A Montessori preschool experience,
in a welcoming home-like environment.

Our School image
Since 2003, Montessori Children’s House of Lemon Grove has offered quality Montessori Education for 2 to 5-year-olds. The preschool is located at a residence and has a separate and dedicated entrance that leads directly to the classroom and playground.

MCHLG holds a Large Family Child Care License under the California Department of Social Services, license #376614702. Under our license, attendance is limited to 12 students a day, a 1:6 ratio, allowing for a small classroom that is cozy and home-like. Our classroom is a lovely environment for our 2-year-olds experiencing their first school setting and enables our older children to provide leadership and guidance as they continue their individualized learning.

Our license also allows for children who are not yet using the toilet and still require diapers or pull-ups, and we help with transitioning to bathroom independence when they are ready.

Our approval through the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) under Child Care Aware® of America for our Military Families requires unannounced site visits every year instead of 2-5 years of other facilities. To view our past facility evaluation reports, visit: Department of Social Services facility search. 

We also have annual unannounced site visits from San Diego Fire and Rescue to check our smoke and carbon monoxide monitors, fire extinguisher, and fire & earthquake drill sheet.

  • Teachers and assistants have current EMSA approved and OSHA-compliant CPR-AED and First Aid certification for adults, children, and infants (pediatric). These require the full 8-hour accreditation every two years. (EMSA approved certificates cannot be re-certified at the lesser 4-hour time.)
  • Teachers and assistants, and all household members, have received Fingerprint Clearance through the Department of Justice.
  • Under Health and Safety Code 1596.8662, teachers and assistants have completed Mandated Reported training for their duties as reporters of the California Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Act.
  • As required by Employee and Volunteer Immunization Code 1597.622, teachers and assistants have documentation of immunization against pertussis, measles, and influenza.

Ms. DeniseOwner and director Mary Denise Duppée received her Montessori Certification in 1994 and worked in Montessori preschools in San Diego and El Cajon for over a decade before opening MCHLG.

She continued her education by completing Montessori Philosophy and Methods of Child Development through the Extended Studies Program at UCSD.

Ms. Denise holds a degree in Photography from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. In 2014, she became a Certified Barton Reading and Spelling Tutor for Dyslexia and a Dyslexia Screener and Consultant. She is a member of the American Montessori Society (AMS), the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), and Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD).

Ms. Sophia
Ms. Sophia has a BA in Child Development from Point Loma Nazarene University and is working toward her Montessori teacher certification. During high school, she worked in the classroom for her Child Development internship, and she continued teaching while she attended university.

The name “Montessori” is from Dr. Maria Montessori, the first female Doctor of Medicine in Italy, who lived from 1870 to 1952. Dr. Montessori developed her unique educational method through her work with children, known as the Montessori Method, which is both a philosophy of child development and a rationale for guiding such growth. Children’s developmental needs are fostered through freedom within limits in a carefully prepared environment, which guarantees exposure to materials and experiences.

The main premises of Montessori education are:
  • Children possess unusual sensitivity and intellectual ability to absorb and learn from their environments, unlike adults both in quality and capacity.
  • The most critical years of a child’s growth are the first six years of life when their unconscious learning comes to a conscious level.

"Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed."  -Maria Montessori

The Whole Child Approach: The primary goal of a Montessori program is to help the children reach their full potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth, physical coordination, and mental preparation.
The Prepared Environment: In the self-directed classroom, the whole learning environment (classroom, materials, and social setting) must support the children.
The Montessori Materials: Dr. Montessori’s observations led her to design several multi-sensory, sequential, and self-correcting materials to facilitate learning.
The Teacher: The Montessori teacher is a meticulous observer of each child’s behavior and growth. Through their observation, they guide the child in an environment designed to meet the needs of each child. Montessori credentialing requires years of extensive training.

Dr. Montessori has impacted education and how we understand and teach children today. Her influence can be seen not only in the number of schools that bear her name but throughout the fields of child care, education, and child development.

Modern kindergarten classrooms use child-sized furniture and didactic materials first introduced by Montessori. She was an innovator in education, and ideas once met with resistance in her day are now accepted as natural aspects of childhood. Many of her ideas are now part of our knowledge, language, and thinking about children.

