9/8/16 –Village Montessori School at Bluemont is the first Montessori School in Northern Virginia to receive accreditation by the International Montessori Council (IMC) for its Primary and Elementary Program.
The milestone decision was finalized on August 22, 2016 at the International Montessori Council Board Meeting and concluded a two-year accreditation review process that culminated in the IMC visit to the school this past May. Village Montessori School at Bluemont owner and Head of School, Toby Gress, and all teachers and administrative staff were working tirelessly to prepare for this day.
“Accreditation has been an important step for us in helping us solidify our vision and goals as a Montessori School.”, said Toby Gress. “It has also given us important feedback pointing out weaknesses and strengths as well as the strategy for the future.”
A central part of the official review process was the continuous self-assessment of the school in all areas of operation. This assessment included the contribution of all stakeholders, including teachers, staff and the parents and families over the two-year period. To finalize this process, IMC paid a visit to the school in May 2016. For three days, IMC staff observed operations inside and outside the classroom, reviewed documents and interviewed a wide
variety of stakeholders.
Accreditation for a Montessori School carries great significance as the term ‘Montessori’ is not trademarked or protected and schools may use the name Montessori without any requirement to show adherence to the Montessori methodology. Hence, a school carrying the Montessori name does not guarantee the school actually operates according to the Montessori philosophy.
Going through the demanding process of the International Montessori Council assessing the school’s operations and strategies allowed Village Montessori School at Bluemont to authenticate its long-standing program through an independent source and officially establish it as a legitimate Montessori School.
For owner Toby Gress and her team it all went far way beyond that: “This process did not just help us by receiving the official accreditation status. It encouraged us to pull together as a team and establish the core values of who we are, and where we are going. It also allowed us to write the vision for the future and with that provide a blueprint for others ensuring sustainability and quality control for future families and students of VMS.”