The ‘only choice’: MMS testimonials
“The only choice”….. “a gift”….a “magical experience”…..”excited about learning”…..”different from any other place”….”a complete educational experience.”
These are a just a few of the words you’ll hear from MMS parents, students and alumni when asked to describe their experience at our school. We invite you learn more about Mountaineer Montessori from the people who know it best:
“We love that our children’s education is in the hands of professionals who truly care about them, their well-being, and their future. They understand child development and behavior. Our children are encouraged to learn in ways that work for them and are supported in learning when they are truly developmentally ready to learn various concepts with a highly individualized curriculum. This allows our boys to expand upon their strengths as well as develop and grow in areas that are more challenging. Our goal is for our boys to reach their utmost potential, spread their wings and fly to whatever heights they aspire to. With MMS, we feel we are giving them the best foundation possible.”
Amanda Fields with Dr. Ahmed, Jacob, Rayan, Zach and Jonas El-Gammal
“My favorite memory is as a kindergartner, eating honeysuckles that grew behind the school with my classmates. I was amazed to discover that their beauty, smell, texture, and flavor grew in nothing more than soil and water. I wasn’t in a classroom or a traditional learning environment, yet I was learning about nature, the food chain, and sustainability. As I look back, this memory fully encapsulates what makes MMS so great – every moment is an opportunity to learn and the teachers encouraged us to do so.
“When one of our children seemed to need more than we could offer as home schoolers, we immediately considered Montessori. We enrolled our second grader, who felt befriended and needed as an important part of the school community from the first day. The individually driven and paced environment, created by the kind and enthusiastic staff, eliminated frustration and encouraged her to explore her interests at her pace and comfort level. We quickly realized our first grader needed the MMS experience too. The exceptional staff and students swept her into the school community. Our middle schooler soon became envious of the exceptional education her younger siblings received. As we looked into Middle School, we realized it offered opportunities for our eighth grader to expand her horizons. I love that my children’s teachers see each of them as a unique being, perched daily on the ledge of the learning experience, ready for guidance on how to spread their wings and fly to the adventure of their choosing.”
Janell West with Dr. Brian and Amanda, Eve, Caleb and Jessica West
“I have gone to Mountaineer Montessori my entire life. I have met so many great friends, teachers and families. Now being in the seventh grade, Montessori has impacted me a lot. It has taught me how to read, write, listen, and learn in an environment where I am able to express myself and be who I want to be. Montessori has showed me it is ok to ask questions and go deeper into what you already know.”
Julianna Storm, seventh year student
“MMS really is a family. We care about each other in a way that I have never experienced anywhere else that I have ever worked or went to school.
I have so many ‘Montessori’ moments, if not every day, at least once a week: Older children teaching younger ones how to play a game or going across the monkey bars on the playground. The look on a child’s face when we go to Kanawha State Forest and they catch a crawdad for the first time, or the pride and enthusiasm when an older child asks if they can read aloud at story time. But, one of my absolutely favorite memories was when I brought orphaned kittens to school for the children to care for. They were meticulous about measuring the formula, testing the temperature of the milk replacement, and feeding them. The tenderness, compassion and exquisite kindness that I saw took my breath away. (All the kittens were adopted by MMS families after they were weaned.)”
Karen Kelly, Plus Director/Science Specialist and MMS alumni parent
“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.
“I distinctly remember doing basic algebraic equations in kindergarten, which kept me interested and motivated. This desire to keep up with and perhaps even complete a little with the older students is what drove me at the time and the rest of my life. I have to believe that my ambitious spirit was instilled in me at an early age at Montessori and this stuck with me throughout the remainder of my academic career and remains with me today.”
Nilay Shah, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Hematological Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation, West Virginia University/MMS Alumnus
“Montessori has impacted me in so many ways, from the nonrestrictive work schedule to the one-on-one teaching methods, it has pushed me to do my best without the structured and confined atmosphere of a regular school program. MMS has helped me ‘fly’ by letting me work the way I need to work and helping me the way I need to be helped.”
Shannon Rogers, Eighth Year Student
“The Montessori method for the child’s development as a whole always inspires me. It teaches them how to be a productive member of the society no matter what profession they choose. In today’s world, which is so self-centered, when you see your 11-year -old taking initiative to help the poor and needy and show concerns for the environment, you know that you have made the right decision!”
Kiran Faridi, M.D., mother of four MMS students
“Montessori guides children toward independence with more freedom to go where they need to go rather than where the testing goes. Instead of just checking boxes for a list of standards, a Montessori education helps children to discover and become who they were meant to be.”
Rebecca “Becca” Moore, MMS parent who became an Montessori guide. Learn more.
“I attended MMS as a child. My experience at MMS fueled my desire to learn. That desire to learn is invaluable to me and has set me up for success in life. As a parent, I wanted my own child to have a similar opportunity, and Mountaineer Montessori was the only choice for my wife and me.”
