“Free the child’s potential and transform him into the world.” Maria Montessori
Montessori is an evidence-based approach to education that grows from Dr. Maria Montessori’s scientific observations of young children more than a century ago at the Casa dei Bambini, a school she founded for underprivileged children in Rome. The entire Montessori program, including materials, lessons, classroom environment and student-teacher dynamic, is designed to meet the specific intellectual, social and emotional needs of children at each stage of their development, from infancy through adolescence.
Montessori works with — not against — human nature to nurture a child’s natural desire to learn. Dr. Steven Hughes, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Neuropsychology, calls Montessori the first brain-based approach to learning because it is based upon scientific principles of human development.
A foundation for a lifetime of learning
- Pursue their natural desire to explore and learn
- Develop physically, emotionally and socially
- Become independent and self-motivated
- Develop a lifetime love of learning
- Connect and contribute to their family, community and humanity
A “laboratory for learning”
The three-to-six year old is a very active and eager student. The Montessori classroom environment has been called a “laboratory for learning,” designed around principles of child development to engage young children in purposeful exploration and discovery.
With 40 years of experience working with young children, Mountaineer Montessori offers a fully-implemented primary program, with credentialed faculty and a rich, rotating menu of authentic materials and lessons, focusing on the following areas: cultural, math, language, practical life and sensorial.
Montessori primary curriculum
Peer-reviewed research finds that children with a Montessori primary education outperform their traditional school counterparts in reading and math and demonstrate higher levels of “executive skills” (including independence, problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration) that lead to future academic and social success. We invite you to learn more about Montessori outcomes and our alumni.
Follow the child
Children work at their own pace using beautiful, research-based materials and lessons that inspire interest and encourage appreciation of beauty and order. Students are given individual presentations on the materials and are free to choose from a wide choice of activities.
Construction of the self
“The children are led by and follow their inner voice. This voice attracts the child to particular lessons and/or materials that ‘speak’ to them. The children are given the foundational lessons along with the ground rules of the classroom, and are then ‘free to explore’ (within limits). From this moment forth, the child finds inspiration and is able to create their own trajectory in the construction of self.” — Samantha Van Den Berghe-Lynch, Primary Guide
Love of community
All of these activities the lay the foundation of academic learning. Our faculty closely observe each child’s level of readiness for the next lesson and guide him or her through the comprehensive Montessori curriculum. Children also engage in daily group experiences in order to build community and to develop their social skills. Most importantly, children in the primary classroom develop a love of their school community and a love of learning, finding peaceful joy in their pursuit of knowledge.
Mountaineer Montessori offers an exceptional arts program for students at all levels. Creative expression is embedded throughout the Montessori primary curriculum, nurturing students’ development through art, music and movement. Classroom lessons are furthered enriched through Kindermusik and Orff classes led by Karen Morris, art with Barrie Kaufman (WV Artist of the Year) and workshops with artists-in-residence.
“Peace is what every man is craving for and it can be brought about to humanity through the child.” Maria Montessori believed in the power of education to create a better world through the child and was a pioneer in education for peace. The Montessori peace curriculum helps children develop respect and learn to care for themselves and others, their school environment, their community and their world. At MMS, the Montessori peace philosophy is practiced in the classroom through grace and courtesy and in the larger world through community engagement and volunteer service. Learn more about our tradition of service on our Montessori Peace Philosophy and Community Engagement page.
Learning through movement
Movement is a major component of the MMS primary curriculum, supporting students’ physical, social, emotional and intellectual development. Daily outdoor sessions offer children the opportunity to develop gross motor skills, strength and balance through work with boards, tires and balance beams and free time on playground equipment. Dance, yoga and other physical expression opportunities are incorporated into the classroom. Full day primary students also participate in sports and physical education classes at Triana Field and other UC facilities under the supervision of our PE Specialist, Nancy Johnston, an experienced, trained Montessori professional.
Guest speakers and artists-in-residence
Guest speakers, artists-in-residence and educational assemblies enrich our primary program, inspiring imagination and opening horizons for our students.
Tour our primary prepared environments
MMS currently offers two fully-equipped primary classrooms, each staffed by two AMS/AMI trained Montessori educators — a lead guide and a classroom assistant. Their leadership is supported by two certified, full-time, onsite Montessori mentors, who bring more than 50 years of experience in authentic Montessori primary classrooms. Meet our MMS Primary Faculty.
Primary class schedule
- Mornings for children 3 through 4-1/2 years (8:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.)
- Extended day for children ages 4-1/2 through 6 years (8:00 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.)
- Early drop-off and after-school programming is available for primary students. You can learn more about our Plus Program here. The MMS Plus Program is an extension of the MMS classrooms, offering a range of creative and educational activities in a warm, nurturing environment supervised by trained Montessori educators.
A Day in the Life of a Montessori Primary Classroom
Observations from a Montessori grandmother