A Foundation of Cultivating Community
City Garden Montessori School was founded by Trish Curtis and Mary Mitchell in 1995, with an intent to provide high-quality early educational experiences to children in the City of St. Louis for a very affordable price.
In January of 2006, seeing a need for more quality schooling options in the City of St. Louis, parents led efforts to pursue the expansion of City Garden to include an elementary program. A Charter Planning Committee was formed and led the work of creating a charter school. The elementary expansion of City Garden Montessori School built upon what was established at the preschool, cultivating a nurturing, intimate atmosphere and implementing an interactive learning approach that honors each child individually.
In Fall 2008, City Garden Montessori School opened its charter school with 53 students in grades kindergarten through third grade. City Garden’s charter school 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 school currently serves 275 students ages 3 to 14, in preschool through eighth grade.
City Garden’s vision has always been to introduce children to the idea of being change makers in our world. The Montessori approach, hands-on and individualized, helps to instill a firm understanding of respect for oneself and others. The school’s curriculum has a multi-cultural focus, making connections with children, cultures and environments around the world. Cultivating what Howard Gardner calls the “naturalist intelligence,” children’s natural wonder at the world is harnessed into a ecological awareness and a capacity for scientific observation. City Garden students and graduates are compassionate, well-rounded, confident human beings who are eager to learn and who excel in many areas.
Our hope has been and continues to that City Garden school will be a community school—a space for members of the surrounding neighborhoods to gather, learn and get to know each other, a school in which families and community members feel a sense of ownership and pride, and a place that will be a source of hope and vitality for our community. We aim to cultivate compassionate and critically thinking young people who will make a difference in our world.
City Garden has been in a number of locations. The school opened in an old tavern on South Newstead, in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood, in 1995. In 1997, the preschool moved to a small house on South Newstead. In 2005, City Garden launched a small kindergarten program in Gibson Heights Church. In 2007, City Garden created a pilot elementary program in the basement of Tyler Place Church in the Shaw neighborhood. The charter school opened at Tyler Place in 2008. In 2012, City Garden moved to its current location, at 1618 Tower Grove Avenue, which was originally a grocery cart factory.