Middle school bringing “Little Free Library” to South Hills neighborhood

Little-Free-Library (1)A “Little Free Library” is coming to South Hills thanks to our middle school students…but they need your help to finalize the project. The free book exchange will be located at Unity of Kanawha Valley Church, the site of our 7th and 8th grade program.

MMS students designed the structure (the photo here is just for example), prepared a brochure and delivered a formal proposal to the Bridge Road Neighborhood Association, which generously donated $250 towards its construction. Additional financial help and/or donations of building materials will help them finalize the project. To make a contribution, please contact Suzanne Sanders ssanders@mountaineermontessori.org or Rachel Scarpelli, rscarpelli@mountaineermontessori.org. or go to our home page send it via PayPal: www.mountaineermontessori.org

Please note that MMS has a few NIPS tax credits available for donations of $500 to the Free Little Library or other MMS programs. Through NIPS, donors receive a 50% credit for the amount of their contribution on their state income taxes. Our credits are nearly depleted, so please contact MMS at 304/342-7870 ASAP to take advantage.

I learned how to answer my own questions: Alumni share lessons of Montessori

Alumni from a wide range of fields shared the secrets of their success and the impact of their Montessori education on their college and career paths at “Education for Innovation,” a special MMS parent night and community forum held January 20.

Montessori alumni from left, Travis Crouse, Avrah Urecki, Emily Beal, Rusty Kruzelock, Morgan Robinson and Clifton Clark

Montessori alumni from left, Travis Crouse, Avrah Urecki, Emily Beal, Rusty Kruzelock, Morgan Robinson and Clifton Clark

Here’s some of what they had to say:

“Montessori taught me how to answer my own questions.” Morgan Robinson, morning host, Electric 102.7

“I wouldn’t be the same person without Montessori. It helped develop my creativity and gave me a strong work ethic.” Avrah Urecki, MFA, art teacher, Charleston Catholic High School

“I’m the one who’s not afraid to ask the obvious questions. Montessori gave me confidence and the ability to be a leader.” Travis Crouse, Director of IT Services, WVU Physicians of Charleston



MMS students led tours of our school for Senator Chris Walters and community members during our Education for Innovation event.

MMS students led tours of our school for Senator Chris Walters and community members during our Education for Innovation event.

“Montessori teaches children not to be afraid to ask questions and dig deeper for knowledge. It gives you flexibility and is great training for an entrepreneur….my father says it was the best thing that every happened to me because it taught me how to learn.”  Rusty Kruzelock, PhD, CEO, West Virginia Regional Technology Research Park

“Montessori definitely developed my problem-solving skills and the ability to collaborate with others.” Clifton Clark, JD/MBA, BB&T

“I spent my junior year of high school in Austria and I left Charleston without knowing any German or the students in my program. Montessori gave me the confidence and motivation to try new things and follow my interests….it’s also the best education for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) that I can think of.”  Emily Beal, PhD, Henthorn Environmental Services



MMSEducationforInnovationWe offer deep thanks to our alumni for participating in this program and the many parents and community leaders, including West Virginia Senator Chris Walters, who came to learn about Montessori education and how a “Montessori mindset” can benefit children and our state.












Second semester starts with smiles

MMS students are all smiles as they begin the second semester of our school year.  Enjoy this latest update from David Pushkin and Amanda Cox’s lower elementary class:

Hug ClubWe have had a wonderful re-entry into our curriculum this semester. Some of the highlights include the third year students learning long division, the second year students beginning to identify common multiples and the first year students approaching the identification of commutative combinations in simple addition.

Many of our first year students are learning about verbs and adverbs. The second and third year students are preparing for sentence analysis.

Note: if you are the parents of a third year student, please feel free to contact us prior to January 26, which begins our week for standardized testing. Each third year student would benefit from some parental involvement during the next two weeks.

David and Amanda

January 13, 2015

See more MMS news on our blog.


Education for innovation: MMS alumni panel to highlight brain-based learning

MMSEducationforInnovationSelf-paced learning. Flipped classrooms. Inquiry-based education. Expeditionary learning. Some of the “newest” ideas in education have been successfully implemented in Montessori schools for more than a century, including the more than 500 public Montessori schools in the United States.

Montessori is a research-based approach education based on Dr. Maria Montessori’s scientific observations of young children at the “Casa dei Bambini,” a school she founded in Rome in 1907.

Brain-based learning

Dr. Steven Hughes, past president of the American Academy of Pediatric Neuropsychology, calls Montessori “the original brain-based approach to education because it based upon scientific principles of human development.”



