St. Helena Montessori School

St. Helena, CA

Sited among the vineyards along the Napa River, this innovative school is part of a 10-acre working farm that fully realizes the Montessori principles.

Parents, Educators and Donors envisioned a school that reflected the agricultural roots that are an integral part of Napa Valley’s history and culture. Not only would the project house classrooms for learning, the idea was to create a working farm where children would learn in a holistic way about nature, food sources and culinary skills.


Starting as young as 15 months, students enter a community of children and the age specific programs that foster self-directed learning. Toddlers, Preschool and Elementary students are clustered around a central courtyard, while the Middle School has its own mini-campus complete with full science laboratory and commercial teaching kitchen.

Students grow up together and learn from other age groups with access to protected learning spaces.

In addition to the outdoor learning area, a multi-purpose ball field, handball courts, and a basketball/volleyball court, as well as distinct, age-appropriate playground spaces encourage students to enjoy PE and recreation.

Thoughtful campus design has helped to ensure an attentive learning environment and an intimate community even as the school grows.


Client: St. Helena Montessori School

Size: 27,580

Budget: $13 M

Completion: 2011