History of CMA

    In 1985, Countryside Montessori Academy was founded by Mary Rivers and Karen Mantei.  Karen received her Association Montessori Internationale certification in Dublin, Ireland and has over 40 years experience in providing children with a Montessori education. Mary has a degree in Math and Economics with a minor in education, and handles the finances for CMA. With a passion for expanding the Montessori philosophy, Karen and Mary opened a second location in 1996 and with much encouragement from the parents opened the elementary charter school in 2002. 

    Countryside Montessori currently has 1 location which serves children in preschool through kindergarten – one in Land O’ Lakes.  CMA has a very dedicated staff and wonderful teachers who provide an outstanding Montessori education. Most of our children continue their Montessori education at Countryside Montessori Charter School in Land O’ Lakes.

Educational Philosophy


Dr. Montessori believed that education is a preparation for life, and not simply a mastery of intellectual skills. The materials and environment provided at Countryside Montessori Academy stimulate and develop a thirst for learning, a curiosity about one's surroundings and a desire to discover and to do things for oneself. We hope during a child's development he will learn to solve problems using an organized approach, to use freedom wisely, to respect others, and develop a love for learning. 

Goals for children at CMA include: 

To develop both socially and emotionally 

To build a positive self image 

To develop self-confidence as an independent learner 

To build concentration, persistence, and initiative 

To develop sensory-motor skills 

To nourish an abiding curiosity, inner security, and a sense of order 

To develop academic skills through the use of Montessori materials