Central Montessori Academy – Toddler, Preschool and Elementary in Northwest Cincinnati

We are an independent Montessori school nurturing and developing young scholars from toddler through sixth grade.

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Central Montessori Academy’s story begins with the Children’s Way Montessori preschool program that started in 1978 by parents seeking better outcomes for their children. As a committed parent cooperative, they did everything short of teaching—cleaning, office work, maintenance, and everything for the single classroom in the Brent School Building in Finneytown, where morning and afternoon classes were offered to 24 students.

Laura Lackner Saylor, who would later become Head of School, joined in 1987 as a student intern. The school built an excellent reputation, and in 1991, when the Brent School Building became unavailable, the Finneytown school community allowed them to rent a small house on 8779 Winton Road for just $1.00 a year.

In 1991, present-day Head of School, René Steinkamp was a parent of two children at the school. At that time, she voiced that the only issue with the school was that it did not have an authentic Montessori elementary program. With lots of help and parent support, the Lower Elementary was started in 1992, with Laura Lackner Saylor as its first teacher. At that time, the school consisted of half-day preschool, full-day kindergarten, and Lower Elementary.

In 1997, the parent organization decided to adopt a new name, Central Montessori Academy and became a non-profit, accredited Montessori school. In the same year, an Upper Elementary program opened, and all of the elementary classes moved to the Greek Orthodox Church,  (make a period) The preschool remained on Winton Road, and expanded to include another two preschool classrooms and added a full-day preschool program.

In 1999, the elementary classes and a third Pre-Primary class were moved to the Kolping Center, which came with some challenges. Before every weekend, the teachers needed to pack up everything in their classrooms to accommodate other events. And once a month, the same room they used as a classroom would be utilized as a shooting range. It was up to teachers and parents to pick up all the casings those early Monday mornings.

The school came to understand they needed a permanent residence, and purchased the current CMA location at 1904 Springdale Road, including five acres of land, a barn, a house, and a chicken coop.  Parents worked hard at getting the land ready  in order to build Phase I of CMA’s future home. The children would come over from Kolping Center to visit and see the progress. On November 30, 1999, the pre-primary classroom and elementary classrooms moved into the new location, while the two other pre-primary classes stayed at the Winton Woods location.

In 2004, the school received a large gift to construct Phase II, the elementary wing of the building. In April 2006, the construction was completed and the entire school was comfortably housed under the same roof. In 2011, through parent support and fundraising, CMA opened a natural playground to enrich its campus and outdoor environment. In 2018, CMA was excited to re-opened the Toddler Program (18–36 months). 

CMA is now in the process of expanding again, hopefully starting construction by 2027. Currently CMA houses one Toddler Program (18months-3 years), three Pre Primary classrooms (3-6-year-olds), two Lower Elementary classrooms (6-9-year-olds), and one Upper Elementary classroom (9-12-year-olds). There are 115 students enrolled for the 2022- 2023 school year.

Visit Central Montessori Academy and experience our welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere.

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