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Head of School's Welcome


"The greatest gifts we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence."

- Maria Montessori

It is my pleasure to welcome you to Mater Amoris Montessori School and invite you to get to know our warm, vibrant, and inclusive community.  My passion for Montessori education brought me to this beautiful 13-acre country campus and I immediately fell in love with all it has to offer.  There is something transformative - almost magical - about the walk down the driveway to the main building that can only be understood once experienced in person.  But our website will give you an overview of the robust educational program and nurturing environment that our school provides.


Mater Amoris is dedicated to the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori, who believed in using children's energy and imagination to the advantage of the child.  In all of our classrooms, regardless of level, each child's learning journey is individualized and based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning, and collaborative work and play.  A love for the child, respect for each child's dignity, and desire to nurture the human spirit serve as the bases of our approach and guide our faculty and staff in our work with children and families.

Our campus is regularly visited by Mater Amoris alumni - some who graduated within the past few years and others from decades ago.  It is a true gift to watch them walk onto our grounds and into our buildings and be flooded with their childhood memories, bringing them a deep joy that is palpable.  The fondness with which they speak of their Mater Amoris days and the lifelong relationships they formed while here is testament to the strength of this learning community.  I have come to treasure the opportunity to welcome them home! 

Mater Amoris is an amazingly special place and I warmly invite you to visit us!  The enthusiasm of our students, dedication of our teachers, beauty of our grounds, and passion of our families and broader community are here for you to experience as you consider your own child's future.  I look forward to meeting you and sharing more about what I love about Mater Amoris with you.

With care,

Alicia Davis Enright, MEd, MPH
​Head of School

Our Philosophy
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Founded on the concept of teaching with a mother's love and following the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori, Mater Amoris provides a holistic educational experience that values personal growth, community, and academic achievement.  In conjunction with the Montessori method, connection to nature is a cornerstone of our program - utilizing our peaceful 13 acre campus to enhance our relationship with the world around us.  A Mater Amoris education provides a foundation that develops a child's confidence, resilience, and kindness - preparing them for the challenges of the future.   

Our Campus
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Whether decorated with vibrant colors in the spring or blanketed in white during the winter months, our serene campus provides a learning sanctuary with its rolling hills, wooded trail, stream, and gardens.  Our main building has six spacious, light-filled classrooms with equally bright connecting corridors.  An auxiliary building serves as a multipurpose space with an extensive library, a computer lab, our Nature Nook, and a stage.

Our History
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The Mater Amoris story began in 1968 when the school's original campus opened on Chesapeake Street in Washington, DC.  The school expanded from 17 students that first year to 150 students in 1979.  


The Ashton/Highland campus began serving students in 1986 and has been in continuous operation since that time.  Our rich history includes visits from Mario Montessori and Margaret Stevenson, national field hockey trophies, recognition as a monarch butterfly waystation, and so much more!

Our Founder
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Charlotte Shea founded Mater Amoris and was the longtime Directress, leading the school for most of its 50+ year history.  Charlotte named the school in honor of her mother by using the words "mater amoris," which is Latin for "mother love."

Charlotte currently lives in the big farm house on our campus.  Along with her husband, Robert LeBlanc, she continues to be an avid supporter of Mater Amoris and a valued member of our community!

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Our Logo

Adopted in October 2020, the Mater Amoris logo symbolizes who we are as an institution and a community.

  • The tree represents our beautiful campus, which allows us to be in touch with nature and serves as a safe haven and peaceful setting for children's learning and growth.

  • The woman incorporated with the tree - represents the love and nourishment given by a parent/caregiver, such as our wonderful teaching staff.

  • The tree/woman sheltering the children shows the power of our combined setting and community to nurture the unique children who join our community.

  • The children's deep engagement in their books is representative of the intrinsic motivation to learn that we strive to instill in children, while the one child's dangling leg has a whimsical feel that shows the life balance we are working to help children achieve.

  • The closeness of the two children as well as their proximity to the tree/woman represents the closeness of our students and families and the bonds that are formed at Mater Amoris.  It also includes the very important message that we can all lean on one another at any given time.

  • The children learning under the tree reminds us of our commitment to outdoor classrooms, which were developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The insects show our connection with the wildlife that share our campus; and the butterflies represent our status as a monarch butterfly waystation.

  • There is a magical quality to the image as a whole, which reflects the common sentiment shared by many alumni who recall feeling as though they were entering a magical realm each day as they walked down the driveway to begin their school day.

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