History of Montessori Education

Maria Montessori was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome’s school of medicine. Dr. Maria Montessori gained recognition for her work in math and the established sciences. She also pursued study in the newer disciplines of the day: anthropology and psychiatry. These two areas of interest would be of great value to her in her work as a physician and scientist.

Her approach to education was based on her observations as well as her belief that the education of children was the means to create a better society. She observed children around the world and found that the laws of development she had recognized in Italy were universal and inherent in children of all races and cultures. The Montessori approach to education continues to be respected and practiced internationally today.

To be a woman actively practicing medicine in Italy 1896 was a remarkable enough achievement to bring public acclaim and notoriety. Yet it was her gift of truly seeing, understanding, and respecting children that led to her greatest accomplishment: the development of a unique approach to the education of children. Her approach remains as powerful, inventive and child-responsive today as it was in 1907 when she opened her first school. In fact, the Montessori Method mirrors the 21st Century Learning Skills that are heralded now as the critical skills every child must have to succeed in today’s world.

Arbor Montessori School History

Arbor Montessori School was founded in 1970 by 10 newly trained Montessori teachers. The school was originally called Montessori Child Development Center and had various locations around the city. In 1976, an elementary program was added to the already thriving Primary program. The school’s name was changed to Arbor Montessori School in 1987 when the Lavista building was built because of the beautiful wooded campus. At that time, there were four Primary classes: two at Lavista and two at rented space near Emory University.

By 1996 the school had grown to include two Upper Elementary classes and so the administration decided to move forward with a middle school model. The building was renovated and expanded, and, in 1997, the Adolescent Program was started. 2014 marked the inauguration of our first Toddler class followed by a second Toddler class in 2017. Arbor Montessori is one of only three schools in the metro area to provide a Montessori education from toddler through adolescence. Our new campus at 1434 Scott Blvd. in Decatur opened in August 2016. That campus houses two toddler classrooms and two primary classrooms.