Q:  What is a Charter School?

A:  a publicly funded independent school established by teachers, parents, or community groups under the terms of a charter with a local or national authority.  SMCS is authorized through the Charter School Institute (CSI).  


Q:  What is a Montessori School?

A:  a system of education for young children that seeks to develop natural interests and activities rather than use formal teaching methods.  

What this means to us is that in the utilization of Montessori methods, our students will embrace a love of learning by being able to follow their passion within the constructs of fundamental education.  

The centerpiece of the Montessori approach is allowing children to learn on their own while being guided by the teacher. Montessori teachers do not correct work and hand it back with lots of red marks. A child's work is not graded. The teacher assesses what the child has learned and then guides him into new areas of discovery.

Our hope is to create a culture devoted to helping each child grow toward independence by building confidence, competence, self-esteem and respect for others. More than an approach to education, Montessori is an approach to life. Our school seeks to respect children as self-directed individuals and to foster their growth toward independence and social responsibility, while creating a joyful, diverse and family-oriented community.

Montessori classrooms are designed in a multi-age mix from toddlers through adolescents which allows for both individual and social development. The classrooms are beautiful by design. They are set up in an open style, with work areas throughout the room and materials available on accessible shelving. Most lessons are given to small groups or individual children while other children are working independently.

The school uses stories, Montessori materials, charts, time lines, objects of nature, treasures from the wealth of cultures around the worlds and sometime conventional tools to teach the children. Guided by the teacher, Montessori students actively participate in planning their time and taking responsibility for their work.

Committed to diversity, we hope to create a community  that is inclusive and depends on the tenets of respect. The school believes in sharing what we have with those in need and encouraging children to learn to live responsibly in the world. We hope to nurture students who are inspired to live both passionately and compassionately in a global community."*

*Adapted from About.com


Q:  Is Salida Montessori Charter School the same as Chaffee County Montessori School?

A:  No. A group of educators, parents and community members worked together to create SMCS, a public Montessori Charter school that opened it's doors in the fall of 2015, based on existing Montessori charter schools in Colorado. It is available to any child in our community.  CCMS was a private tuition-based school that was founded in 2007 and closed in 2015. SMCS and CCMS are alike only in that they both follow the Montessori Philosophy of education.


Q: How is a Charter school funded?

A:  We are funded through Per Pupil Revenue, grants (Daniel's Fund, CCSP and others) and fundraising.  SMCS does not receive any local taxes to fund our school.


Q:  is there tuition for enrolled students?

A: There is no required tuition for K-8th students, but we ask for small, voluntary contributions to assist in covering costs.  Preschool students will pay tuition in 2019-20 as follows: (all tuition paid in 10 monthly installments, or lump sum)

Toddler Half Day: $5220/ year

Toddler Full Day: $8600/ year

Children's House (3 and 4 year olds) Half Day: $4420/ year

Children's House (3 and 4 year olds) Full Day: $8210/ year


Q:  What grades Does SMCS cover?

A:  SMCS includes children aged one through 8th grade.  We have a tuition based preschool for students aged 12 months - 4.  The Charter includes students in Kindergarten - 8th grade.  The Montessori method combines school grades in three year increments, i.e. the 3, 4 and 5 year olds are taught in one classroom, the 1st-3rd grades, the 4th-6th and the 7th-8th grades.  


Q:  When is the enrollment period?

SMCS has open enrollment from February 3- April 1, 2020.  If you miss the open enrollment period, we will add your child to our wait list, in the order that we receive their New Student Application.