Dearborn Heights Montessori Center At A Glance

DH Montessori Overview
When were we founded?


Who are we and whom do we serve?
DHMC is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit school serving children from 18 months through eighth grade. Classes are mixed-age groups at the following levels:

  • Toddler (18 months-3 years)
  • Early Childhood (3-6 years, including kindergarten)
  • Lower Elementary (Grades 1-3)
  • Upper Elementary (Grades 4-6)
  • Middle School (Grades 7-8)

We provide authentic Montessori educational programs at all levels, as well as full day care, before- and after-school care, after-school enrichment classes, summer day camp, and academic tutoring.

Days and Hours
We loosely follow the Wayne County Common Calendar, with typical holiday breaks, and a nine- or ten-week summer program. Classes meet daily during the following hours:

  • Toddlers: 8:30-11:30 a.m. or 12:30-3:30 p.m.
  • Preschool and Half-Day Kindergarten: 8:30-11:30 a.m. or 12:30-3:30 p.m.
  • Extended Day (full day) Kindergarten: 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • Elementary and Middle School: 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Day care and latchkey programs are available before and after class. The building is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on days school is in session.

Are we a “real” Montessori school?
Yes, we are. You should know, however, that the Montessori name is not patented; it is in the public domain, and there are no restrictions on its use. It is legally possible for a school or child care center to use the name without following Montessori philosophy or practices. As parents, it is important to learn about Montessori philosophy and the elements that comprise an authentic Montessori program. These include, at a minimum:

  • a five-day per week program
  • multi-age classrooms with three-year age spans at the preschool/kindergarten and elementary levels
  • teachers with Montessori training at the levels they are teaching
  • a complete set of Montessori materials in each classroom
  • affiliations with state and national Montessori organizations

Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to choose an authentic Montessori school for your child.

DHMC’s toddler, preschool/kindergarten, day care, and latchkey programs are licensed by the Michigan Department of Human Services. Our elementary programs are recognized by the Michigan Department of Education Office of Non-Public Schools.

Memberships & Affiliations
Our toddler, preschool/kindergarten, and day care programs are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a quality indicator achieved by only 3% of child care programs in Michigan and 8% nationally.

We are affiliated with the American Montessori Society, Michigan Montessori Society, the International Montessori Council, and AIMS, the Association of Independent Michigan Schools.

Goals for our students:

  • Safety— Physical and emotional safety for every child is our first priority
  • Character— We are committed to helping students develop excellent character, which we define very simply as “Doing the right thing when no one is looking.”
  • Outstanding Academics— A curriculum that is in-depth and rigorous ultimately prepares our graduates for admission to their high schools of choice.

What’s next? Where do our graduates attend high school?
Recent graduates are attending the following high schools:

Academy of the Sacred Heart
Bloomfield Hills Andover
Brother Rice
Canton High School
Catholic Central
Cranbrook Kingswood
Crestwood High School
Dearborn High School
Dearborn Center for Math, Science & Technology
Detroit Country Day
Divine Child
Gabriel Richard Ann Arbor
Gabriel Richard Riverview
Greenhills School
International Academy East
Livonia Stevenson
Mercy High School
Salem High School
University of Detroit Jesuit
University Liggett

A few buzzwords that are associated with DHMC:
Consistent with Montessori philosophy, these are things we teach and/or practice:

  • Respect— for self, for others, for the environment
  • Service— seeing a need, and meeting it
  • Diversity— a lovely mix of students and staff
  • Community— children, families, and staff working together
  • “The Triangle”— an equilateral triangle that represents the interrelationships and necessary balance of student, family, and school. When all contribute equally, the result is a successful student and a solid citizen.

Statement of Non-Discrimination
Dearborn Heights Montessori Center does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of gender, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or disability.

