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 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.