About Us

Quick Facts

A place where understanding how and why we learn is valued just as much as acquiring knowledge.

List of 11 frequently asked questions.

  • When was Cedar River Montessori established?

    Cedar River Montessori was established in 1981 by Narda and Bill Farrell, and Narda’s sister, Melissa Baker in unincorporated King County, near Renton, Washington. Cedar River Montessori was incorporated in 1987 and became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1989.
  • What are Cedar River Montessori’s professional affiliations and accreditations?

    We are one of a handful of Montessori schools in Washington to be accredited by the American Montessori Society (AMS), and the only AMS accredited Montessori school in the Seattle metro area south of I-90. Cedar River Montessori School is approved by the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and licensed by the Washington Department of Children, Youth, and Families.
  • Do you offer part-time early childhood programs?

    All early childhood programs at Cedar River are full day, 5 day a week programs.
  • What does American Montessori Society (AMS) accreditation mean?

    Accreditation is the process of validating that we are living our mission, and that as an organization, we have the means (human and financial and systematic) to successfully achieve our mission. The process also helps us (the school) identify our strengths and weaknesses so that we can understand how we can continue to develop and improve. Accreditation shows that Cedar River Montessori meets very high professional standards, that we implement Montessori education as established by Dr. Maria Montessori and the American Montessori Society, and that we are committed to continued organizational health, growth, and improvement. Only 15% of American Montessori Society-member schools are accredited.
  • What is Montessori education? How is Montessori different than conventional education?

    Montessori is a very different kind of education than conventional education. The underlying educational model has a different history, intent, and objectives. Montessori education was founded by Dr. Maria Montessori (an Italian physician and scientist in the early 20th century), who was interested in studying how people learn. She observed how children learn, and through this observation and trial and error, she created a classroom that is a “prepared environment” where children learn through doing. Montessori education is an active, experiential, and individualized education. Montessori is also competency-based (meaning that students master concepts before moving on to the next concept within that scope and sequence in the classroom), and values academic, social, and emotional development equally. Historically, the conventional education model was developed during the industrial revolution, when society was transitioning from agrarian to industrial, and many people were immigrating to this country seeking jobs and better lives for their families. Efficiency was a hallmark of the industrial revolution, and the underlying conventional education system reflects this as well – it is designed for efficiency as seen by adults, with an objective of teaching students how to reach certain standards so that they can go forth and be productive members of society. Although modern educators understand that children learn as Dr. Montessori observed, it is often difficult to implement changes to support this type of education due to the underlying structure of the conventional system, and its continued emphasis on standardized testing.
  • What ages of students does Cedar River Montessori serve?

    We serve children aged 3 through grade 8. Children must be at least 3 years old as of August 31 of their year of entry to be age-eligible for our early childhood program.
  • How do I apply?

    We’re interested in getting to know you and your family better, and we’re excited to have you learn more about Montessori education, our school, and our community! Our admissions season generally runs from October through January annually for enrollment the following September, though we may periodically have very limited rolling admissions as needed. Our Director of Admissions is ready to answer any of your questions and to introduce you to our school community. We look forward to meeting you!
  • What are you looking for during the application process?

    Ultimately, we want our school to be a great match for you and your family. For early childhood students, we are looking for readiness to be in the classroom. Students also must be toilet trained, and at least 3 years old by August 31 of their year of entry. For elementary students and middle school students, we are looking for an ability to be self-directed and a positive member of the classroom and school community.
  • How much does a Cedar River Montessori education cost?

    Initial Fees (2020-2021)
    Application (non-refundable)$75
    Enrollment/Re-Enrollment Fee*$250
    Early Childhood Book & Activity Fee$130
    Lower Elementary Book & Activity$275
    Upper Elementary Book & Activity$500
    Middle School Book & Activity$650
    Tuition (2021-2022)
    Early Childhood$14,350
    Lower Elementary$14,600
    Upper Elementary$14,800
    Middle School$15,050

    The Book & Activity fee covers school supplies and fees for most field trips and is billed annually in September.
  • Does Cedar River Montessori offer financial aid?

    The Cedar River Montessori School Board of Directors is dedicated to cultivating a community that intentionally practices diversity, equity, and inclusion. Financial aid offers support to families where needed and provides more equitable access to a Cedar River Montessori education. The CRMS Financial Aid Committee offers aid to students based on school policies, demonstrated financial need and available funds.
  • What is the 12-Acre Classroom?

    Our property embodies Maria Montessori’s vision of the perfect setting for a Montessori school, presenting many opportunities for students and staff to connect intentionally with the natural world. Our campus is a Washington State Stewardship Forest, and our pasture Farm Conservation Plan work earned Cedar River Montessori a 2016 Conservation Landowner Award from King Conservation District. Students work and learn in our forest and wetlands, in our organic pollinator and vegetable gardens, and with our pasture animal care and husbandry program. Our school community is actively stewarding the health of our campus and our Cedar River watershed through the ecological restoration of our forest and wetlands. The goal of this “12-Acre Trails and Forest Restoration Project” is to prepare our outdoor environment for even more outdoor educational opportunities for our students. Thank you to our project partners at EarthCorps and King Conservation District for helping our 12-Acre vision become a reality for our students!