Beginning his educational career in a local Montessori school was a key part of Kevin Kalra’s success later in life. He said it developed his self-confidence and ultimately led him to earn a master’s degree in education from Harvard University.

“In Montessori, you really have to rely on your ability to solve problems, to break problems into smaller pieces and how to ask for help,” he said.

About five years ago, Kevin returned to Cy-Fair to help lead Montessori Preschool as its director of innovation and global strategy. His parents, Ann and Satish Kalra, founded the Copperfield campus in 1996 and expanded to two additional Cy-Fair locations in 2018, serving children from 6 weeks to 6 years old.

In the 1800s, Italy’s first female physician, Maria Montessori, researched how children learn, which led to the development of an educational model taught in thousands of campuses today. Kevin said the model is all about allowing children to learn at their own pace in small classes where instructors can meet each student’s needs.

“When children are permitted to be independent in their learning—when they’re able to tinker with different activities and see how things work on their own—all of a sudden, their learning becomes a lot more [deep] and meaningful,” he said.

The holistic approach applies to academic concepts such as reading, writing, math and science, but social and emotional learning is a major component as well, Kevin said. Students 2 1/2 to 6 years old are placed in the same classroom where they learn to collaborate, which Kevin said prepares them for real world scenarios in the future.

From a young age, principles of concentration, patience and independence are ingrained in Montessori Preschool students. Kevin said students are taught they can learn anything they want with determination and the right attitude.

Children stay with the same teacher for three years in this program, and several teachers on staff have been with the school since it opened. Kevin said because a Montessori teacher—his mother Ann—operates the school, it is set apart from franchises or schools owned by corporations as operational decisions are based on what is best for the students rather than being profit-driven.

The Montessori Preschool staff helps parents develop education plans for their young children, and last year they partnered with a local bank to start supporting students’ 529 plans so parents could begin saving for higher education.

About 150 students are enrolled across all three campuses, and at least 100 cultures are represented, Kevin said. Cy-Fair families have donated dozens of international dolls, which are used to teach children about what life is like in different regions.

“We believe that every child deserves access to a quality early education, and they must also develop a global outlook to be successful in the 21st century,” Kevin said. “We have a big emphasis on culture and intercultural understanding here at this school. We think that all children need that skill as they grow older.”

Montessori Preschool

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

  • Copperfield, 8007 Queenston Blvd., Houston. 281-345-7822

  • North Cypress, 11707 Huffmeister Road, Houston. 281-469-4146

  • Cypress Creek, 11103 Mills Road, Cypress. 281-469-9616