Montessori School of South Riding is now a Certified AMI/USA School. Read more

Testimonials ...

"As a parent, I believe one of the most important gifts we can give our children is that of a quality education. I had been looking for the perfect place for my daughter that would provide her with a loving and safe environment with which to build her social skills, self esteem and ultimately the foundations for academics. I searched high and wide and in MSSR I found all of this and more. The transformation in my daughter in a very short period of time was remarkable. She loved the quiet of the classroom as it allowed her to think and focus. She developed close relationships with her classmates and her teachers, and had fun going to school every day. The Montessori method that Carmen uses so skillfully allowed my child to blossom and develop in a natural and intuitive way. And most importantly, the love, kindness and individual attention that Carmen and her staff show to all the students is something I have not seen in another preschool. I am so glad to have been able to give my child the gift of MSSR"

Maryanne and Rob Roy - Nicole ‘11

"My daughter Lindsay is the 4th child and the first girl in our family. She is very strong willed, determined and quite frankly, a bit spoiled. I was in search of an environment that would provide structure, keep her busy mind stimulated and allow her to be the strong, creative and independent being that she is. In addition to Lindsay wowing me on a daily basis with all that she was absorbing at MSSR, she was so well nurtured, that it allowed her to learn in a way that I did know was possible at such a young age. The thing that I really appreciated the most was that her teachers truly understood Lindsay, how her mind worked and how she would thrive the most. Sending my daughter to MSSR was a gift. I believe the foundation for success has been set and what she has learned and the confidence she has been given will help her tremendously in her elementary school years and beyond."

Kelly Young - June 2012

"I cannot believe the growth, maturity, and knowledge that I have seen from Reagan since he began with you all at MSSR. I actually almost cry when I realize how this has changed his life. He really has made leaps and bounds maturity wise. He loves you all so dearly and I could not be happier with how wonderful this experience is for him. I just wanted to tell you all how much you mean to me. I think Gloria may have thought I was nuts at Tuesday class when I thanked her for loving Reagan, but I really mean it. You all treat all the children at MSSR like they are your own and especially to a working mom you have made all the difference in the world to me by making this happen for Reagan and my family. You have another future student in Declan."


Our story is much like the three little see, 3 years ago we were desperate to find the perfect place for our daughter. We started at a small home based preschool...but it was just too small. We then moved her to a large chain Montessori preschool...but it was just too big. Then we found MSSR and it was just right! I have had two children graduate and both have gone on to be in the highest reading levels in their new schools. I now have my third daughter thriving under their care and a fourth that can't wait to start! It really is special when you find a school that is an extension of your home. We are a team and the teachers at MSSR work with our family in a partnership to give our children the best academic, social and emotional care. We are forever grateful for their loving guidance and I know that we are truly lucky to have found such a special place!"

Angela & Kris Killinger - Ellie Rose '10, Chloe '11, Lilly & Keegan

"Montessori School of South Riding has given my daughter not only a great preparation for life but tons of love, respect and a wonderful sense of community. I still remember the time when I was looking for a school for Mia. Observing at MSSR was a magical day. There was lots of concentration, lots of great work, everybody was engaged doing something, and best of all, they were all having fun!! I made the decision that day. I knew then, that my daughter was going to be in the best of hands. Thank you MSSR for making my dream a reality. The love, work and quality of education that you keep giving my daughter since 2009 has been the most beautiful of gifts! Gracias!!"

Shirley Sanchez - Mia's mom

“I have to be honest, I was not in favor of sending our daughter to MSSR even after observing a class. I loved the school and teachers; however, I just did not "get" the Montessori teaching style and environment. Reluctant, I went along and we enrolled our daughter. Wow was I wrong about Montessori. Our daughter grew in so many ways at the school - emotionally and intellectually. I think the practical life -- an area I did not like at the beginning -- ended up being such an important avenue for our daughter to gain confidence. I am such a supporter of MSSR and cannot tell you how much Carmen's teaching has done for our daughter.”

