Montessori’s History at Barry

How the Program Began

Barry University is still the only institution of higher learning in the State of Florida with a Montessori Graduate programs and was the first university based program established in the Southeast. The Montessori program has built a reputation as an institution where education students graduating from Barry are well prepared to teach.

Over twenty years ago, Barry University was approached by Dade County Public Schools Magnet Program to offer a graduate program where teachers would earn a master's degree in Montessori education. The idea was well received by Barry University. The Adrian Dominican Sisters had already developed and administered two Montessori schools, one in Adrian, Michigan and another in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Doors opened for the first group of students for Montessori Elementary I-II program in 1992. MACTE accreditation was obtained in 1993. A year later the Early Childhood program was established and was accredited by MACTE in 1995.

Serving Montessori Schools in the Area

The Montessori program has responded to requests to teach off-campus at schools within the community. Most recently, the Early Childhood and Elementary programs are offered for Broward County Public Schools at Beachside Montessori Village (in Hollywood, Florida), for Duval Public Schools at John E. Ford Elementary (Jacksonville, Florida). In the past, we offered programs for three years at Virginia Shuman Young Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale and Rosarian Academy and Northboro Elementary School in West Palm Beach as well as others in Fort Myers, Florida and St. Petersburg, Florida.

The main campus serves teachers from throughout Florida in addition to teachers from Central and South Americas, Europe and Asia.


The Montessori Program is proud of its alumni. A number of our alumni have continued on to open their own Montessori schools throughout the US. Most of our alumni are lead teachers and directors throughout South Florida’s Montessori private and public schools.

Future of the Montessori Program

Several trends point to a bright future for the Montessori Program:

  • The increasing number of Montessori Magnet and Charter schools organized will need more Montessori certified teachers.
  • The Universal Pre-K approved by voters at a referendum to be implemented in 2005 highlights the importance of quality early childhood education. Montessori programs have been successful in offering high standard early childhood education for almost 100 years. The need for early childhood teachers to meet this new state mandate will be an opportunity for the Montessori Program at Barry University to prepare teachers for this role.
  • The increasing emphasis for our nation to educate children so they can read, compute and understand science is an opportunity for the Program to increase public awareness that the personalized, hands-on, multi-sensory strategies used in Montessori schools have been effective in achieving those goals. The increased demand for Montessori schools will need a greater supply of certified Montessori teachers.