Get Back to the Land: CMS Consolidates

Starting next school year, Community Montessori School and Montessori Middle School of Kentucky are consolidating their programs onto one campus, a move that has been part of the grand plan for more than a decade.

CMS, which opened in 1970, has housed its preschool and elementary programs on Crestwood Drive. In 2004, the school purchased a 13-acre farm on Stone Road.

The Crestwood campus, which currently houses toddlers through third grade, has been sold, and the school will lease the space for the duration of this school year.

In 2009 the middle school program moved to the Stone Road Campus and was joined by the Upper Elementary program in 2014 (grades 4-6).

When school begins in August 2017, all students from 18 months through eighth grade will be under the same roof at Stone Road. Interior renovations will soon be underway and the plan is to add more classrooms.

“It will feel great to have staff, children and families unified on one campus,” marketing director Katie Toffey said.

Montessori is a child-centered education approach, which encourages children to learn through their own observations of the world. The Stone Road campus fits that approach perfectly.

The land includes a restored stream where students regularly find aquatic life, herons and turtles. Kids put on their boots and wade in as they test soil and water quality.

Middle school students helped build a chicken coop. They also cultivate blackberries, and maintain class gardens and a bee apiary for their land-based curriculum projects. Even the building’s interior exudes energy.

“The building is so well designed,” Toffey said. “It’s light and airy. It feels uplifting when you come in.”

Parents got a feel for the Stone Road campus last fall at the annual Celebration of Education fundraiser. Instead of an off-site venue, CMS held the event at Stone Road.

“Everyone loved it,” Toffey said. “Parents said, ‘Wow, this is ours!’”

While awaiting construction, staff and teachers are brainstorming about what classrooms will be like and how to use the new space. Creating a welcoming environment hasn’t been a problem so far.

“At CMS, the whole outdoor and indoor environment enhances the Montessori curriculum for the children,” Toffey said. “Parents know their children are in good hands.”