Spreading Our Wings Gala to soar on May 18




At Mountaineer Montessori School, children are free to fly!

Our child-centered approach to education fosters learning without limits, offering students the time, space and encouragement to go as far and as high as they can.

Since our school’s founding in 1976, we’ve given wings to an estimated 1,000 children, freeing them to discover their passions, fulfill their unique potential and create stronger communities and a promising future.

“Spreading Our Wings,” our annual spring fundraiser, will be held Saturday, May 18, 7:00-10:00 p.m., at the Charleston Woman’s Club.  Buy tickets now


This very special evening will benefit our financial aid, teacher appreciation and specialty programming funds.

We invite our friends to join us as we:

  • Celebrate education that elevates
  • Applaud MMS programs and faculty
  • Bid on amazing class art projects and an array of exciting silent auction prizes Bid online now
  • Enjoy music, dancing, wine/beer, hors d’oeuvres…and more!
  • Mingle with old friends and new
  • Lift up the next generation of business and community leaders, innovators and creators, dreamers and doers

Great night for a great cause!

DJ Mark Davis loves helping people celebrate good times with music, bringing 25 years of musical performance and decades of collecting the best music of every genre to our annual spring event. Mark and Vinyl Village will get you — and keep you — on the dance floor all night long. Surprise appearances by well known musicians and performers are also planned!






Going, going, gone!


A highlight of SPREADING OUR WINGS will be an exciting auction of amazing class art projects and other works of art created by individual students as well as an extensive silent auction featuring an amazing array of vacation and entertainment certificates, fashion and beauty prizes, children’s packages..and more. Take home a one-of-a-kind masterpiece and support education that elevates!

Bid online now!

Text MMS Wings 52181

Auction donation information

Donation receipt













MMS is pleased to offer a wide range of exclusive education investment opportunities to our SPREADING OUR WINGS partners. We invite you to make a splash with a unique themed sponsorship…. bluebird to finch! Your partnership in this high-profile, unique event will showcase your commitment to West Virginia’s children to thousands throughout our region through a sustained marketing campaign and provide critical support to MMSContributions to MMS, a 501(c)(3) organization are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Complete sponsorship information is available on our online giving platform or here:

Spreading Our Wings Sponsorship Menu

Spreading Our Wings Sponsor RSVP Form


Spreading Our Wings Auction Letter


















Individual reservations start at $85 per person and include a tax-deductible contribution to MMS. Your reservation includes admission to the most uplifting party of the year, live music, beer/wine and heavy hors d’oeuvres, creative entertainment…. and affirms your support of our mission, faculty and students.  MMS will maintain a guest list and no individual tickets will be mailed.

Because it’s important for our entire school community to join in the celebration, a limited number of free and reduced price reservations will be available. For more information, please contact MMS Director Jennifer Carriger, jcarriger@mountaineermontessori.org.  Your sponsorship dollars support this important community-building effort.

Early bird prices end on April 30, 2019….make your online reservation or complete this form today: Spreading Our Wings RSVP Form



Education that elevates

Mountaineer Montessori serves 140 students ages 3-14 in Charleston, West Virginia — the heart of Appalachia.  Our mission is to elevate our students and region with forward-thinking, 21st century-aligned education that nurtures tomorrow’s problem solvers, creators, entrepreneurs and community builders…a new generation that will lead the way to a brighter tomorrow and a better world.

MMS is a community-based non-profit organization created to unlock the potential of West Virginia’s children through the scientifically-based, time-tested, child centered approach to education pioneered by Dr. Maria Montessori. We receive no government funding. Our operations are funded solely by tuition, foundation and business partnerships, and personal donations.

Community support helps keep our program accessible to the growing number of families seeking access to high-quality alternatives to one-size-fits-all schools. Enrollment has grown 83 percent over the past five years and we are currently unable to enroll all applicants due to space and financial constraints.

SPREADING OUR WINGS provides critical funding for financial aid, teacher training and classroom materials and programs, and help us continue to grow a world-class education option in our region.


Celebrating friends, fun and friendship with MMS!














































Montessori Education Week message: Knowledge is the currency of today

Mountaineer Montessori is joining with schools around the world in celebrating the child-centered approach to education that has been transforming lives for more than a century during Montessori Education Week, February 23-29, 2020. As part of the celebration, we are are sharing the Montessori story with our community, including this op-ed by MMS Director Jennifer Carriger. Please watch for it in your local papers!

