Building Our Home


Quest’s Future

The next phase of Quest Montessori’s Master Site Plan is the construction of a 4,700 square foot multipurpose facility to allow for community gatherings, indoor physical education, theater and music productions, and expanded classroom space for a growing Middle School Program.

Quest is currently in the midst of a fundraising campaign for $500,000 to help off set the cost of the facility, the acquisition of adjacent land to our current property, and to complete a site master plan that includes a fenced campus and completed playground space.

Quest hopes to see a completed multipurpose facility by the 2015-2016 academic year.


For further questions regarding the Quest Montessori Multipurpose Facility and ways you can help, contact Michael Barclay, Head of School or call (401) 783-3222.

South Side Exterior Elevation

Proposed Site Plan

Proposed Floor Plan


These founding parents’ generosity and support provided the school with our first home, a library with hundreds of books, computers, initial financial support, and countless other gifts of kindness, materials, muscle and mind. From these humble beginnings, Quest quickly developed into a vibrant learning community that lives the original mission of the school, to evoke children’s love of learning and address the needs of the whole child with an authentic Montessori education.

Quest began in the 2002-03 school year in a quonset hut renovated by parents on a swampy property off South Road in Exeter. From the beginning we knew the shortcomings of our first site, now affectionately known as “the shack in the mud”. In spite of the shortcomings, the kids loved the school and by word of mouth it soon quickly outgrew the space.

In 2005-06 Quest leased the conference center at Camp Canonicus off Exeter Road. Yet again after a few years passed, the school population grew steadily and it became clear that there were again significant space limitations. Quest became a school in suitcases, the shared use of the facility made it largely unavailable for evening and weekend activities and every Friday afternoon, our staff and faculty packed up the school and transformed the Quest school space back into a dining hall and sleep quarters for weekend conference guests. The entire process was reversed every Sunday evening when we got back into the space to pull our belongings out again and set up for “business as usual” on Monday morning.

As early as 2006, a comprehensive plan for a new school building was formed, but Quest needed to find the right site and affordable financing for the $2.95 million development project — no small task in today’s economy.

In June of 2006, a Quest Board member brought the USDA Rural Development loan program to the attention of the Board and Head of School, Paul Raymond, as a potential source of funding. From that point, it took 36 months to identify an ideal site, prepare a business and strategic plan, and actively engage an architect to complete the extensive application and review process.

When the lease ran out in 2010 at Camp Canonicus, even as a permanent home seemed secure, Quest scrambled to find temporary space but was fortunate in the 11th hour to be accommodated at the old South Road School in Wakefield on a short term lease while the school district decided on a permanent use of the facility. Over the summer we took one wing of the vacant school building out of mothballs and by fall were ready to open our doors again.

Finally, in January of 2010, Quest got the news — the USDA had approved its application. Now, thanks to the low-interest loan from the USDA Rural Development Program and the support of the entire Quest community, Quest has expanded into a flexible, integrated, thriving educational environment, while keeping tuition affordable.

While our history has always supported reasons to seek a new home, these reasons were far more important and fundamental to the essence of the Quest community.

Quest is not about a building or a specific location. It is about learning and community. Quest exists to evoke our children’s love of learning, to inspire our children in a caring, supportive, solid community, and, by using the Montessori curriculum, to serve the needs of the whole child. A home of our own – one that can be custom designed to meet all our needs, can grow with us and allow us to finally firmly lay down roots and become a permanent part of the greater community – will enhance our ability to fulfill our mission for every child and family, from day one.

To that end, Quest Montessori has finally realized this vision as the school now occupies its new 12500 square foot facility in Narragansett. Quest’s new home has enabled it to accommodate its rapid enrollment growth after more than doubling in size from 2011 to 2013; along with allowing it to develop the state’s foremost toddler to eighth grade Montessori program.

In recent months, Quest has:

  • Submitted a second USDA Rural Development Loan application for a Phase II building project
  • Submitted building applications to the town of Narragansett for Phase II approval and potential construction
  • Seen steady enrollment growth at every level from toddler through eighth grade

Our future plans include:

  • Enrollment growth until school reaches optimal operating capacity from current 115 to 135
  • Expansion of the campus facility and grounds to include outdoor play area and multi-porpose facility
  • Continued development of the only local and the foremost toddler to eighth grade Montessori School serving South County and Kent County families
  • Bringing the outside in while providing ample room to explore and play
  • Planting gardens, utilizing recreational fields and creating an outdoor learning environment for discovery and exploration in the woods
  • Growth and expansion of after school and summer camp programs

The Quest Montessori Campus

Our Home

The Quest Montessori campus includes 6 acres, fully wooded with mature trees and significant privacy from the road, with no prior development, making it “feel” more like the rural vision the founders of Quest original intended.

