History and Mission

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Our Mission and Vision


To discover the child in inclusive Montessori environments and inspire a movement for educating the human potential.

Our mission is the guiding force behind what we do, every day, with every child, and every family.  We feel strongly that all children deserve a quality education, beginning at an early age, 0-6, a critical time for brain development.

How Family Star Began


“We had small beginnings back in 1991, with only a few children and students.  But we had the vision to become a leader in early childhood education through uncompromising Montessori teachings.  Here we are, over 20 years later, and we have succeeded.”

Dr. Martha Urioste, Founder

Dr. Martha Urioste, Founder

In the late 1980s, Mitchell Montessori School was located in Northeast Denver, a blighted and poverty stricken neighborhood.  Across the street from the school was a vacant rental unit, which was deteriorating and becoming a haven for drug users.

A group of passionate parents and educators, determined to stop the decline of their community and provide their young children with a healthy future, formed Family Star as a 501(c)(3) organization in 1988. With strong community support, they were able to purchase and renovate the vacant rental unit and sent five women from the neighborhood to The Montessori Institute to become certified Montessori teachers for infants and toddlers.  Family Star opened its doors in January 1991 with a goal to serve children from birth through three years.

In 1995, Family Star served 54 children and was chosen as one of only 17 centers nationwide to participate in a new Early Head Start program for children 0–3 years old.  Family Star was awarded 75 Early Head Start slots and opened a second center in Northwest Denver in 1997 to meet the needs of the growing program.

In 2001, Family Star expanded again with a new Primary building at the Northeast Center serving children ages 3-6.  A structural addition to the Northwest Center in 2005 created a Primary classroom.  By this time, Family Star served 140 children at two Denver centers.

Over the past 26 years, Family Star has become a thriving early childhood education provider serving Denver’s Northeast and Northwest communities with innovative programming. Today, we serve over 300 children annually through a variety of program options and effectively unify the best practices of Montessori education with robust comprehensive services typically integrated into Head Start programs.

Support our mission by giving to the Dr. Martha Urioste Scholarship fund, helping families in need of tuition assistance. Click the button below, and designate “Dr. Martha Urisote Scholarship” when you donate.