Downtown Cedar Rapids Montessori School Celebrating 50th Year
Cedar Valley Montessori School is marking a half century of shaping young lives. The school offers early education Montessori programming for children ages 2-6.
Begun in 1971 by a group of Cedar Rapids parents, the school first opened in the basement of a downtown church with 10 children. Thanks to its continuing engagement with families, CVMS has endured to become the longest serving Montessori program in the area, today with some 115 students enrolled for the 2021-2022 academic year.
“CVMS is recognized for respecting each child’s unique learning style,” explained Marcia
Hughes, Head of School. “Our faculty and staff strive to inspire thoughtful, independent, and
confident learners. For 50 years, families have entrusted their children to our program, knowing that we will
provide each child with an individualized education experience in an authentic Montessori environment.”
CVMS moved into the Ground Transportation Center (110 Fifth Avenue SE) in 1997, becoming the only downtown school in Cedar Rapids. When flood waters devasted the City of Cedar Rapids in June of 2008, CVMS was swamped with eight feet of water. Its six ground-floor classrooms, administrative offices, the childcare room, and the outdoor play area were submerged. Much of the Montessori specialized educational materials, books, furniture, equipment, and files were destroyed. Total school losses were estimated at $318,000.
The quick action of staff and parents helped the school locate to a temporary home in the education wing of yet another local church. Programming remained there for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years.
The CVMS community returned to its downtown home for the start of fall 2010-2011 school year. The City of Cedar Rapids, owners of the Transit Way location, received funding from FEMA to restore the building to its pre-flood condition. CVMS parents and staff raised additional money to bring the school back better than ever with additional classrooms for a Toddler Community and an indoor gymnasium.
“Downtown Cedar Rapids has been our home for 20 years and we are very proud of our deep roots here,” said Hughes.
In observance of the milestone anniversary, a 50th Anniversary Proclamation was presented to the school by the Cedar Rapids City Council. The Metro Economic Alliance also hosted a ribbon cutting event outside the school. Staff, students, and families will continue to celebrate the anniversary during the year with special outdoor events and service projects supporting the community.
Cedar Valley Montessori School is a non-denominational school and welcomes students of all
races, colors, creeds, national origins, and family compositions.