Academics & Levels

Educational Programs & Montessori Pedagogy

Letter from the Principal

Crystal Isom is City Garden's new School Principal. Check out her welcome letter below and learn how you can connect with Ms. Crystal!

Montessori & Programs

The Montessori Theory of Development is woven throughout all of our learning programs. Click the button below to learn more!

Level Webpages

City Garden is segmented into four levels; Primary, Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, and Junior High. Each level has a webpage to highlight their educational models and scope.

Academic Special Services

City Garden is proud to deliver effective and comprehensive Academic Special Services through our SPED, Reading, and Speech Pathology Programs.

Welcome Letter from
Principal Crystal Isom

Welcome to City Garden Montessori School! I am Principal Crystal Isom, and the 2020-21 school year marks my first year as Principal at City Garden.

I am looking forward to an incredible school year at City Garden! The community fish bowl activity I participated in during my interview process with various stakeholders was truly inspiring! I feel grateful to be collaborating with and learning from her students, families, colleagues and such an incredible group of people.

I have been an educator for twenty-five years serving students with disabilities and leading pre-K through 12th grade schools in Missouri and North Carolina. I have served a variety of schools that have consistently met and exceeded academic outcomes for students.

My most recent school was recognized as a national middle school to watch. I studied at Lincoln University (Missouri) where I obtained my undergraduate degree. I obtained my graduate degrees from North Carolina Central University and North Carolina State University, and my Ed.S from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am a graduate of the National Institute of School Leadership (MoLead) and Duke University’s Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership.

In my spare time I love taking cooking classes at Dierbergs, reading good books, finding hidden goodies at thrift stores and spending time with family and friends.

Ms. Crystal Isom

Montessori Framework & Programs

Primary (Preschool) Program

City Garden’s success begins with our Primary (or preschool) program, which serves children ages three through six. The Montessori Primary classroom is a “living room” for children. Children choose their work among self-correcting materials displayed on open shelves and they work independently. Over a period of time, the children begin to show a high level of concentration and coordination. The individualized approach of Montessori capitalizes on each child’s interests and optimizes motivation. In the Montessori Primary program, academic competency is a means to an end and the manipulatives are viewed as “materials for development.”

In the Montessori Primary program, five distinct areas constitute the prepared environment:

• Practical life enhances the development of hand-eye coordination, gross motor, control and cognitive order through care of self, care of the environment, development of social relations and coordination of physical movement.

• The sensorial area enables the child to order, classify and describe sensory impressions in relation to length, width, temperature, mass, color, etc.

• Mathematics makes use of the manipulative materials to enable the child to internalize concepts of number, symbol, sequence, operations and memorizations of basic facts.

• Language arts include oral language development, written expression, reading, the study of grammar, creative dramatics and children’s literature. Basic skills in writing and reading are developed through the use of sandpaper letters, alphabet cutouts and various presentations, allowing children to link sounds and letter symbols effortlessly and to express their thoughts through writing.

• Cultural activities expose the child to basics in geography, history, life sciences, and earth sciences. Music, art, and movement education are part of the integrated cultural curriculum.

K-8th Elementary Program

The elementary program offers a continuum built on the Primary experience. As in the Primary program, the Montessori materials are a means to an end. They are intended to evoke imagination, to aid abstraction, to generate a world view about the human task and purpose. The child works within a philosophical system, asking questions about the origins of the universe, the nature of life, people, and their differences. On a factual basis, interdisciplinary studies combine geological, biological, and anthropological science in the study of natural history and world ecology. The environment reflects a new stage of development and offers the following:    

• Integration of the arts, sciences, geography, history, and language evoking the natural imagination and abstraction of the elementary child.

• Presentation of knowledge as part of a large-scale narrative revealing the origins of the Earth, life, human communities, and modern history, always in the context of the wholeness of life. Presentations of the formal scientific language of zoology, botany, anthropology, geography, geology, and more to expose the child to accurate, organized information and respect the child’s intelligence and interests.

• Connected narratives providing an inspiring overview as the organizing and integrating, “Great Lessons”. Great Lessons span the history of the universe from the big bang theory of the origin of the solar system, earth and life forms to the emergence of human culture and the rise of civilization. Aided by impressionistic charts and timelines, the child’s study of detail in reference to the Great Lessons leads to awe and respect for the totality of knowledge.

• The use of timelines, pictures, charts and other visual aids providing a linguistic and visual overview of the first principles of each discipline.

• A mathematics curriculum presented with concrete materials simultaneously revealing arithmetic, geometric, and algebraic correlations. This curriculum recognizes the child’s need for experience, for repetition, for various levels of concreteness, for going from concrete to symbol to abstraction. The emphasis is on making formulas and rules a point of arrival and discovery, not a point of departure.

• A language arts curriculum emphasizing creative writing, expository writing, interpretive reading and literature, research, grammar and sentence analysis, spelling based on etymology and usage and oral expression for sharing research, creative writing, and dramatic productions.