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A Brief History of
Daycroft Montessori School

Daycroft Montessori School has been one of Ann Arbor's leading private schools since 1968. Throughout our 40+ years of history, we have remained committed to providing a well-balanced, highly personalized education that promotes the development of the whole child.

Daycroft began as a preschool program called Ann Arbor Montessori School, in the basement of St. Andrew’s Church. By 1974, the school needed larger quarters, and moved to purchased space on Butternut Street, adding a toddler program there. A new head of school re-named the school to Daycroft Montessori School during that year. "Croft” is Gaelic for shelter; hence, Daycroft is a day shelter. By 1978, our school served children ages 18 months to 5 years old.

In 1982, building code difficulties at the Butternut building caused another move to rented space on Packard Road across from Buhr Park, and the program expanded to full-day kindergarten. Worlds to Explore, an afternoon program for preschoolers, also began in this era.

The expanding programs again prompted a move in 1989, this time to a custom-built setting at 100 East Oakbrook Drive in Ann Arbor. The new building permitted after-care and before-care programs to be added.

In 1992, the program at the Oakbrook campus expanded again to include 1st and 2nd grade in a combined classroom, and in 1993, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades were added in a second elementary combined classroom. By now the building at Oakbrook was bursting at the seams, and a study conducted by the Board of Directors in 1995 indicated a need and support for a second campus.

Land at 1095 North Zeeb Road was purchased, and construction was completed in 1998. The elementary campus opened with a kindergarten classroom, a lower elementary classroom (grades 1-2), a middle elementary classroom (grades 3-4), and an upper elementary classroom (grades 5-6). An addition to the Zeeb campus, opened in 2003, included a large library, a science room, and an art studio.

The Oakbrook campus now includes two full-day preschool classrooms, one half-day preschool classroom and a full-day kindergarten program. The Zeeb campus now includes a full-day kindergarten classroom, two lower elementary classrooms, two middle elementary classrooms, and one upper elementary classroom.

"My time at Daycroft was so much fun. I loved it! My teachers made things fun and they taught in a way that was easy to understand."

—Kari Hart, alumnus

Timeline of Daycroft Montessori School

  • 1968 Steve Lewis is first Head of School/Program Director of Ann Arbor Montessori.
  • 1978 Josephine Kelsey becomes Head of School/Program Director. School changes name to Daycroft Montessori School.
  • 1989 Lisa Himle becomes Head of School/Program Director. Building of Oakbrook Drive campus begins.
  • 1992 Diane Seeger heads first elementary classroom at Oakbrook campus.
  • 1995 Sheila Chaps becomes Head of School, begins process of accreditation by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS). Building of Zeeb Road campus begins.
  • 1998 Zeeb campus opens.
  • 2002 ISACS accreditation is granted.
  • 2003 Addition to Zeeb campus opens in February.
  • 2003 Rob Ciampoli becomes Head of School.
  • 2006 Diane Mukkala becomes interim Head of School.
  • 2007 Diane Mukkala appointed Head of School.
  • 2013 Dian Mukkala retires from Daycroft, and Michele Buchanan becomes interim Head of School.

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