Letter from Casa’s Founder
I first learned about Maria Montessori and her creative approach to early childhood education in 1959 from a magazine article describing the Whitby School in Connecticut. A traditional primary classroom teacher at the time, I was struck by two major differences: children were allowed to select activities on their own, and from that early age, developed the ability to discipline themselves and to “live and work” peacefully in a community. Wanting to learn more, I found a book, “Maria Montessori: Her Life and Her Work” by E.M. Standing. From that time on, Montessori was to become my life’s work.
Upon receiving my AMI Primary Diploma with Distinction in 1967, my first class was in New York City. In 1971, a friend and I founded our first Montessori school, The Children’s House, in Edwardsville, IL. Following opportunities included teaching positions in Montessori schools in Japan, Hawaii, and finally in Texas.
When the opportunity to start Casa Montessori arose, several points were crucial to its formation: it had to embrace Maria Montessori’s original ideas and be an authentic “children’s house,” not a school. Once they entered the gate, children would come into an environment dedicated to meeting their needs at their pace of life. Casa was also to serve the family, helping parents to best support their children’s early years by providing classes and guidance. Over the years, Casa has grown to serve as an “extended family” with activities and traditions that provide lifetime memories for the children and their parents.
Since its first day on April 6, 1983, Casa Montessori has continued to be a “joy-filled place,” where children often return in later years to find nothing has changed. They look for their table and favorite activities. Graduation announcements from high school and college let us know how our children are progressing in their lives. Alumni return to apply for their children so they may have the same opportunities and experiences their parents enjoyed in their early years.
A parent once remarked to another, “At Casa, the children come first!” We welcomed that observation as our motivation for what we do. We hope you will come to visit and observe our children as they work and play and grow.
Charlene S. Trochta
Founding Head of School