Typically, students have to attend costly private schools to take advantage of Montessori's individual discovery style learning. GISD's magnet application process will make it possible for students to participate in this specialized curriculum at a local public school.

See the Frequently Asked Questions and other information below to learn more about this exciting new magnet opportunity.


Students in Montessori classrooms learn:

  • with and from other students of different ages
  • at their own pace
  • with hands-on activities

The Montessori Method helps students develop:

  • responsibility
  • independence
  • initiative
  • self-discipline
  • leadership
  • strong academics
  • community and environmental awareness
  • love of learning

Montessori in Garland ISD

Watch the video below to see what a day in Montessori looks like for our students.



  • Students who are 3 or 4 years old on or before Sept. 1 and students entering kindergarten-fifth grades may apply
  • 50th percentile on reading and math achievement test
  • On-site observation

How to apply

See the Application Process page for details and other application dates.

Montessori Frequently Asked Questions

Why Montessori?

Garland ISD strives to provide all students with a well-rounded education that includes school choice. Currently, the district boasts 10 varied programs at 16 campuses. Montessori gives families another option to customize their child’s learning. Additionally, the locations of Herfurth and Luna elementary schools extend GISD’s programs into the Rowlett and Sachse areas.

What is Montessori?

Founded by Italy’s first female physician, Dr. Maria Montessori, this educational approach—based on scientific observation—allows children to drive their own learning. Teachers act as facilitators, providing an environment where students can choose to participate in a number of developmental activities. In Montessori, education is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline and a love of learning. It also provides practical life experiences, such as cooking and gardening.

How does Montessori differ from traditional education?

Montessori offers individualized, integrated instruction. The classroom environment contains multisensory materials rather than textbooks, and children move around the room at their own pace, studying art, geography, history, language, math, music, science, etc. at the same time.

For example, students may explore the art, history and inventions of several African nations while studying a map of the continent. They may then feel led to examine ancient Egypt and how hieroglyphs influenced modern-day language and writing. A study of the pyramids could later spark an interest in mathematics. This approach to curriculum shows the connectivity of all things and encourages total immersion in education, giving curiosity full rein.

Montessori classes also group grade levels together, forming communities in which older children spontaneously share their knowledge with younger peers. The primary level includes three-five-year-olds, while lower elementary includes first-third grades and upper elementary fourth-fifth.

Does Montessori use the same assessments as other GISD schools?

While Montessori ensures all students learn the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), teachers may not give standard grades or tests.

Progress can alternatively be determined through observation, self-evaluation, demonstration of mastery, oral exams, portfolios of work and student/parent/teacher conferences.

State-mandated assessments, such as STAAR, will continue to be administered at Montessori schools.

What about students with learning disabilities or those who are gifted?

Montessori is designed to help all children reach their fullest potential. The varying abilities created by grade-level grouping eliminate feelings of being ahead or behind in relation to peers.

Will district teachers receive Montessori training?

Effective Montessori education requires specially trained teachers—ones who not only know the unique learning materials and activities, but also how to prepare each day’s classroom environment. Montessori teachers observe all students’ skill levels and interests, providing opportunities to build on knowledge already gained and guiding each toward advancement. Staff at Herfurth and Luna elementaries will receive training from an American Montessori Society-accredited training center.

What is the implementation plan for Montessori at Herfurth and Luna?
YearImplementation of Montessori programming
2016-17Schools will each launch six primary classrooms with three and four-year-olds, as well as kindergartners.
2017-18Schools will each add six lower elementary classrooms for first and second-graders only.
2018-19Schools will add additional lower elementary classrooms and expand the age grouping to include third-graders.
2019-20Schools will each add three upper elementary classrooms for fourth-graders only.
2020-2021Schools will add additional upper elementary classrooms and expand the age grouping to fifth-graders.

Who can enroll in GISD’s Montessori program?

Montessori will follow the district’s Choice of School process. Any interested student can elect to apply. Since primary classes contain five spots each for three-year-olds—an age not traditionally serviced by GISD schools—the district will allow employees and community members to enroll their children for $475 a month. At four years old, those who qualify for prekindergarten will be offered a discounted rate, and others can still enroll at $475.  Like any GISD school, once a child has attended a Montessori campus for one year, they have the right to remain throughout fifth grade.

What criteria will determine acceptance?

Interested students must submit an online eligibility form and magnet application. Those who are not currently attending GISD schools must also pre-enroll at the Student Services Center. Acceptance will be determined by an observation and assessment. To view the completion deadlines and documents, visit

Will transportation be provided?

To receive bus transportation, students must attend a school within their designated eligibility area and reside two or more miles from that campus. Special circumstances may apply for magnet programs. GISD does not provide transportation for three and four-year-olds.

What are the school hours for Montessori?

8:10 a.m.-3:20 p.m.

An extended day program will be offered for 3 and 4 year old students on campus for an additional fee.

Is parental involvement an expectation in GISD’s Montessori program?

The district hopes all parents engage in their children’s education. Montessori invites involvement through observations, conferences, parent evenings and other special events. Families are also encouraged to continue learning at home. Can students participate in meal preparation, cleaning, gardening, or caring for clothes, shoes and toys?  This reiteration of skills gained in the classroom provides a real-world application for their education.

Will Montessori schools accept new students throughout the school year?

Students are only accepted through the Montessori Magnet application process.

How will Montessori students transition to traditional middle schools?

Studies show Montessori children rank above average in their ability to adapt to new situations, turn their work in on time, listen attentively and ask probing questions. They have also been encouraged to exchange ideas and discuss their work freely with others, developing good communication skills which will ease their transition.

Does my child have to be potty trained?

 Yes, students must be potty trained prior to starting any Montessori programs within our district.