Founded in 1996 by Debbie Evans Warkentien, Rancho Viejo Montessori School started with 9 students in the Warkentien condo in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. The school began construction on their current location in January 1997 and moved in on January 20, 1998 with one Toddler Class, one Children’s House class and one Lower Elementary class. By 2001 the school housed 3 Children’s House classes and expanded to add an Upper Elementary class. In September 2003, the Middle School was added. The Rancho Viejo Montessori School now serves 150 children from 18 months through 14 years.
In 2008, the Warkentien family and the school together acquired the 1903 Salvador Labat farmhouse in the historical Los Rios neighborhood of San Juan Capistrano. The renamed “Montessori Rose Cottage” serves as our land lab – a haven for education with emphasis on land based activities. We are an eco-friendly school with teachers who encourage a deep respect, understanding, and appreciation of nature. We learn from our own backyard and, in doing so, discover the knowledge and life skills that empower us to make a difference.