Montessori Summer Meet-Ups 2022


The 2022 Summer Montessori Meet-Ups line up has been set. We are thrilled to bring this popular activity back for our school community after two summers of hiatus due to health concerns.

2022 Summer Montessori Meet-Ups Calendar

Meet-Ups are opportunities for MMS families and friends to connect and have fun over the summer. This is a great way for new families to meet others and for current students to say in touch with their friends in the weeks ahead.

While some events have a contact person listed, no RSVPs are needed unless noted…just show up and hang out with your Montessori friends…wear your “M” shirts and look for others wearing their MMS colors!

For larger public events, you may wish to connect with classmates and friends in advance to arrange a specific meeting time/place.


Please note that this calendar may be updated with additional activities or changes as events and/or weather dictate. Watch your email and social media for updates. 

Thank you to Enybe Diaz and the School Life Committee for putting together this summer’s Meet-Ups!

If you have an idea for an additional activity, please contact Enybe (304/546-6542)





Toddler information session/open house to be held June 7



Mountaineer Montessori School will hold an information session/open house for parents interested in its toddler program on Tuesday, June 7, from 1:00-2:00 p.m., at 308 20th Street.

The event will be accessible in person as well as via Zoom. The program will also be videotaped for later viewing for those unable to attend at this time. The event is for adults only and RSVP is required. 

During their visit, parents will have the opportunity to meet the Montessori toddler faculty and staff, experience the indoor and outdoor learning environments, and learn about this wonderful program that offers two-year-olds an incredible foundation for a lifetime of learning. 

“I have enjoyed seeing Sophie break out of her shyness and want to say ‘hi’ to everyone she sees. She has really blossomed at Montessori toddler class,” said Sandy Martin, the parent of a child in the inaugural toddler class of 2021-22. “I feel so thankful for everyone involved! Sophie has loved going to school and is looking forward to the summer program along with the following school year.”

MMS offers the only AMS Toddler Program in the state and is a licensed childcare center. Half- and full-day options are available.

About the Montessori Toddler Program:

During the first three years of life, children develop more rapidly than at any other time. 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.

The Montessori toddler program is not traditional daycare — it is so much more. The toddler program, led by experienced Montessori educators, serves budding developmental needs of young children, including their desire for independence and exploration, while simultaneously exposing them to some of the early constructs of a Montessori environment that will support their transition to the early childhood (ages 3-6) environment.

Key components of the Montessori toddler program include: 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 is the uninterrupted work cycle, during which the children are free to choose from lessons in the prepared environment while receiving gentle guidance from the teachers as needed. Children are also supported in “toilet learning” as they show interest and readiness as an added piece of their other quest towards independence.  

Founded in 1976, MMS is West Virginia’s original and largest Montessori school. It will serve an estimated 200 children ages 2-14 next fall at campuses in the University of Charleston neighborhood (toddler) and at the former St. Agnes School, 4801 Staunton Avenue (ages 3 through eighth grade). MMS offers an expansive academic and arts curriculum that meets and exceeds state standards. It is the only full member school of the American Montessori Society in the state. Financial aid is available and the Hope Scholarship is accepted. 

For more information,  call 304/342-7870.


MMS Summer Program 2022

Campessori, our signature summer program, returns in 2022 with seven weeks of awesome at our Staunton Avenue campus from June 13-July 29. Details and registration instructions: MMS Campessori 2022

For more information, contact Campessori Director Alasha Al-Qudwah: 









MMS June 2022 Newsletter

MMS June 2022 Newsletter

Montessori Career Fair

As a growing number of families seek child-centered education alternatives, Montessori schools—public and private –are expanding to meet the need.  There are an estimated 5,000 Montessori schools in the United States, about 500 of which are operated in the public sector as district, magnet or charter schools.

And with the growth of Montessori has come new education employment opportunities for teachers in traditional schools and those in other fields who may be interested in a meaningful career change.

