Choo Choo Montessori is an early childhood learning center in the Twin Cities, emphasizing the Montessori teaching philosophy. We're currently enrolling the following ages:
- Toddlers (16 - 33 months)
- Preschoolers (33 months - 5 years)
- School-age children for extended learning
(5 - 10 years)
Welcome aboard! We'll make learning fun!
What We Offer
Choo Choo Montessori is a growing educational community dedicated to quality child care. It features:
- Montessori sessions throughout the day
- Daily breakfast, hot lunch, and snack
- A convenient and secure location along Hwy 61, between Hwy 36 and Hwy 694
- A year-round program including a summer session, Monday to Friday from 7am to 6pm
- All-new classroom materials and large outdoor gated playgrounds
- Staff to student ratios of 1:7 toddlers, 1:10 preschoolers, and 1:8 school-age children
Choo Choo Montessori school is an early childhood learning center emphasizing the Montessori teaching philosophy. Our school is a structured and caring alternative to traditional child day cares.
Choo Choo Montessori is owned and operated by Natasha and Quang Hong. Choo Choo was inspired by Natasha's upbringing in Montessori education and from years of working and helping at her parents' Montessori school (Rainbow Montessori of Bloomington, MN).
Traditional Montessori education and materials are mixed with new technologies to provide the children at Choo Choo Montessori with an exceptional environment in which to learn and grow. Along with structured instruction and a prepared environment, Choo Choo provides a complete care package, including catered meals.
At Choo Choo Montessori we encourage parent involvement. Here you'll find that in-class observations are welcomed and can be part of our weekly schedule. Parents are also encouraged to provide feedback on their child's development or any other suggestions or concerns. As a parent herself, Natasha insists that Choo Choo's staff listens.
Lastly, Natasha and Quang felt that the tuition and fees of many centers are overly complex. In the tuition section you'll find simple payment options that cover everything your child needs, minimizing the need for hourly rates. There are no extra charges for snacks, milk, lunch, etc.
For more information, we invite you to contact us or visit us in person to talk to our director.
The essence of Montessori education is based on a scientific method that is practical and has been tested for over 100 years. Dr. Maria Montessori's philosophy is to see children as they really are and to educate them for life by providing a supportive environment. This is created through activities that enhance their sense of order, concentration, co-ordination, independence, good manners, and awareness of color, sound, shape, texture, and language.
Such activities help children achieve a high level of academic success, which is common in Montessori schools. The Montessori method nurtures the spirit of children in a natural, mixed-age group environment, to prepare them to be part of their family and community.
The principles of Montessori education are:
- Self-directed learning
- The prepared environment
- Respect for the child
- Competition hinders learning
- Educating for a real life
Our Toddler House features one Montessori learning period in the morning, while our Children's House (preschool) has two 3-hour Montessori learning periods in the schedule: one in the morning and one during the toddlers' nap in the afternoon. You may choose to send your preschooler to one or both of these Montessori class times. During these periods teachers demostrate to the group how to use the materials, then allow individual time for the students to work with them.
Full-time school-age children follow the same schedule as the Children's House (e.g. during breaks from elementary school). For after-school enrichment opportunities, there are two options: join the afternoon Children's House Montessori session (for half-day kindergartners) and/or the early evening School-Age Montessori session.
For details, please view our Daily Schedule.
"The teacher [should] guide the child without letting him feel her presence too much, so that she may always be ready to supply the desired help, but may never be the obstacle between the child and his experience." - Maria Montessori
Our school features three gated playground areas, and these Learning Areas in our prepared Montessori environment:
Art: Masterpieces, creativity, free expression, paper and scissors. Occasionally chalk, crayon, glue, paint, and sewing.
Geography: Global culture awareness, flags, continents, oceans, states, and landforms.
Large-Motor Activity: Climbing, coordination, outdoor play time, sports, tumbling, and games.
Group Time: Reading, conversation, developing creativity, drama, music and singing, and poetry.
History: United States history, inventors, and timelines.
Language: Letters, sounds, letter combinations, words, reading readiness, and writing. Basic sign language, Spanish, French.
Math: Telling time, counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions.
Music: Great composers, music genres, orchestral instruments, and learning ideas and concepts through music.
Practical Life: Self care, care of the environment, coordination, independence, movement, and order.
Science: Nature (botany, zoology), astronomy, experiments, and observation of changes (sink vs float, repel vs attract).
Sensorial: Strengthening hearing, sight, smell, touch, and taste through activities in perception of size and dimension.
