In 1976, a small group of parents had a vision for a better education for their children. They wanted a school that would help their children "think, act, and will" for themselves. The school would respect and encourage each child’s natural curiosity, abilities, and interests with a focus on helping them on the road to independence--intellectual and physical. These parents founded Montessori in Redlands (MIR), which first gathered in the basement of a church with a handful of Primary (preschool)-aged children and a single teacher. The school now provides
a full curriculum for toddlers through 6th grade.
1970: Margie and Leon Armantrout of Redlands and a small group of parents search for a quality Montessori preschool for their children. They find a school in the nearby city of San Bernardino. After four years, they want to relocate closer to home.
1974: The parents find Montessori teacher Nora Alamany, assistant Nancy Wilson, and secretary Perri Monsour, to form the first staff. Leon Armantrout is the first chair of the Board of Trustees.
1975: The Armantrout's sell their classic MG car that they received as a wedding gift to provide money for space and materials. They rent a classroom in the United Methodist Church on Cajon Street in Redlands. Montessori in Redlands officially opens its doors for preschool-age children. From its inception, Montessori in Redlands follows the principles and practices of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). The school grows from 12 students in September to classroom overflow of 30 by June. That December begins the school's first Annual Holiday Sing Program at the University of Redlands Memorial Chapel, still an ongoing tradition.
1977: MIR moves to the site of a new company in town called ESRI, makers of Geographic Information Systems software. ESRI owner Jack Dangermond buys the old California First Bank in Irvine and has the building moved to the site specifically for the school, at 380 New York Street. There are 75 students in three classes, and a long waiting list.
1978: Staff members Linda Villa, a native of Redlands, and Aedin Artigue, a native of Ireland, join the staff, beginning their ongoing 28-year history with the school. The school adds additional classrooms, patterning them after Primanti Montessori in Orange County.
1979: A Primary classroom building was added to the campus. The first Elementary class is established for ages 6-9. The school has 150 students enrolled, doubling enrollment in just two years.
1982: The first Upper Elementary class is established for ages 9-12.
1985: Christine Povero, a 1978 graduate of the Montessori Institute of Los Angeles, joins the MIR staff beginning an ongoing 21-year history. At this 10th anniversary of the school, there are more than 200 students enrolled.
1990: An expansion plan called Project '90 begins the move toward a new location to accommodate the growing numbers of students, teachers and families.
1991: Jack Dangermond of Esri purchases land to move the school to its current site at 1890 Orange Avenue at the corner of Nevada Street in Redlands, in the middle of a 12-acre grapefruit grove divided east to west by the Morey Arroyo, a dry riverbed. The land dates back to 1913 when the Yount family of citrus pioneers operated their ranch. The new buildings open in September with Toddler, Primary, and Lower and Upper Elementary classes.
1993: Implementation of a full Montessori curriculum from infancy to adolescence becomes part of the Montessori 2000 Project that also includes site expansion and the inclusion of environmental sciences.
1994: The first stage of a Project 2000 begins with the opening of a Middle School classroom. The school also begins a program for 12-month-old children.
1995: Ground is broken for phase 1 expansion for Elementary and Middle School classes, and a playing field for sports on the school grounds.
1996: Middle School gets its own space on campus.
1997: This is the first year of graduation for ninth grade Montessori students. The Head of School and MIR parents make a proposal for a charter high school (now The Grove School) and submit it to the Redlands Unified School District for approval.
2000: MIR celebrates its 25th anniversary. MIR conducts its first Focus on Learning self-study with Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and earns the top six-year accreditation term.
2002:Construction begins on a new bridge across the Morey Arroyo that will enable students to more easily walk from one side of the campus to the other. The school expands to three Elementary classes.
2003: On April 12, the pedestrian bridge across the Morey Arroyo is opened, connecting the two sides of the campus.
2004: A new basketball and volleyball court is completed. Calvert Court is dedicated to the late Phil Calvert, ESRI Facilities Manager who worked extensively with MIR.
2006: MIR earns another 6-year accreditation term with WASC.
2007: The school prepares for the 100th anniversary of Montessori education. The school now has an average annual enrollment of about 315 students. There are twelve classrooms for students ages 18 months to 15 years old. MIR head classroom instructors are Montessori trained and certified. The school is working towards the purchase of the buildings and grounds to facilitate its continued growth. MIR still provides the highest quality Montessori education in the region.
The future: "Within the child lies the fate of the future."