The IMS Mission

We nurture the spirit of each child through meaningful connections with families and our dedication to the principles of Montessori Education.

Core Values

The Ithaca Montessori School was founded in 1968 as a parent cooperative school to foster the education and development of children according to the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori by stimulating the growth of each child’s mind, body and spirit.



We serve others with kindness and compassion.



We appreciate the innate dignity of each person.



We model high standards and a lifelong commitment to learning.



We act in ways that promote trust and accountability..



We build harmony among our community.


The IMS Montessori curriculum is based on the philosophy and work of Dr. Maria Montessori, (1870-1952), the first female physician in Italy who founded the first Montessori school in Rome in 1907.

Dr. Montessori recognized that the most valid impulse to learning is a child’s self-motivation. Through her observations of children in the first “Children’s House” she developed the Montessori Method, an approach to education with an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and the individual child.

The Montessori Classroom is a specially prepared environment filled with materials which allow children to develop skills in specific curriculum areas such as: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Art, Music, and Geography as well as learning crucial social skills through Grace and Courtesy. Most importantly, children at IMS cultivate a love of learning.

Key Components of the IMS Classroom


Multi Age Classrooms

Our classrooms consist of mixed ages in a classroom. Younger children have the ability to observe older children working with challenging advanced materials, which helps prepare them for the next level. Older children serve as mentors and guides to the younger children and embody the concepts of peaceful interaction.


The Prepared Environment

 The Montessori learning environment is designed with the child in mind. Furniture and décor is appropriate in size and level, and is aesthetically pleasing and comfortable.  The environment is prepared with the full array of developmentally appropriate activities, both indoors and outside.  Self-correcting materials help children practice independently, an essential step in mastery. In the outdoor environment, sensory education stimulated by interaction with the natural world promotes plants the seeds for scientific inquiry and discovery.



Children are encouraged to become independent in all areas of the classroom. This starts with our youngest students mastering practical life skills, and care of self. As children progress in our program and are drawn to particular materials , the Montessori-trained teacher provides direct instruction. After a lesson has been given, the child begins to work with the materials independently. The ability to work individually with self-correcting materials promotes independent learning. The sequential display of materials, which advance in degree of difficulty and subtlety, encourage children to challenge themselves toward their personal best.