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Welcome to HPMS! 

Highland Park Montessori School, located in Saint Paul, is a non-profit corporation established in 1963. Ours is the oldest existing Montessori school in Minnesota. Following the principles and philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori, the staff at HPMS provides beautiful environments for the children to explore, where their natural curiosity and love for knowledge guides them in their learning. The atmosphere is one of mutual trust and respect; a reverence for life and peace. As trained professionals, the staff serves as guides and facilitators, responding to the needs of the individual and the community. Our Montessori Guides are Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) trained. 

Our two Children's Houses have up to 20 children, ages 31 months to age 6. The Toddler Community consists of 12 children ranging in age from 16 to 33 months. We admit students of any race, nationality, or ethnic origin. Toddlers have a spot reserved for them when they are ready to move to Children's House. For new applicants to Children's House, our teachers do have the authority to choose those children who would best balance their class with regards to age and gender. HPMS is open Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Montessori calendar follows (generally) the St. Paul Public School calendar, with holiday care available on most of the vacation days. We offer a summer program for both Children's House and the Toddler Community. Please refer to the summer program calendar for more information. 

The school is governed by a board of directors whose members are knowledgeable about Montessori education, or who are otherwise qualified to provide policy and management guidance to the school. Two current parents are members of the board.

Why Montessori?

Because it works! Montessori education is a progressive, scientifically based method that was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori through decades of observing how children learn. In its 111th year, Montessori education continues to inspire children and celebrate their love of learning, individual growth, and independence within the context of a social community.

A Community of Children. HPMS fosters positive social growth in an authentic community of children. Boys and girls of all socio-economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds learn together in multi-age classrooms. Lessons in Grace and Courtesy model appropriate ways for children to interact in social situations. Throughout their days, every child has opportunities to be both learner and leader, where self-esteem develops naturally.

Young children thrive with consistent routines. For this reason, all children attend morning Montessori classes from 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.  Monday-Friday. The kindergarteners stay until 3:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday to attend our Montessori Kindergarten program. For those children who need additional care, we offer early drop off from 7:30 a.m. to 8:20 a.m., and an Afternoon Program from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with pick-up times at 1:00, 3:00, 4:00, 4:30, 5:00 p.m.

Our teachers are Association Montessori International (AMI) trained. As professionals, the staff serves as guides and facilitators, responding to the needs of the individual and the community. All have been happily teaching at HPMS for many years. We have assistant teachers to maintain a ratio of 1 adult for every 10 children in the Children's Houses and 1 adult for every 6 children in the Toddler Community. 

What is Montessori?

What is the main purpose of Highland Park Montessori School?

Our primary aim is to assist in the total development of a child's personality—socially, emotionally, intellectually, physically—and to foster a life-long love for learning, caring for others, and improving our world.

The specific goals for the children who attend HPMS are to:

•    Develop each child's innate, ultimate potential through high self-expectations
•    Develop a positive attitude toward school and learning
•    Develop a sense of high self-esteem
•    Develop and foster an abiding curiosity
•    Develop habits of initiative and persistence
•    Foster inner discipline and a sense of order
•    Develop sensory-motor skills in order to sharpen the ability to discriminate and judge
•    Develop socially acceptable behavior
•    Build habits of concentration and acquire the basic skills necessary for a lifetime of learning
•    Become good citizens

Is intellectual development the main purpose of HPMS?

No. We are interested in the child's total development, which, when accomplished, does more to equip the child in their intellectual development.

Why does Highland Park Montessori School require children to attend Morning Montessori five days each week?

It is beneficial for your child to attend five days a week for the morning program, which is from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The kindergartners (5-6 year olds) attend M-Th 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Before and afternoon care is flexible. 

A Montessori morning is unique in that it allows the child to create her own day, guided by the teacher and other children. The child's experience builds upon a previous day's experience. She proceeds from one activity to the next, learning how to learn by engaging in, and repeating, work that is interesting to her. Socialization in this context is fun and useful - not only is the child constructing herself by the building up of activity, the classroom of children as a whole are building up a community of learners.

It's often the case that a teacher will observe a child planning out his day's activities. The skill in developing ones own motivation for learning cannot be overstated, and is more apt to happen when all the children are present all five days.

How Does My Child Develop Their Social Skills in Your Program?

The children have the opportunity to engage in meaningful social interaction. In the Toddler Community there are mixed ages between 16 and 33 months, and in the Children's House, there are mixed ages between 33 months and six years. In a mixed age group setting, children of different ages help one another. The younger ones learn from the older and the older teach the younger. An older child understands the younger child and can offer help. The three year old is interested in what the child of five is doing and knows they too will reach that point in their own development. In the Children’s House setting, the child goes from being the youngest to being the oldest. Each child has the experience of learning from, and teaching, others.

How is freedom and discipline handled at HPMS?

Freedom is not undisciplined, unruly, selfish behavior. Three basic rules guide the child's freedom in a Montessori classroom: respect for others, respect for the materials and environment, and respect for oneself. 

The child is free to move about the room and to select those materials which interest and are ready for him. The child is free to use the materials as long as he wishes, returning them to their place when he is done. He is free to choose children to work and eat snack with, and will oftentimes move between working with a partner, individually, or in a small group. 

Why is the Montessori classroom noncompetitive?

Each child works at her own level of ability and interest, at her own pace. No two children's needs arise at the very same time or for the same length of time.

Recommended Reading

We highly recommend the book, The Parents Guide to the Montessori Classroom, written by Aline D. Wolf. This concise book has stood the test of time in giving parents a thoughtful, clear, and insightful description of the main Montessori apparatus, and a fine discussion of the theory behind the method.


To learn more about the Montessori Method and some of the vocabulary we use here at HPMS, follow this link!

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