NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Forty years ago, in 1972, Musya Meyer founded Hudson Country Montessori School in suburban New Rochelle, NY. Inspired by—and educated in—the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori, Mrs. Meyer watched her small, bucolic school expand through the years—growing to two campuses in New Rochelle and Danbury, CT, and now graduating students though 8th grade.
Head of School Mark Meyer, who oversees both campuses, says, “Our schools are rooted in Montessori philosophy, which holds respect for the child as primary. Dr. Montessori observed that children naturally initiate their own learning when given ample time to work at tasks they are inspired by. Giving them freedom—within an orderly environment—removes distractions that might interrupt their focus.”
Mr. Meyer says that more and more families are looking at Montessori education through the elementary and middle school years, spurring the growth of HCMS. “There has been a marked interest in Montessori education for the older child in the past ten years or so,” he says.
“Many families are seeking educational alternatives, and we occupy a unique and vital place among the many options available. Montessori educators and students are fellow travelers; there is no concept of superior-subordinate in the teacher-student relationship. Kids are encouraged to follow their own passions, and work on their own timelines.
It’s wonderful to see the appreciation families have for this model,” he says.
To support the school’s expansion, Mr. Meyer conducted a nationwide search for a new Education Director for the New Rochelle campus. In September, HCMS welcomed Marilyn Horan, who joined the school from Bunche Montessori Early Childhood Center in Fort Wayne, IN, where she had been Principal since 2007.
Mrs. Horan received a Montessori Leadership Credential in 2011 and was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Montessori Society (AMS) in 2012. She also successfully led Bunche through AMS accreditation, and has now begun the accreditation process for Hudson.
“Attaining AMS accreditation is a rigorous, lengthy process…taking between one and a half to two years,” Mrs. Horan says. “AMS evaluates everything the school is doing—its curricula, class materials, adherence to Montessori principles, teacher training, student-teacher interaction, and more.”
A principal reason Mrs. Horan was attracted to HCMS was the purity of its philosophy. “Hudson is a ‘classic’ Montessori school that embraces respect for the child, and educational methodologies and materials that hold to the standards of the American Montessori Society. With AMS accreditation, everyone outside of the HCMS community will know it, too,” she emphasized.
Another reason Mrs. Horan gave for moving halfway across the U.S to join Hudson was Mrs. Meyer herself. “In AMS circles, Mrs. Meyer’s reputation precedes her,” says Mrs. Horan. “She was a highly-regarded AMS Board Member, and is known for living AMS beliefs: valuing the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.
“After all,” Mrs. Horan says, “How many educators do you know live right next their schools like she does?”
In the coming months, Mr. Meyer and Mrs. Horan will host public events at the school for families interested in Montessori education. If you are interested in attending HCMS’s first public event on Thursday, November 21 , at 340 Quaker Ridge Road in New Rochelle, please call Regina Milano at 914-830-9957 for more information, and to add your name to our attendee list.
For general information, please visit http://www.hudsoncountry.org for more information about our schools.