Located in the heart of Dallas’ Lake Highlands neighborhood, Montessori Children’s House and School (MCHS) celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Since it was founded, MCHS has grown and prospered—expanding from a handful of students led by one teacher in a rented home on Blair Road, to more than 90 students in a first-class educational center on an expansive 3.5 acre property. MCHS provides an authentic and accredited Montessori education to children 3 to 6 years of age, a time when they are naturally enabled with the capacity to make substantial leaps in their academic, cognitive and social development.
According to Christa Montague, MCHS head of school and alum parent, “The Montessori approach is truly unique—with mixed ages and emphasis on individualized learning, Montessori classrooms consist of a community of learners immersed in purposeful activity. By encouraging exploration and discovery, emphasizing the importance of personal responsibility, and providing the joy of choice, our school helps students develop into lifelong learners who realize the satisfaction and confidence that can only be derived from personal accomplishment.”
Since MCHS’ founding, more than 1,000 students have attended the school and now live around the globe. These alumni continue to be “Lifelong Learners,” which is also the school’s 50th anniversary theme. In honor of its anniversary, MCHS is asking for former students to share photos and memories by submitting them online at www.mchsdallas.org and to post memories on a private Facebook page.
Clint Bowers, MCHS board of directors president and MCHS alum parent, said, “Dreaming of a different kind of learning experience for their children, two Southern Methodist University alumni, Mary and Carl Schwalm, founded Montessori Children’s House and School in 1970. Under their clear vision and strategic direction, the first MCHS families planted the seeds of our legacy by supporting what has become an exceptional Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) accredited school. I see how this education set my children on the path of being lifelong learners, and we want even more children to benefit from this type of learning.”
Montague added, “Dallas is home to the Montessori Institute of North Texas (MINT), one of only a handful of training programs in the United States where adults can receive an Association Montessori International diploma. Students travel from around the country and abroad to join the intensive AMI training known for its quality and authenticity. As part of the training, teacher trainees must observe and interact with children, and MCHS partners with MINT to help create the next generation of Montessori educators.”
The Schwalms led the first MCHS board and its first families to open the fall of 1970 on Blair Road. Shortly thereafter, the group located and purchased a wooded lot at 7335 Abrams Road where MCHS currently resides.
After a highly-anticipated one year remodel from 2008-2009, the school expanded to meet the growing local demand for quality Montessori education. While it has grown bigger, MCHS continues to guide children’s development using the same principles and methods Maria Montessori herself developed more than 100 years ago. Staying true to its mission, Montessori Children’s House and School is serving children during the pandemic by making necessary adaptations for the safety of its staff and children.
The original program and property included farm land for growing crops. Produce was grown and sold by the children at a farmers market. They also cared for a variety of livestock including a sheep that the children sheared for wool, horses to plow their fields, as well as chickens and goats.
Today MCHS boasts of similar animal friends in their care, including a pair of two-year-old goat brothers named A.J. and P.D., Jr. and a brood of chickens. The MCHS Butterfly Gardens, a recent addition, is certified by Texas Discovery Gardens. These gardens are designed to attract and sustain caterpillars and butterflies alike, supporting the local ecosystem, while providing MCHS students a hands-on experience exploring natural life cycles.
Bowers added, “As a 50th Anniversary gift to MCHS, the Board of Directors has established a formal fund entitled The Next50 Fund to raise $150,000 to plant seeds for future generations of MCHS students in three ways:
- Provide tuition assistance for families demonstrating a financial need;
- Provide a safety net in times of unforeseen financial challenge;
- Provide seed money for long-term projects such as the Experience Gardens, where we plan to further expand the MCHS Butterfly Gardens and transform our grounds into an exquisite outdoor learning environment.”
For more information about The Next50 Fund please email Next50@mchsdallas.org
Founded in 1970, Montessori Children’s House and School is dedicated to providing a quality and AMI (Association Montessori International) Montessori education to children ages 3 to 6 years of age. The mission of MCHS is to help each child reach his or her full potential in all areas of development. This goal is accomplished by creating a prepared environment that helps foster each child’s self-reliance and confidence. For more information about MCHS, please visit www.mchsdallas.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214.348.6276.