The HCMS Difference

HCMS History

As you explore education options for your child, you may find yourself asking the question – “What is the difference between Hill Country Montessori School and other schools?”

Although public schools, private schools, and other Montessori schools share some educational philosophies, there are many differences that set us apart. 

Below you will find helpful information on the advantages of choosing Hill Country Montessori School over other educational opportunities and methods. Discover how the Montessori method can transform your child’s life.

Hill Country Montessori School vs. Traditional Public & Private School

  • The Montessori approach to education cultivates the self-motivated growth of young children and adolescents in all aspects of their development – cognitive, emotional, social, and physical. Traditional public and private schooling, however, tend to focus mainly on the cognitive side of development.
  • As in other traditional schools, we teach the same things academically (reading, writing, math, geography, etc.); It is how we teach that is different. HCMS uses didactic (hands-on) materials to teach the different concepts of all subjects. By being able to manipulate these materials, the academic concept is cemented in their understanding – it’s not just memorized.
  • In addition, we talk about the process (the steps) being an important part of our lessons, not the final answer. Understanding how you get an answer can sometimes be more important than the answer itself.
  • Also, Hill Country Montessori School does not use extrinsic rewards like traditional schools implement (grades, stickers, pizza parties, etc.). We believe that learning should be fun and the completion of something new or difficult is rewarding to children – that “aha” moment of completing a project, first learning to read, or simply tying your shoe all by yourself.  
  • Hill Country Montessori School does not use grades or tests.  Just as a parent knows how/what their child is doing (reading, counting, names of capitals, etc.) our teachers also know these things about their students.  We judge whether a student understands a concept and is ready to move forward through a demonstration by the student and observation by the teacher. By doing this, the student is focused on what they are learning, not on getting an A or B, or on completing an assignment just to get it done.

  • Our Montessori School groups children together in a multi-age classroom. Younger children can observe and learn from the guidance of older children while their older peers can practice leadership skills and master concepts through teaching them to their younger peers. Multi-age classrooms also facilitate cooperation as opposed to competition between the ages.
  • We do not have traditional school desks, instead students are free to move around the classroom, as needed. They work individually or in small or large groups.
  • HCMS has both indoor and outdoor classroom space, nature trails, animals (goats, chickens, and classroom “pets”), and gardens. All children have recess daily. In addition, our younger children (3-6 years) have Physical Education (PE) twice a week, while our elementary and middle school students have PE daily.
  • Hill Country Montessori School teachers are generalists (they teach all subjects) and include art, music, cooking, gardening, and practical life (self-care, cleaning, caring for the animals, recycling, etc.) in the daily lessons. We teach time management skills and promote independence (doing things for yourself, asking questions when you need clarification, being a leader). These are skills which will serve them in all aspects of their life.

  • In our Hill Country Montessori School classrooms, students can choose what they will be working on and teachers serve as guides that ensure productivity and help the children learn how to learn. Whereas, in a traditional school classroom, teachers conduct the learning every step of the way.
  • We encourage students to think outside the box and follow what interests them. Since our curriculum is integrated (i.e., math integrated into a science lesson with art/writing involved), we can teach multiple lessons at once in a way that interests students. 
  • Also, we can adjust a lesson for a particular student based on their learning style (visual, aural, verbal, physical, etc.) and for some learning differences.

HCMS VS. Other Montessori Schools

We are the only Montessori (American Montessori Society) accredited school in the greater San Antonio area and only one of the seven in the state of Texas.

In addition to the AMS accreditation, we are accredited through Cognia, a non-profit organization that accredits primary and secondary schools throughout the United States and internationally.

When Students Leave HCMS

Hill Country Montessori students excel when they move on to other schools – whether at the kindergarten level, elementary/middle school, or high school. We receive positive feedback from other schools (both public and private) that HCMS students are prepared, hard workers, involved, and supportive of their peers. Our students have won accolades in academics, sports, and fine arts at both the high school and university levels.


See For Yourself How HCMS Offers A Unique Culture For Students To Be Successful In All The Different Ways You Can Define Success

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