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As children grow, so does Great Beginnings...


Individualized education isn't new. Maria Montessori proved its effectiveness 100+ years ago. Please help us grow to nurture each individual child. Through 6th grade. And beyond. 


So, this is where the big vision comes in… 

We’ve been dreaming about buying a beautiful piece of property within two miles of our current school, and eventually creating a nature-based K-6 elementary school. We are seeking a beautiful property with potential, with an outdoor environment to support our Montessori and environmental curriculum.   And, we may want to grow even beyond preschool and elementary. Perhaps middle school. Perhaps high school. However, the crux of the project is first – how to get the property, and second – how to get the enrollment?

We have so many questions about our timeline and history and expansion efforts, that we've created a website to specifically address our expansion. Please check it out at: GREAT BEGINNINGS EXPANSION WEBSITE

Please share our dream with us!

Gennifre Hartman

Head of School, on behalf of the Great Beginnings Board, teachers, and community


Please click HERE to learn more about our fundraising history and goals!

GBMS sketch

Q&A Great Beginnings School Expansion: Survey Results

Parents and community members who participated in the online survey in October had some great questions, which you can find below. If you have additional questions that you don't see answered below, feel free to contact the people below with questions regarding the new site and school expansion:

Gennifre Hartman, Executive Director and Head of School:
Jennifer Denhart, Assistant Head of School:

Why is the GBMS program expanding? What’s the impetus behind growing?
Many years ago when Great Beginnings first opened, the single location was sufficient to meet the student and family needs. The number of students at Great Beginnings has grown, and last year we analyzed the home school location of our current students and learned that they are not concentrated to any one region of the Valley – rather, our families were scattered all over the Valley, and driving to specifically access the quality and community of our unique school. Many of these families live in areas that are adjacent to existing Montessori schools, and they still choose to commute to Great Beginnings.

Additionally, by expanding programming, many of our families will benefit from having all of their children attend the same school in their community. And, Great Beginnings will continue to offer after-care for all grades, including the upper grades. According to a report out of Princeton University, after-school programs that provide additional educational instruction and social interaction "not only support healthy, positive development during [ages 6 through 14], they will also put in place the kind of safety net needed to support healthy, positive passage through early and middle adolescence.”

Are there plans to offer more grades for toddler, elementary and middle school? How will the school adapt if enrollment levels are lower than expected?
The school is expanding the phases for new programming cautiously, and the phases are driven by demand.  As the Expansion Task Force of the Board of Directors is evaluating potential sites, it is looking at capacity for long-term growth.

Does Great Beginnings work better for some children to have a consistent environment K-3?
For years Great Beginnings families encouraged us to extend our program into higher grades. With a small, nurturing community with a high student/ teacher ratio, a high level of personalized programming, and innovative nature-based Montessori curriculum, Great Beginnings is unique. For families who are seeking an alternative to a traditional elementary school, Great Beginnings could provide an excellent option.

Why is the time to establish an expanded school program ‘right’ now?
The encouragement from current families to expand programming has never been more robust. Additionally, our teachers have spent the past three years pursuing continuing education, and our school currently has a high number of in-house, professionally certified-teachers (both traditional and Montessori).   

Public schools in Bozeman still remain a great option for many families.  However, some families have educational philosophies that dovetail better with Great Beginnings Montessori School for additional grades. With our school’s focus on collaborative, interactive learning featuring small-group work, we are designing our new school to include environmentally friendly buildings and flexible spaces that can be used for multiple purposes. At the end of the day, this is about providing additional educational experiences for the children of Montana. 



Help us with the next chapter for Great Beginnings!