INSIDE MONTESSORI shines a light on how Montessori schools are working to support children in communities across the country right now.
These powerful stories of success for children from toddler age to high school illustrate why so many parents, children, and educators have embraced this approach and why the best practices of Montessori education should be available more broadly.
Lumin Education operates in one of the poorest communities in Dallas. Longitudinal studies of graduates of their program that ends with third grade demonstrate high school graduation rates of 95% and 89% of these students go on to attend college, much higher than for similarly situated students in the same community. At the core of the Lumin Education philosophy is a commitment to start early and engage parents. As a result, gaps in education are closing and graduation rates and college attendance are growing significantly.
St. Paul, Minnesota
Cornerstone Montessori is situated next to a public housing development where families from all over the world are transitioning to new lives. Students are enjoying measurable, transformative outcomes while discovering new possibilities for creating a diverse community that supports families and embraces their differences.
Beyond Cornerstone Montessori, Montessori Partners Serving All Children has been instrumental in the founding of a Spanish language Children’s House in South Minneapolis, an American Indian program that offers both Dakota and Ojibwe language, and the first Hmong Montessori program in the world. All of these environments demonstrate the unparalleled adaptability of the Montessori approach as it respects and builds on the cultural experience of children and their families.
St. Louis, Missouri
This charter school demonstrates how a community’s intentional commitment to fighting racism intersects with its Montessori philosophy, transforming students, families, teachers, and the community beyond the school. The racial tension and segregation experienced in St. Louis led City Garden’s executive director Christie Huck and her colleagues to establish a racially integrated Montessori program that practices the grace, courtesy, and comprehensive learning that grounds the Montessori approach.
Minneapolis, Minnesota/Glenwood City, Wisconsin
Lake Country is a 40-year-old independent Montessori school that serves children from three years old through eighth grade. This story focuses on how the school empowers adolescents. The Lake Country junior high program is highly regarded as a model for applying the Montessori methodology to adolescent education, focusing on the developmental needs of the adolescent and nurturing their nascent adulthood. The junior high program offers opportunities for every student to experience working with their hands on a Land School in rural Wisconsin, as well as experiential learning through an all class Odyssey trip and100-mile bike trip. These character-building experiences allow adolescents to discover themselves as the community oriented, independent young adults they are becoming and their individual styles of leadership.
The Milwaukee Public Schools is home to the largest district Montessori program in the country, with seven schools serving students from pre-school through high school. This story focuses on MacDowell Montessori’s high school program.
The history, growth and success of public Montessori schools in Milwaukee demonstrate how key elements, including the availability of high-level teacher training, internal school district support, and a strong parent and educator advocacy community have come together to make widespread Montessori education possible. This success has come with challenges, from securing public funding for early childhood programs to the push for licensure through Montessori training.