Edel Kunkel founded Mountainside Montessori School in November 2003 to give her daughters a Montessori education. Mrs. Kunkel’s first class moved into her newly finished basement in September 2004 and quickly grew to its 20-student capacity. In October 2007, the Kunkels received a Special Permit for 40 students, at which time their family moved out, and the building in its entirety was converted to a school. The Assistants to Infancy program, serving children from 18 months to 3 years old, began in September 2008 and also quickly reached its capacity.
In 2009, Mountainside families asked Mrs. Kunkel to pursue an Elementary expansion for their growing children, and in October 2011 a Special Exception allowed children from 7 to 12 years old to continue attending Mountainside at its current location while the school prepared for its move to the service district.
In June 2015, Mountainside families helped move the school to its new location on Belvoir Road. Summer camps were enjoyed by many, and the Mountainside community began the 2015-2016 school year in their beautiful, new Toddler, Primary, Elementary, and Adolescent classrooms.
Mountainside Montessori is at an exciting stage of its growth. The new campus will allow us to pursue our vision of providing the highest standards of Montessori education for all children from birth to 15 years old with an emphasis on agricultural education, environmental stewardship, and free play in nature.
By combining Montessori principles with the agricultural basis of our county’s economy and the training provided to us by the Natural Learning Initiative at North Carolina State University, we can provide an environment where all children can learn about agriculture, be truly free in an outdoor environment, and serve their community with sales and donations of fresh foods they have cultivated. After-school and summer programs will provide further employment and enrichment opportunities where talented and knowledgeable individuals can share their love of arts, sciences, and agriculture.
Fauquier County is characterized by sustainable agriculture, community values, and a rich history. In order to preserve these treasures for future generations, we must raise this one to appreciate and preserve what they have inherited. By educating them in this child-centered, hands-on method, we are giving them positive school experiences that will encourage them to return to their roots as adults with the hope of doing the same for their children and grandchildren.
The most important outcome of this effort will be seen by Fauquier County in years to come: a generation of children raised to appreciate this land and this lifestyle, and dedicated to preserving it.