Formed in 2001 by Chris Blunden, Evelyn Hoey, Phyllis Lee, Therese Racklyeft, and Bonnie Schow, the Charlotte Mason Association of Detroit (CMAD) began as a vision to offer rich educational opportunities based on the philosophy of Charlotte Mason to children of inner city Detroit. In 2002, CMAD founded Ambleside Community School (ACS) in direct response to a need expressed by local families for a quality educational experience for their children.

Evelyn Hoey and Therese Racklyeft first became aware of the teachings of Charlotte Mason while educating their children at home. After reading her six-volume work on education, Mrs. Hoey attended a worldwide conference in Ambleside, England, home to the Charlotte Mason Teaching College at the University of Lancashire. There she was encouraged to learn that, though on a small scale, Miss Mason’s methods were being used successfully throughout the world. Later, three of the founders attended a short internship offered by the Charlotte Mason Schools International. They were drawn to Miss Mason’s philosophy for many reasons; among them were her beliefs that all children, the offspring of the wealthy as well as the poor, should have access to a rich curriculum and that children should be encouraged to “dig” for knowledge – to be active seekers rather than passive learners. Through the grace of God, these CMAD pioneers started a K-6 school, which grew to become a K-8 school the following year.

Students, parents, and teachers enthusiastically worked together to make Ambleside a successful experience for all involved. Several distinctive characteristics that set Ambleside apart from the public school system include low teacher-to-student ratio, individualized teaching that meets the need of every student, and the development of a child’s natural exploratory instincts.  The initial success of Ambleside Community School is best expressed by parents of students attending at that time:

“Fairly soon after her enrollment in Ambleside, I noticed some major changes in Julia’s behavior…While having fun with drama, art, music and etc., she also learned about ancient civilizations, Greek word roots, and mathematical solutions.”   —Dr. Shepherd.

“It was exciting to watch our children respond so favorably to the teachers, the classes, the other students as well as the special trips and events.  In addition we could see that they were really learning.” —Mr. Weidman

As part of our three-pronged goal of educating students, parents and teachers, in 2009-2010, ACS welcomed our first intern. This certified teacher spent the year learning CM philosophy and methods and teaching Spanish and remedial reading. She returned this year as a part-time teacher.

At the beginning of the 2010 - 2011 school year, Ambleside Community School became Charlotte Mason Community School (CMCS) and welcomed David Stone as the new principal. Charlotte Mason Community School continues to have a strong curriculum; a very dedicated, talented, and well-equipped staff; and an appreciative and enthusiastically supportive parent community. CMCS provides equal opportunity to all applicants without regard to race, gender, religious affiliation, or national origin.