Montessori Schools

Montessori schools

There are currently over 3,000 privately held Montessori schools in the USA, as well as several hundred public schools that include Montessori programs (see below). Most schools have a primary program (from 3-6 years) and often a lower elementary (6-9 years). Upper elementary programs (9-12 years) are less common, although about one school in eight will have this program. At this time Montessori junior highs and high schools are rare. However, the first public Montessori high school in the country, Clark Montessori located in Cincinnati, Ohio, was started in 1994. Several pilot Montessori junior highs, like the Arthur Morgan School in North Carolina, have opened based on writings by Montessori on erdkinder, or "earth children", which was a term Montessori coined for children ages 12 through 18. L & L Montessori in Southport, NC, teaches children from age 3 years up to 8th grade. In 1997, New Century Montessori High School in Grand Rapids, MI, was established as one of the first public Montessori high schools in the country. It graduated its first class of 32 seniors in 2000. Some of these graduates had been involved in the Grand Rapids Montessori schools since Pre-K and Kindergarten. Grand Rapids Public Schools continues to offer one of the most comprehensive Montessori programs in the country. Schools such as Shelton, Barrie, New Gate, and the Visitation Academy of St. Louis teach students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade while the Hershey School provides Montessori philosophy and practice for the Middle School and High School years.

Montessori programs in public schools

A survey conducted in 1981 collected data from 25 of the approximately 50 school districts nationwide known to have Montessori programs at the time. The only other study of public Montessori programs is much more recent. During school year 1990-91, this study received responses from 63 of the 120 school districts or schools to whom surveys were sent. Results from this study indicate that the number of students in the schools or school districts averaged 233, with an average of 10 teachers per program. A total of 32, or 58%, of the schools surveyed reported that they were magnet schools. A total of 69% of the Montessori programs shared a building with other programs. District funding for the training of Montessori teachers was provided in 66% of the districts. Only 42% of the programs provided the three-year age span of three-, four-, and five-year-olds. This is indicative of the fact that the degree to which particular districts implement the Montessori model varies.

A total of 16 of the 57 schools charged tuition for some part of the program. About two thirds of the programs provided free transportation. In addition, two thirds of the districts reported that additional staff were used in the Montessori magnet schools. These factors can add to the overall costs of the program.