A Little First Steps History

As Maria Montessori once stated, “The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind”. Today, Montessori classrooms are rich environments filled with great activity, learning, and excitement. Heading into its 25th year, First Steps Montessori School opened its doors as a mission of St. John the Divine. The school first began in 1996, incorporating the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. First Steps at the time consisted of about 70 children, a total of five classes ranging from infant to early childhood (6 months to 6 years old). In May 1999, Suzanne Gusemano became the Head of School. The school classrooms slowly evolved and became more child-friendly with low sinks, new furniture and shelves, and Montessori materials. First Steps has grown to accommodate 125 children with a total of seven classrooms: four early childhood classes (3-6 years) and three toddler classes (18 months – 3 years). After leading First Steps for 22 years, Suzanne recently retired and passed the reins to Tara Cavaliere as the new Head of School.

Although First Steps is one of many Montessori Schools in Houston, it is extremely unique, with an outstanding reputation for ‘true’ Montessori philosophy. The faculty at First Steps Montessori School consists of American Montessori credentialed Infant/Toddler and Early Childhood instructors. Our certified teachers are each leading educators in the Houston community with 16-31 years of experience. First Steps Montessori School is now a full member of American Montessori Society which reaches every country in the world. When our children graduate from our program, they are truly prepared for their next step.

One of the many benefits of being a mission of St. John the Divine is the daily opportunity to engage with the clergy. The church takes on a new role of support, offering endless opportunities to engage. The faculty, staff, and children embrace daily prayer, weekly chapel, and opportunities within the classroom catechesis materials. Our community cannot help but benefit from this holy space and these wonderfully skilled teachers as we are aware of God and his presence within our hearts and our classrooms.


First Steps Montessori School utilizes the Montessori Method to provide a personalized education that meets each child's physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. With the careful creation of a safe and nurturing environment and developmentally appropriate materials, our school enables each child to grow to their fullest potential. Learn more about the school here.