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Montessori is a great school

On top of that it is really school

Nobody ever gets bored

The school of peace and fun

Everyone feels calm within the cherished walls

Super teachers

Stacks of excitement

Only colors of green and white

Rainbows dance in the sky above

I like Montessori and miss it too.  As well as the teachers and the things we do

Erin Williams - Former student

You don't know what you have until it's gone

Everywhere in the world there are those special people who touch others hearts with their actions and their words.  This summer, Mrs. Morgan, my primary school principal and family friend passed away.

When you live on an island twelve miles long and four miles wide, you don't meet people like this very often, rather never than ever.  Mrs. Morgan was certainly one of these people.  Her passing was probably one of the most shocking and saddest weeks of my life.  She was not only my old principal, but was one of the people who made me the person who I am today.  She taught me to write, to read, to have manners, to respect, she taught me to be the best person you can be.

Mrs. Morgan was the principal of Century House Montessori School, a small three building school with about sixty students, hidden upon rolling hills in the British Virgin Islands.  It is the school that I attended when I was younger.  As a child you tend to forget many people who you meet but she has always been a part of my memories.  Unlike most schools, Century House Montessori was more than a school, it was a family, everyone was close and many still are, this was because of Mrs. Morgan.

Those memories are what I now have left of her.  Arriving at her house on a Sunday, with my family, always first, because my sister and I never wanted to be late!  You would enter her house and an immediate smell of cinnamon and cloves would run into your nose.  A warm embrace, with laughter would fill the air.  Everyone would arrive with smiles on their faces.  Every event there was a special one, filled with happiness and joy.

As life goes on and years pass, people fall in and out of your daily life but you keep them in your memories and thoughts.  As I changed schools and then moved to boarding school in the US, I saw her less and less, eventually almost falling out of contact.  Taking life for granted, I didn't visit her for over a year and didn't stay in contact, I didn't stay in contact with the person who made me, me.  I fell out of contact with one of the people who made me able to do what I can today.

I know I can't go back, but on the day of her death I truly realized that you really cannot take life for granted.  You need to just do what your mind tells you to do and not put things off, because if you keep leaving things for another time, it is possible that time will never come.  I realize now first hand, that you truly don't know what you have until it's gone.

Yasmin Ruffell-Smith

Former Student


The Little Green Buildings on the Hill 

I remember distinctly 6 years ago around this time when I, as a parent, was faced with the challenge of which school would best suit my precious little daughter.  It was a daunting experience as I was being extremely careful to choose a school that was the perfect fit for her personality.  A smart, vivacious, curious and strong willed mind; however, a very sensitive and nurturing personality.  I looked to the hills and then cometh my help.  Century House Montessori School.  A school like no other. 

The first difference was the buildings, well organized, open and airy. The second the motto, “Teach Me to Do It Myself”.  The third was the teachers and staff who took the time each day to greet my child with a firm handshake accompanied with direct eye contact and a genuine smile.  These few things were only the beginning of an experience that we have never forgotten.  For three years, Zharia was able to excel socially and academically.  She learnt to read at an early age, discover other cultures without leaving her country, develop self confidence but most importantly she was able to be herself without fear of ridicule or being ostracized.  As a matter of fact her sensitivity was cultivated and she was taught by the staff and teachers of this establishment that it was okay to cry sometimes or extend help to those in need.  For those three years she was taught for two by Mrs. Morgan, who gave her an excellent start and for one by Ms Lynsey who provided an astounding finish. 

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we had to relocate to the United States.  It was a painful experience for all of us to leave this place that had become our daughter’s second home; however, she was well prepared to accept the challenge of the school she now attends in the U.S.  Zharia attends the Nysmith School for the Gifted in Virginia and ranks in the top 1% based on her IOWA test results for elementary students in the nation.  We are often told by her present teachers that Zharia’s success is to be partly attributed to the excellent start she got at her school in the British Virgin Islands.  Her social skills and nurturing personality are often commented upon by the teachers and staff of her present school and we know that these are skills that were cultivated at Century House Montessori School, BVI. 

We come home for summer and all other major school breaks and one of the first places we still visit is the group of little green buildings on the hill.  Still well organized, still a loving nurturing environment, still makes us cry every time we have to leave them. 

Thanks Mrs. Morgan & Staff.  Keep up the excellent work!  We will forever miss you.

Deborah O’Neal & Family



Century House Montessori School, BVI is a haven for the lucky children who are privileged to attend. The surroundings are glorious, the buildings and materials are beautiful and the teachers are dedicated and truly care about each and every child.

I spent four years as a part of the CHMS family, both as a parent and subsequently as a member of staff. They were very happy years and I feel incredibly lucky that my daughter's first educational experience was at CHMS. She blossomed from a very shy, quiet girl into a caring, confident and eager student. I know that I, together with the school, have enabled her an incredible start in life. I hope that she will treasure the experiences afforded her and utilise the skills she has gained to her full potential.

My only regret is that, due to leaving the island, my other two children will not be able to benefit from this wonderful and truly unique Montessori school.


Mrs. Jane Unwin

When I am asked about what life was like living in Tortola, I talk about Century House Montessori School. It was the jewel of our experience. No school has been able to compare since. Not the physical space, the sheer beauty nor the teachers. Now that I sit on various education fundraising boards, I find myself saying things like "let's remember to put the children first," "this project needs to be a reflection of the integrity we are striving for" or "how can we make this school feel like more of a community." These are all ideas that stem from working with Mrs. Patricia Morgan. Although CHMS seems like a far away dream to us now, I am still reminded in the most poignant way from my daughter, Mariana, who will still say every once in awhile, "I miss my school on the hill with my pretty teacher, it was nice there."

Jackie Kellogg