Do-it-yourself education

Andrew and Aldona Sieja  have just opened a new Montessori school in Walnut Grove. - Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times
Andrew and Aldona Sieja have just opened a new Montessori school in Walnut Grove.
— image credit: Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times

It was frustration with her employers’ approach to educating children that led teacher Aldona Sieja to go into business for herself.

It was her husband’s idea.

“Let’s open up our own,” Andrew Sieja said after listening to his wife complain that the school where she worked was Montessori “in name only.”

Aldona Sieja, a second-generation teacher, strongly supports the principles developed by legendary Italian educator Maria Montessori.

Both the Sieja children have attended a Montessori school, one of 20,000 worldwide where children learn at their own pace in an environment where they are free to move about and choose activities that interest them.

The first Montessori school the Siejas opened was run from the basement of their house.

She was the school director, and he taught art.

It was a success.

Then the couple built the New Horizon Montessori School in Coquitlam, with Andrew Sieja hammering nails with the construction crew.

Now, seven years later the family has moved to Langley’s Walnut Grove area  where they have just opened their second campus.

The just-completed modernist cube at 20338 91A Avenue is an airy, brightly-coloured space with three well-stocked classrooms, huge windows  and high ceilings.

Each classroom has its own entrances and exits to the outside.

The Siejas have moved into a house next to the Langley school with their children.

During a Tuesday visit, Andrew Sieja said their kids have been teasing them about the radiant floor heating in the new school, mock-complaining that it’s better than anything they have in their home.

The only thing missing Tuesday was a custom-designed outdoor playground that had yet to arrive from Toronto.

Its absence won’t affect the start of classes in September, when the school will offer full daycare, preschool and all-day kindergarten programs.

More information about the school can be found at




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