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Montessori Classroom Images

Welcome to St. Mary's Montessori

The Montessori curriculum at St. Mary School (SMS) is a rich, three-year program for children ages 3-6, that focuses on the core subject areas of Practical Life, Sensory Skills, Math, Language, Geography, and Science. Children learn in a self-paced, hands-on environment that is designed to meet their developmental needs.

Montessori Children’s House meets Monday through Friday as follows:

3 Year Olds:  Half Days, 7:50 AM – 11:00 AM

4 Year Olds:  Half Days, 7:50 AM – 11:00 AM
or  Full Days, 7:50 AM – 2:15 PM

5 Year Old Kindergarten: Full Days, 7:50 AM – 2:15 PM (the child must be 5 years old by 12/1 of current school year)

What is “Montessori”?

Montessori is an innovative, child centered approach to education, developed a century ago by the Catholic educator, physician, and scientist, Dr. Maria Montessori.  Working with inner-city children, Dr. Montessori was struck by how avidly they absorbed knowledge from their surroundings, exhibited calm, peaceful behavior, had periods of deep concentration, and a sense of order in caring for their environment. She observed that when children were provided with engaging, hands-on learning experiences, and learned to care for themselves and clean their environment, they absorbed knowledge from their surroundings, essentially teaching themselves. 

The goal of Montessori education is to foster a child’s natural inclination to learn.  Montessori teachers guide rather than instruct, linking each student with activities that meet his interests, needs, and developmental level. The classroom is designed to allow movement and collaboration while promoting concentration and a sense of order.

Unique learning materials beckon from accessible shelves, inviting small hands to take on new challenges, one concept or skill at a time.  Montessori education offers our children opportunities to develop their potential, setting the foundation for becoming engaged, competent, responsible, and respectful individuals with an understanding and appreciation that learning is for life! The tenets of a Montessori education include:

  • Each child is valued as a unique individual. Montessori education recognizes that children learn in different ways and accommodates all learning styles.

  • Students learn at their own pace, each advancing through the curriculum as ready, guided by the teacher and with an individualized learning plan.

  • Coordination, concentration, and independence are developed over the course of the school year as each skill, or piece of work is introduced, learned, and mastered.

  • Students are part of a close, caring community. The multi-age classroom comprised of 3 – 6 year olds re-creates a family structure.  Older students enjoy being role models while younger children feel supported and gain confidence.  Teachers model respect, loving kindness, and a belief in peaceful conflict resolution.

  • Choice and freedom within limits results in joyous learning that is sustainable over a lifetime. Teachers provide an environment where students have the freedom and the tools to pursue answers to their own questions.

  • Self-correction and self-assessment are an integral part of the Montessori classroom approach.

Given the freedom and support to question, explore thoroughly, and make connections, Montessori students become confident, enthusiastic, self-directed learners.

What makes St. Mary School's Montessori Program unique?

The SMS Montessori Children’s House is different from other Montessori programs in our area, in that SMS Montessori students and parents are part of our preschool - grade 8 family! In addition to their rich Montessori curriculum students can expect to experience the following:

  • Weekly instruction in Art, Music, Spanish, and Physical Education from specialized teachers

  • Catholic virtues and faith throughout the day

  • Access to after school care through Just for Kids

  • School-wide service projects

  • Christmas and spring concerts

  • School assemblies

  • Peer mentoring time with middle school students twice a month

  • Access to our beautiful gymnasium and school playground, which has right-sized equipment specifically for 3 - 6 year olds

  • In-class birthday & holiday celebrations

  • Ability for Montessori students and parents to participate in school and HSA events such as:

    • Sr. Sheila School Marathon

    • Trunk or Treat

    • Thanksgiving Luncheon

    • Ice Skating & Roller Skating Parties

    • Pray n' Play Event

    • Merry Moose Christmas Shop

    • Book Fairs

    • Mother/Son & Father/Daughter events

    • School Picnic

    • Spirit Week

    • Catholic Schools Week Events

    • ...and so much more!

Montessori Kindergarten

St. Mary's Montessori program extends beyond pre-school into Kindergarten for children who are 5 years old by Dec. 1 of that school year. When Kindergarten is used as the third year of the program, skills and concepts can continue to be honed and mastered, and students excel because of their strong foundation in the classroom. Montessori Kindergartners can expect to:

  • Complete work that meets all NYS Kindergarten standards

  • Learn ELA & Math following Montessori principles, with added traditional Kindergarten materials for an easy transition to 1st grade

  • Have personalized work lists created for them that are completed weekly

  • Learn to use Chromebooks and be introduced to technology skills they will use throughout their life

  • Attend weekly Mass with middle school church buddies

  • Have the option to participate in our bowling, track, and swim teams (if 5 years old on/before December 1st of the current school year)

  • Have bussing available to them through their home school district if they live within 15 miles of SMS.

If you're interested in learning more about St. Mary's Montessori Children's House, or would like to set up a tour, please contact our Enrollment Coordinator, Rebecca Kisailus at 716-689-8424, or

Mointessori attendance

Child preparing their work


Letter work

child matching colors

Children Performing on Spirit Day

Geography work

Children listening on the rug