Montessori Community School: Celebrating 50 Years of Providing an Education for Life in Hawaii

boy and girl reading a book

by Katie Gallo

A History To Be Proud Of…

Montessori Community School was founded as Katrice Montessori School by Marilyn and Wayne Weber in 1972. Established on the grounds of the First Christian Church on Liholiho Street in Makiki, the school was designed to accommodate the special needs of the Weber’s daughter, Patricia, a child with down syndrome. At the start, there were just five students in a 3-6 year-old classroom. Over the years, the school grew to include children from all around the island with wide-ranging abilities and backgrounds. 

In 1982, the school changed its name to Montessori Community School – emphasizing the evolved vision of the educational experience offered – one that included the people and resources in the community as well as the community of children, parents, and teachers within the school itself. 

The Elementary program originated with one Lower Elementary class (grades 1-3) which grew in numbers until the commitment to create an Upper Elementary class (grades 4-6) was made in 1981. In the fall of 1987, Montessori Community School expanded its programs again – this time with its first toddler class, consisting of 18 month-olds, so the school could meet the increasing demand for quality child care in Hawaii. All of these growing programs found a home at Montessori Community School’s current Nehoa Street campus, in the spring of 1988. Montessori Community School continues to grow and is currently searching for a permanent campus to accommodate the additional classroom space and other needs for its current 200 enrolled students. 

montessori community school building
Montessori students are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge.

The Montessori Community School Of Today…

An independent school that cultivates a child’s love of learning, and the only school in Hawaii that is fully accredited from Preschool through Sixth Grade by both the American Montessori Society and Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, Montessori Community School offers an inviting and engaging learning environment. The school embraces a holistic approach, where teachers certified in the Montessori Method guide each child’s learning to acquire knowledge and develop skills that will last a lifetime. 

A child-centered educational approach, the Montessori Method is based on the research into childhood development and scientific observations of Dr. Maria Montessori. It is time-tested, with over 100 years of success in diverse cultures around the world. Classrooms are created with students’ needs in mind, with specially designed learning materials that encourage open-ended exploration of concepts. Montessori Community School’s authentic Montessori program includes multiage classrooms that foster peer learning, uninterrupted work periods, and guided choice of work activities. 

In every classroom, students progress at their own pace through a relevant curriculum that challenges them to think critically and to work collaboratively, developing skills for life in the 21st century. In addition to fundamental lessons in areas such as math, geometry, and language, children experience learning in the arts, sciences, and technology. Montessori Community School graduates report that they were not only well-prepared for the academic rigors of secondary school, but that they had the confidence to meet the challenges of higher education, careers, and family life.

In the 2022-2023 school year, Montessori Community School will be celebrating 50 years of providing a premier Montessori education on Oahu. 

“We present a unique and proven model for developing the whole child. Montessori children ‘learn how to learn’ in a culture that cultivates curiosity and respects their inner drive toward independence in thought, emotion, creativity, expression, style and leadership,” says Head of School, Marjie Carroll.

kids with paper cranes
On International Peace Day, MCS students gather at the Tree House Playground to sing the Peace Song.

Such a historic achievement has only been made possible as a result of a dedicated community of educators, administrators, families, and Board of Trustees, who have put their heart and soul into the MCS mission of providing an “education for life” that Dr. Maria Montessori envisioned.   

Many current and former administrators and staff have dedicated decades to the school and remain key figures in Montessori Community School’s history.  The school enjoys ongoing relationships with many legacy families whose parents attended Montessori Community School and whose children now enjoy the same Montessori experience. 

Montessori Community School is a thriving community that looks forward to serving future generations of students and families in Hawaii.

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