Four Pillars

Physical, Social and Emotional Intelligence


Sports program

DGM athletes will learn the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, perseverance, respect for authority, rules, and teammates, and how to win with class and lose with dignity. Athletes will begin to view competitions on and off the field or court as opportunities to learn from their successes and failures. DGM sports practices take place after school, and most games are held on the weekends with some in-week games. Desert Garden Montessori is now a member of the Canyon Athletic Association, a not-for-profit corporation, created to provide competitive athletic competition for non-traditional educational institutions. DGM structures their sports calendar around seasonal activities and the athletes will have the opportunity to play against other schools in the East Valley. DGM also works with the YMCA, NYS, i9 Sports, and various sports programs around the valley.

Current Sports:
  • Youth Trail Ragnar
  • Volleyball
  • Soccer
  • Spartan
  • Cross Country

Physical education

In our PE classes for Primary students and older, the teachers deliver high quality games, activities, athletic skills, and nutrition while incorporating social responsibility, teamwork, and the value of physical activity throughout one’s life. Students are given the opportunity to become involved in helping with community wellness outreaches, health & wellness fairs, local races, and more. Onsite opportunities are the DGM Field Day/Olympic games, DGM Fun Run, and other activities that arise throughout the school year. Physical Education class is offered to students in Primary through Middle Years/High School.

Mindfulness training

Our teachers and Life Skills Team help students become present in their lives. During our Peace Education we teach the skill of breathing to assist students to be focused and present. Alongside breathing we have community meetings and discussions with our older students about a variety of topics including: kindness, trust and building/keeping positive relationships.

Parent education classes

We host parent education classes, taught by our own Life Skills Team as well as other outside teachers on evenings and weekends. These classes help parents learn about a variety of parenting topics, such as: child development, mindfulness, discipline and connection. Our goal in hosting these courses are to partner with our families to create a cohesive and knowledgeable team between the child, home and school.

Peer learning

Students are grouped in classrooms with mixed-age groups, traditionally covering a three-year span from the early childhood level onward. This provides opportunities for the younger children to learn from the older children in class, as well as for the older children to mentor the younger children and develop their leadership skills.  In this way, peers are encouraged to turn to and learn from each other, which creates a strong sense of community within the classroom.

Peace education

Dr. Dave, Ms. Shetal Walter’s father, teaches Peace Education classes along with our Life Skills Team on a weekly basis. From basic breathing techniques to learning self-awareness to conflict resolution, these classes are a critical component in making the classrooms peaceful places. There are also numerous peace tables and peace corners where the children can go in their classrooms and around campus to simply relax and reflect, which makes the environment much richer and more peaceful.

Service learning

Student-led service learning and community service projects are implemented by students around the campus throughout the year. Our Upper Elementary classes have a Friday afternoon elective weekly in which they go out into the community and help at various local organizations such as Feed My Starving Children, as well as nearby nursing homes and hospitals. Our Middle Years and High School program also encourages 8th grade students to do a Community Project in which they explore their right and responsibility to implement service and action in the community.

Conscious discipline

Conscious Discipline provides a proven comprehensive approach that empowers adults to become the mindful parents and teachers they want to be. It teaches self-awareness, brain information, developmental knowledge and skills that can be used to create a safe, connected, problem-solving school and home environment. Desert Garden offers a Conscious Discipline Series of Classes that teaches parents skills in addressing everyday behavior with their child(ren) by integrating social-emotional learning, discipline and self-regulation. To learn more, see the video below.


Organic lunch menu

The school has 3 chefs preparing organic lunches each day that the elementary and adolescent students help serve. All organic chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, lentils, broccoli, soups and yogurt and fruit are everyday favorites. Each menu item is tried 3 times to see if children will learn to like a particular item before it’s removed from the menu. Usually, by the third time children have created a memory for such foods and begin to eat them regularly. Broccoli is a favorite! Our amazing chefs cater to almost any diet, customizing meals to be dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian, etc. All food is served on stainless steel plates using silverware, and leftovers are sent to the two composters for further use and commitment to reducing waste. Our Organic Lunch Menu is updated and available each month for your convenience.

Global Carrot award

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine honored Desert Garden with the Golden Carrot Award in 2014 for our exceptional innovation and leadership in promoting child health and nutrition through school food service.  

Here is the link to official letter from the committee.