Diane Smith is the Director and Founder of Countryside Montessori School. Countryside was founded in 2005 with an inaugural class of just 8 students (one of them Diane’s youngest child). Today CMS has grown to include 5 teachers, over 40 students, both half and full day programs, after school care for school age children and now, a summer program.
Diane first became interested in Montessori when her oldest child attended a Montessori school in Ann Arbor in 1990. Maria Montessori’s philosophy of independence, self-paced learning, and a prepared environment struck a chord with Diane and Montessori became a key influence as she stayed home to raise her 7 children on the family crop farm in Addison, Michigan. Inspired to share this philosophy with others Diane became a certified Montessori teacher and opened CMS.
CMS enjoyed tremendous growth over the past 10 years and recently re-located to a new building on Hallett Rd. Here Diane has realized her vision of teaching children the joy of learning in a country environment The new school campus is located on 5 acres of land and includes a barn and an expansive natural playground (with a mud pit to enjoy on rainy days). Children learn hands on the meaning of farm to table as they grind wheat into flour to bake muffins, tap trees for sap to make maple syrup, and watch the school’s sheep’s wool be spun into yarn.
Countryside’s story and success is due in large part to the wonderful support we’ve received from the surrounding community. We are deeply grateful for all of the families and volunteers that have helped us on this journey.