Clifton Clark, JD/MBA
“I want the students to come away with their minds full of thousands of ideas and opinions. I want my students to care about the world, to have strong feelings about the world, to abolish their apathy. I hope to model moral courage and a strong work ethic for them, and I hope that they come away with a love for work and the satisfaction it can bring. I try to instill in them a healthy skepticism, without it curdling to cynicism. In the end, I want them to be able to say that they experienced freedom at MMS.”
Jason Winesburg, Upper Elementary Lead Guide, Former Montessori Student
“MMS is a place that I can be myself without worrying about judgment.”
Ukiah Cordell, seventh year student.
“The most important decision parents make in their life is how to provide the best education for their children in order to make them happy and successful individuals. After doing extensive research we decided that a Montessori school was the best choice for us. Montessori schools keep the curiosity and the love of learning that every child is born with alive, and help them become happy individuals by showing them there are no limits to what they can do.”
Ali Shams, M.D.
“We relocated to the Charleston area from Georgia over the summer. Connor had been attending a Montessori school there and we wanted to continue in a Montessori environment to help him transition to our new hometown and because he was thriving in the classroom. We were thrilled to find a well-established Montessori school here. We sense that when the concept of a ‘MMS community’ is discussed, it is not just lip service. In our short time at the school we have all felt welcome and included. Connor loves going to school at MMS and looks forward to going to school each day.”
“Montessori influenced my education by reminding me the point of why I go to school. It’s easy to get lost in the point and grade system, so having the background of Montessori helped me not lose sight of learning.” Deema Kahwash, senior, George Washington High School; National Merit Semi Finalist, Beta Club.
“… although Montessori has greatly influenced my success in academics, the most important things I learned there were not from a book. The teachers treated me and all of the students as equal and did not dismiss opinions and concerns just because of the age of the speaker, but listened and took every child into consideration. I learned, through my experiences, to respect everyone, especially those who share vastly different opinions than me. I learned to appreciate diversity and the value of knowing people from different backgrounds and learning from their stories.” Jenna Kahwash, 10th grade, George Washington High School; Beta Club.
“Montessori has influenced my education and interests in an amazingly positive way. It has helped me think deeply about situations and analyze them differently.” Leana Kahwash, sixth year student
“I am so pleased that my grandson, Dylan, is attending Mountaineer Montessori School. As soon as I observed the Primary classroom, I knew it was the best setting to help him reach his full potential. I look forward to sharing many Montessori moments with him!”
Jane Reifsynder, a retired Ohio Montessori educator with 39 years of experience, and grandmother of Dylan, who is now a first year student.
Read more observations from this proud Montessori Nana and teacher here.
“Mountaineer Montessori School has become a very big component of my life — it has shaped a lot of my social life, friendships, mindsets, and education in such an important way. I like it because I enjoy the way I learn and figure things out and can be independent at the school that’s all different from a lot of other places. If you ask me, MMS is special, in both the ways that we educate and the way we interact, not only to me, but a lot of other people, and that’s what counts the most.”
Jasmine Phillips, MMS Alumna
“The Montessori difference is that the education the child receives is for the whole child and that it is such a personal path. I think that one of my favorite components of the Montessori approach is the concept of ‘following the child.’ I think it’s such a beautiful opportunity for children to take the lead and show the guide what resonates most with them. As I think of my son growing up, I hope most that he will always be engaged in the direction his life path goes that is what he has learned and continues to learn at Mountaineer Montessori.”
Samantha Van Den Berghe-Lynch, Primary II Lead Guide and MMS parent
“If you are wondering whether MMS is worth the investment, I want you to know that it is! We enrolled our fourth child this fall. This school offers more than academic excellence, it offers a complete educational experience for our children. Our 11-year-old daughter is confident and happy with who she How many 11-year-old girls do you know that can say that? MMS is the best place for our children to develop and grow into independent, self-confident young adults.”
Dina Sorour, mother of four MMS students
“Our son has learned so much in his first year and he’s so excited about learning. We appreciate the focus on personal responsibility and accountability and the emphasis on caring for others. The nature of the lessons in different topical areas offer Chace and other kids amazing opportunities to ask questions, to work independently, and together to explore and experiment and master information and skills that are so important to life. We can’t imagine a better, more loving and intellectually stimulating place for our child.”
“We are living in an age of knowledge. Only the highly educated will be positioned to succeed. The Montessori method gives children the intellectual discipline to understand how learning is a personal responsibility.”
Brian Glasser, co-founder, Bailey & Glasser, LLP, and parent of four MMS alumni.
“At Mountaineer Montessori we are independent. We learn to take care of each other and the environment.”
River Schroeder-Neal, lower elementary student.
“The thing I like best about my school is that here are all kinds of people there from so many places and I’m friends with them all. I make new friends every day. The adults lift you. They encourage you, not discourage you.” Chace Boland
“It’s not sit down, book, paper, pencil. It’s get your hands on it. Do it. Figure it out.”
Jamie Coleman, former middle school student.
Learn more about MMS and its impact on education, career and life from our alumni.