Montessori Makes the Difference

Our students make the difference.

The Montessori School of Northampton has been educating children since 1976. Our families come from three counties and from over fifteen towns throughout the Pioneer Valley. Through Montessori education and philosophy, they go on to become change-makers in their communities and the world.

In carefully-prepared environments, students make choices about how to move through their day. The philosophy of the school and the ethos of the our community support each student’s growth into their own “authentic self” (a term coined by educator Parker Palmer). Our community thrives with the belief that all are enriched through finding their true passions in a safe space. In this environment, MSN students are distinguished by their poise and kindness to one another.

MSN’s Middle School is a place where students form connections with peers and teachers as they begin to develop their unique social identity. Our Middle School program was developed from the ground up with the characteristics and needs of the young adolescent at its center. In this “known” context, students find it is cool to care: about their work, each other, their school, their community, and their world.

MSN graduates are prepared for success in high school and beyond, possessing:

  • Developed academic and extra-curricular habits
  • Presence of self
  • Genuine, nurtured confidence
  • A sense of contributing to the group

What we teach at each developmental level is based on the scientific research of Dr. Maria Montessori, since informed by 100+ years of neuroscience and educational research. Human development follows predetermined paths, and the Montessori curriculum is based on these phases of children’s growth. Matching lessons to the precise developmental level at which the child is primed to receive them results in smoother skill acquisition and joyous learning.

Dr. Montessori called these developmental levels the “Planes of Development.” They can be described as follows:

First Plane (birth-age 6): development of self, sensitive periods when skills are easiest to learn

Second Plane (ages 6-12): intellectual period, sense of morality and justice, development of reasoning skills

Third Plane (ages 12-18): adolescence, similar to first plane, formation of self

Fourth Plane (ages 18-24): experiences that expand human potential, role in society

The Montessori approach combines the opportunity for each child to move forward in pursuing their interests and talents, while at the same time teachers work with students to guide them to step beyond the familiar and explore the new. This is a powerful combination. It is one of the reasons why our students retain their natural inquisitiveness, high skill level, and love of learning. A Montessori student is prepared to seek the future.

The Montessori method includes these unique aspects of Montessori education:

  • Respect for the individual
  • Student-centered approach
  • Multi-age classrooms (ages 18 mos.-2.9yrs, 2.9-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-14)
  • Prepared environment
  • Student choice of activity from a curated range of options
  • Specialized materials which promote learning through discovery
  • Uninterrupted blocks of work time
  • Individual, small group, and large group lessons
  • Freedom to move within and outside the classroom
  • Specially-trained and highly-skilled Montessori teachers

Our school is accredited by the American Montessori Society and the Association of Independent Schools in New England. Be sure to visit the Family Resource section of AMS’s website, which includes a glossary of terminology, “Montessori at Home” tips, and so much more. Our Toddler and Children’s House Programs are licensed by the Department of Early Education and Care.

Alumni After MSN

Our alumni go on to competitive schools, including:

  • The Academy at Charlemont, The Bement School, Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School, Smith Academy, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Northfield Mount Hermon, and the Williston Northampton School.

And on to accredited universities, including:

  • Amherst College, Brandeis University, Cornell University, George Washington University, Harvard University Extension School, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts College of Art, Mount Holyoke College, Northeastern University, Pratt Institute, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Smith College, Swarthmore, Tufts University, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), University of Vermont (Burlington), Vanderbilt University, Villanova University, Wesleyan University, and Wheaton College.


Current and former students have been published while attending MSN and following graduation from our Middle School.

The following are pieces published by alumni in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Let’s do a better job with bullying in schools

Why DACA should be continued

Young people are mature enough to vote

Time to adopt the National Popular Vote compact

A marijuana shop is bad for downtown

Our diversity statement.

The Montessori School of Northampton is an all-gender school committed to the principles of equity, peace, and justice. We value each member of our community and strive to be sensitive and accountable to differences among our staff and families. We seek to promote and practice peace education that affirms and emphasizes our diverse human experiences based on race, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, ability, family structure, political affiliation, learning style, and nationality in our programs, curriculum, and in our community. Within our diversity we find unity, love, and respect.

Our mission statement.

The Montessori School of Northampton is firmly rooted in Maria Montessori’s philosophy as it applies to today’s world. The school provides an exceptional education with a comprehensive curriculum, covered at a pace and sequence adapted to a variety of learning styles. MSN emphasizes compassion, inclusiveness, respectful resolution of conflict, and promotes the interrelatedness of everything in the world and its peoples.

By following this mission, the Montessori School of Northampton strives to nurture:

  • Well-educated and inquisitive students
  • Effective self-directed learners
  • Caring and confident human beings participating in their communities
  • Engaged, informed, and responsible citizens of the global community.

Bullying Prevention & Intervention

The state of Massachusetts requires all schools to implement an anti-bullying policy.

The Montessori School of Northampton expects that all members of our school community will treat each other with civility and respect. As stated in our mission, the Montessori School of Northampton “emphasizes compassion, inclusiveness and respectful resolution of conflict.”

Please click here to view our anti-bullying  prevention and intervention plan.

Please follow the Reporting Form link to download the bullying prevention and intervention incident reporting form. (Submit to Head of School)