|13500 Layhill Road
Silver Spring, Maryland, 20906
|Grades||Primary through Grade 12|
|Enrollment||~300 (grades PreK-12)|
|Campus size||45 acres (182,000 m2)|
|Color(s)||Blue & Gold ██|
Barrie School has three divisions located on the same campus. The Lower School, which serves children from age two through fifth grade, is Montessori based. The Middle and Upper Schools are college preparatory, however, teachers typically favor experiential learning over lectures. The students and faculty are on a first-name basis and the environment is one of openness and mutual respect.
With student population of around 300 students, a beautiful green campus,with two new modern buildings, a pool,and two ponds.There is an average class size of around 18, teachers can integrate the natural setting into the curriculum through hands-on experiments or holding class outside.
Barrie has an equestrian team for both the middle and upper school. Both teams compete on the weekends. The Equestrian Director, Sue Wentzel, just started working for Barrie this year. The riding team was awarded 3rd place last year out of multiple teams.
The school was founded in 1932 by Frances Littman Seldin as a preschool called the Peter Pan School, located on Allison Street NW in the District of Columbia. In 1934-1935 it moved to Decatur Street NW. In late 1939 or early 1940, the school moved to Fern Place NW, a 17 acre urban campus. The name was changed to Barrie School when upper grade classes were added, memorializing author J. M. Barrie, creator of the Peter Pan story.
Barrie was described by Mrs. Seldin as a progressive, country day school, directly influenced by the work of John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Alfred Adler, and Anna Freud. It was an anomaly among private schools in the Washington, DC community for much of its history because of Mrs. Seldin's then controversial beliefs about integration, creating a socio-economically diverse population, and her decision to offer a year-round program and extended hours to serve working parents. Although the name Montessori was rarely used in describing Barrie during those years, the program was heavily influenced by Maria Montessori's philosophy and program, including practical life,integrated learning and project-based collaborative learning, mulitiage class groups, and a culture of partnership between students, parents, and staff.
In the 1950s, Mrs. Seldin purchased a 45-acre (182,000 m2) country estate on Layhill Road in rural Montgomery County, Maryland. The new site was added to continue the school’s mission of teaching in a natural setting. The Barrie Day Camp moved to the property. In 1976, the Fern Place campus was closed and the remaining Middle and Lower School classes were moved to the Layhill Road property, with room for 265 students. The Upper School (Grades 9-12) was closed from 1974 through 1982 as a result of Mrs. Seldin's death and the need to sell the Fern Place campus to cover estate taxes, and a building moratorium imposed on new construction in Montgomery County during that period that created a cap on enrollment at the Layhill Road campus. The high school was reopened in 1982 in time for the 50th anniversary of Barrie School's founding was celebrated with the reopening of the Upper School in the former Argyle Junior High public school building on Bel Pré Road in Silver Spring, Maryland. That year, Barrie's Upper School was formally recognized by the American Montessori Society (AMS) as the first Montessori High School in the United States. In that year the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies was authorized by the American Montessori Society and Maryland State Commission of Higher Education to offer the first formal teacher preparation for secondary Montessori educators (ages 12-18).<Reference - Personal mémoire on the history of the Barrie School by Barrie Headmaster Emeritus and alumnus, Timothy David Seldin, 2013> Classes were held until new buildings on the Layhill Road campus were completed in the summer of 1991, bringing the Primary, Lower, Middle, and Upper School students together on one campus again.
In 1980, the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies, offering graduate-level teacher education programs, was founded on Barrie School’s Layhill Road campus to provide a progressive and rigorous American Montessori Society Montessori education that would reflect the heritage of the Barrie School and the work of Dr. Claude and Franscesca Clairmont, leading Montessori educators whose work in elementary Montessori education had almost been forgotten until the Institute was organized by co-founders and Directors Harvey Hallenberg and Tim Seldin. <Reference - Personal mémoire on the history of the Barrie School by Barrie Headmaster Emeritus and alumnus, Timothy David Seldin, 2013
(Alternative interpretation) In 1980, the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies, offering graduate-level teacher education programs, was founded on Barrie School’s Layhill Road campus to provide bridge between the traditional and Montessori schools of education. The training programs have been completed by individuals from all across the United States and as far away as Canada, Trinidad, China, and Korea.
- The Barrie School Student/Parent Handbook, 2005-2006 Academic Year, 2005, retrieved January 4, 2006 from http://www.barrie.org/news/Handbook%2005-06.pdf.
- "The Barrie School History". 2004. Retrieved December 28, 2005.
- "Barrie's Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies Marks Its 10th Anniversary". Barrie Magazine. Summer, 1990 Vol. 1, No. 2. p. 18.