The Montessori Program provides an interdisciplinary, child-centered and discovery-based approach to learning. Dr. Maria Montessori opened the first Montessori school in Rome in 1907. Dr. Montessori was an Italian physician and anthropologist. The educational methodology of Montessori schools is based on her anthropological studies and observations of children. Today, there are more than 7,000 Montessori schools worldwide, 4000 of these in the United States. About 200 U. S. public school systems offer Montessori programs.
The Montessori model of education begins at age three. Prince George’s County opened Montessori programs in three schools in 1986. By 1998, there were 47 PGCPS Montessori classrooms serving children from ages three to fourteen in five schools. In 1999, the Board of Education voted to allow all students entering the program the opportunity to experience the full three-year preschool cycle without tuition. In 2004, an intensive evaluation of Magnet programs was conducted. The PGCPS Montessori program demonstrated exemplary student achievement across all ages and socio-economic lines and was slated for replication and expansion. In 2002, two dedicated Montessori sites for students ages three through middle school were established at Robert Goddard Montessori and John Hanson Montessori. In 2008, Judith P. Hoyer Montessori became the third site for the PGCPS Montessori program. In 2012, Judith P. Hoyer Montessori moved to its new home at Oakcrest, allowing for its expansion and the development of its middle school program.