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 10 teachers, over 80 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 in 2005.
CMS has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past 18 years. Our school campus is located on 5 acres of land. Our beautiful new building meets all the needs of our young students and our land provides the perfect setting for our barn, animals and and expansive natural playground (with a mud pit to enjoy on rainy days). Children experience the joys of a farm; tapping trees and boiling sap into maple syrup, grinding wheat into flour, baking muffins with eggs from the chicken coup. Shearing, dying and spinning wool into yarn is particularly fun in the spring along with the arrival of new lambs.
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.