Children continue legacy of late nursery founder with pop-up restaurant fundraiser

16:15 21 May 2014

Pop up restaurant at Rainbow Montessori School in West Hampstead.
 Kitchen staff Ayaan Sheikh, Robyn Arron and Kelyan Hopper. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Pop up restaurant at Rainbow Montessori School in West Hampstead. Kitchen staff Ayaan Sheikh, Robyn Arron and Kelyan Hopper. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email

The Rainbow Montessori School Nurseries in Highgate Village and West Hampstead live up to their name – each wall is painted a different shade of blue, pink, yellow or green.

Linda MaddenLinda Madden

It is the legacy of founder Linda Madden, who poured her life’s work into running four schools that preach creative and independent learning in a beautiful and cheerful setting.

Tragically, she lost her battle with cancer at the age of 54 three years ago.

But her husband John Madden, the school’s director, and her mother, Rita Gromb, work tirelessly to keep her memory alive by upholding her ethos and encouraging pupils to run fundraising activities for a cancer charity.

“She would put colours that you wouldn’t think worked together, like yellows with greens, but that was Linda. She was unique” said Mrs Gromb, 86, of North Finchley.

Pop up restaurant at Rainbow Montessori School in West Hampstead. Picture: Nigel SuttonPop up restaurant at Rainbow Montessori School in West Hampstead. Picture: Nigel Sutton

“Its so cheerful, you walk in and the children are so happy. We also have a teaching college where we train Montessori teachers and Linda always hand-picked the ones she thought were the best.

“We have been told that we are nearly the best Montessori school in London so now we are striving to make it the very best.”

Fundraising events range from cake sales to the school’s annual fair in aid of Look Good, Feel Better – a charity which hosts make-up and hair workshops to boost the self-esteem of cancer patients.

Last week, nine and 10-year-old pupils cooked and served a lavish three-course meal at a “pop-up restaurant” for parents at the Rainbow Montessori Junior School, in Woodchurch Road, West Hampstead.

Fish fingers and potato waffles were strictly off the menu, replaced with Cornish crab cakes, goats cheese and asparagus tart, lamb tagine, salmon en croûte and pomegranate cheese cake.

The children practised for weeks to perfect their dishes, but the hard work paid off as all 30 parents said the quality of the food was ‘‘restaurant standard’’.

The school’s food specialist, Hiroe Fujimoto, started hosting the pop-up restaurant fundraiser shortly after Mrs Madden died.

Mrs Gromb thinks this year’s offering was ‘‘the best ever”.

“It was lovely,” said Mrs Gromb, who often helps out at the school. “The food was locally sourced and was very good. We do this once a year but now we are going to do it more often.”

Most of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Look Good, Feel Better. The rest of the money goes towards funding trips and activities for pupils.

The school is based in West Hampstead but has nurseries in Highgate’s Pond Square and in Queen’s Park.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

The 2000-year-old relics originally from the West Bank are being marketed for $1million dollars in London as part of a unique exhibition

55 minutes ago

The number of council properties sold in Camden and Haringey in the last year has been revealed.

Yesterday, 18:04

Highgate residents are protesting against plans for a large home to be built between mansions of “great distinction”.

Yesterday, 17:46

An 89-year-old pensioner from Kentish Town who has severe dementia has been found.

Yesterday, 16:08

A group of angry Swiss Cottage residents have launched a campaign group to oppose plans by a private school to build new classrooms

Yesterday, 14:33

A lorry and a number 17 bus have crashed in Tufnell Park Road, the residential street being used as the main diversion during the A1 closure.

Yesterday, 14:26

A wheelchair-bound mum remains scared to leave the house, as the bus driver who ran her over at a zebra crossing was banned from driving for six months

Yesterday, 13:05

The funeral of a much-loved Hampstead Heath character who was killed in a road accident is being held tomorrow.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now