“As an English teacher at Santa Fe Prep, I meet students from many different schools. I am consistently impressed by the caliber of the DMS graduates as thinkers and as writers. It is clear that years of careful teaching have gone into preparing these students to think independently and to approach problems with creativity and collaboration.

My son, Jack (7), has been at DMS since he was two-and-a-half, and I couldn’t be happier with the individualized, thoughtful education he is receiving.”

Sarah Stark

English Teacher, Santa Fe Preparatory Academy


Our engaging curriculum is always academically rigorous. We follow the path of each individual child, utilizing student interest to motivate and inspire a lifetime love of learning.

We are an award-winning school with between a 5:1 and 8:1 teacher-student ratio, a diverse student body, and a rich extracurricular program that includes Art, Nature, and Spanish.

98% of our 6th grade graduates have gotten into the middle school of their choice, including Santa Fe Preparatory School, Desert Academy, and The Academy for the Technologies and Classics.

Toddler (ages 2-3) & Primary (ages 3-6)

Reading, Writing, Mathematics

In contrast to traditional education, where children often progress academically as a group, the Montessori method unleashes students to achieve their full individual potential.

That’s why many Montessori preschool children actually learn to read, write, and do arithmetic at an elementary school level while in preschool. 

If you haven’t seen a Montessori preschool classroom before, we encourage you to take a tour of our school to see what the classroom is like.

You are likely to observe that the classroom is organized with beautiful, interesting materials, and that the children are quiet, concentrating, focused, and deeply engaged.

Practical Life

Children learn to dress themselves, prepare their own snack, clean up after eating, and care for the plants and animals inside the classroom.

This daily experience of being trusted with real responsibility for meaningful tasks helps cultivate a true sense of self-confidence based on real effort, overcoming mistakes, and achieving success.

Mistakes are a valued part of the process and essential to learning. Instead of being afraid to fail, our preschoolers acquire a growth mindset. This means that they do not fear (and react negatively to) mistakes, but rather embrace them to learn faster and better.


Executive Function

 Executive function means concentration, self-control, organization, time-management, and graceful social interactions.

Research shows that executive function skills are more highly correlated with success in school and in life than anything else (even IQ). Our preschool purposefully develops these skills.

For example, our preschoolers are taught to execute multi-step processes (i.e., a task which has several components) and to complete full cycles of work (to finish what they start).

Children perform these tasks in a context where grace and courtesy are expected. This fosters a benevolent environment where pro-social skills emerge naturally.

Elementary Classrooms (ages 6-12)

Love of learning – not standardized testing

Montessori children learn because they enjoy learning—they delight in new knowledge and love mastering new skills.

Therefore, we have developed an engaging, challenging curriculum designed to produce academic excellence that is not dictated by standardized testing.

In additional to foundational skills in language arts and mathematics, we integrate biological and physical sciences with geography, local, state, national, and international culture and history, and specialty subjects of Art, Spanish, and Music.

Combined Classrooms Benefit All Ages

Each classroom has a two-year age mix. Combining students of different ages and abilities has several benefits. In a given classroom, the younger children are inspired to emulate the more challenging work done by older children. The older children get the opportunity to teach and model for the younger children. Then, as older children advance to the next classroom, they become the “younger” children once again.

The result is that children develop advanced leadership and social skills and can advance in each subject at the optimal pace to develop their maximum potential. Desert Montessori students learn to organize, prioritize, and use their time effectively.

Here’s a typical day of a Desert Montessori student.

Each Child Is An Individual 

Montessori teachers rarely teach to the whole class at the same time. Instead, they give lessons to small groups based on ability, readiness, and interest. This means that each child is constantly challenged at just the right level.

“My family has found a home at Desert Montessori School. My two daughters are supported and challenged academically and socially. The curriculum is so well rounded with music and art to balance reading, writing, history, math, and science. The instructors are caring and deeply invested in the children.

My girls are always eager to go to school and proud of their accomplishments. I value that fire in them to learn, and this is what DMS delivers in abundance. I’m so grateful to have found this incredible community of staff, teachers, students, and fellow parents here in Santa Fe.”

Tira Howard, Photographer