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The Montessori School of South Riding is a Primary School for children 3 to 6 years old. Founded in 2003 by Carmen Arenas, MSSR operates within the educational philosophy developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, who recognized and respected the natural interests and sensitive periods of learning present in children.

The Montessori School of South Riding, using the principles of Montessori education, provides a warm, enriched environment designed to stimulate the child’s natural desire to learn.
MSSR offers a unique program in which skilled professionals, sensitive and responsive to the learning patterns and needs of each child, help the child to grow in confidence, independence and knowledge. At the Montessori School of South Riding there is a special blending of freedom and responsibility, choice and structure, creativity and discipline, individual interest and group co-operation.

Our Accreditation

The Montessori School of South Riding is one of thirteen schools in the state of Virginia and the only school in Loudoun County accredited by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), and is licensed by the Virginia Department of Social Services.


#GoToMSSR Community




Universidad Educares, Santiago-Chile
Early Childhood Education, 1987
Washington Montessori Institute, AMI Primary Diploma 1994
Head of School/Primary classroom Directress

Carmen taught at the Montessori School of Oakton for 11 years before opening her school in the South Riding area. All three of her boys attended a Montessori school for their primary and elementary years and she credits their leadership skills and independence to those early years! Carmen’s dedication to the Montessori philosophy is shown daily in the classroom. Carmen has opened MSSR doors to children in the autism spectrum with high aspirations that by having an inclusion model program at MSSR, other Montessori schools will do the same.

Carmen serves as an active member on the board of directors of The Montessori School of Oakton and The Middleburg Montessori School.



Universidad Privada del Norte, Peru 
Business Administration, 1999


Claudia was born in Trujillo, Peru. She has a major in Business Administration and has worked in the mortgage/title field for over 10 years. Claudia brings with her the beautiful gift of the Spanish language, and her great experience in the business field. Claudia is also the mother of a 7 year old boy. She loves working with children, and her favorite activities are traveling and dancing. 



Assistant Teacher

Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, BS International Economics, 1979
St. Catherine’s’ University, MA Montessori Education, 2011
Washington Montessori Institute, AMI Primary Diploma, 1983

Diane joined Montessori School of South Riding after taking some time off from fulltime teaching to provide childcare for her grandson who recently moved with his parents to Seattle, Washington. She has over 35 years’ experience in Montessori and traditional classrooms. Previously, she taught at Montessori School of Oakton and also served as Director of Montessori School of Cedar Lane in Fairfax for 10 years while also teaching a class of 30 children. Diane has a special interest in how children learn to read. Diane’s three children benefited from the Montessori philosophy in developing excellent critical thinking skills, independence and responsibility.  They now live in California, Washington State and Virginia. Married for 41years, Diane and her husband have lived in various locations in the United States, Japan and Singapore. Diane enjoys sewing, cooking, hiking and travelling.


Assistant Teacher

Rosy has over 23 years of experience enriching the lives of children. Rosy attended University of Lima in Peru and got her Montessori training at the North American Montessori Center. She has worked at the Montessori School of Oakton since 1997, and we are grateful to have her guidance in our All Day Program since 2015.

Originally from Peru, Rosy is a native Spanish speaker and enjoys dancing, cooking and spending time with her grandson.

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