The Primary Program is the foundation of the Montessori educational system.

This program offers long, uninterrupted work periods that allow children to fully engage in tasks that they have chosen for themselves, under the careful, individual guidance of their teachers.

Montessori children thus have repeated opportunities to explore materials, become engrossed in their activities, and experience regular states of concentrated focus.

Our materials are scientifically designed to teach multiple skills and to enable children to problem solve, using their hands and senses. Thus they can independently repeat activities and achieve mastery.

Please visit the enrollment section of our website for rates and hours.

Meet the Teachers

Ms. Chrissy - Tuscarora Classroom

About Me

  1. What is your experience and training and how did you come to our school?

I have a B.A. in environmental science and ecology and a Master’s degree in education. I earned my Montessori primary diploma from Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) in 2012. I came to High Desert looking for an individualized and whole child approach to education for my two daughters.   I have been a part of the High Desert Montessori community for over 10 years now.

  1. Why do you believe in our public charter Montessori school?

I love working with children; each day is different and new. I enjoy seeing each child reach his or her true potential through the Montessori curriculum in a public charter school setting. I believe all children should have access to a Montessori education regardless of their background.

  1. What are your beliefs about guiding all children- those that struggle and excel?  

As a Montessori guide, it is my job to facilitate a love of learning in all children and to follow the child’s interest. I guide all children to fully develop and realize their full potential.

  1. What does partnering with parents and community look like for your classroom?  

Partnering with parents and community in a primary classroom primarily done through parent education and partnership. Most children come to us when they are very young and I provide them multiple years with the same community of teachers and families to aid them as they develop close relationships. These relationships strengthen the child’s ability and the entire educational experience.

  1. What is the method in which you grow professionally and personally?    

I have a lifelong love of learning. I continuing to grow by refining my practice through research and a deepening understanding of Montessori philosophy.

  1. Where do you see yourself and HDMS in 5 years?

I see myself to continue being involved with the growth and development of the primary program. It would be wonderful to see Montessori early childhood education continue to be offered to a diverse community.

Ms. Kristy - Toiyabe Classroom

About Me

  1. Start with your experience and training and how you came to our school.

While living in Vermont, I began working with adjudicated youth in private and public residential programs in New Hampshire and Maine.  I guided children with processing emotional and behavioral issues and lead outdoor expeditions. After moving to the Lake Tahoe area, I taught at the State Preschools in Tahoe City, Tahoe Vista, and Kings Beach.  I moved to the Reno area in 2008. My children attended HDMS and that is when I began to learn about Montessori. I went on to become an assistant and complete AMI training.

  1. Why do you believe in our public charter Montessori school?

I feel the cost of private Montessori is not attainable for many families.  Being a public charter that is lead by Montessori philosophy is a way to offer Montessori education for all.

  1. What are your beliefs about guiding all children- those that struggle and excel?

All children deserve to be loved equally.

  1. What does partnering with parents and community look like for your classroom?

Partnering in the classroom with parents and community is about communication.  Sharing the Montessori philosophy is important so it can be supported outside of the classroom.  Montessori is not just a practice for school time, it is a way of life.

  1. What is the method in which you grow professionally and personally?

I grow with continued education, observation and experience.

  1. Where do you see yourself and HDMS in 5 years?

In five years, I see myself continuing to grow and foster the Montessori method.

Ms. Claudia - Peavine Classroom

About Me

  1. Start with your experience and training and how you came to our school.

I knew I had a calling for teaching since I was a little girl with “school” being my favorite game to play. I have been working with children since the age of 16. I was first exposed to the Montessori Pedagogy at the age of 22; when I first began to work as an Assistant in a AMI Accredited Montessori School in a Primary Classroom in Marin County, California. After observing the transformation from the children, I decided to continue my education to become a Primary Montessori Guide. I attended the Montessori Institute of San Diego where I obtained my AMI Diploma. After graduation, I moved back to Northern California where I began my journey as a Lead Guide in a Primary Classroom. I spent the last two years teaching in Napa; which was a magnificent learning experience. I recently moved to Reno to begin a new chapter of my life together with my husband. Due to my strong belief in the work of Maria Montessori, I visited and observed a classroom at HDMS. The calm, loving community is what attracted me the most about this school. While observing, it was evident that children were enjoying the hours of uninterrupted work and together with the grace and courtesy from the adults; children were at peace.  I look forward to a wonderful adventure together with all the families at HDMS.

  1. Why do you believe in our public charter Montessori school?

I strongly believe that all children highly benefit from the Montessori Method. After working in the Private Sector for the past 5 years, I am very thrilled to know that I will be offering the guidance and assistance to more children regardless of their financial background. I am excited to know families, but mostly children, will have the opportunity to experience a loving Montessori Environment.  

