The School on Shanahan Ridge

Tucked beneath the picturesque foothills of South Boulder with playgrounds overlooking Boulder’s stunning greenbelt, Boulder Montessori School blends into the backdrop. Its scenic location fosters a connection to the natural world nurtured in the school’s outstanding early childhood programs.

It is not immediately apparent from the school’s natural and unpretentious surroundings that Boulder Montessori School is one of the leading and longest-serving schools in Boulder and has been nurturing and inspiring children 18 months to six years old for over 40 years.


As the second-oldest Montessori school in Boulder and one of the few preschools in the region to earn two national accreditations, Boulder Montessori School was established in 1973 by Ginny Hennes, a Montessori-trained teacher who taught at the school for 30 years after the school’s founding, and a group of parents who wanted to establish a Montessori preschool for their children. From its modest beginnings in a single classroom, the school has grown in careful steps to its present size, now hosting a diverse and vibrant community of learners, parents, teachers, and staff. Three clean, well-prepared preschool classrooms and a spacious and sunlit toddler classroom open directly onto the lovely outdoor space. The central part of the building houses the on-site kitchen where fresh, healthy lunches and snacks are prepared daily by the school’s chef.

At the core of Boulder Montessori School’s program is its classic Montessori foundation. Applying the special materials and educational philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori, the school’s expert and credentialed teachers, many of whom who have served the school for a decade or longer, support the individual development of each child, enabling them to thrive in multi-age, child-centered classrooms that offer the freedom to learn at their own pace. A wide variety of hands-on activities engage the body, senses, and mind to cultivate children’s foundational skills and academic proficiency while channeling their innate curiosity. Learning activities and materials relating to science, geography, the natural world, art, music, movement, and Spanish language are also integrated into the curriculum.


The toddler program focuses on movement, language, and order to nurture and sustain the developmental needs of the whole child. Children between 18 and 30 months are constantly exploring their surroundings and need consistency within it. Boulder Montessori School provides a safe, stable environment with caring and dedicated teachers, predictable routines, and stimulating activities that toddlers can master with practice. The outdoor play space is available for any child who wants to run, climb, dig, or swing, while indoors children can serve snacks to themselves, hear a story they love, build with blocks, or enjoy water play.

The preschool classrooms for older children aged 2 ½ to 6 years are also bright and bustling places. Although a hum of conversation forms the background to a warm and enriching learning environment, each child finds quiet spaces to focus intently on a self-chosen activity. The activities, though fun for the child, are named in Montessori terminology “his/her work,” to honor the effort of the child and the developmental stimulus the material provides. Like toddlers, preschoolers feel secure within an environment of order and consistency. Daily routines provide a predictable framework and students anticipate the rhythm of the day, which helps them feel comfortable during times of transition, such as from work time to lunchtime or at drop off time.


Preschool children at Boulder Montessori are ready to develop more precise coordination. They enjoy the school’s outdoor space to run, master ball skills, learn how to swing, and to cross from ring to ring on the climbing structure. Indoors, fine-motor coordination is refined by practice through an array of absorbing activities. From cutting an apple to carefully washing plates and glasses, small muscles gain strength and precision while the child enjoys the process and responsibility of his work.

As a child grows, Boulder Montessori School classrooms offers increasing challenges for learning. Each child works with the teacher to engage in new activities that build on her current skills. Math activities begin with simple counting and learning about numerals, then progress to combining the numerals and number concepts as the basis for advancing to decimals, fractions, and abstract math skills. Writing begins with art work and developing pencil control; later a child will write letters and sound out her own words to write.

Future posts this month will discuss how children in Boulder Montessori School’s classrooms become independent learners while developing social connections with others, and how they explore creative thinking and expression.

-Written by Patty West; edited by Dana L.

-Photos by Oliver McBryan

Boulder Montessori School is a nonprofit, nondenominational independent school founded in 1973 offering outstanding toddler, preschool, and summer programs serving children 18 months to six years old. One of the leading and longest-serving Montessori preschools in Boulder, it is nationally accredited by the American Montessori Society (AMS) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Boulder Montessori School’s dedicated, highly qualified teachers are all American Montessori Society (AMS) or Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) certified.

Applications are accepted year-round, a variety of scheduling options and lunch from the on-site kitchen are offered, and scholarships and full-day summer programs are available.

Address: 3300 Redstone Rd.
Boulder, CO 80305


Phone: (303) 494-5814