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.

New for 2023-2024: The Montessori program at Trillium Springs is moving to Lincoln Heights Elementary School, 1900 New Castle Street, and will be called Lincoln Heights Montessori on the lottery application.

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 School Choice Lottery application process only permits rising Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and First grade students to apply on the elementary level. On the secondary level the School Choice Lottery application process is available for grades 7 through 10. Secondary students who are new or returning to Montessori will need to complete the late entry admissions process.

Late Entry into Montessori

While Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and First grade present the most optimal entry points for Montessori teaching and learning, the Late Entry Process is available for students above First grade and up to tenth grade.  This process is best suited for students who are currently enrolled in a Montessori program outside of CMS, have immediate, prior Montessori classroom experience, or demonstrate an equivalent degree of compatibility to the Montessori approach.  This unique Montessori instructional approach can present a challenging shift for students transitioning from traditional schools after Grade 1. A successful transition requires the student and family to fully understand and embrace the Montessori philosophy and instructional practices along with its emphasis on intrinsic motivation, cooperative community, self-direction, strong character, order, concentration and coordination. The Late Entry evaluation process is instrumental in making this determination. Please note, due to historically low turnover in Montessori schools, seats typically do not become available after Kindergarten.

The Late Entry Process

  • If the student is new or returning to CMS after a withdrawal, they must be enrolled in CMS by completing an enrollment application
  • The Montessori Late Entry Process coincides with the CMS reassignment/transfer process. In order to participate in the Late Entry Process the family must first apply for reassignment or transfer here.
  • In the transfer/reassignment application select the Montessori school of interest and read the text describing the late entry process. Please note: Reassignment/transfer eligibility may be contingent upon seat availability at specified school and will be completed in the order it is received.
  • Once the reassignment/transfer application is complete, keep the application confirmation number and contact the Montessori school after 48 hours to allow time for the application to be processed. Provide your confirmation number to the school in order to begin your late entry process.
  • The school will arrange an interview which will be conducted by the school staff using a standardized late entry interview rubric. Additionally, a school visit may be scheduled to allow the student and parents to experience the Montessori environment and gauge compatibility. Scheduling an interview may be dependent on program seat availability and order in which your transfer application was received.
  • 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, the family must indicate that they have reviewed the applicable Magnet Expectations Agreement. 
  • The school will submit notification to the Student Placement office that the family’s Late Entry has been approved and the family will receive confirmation of school enrollment prior to the start of the forthcoming school year.

Please note: Students who previously attended a CMS Montessori school and wish to return are required to adhere to the Montessori Late Entry Process.

Late Entry Application

Access the Montessori Late Entry Application for grades 2-6 here.

Access the Montessori Late Entry Application for grades 7-10 (JT Williams Montessori) here.

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

Pre-K Montessori Fees

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 below to apply.

Payments are due on the 15th of each month

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

Payments are due on the 15th of each month

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

  • Click on the link above (Pay Pre-K Tuition 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)

Video Highlights from our Montessori Schools

Highland Mill Montessori Virtual Tour