West Virginia’s original Montessori school, Mountaineer Montessori, is holding a two-part “career fair” to introduce Montessori principles and its school to individuals who want to learn more about the education method based on the scientific work of Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician.

“It’s the way education is supposed to be.” That’s how some teachers describe working in a Montessori classroom, where learning is student-led and adults serve as a guide to support children to take their interests and abilities as far as they can.

The career fair will include a virtual presentation on Tuesday, March 8, at 6:30 p.m., followed by in-person classroom tours at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 12, at 4801 Staunton Avenue.

RVSP is required and space is limited. Tours are for adults only and participation in the Zoom presentation is required for tour admission.

Register here 

Mountaineer Montessori School (MMS) has experienced significant growth in recent years, with enrollment more than doubling in the past decade and new programs and facilities opened to meet the demand.  Founded in 1976, MMS serves 180 children ages 2-eighth grade, and anticipates upwards of 200 students next year. The school moved to the former St. Agnes campus at 4801 Staunton Avenue in August to accommodate increased enrollment and started a toddler classroom this year at its former location at 308 20th Street.

“Families come to us looking for high-quality education options in an environment that respects their children as individuals and nurtures them as a whole child,” said MMS Director Jennifer Carriger. “Our programs foster each child’s intellectual, social and emotional growth at every stage of development and inspire a lifetime love of learning.

“The career fair is designed to encourage those from all backgrounds to look at Montessori as a career possibility. There are potential opportunities in the classroom, administration and specialty areas, both full and part time” she said.

“We love sharing the Montessori story with the community,” Carriger added.

MMS offers an expansive academic and arts curriculum that meets and exceed state standards. Children work in multi-age, developmentally-based cohorts in carefully prepared classroom environments that have been described as “laboratories of learning.” The classroom experience is enriched with music, art, physical education, Spanish, STEM, peace education, entrepreneurship and summer learning opportunities, as well as a learning support program. Learning goes beyond the classroom and into the school’s four-acre campus greenspace, the community and throughout the state.

MMS is an independent, non-profit school governed by an elected board of directors comprised of parent, faculty and community representatives. Expenses are funded through tuition, fundraising, grants and partnerships. Financial aid is available and the school offers more than $50,000 in tuition grants and scholarships to area families each year.





Montessori Education Week 2022

MMS will join with schools across the country and around the world in celebrating all things Montessori during Montessori Education Week 2022. Our activities, which will commemorate 115 years of Montessori and the 45th anniversary of our school, will span from Monday, February 21 to Saturday, March 12.

Please mark your calendars and plan to take part in any or all of these events… and please watch for updates throughout the celebration!




MMS Food Drive: Wednesday, February 23 through Friday, February 25

MMS will put the Montessori peace philosophy into practice with a school-wide food donation drive organized by our School Life Committee. The drive will benefit the Step by Step Kanawha Dreamers Family Resource Center. Each class level is asked to bring a specific category of food items. Financial donations are also welcome.

Details here. 

Volunteers are needed to help transport the donated items on Friday, February 25 between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to Risen City Neighborhood Center. There will be staff there to help unload.

Please contact Samantha Hicks at / 304-389-8516 to volunteer or for information about this community service project. 


Coffee with Jennifer: Friday, February 25

Join MMS Director Jennifer Carriger and other parents for an informal get-together at Moxxee Coffee, 8:15-9:00 a.m., on Friday, February 25. This event is hosted by Moxxee Coffee, 301 Morris Street, an MMS family business. 

Space is limited and RSVP is required.  Reserve your spot here. 



Montessori Meet-Up: Sunday, March 6

A favorite MMS tradition returns as our School Life Committee presents an all-school skating meet-up on Sunday, March 6, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the South Charleston Memorial Ice Arena. 

Details here

RSVP encouraged. Contact Enybe Diaz (Primary I, Primary II & Lower Elementary parent) / 304-546-6542

Sponsorship opportunities: Families are invited to contribute to the cost of the room if they have the opportunity. $1 or $2 per family should be plenty. 


