The Cottage Grove area lost a Montessori option for its young children this summer, after it was maintained for nearly 50 years with great effort and perseverance. Montessori Day was started in September 1976 by two sisters, Sally and Susan. They leased one room in a public elementary school in Cottage Grove, MN. The school District allowed them to lease unused space which changed from year-to-year, so sometimes they didn't know where or how much would be available until the summer. In 1985 the district was not sure they would have space available, so space was rented at the Armory/Washington County Courts building and they added their own food service. In 1989 they moved into Newport United Methodist Church.
In August 1997 the "Montessori Day" school was sold to Cindy and Esther Lenartz. Within four years they had settled the school into its final configuration and locations. They offered preschool at All Saints Lutheran Church for 13 years until the school district added free pre-K programs. Simultaneously, they offered toddler and preschool with extended day care via a Family Child Care license from of cozy home converted to a school in Cottage Grove. Now, after nearly 20 years, that program has also closed with Esther’s well-earned retirement.
Moving the school often was challenging, but maintaining the only Montessori offering in the Cottage Grove area was paramount to the owners and community. Montessori Day was a small school and kept prices down so families could afford to attend. They were appreciated very much by their community, who feel the loss. You can observe on MNMN.org’s interactive school map, that there is now a distinct void in the Cottage Grove area.
Esther shares: “The Montessori philosophy of Respect yourself, Respect others and Respect the world around you were such beautiful fundamentals. Our wish is that all people could live by that philosophy. Maria Montessori did such a beautiful job figuring how this should work. I was delighted to find someone starting a new school in Minneapolis to utilize our materials, but sad I could not find anyone to continue "Montessori Day" in Cottage Grove, MN.” If anyone is interested in the URL www.mnmontessori_day.com, you can contact Esther at firstname.lastname@example.org. The domain is paid through October 2020.
Greenbrier is a Non Profit micro-preschool that will be opening in January in Powderhorn Park, in south Minneapolis
Nestled in the heart of our Minneapolis community, Greenbrier is an authentic Montessori preschool offering a nurturing learning environment for children ages 3 to 6. In addition to partnering with families, Greenbrier leans on it's cornerstone values of community, philanthropy, and the arts to create a unique and diverse learning environment.
Molly shares that they are very busy with the upstart of this new beautiful learning environment and “owe Esther so much!! She was such a joy to work with and we are so grateful!”. Congratulations Molly and Beckett!