Our story begins in the spring of 1997.
Many of you may remember our school on the hill across from Malt-O-Meal. Before we were Northfield Montessori, we were called Step by Step. The owner of Step by Step determined the center was not profitable enough to keep open, so she decided to close the center leaving families only weeks to find alternative childcare.
A group of parents approached Ms. Tracy, the director of Step by Step with their concerns. That group of parents and Tracy came up with a plan to open a school themselves, a school named Northfield Montessori. That group of parents was the first Board of Directors and the first board meeting was held at the Rueb. These parents, Ms. Tracy, along with the following teachers who still work at Northfield Montessori, Ms. Jeanie, Ms. Marie, Ms. Tonda, Ms. Melanie, Ms. Lori, and Ms. Dorothy worked tirelessly, scraping together necessities for the school since they had nothing.
On May 31st, 1997, Step by Step closed its doors permanently in Northfield.
On June 1st, 1997, Northfield Montessori opened its doors and those doors have remained open
That is how our story began. But the real story is what you see when you come to our school, which is now on Highway 3 out by John Deere. The first thing you notice is that we have a beautiful building with a secured entry. This allows parents to start their day with the comfort of knowing who is interacting with their children and keeps our children safe in the event there is an armed robber on the loose in our town among other community emergencies! Ms. Marie greets you as you walk in and knows all the children's names. Ms. Tracy and Ms. Joy are busy in their offices or assisting the teachers and staff in whatever they need. You will see our staff in their Northfield Montessori polo shirts in striking colors, so you always know who can answer your questions.
The infant room staff has been at Northfield Montessori for a combined total of 41 years, which includes our two lead teachers, Ms. Jeanie and Ms. Melanie who helped start the school and Ms. Rosie, Ms. Beth, and Ms. Victoria. That's a lot of experience! They are gentle, caring, loving, nurturing, and kind. They care about your family because they understand that truly caring for a baby means a partnership with mom and dad. They cherish that partnership and love your baby as their own.
The toddler rooms are always busy (except during nap time!). Our toddler staff is truly exceptional and probably the most patient people on this earth because they unequivocally love toddlers! They allow the children to learn, discover, and grow at their own pace, showing them love and understanding always. They also allow the children to be messy, test limits, and are all fantastic potty trainers! Our toddler teachers have 39 years at Northfield Montessori, which includes Ms. Tonda who helped start the school, Ms. Jena, Ms. Lynn, Ms. Dani, Ms. Audra, Ms. Stacy, and Ms. April.
"The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of a flaming imagination." This is a quote by the beloved Dr. Maria Montessori and this quote describes what preschool is like at Northfield Montessori. The kindergarten and preschool rooms are filled with children using their imaginations, learning to read, and learning a thousand other things at their own pace. The kindergarten and preschool teachers truly love being with the children....the children are their heart! And if you have a half day kindergartner at Greenvale and need before and after school care, Benjamin Bus will transport your kindergartner to our school. Our kindergarten and preschool staff is loving and nurturing and have a combined 64 years at Northfield Montessori, which includes Ms. Lori who helped start the school, Ms. Jammie,, Ms. Gretchen,, Ms. Heather, Ms. Lisa, Ms. Jill K, Ms. Nikki, Ms. Chris, Ms. Abby, Ms. Jill B, and Mr. Justin, our very own Homecoming King!
And there are so many others who make our school special. Our kitchen manager and cook, Ms. Betty pays extra special attention to children with special dietary concerns and ALL the kids love her pancakes! Ms. Barb is there some of the afternoons to say goodbye to the children and help the teachers with projects. Ms. Laura and Ms. Dorothy know all of the children as they are in all of the rooms helping out. Our Board of Directors consists of parents, teachers and Ms. Tracy, who each donate time and talents and are dedicated to providing quality care while being fiscally responsible.
But what makes our school the most special is the children and families - each one with a story all their own and each smile permanently imprinted on our hearts.
For Give to the Max day, Herbert Hoover said it best when he said, "Children are our most valuable resource." We are a non-profit and any money directed to us gets invested back into our program.....gets invested into the children. Our parent-teacher cooperative was born of the will of parents who wanted quality childcare for their children and of the dedication of the staff who knew there was a place for this school in Northfield and knew the struggle of starting a school would be worth it. And it is!!!!!!
"The child is both hope and a promise for mankind"
- Dr. Maria Montessori