History of The New School of Lancaster
The New School of Lancaster, offering an outstanding Montessori education, enrolls over 250 students in light-filled historic space in Lancaster City, the renovated executive office building of the former Hamilton Watch company. Our students range from toddlers to middle school age, coming from all parts of Lancaster County and beyond. Although less than 25 years old, we have already filled a niche in the community for families who seek an excellent, non-denominational educational opportunity in a child-centered, respectful, and caring environment.
The New School of Lancaster opened in September 1990, after six families saw a need in the community for a primary and elementary program that would meet the educational and emotional needs of children, and inspire parental trust in the program and staff. Our first home was rented space located at Salem United Church of Christ on Marietta Avenue in Rohrerstown. The school enrolled 64 students in its first year, with two primary classes, one elementary class through second grade, and an after-school program.
The New School of Lancaster steadily grew and matured as enrollment increased. Between 1990 and 1995, we added four additional primary classes, a toddler class, a second early elementary class, and a new upper elementary class. The three elementary classes met in rented space at Mountville Church of the Brethren, and the toddler class met at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Harrisburg Pike.
Students were thriving in the unique environment offered by The New School of Lancaster, but our community was split over many spaces. In 1994, with much help from parents and Dudek Realty Company, we decided to rent and renovate the executive office building at the Hamilton Watch complex on Columbia Avenue. Thanks to a tremendous effort by the contractor, Meeder Development Company, and the sub-contractors, The New School of Lancaster opened in this location in September 1995. Staff, parents, board members, and contractors worked to make the building ready for occupancy. The gala kick-off party at the school was a joyous celebration of everyone’s hard work and commitment to “a home of our own.”
At the end of our first ten years in this building, we had grown to include two toddler, seven primary, three early elementary, two upper elementary classes, and one middle school class. In May of 2008, we purchased the building, embarking on a new stage of our adventure. As owners of this “home of our own” we plan to improve the building and grounds so that they can better enhance our students’ experiences.
The extraordinary growth of The New School of Lancaster has been possible because of the enthusiasm, dedication, trust, positive attitude, and hard work of the teachers, the administration, the staff, the parents, and the Board of Trustees. Their commitment enables our growing school to flourish. We continue to serve the needs of our community, giving children the best education possible.
We encourage you to to visit us! See how our school has given new life to an historic facility, and observe firsthand the power of a Montessori education for each and every child.
Founding Families and Teachers in 1990
- Rich Bidgood and Ann Steiner
- Elizabeth and Tom Crippen
- Diana and Thad Eshelman
- Melissa Leanza
- Pam and Kirk Liddell
- Mary Marzolf
- Kim and Ted Risser
- Dotty and Ken Weaber
- Mary Cae Williams
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