About Maria Montessori
International Academy 

In 2001, Maria Montessori International Academy (MMIA) opened its doors in Carmel, Zionsville, and Indianapolis as one of the first private schools in Indiana to offer an authentic Montessori education. Vivian Cain, MMIA founder, and lead directress was inspired to provide Indianapolis, Carmel, and Zionsville-area children with the same educational environment used to encouraged children to flourish in an Italy school more than a century ago.

That earlier school environment, established by Dr. Maria Montessori in 1907, has since been proven to nurture the whole child in real life, allowing each Montessori student to fully develop through exploration. Studies have shown that Montessori students excel in reading, math, science, independent thinking and innovation. 

To meet community demand, MMIA expanded over the years. In addition to its original location in a charming historical house on Indianapolis’ northside, MMIA has locations in Zionsville and Carmel. Each school features bright, nature-filled settings, Montessori-certified learning tools, low student-to-teacher ratios, Spanish-immersion lessons, specialized musical programs, and Montessori programs designed for children from infancy to elementary school.

The Montessori Method

At MMIA, we are committed to the methods established by Dr. Maria Montessori. Within just a few years of her starting this innovative learning environment, educators around the world were recognizing the progress made by Montessori students. MMIA adheres to the traditional Montessori method which features: 

Independent learning: An MMIA classroom encourages children to learn and play independently, and in small and large groups. Children are able to move about freely, choosing activities that interest them. Teachers help guide their work.

Montessori-certified teachers: Each of our teachers have been certified in the Montessori method and has earned a bachelor’s degree and/or master’s degree in education. 

Child-focused environment: All items are scaled to the child’s size, including furniture, shelves, utensils, dishware, cleaning implements and Montessori materials.

Community-oriented: In Montessori, there is not a “front of the classroom.” This reinforces that the teacher is not the focus of the children’s attention. The class operates as a community. MMIA is a child-centered environment. 

Engaging environment: Each MMIA school is accented with bright colors, natural materials, plants, interesting art, and cultural objects, which are all designed to provide children with a complex sensory and intellectually stimulating environment. As soon as they enter the school, children are immediately engaged. They realize a Montessori environment is designed specifically for them. It’s their space to explore.

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MMIA & The Montessori Principles

Our MMIA Carmel, Zionsville, and Indianapolis community realizes that Montessori principles are at the heart of a child’s ability to learn. They are key to navigating real-life experiences, allowing a child to develop at his or her own speed and based on his or her own capacities.


In an MMIA environment, each child is recognized as unique individuals with unique learning styles. As such, our teachers respect children as they guide them to respect other children, adults and the materials in their environment. 


With a Montessori education at MMIA, your child will have the ability to discover answers for themselves. It’s one of the most important steps toward helping your child establish a lifelong love of learning and problem-solving. 


Early on, you will see your child express the desire to “do it myself” as part of a natural human response. At MMIA, we encourage children to navigate the world around them while giving them the freedom to ask for help “to do it myself!” 

A brief history, Maria Montessori

Our family
is excited to meet your family.

We are excited at the prospect of welcoming your child to our community. We understand the importance of this decision. It sets the foundation for your child’s life. We encourage you to explore MMIA to help you make that decision. Contact us for a tour, a conversation or our informative newsletter.

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