Learn All About Montessori Method at June 2 Open House


St. John Montessori School is dedicated to instilling a love for learning and treating children as individuals, according to school director Debra Polucci.

Anyone who has ever wondered just exactly what the Montessori method is, should mark their calenders for Saturday, June 2, when St. John Montessori School is hosting an open house from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Parents are encouraged to come out and tour the school, meet with our administrators and learn about the Montessori philosophy,” said St. John Montessori School director Debra Polucci. “There will be some crafts for kids and we’re excited to show people what we’ve been doing and what we’re all about.”

With a major emphasis on instilling a love for learning, SJMS is dedicated to getting children off on the right educational footing, Polucci explained.

“Our open house is to attract parents who understand the worthiness of quality early childhood education,” said the SJMS director. “It has been proven that the first six years of life are significant for the brain to develop fully. It is a great start in life to be successful before the age of six, and be filled with a love of learning.”

“Most children don’t start school until age 5 or 6, which is after major brain development occurs,” said Polucci. “We hope to share this great advantage for young children with the community and potential Montessori families.”

Located at the John’s Folly Learning Institute, SJMS has been open since 2008, and currently has a student body of 14 children between the ages of 2-and-a-half and eight. But the school can accommodate up to 26 students and officials are hoping to attract more children for the next school year, which begins on September 13.

In addition to growing its student body, SJMS officials are also hoping to find a new place to call home, explained Polucci.

“We are still looking for a new home ideally located about half way between Cruz Bay and Coral Bay,” she said. “We’re staying here next year, but we’re really looking for a new space for 2013.”

Also returning next year to SJMS is Trish Stalter, who is currently immersed at Association Montessori International training in Mountain View, California, explained Polucci.

Stalter, who has an undergraduate degree from University of California at Davis, worked as a teacher’s assistant at SJMS in 2009.

“Trish is a California-native who, after moving here, fell in love with St. John,” said Polucci. “Having been a Montessori student herself, she applied for a teacher’s assistant job at SJMS. Shortly after starting to work at the school in September 2009, she found her second love; the Montessori philosophy.”

“Trish then decided to combine the two and take the Montessori training in California,” said Polucci.
Stalter is actually training at the same center where both Polucci and SJMS elementary teacher Susan Wakelee trained more than 30 years ago.

“Trish is delighted to return this September to be head teacher of the primary classroom, ages  3 to 6,” said Polucci. “I will be her morning assistant, and in the afternoon will be attending to administrative duties, fundraising and advertising.”

Wakelee, who has called St. John home for years, is the school’s elementary teacher, teaching students between six and nine years old. Wakelee has both her AMI Primary and Elementary training, as well as a Master’s Degree in Montessori Education.

SJMS is also currently obtaining its 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, Polucci added.

“We’ve decided to obtain our tax exempt status to help the school prosper and grow through the many grant and funding opportunities available, and also to attract more donations,” said Polucci.

With both a new, recently trained teacher and two veteran Montessori educators, it’s a great time to check out what’s going on at SJMS, explained Polucci.

“The best thing about Montessori is that it’s basically based on the fact that children love learning,” she said. “Children love learning and they love being responsible and free thinking citizens. Basically at Montessori students are treated as individuals and the goal is to generate a foundation as an aid to life and education.”

“And you really see that here,” said Polucci. “The worst thing you could do is take away the student’s work. They love learning and don’t want to stop.”

For more information about SJMS, call the school at 775-9594.