On January 6, 1907, Dr. Maria Montessori opened her first school for young children in the infamous San Lorenzo district of Rome, Italy. At that time, San Lorenzo was known as “the shame of Italy” because of its pervasive crime, rampant unemployment, and deplorable living conditions. Undeterred by these harsh realities, the ever-intrepid Dr. Montessori set about educating the children of the district’s low-wage day laborers. The results of her work were astonishing! Not long after the school opened, national politicians and foreign dignitaries visited the school to witness firsthand the incredible progress students were making in reading, writing, and arithmetic as a result of Dr. Montessori’s revolutionary approach to learning.
More than a century after the founding of this first Montessori school in Rome, we at Grow Montessori School seek to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Montessori by educating children and empowering families in Atlanta’s Historic Westside neighborhoods. These communities lie in the shadows of Georgia Tech and the Coca-Cola Company—Atlanta’s great beacons of innovation and entrepreneurship—yet unemployment, drug abuse, and violent crime are widespread.
But there’s hope! We at Grow Montessori School believe in the unique power of early childhood education to transform lives and inspire change in our local communities. And this is not just wishful thinking! A recent study published on June 9, 2011 in the online version of the journal Science found that preschool education has long-lasting, positive effects in the lives of economically disadvantaged children—especially boys. These benefits include higher rates of on-time high school graduation and enrollment in a four-year college, as well as higher average annual income. The study also reported that preschool attendance leads to lower rates of drug abuse, criminal activity, and incarceration. With your help, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of children and families in Atlanta’s Historic Westside!