Welcome to our website, welcome to our school!
I am Beatrix Masszi, Director of the Melrose Montessori School since September 1974. How amazing it is for me to realize that our school has just begun its 38th year of serving the needs of families of Melrose as well as twelve other neighboring communities. I believe we have earned both a history and reputation for excellence along the way, not only for academics, but for the wonderful musical performances our children participate in every year.
Six days prior to the doors opening for the 1974 academic year, this school suddenly appeared on the market! With a grand total of $2000.00 to invest and the naïveté of youth, my career was launched as the owner/director of Melrose Montessori School.
What I had was a single room, a title for the school and an inherited assistant I didn’t have the heart to displace! I also had a large can of paint (not institutional green, as the walls were at the time) an even larger dream depicting how the room should look, plus six days to accomplish this! What I did not have was time, funds, furniture, the necessary Montessori materials, or any idea of the families involved or number of children (if any) to expect on the first day of school!
But I must have had faith! Just picture this: my return trip from White Plains, NY, where I purchased all I could afford from a closing Montessori School. Driving an overloaded red fiat convertible (top down) filled with didactic materials jutting out at the oddest angles, all leaving me with barely enough space to turn the steering wheel. Yet no police car pulled me over! With faith in the fact that he is a forgiving man, I also recall the exasperated cry of a furniture store owner I had been haggling with , three hours past closing time..”Lady, I will sell you anything, I will sell you my soul, and just let me go home!” This occurring just ten hours before school opened, but opening day was upon us, and I must admit, the classroom looked charming! Ironically I was the last to arrive as I had fallen asleep on my sofa, needle and thread still in hand!
I tell you all of this for one reason. I believe there is a seemingly magical force when you work with or on behalf of children that empowers you to reach beyond anything you think you can accomplish. On my behalf, I could not have haggle with an ant. On a more serious note, should you ask me “why Montessori?” here is my reason:
Although intending to return to Australia, where I was raised and educated, while on an archeological research trip to Mexico in 1968, a chance meeting with Pheroza Madon, Director of the Montessori program in Norwell public schools, resulted in drawing me to the Boston area. That very first introduction to a well established, beautifully functioning Montessori environment, forever changed my perspective on how children can and do learn! There under the guidance of Pheroza and one assistant teacher, I found 54 children, (yes 54 children, not a typing error) working cooperatively and harmoniously in an auditorium arranged simply, beautifully and functionally! A child oriented world of carefully selected, reality based activities and exquisitely designed didactic materials. The degree of motivation, independence and focus, the respect for the environment, materials and each other, I found to be truly remarkable. What impresses me the most, however, was the realization that the discipline and calm came not from any externally applied source, but emanated from within the children themselves. They really did find joy and satisfaction through their work!
This experience unequivocally inspired me to pursue this field! I earned my Diploma from The Association Montessori Internationale in Washington DC in 1970. Taught at the Children’s House of Hingham in 1971, opened Montessori Educare with Pheroza Madon in 1972, and continued with her until 1974 when I opened this school.
Melrose Montessori School represents a significant part of my life! I treasure every experience and every memory. I have watched it grow from a single classroom of 14 children ages 2.9 – 6 years, to two classrooms totaling 45 children ages 2.9-7 years of age, since the inclusion of our first grade level. Our furnishings may have changed and our materials have quadrupled to enrich our environment, but we remain closely adhered to the “essence” of the Montessori philosophy and ideals. Regarding numbers relative to discipline in the classroom, I often wish current regulators could have had the opportunity to see those 54 children at work in 1968, and recognize the children’s innate capacity for self regulation and the power to motivate each other given the freedom to follow nature’s course, the right guidance and the right environment! In some ways perhaps we have lost more than we have gained!
To all past staff members, parents and students who have been a part of our Montessori family over these many years, please know that you have left an indelible imprint and enriched all of our lives. You are ever welcome to contact or visit us! We derive so much joy from re-connecting and catching up with your experiences! Please feel free to share thoughts, anecdotes and comments on our website!