The history of Countryside Montessori School is closely linked to the growth of Montessori education in the United States. Countryside is one of the oldest Montessori schools in St. Louis and among the earliest that have operated continuously in the United States. The school’s roots stretch back to the early 1960s, when there was a sudden resurgence of interest in Montessori education across the country.
Interest in Montessori education has grown steadily in the United States. From one school in 1958, to 24 in 1962, to 100 in 1964 (when Countryside opened), to over 4,000 today, the movement that some said would not last has clearly taken firm hold in the United States. Countryside Montessori School is proud to have layed a significant part in the growth of Montessori education in this country. Through the years, over 2,000 children have experienced the joy of Montessori learning at Countryside. One student, Susan Burns, attended Countryside from 1968 to 1972 and returned there after graduating from college to complete her Montessori internship. She became an AMS-certified teacher and went to teach in Arizona.
Several other Countryside alumni have returned to the school to do their senior high school projects and to be junior counselors for Countryside’s summer program. We have also had quite a few “second generation” students attend Countryside — they are children of former students.
Over the years, Countryside Montessori School’s commitment to quality has continued unabated. Today, the school’s well-equipped and cheerful classrooms and extensive playground continue to provide an excellent environment for children to grow physically, socially, and intellectually.
The school’s faculty was recently described as “extremely impressive” by Alice Renton, an AMS consultant from Colorado. “What I saw invariably was adults who are very aware, very conscious, very loving to your children,” said Mrs. Renton. “Everyone who is working with your children is very committed to the Montessori view of the child, which is that each child is unique.”
But the success of Countryside Montessori School is not due solely to its staff and facilities. Special mention must also be made of the parents of Countryside children. Without their many years of interest and support, Countryside Montessori School could not have been possible.