‘Hand in Hand’ annual appeal steps off on #GivingTuesday

Hand in Hand Eliza and Anna. jpgThere’s a day for giving thanks. Two for getting deals. Now there is #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. Celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

As part of this worldwide celebration of thanks and giving, Mountaineer Montessori School (MMS) will launch its “Hand in Hand: Moving Forward Together” annual fund campaign. The fundraiser gets underway today, when coin banks will be distributed to all MMS students, who are being encouraged to fill them over the Thanksgiving holiday and bring them back to to school on #GivingTuesday, December 1.

The “Hand in Hand” campaign will expand over the week through social media, news coverage, collaborations and personal invitations to engage the entire community in helping MMS meet the demand for high-quality educational options and serve families of all economic levels.

Annual Appeal 2015 017Last year’s MMS Giving Tuesday/Annual Appeal enabled Mountaineer Montessori to increase financial aid by 31 percent, expanding access to its programs for the growing number of area families seeking a superior alternative to one-size-fits-all education.

The campaign will also help MMS meet the demand for high quality early education in Charleston. There were many more applicants as slots available for three-year-olds entering the school in the fall of 2015, and MMS is actively pursuing the possibility of adding a third primary classroom (ages 3-6) next year.

“Hand in Hand: Moving Forward Together” also provides critical funding for teacher training. Authentic, on-campus Montessori training is highly specialized, costly and only available out of state.

Hand in hand Ben and EileyThe “Hand in Hand” campaign will showcase MMS students, parents, teachers and alumni, who will share their moving personal stories and the powerful impact that their Montessori experience has made on them and their families.

Contributions may be made online through the school website or can be mailed to: MMS, 308 20th Street SE, Charleston, WV, 25304.

About Mountaineer Montessori School: MMS is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offering a rich, child-centered academic and arts curriculum in an authentic Montessori environment to 125 children ages 3-14 at campuses in Kanawha City and South Hills. MMS nurtures each child to develop to his fullest potential – academically, socially, emotionally and physically. A recognized child development authority and academic innovator, MMS has been lighting the way for education since 1976, and is the oldest, largest and most established Montessori school in West Virginia. For more information, go to: www.MountaineerMontessori.org or call 304/342-7870

Giving_Tuesday_LogoAbout #GivingTuesday: An estimated 30,000 organizations from all 50 states and 68 countries are expected to participate in #GivingTuesday. For more information, go to www.GivingTuesday.org



MMS Book Fair and Food/Bake Sale planned for Dec. 2-3

Для ИнтернетаThe annual MMS Book Fair and Food/Bake Sale will be held on Wednesday-Thursday, December 2-3, in the MMS Art room. We’re pleased to welcome back Taylor Books to this festive event, which features seasonal and ethnic dishes and holiday treats along with books and gift selections. The Bake/Food Sale and Book Fair supports our “Hand in Hand” campaign, which funds financial aid, teacher training and specialty programs at our school.

Volunteers are needed to bake and help manage this event. Please follow the links to sign up. I would like to: Work a shift



Tricky Fish Tuesdays to support MMS teacher fund


Print the MMS Tricky Fish Tuesday Poster

MMS Tricky Fish Fundraiser_2


November is Teacher Appreciation Month at MMS, and our Board of Directors invites you to join us, hand in hand, in supporting our dedicated faculty and staff in the weeks ahead through a new and fun promotion: Taco Tuesdays @Tricky Fish.

Visit Tricky Fish for lunch or dinner every Tuesday in November and 10 percent of all proceeds will be donated to Mountaineer Montessori. The funds raised will go towards helping fund continuing education, Montessori teacher and assistant training, and other staff needs. This new, fun and delicious fundraiser is made possible through the generosity of Keeley and Jonathan Steele, MMS parents and owners of Tricky Fish.

Invite your friends, families, and co-workers and help us support all those who make MMS great– our teachers!

Although you are welcome and encouraged to visit Tricky Fish every Tuesday, special class dinners will be held so you can socialize with other families from your child’s class:

Tuesday, November 3, 5:00-7:00 p.m.: MMS Elementary Night

Tuesday, November 10, 5:00-7:00 p.m.: MMS Primary Night

Tuesday, November 17, 5:00-7:00 p.m.: MMS Middle School Night

Tuesday, November 24: 3:00-5:00 p.m.: All School Meet-Up/Thanksgiving Break Sendoff

Please encourage your business colleagues to visit Tricky Fish for lunch. They’ll enjoy a tasty meal from a great local business and support quality education in our community. You’re invited to print out a poster to hang in your office or put up in your local shop or store. Please see the link above.

