“Success in school life and, I dare say in life, requires self-control, awareness of the rights of others, fair play, and a willingness to be taught.”

– Mae Carden


photo of two women standing in front of a sigh that says "Carden School"


Mae Carden, founder of the Carden Method, graduated from Vassar. She continued her education in France and Germany as did all the young ladies of that time. After returning from Europe she attended Columbia University. Disagreeing with the teaching methods of the day, she decided to develop her own method.

Growing up in Hawaii

As a young student in Hawaii, she found that some of her teachers did not explain the lessons completely to her fellow classmates. After school, she took some of her friends and taught them herself. Swearing them to secrecy. She found that teaching could be done that would enable the children to understand concepts and material in a new way. Miss Carden developed a program of phonics, added critical thinking and sentence analysis for comprehension. This began her journey in creating the Carden Curriculum. From the 1930’s through the 1940’s she wrote her textbooks and manuals for the elementary curriculum. She also ran her own school in New York City from 1930 to 1949. She closed it to be able to respond to the many requests from public and private schools for her method.


Mae Carden’s Method reflects her life and philosophy. Perhaps, it can be summed up in the words: “All is well”. Her method reflects the great dignity of children, the understanding of the human heart, and the serenity of a person who has a firm grip in the values of life.

She influenced every life she touched. No one who sat by her side as a pupil will ever forget her teachings or be an ordinary student. No one who sat in her classroom as a teacher in training will ever forget her or be an ordinary teacher.

Carden of Whittier

Carden Whittier School was founded in 1964, by Lorraine Ramsay, who had the opportunity to sit at Miss Carden’s side to learn what it would be like to teach the Carden Method. We will continue today to uphold and appreciate the gift of Carden and how it impacts children’s lives.