The Montessori Teachers Collective was born over coffee.
One of the best things about Montessori teaching is the camaraderie. I loved spending time with other teachers and felt stronger in the classroom afterward, but conferences and seminars were few and far between - time was the thing that was the hardest to find! In the mid-90s I began to wonder if the Internet might help to fill the gaps between get-togethers. It wouldn't be the same as coffee & kid stories in the lobby of the conference hotel at 1:00 am, but it'd be better than nothing.
My fascination with HTML and increasing numbers of Montessori folks online proved to be fertile ground. The first iteration of the page, then called the Montessori Teachers Collaborative, was uploaded to AOL's Hometown service on December 8, 1997, as part of my elementary training final project. A slight name change accompanied a large format change in March 1998, and the somewhat more aptly titled Montessori Teachers Collective started to grow.
Other projects sprouted up along the way... a Montessori teachers discussion forum (MTF), a discussion forum for Montessori parents (MPF), free one-page websites (The Homepage Project) for Montessori schools who couldn't afford a web presence of their own, and Montessori Schools Online, a 'webring' of connected Montessori school home pages from around the world. At one time MTC also featured an exhaustive list of every Montessori school and materials vendor, hundreds of sourced quotes, classified ads, Montessori postcards you could send by email, live chat with whoever happened to be at the site, and two applications written for the Palm Pilot: an animated quotes generator and a classroom management application.
September 1999 saw another redesign and a move to new server space - I was all-in on the technology thing and MOTEACO was now officially larger than the sum of its parts.
Feature articles in local papers, The Public School Montessorian, and Montessori Life Magazine brought increasing numbers of people to the site. At times there were more visitors from Africa, South America, Asia, and Australia than the United States, Canada, and Europe, combined. Most importantly, lots of small, single-classroom schools with a handful of students, a passionate teacher, and incomplete sets of second-hand materials could afford to do more, as everything on the site was free to share.
You're reading the latest version of MOTEACO. We were on and off again in the mid-late 2010s, though our Facebook Page kept chugging along. A volunteer hosted a copy of the site's content during that time, and COVID finally provided me the time to get things running again in December 2020.