While August means back to school for area school-aged students, it marks the opening of several new classrooms for infants and preschool-aged children at Smart Start Montessori, where learning happens year-round.



The school’s growth has been exponential since owner/director/teacher  Catherine Mathis moved her in-home Montessori school in March of 2016 to its current location on 10 acres of land in Forney, Texas. Mrs. Mathis started the new location with the 12 children from her in-home Montessori school and now has grown to an enrollment of 54 students, with approximately five additional students starting in August. The school’s enrollment is growing by leaps and bounds, largely due to Mrs. Mathis’s philosophy of going above and beyond for each individual student.


“I saw the children were increasingly becoming bored with the traditional curriculum,” stated Mrs. Mathis. “They’re intelligent and I wanted to expand their horizons.” Therefore, she decided to implement the Montessori Method, which she felt would challenge the children and elevate their level of knowledge.


The school, now in its second year, offers five areas of learning: practical life (everyday life skills), sensorial (use of all five senses), language (alphabet recognition, reading and writing), math (counting, addition, subtraction, and place value) and cultural (geography, science, botany, zoology, history, art and music).


“Our children learn at an early age,” says Mrs. Mathis, noting that the school’s four- to five-year-olds are reading and writing before leaving her for mainstream school.


The Montessori Method also provides children with the freedom of choice within limits.


“In the classroom, you’ll find the children are very independent and self-confident. It is their casa (house) and the teachers are just facilitators watching the children learn from one another.” Mrs. Mathis says.


The entire staff at Smart Start Montessori is trained  in CPR and first aid. They also are required to undergo a background check and FBI fingerprinting. Lead teachers are either Montessori Certified or are currently undergoing Montessori training. Assistant teachers are trained in the Montessori Method by the lead teachers, which allows them to help redirect students with previously presented work. Owner and director Catherine Mathis as well as another teacher, is currently pursuing a rigorous academic endorsement from AMI (Association Montessori Internationale), which is an international recognition for their high standard, authenticity and maintaining the integrity of Maria Montessori’s legacy.


Mrs. Mathis, who is passionate about children, holds two certifications in the Montessori Method and a degree in early childhood education. As a parent herself, she wants to provide not only a top-notch educational environment that will ready children for school, but also a place where parents have the peace of mind that their children are being cared for by a caring and qualified staff. She also has an on-site cook who makes a nutritious, homemade hot lunch as well as morning and afternoon snacks for the children. Fun Fridays include pizza for lunch and the traditional uniform is traded for a spirit t-shirt and jeans. “The kids work so hard during the week, we let them indulge a little on Fridays,” says Mathis with a laugh.


In addition to delivering a second-to-none education, Smart Start Montessori offers low student-to-teacher ratios, age-appropriate Montessori materials in all classrooms, arts and crafts, music, storytelling, optional computer classes, and plenty of room for children to play.


At the request of parents with children currently enrolled in the program, Smart Start Montessori will open a class for infants ages twelve to seventeen months in August. The school also offers programs for toddlers (ages 18 months to 2 1/2), pre-primary (ages 2 1/2 to 3), and primary (ages 3 to 6).  Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, with two-day, three-day, and five-day-a-week options.



Sound like the perfect home away from home for your child?


Tours are offered from 9 -11 a.m. daily (although you will need to call ahead to schedule), and the school offers a two-day free trial for potential students to see if it’s a good fit.  Smart Start is currently enrolling for all ages.



For more information, call 972-357-7766, or visit

Smart Start Montessori is located at 10674 FM 1641. Located between Helms Trail and I-20 next to

Abuelitos Street Tacos