Preparing young children for their first day of school

In a few short weeks, thousands of West Virginia children will be going to school for the very first time.

Whether it’s their first day of kindergarten or stepping into a new preschool environment, it’s a big transition and an exciting time for littlest learners—and their families.

As parents and educators, we’ve learned that planning ahead can help everyone get a new school year off to a strong start. Here are a few ways you can prepare your first-time student for the big day:

  • Work with your child to practice using school items ahead of time—opening and closing lunch containers, fastening new shoes, going to the restroom unattended, etc. While there is always a teacher nearby to support, exposure to navigating these activities now will build your child’s confidence and skill.
  • Take a trip (or a few!) to your child’s new school before it opens. If there will be a car line, explain how that will work and even practice getting in and out of the car at the school.
  • Show your child a picture of their teachers, if possible, teach them their teachers’ names and let them know that the teachers will be there to help them grow and learn.  Assure your child that they can ask their teacher if they need help with anything.
  • Begin transition now to the school clock, adjusting bedtime, morning time, lunch, snacks, and naps (preschool) to what your child will experience once school starts.
  • Create a morning routine that is cushioned with plenty of time so that it doesn’t cause anxiety that your child may associate with school.
  • Be positive even if you anticipate that your child may have a hard time. If your child communicates fear/sadness/anxiety, etc., acknowledge it with a simple “hmm” or “I hear you.” Your child picks up on your cues! The more confident you are, the more confident they will be (and you can cry when after they get out of the car).


With a little practice and patience, your child can begin the school year excited and ready to learn!


Jennifer Carriger



Samantha Van Den Berghe-Lynch

Certified Montessori Toddler and Early Childhood Educator

Mountaineer Montessori School


Mountaineer Montessori tours on July 27

Mountaineer Montessori School will hold an orientation session and tours for parents interested in 2022-23 enrollment on Wednesday, July 27. A virtual orientation session will be held at 9 a.m., followed by in- person tours at 5:30 p.m. (toddler program/308 20th Street) and 7:00 p.m. (ages 3 through 8th grade at 4801 Staunton Avenue, SE.).

To reserve a spot, click here or call the office at 304/342-7870. 

During their visits, parents will experience the indoor and outdoor learning environments and learn about the Montessori method, which offers child-centered, developmentally-based, research-grounded education that nurtures individual potential and inspires a lifetime love of learning.

Founded in 1976, MMS is West Virginia’s original Montessori school, offering an expansive academic, arts and nature curriculum that meets and exceeds state standards, for children ages 2 through 8th grade.

The events are for adults only and RSVP is required.

Please call the MMS office at 304/342-7870 or see the school website for details:


Summer 2022-23 admission sessions


The Journey Begins… new admissions sessions have been scheduled for families interested in 2022-23 enrollment. We have a few openings in the toddler community and very limited space for students ages 3-8th grade.

Prospective MMS parents are invited to learn more at the following times:

  • Wednesday, July 27, 9:00 a.m.
  • Thursday, July 28, 1:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, August 3, 9:00 a.m.

We encourage families interested in enrolling their child this year to begin the admissions process immediately

Click here to start. 

More information on our admissions process can be found here. We look forward to meeting you!


MMS Newsletter Summer 2022

The latest issue of the M News can be found here.

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: 









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