Children in the Montessori program learn by working with specially designed and attractively displayed developmental materials that support grade level goals and learning objectives. Working individually or in small groups, children develop a sense of self-esteem because they are given a balance of freedom and responsibility.

Children who enter the program at age four benefit most from the program. In order to gain the greatest benefit, children should attend through the terminal grade. Please note, tuition is required for the Pre-K program serving four-year-olds and an additional charge is required for bus transportation. Limited scholarships are available; please contact the Magnet Programs at 980.343.5030 for more information. North Carolina law requires students to reach age five on or before August 31st to enter kindergarten that school year. To ensure students can enter kindergarten upon completion of Pre-K, CMS requires children to reach age four on or before August 31st to be eligible for the Montessori Pre-K program.

The Montessori approach is non-traditional. To fully understand how Montessori instruction takes place, parents are encouraged to visit the school during an Open House prior to making application. Open House dates can be found in our Open House tab.  You may also contact your Montessori school of interest to schedule a visit.

Special Features​​

  • Provides a child-centered learning environment which places high regard for each child’s developmental level
  • Uses activities that help students develop responsibility, self-confidence and independence
  • Offers classes with multi-aged groupings
  • Teachers receive special Montessori training to include certification as a Montessori teacher
  • Montessori is the only Magnet program that begins in pre-K

Montessori Schools

Level Blue Green Violet
Elementary School
(including Pre-K and grade 6)

Secondary School
(Grades 7 – 12)

Entry Requirements

Because of the specialized sequence of coursework taken in the Montessori program, the online lottery application process only permits rising Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and first grade students to apply.

Late Entry Process is used for placement in a Montessori program above grade 1. Interested families of students above grade 1 must submit a request for Reassignment/Transfer. The Montessori approach to teaching and learning is significantly different from the traditional classroom, which often creates difficulty for students entering a Montessori program for the first time beyond grade 1. A successful transition to Montessori requires the student and family to either have previous experience with or a predisposition toward Montessori classroom instructional practices and philosophy. The prospective student should either be currently enrolled in a Montessori program, have immediate, prior Montessori classroom experience, or the student should demonstrate an equivalent degree of compatibility to the Montessori approach. An assessment is used to make this determination. Please note, due to historically low turnover in Montessori schools, seats typically do not become available after Kindergarten.

To apply for late entry through the request for Reassignment/Transfer process:

  • ​Contact the Montessori school directly to arrange an appointment for a late entry assessment. An interview will be conducted by the school staff using a standardized late entry interview rubric. Scheduling an assessment may be dependent on program seat availability.
  • Within three business days of the assessment, the school will provide the family notice of the outcome on school letterhead.
  • Upon receipt of the letter confirming a successful assessment, complete the online request for Reassignment/ Transfer form. For this form to be accepted, the family must indicate that they have reviewed the applicable Magnet Expectations Agreement. The family submits the school’s letter of acknowledgement as supporting documentation to accompany the online Request for Reassignment/ Transfer form registered with the Student Placement Office. Request approval is dependent upon grade level space availability​

Magnet Expectations Agreement

Montessori Expectations Agreement English version

Montessori Expectations Agreement Spanish version

Pre-K Montessori

Montessori Begins with Pre-Kindergarten

The Montessori program is the only CMS magnet program that begins with pre-kindergarten. We welcome pre-kindergarten students who enjoy working independently and exploring new ideas. If you would like to enroll in a Montessori school, your child will have the benefit of beginning CMS earlier than normal, as a four year old.

Pre-Kindergarten Options: Park Road, Chantilly, Highland Mill, Trillium Springs

Applying for Financial Assistance

If you win a seat in the lottery, you may apply for financial assistance, if needed. Although CMS charges for tuition and transportation for the pre-k year of Montessori, the amount is based on a family’s financial need. Click below to apply for a scholarship; full and partial scholarships are available!

Pre-K Montessori Tuition Payments

Montessori Fees

CMS encourages all families interested in Montessori to apply, regardless of financial status. Fees are for pre-kindergarten students only; all other grades are free.

Program Fees

Full-day program = $3,000/year. Financial assistance is available based on family need. Half-day program = $2,200/year. Financial assistance is available based on family need.

Transportation Fees

Two-way bus transportation = $738/year. Financial assistance is available based on family need. One-way bus transportation = $370/year. Financial assistance is available based on family need.  See the Scholarship link above to apply.

Payments are due on the 25th of each month

1.      Online – A 2.25% processing fee will be applied to each payment​

  • Click on the link above – CMS Pre-K Tuition – Pay Online
  •  Select payment type: Tuition
  • Enter Amount, Student Name & School
  • To add another student, select payment type (tuition) again.
  • Complete billing information and payment method
  • Accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover and Checking/Savings
  • Click Next
  • After reviewing payment, click submit

2.      Bill Pay – Free of charge at your bank

  • Set up CMS account as the payee
  • Make checks payable to: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
  • Address:
    Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
    Magnet Programs
    4421 Stuart Andrew Blvd., Suite 608
    Charlotte, NC  28217
  • Account Number: Enter Student ID (to ensure proper credit)
  • Memo: Child’s name and School
  • Schedule your payment
  • For bill pay assistance, please contact your bank regarding set up.

3.      Personal Check/Certified Check/Money Order

  • Make checks payable to: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools or CMS
  • Address:
    Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
    Magnet Programs
    4421 Stuart Andrew Blvd., Suite 608
    Charlotte, NC  28217
  • Memo: Student ID, Child’s name and School (to ensure proper credit)


Pay online