75 Years of the “Right Beginnings”
The story of Mrs. Monica Ros
Monica Horder Ros grew up in Australia where her childhood was filled with wonderful family experiences involving music, dance, drama, and art. In 1927, the young Monica Horder married Ricardo Ros, a Cuban who was traveling through Australia. Their mutual interest in Theosophy and the teaching of Krishnamurti led them first to India and then to Ojai where they lived for a time at Krotona. As they became integrated into the Ojai community, Mr. Ros taught Spanish briefly at The Thacher School and Mrs. Ros taught music to local children. They also traveled, and Mrs. Ros continued to refine her natural talent for teaching by taking college courses at Columbia Teacher’s College in New York. In late 1939, Ricardo Ros passed away and his widow left Ojai to be with his family in Havana. Her ties to the community were strong, however, and fortunately for all of us, she returned to Ojai in 1940 and resumed her teaching of music to local children at her house on Grand Avenue.
Recognizing Mrs. Ros’ talent with children, Mrs. Anson Thacher encouraged her to broaden her teaching to the general instruction of young children. These classes developed into the first nursery school in Ojai, Monica Ros School, founded in 1942. In 1944, the School moved to the current location on McNell Road. Mrs. Ros was thrilled with the site, describing East Ojai and the facilities in those days as very rural and undeveloped: “Out of necessity, the outdoors became a classroom in many instances where children could develop and enjoy the contact with their surroundings. Also, the existing small houses used as schoolrooms brought an atmosphere of homelike informality. Her deep, ongoing concern for the children as individuals is still held as a core value of the school.
In 1967, Mrs. Ros retired as Director, and the School became a non-profit corporation. The presence of Monica Ros continues to be felt each day at the School and in the hearts of the School’s many alumni. This little treasure in Ojai’s East End has been instrumental in shaping positive attitudes about school for many young children. The special, secure atmosphere fostered at Monica Ros School has been a precious start for generations of Ojai’s children.
School founder, Mrs. Monica Ros:
“To learn with a love of learning, without competition, to take responsibility, to appreciate another’s ability, to cooperate in the enjoyment of the marvelous make-believe of play-acting with costumes and music and dancing, was my wish for all the children to experience.
I can only say that I hoped the intent of the little school spoke for itself through the responses of the children as they felt physically secure and happy when they first made this break from home and continued to flower and respond as they entered kindergarten and grade school.”