About Hilltop Montessori School


Hilltop Montessori School is a family. From a one room classroom in 1996, HMS has grown to serve students from 2 years old through 8th grade. We maintain a high fidelity Montessori program that keeps children rooted at the center. The teachers enjoy having a direct impact on every student and use the child's own curiosity to fuel their learning. A strong connection between school faculty and families creates a safe learning environment to raise your child from toddler through adolescence.

Families that choose HMS are looking for a different educational experience for their children. Students are partners and active participants in their education, instead of passive learners. There is more to education than passing exams. In addition to the basic curriculum, our students learn:

  • How to Learn
  • How to Communicate
  • How to Work As a Team
  • How to Lead

Why should you choose Montessori for your child? You don't have to take it from us, learn more here: Why Choose Montessori?

How to Apply

Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy as to Students: Hilltop Montessori School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis or race, educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other school administered programs.

Diversity Statement

Hilltop Montessori School celebrates diversity and inclusion in all aspects of academic and campus life. Reflective of best practices of an authentic Montessori education, we celebrate and value the uniqueness of every individual.

Philosophy Statement

Hilltop Montessori School is a highly engaged, academic community of students, parents and educators that embrace the Montessori philosophy. Global citizenship, environmental stewardship, critical thinking and best practices in education contribute to each student's individual learning experience.


From Our Head of School


Thank you for taking the time to visit Hilltop Montessori School’s website.  At HMS, we believe in giving children the opportunity of learning how to solve problems for themselves through hands-on experiences and materials guided by our wonderfully talented faculty and staff.  Dr. Maria Montessori once said, “The greatest gift we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”  In addition, we believe practical life skills, grace and courtesy are as important to education as reading, writing, math, and science. Hilltop offers a unique learning opportunity to young people ages 18 months - 8th grade.  We continue to strive for a learning environment that develops young people into creative successful innovators, problem solvers, and leaders for the future.

Hilltop Montessori School

Was founded in 1996 by Cindi Stehr with the goal of offering an exceptional Montessori education to Birmingham students of all interests, backgrounds and abilities.

•Is accredited by the American Montessori Society, Cognia, SAIS, NCPSA

•Is the only school in Alabama with all four of these accreditations

•Was the first private school in the country to have a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building.

•Alumni include a Fulbright scholar, National Merit Scholars, honor society students, national winners in science, foreign language, history and achievement and numerous other awards as noted on our alumni page.

We invite you to visit our beautiful campus located in the township of Mt. Laurel to see this unique and wonderful learning environment in action.


Dave DeHarde/Head of School

Core Beliefs

At Hilltop Montessori School, we have core beliefs as educators, which are listed below:

Commitment to Montessori

Hilltop Montessori School maintains a commitment to the founding principles and philosophies of Montessori education.

Follow the Child

All children have an innate drive and ability to learn. The educational community should follow the child and meet each child’s needs.

Facilitate Growth

Each child has a preferred learning style and progresses at an individual rate. The teacher must assess the child in an ongoing way and facilitate growth by challenging the learner.

Facilitate Learning

The role of the teacher is to facilitate learning in a safe, secure environment that promotes freedom of choice, encourages trial of new experiences and promotes learning.

Community Participation

A successful educational experience requires participation of the child, parents, teachers and community.

Parental Involvement

Parental involvement is integral to a child’s academic, social and emotional success.

Teacher Development

Each teacher has a commitment to growth that is exemplified by an ongoing personal development both in education theory and practice.

Environmental Stewardship

Hilltop Montessori School seeks to promote environmental stewardship through curriculum elements and through its facility.

More About Montessori

Learn more about Maria Montessori and the
philosophy that guides us.
Learn More


Hilltop is an accredited school with Cognia, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), The Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), The National Council of Private School Accreditation (NCPSA) and The American Montessori Society (AMS) from toddler through upper elementary.

Accreditation means parents can be assured that high standards are met regarding teacher qualifications, curriculum, facility materials and a continuous cycle of improvement is inherent within the culture of the school.

For more information about what it means to be an AMS accredited school, read this brochure: Your Child Is in an Accredited School.


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