The purpose of Misty Mountain Learning
Academy is to provide a nurturing and safe Montessori-based
environment in which children can feel comfortable and
secure to grow and learn to their fullest potential. We believe
that children have the right to develop to their maximum
abilities and that teachers have the responsibility to provide
opportunities for this development to occur.
We believe that each child is an individual and that each child
must be allowed to develop at his/her own pace. We accept and
respect differences between children including developmental and
physical differences and differences in racial and ethnic
heritage. Every child regardless of sex, race, religion or
ethnic origin must have the same opportunities and advantages as
every other child.
We believe that each child has the right to develop a positive
self-image and to feel good about who they are. We hope that in
treating each child with love and respect that they in turn will
earn to treat others with that same love and respect.
We believe that children learn best through active participation
with their environment and that the teacher's job is to provide
a variety of opportunities and experiences to promote growth in
all areas. our Montessori program provides curricula in which
children can learn through the use of their senses, progress
through the stages of development at their own individual rate,
and provide stimulation for all areas of development. Our
environment allows for creative exploration and provides an
atmosphere wherein success and failure are experienced in a
positive and accepting manner.
KAREN de ALWIS, DIRECTOR
Karen de Alwis and the Misty Mountain Learning Academy
Karen is the owner and director of the Misty Mountain Learning
Academy. After learning Political Science at the University of
Southwest Louisiana in 1982, she began working as a teacher at
the Stepping Stones Montessori Academy in Gretna, Louisiana.
While working at Stepping Stones, she concurrently studied at
the Montessori World Education Institute, earning a diploma in
Primary Montessori Education in 1987. By 1988 when her daughter
Ronalie was born, Karen was serving as a director at Stepping
Stones, a position that she held until 1992, when she began to
teach only part time after the birth of her first son, Jehan.
In 1996, when her family moved to Sri Lanka, Karen helped to
start a charitable foundation to provide educational services
and a library to both underprivileged children and their
parents. She would work with the foundation throughout the
school year teaching English and computer use, while travelling
to Burien, Washington, from June to August to run the summer
program for the Creative Minds pre-school academy there.
In 2004, Karen also began consulting part time under the
Regional Security Office of the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, helping
to devise and run systems for the children of diplomats from
several embassies to be safely transported to and from school
with respect to the threats presented by Sri Lanka's ongoing
civil war. While working for the embassy, Karen also
obtained a diploma in teaching Learning Disabilities to primary
school children from the Vocational Training Institute. She
supervised the children's transportation program until 2009,
when she began working full time as a Liaison Officer for U.S.
Ambassador Patricia Butenis, managing diplomatic events and the
In April 2010, Karen moved to Puyallup and purchased the Misty
Mountain Learning Academy. Since moving to Puyallup, Karen has
become a member of the Family Childcare Association of Pierce
County (FCCAPC), the Washington Association for the Education of
Young Children (WAEYC), the National Association for the
Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the North American
Montessori Teacher Association (NAMTA) and the Pacific Northwest
Montessori Association (PNMA).
Karen is excited by the prospect of continuing Misty Mountain's
decades long tradition as one of the leading learning academies
for young children in the South Hill~Puyallup area, and is
constantly pondering new and contemporary ways of unlocking the
creative talents of young children and guiding them to reach the
peak of their potential.