Date: 12.21.2023 | Time: 10:00 AM

Dear City Garden Community, 

As we close out 2023, I am filled with gratitude for the many ways you have supported City Garden and helped our students flourish over the past year.  

It gives me hope to be part of a community that is centered around our children and is committed to living out our mission of redefining education, reimagining community and reinvigorating our world. Thank you for helping this mission come to life in new ways every day. 

Wishing you all the best this holiday season! 

In partnership, 


Christie Huck
CEO/Executive Director

"The child is both a hope and a promise for [human]mankind.” – Dr. Maria Montessori

This fall we stopped by Ms. Katie Keller’s Lower Elementary Classroom to see what students were up to! The morning work cycle was so peaceful, with each student deeply invested in their own work plan. Across the classroom, students worked with Montessori materials, geared toward place values, geometric shapes, compound words, interjections, and more. 

Montessori schools offer multiage classrooms. This means that our Lower Elementary classrooms house 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders! According to the American Montessori Society, “the multi-age classroom – typically spanning 3 years – re-creates a family structure. Older students enjoy stature as mentors and role models; younger children feel supported and gain confidence about the challenges ahead. Teachers model respect, loving kindness, and a peaceful conflict resolution.”

This December, our City Garden families and Family Support Coordinator, Katherine Ingersoll, have rallied to collect gifts for 26 students ahead of the holiday season. All month long, parents have dropped items off at the Elementary and Adolescent Education Center, in preparation for a day of gift wrapping earlier this week. 

Ensuring that our very own children have something special this holiday season is no small feat, and will mean the world to our students. Please join me in thanking and congratulating Katherine and our partnering families for their support and partnership!

This fall, Upper Elementary students have designed outdoor playscape concepts for Folsom Field, an open space across from the Elementary and Adolescent Education Center. 

There are currently six playscapes options, aptly titled by their core theme: Stumps, Stage, Create, Climb, Swing, and Slide. The students have created physical mock-ups and a list of potential activities specific to each playscape. They are also partnering with Ms. Lauren Denney (Outdoor Education Instructor) and Paige McClellan (CGMS parent and architect) to imagine how each of these playscapes could be utilized by students of various age-levels.

While they hope to incorporate many designs in the future, they are currently gathering feedback from students and staff to prioritize the construction and installation of the first playscape. Please join me in congratulating these students for their leadership and collaboration.

For many years, the once Preschool - 8th Grade school building at 1618 Tower Grove Avenue served as a center for community and gathering among families, neighbors, and area partners. COVID completely disrupted our opportunity to engage and host guests, but that’s finally beginning to change.  

Through a new community partnership, Bread and Roses Missouri became one of the first external partners to use space at the Elementary and Adolescent Education Center! This fall, they rehearsed their new play “1877” in our Multi-Purpose Room and offered dozens of free tickets to staff and families, marking a major return to City Garden traditions not seen since before the pandemic.  

Bread and Roses Missouri amplifies and elevates the stories of working people through art, performance, and activism. Bread and Roses believes that cultural and creative expression are a means to effect deep and lasting social change. It was such a pleasure to host these fantastic artists, committed to community building and justice work across the region. 

This past summer marked an exciting milestone for Anne Lacey, veteran Lower Elementary Lead Guide. For three weeks, Anne taught Integrated Cultural Studies 1 at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. She worked with a small cohort of adult learners, many of whom were lead teachers in public Montessori schools across the region seeking continuing education and professional development. 

The course focused on extending cultural studies materials, which would empower students to do more independent work. The adult learners created new projects that they could scale in multi-age classrooms. This model allows for the project to function similarly for all students, but increases in rigor as they age from 1st to 3rd grade. 

“Programs like this require a lot of preparation, both for the instructor and the adult learners,” Anne shared. “They had to practice not only delivering the instruction for each lesson, but then completing the assignment for each lesson from the perspective of the student. This kind of work offers the adult a deeper understanding of the content, and requires them to look at the work from the eyes of the child.”

The program concluded with Anne’s students developing summary projects. They had to "understand the theory behind each practice, how these theories are backed by the Montessori Method, and how to distinguish the theories from traditional, or non-Montessori instruction.” Anne shared that “it’s hard work. I was a little nervous, but it was really fun.”

It is such a gift to see City Garden Montessori educators sharing their wisdom and genius with the world. Please join me in congratulating Anne Lacey on a job well done!

Under the direction of Art Instructor, Angel Jackson, students at the Elementary and Adolescent Education Center participated in a Service Project this winter called “Choose Kindness & Show Empathy.” The first part of the service project, “Choose Kindness,” involved collecting over 960 items for a food and supply drive ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. 

The second part of the service project, “Show Empathy,” involved a kindness card campaign. With the combined efforts of all 14 classrooms, nearly 520 kindness cards have been created, and will be distributed to the area nursing homes this holiday season.
Ms. Angel remarks that the students “decided to do a food drive to help those in need and to create kindness cards for the elderly who are feeling lonely during this time of year. We believe that it is important to give back to our community, and we think that this is a great way to do so.”

This fall, our Upper Elementary team has resumed a longtime City Garden program and rite of passage – each fourth grader participates in St. Louis BWorks 6-week bicycle safety and training program, and at the end of the program, each student receives a bike and goes on a bike ride through the neighborhood. 

St. Louis BWorks inspires youth to pursue their dreams, care for the world around them, and explore new possibilities through experiential learning through Community, Sustainability, Literacy, Service, and Enjoyment. 

If you are in the neighborhood during the morning or late afternoon, you will see many City Garden students commuting to school on their bikes!

City Garden Montessori is proud to offer an affordable preschool program and a free, K-8 public charter school open to all families in the City of St. Louis! While there are still seats available for this school year, the deadline to apply for the 2024-25 school year is a few months away, and there’s no better time to get started than today.

Apply Now!
Schedule a Tour!

For additional questions and to learn more, contact Ms. Tyeshia Smith, Director of Admissions, directly at or (314) 664-7646.

Please consider making a donation to City Garden by December 31st. All donations made by December 31st, up to $25,000, will be MATCHED by our Board of Directors and other donors. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to maximize support for our children and our community!

Give Now!

Venmo @CityGardenSchool
CashApp $CityGardenSchool

Fundraising support from you and other members of our community will help make it possible to provide over $400,000 in financial assistance to families this school year for preschool tuition, before and after school care, and basic needs such as food, transportation and utilities assistance.  

Our students are at the heart of everything we do at City Garden. We are committed to developing well-rounded young people who will make a difference in our world. Thank you for joining us in this essential work.