School Spotlight: Creative Montessori Academy

Creative Montessori Academy Snapshot

Students Served: 750+

Grades Served: PreK – 8th grade

Year Established: 2001

Managed by Choice Since: 2003

Authorizer: Wayne RESA

Charter Renewal Date: 2013
Charter Granted: 5 years

Nicole Robinson, Headmaster
Al Carter, Assistant Headmaster

Free and Reduced Lunch: 44%

Board Members:
Don Treadwell, President
Richard Mitchell, Vice President
Tammy Duty, Treasurer
Shannon Higdon, Secretary
Shelly Milton, Trustee
DaMita Warren, Trustee
Amphy Negrón, Trustee


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Creative Montessori Academy (CMA) shines not only through its devotion to Montessori philosophy and academics but also through its service-learning initiatives. Giving back is at the heart of this school.

When prospective parents and students enter the school doors for the first time, they experience a large, close-knit community who hold the Montessori principles near to their hearts.  Being the largest Montessori school in the Downriver Metro-Detroit area, CMA offers FREE Montessori as an alternative option within the community. One that many have graciously embraced.

In reality, families do not always choose Creative Montessori Academy for its size, ability to consistently outscore state predictions on mandated assessments, or even because it’s FREE. The reason that many parents and students choose Creative Montessori Academy is simple – they teach kids to LOVE LEARNING; learning in both their classrooms as well as learning to give back in their local community.

Within each classroom, a teacher and an assistant work together to teach abstract ideas with Montessori materials both in small groups and through individual instruction. By the end of 8th grade, students are confidently prepared for high school (and beyond) and have already experienced much more than some of their peers in surrounding neighborhood schools. Alongside academics, the students at Creative Montessori Academy also learn practical life skills and work to model good character on a daily basis. The character education program teaches them not only meaningful monthly traits such as respect and responsibility, but also helps to form the roots of so many of their service-learning initiatives.

One recent service-learning initiative, which was put together by teacher and the CMA Interact Club facilitator Dayna Crawford, allowed students to help support children with hair loss. After learning the history and care of the hair, students worked diligently to pack over 300 lbs. of hair to be shipped off and processed into wigs. Once created, the wigs are brought back to the local community and given to those who are in need of them along with haircare and grooming products.

Sixth grade student, Victoria Koller recalls the day as being really fun. “We worked hard, and it was for a good cause. I’d like to go again to help out, and I’d definitely donate.”

creative-montessori-academyAlso, this past February, students were able to attend the 10th Annual Peace Summit held at Canton High School. The school conducted a food and clothing drive and was able to contribute their donations at the event and well as giving their time to help with the organization of all of the goods donated. This event helped to provide food to Gleaner’s Food Bank and clothing for The Salvation Army. The students were able to interact with high school students and work to help those in their community. In the coming months, students will be hosting a cereal drive for Gleaner’s Food Bank and will strive to surpass their goal from last year of 1,900 servings. The continuous and dedicated efforts of both the teachers and students truly contribute to the heart of the school.

It is through giving back that Creative Montessori Academy truly shines. By working to help families and students in need, not only within their own walls but also those with greater needs around them, they are able to make a difference. A school that teaches character, service-learning and who excels in academics, this is a place where any child can truly shine.


How Creative Montessori Academy teachers use the Montessori materials to help them differentiate instruction for their students…

allisonGAllison Goroni, 1st-3rd Grade Teacher

My room runs like a typical Montessori room. Each morning is devoted to the student’s individualized work plan. Each child has a work plan unique to them. This was modeled at the beginning of the school year and we repeat the lessons whenever needed. Most of the students are able to teach other students about advanced materials because they know how to use the materials so efficiently. We also use Albanesi cards for both math and geometry. Phonics is a collection of the pink/blue/green material and object bags that help to reach the Common Core State Standards. I work to blend CCSS and Montessori lessons for both science and social studies which we work on during the afternoon.

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charamaine-wrightCharmaine Wright, Kindergarten Teacher

The Montessori materials provide the curriculum I need to meet the individual abilities and interests of each child in my classroom and for them to reach their full potential. I prepare the environment by organizing my classroom shelves in the order in which each Montessori material will be presented to each child when the child is ready and at their own pace.  I love the fact that Montessori materials have built-in control of errors and have been created to teach children at different levels of learning. My students are able to choose their own work and may work as long as they would like on their chosen lesson. I allow the children to work where they are comfortable and they may move about the classroom and talk freely with others to help internalize information.

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shannon-stacyShannon Stacy, Upper Elementary Teacher (4th-6th grades)

Differentiation in a Montessori classroom happens naturally. As I “follow the child,” I learn what his/her individual needs are, and once that is known, I have a multitude of Montessori materials to choose from that are perfectly suited to meet that child’s needs.  That material is designed not only to teach the concept that the child is ready for, but it goes beyond the concept and teaches it in a concrete, hands-on way that provides meaning for the student.

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katie-scheerhornKatie Scheerhorn, Middle School Teacher (7th & 8th grade)

I find the variety of hands-on Montessori materials in my classroom to be very helpful in differentiating instruction and ensuring student growth for all learners in my classroom, whether they are advanced, at grade level, or struggling learners.  The materials allow students to work on skills at their independent and instructional levels and help me meet their needs for an individualized learning experience. These hands-on materials offer a variety of learning experiences across the curriculum in response to individual student needs.