About Us

imageWelcome to DANDY LION MONTESSORI SCHOOL, the premiere authentic Montessori preschool in the Five Cities area of SLO County, on the Central Coast of California. Children aged 2 1/2 to 6 years-old learn how to learn in our specially prepared environment, generally having learned to read, write, and do four figure math by the time they are five and would traditionally just be attending Kindergarten. If you do not know about the Montessori Method of education, treat yourself to a tour of our facility to see the amazing process for yourself.

Below you will find a brief History of our school, our current Goals, and an introduction to our Staff.


The DANDY LION PRESCHOOL was established in 1981 by the Veness family, and has earned an excellent reputation serving the community for many years in 1996. The Veness’ retired in November of 1996 when Ann Balasuriya and Dave Hunter purchased the school to provide a location for Ann’s Montessori Teacher-Training Institute on the Central Coast. By January of 1997, the Rainbow Room was converted into a Montessori Prepared Environment and the name of the school was slightly revised to DANDY LION MONTESSORI SCHOOL to reflect the change to a Montessori program.

In early 1998 the Sunshine Room too was converted to a lovely montessori classroom as the need arose. When the 98/99 academic year began, both classrooms were fully functioning Montessori classes. With little advertising, the stellar word-of-mouth reputation of Dandy Lion kept our program functioning at capacity up until today.

Ann established the program, trained the teachers and kept the program fine tuned, while Dave managed the office. After hiring an office manager several years ago, Dave resigned from active management of the school. Dave has now retired completely and plans to go fishing, though he will still make classroom materials for the children.


Our primary goal has always been to earn and maintain the reputation as the very best preschool in our community with the best trained credentialed, Montessori teachers in the area. We achieved that status in our first year as a Montessori school, and work hard to maintain it.

We do not spend a lot of money on advertising, and count on the progress of our children and the satisfaction of our parents to disseminate our reputation word-of-mouth. Considering it our best promotion, we continue to endeavor to earn parent’s trust and goodwill.

Valuing diversity in our program, we cater to working parents as well as those who value a Montessori program for educational reasons, and unlike most Montessori schools, we welcome CAPSLO subsidized children and all parents who value the Montessori program for educational reasons.