Knowledge is the currency of the 21st century.

MMS alumna Carly Thaw revisits her magical years in our classrooms with this lovely drawing.

Rapid transitions in technology and increasing globalization present new and continuing challenges for the students of today. Innovation, critical thinking and collaboration are the skills that will separate young people who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in the 21st century and those who are not.

As New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman explained, “It will be vital to have more of the ‘right’ education than less…. The winners won’t just be those with more IQ. It will also be those with more PQ (passion quotient) and CQ (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime.”

Fortunately, a blueprint for education that meets the needs of a changing world already exists — in Montessori schools, where many “new” education reforms and innovations have been successfully implemented for more than a century.

The Montessori program is a powerful 21st-century aligned model that develops the competencies demanded in the information age. Montessori educates the whole person, fostering independence, curiosity, critical thinking and a love of learning, preparing students to be engaged, productive and successful global citizens.

The Montessori method is named for Maria Montessori, one of the first female physicians in Italy and a pioneer in child development. Montessori developed a holistic system for teaching children from infancy through adulthood based upon her research that she described as “scientific pedagogy.”

From the founding of the “Casa dei Bambini” in Rome in 1907, Montessori has stood the test of time. Today, there are an estimated 20,000 Montessori schools around the world, including 4,500 in the United States. Honoring its roots serving the working poor of Rome, 450 free, public Montessori schools, located primarily in low-income, racially diverse communities, have opened in the United States in the past two decades. South Carolina is home to the largest number of public Montessori schools in the country.

Research confirms the advantages of Montessori in both private and public settings. A three-year study of public Montessori schools in Hartford, Connecticut, found that Montessori children rated higher in academic achievement, social cognition, mastery orientation and school enjoyment than students in traditional classrooms. Even more important, the study found that Montessori closed the achievement gap between low income and more advantaged children. In South Carolina, a five-year study found that public Montessori students outperformed on standardized tests as well as in measures of emotional development and maturity.

Montessori works because it is embedded in the science of learning, not passing education fads. Dr. Stephen Hughes, a past president of the American Academy of Pediatric Neuropsychology, calls Montessori the original “brain-based” education because it is based on scientific principles of human development.

Montessori observed that children are “wired to learn” and believed that the purpose of education was to empower each child’s unique potentialities. As she explained, “free the child’s potential and you transform him into the world.”

The Montessori system is engineered around the cognitive, social, emotional and physical needs of students at each stage of their development. When these needs are met, Dr. Montessori said children can “explode into learning”—a phenomenon I am honored to witness every day within the classrooms at my school.

In Montessori schools, children learn in multi-age groupings with research-based, hands-on materials during extended, uninterrupted work cycles.  Subjects are not studied in isolation, but in a cross-disciplinary approach that provides context and deep understanding. Learning happens in classrooms and throughout the community, state and even outside the United States. Students work at their own pace and are freed to take their education as far as they can—learning without limits.

Some of America’s most innovative companies, such as Amazon, Google and Wikipedia were founded by Montessori students. “I think it was part … of being self-motivated, questioning what’s going on in the world and doing things a little bit differently,” says Larry Page of Google.

Montessori schools are increasingly being recognized as assets to their communities, because they are preparing the next generation of business leaders, innovators, community builders and engaged citizens.

Montessori schools, public and private, are a strong draw to families seeking communities with high quality education options. At Mountaineer Montessori School, it is not uncommon for a family to travel across the country to tour our school before accepting a job in Charleston.

Founded in 1976, Mountaineer Montessori is West Virginia’s original and largest Montessori school. Now into our fifth decade, we’ve served more than 1,000 Charleston children, with 142 students, ages three to eighth grade currently enrolled at campuses in the University of Charleston and South Hills neighborhoods. In honor of Montessori Education Week, Feb. 23-29, we proudly join with schools around the world in opening our doors, literally and figuratively, as a resource for rethinking education to benefit all children in all schools and to strengthen our communities today — and tomorrow.

To sign up for a tour to experience the Montessori difference yourself, or for more information, please visit our website: www.mountaineermontessori.org.

