About Us


A group of children stands in the garden of the Philomath Montessori School. The school is visible behind them.



The Philomath Montessori School has been offering authentic Montessori education to area children between the ages of 2½ and 6 years for over four decades.





Our Mission Statement

The mission of Philomath Montessori School is to nurture children’s innate love of learning and urge for independence, guide their self-discipline, meet their developmental needs, and connect them to the natural world while developing a community of support for our families.

Our Values

Respect for all
And Love of Learning

Our Philosophy

Since our school’s inception, our philosophy has been, and continues to be, based on Dr. Maria Montessori’s innovations and insights. Through many years of research and direct observations, Dr. Montessori discovered “the secret of childhood.” We are dedicated to using these discoveries to guide our work with children:

The Universal Child and Diversity
Over 100 years ago, Dr. Montessori discovered universal patterns of development within the children she studied. These universal stages of development guide our work with the children at our school.

We believe that educational excellence requires a diverse community. We welcome all children — supporting and celebrating differences of gender, race, religion, family structure, socio-economic level, age, sexual orientation, abilities, and learning style.

The Early Years Are the Most Important
From birth to six, children progress through a series of unique windows of opportunity for learning. Dr Montessori called these “sensitive periods” of development. During these periods a child’s learning comes naturally and is almost effortless. Montessori also recognized that young children learn in a unique way. The young child learns “unconsciously”, by absorbing what is happening around them and engaging in activities that are challenging and interesting.

The Prepared Environment
The classroom is a prepared environment, equipped with a rich array of activities that inspire children and sustain their attention and concentration while encouraging independence. Activities are designed to meet the needs of the sensitive periods for learning found in 3-6 year olds, supporting their unique way of learning during this period of development. In our  Montessori classroom, everything is child-sized, beautiful, and created with quality and intention. The activities in the classroom are “hands-on”, inviting the child to learn not only by doing, but also by experiencing abstract qualities and concepts in a concrete form.

Freedom of Movement and Choice
Montessori saw freedom as one of the most important factors needed for supporting children’s development as spontaneous, creative individuals. The role of education is to provide environments where children can explore, delving into activities and subjects at will and at their own pace. Within this freedom of choice, there are meaningful limits that guide the children to self-discipline.

The Prepared Adult
Like the prepared environment, the prepared adult is vital to the Montessori classroom. Called ‘guides’ rather than teachers, the adults in the Montessori classroom sensitively guide, rather than direct the children’s activities. They are keen observers of the children in their classrooms, guiding the natural energies that they see emerging. Success in the classroom lies in the observation of individual children and the ongoing nature of the teachers’ personal development.

Our History

From the beginning, our school has been located in three rooms of the College United Methodist Church, next to the Benton County Historical Museum near the center of Philomath. 

Dedicated to education and the principles of Montessori, we have always felt a special connection to Philomath’s own beginnings as a place of learning, its name meaning “Love of Learning”.

A boy in a blue and white striped shirt is sitting at at table working on stringing beads that are contained in a wooden box on the table top. Another boy is in the background beside him, also working with beads.We began as a private school in 1984. In February 2003 the school became a non-profit institution, governed by a board of directors. 

School founder and long-time teacher Pauline Tanaka retired in 2016, turning over the leadership of the school to Jessica Neebe, a long-time PhMS supporter, parent, board member, administrative assistant, and substitute teacher. Jessica has enthusiastically served as the director of Philomath Montessori School for nearly a decade.

Our school provides families with the perfect blend of Montessori education for early learners, inviting three and four-year-olds to experience half-day preschool four days a week. Children in their third year at our school, as five-year-olds, enjoy a full-day kindergarten curriculum that gives them a solid foundation for their elementary years.


Want to learn more? Contact us to schedule a visit to our classroom.