top of page

The Montessori Children’s House of Franktown seeks to provide a warm, loving, Christian learning environment for preschool children age 16 months through 12 years old. The school, based upon the educational and developmental principles of Maria Montessori, is dedicated to nurturing the whole child (i.e. socially, spiritually, intellectually, physically, and emotionally) in a stimulating, creative and supportive Christian setting so they become confident, self-motivated individuals who have the proficiency to undertake that which inspires them in life. While the main focus is the development of our children, we feel that it is imperative to engage educational partnerships between parents, teacher and staff, children and the community. Montessori Children’s House of Franktown admits students of any race, color, or national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship programs, and other school-administered programs. We seek and welcome cultural and racial diversity to our school community as a colorful expression of the family of God.

WHY Montessori?

The Montessori approach offers a broad vision of education as an aid to life. It is designed to help children with their task of inner construction as they grow from childhood to maturity. It succeeds because it draws its principles from the natural development of the child. Its flexibility provides an atmosphere within which each individual child’s inner directives freely guide the child toward wholesome growth.


Our classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural tendency to work. The children’s innate passion for learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained adult. Through their work, the children develop concentration and joyful self-discipline. Within a framework of order, the children progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities. Respect for the child as a person with individual needs and concerns doing the important work of self construction is at the root of our vision and informs all of our work at MCHF.


To this end: MCHF presents an alternative for parents who share this vision of their child and who seek an education for their children consistent with the developmental stages of child growth. MCHF offers programs that meet the social, emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual needs of the child, through a rich curriculum that promotes a knowledge of the world, the academic skills needed to grow intellectually, and the respect for self and others necessary to inherit his rightful, peaceful and productive place in it. MCHF provides opportunities for camaraderie among families in support of the school and furtherance of the school’s mission.


We believe that home and school are partners in your child’s education and that we have shared responsibilities toward your child and toward each other. We seek to reinforce and maintain continuity in the learning process between home and school settings and ask you to join this commitment through your observations of the classroom, participation in conferences and the parent education program. We widen our circle of inclusion to parents, grandparents and siblings through numerous community celebrations and educational events.

Our History


Montessori began on the Eastern Shore when a group of parents decided to open a small school for their children. The Montessori Children’s House of the Eastern Shore was founded in 1985 and served the Shore for 18 years.

The Montessori Children’s House of Franktown was founded in 2007. Maggie Stodghill and Kate Stith started the school so that their children could have the same Montessori experience that they both had as children. With the remaining materials and furniture from MCHES the school began under the auspices of Franktown United Methodist Church. The school started with 13 children and by year three it reached its full capacity of 29 in 2009. In 2010 MCHF began it’s first Elementary class and it is now a full 6-12 Program. Each year children ranging from 2 to 3 ½ will join our Primary community.  The children stay at the Children’s House for three years and move up into our Elementary program or first grade.   The school follows the guidelines of AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) and each Directress has formal training from AMI.  MCHF is the only Montessori school on the Eastern Shore of VA.

Our Staff

MCHF is under the direction of Gillian Molera Willis.  Gillian is the Administrator and Primary Directress. Gillian is a native of Franktown and an alumna of the previous Montessori Children’s House of the Eastern Shore. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Psychology. She then completed her AMI training at the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola College in Maryland with a Masters in Education. She is assisted by two assistants.  

Yvonne Molera is the Elementary Directress assisted by Hannah Hume Darby. Both Yvonne and Hannah are also alumna of Montessori schools, one from Petoskey Michigan and the other from the former Montessori Children's House of the Eastern Shore.  Yvonne is a graduate of James Madison University and Hannah graduated from Longwood University.  They received their AMI diplomas and Masters from the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola College in Maryland.    Hannah was the first Elementary Directress at MCHF when founded in 2010.  Yvonne joined the MCHF staff in 2013 after teaching Lower Elementary at an American Montessori school in Madrid, Spain.   


From its conception the board and Directors of MCHF have sought the utmost standards for the school and the teacher’s training. The school holds annual Recognition status from the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). This is the most stringent level of accreditation and ensures that the school follows Dr. Montessori's principles and practices in their original integrity and completeness.

ami seal to use for website.png

Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Montessori pioneered most of what we take for granted today concerning early childhood: the crucial importance of the first 6 years of life, how a child learns by absorbing knowledge through the senses, the young child’s inner need for purposeful activity, the importance of movement and independence to learning, the joy of self-discovery, even child-size furniture and learning environments.

Montessori made the revolutionary discovery that children learn through their senses and through movement, absorbing sensory impressions to build their intelligence as they explore their environment.

Participation in a mixed-age community provides many role models for learning, and develops respect for the feelings, ideas and different abilities and cultures of others.  All children experience the opportunity to learn from, and pass on their knowledge to, each of the others.  In this non-competitive atmosphere, mutual help and cooperation arise spontaneously.  Free to talk and move around, they develop not only an astounding physical grace and control of movement 

bottom of page