Westabou Montessori School was the brainchild of Margaret Strickland, who dreamed of a place where children and families could attend a healing and transformative school regardless of their ability to pay. Margaret, a trained Montessori teacher, opened the school in 2016 with a small cohort of Children's House preschool students in the Harrisburg neighborhood of Augusta, an underserved community where generational poverty often created barriers to children receiving a quality education. "Westabou" is the indigenous name for the Savannah River, given by the Westo first nation people.
The school was focused on creating a peaceful, home-like environment to nurture young minds and assist families struggling to meet their basic needs. Kids who struggled in the public school system were able to thrive in a Montessori environment where they had freedom of movement and expression, beautifully curated environments, and limitless learning opportunities.
Just as the school got off the ground, tragedy struck. The 160-year-old church that housed the school burned down due to an electrical fire, leaving the school and its families displaced. The fire destroyed the original sanctuary and severely damaged the classroom. Margaret reached out to the community for help.
Another neighborhood organization, Icebox Urban Farms, reached out and offered to house the school while the restoration of Saint Luke Church was completed. Icebox was a campus a few blocks away that included a wonderland of organic gardens, a 100-year-old greenhouse, and a farming co-op. This was a beautiful place where the school grew and grew, eventually building an elementary program. WMS spent nearly 2 years at Icebox until the construction was complete at Saint Luke.
For the past 5 years, WMS has been back in the newly renovated Saint Luke Church campus. Although they are not religiously affiliated, they have been great partners in support of one another's mission to help children in the surrounding community. Over time, WMS has grown to include a toddler classroom, two primary classrooms, two elementary classrooms (lower and upper), and an adolescent program. We are accredited by the Georgia Accrediting Commission.