About Us

Hawk Meadow Montessori School (HMMS) is a private school located in the Town of LaGrange, in Dutchess County, New York. We offer an individualized, child-centered, well-rounded education for children from ages 18 months through 15 years. The teachers and staff have collectively more than 100 years worth of experience in Montessori instruction. The school sits on a 6.5-acre wooded campus and offers a light-filled space with the full range of Montessori materials. Families from around the Hudson Valley flock to Hawk Meadow Montessori because it is the only full member of the American Montessori Society in the area.

All of the head teachers at Hawk Meadow Montessori School have taken part in an in-depth Montessori training program, during which time they learned about the teaching philosophy, how to present the lessons in all curriculum areas, and how to observe and guide children with a variety of learning styles and interests.

The school was opened in September 2008 by Erin Castle and Barbara Katavolos, who currently serve as the head administrators of the school.


Hawk Meadow Montessori School combines best practices of childhood development and current educational research to mold children into independent, resilient, responsible citizens of an ever-changing world. The prepared environment, consisting of Dr. Maria Montessori’s materials in classrooms (both indoors and out) and Montessori-trained teachers, is designed to develop children’s autonomy and passion for learning while helping them remain rooted in a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive community. Hawk Meadow students are prepared for life, developing communication and critical-thinking skills that carry them confidently and with integrity through any challenges they might face.

Program Hours

Before School – 8 to 9 a.m.

Half-Day – 9 a.m. to noon

Full-Day – 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

After School – 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Parent Testimonials

Our children have been involved with this school for about five years. Right from the start we were impressed with how well the children handled all their tasks individually, yet in a coordinated fashion. We were also amazed that, although the children were free to act on their own, their behavior was so peaceful and orderly. We were attracted to the school because its core values of creating world peace through the children resonates strongly with us. We were very pleasantly surprised to find how strong the program is in the 3 R’s. All this takes place in the backdrop of social tolerance, peaceful coexistence and genuine understanding and respect of their fellows.

Montessori has been a true gift to my children and family. It is the only method of education I’ve seen that truly understands each child’s potential based on their individual physical and intellectual development and not generalized standards such as age. Traditional schooling begins reading and writing in kindergarten and first grade, but here, the tools to read and write are given to students beginning as early as the toddler years. As a result, both of my children started to read at three-and-a-half years old and are independent readers at age five-and-a-half. The children thrive on the mathematics materials because it presents seemingly abstract concepts in a concrete and hands-on fashion. The Montessori method has also given my children a strong sense of independence, security, and self-confidence. Lastly, the school has helped me become a better parent. Discipline and love are not independent, both are integral, especially as it naturally lends to a more self-reliant and self-sufficient young being. But not all Montessori schools are alike; what makes Hawk Meadow Montessori special are the teachers. They are committed, truly gifted, and wonderful!

My daughter was a changed child after just a few weeks at Hawk Meadow Montessori School. She went from a child who exclaimed daily “I can’t do it!” to a proudly independent little lady. She is focused, creative, communicative, and it’s all due to the nurturing environment and amazing educators. I have no doubt that, no matter where life takes the Hawk Meadow students, the academic and social tools that they learn here will always remain with them.

We moved here from a big city and a large, established Montessori school. When we were thinking about moving to Poughkeepsie, finding an accredited Montessori school was at the top of our list. We were so relieved to find that Maria Montessori’s mission is carried out here at Hawk Meadow. Our children transitioned seamlessly into the classrooms, as they are truly Montessori environments. The teachers, administration and staff are intelligent, caring and passionate about Montessori style learning. The small class sizes offer plenty of individualized lessons and encourage a strong relationship among students and teachers, and our children are thriving. The wooded campus is a great place for children of all ages to learn and grow. We are so glad we found a home at Hawk Meadow!

We didn’t want our son in public school because the school district was not very good. We were frustrated with the academics and lack of organization at the private school he was attending, but we desperately wanted to keep him out of the Kingston schools. We always felt that the Montessori method was right for our son because he had early experiences with it that were very positive, but Montessori elementary school options were limited in our area. Hawk Meadow was the perfect solution because it gave our son the kind of educational experience he craved. The school seemed well organized, the kids seemed happy and engaged, the tuition was competitive and we were in driving distance. It was a good fit for our kids and our family. Our kids love going to school and we feel great when we drop them off because we know they’re really learning! It’s a win all around.