For more questions, please contact MMS Fundraising Chair Katie McFadden at katie.mcfadden@gmail.com.


Tricky Fish Header





MMS makes major training investment as co-directors attend Montessori Whole-School Management Course

MMS Co-Directors Suzanne Sanders and Jennifer Carriger with David Kahn, executive director of the North American Montessori Teachers Association and the "grandfather of international Montessori."

MMS Co-Directors Suzanne Sanders and Jennifer Carriger with David Kahn, executive director of the North American Montessori Teachers Association and the “grandfather of international Montessori.”

MMS Co-Directors Jennifer Carriger and Suzanne Sanders learned from and with Montessori administrators from across the United States (and the world) at a four-day Montessori Whole-School Management professional development seminar presented by the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association (NAMTA) in Columbia, Maryland, in October.  Since becoming co-directors in February 2015, Jennifer and Suzanne have participated in several non-profit management and educational leadership programs to ensure the highest quality programs and responsible stewardship for our school.

In addition to Jennifer and Suzanne’s coursework, MMS made a significant investment in Montessori training and professional development for teachers and staff over the past year. Four faculty members pursued certification programs offered through the American Montessori Society(AMS) and/or the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), the two most widely recognized Montessori credential organizations worldwide. In addition, faculty from the Virginia Center for Montessori Studies led AMS Montessori Assistant training for 12 faculty members this summer, and all MMS teachers completed Positive Discipline in the Classroom coursework.


About AMI Montessori Whole-School Management

“Since 1988, NAMTA has documented best administrative practices and provided professional development to administrators with one overarching principle in mind: Montessori schools, in order to retain their authenticity over time, need Montessori-oriented administrators who understand the specific operational aspects of Montessori pedagogy.

Julianna Phillips, third from right, and sister Montessori educators at the Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education.

MMS lead guide Julianna Phillips, third from right, and sister Montessori educators at the Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education.

The increasing complexity of Montessori school structure means that the Montessori school must reintegrate its parts to complete the developmental continuum. This is an extraordinary endeavor as the Montessori school must embody the Montessori vision of successive prepared environments, indoors and outdoors, encompassing the natural and human-built worlds through all academic disciplines from concrete to abstract, from eighteen months to eighteen years. The more comprehensive the Montessori vision, the more complicated the institution and the larger and more diverse the staff. There is also more difficulty in staying organic and remaining focused on the organic whole, which is simply children and their intrinsic needs in contact with the appropriate ‘prepared environment,’ including the natural environment. The implementation of Montessori Whole-School Management requires not just administration but visionary leadership, which is as much a test of character as it is of knowledge.”


Hand in Hand: MMS shares success, future plans at annual meeting

Untitled design (2)I am a small part of the world

I have a small hand to hold

But if I stand by your side

and you put your hand in mine,

Together we can be so strong and bold.*


From the beginning, nearly 40 years ago, Mountaineer Montessori School has united students, teachers, parents and the community hand in hand to create a better future for children, our school… and the world. At “Hand in Hand,” our 2014-15 Annual Meeting and Report to the Community held September 29, MMS board members and staff highlighted the ways we continue to work together to promote excellence in education and serve our community.  A large crowd of parents and friends were in attendance for this important gathering, which set an uplifting and unifying tone for the year ahead.  We invite you to be a part of another great year for our school though committee participation, volunteer efforts and financial support…. together, we can be so strong and bold!

Learn more in our annual report: MMS 2014-15 Annual Report Hand in Hand

MMS Annual Report 2014-15_PRINT MMS Annual Report 2014-15_PRINT MMS Annual Report 2014-15_PRINT MMS Annual Report 2014-15_PRINT MMS Annual Report 2014-15_PRINT








MMS Annual Report 2014-15_PRINT


















*Lyrics from “I Am Small Part of the World” (Sally Albrecht), sung by MMS students at a memorial service for Dana Gilliland, our late head of school.


Destination Imagination lifts off September 21

Imagine FINAL FINALDestination Imagination, a global program that teaches the creative process from imagination to innovation, lifts off for another year of adventure on Monday, September 21, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Advanced Technology Center, located at the WV Regional Technology Park. Many MMS students participate in this wonderful program that prepares children to imagine great possibilities for themselves and our world.

DI encourages teams of learners, from kindergarten through college, to have fun, take risks, focus and frame challenges while incorporating STEM, the arts and service learning. Students learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process.

