MMS Toddler Program starting this fall


“Education must begin at birth.” ~ Maria Montessori

After 44 years of serving students starting at age 3, MMS is thrilled to announce a new program starting this fall for younger siblings through the Montessori Toddler Curriculum–the only program of its kind in West Virginia.

A live information session on the program will be held Thursday, June 17, at 6:00 p.m. Interested parents may attend in person or online; registration is required.

MMS will begin accepting enrollment applications on a first-come, first-served basis starting on Friday, June 18, at noon. 

During the first three years of life, children develop more rapidly than at any other time. During this phase, the child absorbs large amounts of information from the environment through observation and experiences. These are the years that lay the foundation for later learning—and the stronger the foundation, the more the child will be able to build upon it.

Samantha Van Den Berghe-Lynch, who has been an integral part of our Primary 3-6 team for six years, has more information:

“I am enthused to share news of a new Toddler program at Mountaineer Montessori School. Having spent the last six years with a focus on the early childhood developmental plane, I am looking forward to venturing into new territory, embarking on the preceding plane of development and thus opening the door to serving our youngest friends. This new venture will provide a space for these young friends that will serve their budding developmental needs, while simultaneously exposing them to some of the early constructs of a Montessori environment that will serve them well when it comes time to transition into the early childhood environment.”

Follow this link for more information about Montessori Infant and Toddler environments: 



What ages will be served by the MMS Toddler Program?

Initially, we plan to “start small” with our pilot program serving children 2 years and up.  As the program grows, we may move toward a full toddler model by offering care for younger children.  


Where will the program be housed?

This program will be housed at the 20th Street location in what is currently the Primary I building.  We will be making adaptations to the space to ensure that it is tailored to the specific needs of our younger friends. In the near future we will share opportunities to come take a look at the space as we prepare it for your children! 

Note: Starting in August 2021, MMS Primary-Middle School classes will be located at our Staunton Avenue campus in Kanawha City (former St. Agnes School).


What will the hours be?

We will start with the hours of 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Monday-Friday.  There may be an option for half days (8:00 a.m. to noon).  All enrollment will be for the full week. 

We will follow the MMS school calendar. The Toddler program will be a “school-year” program, running this year from August 23, 2021-June 3, 2022. 

We will follow the school year calendar of Mountaineer Montessori School.


What does the Toddler classroom look like? How does it differ from daycare?

The Montessori Toddler program is not daycare — it is so much more.  The Toddler program will be focused on fostering your child’s budding quest for independence and exploration. 

Some of the key components of the environment will be: opportunities for self-care, and care of the environment, refinement of large motor skills and fine motor skills, opportunities for language development and social development. One of the primary portions of the child’s day will be the uninterrupted work cycle, during which the children are free to choose from lessons in the prepared environment while receiving gentle guidance from the directress as needed.  

We will also incorporate a short “group time” each day during which we will do songs, stories, and movement activities.  Additionally, we will have outside time, rest time, and individual snack time that the child can elect to have at any point during the day (with help as needed.)  Samantha also intends to support children in “toilet learning” as they show interest and readiness as an added piece of their other quest towards independence.  

The Mountaineer Montessori Toddler program will provide support and guidance for families through programs that may include parent education and parent/child group experiences.


How will the Toddler program prepare my child for the next step in his/her school experience?

The routines of everyday living are the foundation of Montessori Infant & Toddler programs. Activities promote independence, order, coordination, and concentration, as well as support social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. These learning activities include:


How can I learn more about Montessori Infant and Toddler programs?


We encourage you to visit the American Montessori Society website for more information about Montessori Infant and Toddler programs


Who will be teaching and caring for my toddler?

Samantha Van Den Berghe-Lynch is our lead Toddler teacher.  Samantha holds an American Montessori Society credential at the early childhood (2.5-6 year olds) level, and she will complete the AMS Infant/Toddler credential training this summer at the Virginia Center for Montessori Studies in Richmond, Virginia. Samantha has been a key member of our early childhood team at Mountaineer Montessori for six years. 

Samantha’s bio may be found here

Depending on the number of children enrolled, Samantha will be joined in the classroom by one or two assistants. Our teacher/student ratio will reflect AMS and WVDHHR standards.


What is the cost?



How do I apply?

The online enrollment process for the Toddler program will open on Friday, June 18 at 12:00 noon. New families will need to create an account first, then complete the online application.  Applications will be considered on a first come-first served basis.