Jennifer S. Carriger, MS


Montaineer Montessori School


MMS 2020-21 school calendar highlights

The preliminary calendar for the 2019-20 MMS school year is out. Please make note of these key dates and watch for updates as they are announced:

  • August 13: Middle School orientation
  • August 14: New Student Visits-Primary and Elementary
  • August 17: First Day for Students – Primary Extended Day, Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, and Middle School
  • August 18: First Day for Students – Returning Primary Morning Friends
  • August 19: First Day for Students – New Primary Morning Friends
  • August 20: Ice Cream Social @ Danner Meadow Park
  • August 25: Back to School Night-Primary
  • August 27: Back to School Night – Elementary
  • September 7: School Closed/Labor Day
  • September 14: Annual Meeting for All Families
  • October 12-13: Parent Conferences/No Classes/Plus Available
  • November 25-27: School Closed/Thanksgiving Break
  • December 18: Noon dismissal/Winter Concert
  • December 21-January 1: School Closed/New Year’s Break (School resumes January 4.)
  • January 18: School Closed/Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday
  • February 15-19:  School Closed/Winter Break
  • March 18-19: Parent Conferences/No Classes/Plus available
  • April 5-9: School Closed/Spring Break
  • April 17-21: Standardized Testing Week (grades 3-8)
  • May 31: School Closed/Memorial Day
  • June 4: Last Day of School/Early Dismissal/Picnic

Cafe 804 pancake breakfast on Saturday, February 8

Mountaineer Montessori Middle School students invite you to join them for a delicious breakfast on Saturday, February 8, from 8-11 a.m. at Cafe 804, located at the MMMS Unity Church campus at 804 Myrtle Road.

Cafe 804 is a pop up restaurant offering a variety of breakfast favorites–including eggs, pancakes, turkey bacon, oatmeal and more–made with natural, organic, locally sourced products by our students. Ellen’s Homemade Ice Cream milkshakes, an MMMS tradition, will also be for sale.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a delicious breakfast, get together with friends, and support our Middle School micro economy work. Our students have been working hard on all aspects of the event, from planning, to marketing, to shopping, to cooking, to serving. They look forward to welcoming you to their special restaurant next Saturday.

Due to limited seating availability, admission is by reservation. Spaces are already filling up.

Please make your reservations online ASAP through this link.

Re-enrollment underway for 2020-21

Re-enrollment is underway for the 2020-21 school year at Mountaineer Montessori School!

Current MMS families must complete the online re-enrollment process by February 15, 2020. Please follow the directions as outlined in the enrollment communication distributed to all parents. A 5 percent tuition deposit must be paid upon enrollment submission.  Please contact Director Jennifer Carriger if this is a concern for you. Please note that applications for new siblings attending MMS next year must be also submitted by February 15.

After February 15, we will offer remaining any classroom spaces to new families.  Because space is limited in ALL CLASSES, if we do not receive your materials in by February 15, we cannot guarantee that your child will have a place at MMS next year. 

Financial aid applications are due by March 30. If you plan to apply, please contact Jennifer Carriger (jcarriger@mountaineermontessori.org or Beth George bgeorge@mountaineermontessori.org) for a link to the online application. Notification of awards will be sent in writing by April 25. If your financial aid award is not sufficient to meet your needs, your tuition deposit will be refunded to you.

New families interested in enrollment should begin the admissions process by signing up for a tour at their very earliest convenience. Classes fill quickly. 

We look forward to welcoming new and returning families MMS for our 44th year of excellence and innovation in education! 


After school ukulele and guitar lessons offered

MMS faculty member Alasha Al-Qudwah will be offering a 12-week music course in ukulele (Lower Elementary through Middle School) and guitar (Upper Elementary and Middle School) on Tuesdays, from January 28-April 28. The registration deadline is January 26. Students must provide their own instrument.

Within these sessions, students will learn how to play songs while singing, learn how to read music, learn a vocabulary of chords, learn basic music theory, and learn strumming techniques at a pace designed for first time players. In addition, students will learn the quality experience of performing in an ensemble which teaches awareness of players around them, the ability to match the tempo and pitch of others, and learning how to follow and lead with one another. These life skills translate to many other situations.

The fee is $250/student, payble through FAST.

Please see the attached letter for complete details:

MMS Ukulele and Guitar Lessons 2020

To register your child, please email aaal-qudwah@mountaineermontessori.org with your child’s name, age, and instrument. All purchased materials must be approved before the first lesson.

Epic Evening Spring Gala on March 28-Text epicevening to 76278


Text epicevening to 76278 for more information or to RSVP

What if there were no limits to what you could learn?

