Our History. Our Legacy.
Setting the Stage
In 1977, Mary Jane Bowling, an AMI Montessori teacher, opened a school with a single primary class for children 3-6 years of age: the Montessori School of Beaverton.
Meanwhile, in Washington, Peter Davidson was teaching at the Vancouver Montessori School having recently completed his AMI Montessori training in Ohio under Margaret E. Stephenson. (Miss Stephenson had trained directly under Dr. Maria Montessori and had worked on various occasions with Dr. Montessori’s son, Mario Montessori.)
Peter’s wife, Mary, was completing her Montessori training under Rita Schaefer at the first AMI training offered in Portland, Oregon. Fatefully, Mary Jane found Peter and Mary Davidson and convinced them to buy her little school in 1981.
Hard Work, Sacrifice and Determination
Peter and Mary were determined to build a school that provided a true Montessori environment. They were met with grand successes and frustrating challenges while bringing their dream to life. Their original class of nine children quickly expanded into 2 classes by the 2nd year. They now needed to search for a larger rental space. And as the classes continued to grow, so did the challenges of losing leases and finding larger spaces. The school moved six times during the first eight years!
As Peter worked an extra job or two, and staff found creative ways to pinch pennies and stretch resources, MSB grew stronger. Parents, too, increased their support with manual labor and donated resources. For 18 years, at least part of the school was housed in church rental space. Classrooms needed to be packed up and put away every Friday. On Sunday evenings and Monday mornings, furniture was moved back and classes set up. What commitment! What deep belief in the value of a Montessori education for children!
A Campus is Born
With the tremendous support of school families and the unfaltering dedication of Peter, Mary, Board of Directors and the staff, a capital campaign was conducted to raise funds to purchase property and build a proper campus. MSB opened in 1999 on six acres of natural landscape in the hills west of Portland.
The highest priority was given to designing the classrooms and grounds to enhance Montessori education. Each spacious classroom has extensive natural lighting and includes its own outdoor educational extension and garden. Students enjoy the sounds and sights of nature throughout their school day in an idyllic setting with plentiful outdoor areas for educational exploration & recreation.
Our Thriving Community
Today, MSB continues to thrive. Our dedicated and experienced staff serves 180 curious, eager learners between the ages of 3 and 12. Children often attend MSB for 9 years. This means families develop strong and lasting community ties at MSB, a place that feels more like a large family than a school. The vitality, aspirations and success of MSB today are integrally tied to the dedicated founders, teachers, parents, students and staff who have formed our legacy and outstanding reputation as a leader in Montessori education.