The Montessori School in Chattanooga was started in 1973 and has had a great impact on the community.
Below are some testimonials from parents on their experiences, and that of their children, with the Montessori method.

We are the parents of Lucas Nascimento. Our son attended The Montessori School in Chattanooga since he was a toddler.

Everybody tells us what a happy child our son is. They are right: Lucas is indeed happy, and why shouldn’t he be? He is lucky enough  (unlike so many kids, unfortunately) to have a family that provides him with the basic needs a child cannot be happy without, the main one being love.

It would be unrealistic however, for us to believe that a family alone can provide all that a child needs to grow up healthy of body, mind and soul in this world. As the old African proverb says, “it takes a village to raise a child.” We are very happy to say that Montessori was a very important part of the “village” that helped Lucas become a toddler full of happiness, a boundless fascination about the wonderful world that surrounds him, and an endless curiosity and enthusiasm for discovering its secrets.

As parents, we will strive to ensure that Lucas continues to grow up to become a happy, intelligent, generous, educated, open-minded adult. If we are successful, the sky is the limit to what he can achieve in life. ‎ We hope he will be able to one day fulfill all his dreams and make a positive difference in the world. When he does, we will make sure that Lucas is thankful to everybody that helped him achieve those dreams. Namely, to the great teachers he had during the first years of his life, when he was still a baby.

On that day, Lucas and we, will for sure stop by your school and say again to you, eye to eye and from the heart…

 Thank YOU!

 All the best!
—  Ines, Luis, and Lucas‎ Nascimento
As parents of a precocious, energetic two-year-old, we searched widely for a preschool environment that would offer our son all the stimulation and encouragement we wished for him. We felt that he was ready to really start exploring the world of learning, from lessons about nature, practical life skills, and citizenship to art appreciation, math, and the fundamentals of reading.

At the time, we were just moving to Chattanooga and a colleague recommended I tour The Montessori School, where both of his children were students. This turned out to be the best move we could have made.

At first, some of the things that make a Montessori classroom special stood out as very odd. The rooms are so quiet! Surely that many small children should be making more noise! And the walls and cabinets are painted all white, kind of stark. But as we observed and learned more about Montessori theory, it became clear that these are very intentional, very necessary choices. The children are quiet because they are all intently studying and working on lessons that interest them and challenge them. It’s like watching a beehive: quiet but with lots of activity, and to the trained eye very intentional patterns of movement, all guided by the teachers. They are given plenty of time to run freely and be loud on the playgrounds, but the classrooms are kind of a sacred space. It’s remarkable to see how the children (even at age 2!) really respond to this, like they NEED a space that is organized, quiet, and ready to help them explore. The “blank” walls allow the lessons to stand out; the learning materials provide the color and are the most engaging items in the room, so the kids naturally gravitate to them.

The lessons (which are a blend of manipulative/tactile, practical life, geography, culture/arts, and what I think of as “traditional academics”) are deliberately presented in a very specific order, so as to ensure the child REALLY has mastered a concept before moving on to another concept that builds on the first.

At age five, and after three years in the Montessori classroom, our older son is a sponge for new knowledge, LOVES learning, reads at a second grade level, has lovely cursive handwriting, has been introduced to basic Spanish and French, and appreciates plant and animal life to an amazing degree (ex, on a hike recently, he pointed out, “Mom, check out those ornamental grasses.”) Our younger son, now two, started at Montessori three months ago and is also flourishing.

The aspect of Montessori education that I find most irreplaceable is the appreciation for order, for concentration, and for the natural beauty and intricacy of things around us. I think children really do WANT to focus, and to study and examine things, and Montessori feeds right into that tendency and away from distractions. The three hours per day of structured classroom activity have been so crucial to helping us shape our boys into curious, cooperative, polite and imaginative kids. They love their school, and as we move away for jobs in a new city, we will be looking for a Montessori school as well-equipped with staff, leadership, materials and community as this one. We will be lucky indeed to find it. THANK YOU to the staff of TMS for getting our boys off to such an amazing start! We will miss you!!
— Kourtney Santucci, MD Pediatric Hospital Medicine and Complex Care
My son, Jack, is 6 and in first grade. My other son, Ben, 22 months, is in the toddler room.

Our journey to The Montessori School began when Jack was 4 and I began looking for a pre-school where he would be allowed to work at his own pace. He was an intense, shy child who could read fluently at 3 and did math “for fun” at 4. His favorite toy was a calculator. But most of the pre-schools I called said they would work on “the letter of the day” and teach shape and color recognition. When I asked how they might incorporate a child who was beyond that work—without making him feel that he was too different—no one had an answer until I called Montessori. There, I was told, Jack could work at his own pace, study the things that interested him, and do the work the older children were doing if it suited him.

It did suit him. After that first anxious week, Jack absolutely bloomed. He was encouraged to do challenging work that interested him, and because he was in a mixed-age classroom, he enjoyed helping the younger children with their lessons as well as tackling the work the older children were doing. Most importantly, he was allowed to stay at his work as long as it suited him. In other programs I investigated, the children rotated between activities every 10 or 15 minutes. Jack is just getting warmed up at 10 or 15 minutes. He was allowed to work as long as he wished on his lessons, and he loved it.

When the time came to decide where to send him for grade school, I could not imagine Jack anywhere but Montessori.

With Ben, the challenge was far different. This little boy is very social, active and outgoing. He is also an intense worker, but has a much more physical, exuberant nature than his big brother. I wondered if Montessori might not be as good a fit for my younger son. I needn’t have worried.

The lessons in the infant room are so engaging and fun that Ben feels he is playing even as he is learning. He has learned to put things away, clean up after himself and ask for help when he needs it. His manners are developing beautifully, and the confidence he has gained in just a few months at school is wonderful to see. Ben loves playtime, but he also has shown a real love for learning and lessons that I didn’t suspect he had until I saw him at work in the classroom. He looks forward every day to going to school, and gets mad on the weekends when he realizes we aren’t going to get in the car. (It makes for rough Saturday mornings).

I will soon return to work after several years at home. It is a profound source of comfort to know that my boys will be at The Montessori School when they aren’t with me.
— Mary Fortune