Montecito’s Founders, Molly and Jim Matthews, had a passion for teaching and a deep affection for young children. They dreamed of educating children in a safe, warm and natural environment. They discovered the Grant Road property in Los Altos, – two gorgeous acres, with charming brick and ivy covered buildings all tucked away in a peaceful neighborhood. The Matthews understood the importance of the child/animal/environment bond. They designed a campus that would feel like Grandmothers home with Towering trees, forts, special nooks for play, barnyard animals and lush gardens. In 1960 Montecito Preschool opened its doors to its first preschoolers.
The Matthews formed teams nurturing teachers who are early childhood experts. They pioneered a “play-based curriculum.” Self-directed play experiences were designed that encouraged children to develop their imaginative minds, to problem solve, and to learn through discovery in the rich environment created around them.