Who We Are » Who We Are

Who We Are

The mission of Chesterfield Day School is to provide a personalized education of unparalleled excellence
for students of diverse backgrounds.

Our Vision

Through meaningful work, Chesterfield Day School students will develop  fundamental skills, think creatively and critically, identify and solve complex problems of the world, express themselves to the community, and grow in character.

Our Values

  • Excellence: Endeavor to be the best we can be in our work and in our character
  • Innovation: Actively pursue and integrate theories and solutions that are both rooted in knowledge and skill and inspired by foresight
  • Community: Foster a student-centered approach by encouraging a friendly, accepting, comfortable, and joy-filled environment
  • Diversity: Respect and honor the uniqueness of all peoples — a commitment that enriches us at every level of our shared experience

School History

CDS was born in 1962 as the first Montessori preschool in St. Louis. The innovative sprit required to create a new community based on a relatively unknown educational philosophy — in the midst of a world in great flux — required originality, creativity, and tenacity.

The same characteristics that define our beginnings continue to inspire us as we educate students from Toddler through Sixth Grade, preparing them for a world that demands of its most productive and successful minds an ever-evolving, rich set of skills and experiences. CDS’s robust start-to-finish education produces exceptional students of remarkable character who attend the secondary schools of their choice and lead meaningful adult lives in communities all over the world.

Major Accomplishments

1962 – Founded as the first Montessori preschool in the St. Louis area—St. Louis Montessori Academy by Mrs. Elna Amant

1971 – Becomes a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and begins serving students ages 6-9

1974 – Relocates to 1100 White Road in Chesterfield, allowing the school to add classes through Sixth Grade

1977 – The first Sixth Grade class graduates

1980 – Becomes affiliated with the American Montessori Society (AMS)

1982 – Accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS)

1983 – Addition to the building to increase preschool, K/1 classrooms and administrative offices

1984 – School changes its name to Chesterfield Day School

1987 – Addition to the building to increase 2nd/3rd grade and 4th/5th/6th grade classrooms

1989 – Second ISACS evaluation/accreditation

1991 – Purchased the “Little House” next to the White Road campus for expanded programs

1995 – Most recent addition to the White Road facility is completed, including additional space for the 4th/5th/and 6th grade program

1996 – Third ISACS evaluation/accreditation

2002 – Fourth ISACS evaluation/accreditation

2005 – Long-time Head of School Dr. Barb Fulton passes away after 30 years of service to CDS

2010 – Fifth ISACS evaluation/accreditation

2012 – CDS’s 50th Anniversary celebration

2017 – CDS graduates its 40th class of Sixth Graders!

2017 – Peggy Fiala named Head of School

School Facts

Our Community

  • Independent, coeducational, not-for-profit, serving students age 18 months through Sixth Grade
  • Founded in 1962 as the first Montessori school in St. Louis
  • 35 faculty, staff, and administration
  • 78% of our faculty hold advanced degrees
  • Average teaching experience = 17 years
  • 150 students age 18 months through Sixth Grade
  • Student/teacher ratio = 4:1 in Toddler, 8:1 in Preschool-Sixth Grade
  • 33% religious and ethnic student diversity
  • Families hail from more than 30 zip codes in the St. Louis area


  • Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS)
  • National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
  • American Montessori Society (AMS)
  • Independent Schools of St. Louis (ISSL)


  • 8.94 acres at 1100 White Road, Chesterfield, MO 63017

Program Hours

  • Full-day Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten-Sixth Grade: 8-8:15 a.m. to 3:15-3:30 p.m.
  • Half-day Toddler and Preschool: 8-8:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
  • Before- and After-Hours care available

Standardized Testing

CDS uses the Educational Records Bureau Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP 4) to assess efficacy of curriculum and relative student performance. The following graph compares the performance of our students with national and independent school norms over a three-year period, from 2014-2016.

Our students consistently outperform their independent school peers on standardized tests, positioning them for success in applying to the secondary schools of their choice.

Chesterfield Day Schools’ CTP-4 Scores vs. Independent School Norms Three-Year Average (2014-2016)


CDS Sixth Grade Secondary School Placement

Secondary School Placement

Our start-to-finish premier preparation yields graduates who are highly sought after by area secondary schools. According to administrators at these schools, what makes a CDS student unique and coveted are the following characteristics:

  • strong fundamental and 21st century skills
  • self-advocacy
  • high level of executive function
  • well roundedness
  • the ability to pick up on and absorb ideas/concepts that are introduced

All of the feedback we receive from area secondary schools indicates that we are preparing CDS students well to go on to the schools of their choosing — and that they are not only quickly fitting into these schools but leading others, too.