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Creating a Real School

Lake Country School Montessori Environments 1976-1996

Larry Schaefer, Pat Schaefer, and Lori Sturdevant

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  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Dimensions: 8.50" x 11.00"
  • ISBN: 978-1-935666-88-2
  • Publication Date: 2016-05-13
  • Nodin Press

Availability: In stock

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Paperback$25.00

Creating a Real School

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In the pages of this book, Larry and Pat Schaefer describe the creation of Lake Country School and the first twenty years of its development. The story takes us first to Bergamo, Italy, where the Schaefers took Montessori training courses; then to an established Montessori school in Toronto where they honed their pedagogical skills; and finally to the Twin Cities, where they worked with a community of parents, students, educators, and benefactors to establish a school based on the pedagogical principles of Maria Montessori.

The Schaefers describe how they and their colleagues and parent volunteers worked to find a permanent home for the school, and how they later redesigned the building they’d purchased to better fit the Montessori method. It tells of field trips and theatrical performances, annual rituals and celebrations, student projects and parent associations, and the development of the Land School in rural Wisconsin to further broaden the experience of students.

The narrative is enriched by the wisdom accumulated by the Schaefers and their fellow teachers over the course of many decades about how to create an effective and dynamic learning community of educators, parents, and children.

Larry and Pat Schaefer with Lori Studrevant


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Larry Schaefer

Larry and Pat Schaefer are the founders of Lake Country School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and two other Montessori schools. Married in 1960, they have enjoyed a professional and personal partnership for more than fifty-five years. Together they also founded Lake Country Institute, a Montessori Research and Development Institute, in 1996.  

Larry received an AMI diploma from Bergamo, Italy; he holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Fordham University and an M.A. in education from Fairfield University. Nationally recognized as an authority on Montessori adolescent education, he has been a consultant with schools around the country and worked twelve years with the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association as a founding staff of their Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies.

Pat Schaefer

Larry and Pat Schaefer are the founders of Lake Country School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and two other Montessori schools. Married in 1960, they have enjoyed a professional and personal partnership for more than fifty-five years. Together they also founded Lake Country Institute, a Montessori Research and Development Institute, in 1996.  

Pat, a native of Minneapolis, received her AMI/AMS primary diploma in Greenwich, Connecticut and an AMI elementary diploma in Bergamo, Italy. A graduate of the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota, she also earned an M.A. in history at Fordham University. Pat has three years teaching experience in children’s house, nine years in the lower elementary, and eighteen years in the upper elementary. Since 2001, she also has worked part-time with adolescents. She has served as a Montessori elementary consultant to more than fifty schools.  

Lori Sturdevant

Lori Sturdevant is an editorial writer and columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where she has spent more than thirty-five years covering Minnesota state government and politics. She is the author, co-author or editor of ten books, including The Pillsburys of Minnesota (Nodin Press, 2011) and Her Honor: Rosalie Wahl and the Minnesota Women’s Movement (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2014). She and her husband, Martin Vos, live in

St. Paul; they have three grown children, two of whom are alumni of Lake Country School.