Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Wildflower Schools is an ecosystem of decentralized teacher-led Montessori micro-schools. Wildflower Montessori started in January 2014 as an early childhood education program created by MIT Media Lab professor Sep Kamvar in partnership with two Montessori veterans. Since then, a growing network of teacher leaders has helped start more than two dozen additional Wildflower schools around the country and in Puerto Rico. Wildflower schools are 1-2 room schools located in shop-fronts embedded in neighborhoods, with the faculty both teaching and administering the school. The small scale of each school is meant to allow teacher-leaders to make day-to-day decisions that respond to the needs of the children and school-wide decisions that express their own vision. The Wildflower network is supported by a foundation that works to build capacity, systems, tools and research to grow and strengthen the network. The Drexel Fund has supported the growth and development of six Wildflower schools. One is a past portfolio member:
- Alyssum Montessori School was the first school in Indiana affiliated with the Wildflower network. Launched in fall 2018 as a private school participating in Indiana’s statewide voucher program.
- Azalea Montessori School was the first school in Ohio affiliated with the Wildflower network. Launched in fall 2019 as a private school serving ages 3-6 eligible to participate in Ohio’s voucher programs.