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50 Years of Montessori Open House

Watch student demonstrations and performances
Learn about the past, present, and future of Montessori
Mingle with families and alumni
Discover Montessori programs across the district

Saturday, February 10, 2024
1:00–4:00 p.m.


MacDowell Montessori
6415 W. Mount Vernon Ave.
Milwaukee, 53213

Milwaukee Public Schools established the first public Montessori classrooms in Milwaukee in 1973. Follow us as we celebrate throughout the 2023–24 school year, and join us for an open house event in February. The entire city is invited!

Montessori Geometric SolidsThen & Now

Students from both the late 70’s and 2023, work with Geometric Solids.  Geometric Solids help students develop their spatial reasoning skills, they also learn how to form cursive letters by engaging the hands, as the solids are the same shapes needed to form cursive letters.

MPS Montessori Schools: Changing the Landscape

For more than 100 years, Montessori schools have offered a learning model that diverges from traditional schools. The Montessori method is praised for helping children develop life skills, critical thinking, self-confidence, and creativity.

MPS has been a leader in delivering Montessori to the Milwaukee community since 1973. From the first four classrooms to eight schools across the city, including a comprehensive K3–grade 12 school, MPS makes it possible for children to have a complete Montessori experience.

The Milwaukee education landscape was forever changed in 1976 through concentrated desegregation efforts that included the opening of MacDowell Montessori that year. MacDowell became a leader in desegregation efforts and all eyes were on the school as one of the first desegregated schools in the city.

MPS has received national recognition for its Montessori program. In the book The Science Behind the Genius, author Angeline Stoll Lillard described her longitudinal research study with students from Craig Montessori School in MPS, highlighting the science behind the Montessori philosophy. MacDowell Montessori, as the only public K3–grade 12 Montessori school in the nation, was also featured in the documentary Inside Montessori in 2018.

The district is committed to providing a world-class Montessori experience, and this begins by holding teachers to high standards. MPS Montessori teachers are required to hold a teaching license from the State of Wisconsin and must also hold or earn a Montessori credential from the American Montessori Society (AMS) or Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).

MPS Montessori students are succeeding! Each year, students are moving on to top-level colleges, technical training, and military service. At the high school level, students receive the support and direction they need to follow their dreams and accomplish their career goals.

Montessori Moveable AlphabetThen & Now

Here, primary students from the late 70’s and 2023, work with the Moveable Alphabet.  The Moveable Alphabet helps children construct words before they are able to write with a pencil and paper.

What Makes MPS Montessori Unique?

MPS is proud to be home to the largest cluster of Montessori schools in the country. Each year, about 4,000 students are enrolled in eight MPS Montessori schools. As public schools, families pay no tuition, compared to tuition of $12,000–$15,000 in private Montessori schools across the country.

To expand access to Montessori, the district offers bilingual (English/Spanish) education at Riley through the only dual language Montessori program in the region. Students learn both English and Spanish as part of the curriculum.

The MPS Montessori Strategic Plan was developed to support all eight schools in the district and help drive student and teacher recruitment in alignment with district goals. Through the strategic plan, MPS employs a Montessori Coordinator who supports Montessori schools, implements the strategic plan, and ensures that school needs are being met.

With eight schools in the district, MPS has a high need for Montessori teachers to deliver a quality program. The district is partnering with two Montessori teacher credentialing programs—Association Montessori Internationale and American Montessori Society—to expand Montessori training in Milwaukee.

Montessori education has a rich history in Milwaukee and was at the forefront of desegregation efforts in the district. MacDowell Montessori School opened in 1976 as one of the first desegregated schools in Milwaukee. MPS Montessori programs strive for equity and access for students from all backgrounds.

Montessori Dressing FramesThen & Now

Primary students from the late 70’s and 2023, work with Dressing Frames. Each frame offers practice in one skill of dressing such as using a zipper, while improving fine motor skills and hand eye coordination.

50 Years of Montessori Education Timeline

Revised Board-Approved Montessori Strategic Plan

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Montessori Coordinator:
Abigail Rausch

Phone: 414-475-8571

© Milwaukee Public Schools 2023
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