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History

We began as Wildflower Montessori School  in 1985 as the dream of teacher/director/owner Barbara Crockett became a reality.   A charming little white,  rented house, on the corner of Woodward Ave. and Cooktown Rd. opened its doors with love.  That first year, fifteen pioneering families enrolled their children in Ruston's first Montessori Children's House.  The program was unusual for Ruston because it mixed three- to six-year-olds in one classroom, and because all children, even three-year-olds attended five-mornings-a-week.

Within its initial two years of operation the State of Louisiana certified WMS as a Montessori school and in 1988 WMS sponsored Montessori training for the first of many interns fulfilling a commitment to staffing each classroom with a fully trained Montessori teacher and assistant.

From the beginning parental participation in school workdays, field trips, and conferences was extremely high.  Today it remains a hallmark of Ruston's Montessori school community.

While the school began as a for-profit teacher-owned establishment, it was always the founder's intention eventually to convert the school into a parent-governed, non-profit organization.  That happened about seven years later.

With robust enrollment and the help of three families who each agreed to co-sign the school's first loan, WMS was able to purchase the land and metal building at its current location (700 West Woodward Ave.) and begin renovations to transform the large warehouse into beautiful classrooms, office, and storage.  The increased space meant the school could expand to 50+ students.

In 1992, the Barbara Crockett moved away from Ruston. Renée Hunt agreed to resign from the Board of Trustees to become the school's second director, a position she has held for many years.

Eventually, as our preschool students got older, families began to express an interest in adding a Montessori elementary school.  So, grade by grade, and over the years, we added classrooms and teachers – maintaining our commitment to follow the Montessori philosophy and provide Ruston families with a non-traditional approach to elementary school.  And, today, our school is spread out over three buildings, and two parcels of land.  We are proud to serve children from preschool through middle school.

As the years passed, as our junior high students were competing on the state level for science fairs and representing the school in our community, a most unusual request was brought before the school's administration.  The preteens came asking that we consider a more "formal" name for their school.  After much heart felt consideration, the Board of Directors voted to change the name to Montessori School of Ruston.  It is important to note... we always remember our Widlflower roots and will always be wildflowers at heart!

We are consistently making efforts to move towards compliance as a Green School, so hopefully in a few years, in this "history" message, will be the date of our Green School Certification.

Montessori School is in compliance with the American Montessori Society Code of Ethics, and has maintained Full Member AMS Affiliated School status since our early beginnings.  We are approved as a State Certified Montessori School by the Louisiana Department of Education, and are members of the Louisiana Montessori Association.  

A special thank you to Barbara Crockett for having the vision.  

 

MARIA MONTESSORI, M.D.

Maria Montessori, M.D., (1870-1952) was a leader in the field of early childhood education. Her outstanding success first at Rome’s Orthophrenic School and later in 1907 at the first “Children’s House” was attributed primarily to her methods and materials.

Dr. Montessori discovered that children have an inherent drive for independence and that their physical, mental and emotional development is linked to purposeful movement. She observed that even very young children have exceptional powers of concentration. Most importantly, she noted that children learn in a manner that is unique to each age – the very young child unconsciously absorbs his environment. She concluded that adults do not teach children – children teach themselves.

A Montessori classroom is a multi-age setting in which children learn from each other and because of each other. Younger children are excited to “see what is coming” as they observe older children work. Older children reinforce their knowledge as they share it with younger children. Everyone learns to take responsibility for themselves, the group and the environment.

Montessori staff prepares a beautiful, rich and ordered environment so that each child will feel safe, secure, challenged and respected. When the child first becomes intensely absorbed in his work, he has taken the initial step toward genuine self-discipline. In the words of Dr. Montessori, “A child who can control himself is free to learn.” Our job, as educators, is to assist this process.

The Montessori teacher is often described as the spark that links each child to the environment. She guides the child through the curriculum, based upon observations of each child’s interests and periods of readiness. The Montessori Method of education is oriented toward the experience of learning so that children learn how to learn. In this way, Dr. Montessori described her approach as a “help to life” rather than an educational system in the conventional sense.

A child who is observant, organized, excited, self-disciplined and task-oriented discovers the feeling of self-confidence which accompanies a job well done. Such a child becomes a life-long learner.

© Montessori School of Ruston.
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