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 Office of School Options and Innovation 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 at You may also contact a Montessori school 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

​Late Entry Assessment

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. A 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​

Pre-K Montessori Tuition Payments

Pay online