Our current Narragansett location provides many benefits. There is easy access to the school from Route 138 and Route 1. The property borders on a Narragansett park, with extensive sport facilities (baseball/softball fields, basketball courts, picnic area, children’s playground, restrooms, skateboard / inline skate park, and tennis courts). The park is a short walk through the woods (no street crossings necessary) which allows for enhanced sports options without the cost of developing infrastructure.

The proximity to the URI Bay Campus and the access to Narragansett Bay at the end of Ferry Road provides the option of including the Narragansett Bay as an extension of the curriculum, and links our student body to maritime resources and the environmental issues so key to our state. Just up the road is Casey Farm which provides opportunities for farming projects connecting the School to the community through service.

The Quest Montessori facility is a 12,500 square foot, single story, light commercial structure. The Quest campus has ample parking and a recreational field and playground area on site.

Our home allows wonderful, specious areas for our toddler and preschool environments which are vital components of a comprehensive, sustainable Montessori program. The facility allows Quest to preserve the 15:1 student-teacher ratio with small class sizes and individualized attention that our students and faculty have always enjoyed.

Along with our students enjoying the benefits of a modern, new facility and interaction with a fuller, integrated community, they enjoy the space and open environment to facilitate long-term projects, expanded opportunities for growth and education, and greater faculty/ student/parent interaction. New programs for music, language and drama have also been implemented as we settle into our new home. In addition, we can offer after-school and summer camp programs.

Even though we are in our new facility, there is still much to be done. To accomplish future academic, development, and enrollment growth, we need your help. We continue to raise 10 percent of the project cost — or $300,000 — from our community, friends and families to augment the $2.65 million in low-interest financing we have already secured from the USDA Rural Development program. Plus, Quest has already started raising funds for a multipurpose facility to be completed for the 2015-2016 academic year. To find out more about how you can help by volunteering or donating, contact Michael Barclay, Head of School, at or call us at 401 783-3222.

The Montessori Approach: Collaborative Learning

What is Montessori Education?

  • Multi-Age Classrooms
  • Individually-Paced Learning
  • Teachers as Guides
  • Integrated Curriculum
  • Prepared Environment
  • Montessori Materials
  • Applied Learning
  • Intrinsic Motivation
  • Self-Directed Learning
  • Friendships, Life Skills and Community

At Quest Montessori School classrooms consist of cross-age, cross-grade groupings in three-year developmental cycles. Children as early as 18 months to age 3 begin in our Toddler Program. The early childhood program is called the Children’s House and is a group of 3 to 6 year olds that includes the Kindergarten. Lower Elementary of 6-9 year olds is the mixture of conventional 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades. The Upper Elementary, 9-12 year olds, is the equivalent of 4th, 5th and 6th grades. Our Adolescent Program currently has 7th and 8th years, but will eventually grow to include 12-15 year olds who leave the school at the end of 9th grade.

In these groupings children internalize what they have learned by teaching the younger children and by being mentors and role models. The children are encouraged to show mutual respect and empathy for others by working together towards common goals. This is the spirit of the community. The mixed age community creates conditions that foster individual differences as strengths, and promotes groupings of mixed abilities. The collaborative learning process facilitates the development of social skills as a response to informal group interactions, rather than through direct teaching intervention.

Children in Montessori classrooms have a rich variety of opportunities for learning not afforded them by more conventional schools. In addition to specially designed materials for independent learning and teacher lessons, the educational process in a Montessori classroom is supplemented by role modeling, peer tutoring and an inherent collaborative learning structure that is superior to traditional whole-class teaching in terms of both learning and the social climate that they support. The key component of a Montessori school, learning from peers, achieves academic success through the internalization of behaviors and ideas of collaborators in a motivating social context. The Montessori method of education clearly is a design that suits the nature of the child at this age in how they learn and develop.


18 MONTHS-3 year Olds
The Toddler Community serves the youngest students at Quest Montessori School from eighteen months to three years. In this thoughtfully designed setting, a dozen children can learn from and help each other under the careful oversight of a trained Montessori teacher and assistant.

In this safe and nurturing environment the Montessori teacher guides the children through the comprehensive developmental curriculum. The Toddler Community offers an environment rich in opportunities for physical, sensorial, intellectual, and social learning. Children may spend part of the morning learning new words, new skills in physical coordination, and new sights and smells by cutting up fruits or vegetables. The environment, materials, and culture of the classroom are carefully coordinated to offer children multiple opportunities to grow and mature at a time when both bodies and minds are developing rapidly.

