Montecito’s Founders, Molly and Jim Matthews, had a passion for teaching and a deep affection for young children and dreamed of educating children in a safe, warm and natural environment. When they discovered the Grant Road property in Los Altos, they envisioned the idyllic setting would become a school for early childhood learning -- two acres in Los Altos, charming buildings with sprawling 200-year-old oak trees. In 1960 Montecito Preschool opened its doors. The campus quickly became home to animals and gardens, as the Matthews understood the importance of the human/animal/environment bond.
The Matthews formed teams of early childhood experts and nurturing teachers. 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.