After the birth of her first child, Patricia Gutierrez became interested in helping children achieve a better education. In 2006, she met Stefani Ruskin, a Montessori educator. Both had similar goals: a passion for educating children, a desire to protect the environment, and a wish to become entrepreneurs.
Although there were many obstacles along the way, Garden Montessori School opened its doors in Wesley Chapel, Florida on June 15, 2009. Just a few short months later in November 2009, GMS became a Certified Green School, becoming the first preschool in both Florida and the United States to receive this distinction. This certification was awarded by the Green Schools League and recognized the vision and commitment that Ms. Ruskin and Ms. Gutierrez had made to create and maintain a healthy school environment.
GMS has been a Full Member School with the American Montessori Society (AMS) since 2010 meeting all standards of excellence in accordance with the national guidelines. 2011 thru 2013 South Florida Montessori Education Center held teacher education training on our campus. We were also proud to announce our elevation from a Level II to Level III certificated green school of excellence. In addition, we became accredited by the Florida Kindergarten Council (FKC).
With the encouragement and support of our families, and our obligation as educators in meeting the needs of an ever-growing community, we proudly announced our approval from the Pasco County School Board for a Montessori-based K-6th grade charter school, serving our community beginning the 2015-2016 school year. Unable to a secure a location, Garden Montessori Charter School was unable to open its doors.
GMS became a Full School Member with the International Montessori Council in 2017 and the Summer of 2018, The Center for Guided Montessori Studies chose GMS as a satellite location for the Infant and Toddler Teacher Education Certification Program accredited by The Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE).
In January 2020, GMS was awarded accreditation from the National Independent Private Schools Association (NIPSA) and National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA), being recognized as an international quality private school worldwide, also granting us the Gold Seal Accreditation for Florida.
In addition, GMS is now participating in the American Montessori Society (AMS) new Pathway of Continuous School Improvement Program. The AMS Pathway of Continuous School Improvement is a school-quality initiative that invites schools to identify and articulate Montessori quality-encouraging them to improve at their own pace. GMS has received the highest level of membership, a level six.
Garden Montessori School has grown to six classrooms serving students 18-months of age through Kindergarten. We pride ourselves on building strong and lasting relationships between students, parents, faculty, and community where the children can grow and learn to their greatest potential.