Accreditation and Affiliations


Dearborn Heights Montessori Center is accredited by, affiliated with, or a member of the following organizations:

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

Association of Independent Michigan Schools (AIMS)

American Montessori Society (AMS)

Michigan Montessori Society (MMS)

Association Montessori Internationale (AMI)

The Montessori Foundation

NAYEC Accredited

“I think one of the greatest advances to child care was the creation of the NAEYC Accreditation system, which has helped so much to raise the quality of the programs.”
-T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.
The Brazelton Institute, Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School

“The primary gauge of quality has been accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children… whose seal of approval is regarded as the gold standard by parents, educators and facilities.”
The Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2006

What Is an Independent School?

DHMC-15Dearborn Heights Montessori Center is an independent school and is a member of AIMS, the Association of Independent Michigan Schools.  Independent schools provide parents with an alternative to public education, define their own mission, and have the freedom to design a quality curriculum which best meets their mission.  Families value the fact that independent schools work hard to create a community where students thrive in smaller classes led by highly qualified teachers who set academic standards consistent with the mission of the school.  Independent schools stress a well-rounded education and encourage parents to be involved in the life of the school.

Independent schools are close-knit communities that are uniquely capable of providing students with individualized attention.  Dearborn Heights Montessori Center is committed to challenging students to stretch their minds by offering rigorous academic programs, but goes beyond academics to develop responsible, independent, and community-oriented students.  Teachers are encouraged to be creative and flexible, allowing them to construct unique learning experiences.

“Independent schools offer a more personalized, customized education, and an environment that is civil and controlled.  Small class sizes, individualized attention, values, manners, and discipline are the most particular factors describing differences perceived between public and independent schools.”  (National Public Opinion Poll of Perceptions of Independent Schools).

Dearborn Heights Montessori Center is independent in its governance and finance, has a stated policy of non-discrimination in admission and employment, and is incorporated on a non-profit basis.  Financial support for DHMC comes primarily from tuition.

The Association of Independent Michigan Schools (AIMS) is an organization that recognizes and supports independent schools in Michigan.  These schools vary in size, philosophy, curriculum, and student body, but share emphasis on the following:

The Student as a Person… to recognize every child’s individuality, stimulate curiosity, and provide the opportunity to develop to his or her highest potential.

The Quality of Education… to provide a rich academic challenge with creative freedom, academic preparation for college, and thoughtful preparation for life.

Individual Attention… to offer superior academic guidance so that a student may progress according to his or her ability, and may develop greater self-discipline and self-confidence.

About Us

Teacher with StudentDearborn Heights Montessori Center, an independent non-profit educational community founded in 1972, provides an individualized learning environment for children from toddler through eighth grade. Respect for children, a strong commitment to non-violence, and a deep belief in the value of education are all principles upon which our school functions.

If you are looking for a school that provides an authentic Montessori education, we invite you to explore the benefits of Dearborn Heights Montessori Center.

In addition to providing a high quality Montessori program, additional services are available to meet your needs.  Full day care, before and after school programs, an academic-focused summer camp and tutoring services are offered.

Click here for more information about Montessori education.

Why Choose Dearborn Heights Montessori Center?

The Montessori name is not patented, and can be used by anyone. In philosophy and practice, DHMC adheres to Montessori principles. Teachers are properly trained, classrooms are fully equipped, and the children experience a true Montessori program.

Why Choose DHMC
A number of qualities characterize the programs at Dearborn Heights Montessori Center. Among them are…

Experience: Dearborn Heights Montessori Center has been offering high quality educational programs since 1972.

Accreditation: Dearborn Heights Montessori Center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) under their new, rigorous standards. Only 8% of schools nationwide and 3% in Michigan achieve this distinction.

Highly-trained staff: Head teachers in all classrooms hold Montessori certification at the level they are teaching from the most respected training programs (American Montessori Society-AMS and Association Montessori Internationale-AMI). All teachers, assistant teachers, and support personnel participate in ongoing staff development programs.

Low staff turnover: Our low teacher turnover rate results in an experienced and stable staff.

Safety: The highest priority is given to safety, and many policies and procedures are in place to ensure that all children are protected. All staff are CPR and First Aid certified.

Values: Kindness and consideration for others are taught and practiced. Respect and responsibility are operative concepts.

“One-stop shopping”: The single decision to enroll a child at DHMC will serve him or her through the toddler, preschool, elementary, and middle school years. Summer programs, before- and after-school care, after-school classes, and tutoring services are additional options offered on site.

