Our History

History of The Red Oaks School

Drawing of the Cutler Homestead circa 1861
The Cutler Homestead, circa 1861.

The history of The Red Oaks School is rooted in a pioneering educational spirit and a commitment to dynamic education based in the most current validated research in education. In its more than 50 years of operation, Red Oaks’ trajectory has set a standard for innovation and continued growth.

In the mid-1960s, a seminal decade that shaped a new popular culture dominated by the concepts of individuality and freedom, a group of about 10 area couples with young children, many of them local university graduate student families, seeking dynamic tools for educating their children, began holding Montessori classes in their homes. Enrollment soon doubled and the new school, established in 1965 as the Montessori Children’s House of Morristown (MCH), needed a home. In 1966, the school occupied a former schoolhouse in the Collinsville section of Morristown and in April of 1968, school officials purchased and renovated the historic Cutler Homestead at 21 Cutler Street, in Morristown – Red Oaks’ current Early Childhood and Elementary campus. The original structure, at the heart of the building, was erected in 1799 by Joseph Cutler for Silas Condict, a 19th century farmer, surveyor, Revolutionary War patriot, and member of the Continental Congress.

By the end of the 1968-69 school year, Montessori Children’s House enrollment was up to 100 students and the school had become a member of the American Montessori Society. (AMS accredited with non-traditional Montessori age groupings.) In 1973 the Lower Elementary program was added for six- to nine-year-olds, and in 1975 the National Park Service designated the building a National Historic Landmark. 1982 was the first year of the MCH Upper Elementary program for children through 6th grade.

In 2006, in preparation for a major expansion of the school to include a middle school program, Montessori Children’s House changed its name to “The Red Oaks School”. In September 2012, Red Oaks’ Middle School opened its doors at 340 Speedwell Avenue and in 2015 graduated its first 8th grade class.  In September 2022, Red Oaks’ Middle School moved to 238 Speedwell Avenue in Morris Plains, an expanded and completely renovated, state-of-the-art academic complex.

In spring of 2017, the Red Oaks Middle School was authorized as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for the Middle Years Programme (MYP). We are the first school in Morris County (and one of only five schools in NJ) to achieve this prestigious designation! As such, we are now proud to offer a unique interdisciplinary curriculum that integrates two internationally recognized programs — Montessori through 4th grade and International Baccalaureate at the middle school level — with the latest and best in evidence-based pedagogy.


The "Montessori Children's House of Morristown" (MCH), is established in Morristown, NJ
Classes begin at the municipal building in the Collingsville section of Morristown
MCH purchases 21 Cutler Street, and classes begin in September, first year enrollment is 100 students
MCH becomes a member of the American Montessori Society
Lower Elementary program is added for six- to nine-year-olds
The National Park Service designates 21 Cutler Street a National Historic Landmark
Upper Elementary program is added for children through sixth grade
Montessori Children's House changes its name to "The Red Oaks School"
Red Oaks is awarded accreditation from the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS) and *American Montessori Society (AMS).
*AMS accredited with non-traditional Montessori age groupings.
Red Oaks Middle School opens its doors at 340 Speedwell Avenue in Morristown, NJ
Red Oaks graduates its first eighth grade class and becomes an International Baccalaureate (IB) candidate school
IB authorization documentation submitted on October 1st
Red Oaks Middle School is authorized as an International Baccalaureate World School for the Middle Years Programme.
New Middle School building opens at 238 Speedwell Avenue in Morris Plains, NJ.