Big Work

This is an exciting time to be a part of Marin Montessori School. Our enrollment is strong, our authentic AMI Montessori program is unsurpassed, and our school community – inspiring students, outstanding faculty and staff, supportive and dedicated families - is thriving.

AND we have officially outgrown our campuses. With seemingly abundant indoor and outdoor areas, we face space challenges that limit us both programmatically and as a school community.

We are fortunate to have acquired a gorgeous residential property adjacent to our Corte Madera campus as well as additional spaces within the St. Vincent’s property that will allow us to re-configure and expand our learning spaces. Through our thoughtful and inclusive campus master planning process, we created a plan which, with minimal changes and frugal and efficient uses of existing spaces, will allow us to maximize our campuses while solidifying our program as one of the oldest and strongest AMI Montessori programs in the United States, on one of the most beautiful and pedagogically perfect campuses in the world.

To support these projects, we are excited to announce our Big Work Capital Campaign. Over the coming weeks, we invite you to learn more about these unique projects, the indoor and outdoor learning environments they will create, their impact on students, teaching, and learning, and the community-supported campaign we have undertaken to support them.

We invite you to tour the 5164 Paradise property, learn more about all of our campus projects and Big Work Capital Campaign. Tour dates and times are available on the RSVP form here. We are happy to arrange tours at other times—please contact Aubyn Demian to schedule.

5164 Paradise Drive property

Multi-purpose room

Junior High campus upgrades

Corte Madera Campus

Corte Madera campus improvements

5164 Paradise Drive property

Campus Master Plan

Lower Elementary moves to 5164 Paradise – renovated main house and studio/garage

  • New classrooms are stunning examples of ideal Montessori learning spaces with equally inspiring shared outdoor spaces
  • Comprehensive, expanded, integrated Elementary campus = Elementary nirvana

Multi-purpose room reclaimed as community gathering and event space

  • Provide much-needed parent and community gathering space: host plays, coffee houses, performances, parent education, volunteer meetings, events, and gatherings
  • Large gathering space allows events that are now restricted to the classroom to be open to all, and other events now held off campus to return, enabling parents to create deeper social connections and see the full scope of the program and the future for their child at the school
  • Permanent home for ASC, rainy day play space, flex meeting space, new offices, and storage

Multi-purpose room

Project features

Lower Elementary Classroom 1 Features:

  • Excellent visibility from classroom to the surrounding landscape
  • Exposed wood, vaulted ceilings, reaching 13’ in height
  • Bright, daylit classroom with large glass openings and skylights
  • Stunning views out to the bay from two sides of the building
  • Brazilian cherry floors by EcoTimber
  • Decorative stone ‘fireplace’ (not for fireplace use)

Lower Elementary Classroom 2 Features:

  • Excellent visibility from classroom to the surrounding landscape
  • Exposed wood, vaulted ceiling, reaching 17’ in height
  • Science area has direct access to adjacent outdoor learning space via a new bi-fold pass-through window and indoor/outdoor counter space
  • Bright, daylit classroom with large glass openings, clerestory windows, and skylights
  • Stunning views out to the bay from the north window wall
  • Direct access to adjacent landscape features to the east

Lower El Bathroom Features:

  • Ceramic tile designed by Lower El students

Multi-Purpose Room and West Campus New Offices Features:

  • Offices have great visibility to adjacent outdoor space and play areas
  • Multi-purpose room has the potential to transform into additional classroom space, if necessary

Landscape Features:

  • Many portions of the charming and lush garden at 5164 to remain:
    • Existing planted area to the east of Lower El Classroom 1 to be used as a meditation garden for one-on-one and small-group discussions
    • Existing edible garden to remain for parents and faculty
    • Existing lush planted areas to the north, south, and east of Lower El Classroom 2 to remain
    • Existing water feature to be relocated to the heart of the Lower Elementary outdoor garden space
  • New Landscape Features:
    • New Lower El Classrooms complete new Elementary campus with central shared outdoor spaces
    • Gracious decks with awnings draw learning space to the outdoors
    • Amphitheater seat steps at Lower EL 1 look onto central elementary turf play area

These classrooms will be some of the most beautiful in the world. It is a stunning and unique environment to actually be able to teach in, the entire geology and biology albums [lessons] are right there, steps from the classrooms.
—Allwyn Fitzpatrick, Lower Elementary faculty

5164 Residence Floor Plan

5164 Apartment/Garage Front View

5164 Apartment/Garage Floor Plan

Junior High Campus

Junior High campus upgrades

Expanded dining hall with folding wall to create additional classroom spaces + renovated faculty offices

  • Creative and efficient reorganization of the Junior High dining hall will provide flex spaces so that the program can grow to an optimal enrollment of 50 students
  • Additional classroom spaces will keep class sizes small, allow for improved course scheduling and additional course offerings, and ensure the advisory program and other reflective meetings can take place in private spaces rather than current shared meeting spaces
  • Office renovation will provide ideal spaces for faculty to work with our students and each other

Bay Garden Barn and Creekside Farm upgrades and improvements:

  • Build packing shed space to clean and pack harvest for market and kitchen
  • Renovate barn to create a more functional workspace
  • Create a high-functioning, professional level farm classroom to enable science classes to be held outdoors
  • Add Green House and mobile goat pen/habitat

The heart of the adolescent program is to give students experiences that they will have in adult life. These projects greatly enhance our ability to do this.

A key tenet of what we do here is freedom: freedom for the adolescents, freedom to explore, freedom for them to be out on the land, freedom to be a part of this microcosm of society; and we need space that allows them to experience that freedom.
—Anna Yarbrough, Junior High Program Director

Project Timeline + Specs

Big Work Facts + Figures

Working Goal: $2,500,000
Giving as of April 17, 2017: $1,676,800


  • Pledges: now through December 2017
  • Payments: now through December 2018


  • 5164 Lower Elementary renovation timeline: Winter/spring 2018, Lower El moves September 2018
  • Junior High Projects timeline: summers of 2017 and 2018

Project Specifications

  • Lower El Classroom 1 – 1,289 sf
  • Lower El Classroom 1 Deck – 650 sf
  • Lower El Classroom 2 – 1,124 sf
  • Lower El Classroom 2 Deck – 625 sf
  • New Office Space in the Residence – 191 sf
  • New Office Space in Multi-Purpose Room – two 195 sf offices

Campaign Committee

Capital Campaign Chair: Dylan Simonds

Capital Campaign Committee:
Mindy and Tim Ariowitsch
Whitney and Peter Bardwick
Susan and Steve Crane
Daphne Crocker-White and Tony White
Michele and Doug Dillard
Jessica Downs and David Stull
Nellie Draganic
Teresa Federer and Peter Levinson
Cary and Adam Gasner
Jamie Hanna and Glenn Hopkins
Zem and James Joaquin
Paige and Chad Meuse
Dorlon and Dylan Simonds
Courtney and Greg Smith
Thea Thompson

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