About Us

Stepping Stone Montessori School

Come & Feel The Difference

Stepping Stone Montessori School fosters independence, confidence, critical thinking abilities, and creativity in a warm and welcoming environment. Our hands-on, ‘whole child’ approach supports each student’s unique qualities and individual learning style for a learning experience that’s compelling, effective, and fun!

✅ Accredited Montessori Teachers
✅ Mixed-age Classroom
✅ Quality Rated Program
✅ Low Student-to-Teacher Ratio
✅ Natural Play Areas
✅ Parent Involvement
✅ Hands-on Learning
✅ Before & Aftercare
✅ Personalized & Flexible Approach
✅ Friendly & Collaborative Environment

Now accepting applications for children from 6 weeks through elementary ages.

Our History Book Your Tour Today

The Director’s Message


Stepping Stone Montessori School

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about Stepping Stone Montessori School. Each day at our school is an exciting new opportunity to enrich the minds of our students, and we hope your child will join us.

Stepping Stone Montessori School welcomes students regardless of race, gender, or national and ethnic origin and is non-discriminatory in all our policies. We accept children between the ages of 6 weeks and 9 years old.

There are no specific academic entrance requirements; however, we base admission decisions on many factors, especially your child’s age and suitability for our program.

Please contact us regarding availability for your child and to schedule your personal tour of our school. We will be happy to answer your questions and provide additional information about our educational programs.

Kind regards,

Stepping Stone Montessori School

How Stepping Stone Montessori was born

Stepping Stone Montessori is more than just a school; it’s a testament to the enduring power of love and the transformative spirit of education. Born from the memory of Uday, Aparna’s cherished brother and Nikhil’s beloved brother-in-law, the school embodies the values that defined his brief but extraordinary life.

Uday, tragically lost at the young age of 25, left behind a legacy of academic excellence and entrepreneurial ambition. A graduate with honors at just 22, he was already contributing to his family’s successful textile business. His passing deeply affected those who knew and loved him, prompting Aparna and Nikhil to seek a way to honor his memory and spirit.

From this deeply personal journey emerged Stepping Stone Montessori. Inspired by Uday’s first school experiences at the age of two, the school aims to nurture children with the same foundational values that enriched his life: love, respect, care, education, and growth.

Stepping Stone Montessori is not merely an institution; it’s a living testament to the love and respect that Uday’s family holds for him and the values he exemplified. Everything from the curriculum to the school’s ethos reflects a commitment to fostering these values in future generations.

This is not just a school; it’s a journey of remembrance, love, and the belief that every child deserves a stepping stone to a brighter future.

Our Mission & Goals

Nurturing Future Leaders: Stepping Stone Montessori School guides each child towards a fulfilling future by fostering essential virtues: kindness, self-discipline, critical thinking, self-reliance, and self-esteem.

Unleashing Potential: We maximize each child’s potential through engaging, creative programs, collaborative partnerships, and dedicated staff.

Cultivating Responsible Citizens: Our nurturing environment instills respect and responsibility for oneself, others, and the surrounding world. Graduates emerge equipped with the skills and commitment to make a positive impact on society, while embracing lifelong learning.

Empowering Families: We partner with families to holistically develop each child’s intellectual, social, emotional, and physical potential. Stepping Stone Montessori Schools delivers a high-quality program adhering to the rigorous standards of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), American Montessori Society (AMS), and Georgia State.

Our Staff

Our teachers are what make every day special for our children. Our teachers are creative, understanding, and passionate. They work with families to create every child’s own success story. SSMS is very proud to introduce you to our Administrative team. All of our Lead Teachers are Montessori trained/certified and experienced.

+ Aparna A Banka (Founder)

Hailing from India, Ms. Aparna brings a wealth of cultural perspective and academic excellence to her role. She completed her undergraduate studies in her home country before furthering her education with a Master’s degree from Birmingham University in the UK. In 2003, she embarked on a new chapter in the US, where she diligently pursued and obtained her CPA certification.

Montessori education has held a special place in Ms. Aparna’s heart for many years. Her son, now thriving in middle school, benefited greatly from his immersion in the Montessori environment throughout his early childhood years. Witnessing its profound impact fueled her aspiration to establish Stepping Stone Montessori (SSMS).

Tragically, the institute bears the name of Ms. Aparna’s beloved brother, whose memory serves as a constant source of inspiration. Every aspect of SSMS reflects the love, care, and commitment she pours into nurturing a bright future for children.

Balancing her leadership at SSMS with the success of her separate apparel business, Ms. Aparna exemplifies dedication, resilience, and a passion for shaping young minds.


+ Elizabeth Ashworth (Suwanee Director)

Ms. Elizabeth Ashworth brings a wealth of experience and dedication to her role as Director of the Sugar Hill Campus. With over 24 years in the Montessori field, she is a passionate advocate for its philosophy and its ability to empower young minds.

A native of Georgia, Ms. Ashworth currently resides in Flowery Branch with her husband of 34 years. They are the proud parents of two sons who themselves benefitted from a Montessori education.

In her own words, Ms. Ashworth expresses her love for children and her journey in Montessori:

“I began working in Montessori in 1998, and over the last decade, I fell deeply in love with its approach. I have had the privilege of teaching in a variety of Montessori settings before fulfilling my dream of contributing to the Sugar Hill Campus community.”

Ms. Ashworth’s passion lies in fostering independent learners and nurturing future leaders. Her dedication is evident in her pursuit of further qualifications, holding certifications in Infant, Toddler, and Primary education, and nearing completion of her Elementary certification.

“As Early Childhood Educators,” Ms. Ashworth states, “we have the profound opportunity to shape the future, one child at a time. I am grateful to be a part of this journey and to support children in their growth and discovery of a lifelong love of learning.”


+ Cathy Mauragas (Cumming Director)

With over 40 years of experience in preschool education and childcare, Ms. Cathy brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her role. Having served as a teacher in every classroom setting, she possesses a deep understanding of child development across all stages. For the past 25+ years, she has leveraged this expertise as a Director, fostering a nurturing and stimulating environment for students.

Ms. Cathy is a firm believer in the transformative power of early childhood education. She recognizes the first five years as a critical period for laying the foundation for future success. Throughout her career, she has championed a holistic approach that embraces each child’s individuality, fostering their natural talents and nurturing essential life skills. This philosophy emphasizes character building, self-esteem, and independence, equipping young minds with the tools they need to thrive.

By effectively communicating her vision and collaborating with her team, Ms. Cathy has cultivated a community where children feel valued and empowered. Her dedication to excellence has made her a respected leader in the field, leaving a lasting positive impact on countless young lives.


Experience why our children are HAPPY to learn!