City Garden Montessori School (CGMS) operates a tuition-free, public charter elementary school and a sliding scale fee-based Primary, or preschool, program. City Garden is a neighborhood school, serving children and families in the Botanical Heights, Forest Park Southeast, Shaw, and portions of the Southwest Garden and Tiffany neighborhoods in the City of St. Louis. The preschool was founded in 1995, and the elementary charter school was founded in 2008, under the sponsorship of Saint Louis University. CGMS serves students from preschool through eighth grade. In order to ensure that our Montessori Guides reflect the children they teach, we committed to launching a teacher education program that centers our students and families by designing a program that aligns Anti-biased/Antiracist principles with Montessori pedagogy.
The institute was established to meet the needs of adult learners residing both within and outside of Missouri. We are aware that you have busy lives and likely work full-time. We recognize that this training needs to be both affordable and manageable while still providing a high-quality educational program. The programs are structured to be conducted in 2 consecutive in-person Summer Intensives, and through synchronous and asynchronous sessions across the academic school year. The Practicum is designed as an independent study with regularly scheduled synchronous meetings via Zoom. This allows for non-resident Adult Learners to engage fully in our program during the academic year.
City Garden Montessori Institute launched its first cohort in Summer of 2020 to provide Montessori teacher training in Elementary 6-9, 9-12 & 6-12 programs. We are applying for the highest levels of accreditation for the institute, which includes the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) and American Montessori Society (AMS).
The City Garden Montessori Institute’s Teacher Education Program exists to prepare Anti-biased, Antiracist (ABAR) Montessori educators in public school environments; to increase access to Montessori training among People of Color and other historically marginalized groups, and to offer relevant, rigorous Montessori education to children and their families.
Schools in the United States are not equitably serving our country’s children. Systemic inequities in education are closely linked to stark disparities in life outcomes between individuals with low-incomes and more affluent individuals, and between People of the Global Majority and those who identify as White.
The City Garden Montessori Institute exists to reimagine American schooling efforts through Anti-biased/Antiracist Montessori pedagogy. In doing so, we redefine equitable and inclusive access to a free and public education by engaging Adult Learners as change agents in service to our communities. In order to effectively accomplish this, we take a proactive approach that is focused on equity, preparing teachers to create school environments that are, in fact, designed to not just follow, but center every child.
Our Core Curriculum is anchored in Diversity, Identity, Action, and Justice, so that as children self-construct, they have at their very foundation the capacity to critique and respond with their full being to the current and historic constructs and discriminatory policies inherent in our institutions, thereby answering Dr. Montessori’s call for “A Unique Nation of Humanity." The courses are structured to be lively, interactive and relevant. We know that Adult Learners thrive when they are engaged in a variety of opportunities to build a dynamic and supportive learning community, interactive discussions, hands-on work with didactic materials, thoughtful feedback from instructors and peers, collaborative projects, as well as observations in classrooms. We believe our adult learners will find our method of learning to be highly effective and applicable to their work with young people in classrooms.
2018 - City Garden created a strategic plan and identified a Training Institute as a top priority to ensure uniquely prepared Elementary Teachers to carry out the mission of City Garden Montessori School.
2019 - City Garden secured a grant from the United States Department of Education to support the launch of the teacher training program.
2020 - Establishes City Garden Montessori Institute: Teacher Education Program (CGMI: TEP).
CGMI enrolls the first cohort into its 6-9 Credentialing Program. Maati Wafford, Dr. Vanessa Rigaud, Jori Martinez-Woods and Mike Flohr are the founding instructors.
“A single interest unites them to function as a single living organism. No phenomenon can affect one human group without affecting others as a consequence. To put it a better way, the interest of any one group is the interest of all.” – Dr. Maria Montessori
Systems of Oppression, Racism, and Privilege are present in our culture and in our Montessori institutions. Therefore, we recognize the need to:
• Become aware of the manifestations of racism and privilege in our own lives, in the systems we create and support, and in our culture;
• Work together to dismantle and reorganize the systems that perpetuate racism and privilege;
• Actively support individuals and our institutions to acknowledge, honor and appreciate intersectionality; and
• Restore Anti-Bias Education and the culture of Antiracism throughout the Montessori Teacher training experiences.
"We must tear out our hearts, cleanse them of prejudices and begin again so that the theory and the practice are one and the same. But there must be faith that the theory is really true in order to apply it, to put it into practice.” – Dr. Maria Montessori
"We must always begin by acknowledging the social and historical context in which we operate. That context shapes in powerful ways how we think and act. One important dimension of that context is the fact that:
American schools were never designed to educate everyone." – Dr. Beverly Tatum