Montessori Career Fair and Tours:  Tuesday, March 8/Saturday, March 12

In honor of Montessori Education Week, MMS will present a virtual Montessori job fair to be followed by in person tours at our Staunton campus. The events are designed to introduce principles of Montessori education and the role of the adult in the Montessori environment to those interested in learning about working in a Montessori school in positions including classroom teachers and assistants, specialists, administration and operations, and after school and summer opportunities.

The two-part career event will be held on Tuesday, March 8, 6:00 p.m. (Zoom meeting) with tour on Saturday, March 12, 10:00 a.m. Attendance in the Zoom event is a prerequisite to the tour. Space will be limited.

Details here.

Prospective Parent Tours: Saturday, March 12, 11:00 a.m.

New families interested in 2022-23 enrollment are invited to visit our Staunton Avenue campus on Saturday, March 12. Participation in a prior Zoom admissions session, which provides an overview of Montessori education and MMS programs and policies, is required for admittance.

To request an admissions meeting, please complete this request. 

This event is designed for new MMS parents of children entering Primary (ages 3-6) through Middle School (ages 12-14) in the fall. Classroom visits for prospective Toddler parents will be held at a later date and additional on campus events for Primary-Middle School will be held later in spring. Please watch for details.










MMS Spring Gala 2022-text mms45 to 76278


Join us Friday, May 13, for an evening of fun, friendship and fundraising benefiting MMS!

Text mms45 to 76278


Mountaineer Montessori began its 45th year of excellence and innovation in education this fall.

While many things have changed over the years–including program expansions and a new campus–our mission remains the same: creating a better tomorrow through service to the child today.

Founded in 1976, Mountaineer Montessori is West Virginia’s original and largest Montessori school, offering a premier, child-centered educational experience to 180 students ages Toddler-Middle School right here in the heart of Appalachia.

“Creating the Future, One Child at a Time,” the 2022 MMS Annual Spring Gala, provides essential funding that enables us to lead, adapt and meet the growing demand for superior academic options in our community and inspire the next generation of innovative thinkers, problem solvers, community builders and visionary leaders.

We invite you to join us on Friday, May 13, 7:00-9:00 p.m., at Edgewood Country Club for an uplifting celebration of our special school community.

 The evening will feature entertainment by Vinyl VillageMinor Swing and Sonji Byers-Baldwin; passed hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages; and auctions of student art works and other exclusive prizes, hosted by Jim Strawnmaster of ceremonies. 

At MMS, potential is empowered and the future is inspired. With your support, we can continue to elevate education and community by nurturing what the world needs now.

Sign up for a sponsorship or make a donation today on the gala platform or text mmsfuture to 76278 


Hope Scholarship and 2022-23 preview

During the 2021 session, the WV Legislature authorized creation of the Hope Scholarship program.

The Hope Scholarship is an Education Savings Account (ESA) that parents can use to pay for a wide variety of education options.

Starting in the 2022-23 school year, the program will offer eligible West Virginia families with $4,600 per year/student to pay for private school tuition, curriculum, special needs therapy, transportation, and other qualified expenses.

Initially, the Hope Scholarship program is for students who have been enrolled in public school for a minimum of 45 days at time of application or who are kindergarten age (age 5 by July 1) at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. 

It is our understanding that current and new MMS students rising to the third year of Primary (kindergarten) in the fall, would be eligible, as are new students in first grade and up who are applying from a public school. 

According to the WV Treasurer’s website, scholarship applications will open no later than March 2022.

Families interested in the Hope Scholarship should visit the WV State Treasurer website and sign up for a mailing list created to update the public on deadlines and procedures for applying.

Our Board of Directors has been monitoring developments, including attending a Hope scholarship information session held at a local private school. This article provides an overview of that presentation and highlights of some of the unresolved legal and practical issues regarding eligibility and implementation.

We continue to await guidance from the WV Department of Education and WV Treasurer’s Office and will share information as it becomes available. The Hope Scholarship program could be revisited by the legislature in the upcoming 2022 session and/or affected by litigation.