Our goal is to offer a well-rounded, fun curriculum that develops age-appropriate skills for social, physical, emotional, and mental growth using various Montessori methods and activities. These Montessori methods introduce a variety of classroom subjects in a way that provides a fun and hands-on learning experience. Each classroom schedule has one or two Montessori learning periods. The first 15 minutes of each is for Montessori group time, where the teacher demonstrates use of a material or activity to use in the classroom. This lesson period is followed by individual work time where the students use hands-on Montessori materials and activities for each of the classroom areas: Art, Geography, History, Language, Math, Music, Practical Life, Science, and Sensorial.
Our staff uses a variety of techniques such as singing songs, puppet shows, finger plays, and flash cards during other group times for learning about various monthly themes throughout the year. Lessons for basic sign language and Spanish are also integrated into the daily curriculum.
For more on our curriculum goals for each age group, please see our Curriculum Overview.
To see the complete list of topics in our lesson plans, and events planned for each month, please view our complete Curriculum Calendar.
"The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul." - Maria Montessori
Because your child's nutrition provides a large part in the ability to learn and grow, Choo Choo Montessori provides a catered meal and snack package as part of your tuition. See the sample lunch menu at right for a typical example.
Tuition includes supplies, meals, and snacks. Meal and snack times are as follows: Breakfast is served before 8:45am, Lunch is served between 12pm-12:30pm, and Snack is served between 3:15pm-3:45pm.
"Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities." - Maria Montessori
Choo Choo Montessori is open year-round, except for the following holidays: Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and the day after, Christmas Eve and Day, New Year's Eve and Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President's Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day.
Because tuition is based on operational costs and is divided equally by month, our tuition stays the same each month regardless of the number of school closings for holidays.For more details about our seasonal curriculum, please see our complete Curriculum Calendar.
"The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind."
- Maria Montessori
Please contact us to inquire about space availability and arrange to meet in-person with our director to tour the center. We encourage you to bring your child to observe the classroom.
We ask that a parent of a new student read the Parent Policy Booklet and complete and return the Application Packet before the student's start date:
Please also give the following to your child's heath care provider, and return to us before starting:
- Child Care Immunization Record Form
- Health Care Summary Form
- Medication Form
(Due on your child's start date.)
(Due within 30 days of your child's enrollment.)
(Only if relevant, due before medicine can be administered to your child.)
If relevant, provide a copy of your child's IEP (Individual Education Plan) from the school district so the Director may create the following:
- Individual Child Care Plan Form
(Only if relevant, due before your child's start date.)
Tuition and Fees
Choo Choo Montessori wants to make sure every new student is comfortable with his or her new school, so your first week is free with no commitment to continue! If you decide to stay with us, your first month's tuition is due a week after your child's start date, and will be pro-rated (it won't include the first week's tuition).
For continuing students, we offer a sibling discount of 5% per child, and pre-pay discount of $10 per month if you pay in advance for the periods of September-December, January-May, and June-August.
For more information, please see our full Tuition and Fees Schedule.
"If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men." - Maria Montessori
What do parents like about our Toddler House program?
"Potty training at an early age and also the cleanliness of the school is super! Secondly, having high expectations for my little (16 month old) girl in being able to participate in group activities. [...] Lastly, trust and security in the staff who show their warmth and kindness to my child." - Lynn A.
"Learning useful topics and social skills, improving his behavior and my (2 year old) child seems happy and is excited coming to school." - Cecelia H.
"The method of learning and development, class size, and value! The investment of monthly tuition is a true value to the services and curriculum offered. We are very pleased with the progress our (2 yr old) son has made since enrolling at CCM. Your staff is caring and does a wonderful job communicating with us." - Craig and Nancy N.
Parents have lots to love about Children's House, too!
"My (4 year old) son enjoys going to school everyday and he always learns something new that he is eager to share with us." - Cecelia and Nathan H.
"My (2 year old) son recites all the songs he learns from school. He's also coloring and drawing at an early age ... very meticulous and proud of his work! I love how the teachers are patient and caring for my child and always challenging him to become more independent." - Lynn A.
"Engaging staff that faciliate a great learning atmosphere. My (3 year old) daughter's manners and social skills have improved already. The program is very organized and well run with clear goals and expectations." - Katie M.
"The teacher, Mrs. Natasha, had really high expectations to have my (4 year old) daughter excel in reading and writing. I think my child is beyond prepared for Kindergarten." - Lynn A.
Choo Choo Montessori is located in the classroom area of Lakeview Lutheran Church, at the SE corner of Hwy 61 and County Rd C East, in Maplewood MN.
Choo Choo Montessori
1194 East County Road C
Maplewood, MN 55109