Head of School Welcome

Welcome to Milwaukee Montessori School, the second oldest Montessori school in the nation. 

At our fifty-year mark, we reinvigorated our mission by focusing on two guiding queries:

How can we expand the potential of all children to advance a freer, safer world?

What would schooling look like if truly rooted in a belief in democracy, personal freedom, solidarity with the marginalized, and the well being of our planet?

Fifteen years ago we knew that while most schools were attending to “business as usual,” technology was entirely changing our economy and our civilization. At a leadership level, as educators, we took responsibility for facing that reality squarely, and we made the decision to do what we had to do to prepare young children for the vastly different world they would enter as young adults. 

We made painstaking and revolutionary changes to our technology infrastructure and curriculum, and by 2012, we were already deemed a “School of the Future” by the National Association of Independent Schools. 

The innovation investment works. Our stellar student outcomes speak for themselves: graduates receive generous financial awards to attend independent high schools across the region and nation. They test into honors and AP-level classes in their freshman years and remain on honor rolls throughout high school. They play varsity sports, establish service clubs and environmental stewardship programs, earn leading roles in their High School musicals, and exercise their gifts in fine arts. As they go on to work in the world, they prove themselves to be the creative, flexible, and level-headed people we desperately need asking and answering the much-needed, imaginative, practical, and moral questions of our time. 

This may sound hyperbolic, but it is not. Our extraordinary school truly provides students with the learning experiences they need to face the challenges of a diverse, global environment. We hear again and again that our students are informed, engaged, cooperative, ethically minded citizens who are confidently confronting and improving the complex world that they have inherited. They also love coming to school; they tell us every day. 

We hope you will visit our school to see for yourself! We would love to welcome your family into our warm and life-changing learning community as visitors, and then welcome you back as partners in the crucial early years of your children’s education.  

Monica Van Aken, Ed.D.
Head of School

Our History

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.

The School’s continued success and enrollment growth created the need for yet more space. In 1980, the elementary levels moved to a separate location at St. Rose School on 31st and Clybourn. Having independent campuses was not desirable, and in 1996, the building Milwaukee Montessori School now inhabits, a prior church school, was purchased. In the fall of 1998, the doors opened after a major redesign project. The architects won numerous awards for innovation, and the School’s redesign was featured in the June 2000 issue of Architecture Magazine, and later in November received the Mayor’s Design Award for 2000.

Today, with more than 400 students, Milwaukee Montessori School is one of the oldest and largest independent Montessori schools in the United States. Numerous student and faculty awards, recognition as a “School of the Future” by the National Association of Independent Schools, accreditation by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States, and the ongoing success of our graduates serve as a testament the vision of the School’s founders and the foresight of our current leaders.

Why Pay for Private School?

Choosing a private school is about choosing the quality of your child’s daily life, the richness of their experience, and having confidence that your child’s teachers will attend to the full mosaic of their interests and needs, both emotional and intellectual. You choose a private school to ensure that you are raising a well-rounded child.  

The MMS community is intentionally diverse in thought, culture, religion, and race. We make this a priority because it is important to prepare children for a world where they will interact with others who are different from them.

As a mastery-based school with small-group lessons given by exceptionally well-trained, caring teachers, we are unique. Our teachers understand that no one exercise works for all students at the same time, and implement the practice of mastery learning, which enables each student to work on an exercise, lesson, or assignment that best fits their individual needs. The result is that MMS students are high performing academically and well-rounded socially and emotionally.

MMS students have a full 40 hours of schooling per week — that gives our students time to master concepts and skills without hurry, while also enjoying daily recess, as well as art, music, Spanish, and physical education several times a week. Most local public schools have an average of 34 hours of schooling per week, rushing their students to meet their curriculum requirements, and in some cases, eliminating arts or athletics to meet that end.

MMS students have true student agency, meaning that they are learning through activities that are meaningful and relevant, driven by their interests, and often self-initiated with appropriate guidance from teachers. To put it simply, student agency gives students voice, and often, choice, in how they learn. MMS students have the opportunity to be active drivers of their own education and so, love coming to school every day!

What Co-Curriculars Do You Offer?

The MMS Co-Curricular programs offer students the opportunity to explore cutting-edge technology, delve into the intricacies of the fine arts, maintain a healthy body and mind, and explore cultures from around the world with Spanish education.

We offer:

  • Technology
  • Studio Arts
  • Music
  • Spanish
  • Physical Education

Do You Win Awards?

In the last decade, members of our school community have earned over 1,000 national, state, and regional awards in areas across the curriculum.

Out of thousands of entrants, Milwaukee Montessori School students have been named winners of the prestigious National STEM Challenge in Game Design an astonishing three times: the only school in the country to win more than once. The National Association of Independent Schools named MMS a “School of the Future” for our far-reaching technology program and we are yearly winners in robotics competitions on a national scale. We pride ourselves on aiding students to exercise their strengths and so, MMS students win a myriad of essay competitions each year,  are celebrated with national awards for artwork, and are named a “Champion School” in the President’s National Physical Fitness Challenge.

See our Awards Page here. 

Want to Work With Us?

Admissions Info & Tours


If you have questions about the admissions process, please contact our Director of Admission, Cheryl Kelly, admissions@milwaukee-montessori.org, or call 414-259-0370 ext.106.