Scott East

"The Montessori School of South Riding is very unique. Finding a preschool in this part of Loudoun County was a challenge. I researched many schools and Montessori schools and found that just because a school calls itself "Montessori" doesn't mean it adheres to the true Montessori philosophy. When I discovered MSSR, I immediately knew this was the perfect environment for my daughter. With a high energy child, I wanted an environment that was engaging and loving. I sought a teacher and classroom that would enable her to engage in activities that were meaningful and educational but that allowed her to progress at her own pace and rhythm (something so important for a child that is easily frustrated or impatient). Part of the Montessori philosophy is an education of peace--that nurtures the child's gradual discovery of the interrelatedness of all things on earth, in the past, present and in the future. We are now enrolling our second daughter in the school as she approaches 3 years of age because we trust the AMI teachers and materials. But most importantly, we know our children will get the very best start on their education. Thank you Carmen!"

Lisa Scholik Grepps

"The Montessori School of South Riding has provided my young daughter with an unsurpassed amount of love and attention and has lessened her separation anxiety ten fold with their warm and welcoming environment. As a mother to a 13 year old who attended other programs for pre-school, I am well aware of what these places have to offer. My daughter would simply not be comfortable in those environments. I spent much time dragging my son to the best program I could find, only to have him cry and scream when I left. It was so heartbreaking that I eventually volunteered where he was placed just to make him a little more comfortable. MSSR has had a positive impact not only on my daughter but our whole family"

Kindest regards,
Charlene Monine

"In our previous preschool, we were told that our son may have some social delays because he would not always follow directions well. What we have learned is that he was bored with learning colors and numbers and following the traditional curriculum offered at many preschools. He has thrived at MSSR, where he can work at his own pace. Within weeks of attending MSSR, we noticed a remarkable change in his behavior. MSSR combines unique materials and individualized instruction that brings excitement and challenge and truly instills a joy in learning. Ms. Carmen Arenas is a gifted educator who has created a nurturing atmosphere. These children cut fresh flowers weekly, listen to classical composers, learn yoga, and are respectful of their surroundings and peers."

Cherry and Peter Tapley

Dear Carmen, "I would like to thank you for the wonderful care you and your school provided my children. They truly enjoyed going to school each day and benefited greatly from the experience. I would highly recommend your school to anyone who asks. Thanks again!"

Michael J. Rebibo, CFP®
1st Portfolio, Inc.

"Our daughter, Isabella, was one of the first children to attend the Montessori School of South Riding. Isabella began in 2003 when Carmen first opened her doors, and graduated in 2006. We were so amazed by what she had learned and the solid foundation she built with Carmen's guidance, not only academically, but with her interpersonal skills and self-confidence as well. Isabella started Montessori at age three and now, 6 years later she is entering the 4th grade in a Montessori Upper Elementary program. She (we) couldn't be happier! Thank you, Carmen, for opening your school (and your heart) to young children, and introducing Montessori to our family. Education-wise, it has been the best thing that has happened for our children!"

Jason & Renee' Salas
Isabella Salas '06

"The Montessori School of South Riding was my children’s first school. The nurturing learning environment there helped them build a strong academic foundation, lasting friendships and most importantly, a true love of learning. My children are now in 3rd and 4th grades and are thriving. I recommend Montessori School of South Riding for all children."

