Keystone Montessori - Ahwatukee Foothills News: School Highlight

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Keystone Montessori

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Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 9:43 pm

Since 1995, Keystone Montessori in Ahwatukee has been offering its students a Montessori education.

Keystone Montessori began with an enrollment of 13 students from ages 3-6 inside founder Sherri Sampson’s living room.

The school’s facility moved from Sampson’s living room to Horizon Presbyterian Church, which assisted the church on building its educational wing, and in 2000 the school moved to its current location on Liberty Lane.

In 1995, the elementary program at Keystone Montessori became charter certified, so the school could educate as many students as possible.

Currently, the school houses 320 students from 18 months old to ninth grade.

Cindy Maschoff, assistant head of school, said the initial expansion of grade levels wasn’t always the primary goal, but the school wanted to help support the community need for Montessori.

“We believe that we are a full-spectrum school, so we have that large age group… we also have a long-standing staff who are a group of committed educators,” Maschoff said.

For more information about Keystone Montessori, visit

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Keystone Montessori

[David Jolkovski/AFN]
Teacher Pily Pantoja helps Sarah Wang, 4, with the addition snake game at Keystone Montessori on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014.

Keystone Montessori has come a long way since its founding in 1995. Back then it was operated out of the founder’s home before eventually moving on to rent rooms from Horizon Presbyterian Church. It was only in 2000 that they had gained a strong enough enrollment to move into the facility where they currently reside on Liberty Lane, just off Desert Foothills Parkway and across from the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA.

The school services students as young as 18 years old, as part of their toddler program, and as old as ninth-graders. The current enrollment is around 320 students, who all have access to Spanish, music and arts programs in addition to the full Montessori curriculum.

“We provide an authentic Montessori education which focuses on the independence and whole development of the child, including academic as well as social and emotional growth,” said head of school Cindy Maschoff. “We want our students to become independent citizens of the world.”

The school will be taking the time to present the concept of Montessori education to the public Jan. 29 and 30. At the presentations the school will provide a clear understanding of what Montessori education looks like at each level of education. Those wanting to attend should plan on going to both meetings, with the Jan. 29 meeting going from 6-7 p.m. and the Jan. 30 meeting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meetings require attendees to RSVP, which can be done by emailing

For more information, visit

• Compiled by James Gingerich.

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