About MMS


Mountaineer Montessori School:  Lighting the way for education since 1976


Mary McKown created a “sanctuary of learning” for generations of Charleston children

Mountaineer Montessori School was founded in 1976 by Mary McKown, a visionary educator who touched the lives of hundreds of Charleston children.  What started out as one classroom with primary students (3 to 6 year olds), is now the oldest, largest and most well-established Montessori school in West Virginia, serving an estimated 1,000 students in the last four decades.  Currently, 120 students ages 3 to 14 are enrolled at MMS.

Built on a 38-year-tradition of excellence and innovation education, we provide a multi-disciplinary, integrated academic curriculum that includes a rich music and arts program, a full-time learning specialist and physical education at the University of Charleston pool and gymnasium.   At MMS, we help children fulfill their unique potential and make the world a better place.




Joyful learning…a world class education… a neighborhood setting

Sign reduced

Our unmistakable sign — a  20-foot long piece of art created by Charly Hamilton in collaboration with MMS students in 2011 — signals the joyful learning that can be found throughout our campus.  Our primary and elementary programs are housed in a vintage three-story brick school building brimming with accessible and intriguing educational materials, colorful art, a menagerie of animal friends, a children’s library, an inviting after-school room and Apple computer lab. Our beautiful outdoor environment includes a new student-designed playground and jungle gyms, a garden, playhouses and other features that invite exploration and wonder.

MMS is located at 308 20th Street in the heart of Charleston just off MacCorkle Avenue, providing us with easy access to all of the rich cultural offerings of the city, the amenities of our leafy Kanawha City neighborhood and the facilities of the University of Charleston, with whom we enjoy a mutually beneficial and long-standing relationship.  Our new Middle School is housed at Unity of Kanawha Valley, 804 Myrtle at Bridge Road, in Charleston’s South Hills neighborhood.  This convenient location provides ready access to the historic Carriage Trail, the lovely Sunrise neighborhood and downtown Charleston.

We invite you to visit our MMS in the news page and other areas of our website to learn more about our school, its programs and people, see what’s cool about our school and find out how to support us.

Mountaineer Montessori School Primary and Elementary 308 20th Street Charleston, WV 25304

Mountaineer Montessori School
Primary and Elementary
308 20th Street
Charleston, WV 25304

Mountaineer Montessori School Middle School (7th & 8th Grade) 804 Myrtle Road Charleston, WV 25314

Mountaineer Montessori School
Middle School (7th & 8th Grade)
804 Myrtle Road
Charleston, WV 25314















Authentic Montessori education

Since the beginning, MMS has held fast to the philosophy of Maria Montessori and thams logoe vision of our founder.  MMS is staffed by experienced, certified Montessori teachers — enabling us to provide a superior, authentic Montessori education to the children of the Kanawha Valley.

IMG_2843All faculty prepare at programs certified by the American Montessori Society (AMS) or Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), the two most recognized Montessori teacher training programs worldwide.  AMS and AMI certifications require sustained on-campus training, testing and collaboration with Montessori educators from around the world. Most of these programs exceed the requirements of the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MATCE).   Certifications other than AMI or AMS are not as widely accepted. Our curriculum is approved by the Kanawha County Schools. MMS knows Montessori!



Our future 

MMS Strategic Plan_FINAL_nobleedsThe future of education is happening today at Mountaineer Montessori School.  We recently launched “MMS@50,” a “think big” 10-year strategic plan that builds on our tradition of excellence and innovation with an inspirational vision for our school and education in West Virginia as we approach our 50th anniversary.

Implementation of a toddler program, exploration of a Montessori high school, development of a community outdoor classroom and construction of a new purpose-built facility to house all MMS programs are among the plan’s lofty aims.   It’s an exciting time to be a part of Mountaineer Montessori.

You can learn more here.








We are all connected


MMS celebrates the rich and vibrant diversity of our school community and actively nurtures an inclusive and welcoming learning environment for all children.   Perhaps our students, composing “At Mountaineer Montessori”  (MMS School Song), said it best:

                       “We all come from different places

                        We all have different faces

                        And we are all connected

                        At Mountaineer Montessori!”



Charleston’s Montessori school

KCCCommendationSince its founding, Mountaineer Montessori has enriched the lives of more than a thousand students, who have gone on to academic achievement, distinguished professional careers and active community engagement and public service.   After nearly 40 years, we’re proud to say that we are Charleston’s — and West Virginia’s — Montessori school.

We  invite your family to become part of this special tradition!