Such current concepts as individualized learning and readiness programs, manipulative learning, ungraded classes, combined age groups, team teaching, and open classrooms reflect many of her early insights.

Practical Life

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Montessori Children’s House of Lemon Grove is proud to have met the qualifications required by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) under Child Care Aware® of America for our Military Families.


  • We are an approved facility for Operation Military Child Care (OMCC). The OMCC program provides fee assistance for Families of Sailors who are deployed or attached to a ship. It also assists geographically dispersed Marines and activated Reservists living more than 30 miles from an installation. 


  • We also received approval for Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood (MCCYN). For this program, Montessori Children’s House of Lemon Grove had to meet additional high-quality standards on top of the requirements needed for OMCC. 
  • The MCCYN program provides fee assistance for families of Active Duty Sailors who cannot access on-installation child care. It also assists geographically dispersed Marines and activated Reservists living more than 30 miles from an installation. Families living within 30 miles or 45 minutes of on-installation child care must be on the waitlist before applying for fee assistance.

Please note: While Montessori Children’s House of Lemon Grove made considerable effort to receive these certifications, we are not affiliated with the military. Any aid received will be applied to tuition, but tuition is due in full regardless of whether your request for fee assistance is granted.


The Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic guidelines will be updated as data and information change. We stay up-to-date through the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Provider Information Notices (PIN). We also attend ongoing County Health telebriefings. 

With this information and guidelines, MCHLG is following, and will continue to follow, the most current laws, mandates, requirements, and recommendations issued by Federal, State, and local authorities. 

The expectation is for participants in our preschool program to do the same to ensure general safety and well-being.


We believe all children should feel safe at school, and children learn that they cannot engage in actions that hurt themselves, others, or the school. Safety is always our priority, especially for our outside play. We use positive, proactive statements such as “Please walk to get your lunch.” instead of “Stop running!”

We encourage the children to work out their differences with each other. When needed, we will help mediate their disagreements, showing them how to talk to each other to resolve their problem. Children are discouraged from “tattling” and encouraged to give their friends a chance to right the situation. Many disagreements and hurt feelings come from misunderstood intentions. Forcing a child to say, “I’m sorry,” does not settle conflicts.

Here is an example of a disagreement and how we would handle it.
Situation: Aaron unknowingly hits Beatrice with his mat when he puts away his work. Beatrice becomes upset and tells a teacher Aaron hit her. 

If the teacher only comforts Beatrice, Beatrice is not learning how to handle future problems. If the teacher decides to jump in and punish Aaron prematurely, that resolution is unfair.

Instead, the teacher can work with Beatrice to help her talk with Aaron. Beatrice could start with the statement, “Aaron, you hit me with your mat.” Since Aaron did not realize this at the time, he may become defensive and upset, “No, I didn’t!” This is a vital teaching moment. By helping Aaron understand that he accidentally hit Beatrice, his response to Beatrice can change to “I’m sorry, Beatrice. I didn’t know I hit you with my mat. Are you alright?” He may offer a hug or a tissue for her tears. Beatrice has learned to speak up for herself and knows how to handle a future problem with a friend. She has given a friend the opportunity to right a situation and, by doing that, has had her injury acknowledged. Beatrice can now thank Aaron for his sincere apology and move on with her day. 

At some time, all children exhibit behavior that needs correcting. However, not all children can be disciplined the same way due to age, the frequency of the behavior, length of time spent in the environment, and child’s personality. The main points used in disciplining a child at Montessori Children’s House of Lemon Grove are:

•A child must understand what behavior is acceptable before being expected to follow that behavior.

The school rules are explained to the children as they learn the school expectations.

•A child must be able to follow the rules.

As they grow in age, the children also grow to follow the school rules.

•Behavioral choices lead to consequences.

Giving consequences is to teach a lesson that leads to positive choices.  It encourages self-examination, accepting responsibility for ones’ actions, the ability to learn from mistakes, and the development of an inner voice of self-control.  

Spanking, hitting, slapping, shaking, verbal or emotional abuse are not permitted.

Working for a child’s success is essential for classroom management, including anticipating a child’s behavior. Moving children closer to a teacher, reminding them of the rules before starting an activity, helping them express themselves with their words to voice their feelings, and acknowledging improved behavior are ways we discipline them. 

