When Karen Piepemeier and her family arrived in Corvallis in 1967, there was no school where her 3-year-old son Edward could continue the type of education he had enjoyed in Illinois. She had come to appreciate the unique method designed by Dr. Maria Montessori. She wanted the best for all of her children. So the mother put an ad in the Gazette Times, inviting people to come for coffee and talk about creating a school.
Years later, the result of this labor of love, Corvallis Montessori School remains a strong fixture in the educational landscape of Corvallis. Local parents continue to partner with professional educators to provide for children what they consider the best foundation for life.
Three- year old Edward Piepemeier grew up and moved away; eventually, as a physician, he returned to his hometown. When he and his younger sister Kristen Gose have visited their alma mater, they have joined other alumni in sharing fond memories of CMS, validating that it provided a fantastic foundation for their lives. The next generation is now ready to join CMS as Kristen’s son, Jameson, begins to attend CMS in 2010.
1967 A small group of parents founded Corvallis Montessori Society, Inc. as the owner/operator of Corvallis Montessori School, an independent, cooperative Montessori preschool. It began with one half-day Primary classroom, renting space at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
1970 CMS moved, renting a space at St. Mary's Church. The school expanded to two Primary classrooms for children 2-1/2 to 6 years old, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each day.
1975 The school expanded to three Primary classrooms and added a Full Day program that allowed children 4-1/2 to 6 years old to remain in the Montessori environment until 2:30 p.m.
1976 CMS started an Elementary classroom for children 6 to 10 years old.
1978 CMS grew to three primary classrooms for children of ages 2-1/2 to 6.The elementary program became a separate organization from CMS, establishing the Montessori Learning Center (MLC). CMS and MLC were in the same building and shared campus facilities.
1990 CMS bought and renovated a former church building on Northwest 27th Street, and began classes in its new facility in September.
1995 CMS and MLC merged, to form a comprehensive Montessori educational program for children 2-1/2 to 12 years old.
1999 The upper-elementary program began an exchange program with Comunidad Montessori Cholloyan, a Montessori school in Puebla, Mexico. This program involves alternative-year hosting of students and parent chaperones for two weeks.
2003 A lobby and reception area was added to the west end of the building. This created an additional welcoming and gathering space for parents, and enhanced security.