Four Pillars

Academic Excellence


Montessori Method

We believe the Montessori Method provides the ideal framework for academic excellence at all ages of development. It fosters independence, encourages exploration and inspires a love of learning. For more information on the Montessori Method, check out What is Montessori?

IMC accreditation

In January of 2014, Desert Garden Montessori received a full accreditation from the International Montessori Council (IMC) and maintains that accreditation to this day. In the words from the final IMC report, “Our congratulations to Desert Garden Montessori for creating a school where the needs of the children and community are met and exceeded. We welcome you to the status of Accredited School.” Schools with this accreditation must meet rigorous criteria. To learn more about the Code of Ethics we follow as an IMC accreditated school, click here.

IB Candidate School

Desert Garden Montessori is a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP, 7th-10th grade) and is pursuing authorization as an IB World School. IB World Schools share a common philosophy – a commitment to improve the teaching and learning of a diverse and inclusive community of students by delivering challenging, high quality programes of international education that share a powerful vision.

Global Standards with Tangible Outcomes

As a Montessori and IB candidate school, our curriculum for all ages includes and meets global standards, not just state or national standards. We believe as members of our global community, it is important to encompass standards that students worldwide are challenged to meet with tangible outcomes that can be demonstrated by our students.

Criteria based assessments

In our IB candidate program for Middle Years and High School, the teachers use criterion-based (skill-based) assessments. This means that student achievement is measured using a set of rubrics designed by the IBO to determine student progress across each subject. These universal criterion-based assessments are used instead of traditional letter or percentage grades.

Empirical test data

Though we do not administer standardized tests, we do have a basic assessment test called STAR that provides teachers with learning data for students in 1st grade and up. For more information on STAR testing, click here.

Complete Curriculum

We give equal weight to all subject areas that include: Language Arts, Math, Science, Cultural Studies, Art, Music, Theater. [Read more about our curriculum here – link to additional page once created LATER.]

Art program

Art is incorporated in each classroom, and weekly art electives are taught at the elementary ages and up. As a vital component of a well-rounded education, art is integrated into lessons on a regular basis and art works are rotated throughout each classroom to provide the students opportunities for exploring color, visual beauty and various artistic styles during their work cycle.

Music program

Our music program begins in our infant room and expands into full-fledged band, choir and violin practices and performances at our Winter and Spring Concerts each year. Our top-notch music instructors perform nationally and internationally and are passionate about sharing their love of music with the students. MYHS students also have the option of a school rock band to join.


Our theater program is a weekly elective available to elementary and MYHS students. It includes a comprehensive and integrated approach to theater, encouraging students to participate in every aspect, including: acting, singing, set design, costume design, lighting, sales, management, and performing and producing an outdoor dinner theater production in the round.