History of the Calgary Montessori School
“A great superstructure requires a good foundation” -Maria Montessori

History

In 1911, Margaret Potts was attending Durham University in Durham, England in the Education faculty. One of her professors returned to class after a trip to a symposium in Rome to tell the class about a remarkable new method of education for children and the founder of this method, Maria Montessori. Margaret Potts was so incredibly moved that she knew this was to become her passion.While she was completing her education in England, Alexander Graham Bell was returning to North America after the same symposium to introduce the Montessori Method to his family and neighbours.

In 1914 Margaret and her husband William also an educator, immigrated to Stettler, Alberta where they both taught at a normal school. In 1919, they moved to Calgary and founded The Montessori School in their three story home. The classes operated on the main floor, many of the students boarded on the second floor and the Potts family lived on the third floor.

Margaret Potts had the opportunity to attend the San Francisco Worlds Fair in 1915, where she met Alexander Graham Bell and Maria Montessori. She returned to Calgary even more devoted.

Margaret established the Canadian Montessori Association and began to train teachers.Margaret had the opportunity to return to England and attend the training course offered by Maria Montessori in London. She returned to Canada with Maria Montessori’s blessing to continue her work and a certificate recognizing her as a Pioneer of the Montessori Method in Canada.

The Potts’ had five children, four of whom became Montessori teachers; one established a Montessori school in Menlo Park, California that operated from 1964 to 2001. The youngest child Vivienne Douglas took over the operation of the school in Calgary and was the administrator until her retirement in 1994.Her daughter Alison O’Dwyer continues to operate the Calgary Montessori School at three campuses in the city.

The Calgary Montessori is the longest continuously operating Montessori School in North America (1919 to present).

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