For over 35 years, Montessori Day School has been providing quality Montessori education in the Chapel Hill community. Our experienced teachers respect the unique personality and learning style of each child and do not compare a child to norms or standards that are measured by traditional educational systems. Our philosophy encourages a child to learn in his or her own way and proceed at his or her own pace, with an unlimited curriculum, teaching self-reliance and independence, leading to more opportunities to develop abstract thinking. Our students benefit from our emphasis on and expectation of mutual respect, grace, and courtesy. Our goal at Montessori Day School is to provide a stimulating, child oriented environment where children ages 18 months to 12 years can explore, touch, and learn without limitations. The end result is to build a life-long love of learning.


Montessori Day School (MDS), Inc., was established in March 1979 by Cathy Beemer and Liz Mallett. The goals for the school were to provide a faculty operated school, a well equipped and pleasant learning environment for children, and an enriched Montessori curriculum to meet the needs of children with a wide range of abilities.

In June of 2010, the school was purchased by Melanie Vandermast, a longtime teacher at the school, and her husband David. Cathy Beemer retired in May 2010, after more than 30 years of teaching and school ownership. Shortly before retirement, Liz Mallett passed away after the same long career as teacher and co-owner of Montessori Day School.

The MDS Parent Support Group (PSG) was started in 1982 when the school moved to Weaver Dairy Road. The PSG is very active and supports several enrichment programs for the children and school.


The school moved in June 2013 to a completely renovated building at 1702 Legion Road, in Chapel Hill off of Ephesus Church Road and close to the Rams Head Plaza shopping center.

About Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori was an individual ahead of her time. She was born in 1870 in Ancona, Italy, to an educated but nonaffluent middle class family. She grew up in a country considered most conservative in its attitude toward women, yet even against the considerable opposition of her father and teachers, Montessori pursued a scientific education and was the first woman to become a physician in Italy. As a practicing physician associated with the University of Rome, she was a scientist, not a teacher. It is ironic that she became famous for her contributions in a field that she had rejected as the traditional refuge for women at a time when few professions were open to them other than homemaking or the convent. The Montessori method evolved almost by accident from a small experiment that Dr. Montessori carried out on the side. Her genius stems not from her teaching ability, but from her recognition of the importance of what she stumbled upon.