That’s what every day is like at Mountaineer Montessori!

Our out-of-the-box, out-of-the-classroom approach to education empowers the unlimited potential in each child and creates an inspired future for our students, community and world.

An Epic Evening,” the 2020 MMS Annual Spring Gala, will provide critical funding to help us meet the growing demand for superior academic options in our community and sustain our 43-year tradition of excellence and innovation in education. This uplifting event will be held Saturday, March 28, 2020, 7:00-10:00 p.m., at the Woman’s Club of Charleston. 

We invite our friends to join us to:

  • Celebrate epic education
  • Applaud MMS programs and faculty
  • Bid on amazing class art projects and an extensive array of exciting prizes
  • Enjoy entertainment by Vinyl Village & Minor Swing and delicious hors d’oeuvres and cocktails
  • Mingle with friends old and new
  • Lift up the next generation of community builders, innovators, entrepreneurial thinkers, problem solvers and creators


Your support will help:

  • Continue to grow our financial aid fund-nearly $50,000/year to Charleston families
  • Support teacher training and appreciation
  • Fund an activity bus and facilities growth/improvements

At MMS, potential is empowered and the future is inspired. With your support, we can continue to elevate education and our community in the year ahead.

With your help, there’s no limit to what we can do!


Ticket and sponsorship information:

Sponsorships start at $250 / individual tickets are $85 per person through February 29.  For details, please see our online event platform.

Epic Evening Sponsorship Menu

Epic Evening Auction Letter

Epic Evening Sponsorship_RSVP Confirmation



Text epicevening to 76278 


Celebrating friends, fun and friendship with MMS!

















































MMS presents Positive Discipline Parenting workshop series

MMS is proud to present an eight week “Parenting with Positive Discipline” workshop series starting Tuesday, January 7, 2020.

The program will be facilitated by Susie Newhouse, a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator and AMS certified early childhood guide.

Positive discipline is a time-honored approach for helping children develop a sense of belonging and contribution, responsibility, respect for self and others and problem-solving skills. PD teaches important social and life skills in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for both children and adults (including parents, teachers, childcare providers, youth workers, and others).

Recent research tells us that children are “hardwired” from birth to connect with others, and that children who feel a sense of connection to their community, family and school are less likely to misbehave. To be successful, contributing members of their community, children must learn necessary social and life skills. Positive Discipline is based on the understanding that discipline must be taught and that discipline also teaches.

When : Tuesdays from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

January 7, 14, 21, 28
February 4, 11, 25
March 3

Where: Mountaineer Montessori School – Upper Elementary I classroom

Cost: $100 per individual or $120 for two family members**

Registration includes :

* Copy of “Positive Discipline”
* Positive Discipline Workbook and Positive Discipline Parenting Tool Cards

To register: Call or email MMS Assistant Director Beth George at 304-342-7870 or bgeorge@mountaineermontessori.org

Facilitated by: Susie Newhouse,
Parenting with Positive Discipline certified presenter

Childcare available : $10/child per evening, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
You may bring dinner for your child to eat in Plus.

** We have funds available to offer a discounted fee to families in need. Please contact Jennifer or Beth to apply.

MMS December 2019 Newsletter

The latest issue of the “M” news is out. Please read to stay up to date on important announcements, schedule information and deadlines!

MMS December 2019 Newsletter

MMS is Epic Education: 2019 Annual Appeal

Give now or text “mmsepic” to 52182

What if there were no limits to what you could learn?

That’s what every day is like at Mountaineer Montessori!

Our out-of-the-box, out-of-the-classroom approach to education empowers the potential in each child and creates  an inspired future for our students, community and world.

Founded in 1976, Mountaineer Montessori is West Virginia’s original and largest Montessori school, offering a world-class educational experience to 142 students ages 3-14 right here in Charleston. “Epic Education,” the 2019 MMS Annual Appeal, will provide critical funding to help us meet the growing demand for superior academic options in our community and sustain our 43-year tradition of excellence and innovation in education.

Your gift will help us:

  • Fund an MMS “community as classroom” activity bus and continued facilities enhancements.
  • Benefit our teacher appreciation and training funds and support ongoing curriculum alignment through the AMS Pathways to Continuous School Improvement process.
  • Continue to increase community access to our school 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!

Give now or text “mmsepic” to 52182

MMS empowers potential and inspires the future!


