In 2004 Ellen Lebitz and Reed Braden opened a small home-based Montessori school, Pleasant Valley Montessori, with six preschool-aged children. By spring of 2005 the school was at capacity and by fall 2005, it had an ample waiting list, including families waiting for an elementary program. In September 2006 the school, now serving children from three through 12 years of age, moved into a temporary location in a rented church in Ferndale while the search for a permanent site began. 

Then, in 2007, Keri Garavaglia moved with her then-husband James Bauckman to Whatcom County, Washington, with the dream of creating and building a Montessori school. Keri’s grandparents, Aubra and Dorothy Tilley, generously offered to help her fulfill this dream. 


In the fall of 2008, the families and staff of Pleasant Valley Montessori School became part of Pioneer Meadows Montessori (PMM), and the next fall Salmonberry Montessori in Bellingham also joined Pioneer Meadows. In February 2010, Pioneer Meadows Montessori officially became a federally designated 501(c)(3) non-profit school.

Pioneer Meadows Montessori is located on 5.6 acres in Ferndale adjacent to 20+ acres of open space. Our school will eventually be linked to a city-wide trail system, and we are within walking distance of the new Ferndale Public Library. We have two Children’s House classrooms and two Elementary classrooms, including Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary. All of our classrooms include access to the outdoors via spacious decks; children are able to move freely between the outside and inside environments during work time.

The children also enjoy, and assist in the care of, organic gardens, a small fruit tree orchard, and native and wildflower gardens. The grounds include a playground and a large open area for running and games. The children also help care for small flocks of sheep and chickens. In summer 2012, we added a barn to serve as a winter paddock for our sheep, and provide additional storage.

Our Vision
A Montessori opportunity for every family.

Our Mission
Pioneer Meadows Montessori School supports children and families in realizing their full potential through an authentic Montessori education.

PMMS does not discriminate in the admission of students or in the operation of the school on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin.