The Montessori Elementary School Steering Committee is a group of parents, teachers, and administrators working to create a public Montessori elementary school in the Iowa City Community School District. This project grew out of a talk ICCSD Superintendent Murley gave at the Montessori Children’s Garden preschool in the fall of 2010 to interested parents and teachers about his experience with charter schools in Wisconsin. There was sufficient interest after the meeting that we have been preparing for talks with the school district about creating a public Montessori school here. There is a significant Montessori community in the ICCSD area and we are fortunate to have a superintendent with charter school experience and school board members who are open to talking to us about schools of choice.
A public Montessori elementary school would expand the opportunities for Iowa City area students to build upon the successes of their Montessori preschool experiences. The students could continue using and developing habits of concentration and independent work selection peculiar to a Montessori classroom in a familiar, multi-age, prepared environment. These students would then have continuity in mathematics and language curricula allowing them to master critical math, reading, and writing skills without disruption. The students would also benefit from continuity in other Montessori curricular areas of cultural and physical geography, history, practical life, zoology, botany, astronomy, physics, chemistry and geology.
The Iowa City Area Montessori Community
Iowa City area parents have been able to choose a Montessori preschool education for their children since 1962, when The Montessori School of Iowa City opened. The Montessori Children’s Garden and Willowwind School also offer Montessori preschool classes. Altogether, the three schools serve approximately two hundred and sixty students in preschool classrooms. Based on current Montessori preschool capacity, roughly eight percent of ICCSD first graders will have had a Montessori preschool experience.
If all of the students with Montessori preschool experience were enrolled in a single ICCSD elementary school, they would form the second largest elementary school in the district.