Team members work together, during or after school, under the guidance of a teacher or trained parent or community volunteer team managers (Co-Leaders). The members work together to brainstorm, develop, and refine their solutions to the complex Team Challenge of their choice, and present their solutions at the WV Destination ImagiNation State Competition, in the spring.

At this introductory event, students, parents, and others will gain a basic understanding of the program and have fun working together to solve sample Instant Challenge activities. For more info contact: anne_fishkin@hotmail.com

Want to learn even more about DI?

Kira EckstadtDI Fun Day and Team Manager Training Day will be held on Saturday, October 24, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Advanced Technology Center. Lunch provided (Fee = $3.00 per person, adults or children). To pre-register, contact: anne_fishkin@hotmail.com (by October 21).

Intro to Destination Imagination







Help create future of education by serving on MMS Board of Directors

MMS Board CMountaineer Montessori School is approaching its fifth decade of lighting the way for education and we invite to be a part of the team leading our school towards this milestone. New members of the MMS Board of Directors will be elected at our school’s Annual Meeting and Report to the Community on September 29. Comprised of parent, faculty and community representatives, the board plays a vital role in our school, providing strategic direction, financial stewardship and community engagement to advance our school’s mission. The full board meets once a month; committee meetings are scheduled as needed.

Thanks to strong leadership by Immediate Past President Harry Bell, members transitioning off the board and those continuing in service, MMS is positioned for a very bright future. We encourage parents who wish to make a difference in their child’s education and in our community to consider getting involved through board and/or a committee membership. It’s an exciting time at MMS and we invite you to be a part of it.

To get involved, please take a minute to complete a four question survey and provide your contact information by Friday, September 18. A member of the nominating committee will be in touch with you soon.


Thank you for your time and we look forward to seeing you on September 29!

Hand in hand: MMS annual meeting, report to community to be held Sept. 29












MMS parents, friends and the community are invited to our 2015 Annual Meeting and Report to the Community, to be held at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 29, at South Ruffner Presbyterian Church. During this important event, faculty and board members will update attendees on plans for the year ahead, share progress from the last 12 months and discuss “MMS@50,” our school’s 10-year strategic plan. Election of new board members will also be held. Please join us as we march hand in hand to the future!

Complimentary child care is available at our school to MMS families upon reservation. To RSVP, please call Beth George at 304/342-7870 or email bgeorge@mountaineermontessori.org.


Sewing machine, old t-shirts needed for middle school ‘micro-economy’ projects

Middle School Surveying Project 004Creating and managing a micro-economy is a key component of the Montessori middle school curriculum. To help get this year’s entrepreneurship projects–starting with creating and selling rag rugs– up and running, our seventh- and eighth-year students would appreciate donations of the following:

  • Old t-shirts (laundered)
  • Rotary cutter
  • 18″ x 24″ (or larger) rotary cutting board
  • 6″ x 24″ rotary ruler
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Clothes pins


The MMMS “micro-economy” curriculum prepares students for the “real world,” incorporating nearly every academic subject and building responsibility, confidence, project management skills, collaboration and financial literacy.

To help: Donations may be brought to our primary/elementary campus (308 20th Street in Kanawha City) or the middle school at 804 Myrtle at Bridge Road (Unity Church).  For more information, please contact Middle School Lead Guide Bridgett Steveson at bsteveson@mountaineermontessori.org or call the school office at 304/342-7870.

Thank you SEW MUCH for supporting the next generation of WV entrepreneurs!

Sewing machine

Stack of color clothes isolated on white backgroundragrug



MMS presenting Positive Discipline workshop on Aug. 13

Pos Discipline FINALMMS is pleased to once again welcome Suzanne Smitha McPherson to lead training for staff and parents on positive discipline (PD).

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.

Suzanne Smitha McPherson is a certified Positive Discipline Lead Trainer who has taught parenting and education courses for 25 years. She is retired from 35 years as a school psychologist in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, and is the co-author of the manuals, Positive Discipline in the School and Classroom, Teachers’ Guide: Activities for Students and PDSC Leaders’ Guide: Resources and Activities.

The parent workshop will be held Thursday, August 13, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Mountaineer Montessori Middle School campus, located at Unity of Kanawha Valley, 804 Myrtle at Bridge Road. Attendees will receive a copy of the Positive Discipline Workbook by Dr. Jane Nielson.

RSVP by July 30 to reserve your seat and a copy of the workbook by contacting Beth George in the MMS office: bgeorge@mountaineermontessori.org