Admissions Information

Admissions FAQ'sEnrollment CatchmentTuition and Financial Aid

Listed below are the steps to take when considering an application to City Garden Montessori School. We ask that all parents complete these steps to ensure our program is a good fit for your family and so that we can be as fair as possible when admitting new students to our school.

1. Find out if you are in the “1st catchment zone.” Please refer to map below.
2. Review the website and application materials.
3. Visit the school by attending a Tour. These are listed as “Tour- Prospective Parents” on our calendar.
4. Submit application and all supporting documents. (Applications will not be considered until all forms are complete, including supporting documents). Please Note:

A. The Primary and K-2 applications are different.
B. The Primary application requires a $25 non-refundable application fee to also be submitted with the application.
C. Both applications must be completed online (see “How Do I Apply” below). Call the school for assistance completing the application if needed.
D. Make sure to review the application before hitting “submit.”
E. We do not enroll children after 2nd grade.

5. The deadline for applications for the 2020-2021 Lottery for the Charter Program is February 27, 2020. Please Note: The kindergarten class for 2019-20 has been selected. However, you may still submit an application and have your child added to the wait list pool. If slots open up, we will draw names from this pool to fill open slots.
6. Schedule an observation to see inside a classroom in the Spring semester. Email to schedule.
7. Contact the school to make sure all forms have been received at
8. Primary families will be informed of their acceptance the week of March 30, 2020.
9. Kindergarten families will be informed of their acceptance by March 13, 2020. The lottery will be held on March 13, 2020. The lottery is open to the public and begins at 5:30 p.m.
10. First and second grade families will be notified of their acceptance if there are openings. We often do not know about openings in 1st and 2nd grade until the summer or the start of the school year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there tuition for every level?

Our Primary (Preschool) program is private and tuition based. Our Charter School (Kindergarten through 8th Grade) is public and there is no tuition required.

Who can apply to City Garden?

Primary (Preschool)

Preference will be given to families who live in our first catchment zone (see map below), but we have a few spots reserved for families who live outside our first catchment. Financial aid (see our sliding scale tuition graph on the application) is available to families who live in our first catchment.

City Garden is one of only a few authentic Montessori programs in the City of St. Louis. We have a diverse family community, and offer a unique school experience. We are a neighborhood school, serving families in the Shaw, Botanical Heights, Forest Park Southeast, Tiffany, and Southwest Garden neighborhoods.

All children attend five days per week, full (8 am-3:30 pm) or half days (8 am-12:30 pm). We do not offer part time spots. Before care and after care are available for a fee.

A limited number of slots are available for students who live outside of this geographic area. Interested families should fill out the application and call or email the school.

Email, or call 314-664-7646 for enrollment information.

Kindergarten, First, and Second Grades

Please note: Because we want all of our students to have a firm Montessori foundation, we do not accept students past the 2nd grade. Anyone living in the City of St. Louis is allowed to apply to our program; however, for the past several  years we have filled our Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades during the first lottery from the 1st catchment zone. We expect to fill our school from the first catchment area each year, although you are welcome to apply as long as you reside in the City of St. Louis. The 1st catchment zone is in south St. Louis City, from Kingshighway (western boundary) to Grand (eastern boundary), from Highway 40 (northern boundary) to Magnolia (southern boundary). This is roughly the 63110 zip code, although there are a few blocks within the 63110 zip code that are not in the 1st catchment zone. Please check the map or call the school if you are unsure about whether you are in the 1st catchment. See a map above.

What are our chances for getting in?

It depends on how many applications we receive. We have had more applications than spots available for the past few years, and we anticipate having more applications than spots again this year. This means that there is a chance you will not be accepted. We strongly encourage you to apply to at least two other schools. Many of our kindergarten spots are filled by “sibling preference.” This is a Missouri statute that ensures that siblings can stay in the same school. For example, of the 30 spots available in Kindergarten for the 2015-16 school year, ten of the spots were taken by siblings of older children already in the school. The “sibling preference” statute does not apply to cousins or other family members.