Secret of their success:  Montessori

Photo credit: The Boyd School

Photo credit: The Boyd School

Montessori education has influenced the founders of some of America’s most innovative and successful companies, including Amazon (Jeff Bezos, named by Harvard Business Review as America’s most effective CEO), Wikipedia (Jimmy Wales) and Google (Sergei Brin and Larry Page) as well as well known figures from the worlds of art and culture, including Beyonce, Yo-Yo Ma, George Clooney, P. Diddy Combs, Jacqueline Kennedy, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Julia Child and Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, to name just a few.

Montessori is education for innovation

What sets the Montessori approach apart from traditional education? How does Montessori foster creativity, innovation and discovery? Could the Montessori mindset benefit your child, business, community and state?

These questions and more will be discussed at “Education for Innovation,” community forum to be held Tuesday, January 20 at Mountaineer Montessori School, 308 20th Street. The event will begin with school tours at 5:30 p.m. (optional), followed by a panel discussion at 6:00 p.m.

At this special program for MMS parents, West Virginia educators, policy makers, community leaders and potential MMS families, local Montessori alumni will share their perspectives on the skills needed for success in the 21st century and discuss how their Montessori background shaped their educational, professional and personal journeys.

Dr. Emily Beal and son, Ethan

Dr. Emily Beal and son, Ethan

Clifton Clark

Clifton Clark

Travis Crouse

Travis Crouse

Dr. Rusty Kruzelock

Dr. Rusty Kruzelock

Morgan Robinson

Morgan Robinson







Avrah Ureck

Avrah Ureck

Montessori alumni speakers confirmed to date include:

  • Emily Beal,* PhD, environmental consultant, Henthorn Environmental Services;
  • Clifton Clark,* JD/MBA, high net worth lending consultant, BB&T;
  • Travis Crouse,* BA, director of IT Services, WVU Physicians of Charleston;
  • Rusty Kruzelock, PhD, CEO, West Virginia Research and Technology Park;
  • Morgan Robinson, BA, community leader and Electric 102.7FM morning host;
  • Avrah Urecki,* MFA, art teacher, Charleston Catholic High School.

*MMS alumni


To RSVP or for more information, please call 304/342-7870. Childcare is available with a reservation.

See more MMS news on our blog

Read all about it: December ‘M’ News is out

The latest issue of  “M News,” the Mountaineer Montessori School newsletter is out. You can find it here. Learn about our middle school “free little library” project, upper elementary students’ studies of Ancient Rome, fabulous lower elementary field trips and primary class observations…and more!


December 2014 P 1December 2014 p 2





Recommended reading during holiday break and beyond

Jennifer Carriger Reading and Learning Specialist

Jennifer Carriger
Reading and Learning Specialist

MMS Reading and Learning Specialist Jennifer Carriger is making a list and checking it twice, sharing books that are exciting and nice!

Books make a great gift and provide endless opportunities for students to stay engaged and entertained during the holiday break and beyond. Here’s a wonderful list of reading recommendations for upper elementary (fourth through sixth year) students from Jennifer. Visit the Kanawha County Public Library or your local bookstore and let the literary adventures begin!




MMS Reading ListThe Cavendish Home  for Boys and Girls:  Claire Legrand

Raspberry Pi User’s Manual:  Gareth Halfacre

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing:  Judy Blume

Warriors:  The New Prophecy (series):   Erin Hunter

Summer at Foresaken Lake:  Michael D. Beil

Girl’s Best Friend: Leslie Margolis

Nancy Drew (series):  Carolyn Keene

My Very Un Fairytale Life:  Anna Staniszewski

I, Funny:  James Patterson

The Giver:  Lois Lowry

The Three Questions:  John Muth

Stone Soup: Marcia Brown

The Fault in Our Stars:  John Green

Origami Yoda: Tom Angleberger

Darth Vader Strikes Back: Tom Angleberger

The Land of Stories (series): Chris Colfer

Geronimo Stilton (series): Geronimo Stilton

The Mysterious Benedict Society:  Trenton Lee Stewart

Wonder: R. J. Palacio

Magic Tree House:  Mary Pope Osborne

Bad Kitty for President: Nick Bruel

Bone (series): Jeff Smith

Tin-Tin (series):  Herge

The Stolen Painting: Harper Paris

Treasure Island: Robert Louis Stevenson

Freddy Goes to Florida: Walter R. Brooks

A Tangle of Knots: Lisa Graff

The Graveyard Book: Neil Gaiman

Chomp and Hoot:  Carl Hiaasan

Bloomability:  Sharon Creech

The Fingertips of Duncan: Meg Wolitzer Dorfman

A to Z Mysteries (series):  Ron Roy

A Thunderous Whisper:  Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Horton Halfpott:  Tom Angelberger

