Frequently Asked Questions

Sussex Montessori School (SMS) is a public elementary charter school open to all Delaware children.  SMS will use the Montessori Method, a learning philosophy that has been consistently effective for over 100 years, to educate children through authentic personalized learning experiences, respectful relationships, opportunities to innovate, and a focus on global citizenship through multi-age classrooms. We believe that offering a Montessori public school in Sussex County, DE will improve student learning in a diverse setting, allow for greater choice for parents, and serve as a model for alternative approaches to education by providing a proven and innovative teaching and learning environment not currently available in the area.


What grades will Sussex Montessori School serve?

The school will initially serve grades K-3 and will add a grade level each year until the school is serving its full capacity of multi-age grades K-6.

    • K-3 (multi-age classrooms grades K-1, 2-3)
    • K-4 (multi-age classrooms grades K-1, 2-3, 4)
    • K-5 (multi-age classrooms grades K-1, 2-3, 4-5)
    • K-6 (multi-age classrooms grades K-1, 2-3 and 4-6)


How will my older 2nd or 3rd grader transition to Sussex Montessori School?

Children who start at SMS in our initial years will all be new to the Montessori classroom environment.  SMS teachers will be prepared to help children learn to develop the skills of independent learning and to adapt to the multi-age classroom environments. 


Where is the school going to be located? 

SMS has successfully purchased a property in Seaford.  The address is 24960 Dairy Lane and is located on the west side of town.  We are excited about the property’s potential and will keep the public updated on our progress. 

What does it cost? 

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Sussex Montessori School is a free public elementary charter school.  It is open to all Delaware children at NO COST to their families – just like any of the traditional public schools in the community.  Funding is provided through state and federal education funding, private and public grants, fundraising and corporate sponsorship.  


How do I enroll my child? 

The Delaware School Choice open application period starts the first Monday in November and ends the second Wednesday in January (specific dates to be published annually) of the year preceding enrollment. 

  • Applications for the 2020-2021 school year were available online  as of November 4, 2019 at 8:00 am. Paper copies will also be made available and assistance will be provided. 
  • Applications received during the November – January window will be eligible for an admissions lottery. When there are more applicants for grade level enrollment than ‘seats available,’ admissions preferences shall be applied in the following sequence: 
    1. Children with siblings concurrently enrolled at SMS 
    2. Children of the school’s founders (no more than 5% of the school’s total enrollment) 
    3. Children of staff members employed on a permanent basis at the school for at least 30.0 hours per week during the school year 
  • Applications received after the second Wednesday in January will be placed on a waiting list. Applicants on the waiting list can expect to hear from SMS by September if a slot becomes available.
  • The 2020-2021 Lottery took place in early February 2020 and families who applied during the lottery period heard from SMS in February. Those who applied after the lottery or who are on a waiting list will be contacted as positions become available.

Additional Information about the 2020 lottery and acceptance process can be found HERE.


Will transportation be available?

Sussex Montessori will provide buses to children in the surrounding area, however exact bus routes and the distance to which the buses will travel is still being developed.  There will likely be a combination of traditional bus routes, hub stops and possible van pickups. Carpools and parent/guardian transportation will also be welcomed.  


What times will school start and end?

The school day is expected to begin at 8:30 and end at 3:30. 


Will the school utilize State and National Content Standards, and will children have to take the State assessments?

Yes.  SMS is a public charter school and the curriculum will be aligned to state and national standards as required.  Public Montessori schools across the country have met this demand with great success. For more information on the successes of public Montessori schools, please visit the Montessori National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector website


Who is eligible to attend the school? 

All children living in Delaware are eligible to attend Sussex Montessori School.  There is no entrance exam and no specific requirements students must meet to be granted entry.  SMS will provide supports for children who are identified as English Learners (ELs) as well as those with special needs, and will work with parents, special educators and advocates to ensure Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are implemented with fidelity and all children are given the support they need to find success.  


What are the requirements to become a teacher at Sussex Montessori School?

Each SMS classroom will be staffed by one full-time Delaware and Montessori-certified teacher and one part-time permitted paraprofessional.  It is expected that training and certification in Montessori education will be provided through a partnership with the University of Delaware and the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector starting in the summer prior to the school opening.  Teachers already certified in Montessori education are strongly encouraged to apply. There will also be a hiring preference for teachers with dual certification in special education and/or certification as a Teacher of English Learners. 


What happens after 6th grade, where do students enroll? 

Currently, SMS is not chartered to work with children beyond 6th grade.  7th grade options include the surrounding traditional public schools, Sussex Academy (public charter) and independent schools.  When SMS is successfully operating a K-6 school, the board may consider applying for a charter modification to expand its grade configuration to serve children in grades 7 and 8.  


Will there be related arts and foreign language classes?

SMS will employ related arts teachers (art, music, PE, etc.) and these subjects will be integrated into the daily classroom experience for all students.  Locating in a multi-lingual community will give SMS the opportunity to hire professionals and partner with community organizations to ensure children are given the opportunity to gain language proficiency beyond their native languages.