The classroom is a place of respect. Everything is child-sized, from the custom-made tables and chairs to the shelves, vases, plates and utensils, and even toilets. In an environment that offers such appropriately sized challenges, children are expected to take greater responsibilities for taking care of themselves and others. Young children have a drive towards independence – “Help me do it myself.” They gravitate toward activities that develop motor skills: running, carrying, climbing, swinging; or grasping knobs, wielding shovels, handling paintbrushes, and petting animals. Control of their own bodies heralds a control of self, and the ability to dress, eat, and toilet independently.

Children’s House

3-6 Year OldsFor the young child, learning is a process that involves all the senses. Dr. Montessori created enticing materials for children to manipulate, and through their exploration, understand higher-level concepts, develop innerdiscipline and foster their natural curiosities. She discovered that given the proper amount of guidance and freedom, children develop a positive sense of self and their community.

The activities in the Primary Program fall into four major areas: practical life, sensorial, language and mathematics. Music, art, science, gardening and physical education are also part of the daily curriculum. Children develop self-discipline and capacity for total concentration. Respect for others, courtesy and grace develop naturally as the children grow within the Montessori environment.

Lower Elementary

Grades 1-3In this mixed age classroom an interdisciplinary curriculum stresses connections between different study areas. The teacher uses “Great Lessons”, which lay out a general organization for knowledge, then invites the children to investigate details and relate them back to the whole. Impressionistic charts and evocative materials give a sense of the size and age of the observable universe, the steady progression of life on Earth, the variety of terrain and climates on our planet, and the saga of human evolution, invention, and civilization.

The classroom environment meets both the social and academic needs of the child Social skills are taught and practiced and group learning encourages individual contributions, listening, and the ability to compromise.

Upper Elementary

Grades 4-6Children at this age become abstract thinkers and the curriculum responds to this developmental characteristic. Students are presented a challenging interdisciplinary curriculum with a key emphasis on project work that moves from the concrete to the abstract. Class trips include overnight experiences at Plimoth Plantation and Camp Hi-Rock. Sixth-grade students plan and implement a 4 day trip to New York City incorporating their study of Fundamental Human Needs. Upper Elementary students extend their studies and go out into the community to use what they have learned. This may come in the form of putting together a science fair project, interviewing a university professor, or planning a group trip to a local historical site. Community service rounds out their Upper Elementary Experience.

Middle School

Grades 7-8The Middle School serves as a bridge to the conventional high schools that most of our graduates attend and although it shares many features with the younger classes, it is also a distinctive environment. The academic program at the Middle School level is rigorous: a thorough grounding in algebra; scientific studies in physics, chemistry, biology; language work in a variety of written forms, with frequent oral presentations; and a comprehensive humanities curriculum focused on novel study with a wideranging survey of history, Western culture, and social studies.

The daily schedule at this level begins to resemble a conventional school in many respects: teacher specialists for different subject areas, specific classes at specific times, regular homework with graded assignments and tests.

The Benefits of a Montessori Education

Independent Learners

At Quest the child is able to choose his or her own work, direct their own progress, complete the work on their own timetable, and seek help from other children and adults when they need it. The student planner and weekly conference facilitates the independent learning process.

Confidence and Competence

At Quest each child is taught a system to manage their work with a clear sense of purpose and organization. Through observation, reflection, and discussion they receive ongoing feedback, much of which is constructive and positive, building self esteem and the ability to self correct.


Through daily living and working in a collaborative approach to learning the child finds community membership can be both personally satisfying and socially rewarding. There are ample opportunities for inclusion in the work of others as well as appreciation for the freedom to create and control one’s own work.

Intrinsic Motivation

Strong emphasis on independent learning creates intrinsic motivation. The child engages in continuous study and exhibits satisfaction in the process. Children achieve levels of competence and often revel in their mastery by showing others.

Adept at Handling Guidance

Rapport and relationships that grow over the three year cycle enable the child to accept the “ground rules” of the group. The child recognizes the appropriate way in which to comport himself/herself with other children and the classroom teachers.

Socially Responsible

The community based approach to learning integrates the independent and autonomous aspects of learning with group study. This solicits collaboration and cooperation. The mixed age community creates conditions that foster individual differences as strengths, and promotes groupings of various abilities. These ongoing experiences develop social skills as a response to conditions, rather than through direct teaching intervention.

Academic Preparation

Quest implements a well-developed, clearly-defined interdisciplinary curriculum which knows, understands, and responds to the needs of each child in a developmentally appropriate way. Highly structured, (each child has a personalized “lesson plan” daily), it is the very structure of each environment at Quest that allows for the intellectual freedom and exploration which characterizes the Montessori classroom. Quest encourages its students to work in small groups, to read from a variety of books in the library, to keep journals, and to learn scientific and mathematical concepts by solving concrete problems. The Montessori approach has a breadth of content that ensures the child has the richness of scope and understanding to interrelate and apply knowledge. Specially designed, concrete materials constantly engage the children in their own learning, allowing each to learn – and to understand – by doing.

