Accreditations & Affiliations
Montessori Community School is a member of the Utah Montessori Council (UMC) and the International Montessori Council (IMC). In February 2021 we received accreditation through the IMC. All lead guides have Montessori teaching credentials or are working to achieve credentials that are recognized by Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE). MACTE is the international standard setting and accrediting body for Montessori teacher education.
Montessori Community School is a license exempt facility through the Child Care Licensing division of the Utah Department of Health. Current documentation is posted in the lobby of the school.
The school strictly adheres to the rules and requirements for License Exempt facilities which can be found here: https://childcarelicensing.utah.gov/child-care-providers/rules-and-requirements/
History of MCS
Robyn Eriwata-Buchanan and her husband Robert Buchanan became interested in Montessori education when they were looking for a school for their first son, Jordyn. They established their first Montessori school in 1985 and now have over thirty-three years’ experience of providing excellent Montessori education in Salt Lake City.
The Third Avenue Montessori opened in September 1985 with one classroom. In 1987, Robyn and Bob continued operating the Third Avenue School and built a new school on Second Avenue with three classrooms. This enabled them to offer their first full day classes.
In 1989, they opened the Cottonwood Canyon facility, where they offered both part and full-time placements in three classrooms. In 1994, with the addition of the fourth campus, they began offering a separate Elementary class as well as Early Childhood at the Tenth East Montessori School. In 2005, they began a Dual Language (Spanish/English) program in one of the Early Childhood classes and MCS now has two Early Childhood Dual Language classrooms.
For several years, Robyn and Bob searched for an appropriate facility where they could combine all four of their school communities under one roof, allowing them to truly form a Montessori “Community School.” In September 2005, they found just the place. They renovated and opened their new facility at 2416 East 1700 South in Salt Lake City under the name of Montessori Community School of Salt Lake City in August 2006.
From 2008-2015 MCS sustained a middle school program for 7th and 8th years. The impetus for starting the program was to meet the needs of families who wanted their 6th years to be able to continue in Montessori. After conducting research, our current Director of Curriculum worked with our new middle school teacher to create a curriculum which reflected best practices while incorporating our vision of the Montessori method. Eventually we were able to send the middle school teacher to a training program out of state where she received her secondary Montessori certification. Over the years our middle school enrollment ranged from one student to five students in its final year. While it remained a priority for the school, other programs were sustaining it financially. When enrollment dropped again, for a variety of reasons, we realized that the low numbers could not sustain our vision for the program. We made the difficult decision to discontinue the middle school program. However, many of our 6th year graduates now have the option to attend another Montessori school that offers both middle school and high school, and our former middle school teacher now works there, which provides a sense of continuity.
MCS currently offers Infant, Toddler, Early Childhood, Lower Elementary, and Upper Elementary School classes. There are over 200 students currently enrolled at the school – representing different ethnicities, races, religions and varied family compositions. For several of our students English is not their first language. Our school welcomes and honors the diversity that exists within our community.
Our excellent teachers are professional, creative, enthusiastic, and devoted to the Montessori philosophy. At least one teacher in each of our classrooms is Montessori trained and certified. In most classrooms we employ a co-teacher model where two teachers are certified and can take turns giving lessons. Many of our certified teachers have been on our faculty between eight and thirty-three years.
Our history, our past students, parents and teachers have contributed greatly to our vibrant school community and to making it what it is today and we look forward to continuing this dynamic for many years to come.
What is Montessori?
The Montessori method of teaching aims for the fullest possible development of the whole child, ultimately preparing him for life’s many rich experiences. Complemented by her training in medicine, psychology and anthropology, Dr. Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952) developed her philosophy of education based upon actual observations of children.
Children pass through sensitive periods of development early in life. Dr. Montessori described the child’s mind between the time of birth and six years of age as the “absorbent mind.” It is during this stage that a child has a tremendous ability to learn and assimilate from the world around him, without conscious effort. During this time, children are particularly receptive to certain external stimuli. A Montessori teacher recognizes and takes advantage of these highly perceptive stages through the introduction of materials and activities which are specially designed to stimulate the intellect.
Encouraged to focus her attention on one particular quality, the child works at her own optimum level – in an environment where beauty and orderliness are emphasized and appreciated. A spontaneous love of “work” is revealed as the child is given the freedom (within boundaries) to make her own choices.
Montessori teachers are trained facilitators in the classroom, always ready to assist and direct. Their purpose is to stimulate the child’s enthusiasm for learning and to guide it, without interfering with the child’s natural desire to teach himself and become independent. Each child works through his individual cycle of activities, and learns to truly understand according to his own unique needs and capabilities.
Everything in a Montessori classroom has a specific use or purpose. There is nothing in the prepared environment that the child cannot see or touch. All of the furniture and equipment is scaled down to the child’s size and is within easy reach.
A quality Montessori classroom has a busy, productive atmosphere where joy and respect abound. Within such an enriched environment, freedom, responsibility, and social and intellectual development spontaneously flourish!
Outcomes of Montessori
Studies have demonstrated that children educated within a Montessori system are more prepared academically and socially than their peers. They are more advanced in their ability to solve problems and express themselves, and they tend to enjoy the educational experiences more than their peers in traditional settings.
- Students learn how to learn
- Students become independent
- Students are active learners
- Students learn to manage their time
- Competency and skills in all areas of the curriculum
- Deep personal satisfaction in learning through their own efforts.
- Learn to trust themselves and their own judgments.
- Can acknowledge mistakes and work to correct them in an atmosphere of support and respect.
- Take ownership of their work and their environment, and develop self-direction.
- Develop an innate drive to learn and a natural love for learning that lasts a lifetime.