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“Why not start your own school?"

In May 1996, teachers and parents joined together to create a new kind of Montessori school. A school dedicated to parental involvement and open lines of communication. A school where teachers and parents work together, as a team, to find what works best for each individual child. 

Janet Ritacca, a Montessori Directress, and Marilyn Shattuck, a Montessori parent and educator, were approached by parents and teachers to start their own school as an alternative to what was available. With this challenge at hand, they contacted  the group of parents and teachers to work with them and OSM was founded.

Starting from scratch

Janet and Marilyn had an ambitious goal: open their new school in August 1996—only three months away. They were starting from scratch and needed to do everything from finding a building to acquiring a complete set of Montessori teaching materials for the classrooms. Inspired by their vision of a Montessori school dedicated to parent involvement and open communication, they diligently worked towards their goal. With unflinching determination and the help of their spouses, a group of dedicated parents and Directresses opened the doors of Old School Montessori in August 1996 in a rented space not far from where the school stands today. That first day, they had one elementary and two primary classrooms and 37 students.

From the beginning, Old School Montessori has been a close-knit community. In fact, most of the teachers who started with Old School Montessori stayed until retirement or are still teaching with us.

Success, growth, and expansion

Old School Montessori’s approach was successful and they quickly grew along with the population of the surrounding area. In less than three years, their original space was no longer large enough to handle the growth. With the help of a local builder (whose child was a student), Janet and Marilyn searched for a building to house their growing school. In 1999, they chose the current location and worked with the builder to design and build a space specifically for their school, including a fenced-in playground. In just a few years, they expanded as our student enrollment increased,eventually adding pre-primary classroom. In 2009, Marilyn retired and passed the administrative reins to Cristina "Titina" Youtsey. Before stepping down, Marilyn spent two years helping Titina with the transition to ensure stability and long-term success.  

A solid foundation for the future

Over the years, as educational trends have come (standardized testing) and gone (Whole Language learning), Old School Montessori has been dedicated to Montessori education and parental involvement and an “open door” policy—parents are encouraged to come in any time after six weeks of school. Parents are welcome to come in and have lunch with their child, meet for parent-child night, share their culture, or simply observe the classroom. From the beginning, Old School has kept an open line of communication with parents and works with them as a team to find what is best for their child.

As Old School Montessori enters its third decade, our programs and offerings have continued to evolve. In addition to full-day kindergarten and after-school care (offered since the beginning), there is now a summer program and the weeklong Nature’s Classroom program in Wisconsin for upper elementary students.

Come see for yourself what Old School Montessori has to offer today. 

To schedule a visit, call 847-223-9606 or email admin@osmkids.com.