At Great River we focus on academics, service, community, and independence. Real responsibilities and academics grounded in real-world experience help our students find and develop their passions. We stress the development of executive functioning skills through independent work and large-scale projects. These skills lead our students to success in life as well as in school. 

Students do well here if they are engaged in learning and persist in trying.

Who does well at GRS?

  • Students who are creative, hard-working self-starters
  • Students who want to set their own pace for learning and can work independently
  • Students with Montessori experience
  • Students who are kinesthetically, existentially or naturalistically intelligent or have other intelligences as described by Gardner
  • Students who want to do work that is meaningful to them
  • Families who are committed to strong academics, service to community, and who promote independence and responsibility
  • Families willing to actively support our mission

More information about the Montessori philosophy



A passion for learning through meaningful work

A passion for learning through meaningful work

A child’s work is to create the person they will become.
— Maria Montessori
Actors for change in school and society

Actors for change in school and society

Our principles include:

  • A commitment to Montessori philosophy
  • Mixed-age classrooms
  • Freedom with responsibility
  • Student-directed learning
  • Real-world economic, social, and community experiences
  • Grounding in nature
  • Global awareness and activism

The elementary experience

Maria Montessori’s five Great Lessons form the foundation of the elementary curriculum. The Story of the Universe, the Story of Life, the Coming of Humans, the Story of Language, and the Story of Mathematics start each year showing a big picture of the place of humanity in the universe and the great accomplishments of civilization. A rigorous curriculum in science, geography, arithmetic, geometry, language, grammar, and history follows the outlines of these stories throughout the elementary years. Children pursue their own interests and challenges within this curriculum, developing a love of learning through accomplishing meaningful work.

More information about Montessori education


The adolescent experience

Montessori saw adolescence as a time for developing a sense of oneself as an actor for change within society. She said, "The chief symptom of adolescence is a state of expectation, a tendency towards creative work and a need for the strengthening of self-confidence." Our work at Great River School helps our adolescents find their strengths academically, socially, and creatively. Key experiences at the beginning of each year establish the themes of independence, responsibility and community through shared experiences camping, farming or traveling. Students continue throughout the year to develop their academic skills in tandem with their development as active and engaged learners. They set and pursue their own goals for learning within the framework of the curriculum.

More adolescent program details