History of Melville Montessori School

I began to home school my own four sons in 1981. At the time my twin sons, Nickolas and Johnathan, were 11. Son, Anthony was 7, and Christopher was 4. I had worked in the elementary class room at Montessori Greenhouse in Garden Grove, where both Anthony and Christopher had attended pre school. I had also done a number of workshops at the CG Jung Institute in LA and Orange County, and tutorial work in Play Therapy. For a number of years I ran a Creative Arts program during the summer and opened my home to two young children when Christopher was a baby and Anthony was in pre-school.

Soon others were asking if their children could join me at my Home School, and we opened the doors. The school grew, but we stayed small, (24 students - covering grades K - 12). The ratio of students to facilitator was never more than 1 to 15, and parents were encouraged to share their passion and knowledge with the children. Students of high school age (9-12) were required to participate as facilitators or tutors in the subject of their choosing. The vision of students teaching each other, which Montessori felt was so important in a self-directed environment, had been developed at our school with wonderful results. When the students surpassed what we and the parents could provide, we used Mendocino College.

Over the years I have worked with parents in small groups, offering them the tools of "play therapy" to use with their own children, as well as working one on one with individual children. I have mentored student teachers from Dominican College and Sonoma State. I have also co-authored two books; "The Wholistic School" which is intended to be a guide for others who want to start a school, (There have been changes in the laws since "The Wholistic School" was written) and "A Collection of Plays and Presentations" which is a compilation of a number of plays performed and written by students and staff at the school.

In 1995, graduate Christopher Melville presented his award winning speech, "Todayıs Youth, Why the Violence" at the AMS Fall Regional Seminar in Santa Monica. His speech was followed by a workshop he and graduates Damara Ganley and Anthony Melville shared with parents, teachers, and administrators. The workshop focused on activities in creative expression for the class room. Art and creative expression being the containers for human emotions.

In October of 2002, and again in October of 2003, I was invited to attend the Oxford Round Table, by St. Anthonyıs College in the University of Oxford, on the restructuring of education.

In the summer of 2002 I applied for, and was given a grant to offer Parent Child Growth Workshops through Children and Families First of Mendocino County. This was a rewarding experiences, although most of the workshops were attended by Human Services professionals, and I had wanted to work directly with parents.

We closed "the small school" in June of 2001. I continued on a tutorial basis during 2001 to 2003 with a few students who had been with me since they were very young, and wanted to graduate from Melville Montessori School. At this point I am interested in helping parents who want to be responsible for their childrenıs education.

Today, son Christopher teaches preschoolers at Montessori Family Center in Saint Helena, where he also offers Fan-War activities for young and old alike; BA - English, BA - Dance, Sonoma State University, Montessori Early Childhood Credential. Christopher is a featured speaker at this summer's Home School Conference in Sacramento. Son, Anthony, teaches 7-9th grade at Tree of Life Montessori Charter School in Ukiah; BA - Music Education, Montessori Early Childhood Credential - and - California State Teaching Credential. Anthony was a featured speaker at the 2005 Teacher Credentialing Ceremonies at Sonoma State University. Son, Nickolas is an Engineer for Space Systems Loreal in Palo Alto; BA Physics, Sonoma State University. MA, UC Davis. Son, Johnathan, is Professor of Neuro-Physiology at Wartberg College; BA - Biology, BA - Psychology, Sonoma State University. MA, PhD - Oregon State University. I am very proud of all four of my sons, and feel that they will continue to make a difference in this world long after I am gone.