Winchester Montessori History

Winchester Montessori School Front

Winchester Montessori School was founded in 1977 by Mary Whitesell Horton. The school opened in September, of that year, with 8 students. The school was housed in a single Sunday School classroom rented from the Christ Episcopal Church. By September, 1979 enrollment had increased and two classrooms were being rented. Mrs. Horton realized that the school would need to start looking for larger accommodations.

September, 1981, found the school at its new location (325 Weems Lane). The Weems Lane property allowed the school to expand to 20 students. There was a large backyard for the children to use. This was the first year that the school offered an extended day (kindergarten program) for five year olds. Jennifer Sheehy joined the staff that year.

The school remained at Weems Lane for two years and again found that it was turning students away due to lack of space. Once again the search was on for a larger building. In 1983, Winchester Montessori School moved to 1905 Henry Avenue. The school expanded to include two preschool classes along with an elementary (grades 1 - 3) level. The building underwent two major renovations to increase classroom size. Enrollment increased to 60 + students. The school employed four certified Montessori trained teachers as well as four classroom assistants. It also employed an individual to drive the school van.

Once again, Winchester Montessori School found that it needed more space. Parents were expressing their desires that Winchester Montessori School expand to include the upper elementary grades (4-6). There was a need for an additional preschool class. With a waiting list of over 30 preschool children (as of November 15, 1999), it was clear that there would not be room to accommodate many of these perspective students. With the increase in enrollment the playground area had become inadequate due to its small size.

In October, 2003, Winchester Montessori School opened at its new facility on West Parkins Mill Rd. The building was designed to house 3 preschool classes as well as a lower (6-9) and upper elementary (9-12) level. The school is located on 5 acres approximately 5 miles from downtown Winchester.