A Montessori Approach

At Highland, our students are leaders.

Each member of the Highland community has committed to help our students learn how to evaluate information while nurturing the students’ compassion, curiosity, and sense of personal power. Through our classes and programs, we are raising the next generation of courageous leaders.


The Community Café is our approach to the traditional Montessori micro-economy. Managed by our adolescents, the café is open before and after school, Monday through Friday. Students learn entrepreneurial skills while selling coffee and treats to Highland visitors and parents. The students’ critical thinking skills blossom when they learn from their mistakes. The adolescents build off of each other’s knowledge and learn cooperative management.

“One afternoon, a group of alumni visited the school after the café had closed for the afternoon. They went down to the café to check out the changes and they returned upstairs to the adolescent classroom LIVID. The café was not cleaned and prepared up to their standards for the next morning. They had quite a few questions and words for their peers. It was wonderful to watch! That is what you want. You want to build the community knowledge to the point where everyone knows what the standards are and they are all invested in making sure we meet those standards.”

Chris Kjaer 2015-16 Adolescent Director 

Our students are empathetic lifelong learners and leaders. Highland Community school is a place where children are free to choose and are held accountable for their choices. It is a community that embraces our differences and respects each individual’s journey. Our staff and faculty model respect and kindness for our students and the students follow suit.


Our Montessori Model United Nations program is a yearlong project that leads our 6th graders through the academically rigorous process of becoming United Nations ambassadors. They spent all year researching difficult subjects like domestic violence and immigration issues. In March 2016, they participated in a global conference in New York City at the United Nations Assembly Hall. We were one of the few public schools in attendance. The experience of collaborating and negotiating with their peers from all over the world gave these students a perspective on leadership that is impossible to match in the classroom.


Highland is a place where children love to learn and that love starts early. In our toddler community children ages 14 months to 3 years are empowered use their blossoming autonomy. In 201516, our teachers guided 12 students as they grew their self-confidence and learned to take care of their basic needs. Our toddler community is the only early childhood education program in Milwaukee where all the teachers are certified by the American Montessori Society.