It is incumbent upon parents to stay current on developments by signing up for the WV Treasurer’s Office list and by reading school announcements.


If you have other questions, please feel free to contact MMS Board President Clifton Clark.


Important: 2022-23 re-enrollment

It’s hard to believe, but it’s time to prepare for registration for a new school year!

In light of the Hope Scholarship, as well as continuing strong interest in our school, it will be more important than ever for families to adhere to re-enrollment procedures and deadlines for 2022-23.

Details and dates will be announced soon, with the re-enrollment deadline typically falling in mid-February. New siblings of current students must also enroll at this time.

Applications will open for new and transfer students after the enrollment window for current families closes. MMS has maintained waiting lists for several years.

We anticipate another year of full enrollment at all levels, and cannot guarantee a spot for your child after the deadline.

We are well into planning for 2022-23, and have been giving tours to prospective families continuously since September.

Your timely re-enrollment holds a space for your child and helps us meet staffing, training and facilities needs for all students in the year ahead.

Please watch your email for forthcoming details on registering for 2022-23.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Carriger.




Text mmsfuture to 76278-Create the Future with MMS


Text mmsfuture to 76278 or go to our campaign platform to give today

“The child is both the hope and the promise for mankind.” Maria Montessori 


Mountaineer Montessori began its 45th year of excellence and innovation in education this fall.

While many things have changed over the years–including program expansions and a new campus–our mission remains the same: creating a better tomorrow through service to the child today.

Founded in 1976, Mountaineer Montessori is West Virginia’s original and largest Montessori school, offering a premier, child-centered educational experience to 178 students ages Toddler-Middle School right here in the heart of Appalachia.

“Creating the Future, One Child at a Time,” the 2021 MMS Annual Appeal, provides essential funding that enables us to lead, adapt and meet the growing demand for superior academic options in our community and inspire the next generation of innovative thinkers, problem solvers, community builders and visionary leaders.

Your tax-deductible donation will help us create the future by:

  • Funding continuing facilities and safety enhancements for all students.
  • Benefiting our teacher appreciation and training funds and support ongoing curriculum alignment through the AMS Pathways to Continuous School Improvement process.
  • Continuing to increase community access to our programs through financial aid.


The goal of this year’s campaign is $25,000.

We plan for 100 percent school participation to meet that goal… every gift of every size matters and makes a difference!

MMS Fundraising FAQ 2021



Thanks to your generous contributions to 2020 fundraising, MMS:

  • Realizing a long-term goal, opened a beautiful new campus at the former St. Agnes School, with expansive indoor and outdoor learning environments for Primary-Middle School students.
  • Started the state’s only AMS Montessori Toddler Program.
  • Became fully licensed by WVDHHR to provide child care at both campuses.
  • Sponsored out of state AMS training for four teachers.
  • Provided more than $50,000 in tuition support and financial assistance to families in our community.


We invite you to meet the 2021 Annual Appeal Ambassadors, featured below and on our website, to learn how MMS is making a difference in the lives of students, families, teachers and alumni.

 At MMS, potential is empowered and the future is inspired. With your support, we can continue to build a better tomorrow by serving our students today, one child at a time.

Text mmsfuture to 76278 or go to our campaign platform to give today

The MMS experience in their own words…

As part of our Annual Appeal campaign, MMS students, families, teachers and alumni are sharing their Montessori stories.

Meet this year’s Ambassadors!


