In 1976, a small group of parents had a vision for a better education for their children. They wanted a school that would help their children “think, act, and will” for themselves. The school would respect and encourage each child’s natural curiosity, abilities, and interests with a focus on helping them on the road to independence—intellectual and physical. These parents founded Montessori in Redlands (MIR), which first gathered in the basement of a church with a handful of Primary (preschool)-aged children and a single teacher. The school now provides
a full curriculum for toddlers through 6th grade.
1970: Margie and Leon Armantrout
of Redlands and a small group of parents search for a quality
Montessori preschool for their children. They find a school
in the nearby city of San Bernardino. After four years, they
want to relocate closer to home.
1974: The parents find Montessori
teacher Nora Alamany, assistant Nancy Wilson, and secretary
Perri Monsour, to form the first staff. Leon Armantrout is
the first chair of the Board of Trustees.
1975: The Armantrout's sell
their classic MG car that they received as a wedding gift to
provide money for space and materials. They rent a classroom
in the United Methodist Church on Cajon Street in Redlands.
Montessori in Redlands officially opens its doors for preschool-age
children. From its inception, Montessori in Redlands is accredited
by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). The school grows from 12
students in September to classroom overflow of 30 by June.
That December begins the school's first Annual Holiday Sing
Program at the University of Redlands Memorial Chapel, still
an ongoing tradition.
moves to the site of a new company in town called ESRI, makers
of Geographic Information Systems software. ESRI owner Jack
Dangermond buys the old California First Bank in Irvine and
has the building moved to the site specifically for the school,
at 380 New York Street. There are 75 students in three classes,
and a long waiting list.
1978: Staff members Linda
Villa, a native of Redlands, and Aedin Artigue, a native of
Ireland, join the staff, beginning their ongoing 28-year history
with the school. The school adds additional classrooms, patterning
them after Primanti Montessori in Orange County.
1979: A Primary
classroom building was added to the campus. The first Elementary
class is established for ages 6-9. The school has 150 students
enrolled, doubling enrollment in just two years.
1982: The first
Upper Elementary class is established for ages 9-12.
1985: Christine Povero, a
1978 graduate of the Montessori Institute of Los Angeles, joins
the MIR staff beginning an ongoing 21-year
history. At this 10th anniversary of the school, there are
more than 200 students enrolled.
expansion plan called Project '90 begins the move toward a
new location to accommodate the growing numbers of students,
teachers and families.
1991: Jack Dangermond of Esri
purchases land to move the school to its current site at 1890
Orange Avenue at the corner of Nevada Street in Redlands, in
the middle of a 12-acre grapefruit grove divided east to west
by the Morey Arroyo, a dry riverbed. The land dates back to
1913 when the Yount family of citrus pioneers operated their
ranch. The new buildings open in September with Toddler, Primary,
and Lower and Upper Elementary classes.
1993: Implementation of a
full Montessori curriculum from infancy to adolescence becomes
part of the Montessori 2000 Project that also includes site
expansion and the inclusion of environmental sciences.
1994: The first
stage of a Project 2000 begins with the opening of a Middle
School classroom. The school also begins a program for 12-month-old
1995: Ground is broken for
phase 1 expansion for Elementary and Middle School classes,
and a playing field for sports on the school grounds.
1996: Middle School gets its
own space on campus.
1997: This is the first year
of graduation for ninth grade Montessori students. The Head
of School and MIR parents make a proposal for a charter high
school (now The Grove School) and submit it to the Redlands
Unified School District for approval.
2000: MIR celebrates its 25th
anniversary. MIR conducts its first Focus on Learning self-study
with Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and earns the top six-year
2002:Construction begins on a new bridge
across the Morey Arroyo that will enable students to more easily
walk from one side of the campus to the other. The school expands
to three Elementary classes.
2003: On April 12, the pedestrian
bridge across the Morey Arroyo is opened, connecting the two
sides of the campus.
2004: A new basketball and
volleyball court is completed. Calvert Court is dedicated to
the late Phil Calvert, ESRI Facilities Manager who worked extensively
2006: MIR earns another 6-year
accreditation term with WASC.
2007: The school prepares
for the 100th anniversary of Montessori education. The school
now has an average annual enrollment of about 315 students.
There are twelve classrooms for students ages 18 months to
15 years old. MIR head classroom instructors are Montessori
trained and certified. The school is working towards the purchase
of the buildings and grounds to facilitate its continued growth.
MIR still provides the highest quality Montessori education
in the region.
The future: "Within the child
lies the fate of the future." --Maria Montessori