Okemos Montessori Radmoor History
The Montessori Radmoor School, founded in 1968, practices the philosophy of education started by Dr. Maria Montessori (see details below). As the first Montessori school in Mid-Michigan, our school started out with an enrollment of 18 children in an Okemos church. In 1969 two more preschool classes were organized and the school moved to larger quarters in St. John's East. An elementary junior class was added to the program in the fall of 1973.
In July of 1974, after several years of searching, 8.5 acres of land on Mt. Hope road was purchased as the site for a future Montessori School. A special permit was obtained from the Meridian Township, and the development campaign that had begun earlier in the year was expanded. The school on Mt. Hope opened it's doors on January 6th, 1976.
Our school continued its pattern of growth by expanding to an elementary program and opening an addition to the existing building on Sunday, May 3rd, 1981. Almost ten years later the west wing was added to house the toddler program and a beautiful multi-purpose room. January of 1990 marked the opening of the toddler program.
In 2003 a second toddler room and new entrance was added to the building.
See our complete history as documented by Mr. & Mrs. Jake Ferris, two of our founding members!
Today, the Montessori Radmoor School enrolls approximately 160 children from ages 18 months to 12 years of age. The toddler programs, three preschool programs and elementary programs utilize the Montessori philosophy to cultivate and motivate from within the child, his or her own natural desire to learn.
All though Dr. Montessori died in 1952, her work continues. We are proud to share in the dream of Dr. Montessori along with thee close 5,000 private and approximately 200 public Montessori schools in the United States. Montessori schools exist around the world in Russia, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, South Africa, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mexico, Columbia, India and many other countries.
Maria Montessori: A Brief Biography
"One becomes a well balanced adult only if one has fully been a child"
- Dr. Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori was, in many ways, ahead of her time. Born in the town of Chiaravalle, in the province of Ancona, Italy, in 1870, she became the first female physician in Italy upon her graduation from medical school in 1896. Shortly afterwards, she was chosen to represent Italy at two different women's conferences, in Berlin in 1896 and in London in 1900.
In her medical practice, her clinical observations led her to analyze how children learn, and she concluded that they build themselves from what they find in their environment. Shifting her focus from the body to the mind, she returned to the university in 1901, this time to study psychology and philosophy. In 1904, she was made a professor of anthropology at the University of Rome.
Her desire to help children was so strong, however, that in 1906 she gave up both her university chair and her medical practice to work with a group of sixty young children of working parents in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. It was there that she founded the first Casa dei Bambini, or "Children's House." What ultimately became the Montessori method of education developed there, based upon Montessori's scientific observations of these children's almost effortless ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings, as well as their tireless interest in manipulating materials. Every piece of equipment, every exercise, every method Montessori developed was based on what she observed children to do "naturally," by themselves, unassisted by adults.
Children teach themselves. This simple but profound truth inspired Montessori's lifelong pursuit of educational reform, methodology, psychology, teaching, and teacher training--all based on her dedication to furthering the self-creating process of the child.
Maria Montessori made her first visit to the United States in 1913, the same year that Alexander Graham Bell and his wife Mabel founded the Montessori Educational Association at their Washington, DC, home. Among her other strong American supporters were Thomas Edison and Helen Keller.
In 1915, she attracted world attention with her "glass house" schoolroom exhibit at the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco. On this second U.S. visit, she also conducted a teacher training course and addressed the annual conventions of both the National Education Association and the International Kindergarten Union. The committee that brought her to San Francisco included Margaret Wilson, the daughter of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.
The Spanish government invited her to open a research institute in 1917. In 1919, she began a series of teacher training courses in London. In 1922, she was appointed a government inspector of schools in her native Italy, but because of her opposition to Mussolini's fascism, she was forced to leave Italy in 1934. She traveled to Barcelona, Spain, and was rescued there by a British cruiser in 1936, during the Spanish Civil War. She opened the Montessori Training Centre in Laren, Netherlands, in 1938, and founded a series of teacher training courses in India in 1939.
In 1940, when India entered World War II, she and her son, Mario Montessori, were interned as enemy aliens, but she was still permitted to conduct training courses. Later, she founded the Montessori Center in London (1947). She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times--in 1949, 1950, and 1951.
Maria Montessori died in Noordwijk, Holland, in 1952, but her work lives on through the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), the organization she founded in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1929 to carry on her work.
"Content courtesy of the North American Montessori Teachers' Association. © NAMTA. All rights reserved."