Slide WELCOME "Of all things, love is the most potent."
- Dr. Maria Montessori -
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Our Programs

Our programs are designed to provide children the most ideal environment in which to grow and thrive while offering parents extended hours that fit their busy schedules.

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Toddler Classroom

Your child will grow more rapidly between birth and age three than any other time in their life. In our joyful and loving Montessori toddler classroom curiosity, creativity and confidence are nurtured and the inner drive for understanding becomes a love of learning that will last a lifetime.
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Primary Classrooms

Your child will receive a learning experience designed specifically to help them reach their full potential. Our focus on intellectual, social, and physical development is manifest in this hands-on approach to learning.
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``Kindergarten`` at Fishtown Montessori

During the first two years in our primary Montessori classroom children learn enough concentration and coordination to become independent in their actions and thoughts. In their third year, often referred to as Kindergarten, children apply these skills and take their learning to a level of mastery previously not attained.
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Extended Care Programs

The extended care program gives children time to play freely and choose between a multitude of open-ended materials such as dramatic play items, blocks and art materials. They may use the time to work on any of their Montessori projects, spend time in our outdoor play area or may have the opportunity to visit the local park (if pick-up schedules permit).
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Submit an Application

Get on the waitlist for Fishtown Montessori sooner than later.


Attend an Open House/Private Tour

Visit our beautiful facility to see for yourself why our students are so successful.


Complete a Survey

Reply back to confirm and finalize your enrollment needs.


Receive Admission Decision

Families are invited to enroll in February and March or on a rolling basis when space permits.

About Us

Fishtown Montessori was founded by a lifelong educator who brings a wealth of knowledge about early childhood development, teaching, learning, curriculum and educational administration to our center.

Fishtown Montessori is locally owned and operated and was founded in 2017 to provide children in the neighborhood with the highest quality early learning environment possible. Our authentic Montessori program follows the guiding principles of the American Montessori Society, which we have been a member of since our inception.

Our Mission is to nurture the curiosity and wonder that inspires learning so that children develop a deep understanding of the foundational skills essential to fulfilling their human potential. We are guided by the following principles: Joy of learning, Respect for and preservation of natural development, cultivating Peace through learning about culture and humanity, and Authenticity in our Montessori programming.

Along with providing an incredibly rich learning environment, Fishtown Montessori is also geared toward providing consistency to working families and is conveniently located in the heart of Fishtown. We run on a typical school year calendar, with dynamic summer programs offered to provide full year care. Our authentic Montessori toddler program serves children 24-35 months old and our two mixed-age primary preschool classrooms are for children ages three through six.

The Curriculum at Fishtown Montessori

Montessori education is a scientific, research-based approach to teaching and learning developed by the Italian scientist and doctor, Maria Montessori over one hundred years ago. Traditional Montessori Curriculum includes practical life, sensorial, language, math, and culture (history, science, geography, art, and cultural studies). Trained Montessori teachers carefully prepare their classrooms with special materials designed to give children hands-on experiences from which they learn. Children in these multi-age classrooms have long uninterrupted periods of work time where they direct their own learning experiences based on their interests and their internal drive for mastery.

COVID-19 Health & Safety

Safety, before everything else, is the most important part of childcare and we take this responsibility very seriously at Fishtown Montessori.


We’ve combined guidance and regulations from the Centers for Disease Control, Pennsylvania’s Department of Health, the Philadelphia Health Department, and Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (among other resources) to create policies and procedures that will optimize health and safety and reduce the possibility of transmission as low as possible. Our comprehensive COVID-19 Plan has been developed under the guidance and consultation of a licensed pediatrician through the Public Health Management Corporation so that we can operate as safely as possible during the time of the COVID-19 Pandemic. You can read our comprehensive COVID-19 plan by clicking the button below.

More on Montessori

We love the Montessori approach to learning in early childhood because we believe it is the most supportive of a child’s natural drive to fulfill their curiosity through exploring the environment. Children love to challenge themselves. We invite children to find their next challenge and master it at their own pace, based on their own interests and curiosities. Fishtown Montessori values, trusts and cultivates this intrinsic motivation in hopes that our students will bring it well into their future to enjoy a lifetime of joyful learning.

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Interested in finding out more about Fishtown Montessori?

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Contact us here with questions about our programs, admissions, inquiries about career opportunities, or for any other reason.

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Our Senior Staff


Denise Spetrino

Founder, Head of School, Admissions Director

Denise Spetrino fulfilled a lifelong dream in 2017 when she founded Fishtown Montessori. Denise has been working with children and their families her whole professional life and has earned a BA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Temple University and an MS in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum and Educational Administration from Drexel University. Denise is a certified K-6 elementary teacher, a certified principal in the state of Pennsylvania, and has completed some coursework in Montessori education. Denise worked as a first, then fifth grade teacher in Philadelphia for nine years prior to opening Fishtown Montessori. Denise has lived in the 19125 zip code since 2006 and currently resides in East Kensington with her family. She loves camping and biking and spending time with her family and friends.
Kelly Phelan IMG_8169

Kelly Phelan

Director, Curriculum Coordinator, Toddler Teacher

Kelly has been involved in Montessori Education for more than 30 years, most recently as a Head Primary Teacher and Assistant Director at a Montessori School in South Jersey. Kelly received her Montessori Infant Toddler Certification training from the Montessori Institute of Teachers Education in Wilmington, Delaware and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Psychology. She has had the pleasure of working in 4 different Montessori Schools throughout the tristate area, only leaving due to career and life changes. Kelly shares a dedication to offering a true Montessori way of learning and believes that it’s not just the staff but the wonderful parents and children that make up an excellent Montessori school. Kelly recently moved to Philadelphia and loves doing anything outdoors and around water.
Payal Shah

Payal Shah

Lead Primary Teacher

Payal Shah comes from an extensive background in Montessori education and early childhood development with about 14 years of experience. She earned her formal degree in early childhood development from Adrian Montessori Academy in Michigan. Payal says, “As a child brings out a parent in a person, the children of my classroom brought out the teacher in me.”

Payal is dedicated to bringing out the best in your child, endeavoring to help your child find their passion, enabling them to dream big, and creatively engage them in its pursuit by providing them an environment for their overall holistic development as visioned by Maria Montessori.

Payal is moving to Philadelphia with her family where her daughter will go to Drexel as an Honors student in the coming fall.

Erica Eidelson

Erica Eidelson

Lead Primary Teacher

Erica earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Masters in Elementary Education from Saint Joseph’s University. Erica is a certified K-6 elementary teacher, is a certified Wilson instructor and has completed her Early Childhood (Primary) Montessori training with the North American Montessori Center. Ms. Erica is originally from New York where her family owns a learning center where she had tutored children since the age of ten. She watched so many children excel in school and grow into confident learners that she quickly realized that she wanted to be a teacher. Through her extensive experience she understands that students learn best through exploration and are capable of so much when given the freedom to discover and make choices. Erica lives just outside of Philadelphia and has been singing in an acapella choir for many years, she always enjoys incorporating music and creativity into the classroom.

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307 E. Girard Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Business Hours

Mon – Fri: 7:30am – 6:00pm
Sat & Sun: Closed