Kevin Weismiller

"Carmen, Ali graduated from Elementary School yesterday. As you remember from your first child, I was filled with emotions and reflections all day. As I reflected on his schooling years, my thoughts kept going back to you. I want you to know how significant of a role you have played in his (and all our children's) lives. Not only have our children had the privilege of learning from you, I have learned many of my parenting skills through you. You have been (perhaps without even knowing it!) instrumental in molding our children in more ways than one. The Montessori System has given Ali the firm grounding that has allowed him to remain anchored through his early years of learning. He graduated on the Honors Roll and also received the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence. We would like to share those awards with you. Ali would not be where he is without your guidance. Thank you Carmen for always being there for us, for our children. We will be forever indebted to you. Thank you, thank you, thank you"

Ruksana and Farid Talaksi
Ali '03
Omar '05
Nadia '07

"Hi, Carmen!,
I am having an extremely busy year, and enjoying my training very much. I am working under a very skilled (AMI) teacher and she has been wonderful about showing me the "art" of giving lessons. I feel very confident now and even more in love with ever with this beautiful philosophy. I have saved all of Hannah's papers from last year and I visit them frequently for ideas. I have included some of the art works from your classroom into my class this year as I'm interning. You are truly the inspiration for me in pursuing this path and I'm so grateful for you for introducing me to a teaching method that truly fills me up as a person. I just can't wait to get started with my own classroom. Hannah is doing so well and we are so proud of her. She's a leader in her classroom and she seems to have found a comfortable place. We are all planning a family vacation to Argentina again next month to Christen her newest cousin. I pulled out the South America map and Hannah is studying! Again, thank you for inspiring me and for helping me to get started with my goal. I love to show off the pictures of Hannah at her school last year and everyone marvels at the beautiful setting. Please take care and know that we are thinking of you!"


"We were definitely tentative about the Montessori experience at first. Almost immediately we saw how rich the learning experience was for Luca. He thrived there educationally, emotionally and socially. The materials are exceptional and the love from the teachers is endless. I wish we had the same experiences for our other two older children."

Greta Davies
Luca 08'

"It was very challenging for us to find a preschool that was perfect for our daughter. Academically she was beyond her three years and yet she still needed the freedom to be three. We started her out in a very large, well known Montessori School and knew within the first month we had made a mistake. We didn’t know where to go next. A friend told us about Carmen and recommended MSSR program to us. I went to observe and knew instantly that it our daughter would thrive in Carmen’s care. We are going into our second year at MSSR and our second daughter is now going there with her sister. We couldn’t be happier with the challenging academics and the nurturing loving environment. Carmen allows my daughter the freedom to explore, learn, and excel. My only regret is that I didn’t find Carmen 2 years earlier!"

Angela Killinger

"When our daughter was looking for a preschool for our grandchildren, she spent many hours researching different schools. Nothing impressed her until she found The Montessori School of South Riding. She asked us to help her with some of the cost. We were not sure it was worth the cost, but she was so adamant about the nurturing environment. One aspect we did like was the exposure to the Spanish language. This is important to our family, that our grandchildren learn our language and culture. During our visits to the school, we saw our grandchildren learning and speaking our language! We saw them helping the smaller children understand some of what the teacher was saying. Not only were they learning the language, they were teaching it. As a result of this strong foundation, they are now thriving in Elementary School, not only in Spanish, but in all areas of academics as well."

Abuelos Monge

“I can't tell you how much we loved MSSR. Piper made amazing progress her first year and the environment was extremely enriching, supportive, and caring. I felt like everyone was truly looking out for Piper's best interest. Because of the range of age groups in the classroom environment she was naturally exposed and interested in learning so much more than I would have expected. Thanks Carmen,”

Holley East

“As the parents of a special needs child, we found in MSSR the type of environment where our child is nurtured and embraced for his unique talents and qualities. Each child is encouraged to explore the Montessori materials, which are beautifully designed and facilitate learning through the use of all of the child’s five senses. But most importantly, the director and her wonderful staff are so caring and patient that all the children learn to respect and care for each other, their school, and their larger community. Our son has thrived at MSSR, both academically and socially. He has made true friends and developed relationships that have given him confidence and a good sense of being comfortable with himself. We are truly grateful to Carmen Arenas and everyone at MSSR for their devotion to our son, Christopher.”

Steve and Carla Sola, Brambleton, VA