Desert Garden Montessori

Founder of Desert Garden Montessori, Shetal Walters poses with her students on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014.

Daniel Ochoa/AFN

Desert Garden Montessori

5130 E. Warner Road

Desert Garden Montessori has been part of the Ahwatukee community for the past 15 years, offering its students a hands-on learning experience.

The school first began in 1996, inside the founder of the school Shetal Walters’ living room, where she had only 12 students.

“It was one beautiful step after another and there was a huge need in the community for more families wanting to educate their kids in the Montessori philosophy,” she said.

After three years of figuring out where they were going to land, in 1999 Walters and her team gained the funds and opened their current location.

When the school opened its doors it had 75 students, and by August enrollment increased to 175.

“We’ve been full ever since,” Walters said. “Now there are approximately 260 students. We currently serve children from 8 weeks old through ninth grade. We are hoping to continue to grow.”

The school garnered honors from the Ahwatukee community by being named “Best Childcare” in the 2013 Best Of Ahwatukee.

For more information on Desert Garden Montessori, visit

• Compiled by Daniel Ochoa.

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