Percy Jackson (series): Rick Riordan

The Kicks: Alex Morgan

The Land of Stories (series): Chris Colfer

Big Nate (series): Lincoln Pierce

Magic Tree House (series): Mary Pope Osborne

Wonderstruck: Brian Selznick

Harry Potter (series): J.K. Rowling

Smile: Raina Telgemeier

Drama: Raina Telgemeier

Moon Over Manifest: Clare Vanderpool

Dork Diaries: Rachel Renee Russell

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Jeff Kinney

Fog Magic: Julia Sauer

Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Harriet Beecher Stowe

Inside Out and Back Again: Lanhha Lai

The Talking Earth: Jean Craighead George

The Mysterious Case of the Albright Academy: Diane Stanley



A timeline of the history of Montessori education

The History of Montessori Education by Giraffe Childcare



MMS Ski Club Lifts Off January 14

MMS Ski Club 2015


Ski club



Destination Imagination lifts off December 12

Sky's the limitDestination Imagination (DI), a nation-wide program that teaches the creative process from imagination to innovation, will lift off in Charleston on Friday, Dec. 12, 4-5:30 p.m. at Mountaineer Montessori School (MMS), 308 20th Street.  The program is open to all area students in third through fifth grade.

Destination Imagination encourages teams of learners to have fun, take risks, focus and frame challenges while incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the arts and service learning.  Participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas and the collaborative problem solving process.

Team members work together after school once a week under the guidance of trained parent or community volunteer team managers, to brainstorm, develop and refine solutions to a “Team Challenge” of their choice,  and present their solutions at the West Virginia State Competition, to be held in Fairmont on March 21, 2015.

A “Rising Stars” DI team for students in kindergarten through second grade will also be formed based upon interest.

At the organizational meeting students and parents will be introduced to the program, participate in some “Instant Challenge” activities and discussing scheduling and future events. Interested families should contact Ali Shams (ashams1@hotmail.com) or Anne Fishkin (anne_fishkin@hotmail.com) to register.

A “Rising Stars” DI team for students in kindergarten through second grade will also be formed based upon interest.

At the organizational meeting students and parents will be introduced to the program, participate in some “Instant Challenge” activities and discuss scheduling and future events. Interested families should contact Ali Shams (ashams1@hotmail.com) or Anne Fishkin (anne_fishkin@hotmail.com) to register.

For more information about Destination Imagination, go to www.destinationimagination.org, and www.freewebs.com/wvdi/ for details about the West Virginia program.

Reaching new heights in education — with your help

MMS Mountain Institute 2014

“We have started an amazing ride of self-discovery and mental and spiritual adventure. We are very thankful and excited about what the rest of the year has to offer.” Mountaineer Montessori Middle School student

Opening new worlds of discovery to help children achieve their unique potential and become the thoughtful leaders of tomorrow — that’s been the vision of Mountaineer Montessori School since 1976.

This year, we elevated that lofty ideal through several program enhancements that inspired our students, community and state.

They include:

  •  Opening West Virginia’s only Montessori Middle School, providing an unparalleled academic experience that prepares adolescents for a lifetime of learning and service.
  •  Expanding our financial aid program to serve a growing number of MMS families.
  •  Launching “MMS@50 Strategic Plan to guide us to a half-century of excellence and innovation in education.
  • Enhancing foreign language instruction by beginning to integrate Spanish as a classroom subject and increasing instruction time.
  • Inspiring environmental awareness through a City of Charleston art exhibition, “Flotsam,” which featured amazing creatures MMS students formed from plastic bottles that accumulated during the West Virginia water crisis.
  • Sponsoring training for four faculty members at the most rigorous Montessori training programs in the country. In addition, our Head of School completed Tier One of Montessori Administrators Training and will complete Tier Two in 2015 (only a handful of principals in the United States have completed this level of certification).

MMS Math lessonMaria Montessori believed that the goal of education was to unleash a child’s potential and transform him into a citizen of the world.  Through the investments we are making in our students, faculty and families, we are realizing Maria Montessori’s goal every day.

While tuition covers most of our expenses, it is only through fundraising such as this annual appeal that we can offer programs like those described and serve the growing number families turning to MMS for a high-quality alternative to one-size-fits all education.

We invite you to take advantage of this opportunity to elevate education in the year ahead with a tax-deductible gift to the MMS Annual Fund. Tax credits through the Neighborhood Investment Program can make your investment go much further. A $1,000 donation, for example, could actually entail a $300 out-of-pocket cost after tax credits and deductions. These tax credits are very limited and available for donations of $500 and up.

You can make a donation today online or call our office for more information: 304/342-7870.

Yours in service to the child,

Your friends at Mountaineer Montessori School