• "There is in every child a painstaking teacher, so skillful that he obtains identical results in all children in all parts of the world. The only language men ever speak perfectly is the one they learn in babyhood, when no one can teach them anything!" - Dr. Maria Montessori 

    "We do not believe in the educative power of words and commands alone, but seek cautiously, and almost without the child's knowing it, to guide his natural activity." - Dr. Maria Montessori


    As practitioners of her philosophy, Okemos Public Montessori School continues the tradition of individualized learning that encompasses all aspects of the child: social, emotional, physical, and academic. In keeping with Okemos Public Schools commitment to education, the Edgewood Public Montessori School meets each child at his or her developmental level. Through patient observation and respectful interaction, the inner child is revealed to the teacher.

    The classroom is uniquely designed to provide opportunities for children to build independence, concentration, and self-awareness. Maria Montessori once stated "free choice is one of the highest of all the mental processes." This is particularly true in a Montessori classroom. This freedom is developed through thoughtful, sensible, and sensitive interaction.

    Together with student's parents, our mission is to provide each child with the opportunities needed to become a creative, intelligent, and respectful addition to our community.

    Okemos Public Montessori's program is aligned with the American Montessori Society philosophy.


    Although the Okemos Public Montessori program is a relatively new program within Okemos Public Schools, former Wardcliff Elementary Principal Kathy Branch was an advocate for this teaching method for many years. Mrs. Branch was introduced to the Montessori method during her experience as a Principal at a public elementary school that had a Montessori program prior to coming to Okemos, and she led the effort to introduce the Montessori method within Okemos Public Schools.

    In the 2001-02 school year, it was determined that there would be available classrooms at Wardcliff in which a pilot Montessori program might be possible. Okemos administrators, faculty, School Board members, and parents made numerous visits to other public Montessori schools and thoroughly explored this exciting educational opportunity. They were very impressed by the high quality of education that they observed in the public Montessori classrooms, and concluded that Maria Montessori's teaching method would be a wonderful alternative for students at Okemos Public Schools.

    In the spring of 2002, the Okemos Board of Education voted unanimously to implement a Montessori program at Wardcliff Elementary for the 2002-03 school year. The program has proven very successful, and there has been great excitement and support from the Okemos community and beyond.

    In the 2004-05 school year, due to the need for several more classrooms, Okemos Public Montessori found a new home at Edgewood Public Montessori School. The program continued to grow under the nurturing leadership of former Principal Sue Hallman. Gaining a reputation of excellence the Montessori program within Okemos continues to grow. With the closing of two elementary schools the School Board voted to move the Montessori program to Central where the additional physical space would allow for continued growth. In the fall of 2010 the Montessori program moved to Central. Under the guidance of Principal Hallman, the program was honored with the National Blue Ribbon award in 2016. Following the retirement of Sue Hallman in 2019, Principal Shannon Nedds stepped into the position. The program is now led by Kelly Sundeen, who became principal in the fall of 2021.