Thanks to your generous contributions to 2018 fundraising, MMS:

  • Implemented several major upgrades to our facilities (including build out of offices on the first floor, new flooring and furniture on the second floor and kitchen/technology upgrades at the Middle School) and added refreshed
    materials in all levels…Primary through Middle School.
  • Sponsored out of state Montessori training for two teachers, Positive Discipline training for all staff, contributed to the staff retirement plan, and worked with national consultants to guide our curriculum alignment initiatives.
  • Provided nearly $50,000 in tuition support and financial assistance to families in our community.

At MMS, potential is empowered and the future is inspired. With your support, we can continue to elevate education and our community in the year ahead.

Give now or text “mmsepic” to 52182

With your help, there’s no limit to what we can do!

Fundraising FAQ

We invite you to meet the 2019 Annual Appeal Ambassadors and learn what the epic MMS experience means to our students, families, alumni and staff.


Fiorelli Family

“We find the idea that our children are learning to be leaders and listeners as the navigate new challenges at MMS. to be epic. Success in relationships and careers is based on the ability to listen and lead with grace, compassion and strength. Our children are learning these skills each day as they navigate communication, respect, leadership, and problem-solving in the classroom. We know that the skills thy are learning at MMS shape every aspect of their lives — and that is epic education.”

Abbey Fiorelli, former Montessori student, with AJ Fiorelli and Dylan (Upper Elementary), Noelle (Lower Elementary) and Emmy (Primary).

Meet the Fiorelli family



Angel Lillard

“At Mountaineer Montessori, they don’t put it on a screen, They help you understand it. What’s epic to me is learning by doing and the field studies. We get to see that the real world says about something, not just what a book says.” Angel Lillard, MMS eighth year student








The Head Family

“Since beginning at MMS at age 3, our son has remained genuinely excited to attend school everyday day. We are grateful a strong foundation and early love of learning have been established. He is respected and valued at MMS, which has directly impacted his confidence and self-esteem. His growth is fostered in all areas — social, notionally, intellectually. We appreciate being part of a community, and have benefited from classes offered to parents.” Carolyn Head with Lucas Head and Eloise and Arthur (Primary)

Meet the Head family








Beth George

“An epic moment for me was hearing that my daughter stood up for someone. Through MMS, my children learned about community and what it meant to be a friend. MMS helped my children gain confidence to stand up for themselves, for others, and for what is right. I hope today’s students realize that MMS is a very special place. They can be themselves, study in-depth in areas that interest them, learn to be leaders, learn to listen, and learn to work cooperatively. I hope their passion, joy, and love of learning continue to grow.” Beth George, MMS Assistant Director and parent of three alumni

Meet Beth George and her family

MMS is Epic Education!

At MMS, potential is empowered and the future is inspired. With your support, we can continue to elevate education and our community in the year ahead. Please give now or text “mmsepic” to 52182

With your help, there’s no limit to what we can do!











Forum on ‘executive function’ to be presented by UC Dept. of Education, MMS Parent University on November 7

Every parent wants their child to succeed in life. But what are the things that really matter to a child’s future? A growing body of research shows that “executive function” may equal—or surpass—IQ as a predictor of success.

A forum on “Executive Function: The Foundation of Success” will be presented by Mountaineer Montessori School Parent University and the University of Charleston Department of Education on Thursday, November 7, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the UC Ballroom.  The free event is open to parents, educators and the public.

Katie Ibes, a pedagogical consultant who advises public, charter and independent schools across the country, will share strategies for nurturing a child’s executive functions at home and in the classroom.

Executive function is the ability to manage thoughts, emotions and actions. Traits associated with executive function fall into three main categories—self-control, working memory and cognitive flexibility. These are sometimes referred to as “soft skills,” but their importance is anything but.

“Executive functions support teamwork, leadership, decision-making, working toward goals, critical thinking, adaptability and being aware of our own emotions as well as those of others,” said MMS Director Jennifer Carriger. “When children have opportunities to develop executive function and self-regulation skills, individuals and society experience lifelong benefits.”

Mountaineer Montessori School, 308 20th Street, is West Virginia’s original and largest Montessori school. Founded in 1976, MMS serves 142 students ages 3-14.

For more information, please call MMS at 304/342-7870 or visit www.mountaineermontessori.org.

The Plus Program will be available at no charge to current MMS students upon reservation. To reserve your child’s spot, contact Karen Kelly: kkelly@mountaineermontessori.org.