Educational excellence: DHMC students excel academically, and collectively score well above grade level on standardized measures. Our graduates are consistently accepted to their high schools of choice, and thrive in those environments.

More than the basics: Specialists provide instruction in foreign language (French, Spanish), music, art, physical education, and technology. Numerous in-house presenters and field trips further enrich the children’s experience.

Individualized programs: A mastery-based curriculum enables each child to progress according to his or her own gifts.

Cultural diversity: Students and staff from a wide range of cultures benefit from an atmosphere of mutual respect.

And last, but certainly not least—

A caring place: DHMC is a community that nurtures children, welcomes parents, and provides an environment that supports open communication.

About Montessori Philosophy

“Montessori Matters” by Trevor Eissler


Who was Montessori?

Maria Montessori was an Italian doctor who, through her work with disadvantaged children, developed a philosophy of education that worked with all children.  She was born in 1870, and died in 1952.

Montessori was a woman far ahead of her time.  She was the first female physician in Italy, and graduated top of her class in spite of the prejudice of her professors and fellow students.  She began working with institutionalized, cognitively impaired children, and designed materials that helped them to surpass normal children in standard examinations.

In 1907, she was hired to organize a day care center for children in a Roman housing project, and the remarkable results she achieved received worldwide attention.  Montessori schools began to proliferate.  The first U.S. Montessori school was established in 1912 at the home of Alexander Graham Bell.  As the guest of Thomas Edison, Montessori visited the United States in 1915, and set up award-winning model classrooms at the San Francisco World’s Fair.

In the 1930s, Maria Montessori became an outspoken advocate of peace, and because of her views, was expelled from Italy by the Fascist regime.  Her schools were closed and her books were banned and burned.  During this period, she visited India, and was detained.  Though not allowed to travel, she was able to teach, and trained hundreds of Montessori teachers during her stay there.  After World War II, Montessori returned to Europe, and continued to write, lecture, and teach until her death in 1952.

Many of the things Maria Montessori believed in are taken for granted today, and credit is seldom given to the source.  She pioneered the concept of child-sized furniture in schools.  She advocated natural childbirth and immediate bonding with the mother (similar to the Lamaze method).  She believed in developmentally appropriate practice and the use of hands-on teaching aids.  She stressed ecology and conservation at a time when unchecked industrial growth was the norm.  And she felt that without self-esteem, a child cannot learn.

What Is Montessori?

Some of the basic concepts of Montessori are:

  1. It is developmentally based.  Montessori recognized that children have sensitive periods in which they are particularly able and interested in acquiring a certain knowledge or skill.  (Between birth and three children learn an entire language.)
  2. Young children absorb knowledge by interacting with their environment and responding to it.  They teach themselves with their hands, their bodies, and their senses.  (We do not teach children to walk or talk; they learn from their own observation and practice.)
  3. Children are motivated from within.  The child has within him the person he will become, and it is our role as nurturing adults to encourage the process of the child’s self-construction.
  4. Adults must respect and trust the child.  Each individual is unique, and we should “teach the child, not the subject,” offering opportunities for experimentation and growth that are consistent with the needs each child demonstrates.
  5. Our teaching should foster the development of the whole child—social, emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual.  These aspects of the child are inseparable and of equal importance.
  6. The child is a self-teacher.  Classrooms are materials-based, allowing the child many opportunities to initiate activities, to explore and to practice.  The adult teacher serves as support person and facilitator.
  7. Adults are models for the children, and our behavior should exemplify the attitudes we would like the children to imitate.
  8. An authentic Montessori environment fosters self-respect, caring and tolerance for others, and a responsible approach to the earth.

Montessori schools have something different to offer – a unique educational approach and school culture that provides an alternative to traditionally structured schools.

How does a Montessori class work?

Authentic Montessori classrooms are very inviting, and they contain a unique set of materials to facilitate the children’s learning.  The following characteristics are typical of authentic Montessori environments:

Mixed Age Group:  Montessori classes at all levels have multi-age groupings, usually in three-year spans.  The class becomes a “family,” with much learning and support between older and younger children.

