what she saw: children working independently with a remarkable sense of harmony in the classroom. She left Thailand to study the AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) method of Montessori at the world famous college in Hampstead, London (again graduating in the top two of her year), and from there she went straight into a teaching position leading class of 30 children in the London borough of Chelsea.
Aer loved her work and the children dearly but by late 2009 she was ready to move home with Dan (now her husband) to pursue her dream of starting a school. Although the task before them seemed impossible, there were no other Montessori schools in Chiang Mai at the time and for Aer the prospect of starting the first one felt like a call of duty, not to mention an immense privilege. 2010 turned out to be a busy year for Dan and Aer. Building of the school began in January; the school opened in June; Aer gave birth to their first child, Finn, in August and a new class for 18 month to 3-year-olds, the Toddler Community, opened in October!
With the addition of a second Children’s House in November 2012 the total number of children grew to 60. An elementary program for 6-9’s is due to open in 2014.