About MSN

Mark Dansereau Head of School

The Montessori School of Northampton is a compelling school like no other in the area:

  • Unique to MSN – In carefully prepared environments, students at every age make meaningful choices about how to move through their day.  Their purposeful work maximizes engagement and learning.
  • Unique to MSN – The philosophy of the school program and the ethos of the school community support each child’s and young adolescent’s growth into their own, as educator Parker Palmer calls it, “authentic self-hood.”  This is a school that lives a belief that all are enriched by each individual finding their true passions and by each individual feelingsafe to present their authentic selves.  In this environment, MSN students are distinguished by their uncommon poise and kindness.
  • Unique to MSN – Board and school leadership are committed to social justice and peace.  MSN faculty are developing an innovative curriculum, on a national scale, of breaking through some old, persistent, and sometimes little examined and systemic causes of discrimination with a particular focus on racial injustice.
  • Unique to MSN – The Middle School program is developed from the ground up with the characteristics and needs of the young adolescent at the fore.  In contrast to traditional big box middle schools or preparatory pressure cookers, the MSN Middle School is a place where students form connections with peers and caring adult teachers as they begin to form a social identity apart from their parents and home.  In this “known” context, young adolescents find it is cool to care…about their work, each other, their school, their community and their world.  They develop outstanding academic and extra-curricular habits of mind preparing them for success in any high school environment and beyond.  Their presence of self is extraordinary and stems from genuine confidence and a genuine sense of having something to contribute to the group.
— Mark Dansereau
Head of School
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School

Our philosophy makes the difference: Our program is based on a complete understanding of child development developed by Dr. Maria Montessori and supported in the 100+ years since by scientific research.  Respect for the child is the central component.

Our curriculum makes the difference:  Covering every discipline, our sequential curriculum allows students the opportunity to participate in discovery using the specialized Montessori materials.  Teachers present individual, small or large group lessons, and emphasize respect for self, others, and the environment.

Our classrooms make the difference:  In an multiage classroom environment carefully planned and prepared by the teachers, children benefit from the ownership of their choices to become self-motivated, self-directed learners.

Our teachers make the difference:  Trained in child development and the Montessori method, the teachers follow the child by observing their curiosity and development in order to plan the next steps and guide each individual child along the path of learning.

Our students make the difference:  From learning how to work out an issue with a classmate to community service starting at a young age, our students develop healthy self-esteem, respect for others and a sense of where they fit in the world.

Our community makes the difference:  Our students, families and staff form a caring, supportive community where diversity in all its meanings is welcomed.

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Diversity Statement

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The Montessori School of Northampton has been educating children since 1976. Our families come from three counties (Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin) and from over fifteen towns from throughout the Pioneer Valley.

Our school has a strong sense of community and reflects and welcomes diversity. At the start of each school year we offer three events to bring the school community together.  Back to School Night is a school wide event introducing parents to faculty and staff and providing orientation information.  Curriculum Nights at all levels invite parents to visit in their classrooms with teachers to learn more about one another and the Montessori curriculum.  Potlucks bring together parents, children and faculty in a relaxed setting.  These programs set the stage for connections joyously made and nurtured throughout the year.


The Montessori School of Northampton
Mission Statement

The Montessori School of Northampton is firmly rooted in Maria Montessori’s philosophy as it applies to today’s world. The school provides an exceptional education with a comprehensive curriculum, covered at a pace and sequence adapted for a variety of learning styles; emphasizes compassion, inclusiveness and respectful resolution of conflict; and promotes the interrelatedness of everything in the world and its peoples.

By following this mission, the Montessori School of Northampton strives to prepare:

  • Well-educated and inquisitive students
  • Effective self-directed learners
  • Caring and confident human beings participating in their home communities
  • Engaged, informed and responsible citizens of the global community.
Here are some of our parents’ and alums’ answers to the question, “Why MSN?”

“We wanted an environment that would allow our children to grow socially, emotionally and academically. It was this combination, in addition to the welcoming community, that attracted us to MSN.”

“I can never forget the skills I learned and the memories I will keep with me for the rest of my life. I know that Montessori endowed me with the creative intellect and independent learning style that has defined me as a student, and pushed me to go above and beyond what is required.” (MSN alumni, upon college acceptance)

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“We looked at many schools and found MSN to have quieter classrooms. We liked the location, low student-teacher ratios, focus on community and strong academic program.”

“We really like the Montessori philosophy. MSN impressed us because it has an established elementary program, a nice school and playground, and a structured and nurturing environment.”

“I am impressed! Not only with the way my children have become independent and creative learners, but also with how they’ve learned to hold themselves to such high standards. My kids have learned to work and learn for the love of it.”


“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”

–Dr. Maria Montessori

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