Miniapple Int’l Montessori was established in 1989 by Udi and Mithula Perera. Originally from Sri Lanka, Udi has an A.M.I. background and over 30 years experience in Montessori teaching, and Mithula has a business and financial background from the University of Minnesota. They started the school in a church in Dinkytown in Minneapolis, bringing a global outreach and an international flavor to the Minneapolis area and serving the University of Minnesota and downtown clientele. The school soon outgrew the space in the church, and they were able to find a former fraternity building available right next door. With extensive remodeling, they created a unique environment for the Minneapolis school and moved into our current location in 1999.
Udi and Mithula saw a need in Oakdale with the growing community and hunger for diversity and world culture as people from around the world moved into the area. In order to meet this need, they opened a second location close to 3M and downtown St. Paul. They were in that location for 17 years. After 3 years of looking for land and the ideal location and putting in a lot of hard work, they built a very unique and beautiful building surrounded by nature, ponds, and woods, away from the hustle and bustle of traffic. In the summer of 2008, the school’s children and staff moved to this 14,500 square foot building. Miniapple received an award for exceptional quality in Montessori from the Mayor of Oakdale at a Peace Celebration event at the school.
The third location was founded in 1994 while Udi and Mithula and family were at a Chinese restaurant next door. The former restaurant building got a whole new look and they added on a 10, 500 square foot expansion to better serve the communities of Roseville, St. Anthony, Arden Hills, Shoreview, and surrounding areas.
Miniapple has drawn attention for community service, which included a major financial donation to the Tsunami victims, Katrina affected communities, and Children’s Hospitals, as well as food and toy drives within the schools to help local families. In 2010, we collected well over $5000.00 towards “Help for Haiti” through family donations and Miniapple matching funds, and over $2600.00 for families affected by the Tsunami and earthquake in Japan in 2011. The collection will go towards rebuilding orphanages and schools, and medical and other needs for children. Our school-agers also held an art auction and lemonade stand, the proceeds of which were used to purchase books for a North Dakota elementary school that endured flooding, to benefit shelter animals, and for disaster relief. We are proud to be a part of teaching children how to grow up to be responsible and empathetic adults who give back to the community.
Since 1989, Miniapple has been accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs four times, received the Minneapolis/St. Paul Minority Business Award, and we are proud to have been nominated for the Minnesota Ethics Award and, more recently, for the National Business Ethics Award. Miniapple has received various ways of recognition of the exceptional foundation we provide children through nurturing and educational experiences.
In 2014 Miniapple achieved the highest possible rating of Four Stars through Parent Aware. Miniapple was featured as an exemplary program during the October 2014 Early Childhood Directors Tour of Quality Centers event. Over 20 Directors from around the Twin Cities toured our school to learn about the Montessori philosophy and to see our quality program in action. The University of Minnesota and St. Catherine University use Miniapple as a research and learning program for their students.
Utilizing the curriculum designed by Maria Montessori in the early 1900s, this approach is now over 100 years in existence since the first Montessori House of Children, Casa dei Bambini, was opened in Rome in 1907. Through the international flavor of children and staff, Miniapple serves over 325 children each day with pride. We strongly believe in small class sizes and do not exceed 20 children per preschool or private Kindergarten group, 21 children per toddler group, and 12 children per infant group. Here at Miniapple, children realize their full potential. With our reputation of high quality educational standards, children thrive in this wholesome, rich atmosphere to become the “success stories of tomorrow.”
All four of Udi and Mithula’s children have attended and graduated from the Miniapple Int’l Montessori programs, and their two grandchildren are current students.