Montessori school celebrates 50th anniversary

The Montessori Country School celebrated five decades of educating students on Bainbridge Island with an open house at its Arrow Point Drive campus with families, alumni and students Sept. 10.

Focusing on the theme of “Flourish and Grow,” the celebration highlighted the school’s history, achievements and community. Patty Christensen, Head of School from 1986-2013 and daughter of school founder Dorothy King, said preparing for the celebration was “both humbling and inspiring to think of the number of families served by Montessori Country School over the last fifty years.” Meghan Skotheim, Head of School the past nine years, has been associated with the school for 29 years, also as a parent and teacher.

Since its founding in 1972 by Julie Rynearson and King, the first classroom was in Julie’s home in Port Madison and eventually expanded to its current campus with several buildings for 120 students, infants through sixth grade, and a parent-child class. The school started as a preschool and when parents wanted more they opened the elementary program.

After three difficult years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Skotheim wants to make sure “that we’re doing everything to the best of our ability. We’re moving forward with being accredited by the American Montessori Society, which means that we need to do a pretty in-depth self-study and look at what we’re doing.”

Skotheim said the school had to make a lot of changes during COVID, and she is looking to bring back the community that people care about. “It’s going to be an important part of what we’re doing going forward in the next short term.”

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Vintage t-shirts mark the passage of time year by year.