Innovation and Excellence at CMS
Exploring children’s innate curiosity to inspire life-long learners
by Jeana Durst, creative director
Creative Montessori School (CMS) in Homewood enrolls 250 students each year at the toddler, preschool, elementary, and adolescent levels (18 months through 8th Grade) on their two-and-a-half acre campus located in the center of Homewood. The school’s mission is to provide an authentic Montessori environment for its students.
With the Montessori approach, students are allowed to learn at their own pace, under the guidance of a professionally-trained Montessori teacher, who understands and nurtures each child’s interests and abilities. Children remain in the same multi-age classroom with the same teachers for three years. Older students have opportunities to mentor younger students and develop leadership skills; younger students naturally challenge themselves as they strive to emulate their older classmates. Students’ differences and individuality are valued over uniformity.
Classrooms are filled with engaging materials that are child-sized and self-correcting, motivating the child toward self-control and maximizing independent learning. Designed to tap children’s innate curiosity and natural drive to master concepts themselves, activities are hands-on, multi-sensory, often collaborative, and seamlessly interwoven.
· In the fall of 2018, CMS celebrated its 50th anniversary. Founded by Barbara R. Spitzer in 1968 as a private, non-profit school; it started as 18 kids in a church basement and was the first private school in Birmingham founded as an integrated school, and the first to offer science, social studies, and foreign languages for preschoolers.
· From 2012 to 2016, CMS undertook an endeavor to transform their campus into one that will serve rising generations of CMS students. In the fall of 2016, students were welcomed back to a campus that included: a dedicated administration building; a new preschool and toddler building; a renovated elementary building; a dedicated library, language, and art space; a new cafeteria with a commercial kitchen; a multi-purpose community room; new preschool and toddler playgrounds; and a field with naturally landscaped spectator areas that serve as a uniting focal point for campus and a haven for children of all ages.
Building on the Legacy
The Board of CMS is launching the “Advancing the Movement Another Fifty Years”: The 50th Anniversary Campaign for Creative Montessori School, with a fundraising goal of $1,000,000. CMS hopes to break ground on a new gymnasium and outdoor space by Spring of 2020.