Carson Montessori, one of the premier educational gems in Northern Nevada, is a real-world, hands-on learning center nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. CMCS follows the lead of the child and is enriched by the philosophies of Dr. Maria Montessori. Our Montessori guides use a simple approach of ‘less can definitely be more,’ and everyone embraces the fact that learning needs to be fun, magical, and jam-packed with wondrous discoveries. The mantra that it is important to be the least restrictive, best environment for each child who enrolls has transformed a warehouse into a little green school that has become a warm, welcoming, learning-centered home.
As a free, public Montessori school for grades K-6, we are required to blend the traditional ways of learning with the Montessori self-directed, hands-on, discovery style. Carson Montessori’s educational philosophy stands firm that the school and its highly qualified staff will not become mired in mandates or numbers-driven canned curriculum; instead, we follow the lead of the child, and if an idea is do-able, workable, and feasible, it is implemented with CMCS’ 48-hour launch. It is exciting to continually discover or invent cutting-edge opportunities and be able to implement them before they become trendy. The director doesn’t want to read about it or hear about it; she wants to see it in action every day in our classrooms.
Carson Montessori is an official Nevada Governor’s STEM School, and it is rich with community partnerships, which provide daily onsite learning experiences. Woven into the core subjects are individualized ‘passion’ projects that facilitate the making of decisions and choices. CMCS has a schoolwide Makers Lab, where students learn rocketry, robotics, build and use 3D printers, manufacture prosthetic hands that are sent around the world, have a green-screen studio to produce onsite newscasts, and when they can’t travel to exotic locations, they have access to virtual reality.
Currently, a student-research project has students actively engaged in using the Montessori Method in memory care. Students share Montessori lessons with their learning buddies at the LODGE Memory Care Center, while also supporting numerous local philanthropies. Through their Karma Box and products produced by Carson Montessori’s hydroponic garden, students provide services and products to Friends in Service Helping, which aids the homeless and the hungry in the Carson City community. Students even check Carson City’s water quality through a partnership with the Water Conservancy.
Students at CMCS learn grace and courtesy and how to handle emergencies.
They frequently experience hands-on career opportunities provided by local businesses and have a complete financial literacy curriculum that has been recognized by the Nevada Department of Education. They work on various bills during each legislative session and routinely testify before the Nevada State Legislature. During the 2019 session, the students wrote Assembly Bill 182, lobbied it through the legislature, and it passed unanimously making NEON Nevada’s State Element. By using curriculum wrapping, with nothing taught in isolation, and providing the setting for immediate application, learning is practical and purposeful.
Students are thriving at Carson Montessori, and that feeling of Montessori peace and calm, which is so often missing in today’s world, is alive and well. Students learn to cope with today’s challenging world. It definitely is a learning environment, while surrounding the child with positive, warm support that sparks the wonder and curiosity that ignites each child’s passion for learning. CMCS remains committed to producing exciting learning opportunities and is dedicated to nurturing that “wondrous, ah ha-amazement factor.” At Carson Montessori, students still have time to play, run with the wind, and dance in rain puddles, all while building a future of happy, well-rounded, lifelong learners.
We recently presented at the school board meeting to request a renewal of our charter and then before the Carson City Board of Supervisors. The entire presentation was student-led, and they were the stars who impressed our city officials with their public speaking skills and poised demeanor.
Jessica Barlow Daniels, a distinguished Nevada Educator who delights in following the lead of the child, is famous for climbing mountains in a little black dress and heels. As the Executive Director of Carson Montessori Charter School, she will go to any length to free a child’s potential by continually modeling that education is acquired by experiences in the environment and a Montessori teacher must prepare herself and truly work at it.