Molly Seidler, MD., MMS Alumna

Molly Seidler, MD, with husband with husband Greg Caughran, MD, and Luca 


I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many of my MMS classmates have excelled in life both professionally and personally. My classmates are now physicians, scientists, climate activists, entrepreneurs, lawyers, musicians, educators, and so many others have fantastic and interesting careers. I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that when people are asked what my strongest trait is they say I am loyal. MMS taught us to respect our fellow man, work as a team, and lift up those in need. These are lessons you can’t learn from a textbook but must experience as part of a culture.”  Dr. Molly Seidler

Read Molly Seidler’s MMS story


The Young/Spangler Family


Jackson Young, Primary I, with sisters Madison and Blakely, parents Jennifer and Brian Young, and grandparents Darlene Spangler (MMS Reading Specialist, and former Co-Director) and Reed Spangler

“Having MMS as a foundation for Jackson’s education will allow him to think independently and have confidence in his abilities. Most importantly, I hope that he is always kind. The education he is getting at MMS is more than just reading and writing, but also encompasses empathy and communication. He is learning to not only be a leader, but to be compassionate at the same time.” Jennifer Young

“Mountaineer Montessori has been my home for more than 25 years and I have watched children grow and become incredible individuals thanks to the education they are receiving there. I always hoped that my grandchildren would be able to attend MMS and benefit from such an amazing learning environment. Having Jackson enrolled at Mountaineer Montessori School has been so exciting. From day one we could see the changes in him, especially in his social skills. My mother always told me ‘never stop learning.’ I’m so proud that I have passed that philosophy on to my daughter who is passing it on to her children.” Darlene Spangler

Read the Young/Spangler families’ MMS story



Sonji Byers-Baldwin, MMS Lower Elementary I Assistant


“I hope that the children in our class remember that Tara (Fought) and I want the best for them. We will do our best to make sure beautiful memories and great learning experiences were developed here.  I would love for them to look back and say, ‘Mountaineer Montessori gave me the foundation to excel in my education–and life.'”  Sonji Byers-Baldwin

Read Sonji’s MMS story


The Ihle Family




Dr. Rayan Ihle, and Isaiah (Lower Elementary II), Paul Ihle, and Abigail (Upper Elementary I).

“I think every parent wants to see their child learn and be successful. With Montessori, you can see a foundation being built that prepares your children for life long success. Tenets of respect, responsibility, independence, self motivation, and leadership will shape their lives forever. We couldn’t ask for anything more.” Dr. Rayan Ihle, and Isaiah (Lower Elementary II), Paul Ihle, and Abigail (Upper Elementary I).

Read the Ihle family’s MMS story


 Danny Zanabli, Middle School student



“I like how each person can learn at their own pace, which is different from traditional schools that give all students the same work and a deadline. Montessori tailors its education to each student. Some of my favorite memories are working with my friends on projects like the egg drop. Another experience I enjoyed was a trip to Spruce Knob where we camped outside and learned life skills, like how to make a campfire and how to find your way back with a compass.” Danny Zanabli, eighth year student

“I chose Montessori because the curriculum challenges students and allows them to experiment and engage with subjects in a unique way. My favorite thing about the school is how students learn, how they have a say in what they learn, which allows them to feel invested in their education and their future.” Nasrin Zanabli

Read Danny’s MMS story


Sara Beal, MMS alumna

MMS Alumna Sara Beal, Director of Publishing, Still Working/Roy Orbison Productions, Nashville, pictured at a BMI Awards event with with husband Jon Cavendish, left, and colleague Jeff Allen, now at Viacom


“I honestly think I learned more in those six years (at Mountaineer Montessori) than in the rest of junior high/high school, undergrad and grad school. Being able to attend MMS set me up for a successful professional and personal life.” Sara Beal

Read Sara’s MMS story



Take Out-Give Back

Each year, MMS students kick off our Annual Appeal with a coin drive.

Proceeds fund enhancements that benefit all students as well as specific materials requested by your child’s teacher.  DETAILS HERE

Invite your friends and family to help fill your child’s box with an online donation.  

Set up your coin box










MMS wins $50,000 in WV school vaccination contest





CHARLESTON, W.Va., Nov. 15, 2021 — Mountaineer Montessori School (MMS) had some special visitors—and a big surprise today—when West Virginia Governor Jim Justice delivered a check for $50,000 to Director Jennifer Carriger as part of a state-wide “I Got Vaxxed Competition.