What grades do you serve?

Our Primary Program (ages 3 and 4) is a private, not-for-profit, tuition-based program. In order to make it accessible to families with a range of incomes, we offer financial assistance through sliding scale tuition rates for families in our 1st catchment zone. For scholarship opportunities or financial assistance, contact Tiffany Whitlock Murphy, Students must turn 3 on or before July 31 of the year they are applying and students must be fully potty trained. Enrollment in our Primary Program does not guarantee placement into our K-8 program.

All applicants to Kindergarten must go through the complete admission and lottery process, including students enrolled in our Primary Program.

Our K-8 program is a public charter school. We accept new students in Kindergarten, First, and Second Grades. Because we teach using the Montessori Theory of Development, which is quite different than a traditional school environment, students must have a solid Montessori experience during their first three years of schooling. It is very difficult for children to transition into the Montessori environment after second grade. For this reason, we do not accept new students in grades 3-8.

When can we apply?

If you are applying for the start of the 2020-21 school year, the earliest you can apply is October 4, 2019. The “cut off” date for birthdays is July 31 for the year in which you are applying. For example, your child needs to be 5 years old on or before 7/31/20 if you are applying to Kindergarten for the 2020-21 school year.

Applications for 2020-2021 Kindergarten are due February 27, 2020.

There is no deadline for Primary applicants. However, we prefer to receive applications as early as possible, preferably before March 13th. Applications received after March 13th will be reviewed on a first come first served basis.

For the charter school, you may submit applications after February 27; however, your application will go into the wait list pool of applicants. If we have spots open up, we will draw names from the wait list pool to fill the spots.

How do I apply?

The admissions process for the 2020-21 school year will open on October 7, 2019. Charter School applications are due February 27, 2020; however, you may continue to apply for the 2020-21 school year, and be added to the wait list pool, through March 2020. We will admit students from the wait list pool as spots open.

If you are applying to our Primary (preschool) program, serving students age 3 and 4, fill out and submit the form, then gather the required documents and the $25 application fee and mail or  deliver them in person to the school. Students must be 3 on or before July 31 and be fully potty trained. We are no longer offering a 3 day option.

If you are applying to Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade, fill out and submit the online form, then send: (1) the child’s original birth certificate, (2) the child’s most recent immunization and health records, (3) original parent Photo ID, and (4) two original proofs of residency to the school. Alternately, two of your utility companies can email to confirm your residency. You can bring all required documents in to school in person or mail the forms to City Garden’s Admissions Coordinator and School Secretary, 1618 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, MO, 63110. Because so many documents must be originals, you are welcome to bring them in person, have them immediately processed, and take them home again. If originals must be mailed, you can pick them up in person at your convenience. The deadline for applications for the 2020-2021 Lottery for the Charter Program is February 27, 2020.

When can we tour the school?

The calendar will announce all of our Prospective Parent Tours for the year. These will take place one or two times per month. If you are unable to attend the listed Prospective Parent Tours, please contact the school to ask for other tour opportunities.

When will we know if we’ve been accepted?

If you are applying for the Primary placement, you will receive word from the Admissions Coordinator. We will begin accepting students in April for the following year.

If you are applying for a spot in Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade, the Admissions Coordinator will contact you to let you know of your placement. The first catchment lottery is scheduled for Friday, March 13, 2020. Families will find out if they are accepted, or if they are on the waitlist, on Friday, March 13, 2020.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Tuition Information

Our Primary program offers financial assistance through sliding scale tuition. Discounted tuition is dependent upon funds available. Please use the chart below to determined whether you are Income A, B, C, or D.

If you are income A, B, or C, City Garden requires you to submit tax forms in order to apply for the sliding scale tuition discount.

The tuition rates and income guidelines for the 2020-2021 school year are available to download here. Rates generally increase 2% each year.

Financial Aid Information

City Garden is able to offer additional financial aid to Catchment One students. Please contact Tiffany Whitlock Murphy for more information at 314-664-7646 or