A “Learning Center” Look:  Materials are attractively arranged on open shelves.  Where appropriate, the activities follow a sequence of easy to difficult and the child is able to see his or her place on the continuum.  Concepts are taught using hands-on (manipulative) materials.

Furniture:  Furniture is sized to fit the children, and is arranged so there are individual, small group, and large group work spaces.  Carpeted areas are used for floor work and large group time.  There is no teacher’s desk.  Because work tables are used by all according to need, each child has a folder, drawer, cubby, basket, or locker in which to keep personal items or ongoing work.

Groundrules:  Each teacher establishes a set of groundrules for the class, which are followed by everyone (including the teachers, who act as role models for the children).  These basic rules of conduct encourage children to treat themselves, others, and the environment with respect.

Daily Cycle:  Each day has a pattern.  Although this pattern may vary because of the schedule for special subjects, in Montessori classes it roughly follows the format of beginning group time, extended “work period” for individual and small group choices and lessons, ending group time, and physical/outdoor time.  Elementary and extended day classes repeat the pattern in the afternoon; the day care program is similar but makes allowance for nap time.

Child Choice: The classroom environment encourages children to choose activities and follow through to completion.  Older children who have specific tasks to accomplish learn to plan and order their time.

Child Responsibility: All children are responsible for the classroom materials and for the manner in which they treat others.  Older children are expected to complete assigned tasks in a timely manner.  Liberty for each individual ceases when it affects the liberty of the group.  Children may use materials for as long as they wish, but are expected to put their things away when they have finished.

 What are Montessori children like?

Although children are individuals with varying personalities, abilities, and interests, the Montessori experience strongly influences the kind of person each will become.  Authentic Montessori classrooms bring out the best in children, allowing them to follow their own natural course of development, yet helping them to acquire valuable life skills.  Most Montessori students become:

Creative Thinkers and Problem Solvers:  The children learn by exploration and discovery, rather than by rote memorization, and continue to apply these methods to new material.  They are students who want to know, rather than students who know what we want.

Cooperative Learners:  In the non-competitive Montessori class, sharing information and dividing tasks among peers is the norm.  Everyone learns to work well in a group.

Confident:  Our children develop high self-esteem through work.  They successfully accomplish increasingly difficult tasks in a non-critical atmosphere that encourages them to try again if they are not satisfied with their results.

Socially Responsible:  Secure children are willing to share their knowledge, and are generally more considerate of their peers.  They usually welcome visitors to their classes.

Ecologically Responsible:  Even the youngest children understand we must care for our earth.  Montessori created a curriculum that fosters respect for all life.

Academically Skilled:  Most Montessori children develop exceptional academic skills.  And because they “learn how to learn,” they are prepared to acquire new knowledge throughout their lives.

Balanced Individuals:  Our children often display a wide variety of interests.  Rather than become focused in a single area, older Montessori students frequently excel in several things – academics, music, the arts, athletics, etc.

Leaders:  Montessori children are not afraid to take charge.  We often read in the local newspapers about former students who are leaders in school and community activities.

Self-Directed and Independent:  Even the youngest children learn to choose and follow through.  As they become older, they become more competent self- and time-managers.

“Citizens of the World”:  Montessori children learn to value people as individuals, and to respect the various cultures from which they come.  Maria Montessori lived in many countries, and developed a cultural curriculum that focuses on the similarities among people, rather than their differences.

In general, Montessori children are positive people to know as children.  When they are old enough to become homeowners, they will become the kind of adults whom you will welcome as next-door neighbors.

For more information about Montessori education, visit The Montessori Observer or

Mission Statement

Mission StatementOur mission is to provide a safe, nurturing environment, unifying academic challenge with quality opportunities for social, emotional, and intellectual growth. This includes a multicultural emphasis that values individuality and attainment of each child’s fullest potential. With the Montessori philosophy as our foundation, we guide development of responsibility and respect by cultivating independent thinking, self-awareness, cooperation, and inner discipline.