Mountaineer Montessori School: Lighting the way for education since 1976
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, 130 students ages 3 to 14 are enrolled at MMS.
MMS is an independent, non-sectarian, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization governed by an elected board of directors comprised of parent, community and faculty representatives.
Built on a 40-year-tradition of excellence and innovation education, we provide a cross-disciplinary, integrated academic curriculum that includes a rich music and arts program, foreign language classes, computer instruction, full-time learning support services, an extensive community service component, and physical education at the University of Charleston pool and gymnasium.
At MMS, children to discover and become who they were meant to be!
Joyful learning…a world class education… a neighborhood setting
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, a colorful art studio, 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 equipment, a garden, playhouses and other features that invite discovery and creativity.
Mountaineer Montessori 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. Daily free time (recess) and physical education activities for elementary students are conducted at UC’s Triana Field or the UC pool and gymnasium.
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.
Authentic Montessori education
Since the beginning, MMS has held fast to the philosophy of Maria Montessori and the 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. Meet our faculty.
All 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!
A community of learners
At Mountaineer Montessori School, students, parents and faculty work together as a nurturing community of learners. Parental involvement is encouraged and welcomed. Throughout the year, parents have the opportunity to observe their child’s class, meet with teachers in scheduled conferences or at other times as necessary, and participate in Parent Night and other educational events. Our office is staffed throughout the day and we strive to always have an MMS administrative or faculty member ready to answer your call.
We also invite you to support your child’s education and MMS through the MMSPO (our parent organization), serving as a classroom parent, volunteering your time and professional skills through fundraising, or other capacities and/or serving the the MMS Board of Directors. Every person can make a difference. Please see our Community of Learners page to learn more about parental engagement and volunteer opportunities, and our Community Engagement page to see how our students and school family put the Montessori peace philosophy into practice through public service and volunteerism.
“MMS gave me a wonderful foundation for my education and a love of learning. Throughout my life, I have talked to people from many states and countries and different backgrounds, and I cannot name one person who had a better elementary school based both on happy memories and good education.” Emily Beal, PhD.
We invite you learn more about Mountaineer Montessori from the people who know us best on our Testimonials page.
MMS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization overseen by an elected board of directors comprised of faculty, parent and volunteer leaders from varied professional backgrounds who are passionate about Montessori education, dedicated to the mission of MMS and advocate on behalf of the school, its programs and staff. The MMS Board of Directors provides strategic direction and policy guidance to our school and develops the resources needed to offer the highest quality Montessori education to our students.
The 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.
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
Since 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 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!