When I founded Montessori Country Day School in 1979, my goal was to have the most beautiful, nurturing, stimulating environment available in Houston for young children, staffed by intelligent, articulate, animated professionals who communicate the love of their work to the children. The Montessori philosophy of respect for the child as an individual must be lived and exemplified by deed, word and thought; the success of any Montessori program depends upon the consistent application of that philosophy. Our children have the benefit of that loving consistency from the time they enter school, many of them at 2 months, until the time they leave at 6 years. The feeling of family, with a nurturing, supportive partnership between home and school, further enhances the child's love of school, teachers and friends. Children need to live in a world where self-esteem is protected and encouraged, where the adventures of life are approached with joy and readiness, where learning is always natural, developmentally appropriate and FUN! Montessori Country Day offers that door to life's great adventure.

Montessori Country Day School is an Award Winning School!

The American Montessori Society (AMS) is the mainstay of the Montessori movement in the United States. AMS is committed to furthering Montessori philosophy, making it a growing educational alternative and promoting better education for all children.

With the name "Montessori" in the public domain, it is increasingly important to look for the AMS accreditation of the trained staff and the school itself.

For more information on AMS, visit their website www.amshq.org

Montessori Country Day School is one of three schools (and the only one with an infant-toddler program) to have received a School Excellence Award from the Houston Montessori Center since its inception in 1975. The Center is the oldest American Montessori Society teacher training facility in the Southwestern United States.

Corporate Hands is an organization that links employees of local corporations to a variety of local resources, including quality child care. Corporate Hands also offers teacher education workshops and grants to qualifying schools.

National Merit Scholars

The following is excerpted from an article from the "Houston Chronicle", spring of 2001:

10% of Houston-Area Private School National Merit Scholars are Former Montessori Country Day School Students

The students, initially screened by standardized test scores, will receive one of three scholarships -- a National Merit $2,000 scholarship, a college-sponsored Merit scholarship or a corporate-sponsored Merit scholarship. The college-sponsored and corporate-sponsored scholarships vary in amount.

Additional scholarship recipients will be announced later this summer.

About 1.1 million students from nearly 20,000 high schools nationwide enter the National Merit program, and about 15,000 are named semifinalists in the fall.

Of those, more than 14,000 are selected as finalists, eligible for scholarships. So far, 7,000 scholarships have been awarded.

Brochure Design Award
The following is an article printed in the "Houston Chronicle" in the fall of 1995:

Local Montessori school takes honors for brochure design
By Micki McClelland
Houston Chronicle This Week Correspondent

"The heart of Montessori philosophy is respect for each child as an individual," said Marge Ellison, owner and administrator of the Museum District's Montessori Country Day School. Add the limbs of balance, a learning experience paced to fit the individual's needs and encouragement toward achieving self-esteem, and you see the character of a school system Ellison has had in place since 1979.

Italian educator and physician Maria Montessori introduced her concept for educating children in Rome at the turn of the century. Montessori believed in stressing the development of initiative and self-reliance. It was revolutionary and definitely a child-centered method. Add self-discipline and the ability to work as a self-starter, and a well-rounded individual emerges from the Montessori Method.

"Our door faces the doors of the Museum of Fine Arts," Ellison said.

This year, Montessori Country Day School was the recipient of the 1995 Tiger Award, given by Childcare Information Exchange, a national magazine that focuses on the child-care industry. Centers all over the country were invited to submit a sample of their school brochure for the competition that judged "both design concept and how well information about your school is conveyed to parents," Ellison explained. The cover design for her brochure "was created 14 years ago," she said. "A friend did the artwork, and I've loved the image all these years." The freehand, pen-and-ink sketch of a little girl dressed in overalls, carrying a lunch kit in one hand, a bouquet of flowers in the other, is simple and charming. "You sense she's walking toward something," Ellison observed. The line of the little girl's back and the lift of her head suggest she's not only walking forward, but she's going with great expectations.

More than a hundred schools in the Houston area call themselves "Montessori." Only 15 are in fact affiliated, according to Ellison. Of the 15 "three have won excellence awards, and Montessori Country Day School is proud to be one of the three," she said. The school has grown during its 22-year history. "We have eight campus sites within eight blocks," Ellison said. "The toddlers have their own building; also the pre-schoolers and the elementary school are housed in their own space". Just recently Montessori Country Day School added classes for fourth, fifth and sixth grades. "We have an enrollment of 250 children and a staff of 50 educators. My own first love is teaching, but it's a full-time job being administrator," she said. Asked what, in her opinion, a child might expect to take from the Montessori experience that will most enhance later life, Ellison responded, "Dignity of choice".

The Montessori system does not issue grade scores, as decades of parents who have had children in school have come to expect. "We believe children should have an opportunity to work at a task until they master it," Ellison said. "However, parents are used to seeing report cards, so we gave the elementary children the Metropolitan Achievement Test (a national standardized test used, until recently, by HISD). "We try to use standardized as the Houston Independent School District does," Ellison said.

"Recently the Department of Education issued a paper on what education guidlines to follow to produce quality education," she said. "Happily enough, what they described is a good Montessori program".