Hildegard Solzbacher and a small group of committed parents founded Milwaukee Montessori School in 1961. The School began with one classroom of children ages 3-6, and was housed in space rented from Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Milwaukee. The School quickly outgrew its space in the church basement, and within two years of its founding moved to an empty public school building at 4610 West State Street along with the 65 children enrolled in its programs. As interest and satisfaction grew, in 1966 the School added two classrooms for children ages 6-9, which brought enrollment to 110 students. In 1969, nearly 140 children were enrolled in the School.
In 1970, the School expanded again to meet the parent and wider community demand. Two classrooms were added to offer programs for children through 6th grade. The School’s continued success and enrollment growth created the need for yet more space. In 1980, the elementary levels, grades 1 through 7, moved to a separate location, renting the top floor of St. Rose School at 31st and Clybourn streets in Milwaukee. This arrangement of separate campuses, while meeting classroom space needs, was not a desirable long-term solution for accommodating the growth of the School. In 1990, with a combined enrollment of 225 children at the State Street and St. Rose School locations, parents began the quest to find a building that could reunite the early childhood and elementary programs on a single campus.
In 1996, the quest ended with the purchase of a former church school building at 95th Street and Bluemound Road in Milwaukee. Renovation of the building began soon after the purchase, and the School opened its new campus to children in the fall of 1998. The architects involved in this project won awards for their innovative work. The School’s redesign was featured for a second time in the June 2000 issue of Architecture magazine and in November was selected to receive the Mayor’s Design Award for 2000.
Today, MMS is one of the oldest and largest independent Montessori schools in the United States serving more than 400 children. Seen as a premier Montessori school, MMS is frequented by student teachers from Montessori training institutes throughout the world and by aspiring teachers from surrounding colleges and universities. Milwaukee Montessori School graduates enter both private and public high schools in the area and have attended the most prestigious colleges and universities in the United States and abroad.