The Montessori Community School, Inc. d/b/a Counterpane School is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization founded in 1974 and incorporated in 1976. Until 1981 the school offered only Montessori Primary classes. Beginning in 1981, a new academic level was added each year. Our first graduating class was in 1991.
Currently, Counterpane School is one of very few Montessori environments in the country that extends the Montessori philosophy from the 3-year-old child through acceptance to college. Approximately 100 students and 10 teachers share in this co-worker, co-learner environment.
Counterpane’s Primary classroom is Association Montessori International (AMI) Recognized, which requires an annual application and a consultation every three years. According to AMI, “The AMI school recognition program was initiated in the United States to assist parents in assessing whether schools are following Montessori’s principles and practices in their original integrity and completeness. It is upon these standards that AMI recognition is granted.”
In 1995 Counterpane School became a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools, a national school reform organization founded at Brown University, and has incorporated its tenets ever since.
Counterpane’s campus is on 14 wooded acres with organic gardens, farm animals, and a profusion of wildflowers. The academic program relies on mixed ages, an interdisciplinary curriculum, and a fully integrated arts program. The students are drawn from six counties and reflect a wide cross-section of socio-economic backgrounds.
The student body from pre-school through high school is divided into three self-contained communities of learners: Montessori Primary (3 to 6 years), Lower School (6 to 12 years), Upper School (12 to 18 years). This format ensures an environment in which each student advances to the next piece of work only when mastery is achieved, therefore developing intellectually and emotionally at his or her own rate. Woven throughout the academics, writing, problem solving, public speaking, time management, the creative arts, community service, and exploring one’s interests are integral parts of the curriculum at every level.
At the high school level, the curriculum is exclusively college preparatory, and the environment closely resembles college with individual contracts, group projects, class discussions, and student/teacher appointments. Self-directed independent study, long-term research projects, and service to others are inherent in the program. Dual enrollment with local colleges and internships are incorporated as achievement, commitment, and maturity permit. Students address political and environmental responsibilities as well as develop in-depth analytical and communication skills. Throughout high school, each student is assisted in evaluating and addressing individual strengths and weaknesses in order to achieve college readiness both academically and emotionally. The resulting confidence, self-awareness, and genuine desire for inquiry make college a natural conclusion and confirm life as a continuous learning experience.