The Montessori Difference

At Maria Montessori International Academy, learning is a passion, not a requirement.  Started in 2001, MMIA feeds a child’s creativity by structuring our approach to their needs, their personality, and their choices.  When educators brainstorm on how to provide a nurturing environment for children to flourish, the ideals established by Maria Montessori are the ones they use.  MMIA takes it a step beyond by adding compassion and love.  Thus, creating a warm, joyful environment for kids to begin the lifelong journey of education.

Maria Montessori International Academy has four guiding principles that sets us apart.  Our principles are:

Joyful Learning. Empowered Classrooms. Early Literacy. Infinite Possibilities.

An MMIA classroom is designed for the child to discover her or his unique personality, needs, preferences and talents. Our primary goal is to create an environment where children are happy and enthusiastic.  As children express their needs, it is the role of adults (teachers, parents and all other educators) to pay close attention and prepare the classroom to meet their needs so that learning is a joyful journey.

Maria Montessori International Academy provides our children the structure they need to succeed, but the freedom to choose and explore in their own way. From an early age, we work on independence so children can make their own choices. Once children are empowered in their surroundings, they can grasp many of the concepts we teach through the Montessori method, one of the central being early literacy.

Early literacy can happen naturally when children are empowered to take charge of their learning. Being always curious about their surroundings, they pick up quickly on letters, phonemes, and other building blocks to literacy. MMIA guides this process so that by the time they enter Kindergarten, 100% of our children know how to read. Even children with reading disabilities excel in this environment.  More on early literacy in this blog post here.

Once your child is empowered and can be independent in reading, the education potential is limitless. Confident and in control, they will determine how they will explore the world around them. More importantly, what we find is they have a desire to teach and encourage the younger students around them, creating a circle that uplifts and improves everyone in the classroom. For more on our Montessori approach and multi-age classrooms, click on the Our Classes button below.

How Our Principles Make a Difference in the Classroom

There are two main accrediting bodies for Montessori schools: American Montessori Society and Association Montessori InternationaleAll of our teachers are certified through one of these two organizations, and many of them are dual certified.  We do this not because have to.  We combine the best techniques from both organizations to improve upon the quality of education of our students.  Our teachers desire to be their best, so your child can reach their full potential.

Maria Montessori believed that a child’s natural instinct of curiosity would lead them to success in education.  We believe the same and encourage our children to be curious about their surrounding – to ask questions, or inquire “Why?”  Harnessing their need to know makes learning a pleasure.  They receive affirmation that their questions have a purpose. They are in control of how they learn.  As they grow in our multi-aged classrooms, the difficulty and complexity of inquiry naturally diversifies the subjects they encounter.

We’re not sure when play became something most schools dismiss as unimportant, but for MMIA, play is vital in the healthy development of the whole-child.  As research shows us, play allows children to process the things they learn in a classroom.  Whether it’s imagining themselves as the animals they just researched, creating a ‘store’ where they ‘buy’ and/or barter for items, children naturally take elements that interest them into their imaginative play as a way of processing.  MMIA fosters this by making sure there are at least two unstructured breaks for play within a child’s day.  Also, MMIA has a certified Yoga instructor on site, and all children learn Yoga basics for mental clarity.  For more on our philosophy of play, please see our Play page.

Much like unstructured play is important for the well being of a child, so is art and music.  Maria Montessori International Academy puts art and music as key components of the learning process, and provides lessons on both for all students.  At our Indianapolis location, children are introduced to the violin while at our West Carmel/Zionsville location, children have the opportunity to learn the piano.  There are no additional costs for this education unless parents and child desire private lessons.

Diversity and Globalism is Inherent in Everything We Do

When families from many different countries and cultures come together, a culture of respect and globalism naturally develops.  This was one of Maria Montessori’s goal for children: to create an awareness among children of the larger world.  At MMIA, we embrace our diversity and seek to educate each other about our backgrounds.  As a simple example, one of our summer camps will have a week exploring the various tastes and dishes of Africa.  Summer camps are inclusive in our tuition prices!  To learn more, check out our Camps page.

Beyond that, our teachers help encourage foreign language awareness through immersion.  The academy has 13 staff members, including teachers from France, India, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.  Immersion language teaching focusing on languages like Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish, and even French are taught in classrooms at our two locations.  Inquire what languages are taught at a location by tapping the button below.  You may also call us at 317.769.2220, or emailing us at

For more information on our team, please visit the Our Team page.

Globalism and Spreading the Gift of Montessori

Not only do we encourage globalism in our school and the regions we serve (Carmel, Zionsville, Westfield, and Northwest Indianapolis), but we also believe in paying it forward and sharing the gift of Montessori.  We believe this an integral part of Maria Montessori International Academy’s mission of globalism.  Therefore, when we can, we head abroad to China, countries in Africa, and wherever there are schools wanting to understand more about the Montessori difference in education.

Recently, our founder, Vivian Cain made a trip to Nanning, China to encourage Montessori ideals in their school system.  Here’s a short video of Vivian and a elementary class enjoying some fun at a beach: