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Montessori Learning Center has been educating for over 40 years

Our History

Over 40 years of educational experience

Montessori Learning Center has been educating for over 40 years

Educating for more than 40 years

The Montessori Learning Center of Fort Walton Beach is 40 years old! It was founded in 1978 by local families who were passionate about the Montessori philosophy. The founding families desired a pre-school for their children age 3-6 that provided a secular, hands on approach to learning with lower student to teacher ratios.


On June 24th in 1982, the school became an incorporated non-profit and moved to the First Presbyterian Church on Beal Parkway. The founding Board members included Martha Burkland, Andrew Corbin, John Nelson, Shirley Grace, and Virginia Dennis.

In 1984, the new Board hired Ms. Fran Alvarez as the school’s director.  The school flourished for the following years and eventually found a new home on Hospital Drive in 1992.

In 2002, Ms. Fran retired and Ms. Stacey Izer became director. In 2012 the school moved to their current location at St. Simon’s Episcopal Church. In 2017, the Board voted to add a Lower Elementary to their current program.

In fall of 2017, the Montessori Learning Center added its first First grade class with a passionate group of families, much like the founders, advocating for the established program to expand student populous.

Then, in 2018-2019 we added our second and third grade classes. In 2024 we are adding 4th grade classes.

Our goal has always been to expand our Lower Elementary and in order to do that our building needs to expand.  We have recently signed a lease to the City of Fort Walton Beach to begin building our Future Forever Home.  We will soon be located on Memorial Parkway in front of the Emerald Coast Science Center. This is an exciting time for us and we look forward to the building phase. 

The Montessori Learning Center has been a thread in the history of education in the City of Fort Walton Beach for 40 years and looks forward to continuing its legacy. Learn more about our school and the Montessori Method of Education.

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