If a child continues a hurtful or dangerous behavior, we will separate them from the group until they can control their actions. A teacher will sit near them, and when they feel ready to rejoin the group, the teacher will help them after first talking about the situation and reminding them of the rules. The teacher will help them make amends (if needed) to any friend they might have hurt with their actions or words. We do not use the term “time out.”


Morning Arrival: 8:00-8:30 
Afternoon Dismissal: 2:30-3:00


Afterschool care is available 3:00-4:00 at $12 an hour. Advance notice of care is needed.


The School Year is from the last week of August through the 4th week of June. 

  • MCHLG observes most legal holidays and is closed for two weeks for Winter Break and one week for Spring Break. Also, MCHLG is closed for one week at the end of the School Year and two weeks at the end of Summer Camp.

Summer Camp is for six weeks, starting at the beginning of July. 


The School Year tuition is a yearly rate divided into ten monthly payments for convenience. 

5 DaysM-F$10,200 yearly, ten monthly payments of $1,020
Total days of school for 5-day schedule: 195
3 DaysM-W-F $7,800 yearly, ten monthly payments of $780
          Total days of school for 3-day schedule: 113
2 DaysT-Th$6,240 yearly, ten monthly payments of $624
Total days of school for 2-day schedule: 79

The Summer Camp tuition is $250 per week or any particular day at $50 per day

  • Open Enrollment begins in April for the Upcoming School Year. Siblings and those on the waitlist are given priority.
  • Summer Camp is for currently enrolled students or new students starting the School Year.
  • We usually cannot take mid-year admissions, but you can inquire if we have space.
  • Think ahead! Our school fills up quickly.

1. Review! Review! Review!

Review this website. School hours, calendar, location, pricing, and most importantly, Montessori Methodology information are all available on this website.

2. Looks good! 

After reviewing the website and deciding that our school will be a good fit for your family, you need to contact the school.

3. Contact us! 

You can reach us by filling out the Contact Form on this website.

4. Questions! 

Our website is extensive, but if you don’t find the answer to your question, let us know on the contact form.

5. Visit! 

You can schedule a tour for you and your child. If you don't want to visit but do have questions, refer back to Step 4.

6. Waitlist! 

Open Enrollment for those on the waitlist will begin in April. To secure a place on the waitlist, a school visit is required. 

7. Visit other schools! 

We love our school and all that we offer, but we encourage you to visit other schools for comparison. We know finding a good fit for your family is essential.

Please note: we do not allow unannounced “walk-in” visits. Prospective parents must make an appointment to visit the school.

However, parents with children currently enrolled in our school have the legal right to enter the school unannounced at any time. This is the law, but it would be our policy regardless.

 Annual visits from state licensing and safety inspections from the fire department are always unannounced. When they arrive, they have complete access to the school.

  • 8121 Braddock Place, San Diego, CA 92114
  •  Arrival between 8:00-8:30am Dismissal between 2:30-3:00pm

  • Yes!! Our license also allows for children who still require the use of diapers or pull-up, and we help with transitioning to bathroom independence when they are ready.
  • We accept children 2 to 5 years old.
  • Our hours are arrival between 8:00-8:30am and dismissal between 2:30-3:00pm.
  • Afterschool care is available from 3:00-4:00 at $12 an hour. Advanced notice of care is needed.
  • You must have documentation of your child’s up-to-date immunizations. 
  • There are no exceptions to this rule.
  • 3 Polio
  • 4 Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP) 
  • 3 Hepatitis B
  • 1 Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) on or after the 1st birthday
  • 1 Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) on or after the 1st birthday
  • 1 Varicella (chickenpox)
  • We are licensed for 12 children per day.
  • The teacher-student ratio is 1:6.
  • We have one mixed-age classroom.
  • Yes. Children bring a packed lunch from home. Look at our Parent Handbook for some lunch ideas.
  • If your child is enrolled at the school, you can enter the school any time you want. This is your legal right.
  • However, we do not allow unannounced "walk-in" visits from prospective parents. Those parents must make an appointment to visit the school.
Yes! Ms. Denise's favorite dinosaur is a Deinonychus! And Ms. Sophia likes Ankylosaurus! We learn all about dinosaurs during Summer Camp!