Citizens of the World

A well-rounded citizen must not only have an intelligent understanding, but also a sense of social responsibility and strong moral character. In the Montessori approach, intelligent understanding comes through the study of civics content, and through the perspective of history. The roots of culture emerge in the study of civilizations and the child begins to grasp the significance and interrelatedness of human achievements over time. An appreciation of humanity is awakened through knowledge of human history. As the child recognizes the essential elements of culture and then acquires these characteristics, the child simultaneously learns how an individual’s actions affect others, a key element in socialization. Character development is integrated into the Montessori learning process. Moral development is about both the self and the connection of one’s actions and healthy relations with others. A strong moral character grows from the self discipline and civility necessary to be a participant in the Montessori classroom community. Although the modern definition of civility refers to politeness and courtesy, the root Latin civilitas,was a term denoting the state of being a citizen and hence good citizenship or orderly behavior. This is our expectation for civility in the Montessori classroom. Through a holistic approach that develops the intellectual, social and moral character of the child, the Montessori method prepares the child for life.

Quest Campaign

2013-15 Capital Campaign:
Now and the Future!

Even though we are in our new home, there is still much to be done. To accomplish future academic, development, and enrollment growth, we need your help. We continue to raise 10 percent of the project cost — or $300,000 — from our community, friends and families to augment the $2.65 million in low-interest financing we have already secured from the USDA Rural Development program.

Also, Quest has started the fundraising process for a new Multipurpose Facility with the aim of 2015-2016 completion date.  This new facility will allow for an expanded Middle School program and an indoor multipurpose space for the arts, theater production, physical education, expanded summer programs, and community gatherings.

To find out more about how you can help by volunteering or donating, contact Michael Barclay, Head of School, at or call us at 401 783-3222.

Give your way:

  1. Walk 4 Quest
    Join our community each year during October for our school’s annual walk/run event.  Students and community members raise funds through pledges and completing 5k run/walk in Christofaro Park.
  2. Lay the Path to Quest – Gift a Brick!
    It’s our home, it’s their home… commemorate this special time with a little bit of your history. Your child’s name, your family’s name, the year they first went to school. Small bricks priced at $100, large bricks at $250. Donate now.
    Brick Order Form
  3. Become a Friend of Quest
    A step up in giving amounts ($1,000-$10,000) secure larger gifts (naming gifts such as picnic benches, trees, and classroom equipment). Donate now.
Quest Naming Gift Opportunities

2014-15 Annual Fund

You can participate in other community-wide events this year to support the annual operating budget for the school. Quest will continue to offer smaller “friend-raising” opportunities throughout the school year (Yagoo, Barnes + Noble, Pancake Breakfast, etc.).

  1. Indiegogo Campaign
    In December, 2013 through February, 2014 Quest participated in their first Indiegogo fundraising campaign raising twenty thousand dollars.  Indiegogo is a crowd sourcing website that helps nonprofits raise money.
  2. Annual Auction: Building the Future of Quest
    We are hoping to top last year’s auction… visit our Annual Auction page for event details. Email Erica Davies with any donations.

Strategic Plan 2014-2020

View the full Quest Strategic Plan 2014-2020

Formulating a strategic plan

At Quest Montessori School you will observe frequent and numerous contributions by volunteers, an overarching willingness to accommodate change, steadfast commitment, and real passion for blazing a trail to the future. Quest is a community of energized contributors, who are driven towards a great goal and inspired by a mission.

At each juncture, with faculty, parents and board, this community uses every opportunity to re-visit Montessori philosophy and best practices. There is both enthusiasm and passion for meaningful applications of Montessori philosophy and practice that best serves the child. There is an openness for suggestion and a thirst for knowledge that is both refreshing and renewing. There is a culture of learning at Quest that is exciting and awe-inspiring. This obviously translates to tangible bene!ts for the children of the school.

The successful completion of the Strategic Plan of 2008-2013 was realized when the school funded, designed and built our beautiful new school. The next steps are to de!ne the vision for the future, the shared purpose and direction of the school.

In this way the community, thoughtfully and deliberately, rededicates the school to the service of the child and Montessori ideals. This is the true essence of an Authentic Montessori School.

Donate! Making donations to Quest to help the continue growth of our new home can simply be made by clicking the red ‘Donate’ link or by contacting the school directly. Thank you to everyone who helped make the dream of Quest Montessori School a reality. Quest Montessori School is a 501(c)(3) public charity and all gifts are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
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