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Chestnut Montessori School is rooted in the belief that children are uniquely capable to absorb abstract concepts presented in a way that sparks the child’s spirit and imagination. We provide a rich, natural learning environment in two  beautiful and peaceful campuses. Our students learn about their world through real-life activities and a science-based curriculum.


Located on the border of Kirkland and Bellevue, below the South Kirkland Transit Center, our campus is a former orchard where historic Chestnut, Apple, and Pear trees, and a natural play yard provide students with many unique opportunities for indoor and outdoor learning.


The School is open year-round, with occasional closures according to the School schedule each year.

The hours of operation are 8:00 to 6:00.




Early Childhood

We have two Early Childhood classrooms: The Cedar and Pine Rooms, for children ages 2 through 6. Each classroom is beautifully prepared for 18-20 children and staffed with Montessori credentialed teachers and interns.



The Garden Room is our Elementary classroom for children ages 5 through 12. The classroom is prepared for 8 -12 children have a joyful learning and staffed with Montessori credentialed teachers and interns


meet our team


Jeannine Hanson

Founding Director

Jeannine Hanson founded Chestnut Montessori School to exemplify a model school for children, parents, teachers, and teachers-in-training on one dedicated campus. Her goal is to provide children with experiences to prepare them to become joyful lifelong learners. The beautiful environment and smaller class sizes she created at CMS supports the remarkable academic advancement by the students.


She has a deep-rooted dedication to the Montessori philosophy. Jeannine directed Bellevue Montessori for 20 years, overseeing the elementary expansion on two campuses. In 1997 she founded the Montessori College for Early Education (now Montessori Center for Teacher Education - MCTE), which provides excellence in the education for Montessori Early Childhood teachers. MCTE is affiliated with the American Montessori Society (AMS) and accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Commission for Teacher Education (MACTE).


She has served on the Board of Directors for Washington Federation of Independent Schools, the Pacific Northwest Montessori Association, the National Center for Montessori Education and Bellevue Montessori School. Jeannine is a Washington State Approved Continuing Education Trainer through MERIT and presents continuing teacher education workshops to fulfill Washington State required STARS (State Training and Registry System).


Jeannine received her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from the University of Washington in 1972 and her Montessori teacher education at Seattle University in 1983 and 1984, after serving as an Assistant Dietitian at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland. She resides in Kirkland with her husband Paul and is the proud parent of four grown children and the grandmother of four boys and one girl.


April Malley 


April Malley grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, and earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology at the University of Arizona. She received her American Montessori Society Early Childhood teaching credential through the Montessori Center for Teacher Education in 2011.  April earned her Masters of Education (MAED) degree with a focus on Montessori studies through St. Catherine University in 2017.    In her free time, April enjoys cycling and participates in many group rides and events. 


Lisa Hanson

Office Administrator

Lisa Hanson, through Jeannine Hanson, has been immersed in Montessori her entire life.  Lisa worked in wardrobe styling, wholesale clothing and jewelry design before joining Chestnut Montessori School.  Lisa’s favorite part of working at Chestnut is being able to watch students develop into confident, courteous and independent young scholars. 

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