MMS was one of four elementary school winners, and the only private elementary school, in this phase of the competition, which was created by the Governor to encourage eligible school-aged children, faculty, and staff to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Mountaineer Montessori is an independent, non-sectarian, non-profit school serving 178 students ages 2-14. Its main campus is located at 4801 Staunton Avenue, SE, in Kanawha City (former St. Agnes School). Founded in 1976, MMS is the state’s original and largest Montessori school.




Through the “I Got Vaxxed” competition, a total of 12 West Virginia public and private schools – four elementary schools, four middle schools, and four high schools – with the largest percentage of eligible vaccinated staff and students will each win $50,000 to use for activities or initiatives to will improve the student experience. 

MMS will use its award winnings to help fund technology upgrades at the school, including a large projector screen and speakers so that presentations from guest speakers can be viewed in the classroom. The funds will also be used to create and enhance outdoor learning, playing and eating areas around the new campus in Kanawha City, enabling students to spend more time outdoors during the school day and in the after school and summer programs.

A total of 77 public and private schools entered the competition, and all submitted vaccination data was verified by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to identify the winners. At least one winning school in each category is a private school. Schools were required to submit entries by Oct. 8.

The Governor was joined by his English bulldog, Babydog, at the event. Babydog was a hit with the students, and enjoyed homemade dog treats made by the seventh- and eighth-grade class.

The Governor was greeted at the announcement with a performance of “The West Virginia Hills” by Middle School student Ellie Hoblitzell on the violin and MMS teacher Alasha Al-Qudwah on the guitar. All MMS students gathered on the school lawn to sing “Country Roads” to the Governor and Babydog as they departed the campus.




“We are thrilled and honored to be a winner in this competition,” said MMS Director Jennifer Carriger. “It reflects the dedication and commitment of our students, teachers and parents to keeping our school and community safe over the past 20 months. We are very grateful to Governor Justice for encouraging schools to do their part to stop of the spread of COVID-19. With these winnings, we can enhance education inside our building and keep our children learning and playing outside for longer periods of the day and after school.”

As part of the Montessori peace curriculum, children learn to take care of themselves and each other, their classrooms and the community right from the start.  

“Our entire school family embraced the opportunity to put Montessori values into practice by wearing masks, following social distancing guidelines, participating in testing and getting vaccinated when eligible,” said Carriger. “This award is a testament to those values.”

“As an MMS parent, I am thankful for the leadership and support of Jennifer and our staff, our Board of Directors and the MMS COVID-19 Task Force, which helped us stay strong and stay together throughout the pandemic,” said MMS Board President Clifton Clark. “Working together, we have been able to minimize disruptions, stay true to Montessori learning, and promote health and safety for all.”





Since March 2020, MMS has undertaken a range of extensive measures to help keep students and teachers safe, including:

  • Promoting social distancing by doubling classroom sizes and expanding to a second campus in the 2020-21 school year
  • Working closely with local health officials on quarantine protocols and other issues
  • Requiring mask usage
  • Adding air purifiers to all classrooms and increasing ventilation and fresh air circulation
  • Implementing additional hand hygiene/sneeze education and protocols
  • Beginning the 2021-22 year with all-school testing event held on campus in partnership with Fruth Pharmacy
  • Partnering with Fruth to provide weekly on site staff testing
  • Promoting weekly random testing of student population
  • Strongly encouraging eligible students to be vaccinated, including presenting a vaccination event for children ages 5-11 on Nov. 12 in partnership with Fruth. MMS continues to urge parents to consult with their pediatricians about the COVID-19 vaccine and all health matters.
  • Staying closely connected with sustained and consistent school health updates, including videos and social media outreach
  • The school’s COVID-19 policies can be found here.

In addition, several MMS teachers, families and alumni promoted vaccination by participating in production of a community immunity PSA produced by the Center for Rural Health.

“This award is a powerful affirmation of our efforts to help protect the health of our community and incentive to remain diligent as we work to stay strong and stay together through the rest of the school year,” Carriger said.

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