Montessori school

Renovations will soon begin on the building at 614 N. First St. in downtown Mebane. The space will be home to Children’s Garden Montessori School.

Brandi Austin recognized a need in the city she’s called home for the last seven years, and she’s excited about the opportunity to combine two of her passions to fill a void.

“I adore Mebane, and I’ve seen it grow so much in the last few years,” Austin said. “And I really think Mebane deserves to have an authentic, quality Montessori program.”

A licensed Montessori teacher for nine years, Austin decided to step out on her own, and will open Children’s Garden Montessori School at 614 N. First St. in Mebane. Enrollment has begun, and she expects the school will be ready in August. Classes will be offered for toddler, which is 18 months to three years; and primary, which is three to six-years-old.

Initially, Austin said, the school will have four fully trained Montessori teachers on staff for the the two classes. But she said another class could be added. “If we get a lot of enrollment, then we’ll open a second primary class, so it will be a total of six teachers.”

To meet teacher/student ratio requirements, the toddler class is capped at 12 kids, while the primary class can go up to 20 students.

The school will be the first business venture for Austin, and she’s already getting a positive response from folks who know about her plans. 

“We just opened an account for the school,” she said, “And even the woman at the bank was like, ‘This is going to be so great for Mebane. I’m so glad you’re doing this.’ That’s the feedback that we’re getting from everyone, so it’s really encouraging.”

Austin said her own daughter has been raised with Montessori schooling, and credits her inquisitive nature and scientific brain to the philosophy. 

“What’s great about Montessori is the children are constructing their own knowledge,” she said. “The teachers are really there to connect them to the materials and there’s such a focus on autonomy. It’s pretty amazing. I typically get through all four operations with my kindergarteners, so they get through division by the end of the year. They’re writing words and making little booklets. Every child is on their own path and we meet them where they are.”

Austin said she had some difficulty finding a space that would work for her school, and even looked outside of Mebane, inquiring about places in Hillsborough and Burlington. Ultimately, though, Mebane was where she wanted to have her school. She happened upon a vacant building in the Oak Manor Market shopping center near the city’s downtown.

Austin then connected with Emilee Collins of Durham-based Pickett Sprouse, which represented her in leasing the property. The 2,880-square-foot building will undergo renovations, but much of the upfits will center on creating a playground with fencing.

Children’s Garden Montessori School will be a full-day, 10-month school, and its calendar will mostly mirror the schedule followed by Alamance/Burlington Schools System. Tuition for the half-day toddler program is $7,000/year, while the full-day toddler program is $8,750/year. Cost of the full-day primary enrollment is $9,000/year. Austin said the school will offer before- and after-school programs for additional fees.

For more information about Children’s Garden Montessori School, go to