University's Montessori program celebrates 40 years

Xavier first school to offer master's degree; leads nation in Montessori teacher education | October 12, 2005

In 1965, the University broke new ground in the world of education when it became the first school to offer a master’s degree in Montessori education. Now 40 years later, Xavier has graduated about 1,600 Montessori teachers and continues to be a national leader in Montessori teacher education.

In the early 1960s, Montessori-based education was relatively new. When Cincinnati’s first Montessori school opened there were few teachers. Hilda Rothschild convinced the dean of Xavier’s graduate school, Raymond McCoy, to start the Montessori program. The first graduate class had 80 students. By 1975, the University had added an undergraduate program and helped open the first public elementary Montessori school in the country, which still operates in Cincinnati today as Sands Montessori. Clark Montessori in Cincinnati was the first Montessori public school for junior high and high school.

Today approximately 300 Xavier graduates are teaching in Montessori schools in the Cincinnati area.

Xavier also helped open public Montessori schools in Dayton, Louisville, Indianapolis and Seoul, Korea. The department is now working in Taiwan to establish elementary Montessori schools.

“Montessori education provides a secure environment for children,” says Elizabeth Bronsil, director for Montessori education since 1978. “When families move to a new location the children will find that the Montessori school has the same curriculum and environment that was in the school they left behind. This is a gift to children!”

The philosophy of education taught in the Montessori program was researched by Dr. Maria Montessori which supports the fundamental tenet that a child learns best within a social environment that supports each individual's unique development.