  1. What are your beliefs about guiding all children- those that struggle and excel?

Children are universal human beings that differ from one another. It is important to respect both areas of difficulties and triumphs. It is through observation and repetition where children can be given the skills needed to assist in their road to success.

  1. What does partnering with parents and community look like for your classroom?

Good communication skills are important to better assist a child in their development. Parents, together with the child’s educators need to work in harmony to create a balanced and efficient routine for the child. A consistent routine, both at school and at home, will bring the feeling of safety to children. This can be reached with positive and constant communication between parents and educators as often as needed.

  1. What is the method in which you grow professionally and personally?

Every day, every new experience with the children, is a period of growth for me.  As children have different needs, it is through observation where I can meet the child and try new ways of engaging them in the activities in the classroom. I also enjoy journaling, as it is a method of self-evaluation to better myself as a person; but most importantly, as a guide to the children.

  1. Where do you see yourself and HDMS in 5 years?

I have a huge interest for Inclusive Education. In 5 years, I see a lot of professional-growth by attending workshops and Montessori Courses as often as possible. I look forward to all the memories that are yet to come with the HDMS community.

Ms. Pam - Beowawe Classroom

About Me

  1. Start with your experience and training and how you came to our school.

I was born in Guatemala and moved to the United States at the age of 12. Reno has always been my home away from home.

I knew early in life I wanted to work with children, and when I started seeking childcare for my eldest daughter, I fell in love with Maria Montessori’s work.

I have been a primary teacher in the Beowawe classroom for the last 12 years and before that I was an assistant for three years. I am committed to this method/philosophy because of the profound respect Dr. Montessori had for children and their developmental stages. I graduated from the Montessori Institute of San Diego in 2009 with an AMI diploma (ages 2-6).

In addition to teaching, I find it rewarding to serve as an interpreter and translator for our Hispanic families. I provide parent education nights and offer my expertise as an advocate for their needs and rights.

  1. Why do you believe in our public charter Montessori school?

Our school is able to successfully serve approximately 425 students and their families. We believe that all children should have access to a Montessori education regardless of their socioeconomic, racial or cultural background. I feel grateful to be part of the HDMS community.

  1. What are your beliefs about guiding all children- those that struggle and excel?  

I do this by following the child. Montessori differs considerably from traditional education in this respect. Rather than following a strict curriculum, in which all children learn the same things every day, we use a more flexible approach to determine the abilities of each child so that we can meet their individual needs.   

  1. What does partnering with parents and community look like for your classroom?

Open communication with parents is an essential component to ensure the child’s success.

  1. What is the method in which you grow professionally and personally?

Learning from all experiences is an essential part of my life.  I am always looking for different ways to strengthen my knowledge in Montessori education so that I can inspire the children in my classroom.    

  1. Where do you see yourself and HDMS in 5 years?

I am looking forward to all of the wonderful things that the future will bring to our school.    

Ms. Maria – Beowawe Classroom Assistant

Ms. Noemi – Primary Assistant

Ms. Ellie – Primary Assistant

Ms. Lisa - Toquima Classroom

About Me

  1. What is your experience and training and how did you come to our school?

My name is Lisa Kapellas and I am a primary teacher in the Toquima Classroom. I have a BA in Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a MEd in Early Childhood Special Education from UNR. I have completed both the Primary and Lower Elementary  Montessori training programs at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies through the American Montessori Society (AMS).

  1. Why do you believe in our public charter Montessori school?

Throughout my time working in Montessori schools, I have worked as an administrative assistant, a classroom assistant and a lead teacher in the Front Range of Colorado and the Bay Area. When I moved to Truckee, I was aware there were no Montessori schools and looked toward Reno. I happily found HDMS which was not only a Montessori school but also, a public charter.

  1. What are your beliefs about guiding all children- those that struggle and excel?   

I love that children are able to have a Montessori education, where their individual educational and emotional needs are met, while they experience the diversity and community of our area.

  1. What does partnering with parents and community look like for your classroom?   

Building relationships with the students and families over the years they are in the Toquima class, and beyond, are what I look forward to. Through these relationships, each child can be met and guided at his or her individual level. I enjoy working with parents and our community partners to create a environment where all children can thrive.

  1. What is the method in which you grow professionally and personally?

As a teacher, I am constantly looking to improve upon my skills. I always love to attend Montessori conferences which I find to be an inspiring way to renew my enthusiasm for teaching and refresh my classroom and materials and practice

  1. Where do you see yourself and HDMS in 5 years?

I look forward to growing with HDMS in the years to come and seeing our school strengthen its role in our community with a thriving program that supports the individual needs of all children.

Ms. Stefanie – Tuscarora Classroom Assistant

Ms. Dominique – Peavine Classroom Assistant

Ms. Sam – Primary Assistant

Ms. Sunny – Toiyabe Classroom Assistant

Ms. Jade – Toquima Classroom Assistant

Ms. Jenni – Primary Assistant