“The cohort system, where older children help teach younger ones, is like having a reading buddy – not for an hour once or twice a week – but all day long. It’s really effective.” Primary Parent.

During these years, your child absorbs information effortlessly. That’s why the Primary classrooms at Mountains Shadows are filled with an array of colorful, exciting, and stimulating Montessori materials. Children in the Primary classes are encouraged to move, touch, and explore their classroom. This carefully prepared classroom environment encourages discovery and fosters your child’s development of independence, concentration, sequential thought, and controlled physical movement.

We encourage sensory development, introduce math and language concepts, and help the children develop the practical skills they need in everyday life. We enrich this curriculum with an assortment of cultural explorations.

Practical Life

Activities develop independence and self-direction. Pouring, sweeping, folding, buttoning—with these activities children learn to become more independent and feel proud that they can do things for themselves. Children learn to say “excuse me” and “thank you” and to make requests politely. Classroom maintenance becomes, by and large, the children’s responsibility as they put materials away and care for plants and animals.


Materials in each classroom clarify and refine the five senses. Sensory experiences include, for example, matching color tablets, comparing sound cylinders, and discriminating different textures. This refinement helps children make finer distinctions and sharpens their perceptual skills.

Mathematic Exploration

Uses concrete objects to demonstrate abstract ideas. This means your child will learn not only counting, but also how many items constitute a quantity, what numbers are even and odd and, at later stages, what it means to subtract or divide. The mathematical concepts built at this level help your child make sense of the world of numbers and provide the foundation for more complex mathematical operations.

Language in the Primary Classroom

More than just learning to read and write. Language is an investigation of our cultural world, defining  particular sounds, letters, vocabulary, and usage. We present vocabularies of animal and plant names and how words function in our speech. Your child will also analyze sounds in our speech, match those sounds to letters, and use the letters to compose words and sentences using the movable alphabet materials.

Cultural Experiences

Includes art, music, geography, and the beginnings of history, botany, and zoology. These areas of study help children orient themselves in the world around them. Art, music, movement, and a variety of cultural activities are an integral part of this joyful learning experience.

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Mountain Shadows Montessori School offers AMI programs for students 12 months to 12 years old.

...So, what is AMI?

Association Montessori Internationale

AMI is the organization that is tasked with the responsibility of maintaining the integrity of Maria Montessori's legacy. Mountain Shadows and AMI share a mission to support children's natural development and to help them become the transformative force of society.

This comes with a commitment to a standard of excellence, defined by...


Rigorous and extensive training

including the study of child development and a deep understanding of the Montessori materials to assist the teacher in creating the environment necessary for this work.


Three-year age ranges

within each classroom that allow children to work at their own pace and level of development.


Extended work time,

including a three hour uninterrupted work cycle.


Upholding international standards

through expert consultation every three years and regular and ongoing study of pedagogy and practice.

For your child, this means...


Whether it's digging in the dirt or discovering the universe.


Whether it's speaking your mind or learning to speak up.


Whether it's composing a song or coming up with a big idea.


Whether it's for ourselves or for others.


Whether it's work or play.

Critical Thinking

Whether it's studying science or solving a problem.


Whether it's doing your part or doing what's right.


Whether it's planning your day or preparing your own lunch.


Whether it's deciding together or sharing the work.


Whether it's supporting your friends or saving the planet.

This is what Mountain Shadows means for your child.